Mike: I thought you were against emotions.
Harvey: I'm against having emotions, not using them.

.***.

By the next year, they thought it was over. The streak of bad luck had to finally be at an end. For Christmas, Harvey gave Mike a four-leaf clover. And a lucky rabbit's foot. And a horseshoe, a wishbone, and holy water.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" Mike asked, looking at the holy water. "Kill demons?" But he tucked the clover into his pocket and kept it there.

New Years passed. The scars on Mike's arms faded from a dull red to pink, and though his skin was still pale and stretched it was no longer so obvious that he'd barely escaped being killed in a fire. He still couldn't really use three fingers on his left hand, not after being frost-bitten, but he could bend them enough to get a grip on things, even though it sometimes felt like trying to move a limb that had fallen asleep.

Mike always carried the rabbit's foot around with him and would rub it, reminding himself that Harvey Specter had given it to him. Harvey didn't do much with Mike any more. Oh, he was still a good mentor, and a colleague at work, but for a while Mike had thought they were more. Friends. Almost, even...brothers. But while Harvey would still joke with him, still talk to him about cases, they never got further than just...a work relationship. And Mike thought he understood that. He thought it was because he was deformed and ugly, because he was broken, and though he'd once thought of Harvey as an annoying older brother, he got used to the new relationship. Reluctantly.

Of course, Harvey didn't think any such thing about Mike. Sometimes they'd be in court or talking in Harvey's office and Mike would tug down his sleeves, as was his habit now, and Harvey would feel a pang in his chest at the look of embarrassment that crossed Mike's face any time someone looked at his arms. Because none of it was the kid's fault. Everything, everything, was on Harvey. And the Tin Man liked to pretend he didn't have a heart, that he couldn't be touched, but every time Mike had ended up in the hospital, Harvey would sit there and think that the world might just end if the younger man died. And that was a scary, scary thought.

So after the avalanche, he tried to distance himself from Mike. Because he thought it would be easier. Because he couldn't care so much after watching the kid be hurt time after time. And some part of him knew it was wrong, and some part of him saw the hurt look that crossed Mike's face every time Harvey dismissed, him, but a larger, stubborn part said that this would be easier for everyone. In the end.

In the end, it took a stalker and a couple of kidnappings for Harvey to admit what he'd been trying to ignore since that car accident all those months ago: that he felt the same way about Mike as he did about his own little brother, and he couldn't bare to lose him.

.***.

It started with two pictures delivered in a manilla envelope with no return address, just HARVEY SPECTER scrawled on the front in black Sharpie. Donna put it on his desk in the morning with the rest of the mail, and Harvey opened it automatically when it rose to the top.

The first picture was of Mike standing in front of the door to his crappy apartment, strapping his helmet on. He looked like he was thinking about something - more importantly, he looked like he had no idea that the picture was being taken.

The second picture was of Josh in his studio in Queens. His desk faced the small window and you could see him bent over a page, hand moving across it like it had never been broken.

Harvey stared at these incredulously for a moment, then happened to flip one over.

MR. SPECTER,

YOU TOOK MY BROTHER AND BEST FRIEND AWAY. AN EYE FOR AN EYE.

Unbidden, a bubble of panic rose in Harvey. He upended the envelope and found another, smaller envelope inside. He ripped it open and found a third picture. This one had both Mike and Josh in it, tied up in what looked like a garage. They were blindfolded. They'd been beaten.

"Donna!" Harvey was surprised he could speak. He was stumbling to his feet, rushing out the door. "Donna, is Mike in today?"

"You're the one who told him he didn't have to come in until noon. A reward for staying awake for thirty hours this weekend, remember?" Donna looked up and her hands stilled on her keyboard. "Oh my God, what's wrong now?"

Wordlessly, Harvey showed her the picture. The important one. She stared at it for a second, then picked up the phone. After thirty seconds, she glanced back at Harvey. "Josh isn't answering."

Harvey leaned against the desk, putting his weight on it or else he would have fallen over. He was a closer. Game plans came quickly to him, in the heat of the moment in court. But he had no game plan for this - for the picture that was staring him down from Donna's desk. "Call 9-1-1." He said, "We need the professionals on this. Tell them that two men had been -" he stumbled over the word. It was ludicrous. It was something that happened in fiction "kidnapped. And tell them I know who did it."

"Do you?" Donna asked, phone already to her ear.

Harvey was already walking away, going to tell Jessica that he needed some time away from the office. "Yes. They left a note."

.***.

"Mike! Mike! How you doing, man?"

Mike opened his eyes and managed to turn his head in Josh's direction. He really hoped the other man had a blindfold, too. No need for him to see the marks they left on his body. "I'm more worried about you. I heard a whip..."

"It was just a belt," Josh said quickly, "Nothing I can't handle. Mike, man, what are you doing?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," The associate lied, fidgeting with his bound hands. On TV the hero could always get out of situations like these, no problem.

"You keep antagonizing them," Josh sounded truly pissed, though Mike knew most of that anger wasn't actually at him, "What the Hell man? I can handle myself. Don't be a fucking martyr."

"What would Harvey say about that language?" Mike tisked, breathing hard, hoping Josh couldn't hear the pain in his voice.

They both were silent for a moment, then Josh asked, quietly, "Do you know who these people are? Do you know what they want?"

Mike sighed. Blood pooled in his lap when he did that. They'd taken a belt to Josh, and the sound had made Mike scream, curse, rock in the chair he was bound in. That's when he was cut, a long, shallow line that went down his torso, with a matching one on the other side. X marks the spot. "Yeah, I can take a guess." Eidetic memory meant never forgetting a voice either, and one of them had been uncomfortably familiar. "Larry Kelly. Used to manage Plot Hole, this big book distributing company. They weren't big on following copyright laws. And a bunch of other laws. Harvey was the lead on that case. He put away Larry's brother Matt and his best friend...Ben Martin..." He stopped here, trying to breathe through the pain that came in waves from everywhere. "Couldn't get Larry though. But the company collapsed after the others went to jail, so we didn't think anything of it."

"This is all about a couple of people in jail?" Josh asked, angry, "Isn't this revenge overkill?"

Even though Josh couldn't see him, Mike turned his face away. He knew exactly why Kelly went to such lengths. "Matt Kelly was killed in prison two months into his five-year sentence. Ben Martin was killed two days after."

Josh made a noise like he'd been the one to be stabbed, and Mike could only say, "Yeah," in return.

.***.

Another set of pictures came two hours after the first set. By that time, the Pearson Hardman office had come to a standstill and was crawling with police...or FBI. Harvey wasn't paying that much attention to what it said on the uniforms, not after he looked at the other packet. "Who delivered this?" He roared, voice loud over the din of disgruntled lawyers and solemn police/FBI. Everyone turned to him and he waved the manilla envelope in the air. "Who delivered this?"

"Uh, I think he did." Harold pointed at a guy leaving the office, dropping off more mail on the way.

Harvey had him pinned to the wall in a second. Two police/FBI guys ran and pried his fingers off him. Jessica was there, too, and her slim hand did more than the burly officers ever could. "Who gave this to you?" Harvey snarled, waving the envelope in the guy's face. He couldn't have been more than twenty years old.

The kid gulped, looking around at the many, many people staring at him. "Some guy. Downstairs. I thought it was just...regular mail. He said to give it to you, make sure I personally put it in your hands. He gave me twenty bucks."

One of the officers took the kid over to a sketch artists, which Harvey didn't understand at all. He knew that Larry Kelly had done all this. The only question was where Larry was.

Donna was at his elbow, Jessica was still on the other side, even Louis was peering over his shoulder and Rachel had come up, looking scared. "Open it, Harvey," Donna said, quietly, "There might be something important."

Harvey didn't want to open it. He didn't want to see more pictures of his brothers - no, sorry, more pictures of his brother and Mike - beaten and bloody. But he did open the envelope, and he did force himself to look inside, and he heard Donna gasp and Rachel turned away and even Louis backed off, looking sick. Harvey just stared at the pictures. One was a close-up of Josh's back, which had been so criss-crossed with scars that it looked like mines had exploded. The other was Mike's front (and, god, there were the burns, the ones from months ago, and the frostbitten fingers, and...mike...) bleeding, bleeding from two huge cuts in his chest.

"He's torturing them." Harvey said, his voice sounding strange to his own ears. He threw the pictures at the nearest officer, breathing hard. "He's fucking torturing them. You better be figuring out where he is."

Even as the words were coming out of his mouth a baby police officer/FBI agent came running up. "Sir," He said, addressing the man Harvey had thrown the pictures at, "We got him." He looked over at Harvey and smiled, "We got the guy who delivered the pictures."

.***.

"How's the hand, Josh. Josh? You still with me? Stay awake, man. I am not going to be the one to tell Harvey you died."

"The hand's fine. Almost good as new." Josh's voice was strained, pained, and Mike felt responsible. His plan to keep everyone off of Harvey's little brother's back wasn't going as well as he'd hoped, and though he'd given as much lip as he could, they'd still stood Josh up, punched him, kicked him, and made Mike watch. Now the other man was on the floor, unable to move. They didn't even bother to tie him up after they broke his ankle. "Glad these guys didn't touch my hand."

"Yeah. There's your silver lining." Mike laughed, then cut off abruptly as Kelly walked into the room. The big man kicked Josh in the face and turned to Mike, who was spitting like a wildcat, madly trying to get out of the bonds that secured him to the chair.

Kelly looked between the two of them, then said, slowly. "Harvey's here."

Josh sat up and spit out a tooth. His nose was running blood down into his mouth, which made his smile gruesome. "My brother the super hero has come to rescue to us, Mike."

Determined to sound as cool as Josh, Mike nodded, "Don't let him hear you say that. He already thinks he's Batman."

Kelly talked over both of them. "I set up something for him. An opportunity I never had. Proctor!" A man, presumably, Proctor, came in with a camera, television, wires. Even Mike could tell it was a web feed. "Harvey is upstairs. You get to see him, he gets to see you." He turned to Proctor. "Let the games begin."

"May the odds be ever in your favor." Josh muttered from the floor, trying to stem the blood flowing from his nose. Mike laughed at that, a little hysterically.

The screen came to life, and it did show Harvey surrounded by about twenty police (or were they FBI agents?) Harvey was arguing with someone, then suddenly turned and looked at the screen. Presumably, he was seeing a video of Mike and Josh.

"I'm going to give you an opportunity, Specter." Kelly said, one of his hands laying on Mike's shoulder. The touch felt predatory, made Mike break out in goosebumps. "One I never got to have. I lost my brother and best friend because of you. But I'm not a bad man. You can chose one, and I'll send them to you." Kelly moved in front of Mike, shrugged delicately. "Of course, the other man will be killed."

Mike's stomach dropped and he looked at Harvey's face, screwed up in anger and pain.

"And now you have to chose between -"

"Joshua," Harvey said, cutting Kelly off and breaking Mike's heart. "I choose Josh."

Kelly smiled, "As you wish." And in that instant Mike remembered that Harvey was Batman, and Batman had once had to make a choice like this, and he remembered that Kelly was deranged, crazy - had to be to actually kidnap people. Who kidnaps people in real life? And Mike made a split-second decision that he hoped was the right one and threw himself in front of Josh the instant before the gun went off and the bullet that would have hit the younger Specter's head went into Mike instead.

And that's how Mike got shot twice in a year.

.***.

"Mike? Mike!" Strong arms were holding him, like they'd held him through the avalanche and the horrible cold hours afterward, and Mike knew he was dead because Harvey wasn't in the room with Josh and him, Harvey was somewhere else and watching through a television.

"God, Mike, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." The arms tightened and Mike wanted to open his eyes because this was a frickin Hallmark moment, Harvey Specter apologizing, but he couldn't because his body wasn't responding right. Like his stupid frostbitten fingers, he felt numb all over. Numb, and so, so tired.

Someone was yelling, a voice in a similar timbre to Harvey's but slightly higher, unique to itself. "What the Hell, Harvey? What the Hell?"

"What would you have done, Josh?" Harvey snapped, and the arms loosened for a second and Mike groaned so quietly no one heard him. "Are you telling me you didn't want me to pick you?"

"I'm not the one who's going to have to explain it to him," Josh said, and Mike groaned again, and everyone heard it this time, and the arms tightened more so that Mike was against Harvey's chest now and listening to his heart beat.

"Thank God, kid." Harvey squeezed tighter and Mike wanted to tell him to stop, please, he hurt all over, but he didn't have the heart and in the end, when the blackness came, he was just glad he had someone there with him at the end.

.***.

The ending was not nearly so dramatic after that. Kelly had killed himself just before the FBI agents (not police officers) kicked down the door to the basement he was in, so there was no one to blame but the grunts that did the dirty work. They were sentenced to two years in the same prison Kelly's brother and friend had been killed in.

Everyone else tried to pick up the pieces, but anyone who ever broke a vase or mirror will tell you that even if you collect all the fragments they still don't fit together quite right. Josh was in the hospital for three days. He didn't talk to his brother for two of them. Mostly it was because he'd been scared in that basement, mostly it was because he didn't know that being a lawyer could make you enemies like that. Mostly.

Mike was in the hospital, again, because he'd been shot in the shoulder, because he had a big X marks the spot on his stomach. He stared at the ceiling and wondered if the hospital had some sort of frequent fliers discount.

"Hey, kid." Harvey sat in the chair next to Mike, holding a cup of coffee that Mike was absolutely not supposed to take a sip of. Harvey gave him a sip anyway. "How you feeling today?"

It had been five days since the basement, and Mike shrugged. For the past five days he'd acted like Harvey's choice hadn't bothered him. After all, if he had any flesh and blood left in the world, he probably would have made the same one. But the fact is Harvey was the most important person in Mike's life, and it sucks to know that the feeling wasn't mutual, no matter how much he understood the decision.

Harvey seemed to understand his mood, because he put the coffee down for a second and looked at Mike. Really looked at him. "It's been a hell of a year, kid. Do you realize you've ended up in the hospital five times?"

"I did realize, actually. I wish they'd take out a restraining order against me." But Mike's voice wasn't quite right, wasn't quite joking, jovial.

So Harvey said what he'd been meaning to say but hadn't quite had the guts to get out. "I don't know what to do here, Mike. I want to thank you for saving my kid brother's life, but every time I get started it sounds wrong." Harvey scrubbed a hand over his face and looked over at the bedside table. All of the things had been on Mike in the basement were there. The lucky rabbit's foot was on top. Not so lucky. "Because every time I want to say it I don't know which kid brother I'm talking about. I - damnit, Mike, I know I've been an ass recently. I know that. But you have to know...you should know that...you're my little brother. You annoy me to Hell and..." Harvey pinched the bridge of his nose, took a deep breath. "When I saw you on that screen...it was like my world was ending. I know I picked Josh, and I'm sorry. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

Mike nodded, accepting. "It's all right. I understand." He sounded tired, but not the physical tired he had been for the past few days. Being shot and stabbed does things to you.

"I don't think you do." Harvey shook his head. "You're my brother, Mike. I couldn't bear to lose you." He laughed a little and squeezed Mike's hand. "You get put in the hospital one more time and I'll have to fire you."

"Love you too, Harv." Mike smiled and Harvey did too, his first true smile in days.

"Turns out the Tin Man had a heart all along." Harvey said, shrugging. "Who'd've thunk?"

They still weren't exactly right. They still had to deal with Mike's self-esteem, his issues with the way he looked (now with more scars added to list.) They still had to deal with the fallout from Harvey's answer to the man in the basement, and the fact he chose Josh, the fact that Mike saved Josh's life. They'd still deal with nightmares and anxiety, with fear of failure and and just plain fear. But after that last day, the worst day, Harvey never tried to distance himself from Mike again. Because whether you like it or not, family is forever.

.***.

the end

hope everyone enjoyed the season finale. this show is too good to only air in the summer, but we'll have to make up for it in fanfiction. drop us a line with your thoughts on this last chapter (it has to be last because what other extreme situations could they get in to?) thanks for the reviews that kept this going, guys. peace.