A/N Hey guys :) I really hope you enjoy this - obviously spoilers for 'The Amazing Spiderman' but this is really just using one or two characters from that; this is about Mike being Spiderman and his relationship with Harvey (not slash, in case any of you hoped I would suddenly convert). I'm not sure when this'll get updated considering I have 'Lessons In Parenting' but hopefully you lovely lot will be as understanding as you always are :)
I Am So High, I Can Hear Heaven
"But you're going to be gone for ages!" 11 year old Mike wailed at the unfairness of his parents going out for dinner without him, leaving him with his grandparents instead.
His mother scoffed at that as she put her jacket on, not bothering to hide her smile at her son's dramatics. "Yes, Mike, positively a lifetime," she teased, kissing his forehead and trying to smooth his hair back. "We'll be back before you go to bed." Mike snorted and looked away. "Of course, what am I thinking?" She said, smirking. "You don't need to be put to bed, do you? A big 11 year old like you?"
Mike looked up at her, his eyes having a shine of defiance in them whereas there was an embarrassed blush on his skin, showing her that whilst he didn't need tucking into bed by his parents… he still kinda liked it.
His mom would read Curious George to him, whilst his father would make monkey noises in the background, making Mike giggle and his mother sigh and roll her eyes, whilst hiding a small grin at her husband's antics.
Mike liked bedtime.
Even a big 11 year old like himself.
"Okay, bye, sweetie," his mom said, smiling and hugging him. "We'll see you later, alright?" Mike nodded and turned to his dad expectantly.
"Bye, kiddo," he said, giving him another hug. "You be a good boy, alright?" Mike nodded, wanting to say he was too old to need babysitting, or to be told to be a 'good boy' – he knew his parents coddled him slightly; partly because they never thought they could have children, and also because he had a hard time at school, having shown he had genius qualities back in kindergarten. As much as he got embarrassed by their babying the older he got – he secretly liked it.
"Bye," he said to both of them, waving before being taken further into his grandparent's house by his Gramps for some dinner of their own.
It was that night the restaurant his parents were eating at was also serving a Mr. Fenton copious amounts of wine without stopping.
He crashed into another car on his way home because of the amount of alcohol in his system. That car happened to be the Ross's car.
11 year old, orphaned Mike Ross was taken in by his grandparents.
- 5 Years Later -
16 year old Mike glanced up from his locker, hastily stacking the large law books towards the back of it and hiding them with an old biology textbook that was mandatory for their class. He was already seen as the 'freak' in their year with his stupid memory and brain, there was no need for people to see the books that would usually only be useful for someone who had already become a certified lawyer and was working in a law firm.
Which Mike vowed he would one day be. He had felt so helpless when no one took his claims seriously when he begged someone to listen to him. He had told the police his parents were careful drivers and the man must have been severely inebriated but they didn't listen to him. Instead, the man was just fined and the restaurant hadn't even been questioned regarding the man's alcohol intake.
He was suddenly shaken from his thoughts as Trevor pulled on his shoulder, an easy grin on his face. Jenny, next to him, looked slightly more concerned but Trevor shot her a face that clearly said 'trust me, he does this a lot'.
"Sorry, I was just…" Mike floundered, unsure of what he could say. 'Sorry I was just wishing I could avenge my parents' deaths'? Trevor would laugh it off but secretly watch him for weeks in case he did something stupid and Jenny… Jenny would probably go to his grandparents and tell them directly.
"Whatever, dude," Trevor waved it off, used to Mike zoning out as he thought about various books he had read – whether that very day or back in first grade. "So, listen – I've got us a job."
"What?" Mike frowned. "What do you mean?"
"I got us paid-work," he said slowly, as if Mike was stupid.
"I know what you mean, dumb ass," Mike shot back. "I meant doing what?"
"Deliveries. You know, bike messenger kind of thing? I thought it would be best for you seeing as that's the only job I could see you doing with a bit of grace."
"I'm not that clumsy!" Mike argued, although now even Jenny was giggling slightly. "Okay, fine, maybe I can be a bit… uncoordinated sometimes," he relented.
The bell rang and Jenny glanced up instinctively. "I have to go to calculus," she told them, pulling a face. "Tell me more about these jobs later," she said, prodding Trevor in the side slightly before smiling at Mike and leaving.
Trevor waited until she'd gone before grinning and moving slightly closer to Mike. "Okay, dude, you will love me," he said. "This delivery job? Your cut of the profit is a very nice $1,500."
Mike gaped at him, his eyes wide. "What? No way – this one job?"
Trevor nodded, grinning. "Yup. How awesome is that?"
"What's the catch?" Mike asked wearily, knowing there would be one. There always was with Trevor.
His friend apparently couldn't really keep things secret, and after glancing around and making sure no one was in earshot, he leant forward a bit more and said in a hushed voice; "We drop off a package of pot to some senior in the gym after school and we split the – "
"What?" Mike voice was hushed and scandalised. "Trevor, what the hell? Since when have you been into dealing drugs? And since when have you been so into it that they're prepared to pay you $3,000?"
"C'mon, Mike, don't tell me you've never thought about drugs?"
Mike shifted on his feet uncomfortably. He had thought about it – the school he was at, it was very much a 'when in Rome' situation. Because it was in a poorer part of town, lots of kids had to find… different jobs if they wanted some extra money. It was practically on his timetable that he had to walk past at least 5 different students doing various drugs in a single day.
"I don't know, Trevor," Mike said. "I don't think it's a good idea…"
"It'll be fine, trust me," his friend said. "What's the worst that could happen?"
"… So as you can see, Mr. and Mrs. Ross, it's obviously a very troubling matter."
Mike stared down at his knees as his principal talked to his grandparents. He didn't think he could ever face something as traumatic as his parents' deaths – but having to be there as his loving, charitable grandparents were told their only grandson had been dealing drugs on school property? (And stupidly in view of a camera no less?)
It was torture.
"Of course," Grammy nodded, and Mike could tell she was shooting him a disappointed look.
"But you're not pressing charges?" Gramps said.
"Because this is the first time we've had any trouble from Michael, we're not going to take any serious disciplinary action," the principal said. "And also, because – although he's not admitting it – I think he was very much coerced into this by the other boy – "
"Trevor," Mike heard Gramps mutter under his breath and his toes curled slightly. Gramps had never liked Mike's only friend.
"We would like to offer him an opportunity to redeem himself, however," the principal said, smiling. Mike finally looked up to meet the man's eyes, wondering what he was going to do – and why he was smiling. "Every year we offer up a mentorship programme to let certain students get a taste of what the world has to offer. We have a vast amount of different professionals to choose from, but I already took the courtesy of choosing one for you."
Mike raised an eyebrow at this but took the leaflet on the mentorship programme that was offered to him. He then took a piece of paper the principal gave him. He read the job description and couldn't help but let a wide grin appear on his face.
"The librarians are very impressed with some of your book choices," he said to Mike, before looking over at his grandparents. "Were you aware of the books your grandson reads?"
"We're old, not stupid," Gramps began, before being hit slightly in the stomach.
"James!" Grammy hissed. "I'm not old!"
"Yes, dear," Gramps said, nodding and exchanging an amused glance with Mike.
"What my husband meant to say," she started, "is that we know how smart he is. What type of mentorship have you given him? He reads everything."
Mike shyly flashed the paper at them. Edith took the papers and read through them, a small smile appearing on her face. "A lawyer? An actual lawyer?"
"A senior partner, Grammy," Mike corrected her. "At one of the city's biggest law firms. He's like, only one promotion off getting his name in the title."
Edith nodded, suitably impressed before passing the paperwork to her husband. "When does this programme start?"
"Next week," the principal said.
Edith nodded before looking back at Mike. "In that case," she said, standing up – sensing somehow that the meeting had in fact come to an end, "Michael, you're grounded for a week and you have extra chores for the next month – and once this mentorship programme starts I want you home straight after school or after… whatever it is you'll be doing with this lawyer. Is that understood?"
Mike nodded hastily – glad that his grandparents' style of discipline differed from so many other people's parents. Once they had given him the punishment they then considered the matter closed.
He couldn't stop the flutter of excitement in his stomach as they were on their way home though. He finally had the chance to see what real lawyers did.
He wondered what this lawyer, this… Harvey Specter would be like.
He hoped the guy wouldn't be really condescending as many other adults were.
He hoped the guy was nice.
"I'm sorry, Louis, I would love to help, but unfortunately I'm a bit busy with your girlfriend tonight," Harvey smirked at the junior partner, his arms crossed. He would usually make a wife joke (he didn't care what other people – i.e, Donna – said, they were funny) but he knew Louis had recently started seeing a woman and it made him laugh at how over the top his reactions usually were.
He didn't disappoint, and bristled, his face going slightly red as he sputtered indignantly.
"Jeanine thankfully has much more taste than that."
"Well then why is she with you?" He asked, smirking.
A small cough echoed from the door and both men turned to see Jessica stood there, her hands on her hips. "Am I interrupting something?" She asked, her eyebrows raised.
"Not at all, Louis was just leaving," Harvey flashed a smile at her, looking at Louis expectantly. Seeing Jessica also staring, the junior partner simply growled and turned on his heel to leave – no doubt plotting what he could do to get back at Harvey.
"Harvey, I heard your interviews didn't go very well," Jessica said, circling him slightly like a tigress, making him (not for the first time) feel glad she had never had to depose him.
He shrugged nonchalantly. "I told you I work better alone. You wouldn't have liked any of them anyway," he told her. "They were boring. Donna, tell her," he said loudly.
"One of them actually cried when I told him that Harvey didn't like skinny ties and the kid was wearing one," she said, rolling her eyes. "You really wouldn't have wanted any of them working here."
"Or maybe," Jessica leant so she was resting her hands on Harvey's desk, and yet somehow still towering over him intimidatingly, "maybe you just didn't try hard enough to get to know any of them."
"Jessica, it's an associate, I don't need to get know them at all," he argued, trying to hold his own, however much the woman was dominating all of the tension in the room, using it to her advantage.
"Wrong. You need to learn to have some compassion – if you don't care about the people who work for you; you're never going to be successful. All of your cases will soon fall apart. Which is why," she stood up from her resting place on his desk to make use of her full height, "I have signed you up for a mentorship programme at Washington Heights High School. You'll be given one kid that shadows you and learns a bit more about how the law works."
Harvey stared at her, his mouth open slightly. He could swear he had heard Donna giggle at this news but ignored her. "Jessica," he said, trying to sound reasonable. "You can't be serious…"
"Oh I am," she assured him. "It'll be good for you. If all else fails, at least I can say I tried," she sighed slightly. "Just let this kid follow, answer any questions and after a while you can cut him loose and go back to working as some lone gunslinger."
"What?" Harvey blinked, standing up himself. "Are you saying if I do this, you won't force me to get an associate?"
"Did I say that?" She asked, smirking slightly on her way out. As soon as she was gone, Donna came in with a file.
"This is going to be fun," she said with relish, handing him the file. "Jessica gave me this yesterday – the school called to confirm which kid you're getting. He's so adorable," she cooed. "He looks like a puppy!"
"Do I want to know how you got his picture?" Harvey asked, flicking through cautiously. "What is this, like his facebook picture or something?"
Donna shrugged. "I know you like knowing what you're dealing with and they didn't supply us with a picture. So I had to do a bit of research."
Harvey snorted as he read the file. "This kid won't even show up," he said confidently. "His parents are dead, he lives with his grandparents – he's a straight A student but doesn't do any after-school activities. Oh my god…" He groaned. "They're giving me him because he just got busted for drug dealing. Great. I don't like kids full stop, and they're giving me some hoodlum who'll probably be in juvie in about 5 months."
"Leave him alone, the kid's an orphan!" Donna said, hitting his shoulder lightly.
"Why give me some junkie?" Harvey muttered darkly. "Why do I get him? Why doesn't some grocery store get him? Or an artist. Why has this kid been assigned to be with a lawyer?"
"The principal attached a special note at the back," Donna informed him. Raising his eyebrow, Harvey flicked to the back to see the note. He read it through before frowning.
"The kid's been reading law books that you can only make sense of after you leave Harvard. He's got an eidetic memory and he's scored in the top 99th percentile in any aptitude test they have him do."
"Just when you thought you'd figured out a person," Donna shook her head in mock-horror, teasing him.
"At least he'll be interesting," Harvey muttered. "When does this thing start?"
"Next week," Donna informed him. "It's one day per week – all you have to do is let the kid follow you about or put him in the corner with one of your law books and it'll be over before you know it."
Harvey sighed and cursed Jessica under his breath.
Mike slowly walked towards the library, where all of the mentors were gathered, waiting for their respective students. He swallowed nervously as he put his hand to the door, begging himself not to screw this up somehow. It sounded like the best opportunity he could ask for, and if something happened to ruin it…
He took a deep breath and told himself not to think like that. It would be fine.
He entered the library, seeing the throng of various adults talking to students. He slunk around the corners, trying to find the lawyer. He eventually came across a table that just had a man sitting at it, wearing a perfect three-piece suit with his hair lovingly lacquered and coiffed, slicked back in a perfect example of professionalism. This must be him.
"Uh, Harvey Specter?" Mike approached him, swallowing. Why was he so nervous?
The man nodded and stood up. "Mike Ross?" He double-checked. When Mike nodded, Harvey glanced down at his watch. "You're late," he said, causing Mike to check his own watch, worried he'd lost track of time for the thousandth time. He breathed out slightly when he saw the time.
"No I'm not," he replied. "I'm now…" he counted the seconds on his watch, "34 seconds early. Your watch must be wrong."
One of Harvey's eyebrows rose. "Really? And what makes you think it isn't your watch that's wrong?"
"'Cause I set it according to NASA's time," Mike shrugged. "And then I checked that with the official time in the New York Stock Exchange and counted down with it before setting it…" he blushed slightly at Harvey's look. "My uh… my Grandmother likes me to be on time…"
"I take it that means she likes you to be on time after multiple times of not being on time?" Harvey asked.
"Well, I wouldn't say I wasn't on time, I'd say I was more just… doing it in a different time to everyone else?" His statement – whilst at first was confident – soon dissolved into him trying to muddle the sentence together, questioning himself slightly.
Harvey snorted slightly. "Right. Okay, hotshot, if we're doing this thing I want to make a few things clear – got it?" Mike nodded eagerly, reminding Harvey of the puppy statement Donna had made. "One – you're on time. I might have to take you to client meetings, and – "
"I get to sit in on meetings?" Mike asked excitedly. "Can I read anything? Do you have like, due diligence or contracts or bylaws or anything?"
"Don't interrupt me," Harvey said, his eyebrow rising once again, reminding Mike of Spock. "I said 'might'. And you can't read those things unless you have attorney-client privilege. Which you don't have. Can I finish?" Mike nodded meekly. "Okay. Two – look presentable. Wear a suit."
"A suit?" Mike questioned. "I don't have a suit!"
"How did I know that was coming?" Harvey rolled his eyes. "Get one. Until then, just… don't wear that."
Mike glanced down at himself, wondering what was wrong with what he was wearing. Converse, relatively skinny jeans, a Nirvana t-shirt and his favourite hoodie. What was wrong with that?
"Kid, don't even say it."
"Say what?" Mike asked, looking confused.
"Do not say that you think it looks fine. Because if you're shadowing a lawyer, you need to look like a lawyer," Mike glanced down at himself, and Harvey saw how much the kid was now second-guessing himself. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose for a second before continuing. "Look – you want to be a lawyer some day?" Mike nodded. "You need to know these things. And believe it or not, at Harvard law, you have to try and look your best. Then when you're working at a law firm you have to look better than your best. Understand?"
Mike nodded before raising his hand slightly, a small, defiant glint in his eye as he grinned cheekily. "Question."
"Don't do that," Harvey grumbled, swatting at the hand. "What?"
"If you have to look better than your best, why are you wearing a vest?"
"Excuse me?" Harvey glanced down at his immaculate suit. "And what, exactly, is wrong with a three piece suit?"
Mike snorted. "What's right with it?"
"I can cite you dozens of different cases in which the defendant won because of how they were dressed."
"Objection, hearsay," Mike grinned. "Defence isn't offering any evidence to back this up with."
"I would think that with the ten or so years defence has been a lawyer, it would be enough to take his word merely on credibility."
"Credibility is only a small part of proof in the eyes of the law," Mike said, his adrenaline going slightly, wishing – not for the first time – that there was a debate club or law society at his school.
"And what told you that? Your years working as a lawyer, or simply watching Law and Order?" Harvey questioned, an amused look on his face.
"Objection, argumentative and speculation," Mike pointed out. "And Law and Order is an awesome show."
"I'm sorry, your honour, here I was thinking I was in a court of law," Harvey glanced around. "Apparently I have to go against a kid who uses the word 'awesome' in his defence."
"Objection - badgering the uh… the prosecution?" Mike asked. "And uh… Defence is being mean!" With that he stuck his tongue out.
"Alright, junior, how about you go back to kindergarten while I get an actual 16 year old?" Harvey suggested, although he had a smile on his face that he couldn't quite get off.
"I think you'd regret that decision," Mike told him, putting his hands in his pockets.
"And why is that?"
"Because I'm the smartest kid in this school with an encyclopaedic knowledge of how the law works… give or take a few books."
Harvey smirked at him. The kid didn't even seem to be boasting – more stating a fact.
And he believed him.
"Alright, come with me," he said, already leaving the room. Mike blinked but quickly followed, trotting slightly to keep up with Harvey's brisk strides.
"Where are we going?" He asked excitedly.
"My firm," he explained, walking outside of the school and texting someone as he spoke. "I have some work I need to do and if you have to stay with me, you might as well come along. Just don't distract me or interrupt me."
Mike rolled his eyes. "Yes, sir!" He said loudly like a soldier, saluting Harvey.
Harvey smirked but shook his head. "Smart-ass."
A large black car suddenly rolled up in front of them and Mike stepped back, intimidated by the size of it and wanting to get out of the way of whoever it was that would be exiting the car. He was surprised when Harvey grabbed his shoulder and pushed him forward instead. Mike glanced up at him, confused.
"It's a car," Harvey explained slowly. "You get in and it drives you places."
"This is yours?" Mike asked, his eyes wide. When Harvey nodded, he gasped with delight. "Sweet!" He bounded over to one of the doors, only to have Harvey open it and sit there instead.
"Other side," he told him, closing the door.
Mike gazed about with wide eyes as they entered Pearson Hardman. The sheer size and vastness of the just the lobby had him reeling.
"This is where you work?" Mike asked, and Harvey found he was actually holding onto the kid's shoulder so he wouldn't run away. The teen was wriggling like a puppy, wanting to explore everything and Harvey knew – even though she was the one who had initiated this – Jessica wouldn't take it well if he let a genius teenage delinquent wander (maybe bounce was more appropriate) the halls of the firm.
"This is where I work," Harvey confirmed. "Don't do anything stupid and stay with me, you got it?"
"Aye, aye, captain," Mike said, glancing around before seeing the security guards. "We get to walk through metal detectors?" His childlike enthusiasm caused Harvey to glance at him. "What? This is awesome! I feel like I'm in some kind of action movie. Do you ever get crazy guys with guns?"
"Okay, I know you're 16, but please act slightly more mature here. If you're some sort of genius, shouldn't you act like one?"
Mike frowned at him but stopped himself moving around so much. The result was an odd, jittering as he kept himself still. Harvey rolled his eyes as they were stood in the elevator and ignored the confused looks of various employees who were wondering why Harvey Specter was escorting a kid to the firm.
"Come on," Harvey let his hand slide off Mike's shoulder as they got to his floor and assumed the kid had learnt his lesson and wouldn't try and look at everything anymore. "Donna," he said, as they got towards her desk. "This is Mike. Mike this is my assistant, Donna."
"Hi," Mike mumbled, suddenly shy and blushing. Harvey rolled his eyes. Of course his shadow had to have some kind of crush on his assistant.
"Hi, Mike," she said, smiling, tossing her hair slightly. "Are you excited?" Mike nodded, his mouth going slightly dry as she stood up to reveal slim, toned legs. "Harvey I'm going to get you those files you wanted." She walked away, swinging her hips slightly, knowing full well that the kid was watching. Harvey rolled his eyes, smacking Mike on the back of the head slightly.
"She's older than you and not interested. Give it up."
"What?" Mike sputtered. "I didn't… I'm not…"
"Whatever, kid. Just don't even try to go there."
"I wasn't going to," Mike said, honest to god pouting before marching into Harvey's office. "Woah…" he breathed out, anger all forgotten as he saw the view.
"Don't smudge the glass," Harvey said to him, watching as Mike pressed himself to the window to look down.
"This is awesome," he said with relish. "When can I get an office like this?"
"You've got a way to go yet, kid," Harvey told him, sitting at his desk. "Look, I'm busy – you can do the whole shadowing thing a different time. Just… I don't know, amuse yourself quietly and maybe in a few weeks you can come to a client meeting."
Mike sighed but nodded, excitement bubbling once more at the prospect of tagging along to see a client. He quietly wandered the office as Harvey worked, looking at everything he could find – he recognised a few law books he himself had read and grabbed one or two he hadn't managed to get his hands on. He sat on the couch, pulling his legs up underneath him as he curled up to read it.
"Feet off the couch," Harvey said behind his files. Mike tutted but kicked his shoes off, still letting his feet curl up beneath him. He glanced over at Harvey and although there was the hint of a frown, there was no reprimand in sight. He started reading and was soon immersed in the world of class-action law suits.
"Harvey, what did I tell you to do?" Mike glanced up and saw a tall woman standing in the doorway. "Why are you still here?"
"If you're talking about the mentorship programme, I went and I mentored. Calm down," Harvey said, still not looking up from his work. "Mike, this is Jessica, the managing partner of the firm. Jessica, this is the student, Mike."
"Uh," Mike coughed slightly as he wasn't even sure that Jessica had seen him yet. "Hi." Having had manners drilled into him by his grandparents, he held his hand out to shake hers. She took it looking slightly amused at the action but nevertheless gracefully shook it.
"Are you interested in the law, Mike?" She asked, glancing at the books that he had piled around him. Mike nodded, his grip tight on the books as if he thought that she would take them off him. "May I ask why?"
"You can ask," Mike said, shrugging slightly – surprising himself by being so mouthy and confident towards this woman who was intimidating him. "You won't get a real answer."
Jessica's eyebrow rose and she looked over at Harvey, who looked similarly surprised by Mike's act of defiance. "I see you were well matched," Jessica said. "Harvey, you have a meeting with Curtis Connors next week, don't forget," she nodded to him. "Maybe take the kid; he seems smart enough to follow."
With that she left, and Mike fidgeted as Harvey glared at him. "What?"
"You mouthed off to my boss."
"Oh. Yeah, I guess I did. Sorry?"
Harvey growled slightly but shook his head before glancing at his watch. "It's been two hours, I'm officially not a mentor until next week."
"Oh," Mike said, looking almost bereft. "Okay. Um, what do I… when do we…?"
"Meet me here at 4pm next Thursday. Got it?" Harvey said.
Mike nodded eagerly. "Do I get to go with you?"
"Awesome," he said with relish. He grabbed his backpack and left lingering wistful glances at the books he hadn't yet read. Harvey saw this and rolled his eyes.
"Take them," he grumbled. "But if they get in any way damaged I am taking payment from your flesh. Got it?"
Mike nodded, his grin wide as he carefully stowed them in his bag, holding it close to his chest. "Thanks, Harvey – I'll see you next week!" With that he bounded away, rummaging in his backpack for some money for the subway home.
"He was sweet," Donna said through the intercom. "He seemed to like you as well. Not many people do."
"Lots of people like me," Harvey replied, affronted.
"Sure, Harvey," she said.
Harvey spent a few more seconds staring out of his window, where he could just see a bouncy, blonde head exit the firm, grinning widely.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Mike gabbled, his bike coming to a quick halt outside the firm. "I got a detention, they end at 4 so I couldn't get here on time, and – "
"Save it," Harvey rolled his eyes. He had been resting against the bike racks waiting for ten minutes and had considered leaving but knew that Jessica would have his ass if he did that. "What did you get detention for?"
"Nothing," Mike shook his head, locking his bike up and glancing up at Harvey from underneath his hood.
"Will you take your hood off, kid? We're seeing a client, not mugging an old person."
Mike sighed but slowly pulled it down, avoiding Harvey's eyes as the man caught a glimpse of a large bruise on his cheek. He whistled. "How the hell did that happen?"
Mike shrugged. "Fell. It's fine, can we go?"
Harvey sighed but got in the car. It wasn't his responsibility if the kid got into fights or was bullied. All he had to do was take him to mildly interesting, lawyerly things and soon he would be gone, and this mentor thing would be over.
When they got to the building, Harvey held Mike back as he went to walk in. "You say nothing, you do nothing, you stay close and try not to get into anymore fights. Got it?" Mike nodded, looking down. "I hope the other guy looks worse than you do," he said, trying to diffuse some tension (and why was he bothering? It wasn't like he'd see this kid more than a few hours once a week).
Thankfully, Mike gave a small grin – although with that Harvey saw the ghost of a split lip. He didn't mention it, and they were soon in a large lab. Harvey saw the kid's eyes wandering, taking everything in and tapped his shoulder. "Remember what I said," he told him, slightly menacingly.
Mike nodded, and managed to keep his mouth shut, even though he was dying to talk about the various types of equipment he could see in the room. He had read up on Dr. Connors after Jessica had said that was who they were going to see and had found himself immersed in science, looking up all of his papers and googling things if he didn't understand them.
"Harvey," a tall, blonde man came over and shook Harvey's hand warmly. Mike had read in his research that Dr. Connors only had one arm and so managed to keep any staring to a minimum.
"Curt," Harvey nodded to him. "This is Mike Ross, he's shadowing me for a programme his school's doing. Feel free to ignore him."
Mike stuck his tongue out at Harvey and although the man in question didn't see it, Dr. Connors did and smiled at him. "Pleasure to meet you, Mike."
"You too, Dr. Connors," he smiled; shaking the man's left hand.
"Curt, we need to go over the copyright for some of your machines," Harvey told him. "How's your… serum coming along?"
"Slow," Curt replied, sighing. "But it's promising. We just need to get the algorithm right. We're trying to wipe out various disabling diseases and injuries," he said for Mike's benefit. "I'm at the stage of trying to regrow limbs. I'm sure you can imagine why," he gave a small smile.
Mike smiled back and – before he could stop himself, his mouth ran away with him. "You're trying to use cross-species genetics, right? I guess you're going to use lizard DNA for regrowing limbs, or for maybe, regrowing just cells, you could use the DNA from maybe, a zebra-fish, or… or something," he faltered, seeing both adults looking at him. Dr. Connors was looking at him, analysing him and nodding slowly. Harvey was looking like he wanted to remind Mike of his rules.
"Uh, I'll go wait outside," he said quickly, bolting before either man could stop him. He waited until he was outside the lab before cursing himself, scowling and wanting to hit his head off a wall. What had he been thinking? He'd probably sounded like an idiot.
After one or two minutes he was bored, and found himself wandering. He knew he shouldn't – he knew what Harvey had said, but he couldn't help himself. He'd never been in such a laboratory and the urge to explore was too great.
He snuck down the corridor and saw a door that had a blue glow coming from it. He hazarded a guess at the passcode, having seen someone else write one as they were walking up. Thankfully it was correct, and Mike walked in, gazing around.
There were spiders carefully contained in webs – spiders of all different kinds, and Mike thought to himself for a moment of how much Jenny would hate it in here; she didn't like spiders at all. He carefully walked through the room, every so often stopping to gaze at a certain spider. He neared the centre and found one right in the middle. It was quite large and was blue and red – it was delicately walking around the web. Mike touched the web slightly and froze as an odd, alarm bell sounded and he whipped his hand away, before noticing that the webs were almost disintegrating, the spiders falling to the floor or scuttling up the sides.
Mike jumped back in horror, trying not to stand on any but at the same time vowing he would if any got too close. Suddenly, several seemed to fall on him from above and he yelped, batting them away. When he was sure they'd all gone he hastily fled the room, making it back to Dr. Connors' lab just before the man himself and Harvey exited.
"Thank you for everything, Harvey," Curt said, shaking his hand again. He saw Mike waiting and smiled. "And you, young man – don't hesitate to come back again."
Mike gave a small, pained smile but shook his hand again. Just as Dr. Connors turned to Harvey to say something, Mike felt a small sting on the back of his neck. He hissed and slapped at it, but quickly stopped as both men looked over. He smiled sheepishly and waited until they were outside before he felt a sudden surge in his energy. He felt like walking home. Or running. He didn't want to wait in Harvey's car before he could get his bike back.
"You go on ahead, I'll just get the subway back home," he said to Harvey, who was getting into the car.
"Whatever," Harvey muttered, and Mike's stomach twisted, afraid that he'd upset him or something.
"Harvey, I'm sorry," he said quickly. "I didn't mean to embarrass you in front of Dr. Connors, I just – "
"It's okay, kid," Harvey shook his head. "He got very excited that someone else understood his ideas. But next time you embarrass me in front of client, you will stay in the room to take it, got it?" Mike nodded. "Good. I'll see you next week."
Mike nodded again and gave a small smile, turning to go to the subway station.
Despite the sudden rush of energy, it vanished just as quickly and Mike found himself dropping off to sleep on the train. It was a very light sleep, but it was still enough to get rest.
However, there was suddenly what felt like a wave on his forehead and he leapt up – onto the ceiling. He looked at everyone from upside down and stared down his body, just… resting on the ceiling. A pulse of fear spiked through him and he dropped to the floor, gasping. He gazed around and - to his surprise; people were more interested in the woman who had been sitting next to him – a bottle of beer lying next to her, where he had obviously batted it away and onto her. He touched his head, thinking it would be drenched but there was a small ring of moisture where the bottle had sat, and a single drop extra that he had felt.
"What the hell, kid?" A man said – apparently the one who had placed his beer bottle on Mike's head for no particular reason. He saw the woman wearing her now sopping wet top, smelling of beer and instantly felt bad.
"I'm so sorry," he gasped, standing up and trying to bat at the top slightly. "Here, let me – " he put his hand on her shoulder and the guy whose beer it was growled at him. Mike tried to take his hand away but found it impossible, it was almost stuck to the woman's top.
"Get your hand off her!" The man said angrily.
"I'm… I'm trying," Mike mumbled, intimidated by the glares of everyone in the carriage. He tugged but it was to no avail. Suddenly, the man pushed him and – to Mike's horror – the top stayed stuck to his hand but ripped away from the woman.
She screamed and tried to cover her chest and Mike's eyes widened, looking down at the top in his hand. "I'm sorry!" He said, trying to reach out and give her the ruined top back.
He felt a small prickling at the base of his neck and found himself dodging half a second before the man swung a punch. His limbs seemed to be moving on their own and he gave the guy a punch of his own – and this was no longer one of his own, weedy punches; the guy fell back.
More of the people in the carriage advanced on him and found himself using the hand rail in the middle to his advantage, grabbing on and twirling around, kicking exactly where the man had just placed themselves on their surge forward to get him. He didn't even know how he knew where they were, but the tingling was back and in response he swung around, kicking another one.
"I'm sorry!" He yelled, hoping one of them heard. He couldn't really control what he was doing, and his hands had once again stuck to the pole. He tried to yank them away when two men tried to stop him but the pole suddenly ripped from the ceiling, surprising Mike and causing him to stumble backwards, hitting someone in the head.
"Sorry!" He gasped, turning to see if the guy was alright but then instantly turning the other way as he hit someone again. "I'm…" he gazed about the carriage, five or six tough looking men on the floor and groaning in pain surrounded him. He opened his mouth and found he couldn't really speak. Thankfully, the pole dropped from his hand and as soon as the train stopped he dived out, making sure he had his backpack with him.
"I'm so sorry, you guys," Mike gasped as he got back home. Without his bike, it had taken him ages to get home – he had ended up running 7 blocks and was now drenched in sweat but was strangely not even out of breath. "I didn't mean to keep you up."
Gramps sat at the dining table whilst Grammy hovered at the doorway as he walked in. "Where have you been?" Grammy demanded, looking worried.
"I was – the mentorship thing, remember? Harvey took me to this big lab because he had to talk to a client and I got to go with him – is that meatloaf?" He walked past his grandparents and into the kitchen, grabbing the plate and taking a mouthful.
The taste seemed to explode in his mouth – never had he eaten anything so delicious. "Oh my god…" he moaned through a mouthful. "This is the best thing in the world…"
"Drunk?" He heard Grammy question Gramps, who looked equally confused.
"I don't think so," he shook his head. "Drugs?"
They both looked over at Mike who was grabbing more food – his hunger suddenly intensified tenfold. "Alright, I'll see you both tomorrow, I'm going to bed - night," he gabbled moving away with an armful of various food and soon made his way upstairs.
Edith looked over at her husband. "Should we maybe talk to Mr. Specter?"
James shook his head. "He seems to be doing Mike some good, Edie."
"Don't call me Edie," she muttered, preoccupied with looking in the fridge to see what Mike had taken. "He took the microwaveable mac and cheese…"
When Mike stumbled to the bathroom that morning, he tried to forget about what had happened the previous day. Except the lab part – he'd tell Jenny; she'd like that. Then he'd tell Trevor about the spiders but not mention anything else.
He went to put toothpaste on his toothbrush but it suddenly squirted out of the tube onto the mirror. Mike's eyes widened but – still tired – he simply wiped at it slightly with his brush and turned the tap on.
He ended up breaking the tap off, water suddenly spurting out all over him. "Shit!" He tried to put the faucet back on but it wasn't working, and so he quickly just covered it in everything he could find, grabbing the door handle to leave.
Which abruptly snapped off.
He went to the other door out of the room and very carefully grabbed it with his thumb and forefinger, slowly turning it before fleeing the room.
He made it back to his bedroom and sat on his bed, shaking. What seemed like a loud bang suddenly echoed in his room and he leapt around, holding out his toothbrush at the invader that must have crashed through his bedroom window. What he saw instead were his blinds tapping against each other lightly in the breeze.
"I'm going mad," he breathed to himself, whimpering as he heard more movement to his other side. He turned again and zeroed in on a spider crawling up his wall. One step it made with it's leg caused Mike to jump as if it was banging a drum into his ear and he suddenly found himself throwing… something at it.
He yelped and pulled away, before slowly standing and walking over. The spider was trapped on the wall, covered in what looked like it's own web, which trailed down wispily, ending in a thread on his wrist.
"Agh!" He yanked at it, thankfully disconnecting it from himself and suddenly remembered the sudden pain on his neck the previous day. He went to the mirror shakily, feeling around it and holding another mirror behind him to see a tiny bite. He felt like throwing up and immediately dove towards his computer, researching all sorts of different symptoms from spider bites, spider bite pictures and eventually a string of various numbers and characters as the keys stuck to his fingers and came off the board.
He stared at them and whimpered.
He might be in trouble.
"What's with you?"
"Hmm?" Mike glanced up from reading through a subpoena, curled up in his usual position on Harvey's couch. "What do you mean?"
"You're flinching every time the door opens. I opened the window and you acted like I'd just fired a gun. You hungover?"
"It's scary that you're taking such an interest in my wellbeing," Mike quipped. He thought he'd been handling the freaky changes in his physiology rather well considering he had to go through puberty on top of that. And since he hadn't yet come down with some kind of dramatic illness – in fact if anything he felt even better – he decided just to embrace it.
Except maybe the spider webs that he sometimes had trailed from his wrists.
He should probably learn to control that – he was drawing all sorts of uncomfortable parallels with accidentally shooting web from his wrists and other things that came with being a teenage boy.
"I'm not," Harvey scoffed, as if anyone could mistake his questions for being worried about the kid. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing," Mike shrugged, managing not to jump as Donna walked in, carrying a cup of coffee for Harvey. The tickling that was quickly becoming second nature to him was at the back of his neck and just as Donna tripped slightly over Mike's abandoned backpack, the teen leapt forward, catching both her and the coffee.
There was an awkward silence as both adults stared at him, their mouths open.
"Uh… here's your coffee," Mike mumbled, passing it to Harvey whilst righting Donna. "Um, sorry for uh… for…" He didn't know how to apologise for possibly touching this woman's hips (even if it was to save her).
"Good reflexes," Harvey said, frowning slightly. "I thought you didn't do any sports."
"Doesn't mean I can't have reflexes," Mike said, looking back down at the paper in front of him. He instantly looked back up and caught a pencil in his hand, looking at it bemusedly before realising Harvey had thrown it. "What was that for?"
"What was that for?" Harvey repeated, looking shocked. "What was that?"
"Reflexes," Mike mumbled, looking down. "Can we maybe drop this? Please?"
"Donna," Harvey said, still looking at Mike. "Will you leave for a minute please?" Donna raised her eyebrow but nodded, walking out. "Alright, what happened?" Harvey demanded, keeping a level gaze fixed on Mike.
"What… what do you mean?" Mike replied.
"Don't try and bullshit me. This is clearly not a normal thing – what's happening?"
"Nothing! God, Harvey, just leave it!" Mike turned up 'angsty teenager' to full. "What, because I'm smart I clearly can't be very sporty or have good reflexes?"
Mike felt his stomach curling as Harvey stared at him and he instantly apologised. "I'm sorry, it's just… just leave it, Harvey – it's really nothing." He looked down at his lap, feeling the same way he felt whenever Grammy or Gramps told him off.
"Fine," Harvey said slowly. "It's none of my business, right?"
"Right," Mike nodded. "Oh, and I've found a major loophole in this contract," he waved it at Harvey.
"I thought you were looking at a subpoena," Harvey said, sounding confused.
"I can multitask," Mike shrugged. "Although I don't know whether you want there to be loophole in this, so should I just ignore it or can I highlight it?" He sounded childishly gleeful at highlighting it. "What?" He asked, at Harvey's look. "I feel really official and professional when I do. Can I? Please?"
Harvey rolled his eyes. "Go for it, kid." He held his hand out to be given the edited paperwork but didn't notice Mike glancing down at his hands as he did so.
It was the first time he had passed something to someone and it hadn't stuck slightly to his own hand first.
Mike decided to try and take control of these odd powers he now seemed to possess. What was the point of just trying to live with them? He could do something with them – something meaningful. So one day after school he told Jenny and Trevor that he had to go see Harvey, and instead went to an abandoned warehouse that he and Trevor sometimes frequented to throw rocks through the windows. It was weirdly satisfying, breaking something and knowing that they couldn't get in trouble for it.
He looked at his wrist as he hung upside down from the ceiling - he had tried very slowly climbing up the wall and breathed out as he reached the top, before deciding to try going horizontally instead. To his surprise, he was staying on as easily as if he were on the floor - the only issue he had with gravity was that his baggy top was flying up slightly. Whatever these spider powers were doing to his body, he realised they were mostly good. He wasn't getting head rush whilst upside down and wasn't even slightly freaked out at being up so high.
Glancing down at his wrist he held it out at the opposite wall, having already decided that whatever the hell it was that was coming out of his arms, he wanted to learn to control it. He thought for a while, wondering how exactly to release the stuff and flung his wrist out at the opposing wall. He couldn't explain what he was doing - all he knew was that he could feel himself wanting to release this stuff.
With that in mind he felt it come out of his wrist and stick to the wall. He pulled at it, wanting to test it's strength - and on closer inspection it looked like a spider web.
"Oh man," he breathed out, pulling at it some more before his phone ringing startled him and he fell, yelling and clutching onto the only available thing. He had his eyes squeezed closed before realising he wasn't splattered on the ground. He quickly glanced around to see that he was swinging from the web he had attached to the opposite wall.
"No way..." he tried swinging his body and smacked into the wall. "Ow..." He rubbed at his face with his free hand before realising that he needed to answer his phone. "Ah," he made a small grunt as he tried to shimmy around and swing slightly. "Hello?"
"Mike, where are you?"
"Gramps? What's - ow - what's wrong?"
"Jenny came by and asked that when you got back from Harvey's to give her a call. I called his office and he seemed surprised that I was calling."
"You talked to him?" Mike groaned.
"Oh we had a nice chat. About you."
Mike wanted to hit his head off the wall. On purpose, this time. "Please tell me you didn't give him any embarrassing stories from when I was younger."
"No, I explained the situation and that you've already been caught dealing once, so - "
"Wait, what?" Mike squawked. "You told Harvey about that?!"
"Well we both came to the conclusion that that must be what you're doing now. If I were you I'd go to his office. Or here. Unless you want to tell me where you really are?"
"Gramps, I - "
"It's up to you, Mike. Home or Harvey's. But I want you in so you can go pick your Grandmother up from her work. Got it?"
"Yeah, I got it. But, I swear, Gramps - I'm not dealing drugs, I'm - "
"I don't really want to know. Just make sure you're back in time to pick her up. Understand?"
"I..." Mike sighed. "Yeah. Yeah I got it. Bye, Gramps." When he got a goodbye in return he hung up, putting the phone back in his pocket and sighing. Okay, he got busted for a very minor drug deal - but that didn't mean they shouldn't trust him whenever he was somewhere other than school, home or Harvey's office! "Stupid," he muttered, shooting a web at the ceiling and swinging across, hitting another wall, causing him to lose his grip and skin his knees as he fell.
He worked at it for what must have been going on three hours. He mixed it with practising sprinting and climbing; overall feeling like he could climb Everest. Whatever that spider had put into his system made him feel faster and fitter - his reflexes were faster than a cats and the webbing thing was definitely cool.
When it got too dark for him to continue (but he was definitely coming again because this stuff was just too awesome for him not to keep doing) he headed home - tempted to try his web/swinging thing on buildings but deciding not to until he was sure he could definitely do it properly. That and the fact he was on his bike.
He got to his door and found Gramps stood outside, talking to...
"Harvey?" Mike climbed the few steps to their house and rubbed at his hair. "What are you doing here?"
Harvey fixed him with a stare. "Because of your little disappearing act, I got out of work early to help your Grandfather scour town for you. And pick your Grandmother up from work."
Mike's eyes bugged out of his head. Harvey did all that for him? Then finally, the bigger thing hit him. "Oh shit..." he breathed. "Gramps, I'm so sorry - I was, I forgot, I got sidetracked - I'm so, so sorry," he said - practically begging for forgiveness.
"It's not me you should be apologising to," Gramps said - his voice particularly hard; he had never been the stern one out of Mike's grandparents and it was odd for him to have such an angry tone in his voice.
"I..." Mike's voice faltered and he glanced up to Harvey. "I'm sorry, Harvey - I didn't mean for you to leave work; I was fine, there was no need - "
"And how did I know that?" Harvey asked. "For all we knew you could have decided that dealing was a reasonable career choice."
"I wasn't dealing drugs!"
"What were you doing then?" Harvey asked, and Mike almost groaned when he saw the man's eyes go from his face to his cheek and then down to his wrists and knees. "Those are some impressive bruises, kid," Harvey told him, raising an eyebrow. "What is it, some weird fight club?"
"I'm not doing anything!" Mike argued. "I've just been practising on my bike. That's all. Y'know... jumps and... and wheelies and stuff. Sorry, I really just lost track of time."
Harvey's eyebrow was still raised but he turned to James. "Mr. Ross I'm going to go - I've left a list of days he's actually with me so you know for next time," he shook Gramps' hand before turning to Mike. "Don't screw this up," he said pointedly. "And next time answer your damn phone and tell people where you are."
"You sound very caring," Mike teased - having spent a few hours a week with the man he had learnt all about Harvey's 'no-caring' rule.
"And you sound as annoying as ever," Harvey said - making Gramps straighten up. At first Mike thought he was going to defend his honour, but then realised sourly that Gramps had decided he liked Harvey. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Mike nodded, biting his lip. He waited until Harvey had driven away before glancing over at James.
"Get inside," Gramps snapped at him. "You owe someone else an apology too."
Mike sighed but locked his bike up in the shed next to their house and went inside to see his grandmother. "Grammy, I'm sorry - I was out on my bike and I lost track of time," he told her. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she rolled her eyes before lowering her voice. "And your grandfather is taking this all out of proportion. I got a ride in Harvey's car and finally got to meet the man. I get why you like him. He's good for you."
"What? No, I don't... I don't like - this isn't... He's just my mentor."
"A very good title to have," Grammy said, nodding.
"Aren't we getting off the subject?" Gramps asked, crossing his arms. "Mike - when I ask you to do something, you have a responsibility. I've never asked you for much - we've brought you up and given you everything you needed."
"Not everything," Mike muttered.
"What was that?"
"You couldn't bring my parents back," he snapped, suddenly angry at Gramps trying to guilt him into apologising (even though he already had). "I've tried hard too - I've tried not to show you how much I'm hurting - I've tried hard in school, I'm doing this mentorship programme - "
"Only after you dealt drugs," Gramps replied. "You really think they'd be pleased? Mike, you have this amazing gift - you're smart and your memory... You can do anything you want. Why waste it with this? You think they'd want this for you?"
Mike felt his lip tremble slightly before narrowing his eyes and storming out, slamming the door and whirling around, eyes large, as the glass shattered with it. He'd forgotten about the strength he'd built up from the spider bite. He quickly turned around and kept walking though - not wanting there to be anymore yelling until he'd calmed down.
He kicked the sidewalk with his beat-up converse as he walked, his jacket zipped up to protect him from the cold. He dodged into a convenience store when the door opened near him - eager to get into the warmth. He loitered on each aisle for about ten minutes before the owner finally spotted him.
"Hey, kid - get out if you're not buying anything!"
Mike slowly walked towards the checkout, calculating how much money he had. He probably couldn't afford anything anyway. He glared at the guy but still stuck around the front of the store, pretending to see how much a pack of gum was.
A blonde haired man set down a case of beers on the counter, his face slightly obscured by sunglasses and a raggedy beard. He just as the manager opened the till, the man pushed over a stand whilst reaching for something on it.
"Shit. Really?" The guy sighed and spotted Mike still stood there as he reached down. "Kid - get out; store policy says if you ain't buying, you ain't staying. Scram."
Mike scowled but left, sparing a glance at the man taking his case of beer and reaching around to get all of the money from the till as the manager was preoccupied. The guy's eyes met Mike's through the sunglasses and Mike simply turned and left, not saying anything. The manager was a dick - it would serve him right to get robbed.
As soon as Mike exited the manager quickly followed. "Stop that guy!" He yelled, gesturing to the blonde man. "Hey, kid - little help?"
Mike glared at him. "Not my policy," he said, turning and walking the other way.
It was only a minute or so after this that people started screaming. Mike instinctively turned to look, and saw with shock that the guy now had a gun and was pushing people out of his way. One man, however, tried to stop him and Mike's eyes widened as he got shot for his trouble. His eyes widened even more when he recognised the jacket the man was wearing.
"Gramps!" He yelled, running as fast as he could and falling to the floor beside the man, wanting to throw up at the blood already pooling onto the sidewalk. People were whispering, huddled together as they watched - someone must have called an ambulance and the police but all Mike could think was that Gramps was lying on the floor, bleeding - his eyes closed.
"Gramps, please wake up," he begged, a sob entering his voice as he gently touched the man's shoulder. "Gramps?"
The next few days were a blur to Mike. He was escorted home by the police and was wrapped in a hug by Grammy, before they sat her down and told her. They described the man who did it and gave them a drawing by a sketch artist. Mike closed his eyes - knowing he could easily pick the guy out of a crowd.
And what was worse was that Grammy wasn't even angry at him. At no point did she show her anger for him being to blame.
But he was. If he'd tried to do something then the guy wouldn't have ran in that direction.
If he hadn't stormed out, Gramps wouldn't have followed.
If he had just remembered that he was supposed to pick Grammy up that day...
He had to go through the pain of calling school and telling them that he wouldn't be in for a while (because he didn't want Grammy to have to tell them) and then he had to call Harvey's office and mumble down the phone to Donna that he wouldn't be turning up for a while. When he told her the reason, her voice immediately became very soft and gentle, and he could tell she was mentally hugging him.
What was weird was that both her and Harvey turned up at the funeral. Mike nearly jumped out of skin when a hand rested on his shoulder and he looked up to see it was Harvey. "Uh... hi," Mike mumbled, looking away because he didn't want his mentor - a man who, over the weeks had gained his respect and made him strive to be better - to see the hot tears sliding down his face.
"Hey, kid," Harvey said in a low voice, before quickly giving his condolences to Grammy and walking to be towards the back of the service - he hadn't known James Ross well enough to be anywhere near the front with his family.
When the service ended, Harvey approached him again (as Donna managed to make Edith smile somehow telling a story that neither male was privy to). "How you doing?"
Mike gave a small sniff and shrugged. "Alright." Obviously he wasn't, but then he knew that Harvey was asking as a courtesy. He knew he wouldn't be given a truthful response.
Harvey nodded before shuffling awkwardly. "I know you want to be off school for a while; are you sure you don't want to keep coming into the firm?"
Mike frowned. "I thought... I don't... am I allowed to come back so early?"
Harvey shrugged. "Not my call - I had a feeling you'd need to keep that big brain of yours occupied. I have a new case starting; remember Curt Connors?" Mike nodded. "It involved him. If you want you can come with me when I have meetings."
Mike realised this was how Harvey tried to reach out. It was surprising how much they had both gotten to know each other during the course of the mentorship programme. Harvey knew he would want to keep busy, and he knew that Harvey didn't want to be seen doing something like caring so instead offered for him to help out on a case.
"I'd like that," Mike nodded, wincing as he heard his croaky voice. He rubbed at his nose slightly. "Um... I'm going to take Grammy home now. She's... she's not been sleeping."
Harvey nodded, watching with a hint of sadness as Mike tried to desperately to act with more maturity than his age would allow. He was now trying so hard to be the man of the house - he felt like he had to look after his grandmother without a thought that he himself may at some point need looking after.
Not that he cared, Harvey scoffed to himself. If Mike didn't take care of himself what business of his was it?
His heart sunk slightly as he realised he'd now made it his business and cursed himself.
Mike sat in his room a few nights after this - Grammy was in bed, trying some sleeping pills her doctor had prescribed her. Mike had feigned being in good health - had lied and said that he was sleeping when the truth was that he managed to scrape together about five broken hours of sleep a night. And tonight wasn't looking very promising.
He found his eyes being drawn over to the witness' impression of the guy who killed Gramps. He had pinned it to his wall, as a reminder to himself that he could've done something - maybe stopped the guy before he killed Gramps. Mike wanted to keep this to torture himself.
He deserved to suffer.
His eyes pricked and he swiped at them, wincing as he touched an old bruise on his cheek that was still tender. He scowled as he thought of the guy who gave it to him. After deciding to just avoid Trevor after the drug deal he wandered on his own at school, before realising how much the presence of Trevor had been protecting him. Some bullies had very quickly honed in on him and although he had eventually managed to get away (thankfully being able to use his new powers as second-nature now) he had still been left with a few reminders of them.
He hated bullies. He should have stood up to them.
He should've stood up to the killer.
Making a very hasty decision, he stood up, opening his window and climbing out; still not feeling confident enough to swing through the city and instead took the subway and found himself in the rougher part of the city - near where It happened. He scoured the back streets and suddenly came across a man who he was sure was the killer. His shaggy blonde hair was hiding his face and he was wearing a leather jacket that was hiding his wrist.
Mike had looked back through his memory as if rewinding a movie and remembered he'd seen a small star tattoo on the guy's wrist as he reached over to grab the money from the convenience store.
He knew if he could find the guy and... and what?
Would he really do that?
Was he angry enough to kill the man who took his Grandfather away from him?
Suddenly, the man in the leather jacket started shouting at a woman across from him, grabbing her wrists. Mike - for some reason spurred into action, even though he wouldn't defend himself in his own life; not even to school bullies - grabbed the guy's hand, pulling it back; the anger he felt at Gramps' death and at how this man was treating the woman fuelling him and making him feel no guilt when the guy cried out in pain.
"What the hell?" Mike ignored the woman and quickly dodged - the tickle in his neck somehow telling him someone was behind him. He turned and felt himself pale, seeing five other guys coming at him from all angles to help their fallen comrade. Mike quickly let go of the guy's wrist and dodged, twirling to punch another who attempted to grab him and throw him into a wall.
Realising that he wouldn't get out of this in one piece, he decided to make a break for it. Using his finely-honed skills brought about from hours in an abandoned warehouse, he quickly leapt over a fence, shooting a web up to the top of a building - pulling it before releasing, letting himself fly up and grab onto the wall, climbing the rest of the way.
Apparently the men knew this area well and were quickly on his back, having used a fire escape he had been too panicked to see. He saw the blonde man he originally attacked on the opposite rooftop from him and found himself sprinting faster than he had ever done before, leaping the rooftop and pouncing on him, dragging the sleeve up so he could see the man's wrist.
He looked at it, almost puzzled for a second - giving the man the upper hand and pushing him away - making him land hard on an unsteady bit of roof and fell through to an old wrestling ring that was no longer used. He groaned as he slowly moved, his back aching and his wrist throbbing and he realised these would be more injuries he would have to come up with excuses for.
He was pretty sure his Grammy was considering selling his bike, the amount of injuries he claimed to have sustained from it.
"You better run, kid!" He heard someone yell from above him. "I know you! I saw your face!"
Mike quickly pulled himself up, wanting to get out of there before they ambushed him. He found himself looking at the wrestling posters - the men wearing masks...
As a small boy of course he'd fantasised about being a superhero.
He had the powers. He had the tragic back story and motive - he could do good. He could do something that actually meant something. And he could hide his face from people because in all the best comic books the heroes led double lives.
And that way, Grammy would never find out what he was doing.
He set to work creating a mask. He had spent hours brainstorming but eventually decided to draw his inspiration from what had started everything.
He took a simple balaclava and made some additions (and no one could say that having his grandmother teach him how to sew would never come in useful) and added in some sunglasses so no one would see his eyes. He was trying to come up with an entire outfit - although he was also fighting himself thinking about how to make it not seem as gay as his ideas and drawings were making it seem. He wanted a blue and red theme, with maybe webbing and spiders eyes for his own.
Although this was all going to take a lot of time and money - but he could manage. He genuinely wanted to help people and thought it would probably inspire confidence if people thought he was superhuman - seeing just a guy wouldn't be as good as a mysterious superhero figure in a suit.
His life was now extremely hectic - whilst trying to avenge Gramps' death, he still had to deal with school, bullies and the mentorship programme that he was pretty sure was supposed to end soon but neither he nor Harvey was mentioning it.
Every night he went out and found that - instead of trying to get the one guy - he was just trying to stop bad guys. He knew that was a childish way of looking at it, but that was all he could say it was. He was pleased that he was being noticed - one time he had even webbed up a guy and left him hanging outside the police station (more for his own amusement than anything) and when he swung away people had gotten videos; he had looked it up on youtube (and found people were calling him 'Spiderman' because of the webbing and he found he actually kind of liked it) and there were comments about the clothes he was wearing - some sciencey people were saying how spandex would drastically improve the rate of his swinging.
Ha. Like he would ever use spandex.
But then he found himself ordering different coloured spandex and working for three days before finally finishing his suit.
He'd never been more proud over anything - it looked exactly as he had envisioned.
He grinned at his reflection in an uptown building as he stuck to the wall. He didn't think he'd ever get as much joy from doing this as he did - but swinging through the city - he would happily do it for the rest of his life if he could.
One night he was chasing a mugger and finally caught up with him, webbing him to the floor and kneeling to engage in some friendly banter before the police got there. However, the man seemed a lot cleverer than he would have guessed.
"Why are you doing this, man?" He spat, trying fruitlessly to escape. "What, no control in your own life so you decided to take control of the city? What is it, overbearing father? Boss? You're too scared to face things without a mask, is that it?"
Mike found himself quickly leaving the area, swinging home and seamlessly slipping through his bedroom window. He ripped his costume off as he thought.
Maybe the guy was right?
Was he just doing this to try and bring some sort of sense of justice to his own life?
The next day he had a chance to change that - he was in the gymnasium at school, helping hang banners; part of his ongoing punishment from the drug deal was that he'd had to join the student's union on a temporary basis. This meant he had to help out if there were any large events scheduled at school. He was just finished on one before a noise sounded behind him, followed by a girl crying out in frustration.
"Flash, you did that on purpose!" She yelled. Mike looked to see a girl who had been painting a sign had now abandoned it - blue paint splashed all over it. It wasn't hard to see what had happened, Flash (the school's alpha male and Mike's regular bully) had thrown his basketball wide and knocked the pot of paint over.
The teen in question laughed. "Maybe. Even if I didn't, I should've - that's the worst banner I've ever seen; we're supposed to be making people cheer the team on, not making them think the students are all retarded." He laughed easily, glancing over at his team who laughed with him.
Mike - flashing back to what the mugger had said yesterday - picked up the basketball, looking at Flash.
"Hey, Ross - pass the ball," Flash held his hands out expectantly.
"Why don't..." Mike tried to be slightly braver - the guy was right; without a mask he was virtually powerless. "Why don't you just take it from me?"
"What?" Flash laughed at this out of character show of bravery.
"You heard me. Just take it," Mike held it out. Flash looked slightly unnerved by this but walked forward, easily grabbing hold of it but being unable to take it from Mike's hands. He grabbed on with both hands and pulled but couldn't take it.
"C'mon, Flash," Mike said, a smirk on his face.
"Whatever, Ross," he spat, turning and walking away. Mike took this opportunity to bounce it off the bully's back and caught it in his hands again. He was glad he had a firm hold over his powers - before any of this superhero stuff he would have accidentally webbed the guy.
Flash turned around, anger in his eyes. "You asked for it, Ross," he snarled, starting towards Mike, who was bouncing the basketball on the floor.
"Get him, Flash!" Someone yelled, and Mike quickly dodged around Flash, intending to make a point by getting the ball through the hoop in one.
However, he forgot about his strength and had jumped and slammed the ball through the net.
Causing the backboard to smash at the same time.
Mike glanced up from where he had been making circles with his feet, sat outside the principal's office as Harvey exited the room. "Sorry," he immediately said, as soon as Harvey looked at him. "I... I didn't want... Grammy's at work, and she can't afford to come down 'cause we need the money and... and I didn't... I don't have anyone else to call." He looked back down at his knees.
To his surprise, he felt Harvey sit down next to him. "Just be glad they're not making me pay for the backboard," Harvey said. "I would own your ass for life."
"What did the principal say?" Mike asked, dreading the answer. "Did he... did he say anything about the programme? Does he want you to... to stop...?"
"He asked me if I wanted to stop the programme and have my name taken off the call list - which yes, I am now on because apparently you need constant supervision and I can't afford to have the kid I mentor be seen to be in the school's custody because no one could come for him."
"But... but the programme?"
Harvey eyed him. "It's still on," he replied. "But let me be clear," he stood up, fastening his jacket as he did so, causing Mike to stand up to follow him. "If there are anymore fights," he surveyed the bruises and grazes Mike had gotten from crime-fighting, critically, "if there's any more trouble of any kind - this whole mentorship thing is over. Got it?"
Mike nodded quickly, following him out - he had been suspended for two days and so was accompanying Harvey to the firm until Grammy finished work (so Harvey could 'keep an eye on him', apparently).
"Oh," Harvey suddenly stopped in the middle of the corridor. "Did you do all that just to humiliate that other boy?"
Mike flushed, looking down at the floor. "He... I wouldn't say that it was humiliation - he needed to..."
"This the kid who's been giving you all those bruises?"
Mike made an odd motion with his head before finally nodding; because to be fair Flash had given him some of his current bruises.
"So you just purposefully humiliated the kid who's been bullying you?"
"Yes, sir," Mike said in a small voice. It all sounded like it was leading up to a large lecture before the news that the mentorship programme would be cancelled.
"Good boy," Harvey said, his lips twitching slightly as Mike glanced up at him with large eyes - an odd feeling in his chest.
Mike felt fondness well up inside him as he followed Harvey - wishing more than anything that he could tell him his secret.
But he had seen the movies and read the comics - relaying your secret identity to someone would only put them in danger - and Spiderman was attracting a lot of attention from various people.
But it would have been nice to have somewhere safe to go to if something happened. Somewhere where someone understood what he was going through.
For a second in that small smile - Mike thought Harvey might be that person.
A/N Oh gosh, this was so long O.O I hope you enjoyed - there will be 3 chapters overall and I don't know how long it'll take me to write them - this had a lot of exposition so I'm not sure how long they'll be in contrast now that I've firmly established Mike as Spiderman. And I haven't abandoned Lessons in Parenting either, don't worry - but just please keep in mind that having two multi-chapter stories on the go (with such long chapters) will maybe make updates a little slower.
Oh, and naming Gramps 'James' is I think canon - Mike refers to him at some point in the series as 'Grandpa Jimmy'; obviously Jimmy is short for James and since that's Mike's middle name... Yeah. That was why I named him that :)
Well that's all from me - please let me know what you think :)