A/N Hey guys :) Random idea that came to me so I thought I may as well make a fic out of it XD And don't worry, I haven't abandoned 'Lessons...' I'm just writing this down now while the muse is still here XD Oh and I also know nothing about hypnotism - all made up (apart from stealing a metronome from Insidious XD) - but I hope you enjoy my oneshot regardless :)
"You've got to be kidding me."
Mike looked up from where he had been finishing some paperwork at Harvey's desk. The man had been checking his emails and he was looking at the screen now with a half-amused, half-indignant face.
Harvey turned his laptop to face Mike and watched as the associate read it.
From: Jessica Pearson
To: [Group] Partners
Subject: Re: Hypnotherapy
Louis brought to my attention that one of his clients, Mr. Stephen Ager - owner of a wealthy hypnotherapy clinic - is being sued for malpractice. Because this is a high profile case, Louis has requested that we handle this one in particular as a firm. To further research and gain a greater understanding of this particular branch of therapy, Mr. Ager is bringing in one of his top doctors to work with the associates - and any partners who wish to join - so they can further ascertain what they are working with.
I have emailed all associates and would like to stress that this is mandatory for all, and would like to advise partners that they should send their associates to Conference Room C at 11am.
(Harvey, this also goes for you. I'm sure you can live without him for an hour or two.)
Mike sniggered and glanced up after he'd read it. "See that, Harvey? You can live without me for an hour or two."
"I may not have an eidetic memory, but I'm pretty sure I read the email as well," Harvey rolled his eyes, pulling laptop back towards him. "Hypnotherapy," he muttered, shaking his head.
"You don't believe in it?" Mike asked interestedly.
"You do?" Harvey shot back.
"Uh, I asked first, and I'm open to it," Mike said, shuffling his papers, no longer very interested in them. "I mean - you see it all the time, don't you? Hypnotists at parties, the whole swinging watch thing..."
"If you're so interested then by all means go," Harvey told him. "And I know it's mandatory," he said as Mike opened his mouth to be a smart-ass. "I'm giving you my permission."
"I need your permission to do what the managing partner has said is mandatory?" Mike asked. "Wow. I think you need to see a hypnotherapist. I'll be sure to tell them about the God complex and delusions of grandeur."
"If we're done diagnosing me," Harvey said dryly, "I need to get back to doing actual work. Go," he said, looking at the time. "Have fun at Louis' party; don't accept any sweets from strangers and don't let them hypnotise you into thinking you're an actual puppy - I don't think they'd be able to deal with the similarities."
"You're hilarious," Mike told him, standing up to leave. "Are you not coming?"
"I'm not going to work on Louis' case," Harvey told him plainly. "Which means neither are you. Which means my glorious presence there will be wasted. Which means - "
"We really need to start working on your God complex?" Mike interrupted. Harvey gave him a look and Mike sighed. "Okay, I'm going. Wait till I get back before raining down brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah."
Mike shuffled into the room and took a place next to Harold. He hoped to be ignored in the large crowd - all the associates, as well as half of the partners were there. As much as he was interested in hypnotism, he had no desire to actually be hypnotised. And if he was stood next to Harold he would either be ignore because - as Louis' go-to associate, Harold would more than likely be forced to join in some way - or; be able to stop Harold from raising his hand if Mr. Ager asked for a volunteer.
"Everyone," Louis stood at the front, gathering their attention. "This is Mr. Stephen Ager; and with the help of his colleague, Dr. Turing, he'll be showing you all what his clinic does. Stephen."
Mr. Ager stepped forward, giving a nervous smile - no doubt intimidated when in a roomful of lawyers. "Good Morning," he greeted, rubbing his hands slightly on his pants (and Mike could tell he was trying to brush away sweat from his palms). "As Louis said, we're going to just run through some of what we do at our clinic. We usually get patients who have suffered through something traumatic or are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These people don't want to visit a regular psychiatrist, and we help them... 'forget' it."
"Is that ethical?" Mike asked, before he could stop himself. He really needed to filter his thoughts before speaking. Like, really needed to.
"Excuse me?" Ager looked at him, slightly confused.
"Well, making them 'forget' something traumatic," Mike said. "Maybe in the short-term it helps but overall it could be pretty damaging to their psyche, couldn't it?"
"Young man, are you a trained therapist?" Dr. Turing - until this point simply a silent observer - asked.
"Well, no, but I - "
"Are you a qualified psychologist?"
"No, but - "
"Then kindly let us do our job, and you can do yours," D. Turing said. Several of the associates tittered and Mike saw Louis glaring at him, grinding his teeth slightly.
Mike started to hate Dr. Turing as they started to explain once more what it was they did. He reminded Mike of an old Uncle he once had - who acted like a headmaster and whose favourite saying had been 'spare the rod and spoil the child'.
"So we create what is essentially a wall in their head, which gets rid of the memory, and - "
"That's not possible." Again with the speaking-before-thinking thing! Dammit Mike!
"Have we not already had the discussion about you not being trained in the science of hypnotherapy?" Dr. Turing asked, raising an eyebrow (And reminding Mike of Harvey in an infuriating way).
"You can't just 'get rid of' a memory," Mike argued. "Somewhere, you still have all your memories."
"Maybe someone with a photographic memory," the doctor honest-to-god smirked at him. "And I doubt there is anyone like that here, don't you?"
Mike felt the tips of his ears go pink and he said nothing.
A ripple of whispers went through the crowd and Mike felt the pink that had rushed to his face quickly go, leaving a paleness instead. He couldn't tell who had spoken but knew it was one of the associates. Some of them knew of his memory - even Louis knew - but the rest were now craning their necks to look at him.
"Really?" The doctor now gave a large grin. "Fascinating. I've never tried this with someone with a photographic memory before."
"Technically I've got an eidet - " Mike tried to back out but he was pushed forward by someone and soon was stumbling through the crowd and was stood at the front with Mr. Ager and Dr. Turing.
"What's your name?" The doctor asked, as what seemed like the whole firm watched with morbid curiosity.
"Mike," he said quietly. "Mike Ross."
"Mr. Ross - kindly stand over here with me," the doctor said, pulling him into the correct position. "Good. Now, I want you to close your eyes, and listen to nothing," he paused before starting a metronome that was sat on the table, "but the metronome. Listen to the ticking."
Mike closed his eyes, privately feeling terrified. He listened to the sound, and found himself feeling like floating away. "Good. Now - with each tick of the device, you're moving farther and farther back into your past. Farther and farther... With each tick you're feeling more relaxed. When I count to 3 you will think of the worst memory you ever had..."
No, Mike tried to say, no, please - I don't want to - please...
"But," the doctor continued. "When I count to 10, you will think of the best memory you ever had. This will cancel the bad out. You will only ever feel good things towards your worst memory..."
I can't, I can't feel anything but hatred and pain towards it - please, don't let me do this...
"Okay, Mr. Ross... 1... 2... 3."
A warm car that makes him sleepy. Coming back from dinner. 8 years old. With his parents. Sudden. Squeal of brakes. A cry. A crash. Rain.
"Is he okay?" Someone asked. What was he doing? He couldn't feel anything. He prayed he wasn't doing anything embarrassing.
"4... 5..." The doctor continued regardless. "6..."
Rain or blood? Both. Spattering his face. Mom?
Mom, what's wrong? Are you okay?
His head hurt. His leg was getting wet. Dad?
Not Dad. Harvey. Harvey was giving him a job. Harvey was handing him his first case.
A squeal of tyres.
Harvey was smiling as he watched him kick ass in court.
Harvey was exchanging movie quotes with him.
Harvey was buying him pizza after yet another long night.
Mom? Mom are you okay?
Harvey saying 'Good Boy'
"Mr. Ross! When I count back down to 1 you will wake up! 10, 9, 8, 7-6-5-4-3-2-1!"
He gave a gasp and opened his eyes. He was on the floor. How did he get on the floor? He breathed in deeply, feeling wetness on his face.
"Are you alright?" Mr. Ager asked worriedly. "What did you do?" He turned to the doctor.
"Nothing out of the ordinary!" Dr. Turing replied quickly. "I did what I've always done. You saw!"
"What the hell was that guy's worst memory?" Mr. Ager asked, before seeing Louis on his phone. "What are you doing?"
"Calling someone," Louis said, as if the man was an idiot. "What did you do?"
"I... It was going to plan, and then - "
"Louis you had better have been calling because you - what's going on?" Harvey stopped in his teasing tirade as he walked through the door, putting his phone back in his pocket.
"Mr Specter, I - "
"Louis," Harvey said, looking over at the man and silencing Mr Ager. "What happened?"
Louis turned to the crowd. "Everyone out," he said. If anyone was about to protest, it was quickly forgotten as Harvey shot them with a glare. As soon as it was just them in the room, Harvey knelt next to Mike.
"Mike?" Mike gazed up at him with dazed eyes. "Mike, can you hear me?" Harvey had no idea what to do.
Harvey looked taken aback. "Harvey," he corrected.
"Dad, where's Mom?" Mike's voice was quiet, and rough as sandpaper.
"Mike; listen to me," Harvey said, grasping his shoulders. "It's me - Harvey. We're at Pearson Hardman; remember? You're my associate."
"Dad...?" Mike's voice trailed off. Harvey had never seen the kid looking so confused.
"What did you do?" He snarled at the doctor stood in front of him.
"I... I was saying how we can block out traumatic memories," he said shakily. "And Mr. Ross didn't believe me. And then I found out he has a photographic memory. I've never done it on someone with one before, I thought - "
"You've never done what on someone with one before?" Harvey snapped, never letting his hands leave Mike's shoulders. The kid at some point grabbed hold of Harvey's hands, still occasionally murmuring 'dad' and looking confused.
"I did what we usually do," the doctor said. "I... I asked him to remember the most traumatic thing his life and - "
"You did what?" Harvey hissed. "Did you even bother asking what it was? What kind of doctor are you?"
"I..." The man was at a loss.
"I bet you didn't even get him to sign anything either," Harvey guessed.
"We didn't think it necessary; he was only going to do a brief demonstration."
"I don't know about you," Harvey said heatedly, "but I wouldn't say reliving his parents' deaths count as a 'brief demonstration'."
"I... but I told him to think of his best memory afterwards," Dr. Turing said. "It should have outweighed all of the negative feelings. I don't... I don't understand."
"Dad, what's happening?" Mike whispered, and Harvey was more concerned by the fact that Mike was directing this at him.
"Harvey," Louis said quietly. "Are you sure that's what he would have thought about? His... his parents'..." He tailed off, apparently possessing tact after all.
"I'm sure," he said grimly.
"Was it... bad?" He asked, almost delicately.
Harvey nodded grimly.
"Well what would his best memory have been?" Louis asked.
Apparently this sparked something in Dr. Turing's mind. "He could have gotten them confused," he told them. "He could be confused about the past and now - it's more likely that his happy memory was something after his worst."
"What makes you say that?" Ager asked quietly.
"Look at him," Turing said. "He's getting confused between then and something here. It wouldn't have hit and triggered unless whatever he's getting confused by is here."
They all turned to Harvey who set his jaw. "I'm an ass to the kid," he said. "Nothing involving me would be a good memory. Louis," he looked over to the junior partner. "Do you really think - "
"Dad, where's Mom?" Mike pulled on his arm.
"Mike, it's me, Harvey," he looked the kid in the eyes. "Remember? I'm not a good memory."
"Dad, what are you talking about?" Mike asked, looking like he was close to tears.
"Shit," Harvey muttered. He glanced around as he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and saw that there were people watching from the outside. "Let's go to my office." He stood up and pulled Mike to his feet. He was unprepared for the kid to suddenly smack into him in a hug.
"Dad, I don't know what's happening," he whispered, shaking.
"Let's just... let's just go to my office, and - "
"Where's Mom? I don't... I don't understand," Mike squeezed his eyes tight together and gripped Harvey's suit tightly.
"Hey, Mike?" Mr. Ager suddenly spoke up. Mike slowly turned to face him, keeping a death-grip on Harvey's sleeve. "Hi. I'm Stephen Ager. I know you're confused right now, but let's just go to a different room and we can all sit down. You'll be fine," his voice was reassuring and Harvey saw Mike nod slightly, but was also very aware of how close to him Mike stayed.
They managed to hustle him down to Harvey's office.
"Harvey, what on earth is going on?" Donna asked, watching their odd parade.
Harvey shook his head and they went into his office. He knew Mike wouldn't leave his side and so detoured to his couch rather than going to sit on his chair at his desk. Louis sat awkwardly on another chair and Ager sat next to Harvey, whilst Dr. Turing sat on the seat opposite the couch.
"Now, Mike," Dr. Turing said in a soft voice none of them thought he was capable of. "What do you think is going on? What do you remember?"
"I... I don't... I don't know where my Mom is," he whispered.
"Where's your dad?" Turing asked.
Mike looked over to Harvey. "Here. I don't... I don't know how," he suddenly said, looking pained. "He... my parents died! But... but Dad's here!"
"Mike," Turing said. "You have to remember. Your dad isn't here."
"He's sat right next to me!" Mike cried out, clutching onto Harvey once more.
"No... that's Harvey. Do you remember Harvey? He's your boss."
Harvey was giving him a job.
Harvey was handing him his first case.
"Dad I don't understand!" Mike suddenly cried out, pushing his face into Harvey's neck. The older man had said nothing up until this point, but he moved to put his arm around the associate.
"It's okay, Mike," he said softly. "You'll be okay."
"Why are you here?" He whispered between the small sobs that were leaving him. "You're... I watched you die. You died. And now you're here..."
"Look closely, Mike," Turing said. "Look at him. This is Harvey."
Harvey was smiling as he watched him kick ass in court.
"I... You... Dad?" Mike's voice cracked and he sounded so... damn... broken. "Dad I don't understand."
"It's okay," Harvey soothed, rubbing his upper-arm slightly. "It'll be alright. Fix. Him," he snarled at Turing.
"I... I'll try," he breathed out before turning to Mike. "Mike," Turing said. "Listen to Harvey's breathing," Mike looked confused. "Listen to your dad's breathing," the doctor corrected himself. Harvey frowned but let the associate push himself down slightly so he could rest his head on Harvey's chest. "Good. Listen carefully each time he breathes in, and breathes out. Can you do that?" Mike closed his eyes and listened.
It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The only sound anyone heard was Harvey's breathing. He carefully kept up the same rhythm and closed his own eyes, breathing steadily and keeping his arm wrapped around Mike.
"With each breath you're going further and further into the past," Turing said. "And I'm going to start counting. When I get to 3, I need you to," he wavered slightly, glancing at Harvey. "I need you to remember your parents' deaths. And when you've remembered it all, you will wake up. And everything will be normal..."
"You can't -" Harvey tried to argue but Turing shushed him, miming to keep breathing.
"1... 2... 3," Turing said and they all kept their gazed firmly on Mike. After a few seconds he started to twitch in his place. He froze suddenly and started making whimpering sounds.
"Wake him up," Harvey instructed.
The doctor shook his head. "I can't - he needs to remember."
Mike jumped slightly and opened his mouth, but no sound came out. A small tear broke out from underneath his eyelids.
"Stop it," Harvey said raggedly. "Wake him up."
The doctor shook his head. Suddenly, Mike gave a gasp and jumped. He clutched onto Harvey's shirt and kept his eyes closed.
"Mike...?" Turing said cautiously.
"This..." Mike moved his hand to Harvey's tie, touching it softly. "You're not my dad... are you?" He said quietly.
"I'm sorry, buddy," Harvey said in a tone that Louis wishes he'd recorded. "It's me. It's Harvey."
Mike nodded and breathed out, finally opening his eyes. He slowly pushed himself up but didn't get so far that Harvey would need to unwrap his arm from around him.
"Mr. Ross..." Dr. Turing said slowly. "Do you... do you remember?"
"Photographic memory," Mike said quietly. "Remember? You wanted to try it out on someone who can remember everything. I can tell you where every single drop of blood hit on my face. I can tell you the exact pitch my mother screamed in. I can tell you the way my dad was flung forward onto the dashboard. I can - "
"Mike, Mike," Harvey shook him slightly. "Calm down."
"Calm down?" Mike turned to Harvey, yanking his arm off him. "Harvey this bastard made me relive everything! He made me get so, so confused," Mike's voice cracked and he began croaking. "He made me... he gave me hope that... my dad..."
"Louis get that doctor out of here before I kill him," Harvey said to Louis, pointing to Turing and yet making the order sound so calm he could have been asking for a drink. Louis instantly stood and grabbed Turing by the arm.
"We're no longer your lawyers," Louis told him. "Find different ones. You'll need them, after Harvey sues you."
"I... be reasonable!" This time Ager was pleading.
"Oh don't worry, Stephen," Louis said. "We're still your lawyers."
Harvey nodded, remembering how calm and soothing Ager had been towards Mike in the conference room.
"We just won't defend Dr. Turing in his malpractice suit," Louis finished. "Now you should probably leave - that way would be best," Louis pointed out towards a corridor. "But then you would have to get past Donna." He looked like he was thinking about this before nodding. "Yeah, that way would probably best."
The woman nodded. She had finished wiping mascara off her cheeks after listening through the intercom and stood up. After what that man had put their puppy through - he would pray for death once she got hold of him.
"Louis," the man in question looked back to see that Harvey was still sat on the couch, keeping a grip on Mike. "Thanks."
Louis nodded and left, letting Harvey turn his full attention to Mike.
"Harvey I'm sorry," he burbled - which hadn't been what Harvey had been expecting. "I'm so sorry..."
"Mike, shut up," Harvey said, not letting the associate twist out of his grip. "You have got nothing to apologise for. Did you ask to be hypnotised?"
"My stupid, freak mind," Mike argued. "If it was just normal then I'd probably have been thinking about that accident and then thinking about butterflies. But instead, it messes everything up. Instead, I get flashes of the accident in brilliant, 3-D, high-def and just get humiliated into thinking my boss is my dad."
"None of which was your fault," Harvey tried to reiterate. "Look at me - do I look mad?"
"Furious," Mike murmured as he glanced up.
"Exactly. Have I ever looked furious at you?"
Mike opened his mouth before slowly closing it and shaking his head.
"Exasperated, sure. Pissed off, definitely. Disappointed? Sometimes. But never furious. I'm angry at that god damn hypnotist for putting you through the worst moment of your life, and then letting you lose your grip on reality."
Mike glanced down slightly to where Harvey still had a grip on him.
"Worried I'm going to bolt?" He said without humour.
Harvey still gave a small smirk in response. "Let's just say I'd rather keep my eye on you right now," he smirked before remembering something of importance. "Mike," he said slowly, waiting for the younger man to look up at him. "The doctor said you were confused because of you couldn't forget your worst memory, which is why it clashed with your best memory and they mixed together. Why..."
"Why do you feature in my best memory?" Mike finished for him. Harvey nodded. "I don't... if I was asked right now for my best memory, it would be probably be of my parents or... or my grammy's face when I graduated high school," he had a small smile on his face. "But... I don't know why. When I was under, and I was suddenly being told to think of my best memory I just... I remember you. Telling me to move over, you were emailing the firm and telling them you found their next associate," he smiled at the memory.
"And you got confused between me and... the past?" Harvey said delicately.
Mike shrugged. "I was... he said to think of my best memory when he got to 10. That was 7 seconds of my worst memory. It just... kept going. I couldn't shut it off. And then there were other memories in my good one."
"Of me?" Mike nodded shyly. "Should I be flattered?"
Mike gave a weak snort. "Sure. I don't know if you should be happy or not that one of my best memories is you buying me pizza," he gave a laugh that sounded almost normal.
"Really? That's one of the better ones?" Harvey scowled. "We need to make some new ones."
Mike nodded and gave a small sniff, rubbing his nose slightly with his hand.
"Disgusting," Harvey admonished. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and put it to Mike's nose. "Blow," he said, as if it weren't obvious.
Mike laughed slightly wetly. "What am I, five?"
"I'm using my incredibly short-lived parental rights," Harvey told him. "Blow."
Mike did so, watching as Harvey bundled up the material and threw it in the bin. "Wasn't that monogrammed?" Mike asked.
Harvey shrugged. "I can get another."
"Boys," Donna's voice came out softly through the intercom. "Jessica's on her way down with Louis. Are you alright to tell her what happened?"
Mike looked over at Harvey who nodded, looking wearily back at him. "Yeah," Mike breathed out. "I'm fine."
Harvey nodded approvingly before standing up and offering Mike a hand up too. "Sorry, Harvey," he whispered as Donna stopped Louis and Jessica at the door for a minute. "And... thanks."
"Letting me have a breakdown and being hysterical all over your suit and uh... letting me be under the impression you were my dad."
Harvey shrugged, as if that were the most normal thank-you he had ever received. "It's fine. I swear there are times I feel like it. Fix your tie," he added, nodding at it. "It's crooked."
Mike rolled his eyes but did so. "Are we... are we cool?" Mike asked, slightly pathetically just before Jessica and Louis walked in.
"We're cool," Harvey replied. "You can come to mine tonight, if you want," he added casually. "I'll even feed you."
"Will there be movies?"
"I might even let you put your feet on the couch."
They stood together as Jessica and Louis walked in - both silently vowing to never speak of the incident but still understanding that it had changed things slightly.
It didn't stop Harvey being a grade A douche sometimes though, Mike thought, as his first sentence regarding the incident was; "It started when Junior here admitted he worshipped me before going to be hypnotised into believing he was a kid, or something."
A/N The direction changed mid-track in this and ran away completely, but I really hope you enjoyed it :) Don't hesitate to leave me a little comment on what you thought - it really does inspire me to write more :)