So...surpriiiiise! Bet that this isn't the story you guys were expecting to see an update for tonight *nervous laughter* But here I am, more than...7 months later. To the two people that followed this story just earlier today, it's your lucky day! To those who have been waiting since March, I'm sorry.
My bad, to be honest. I don't really have any excuses that are new and exciting- writer's block, school, work, blah blah blah etc. I've actually begun writing Star Wars fic, of all things, but it kind of made me feel like I was cheating on this fandom every time I posted over in that fandom on my other username, so I figured I should buckle down and finish this story once and for all haha
So without further ado, here is the conclusion to this story arc. I'm sorry if you have to go back and reread the first two chapters, but if it makes you feel better, I had to do it too when I started writing this because it had been so long. Also I haven't written in past tense in like...7 months, so I'm sorry if things seem a little weird, tense-wise.
Mike's age: 14.5
The club made Harvey feel old—the dark lighting; the thumping bass; the claustrophobic press of bodies—it all reminded him that he was well past his own days of youthful nights out on the town.
He was already tired of being stuck with the two agents, both of whom were very determined to play things by the book.
"Now remember, we don't actually have a warrant, so we can't legally go beyond the main rooms of the dance floor unless we see something suspicious," Wilkes shouted in Harvey's ear. "Otherwise nothing we find will be admissible in court."
But Harvey was one of New York's best lawyers, and he would find a way to make evidence admissible in court if he needed to.
Which is why he didn't hesitate to detach himself from the law-abiding Wilkes and Davis when he saw a familiar blond head making its way across the dance floor out of the corner of his eye.
His heart caught in his throat, and he didn't think he'd ever felt more relief in his entire life than he did now upon seeing Mike moving through the throng of people. Almost weak-kneed with the emotion, he reached out to grab Davis by the sleeve and pull him along after Mike.
But then he realized that Mike wasn't alone.
A tall, hulking man who looked like a henchman straight out of every mafia movie ever made was walking very closely behind Mike, pressing something into the teen's back. And just as quickly as the relief had dawned, it was replaced by even more fear, because there was a gun to Mike's back.
Harvey had never liked guns—he thought they were cowardly; he preferred the grace and honor of boxing and fighting hand-to-hand to the mindless destruction of pulling a trigger. And if that trigger went off right now, Mike would probably never walk again, if he even survived the bullet to the spine.
Calculating very quickly, he darted behind a throng of giggling women, consciously separating himself from Wilkes and Davis in the crowd. They would want to call for back-up; would have to get a whole SWAT team assembled before anything could done. And Harvey wasn't going to stand around and wait for any of that to happen as he watched Mike being marched further and further away from him, towards very real danger.
He cut his way through the crowd with purpose, determined not to lose sight of Mike and his captor. There seemed to be another man with them; a middle-aged man with olive skin whose eyes were darting around nervously. Harvey didn't know what his role in this mess was, but he kept on eye on him too, weaving through the dancers and drinkers with a single-minded focus: not to lose Mike again. In fact, if he had things his way, Mike would never be out of his sight ever again after this until he was at least 40.
When the trio ducked into an alcove that had a hidden door in it, Harvey followed with no hesitation. He glanced over his shoulder and could that Wilkes and Davis had noticed he was missing. The two of them were scanning the crowd and conversing intently.
Making a split-second decision, Harvey lifted a hand and waved at the two of them, quickly ducking through the door before either of them could signal him not to. He was sure that they would call for back-up, and in the meantime, he would go about actually doing something to save the boy he regarded as his son.
Salvador led Mike and Raymond down a long hallway, nodded at the man guarding the door, and pushed them inside a luxurious office. Mike had the vague thought that Harvey would like this office—it was modern, sleek, and sparse, and there was weird modern art on one of the walls. He wondered absently if he was in shock, as thinking about interior design while he had a gun to his back probably wasn't normal.
"Sit," Salvador grunted, motioning to the two chairs in front of the mahogany desk. Mike didn't like the look of this set-up. This looked like the kind of scene in mobster movies that ended up with the people sitting in chairs getting a bullet put through their heads. And really, Mike supposed, Hawthorne had no reason to keep him or Raymond alive anymore. He had been used as a tool to get Harvey to give up the case, and now they were both just liabilities; and both knew too much now to ever be released. This was only going to end one way, unless they miraculously escaped.
"Hawthorne himself is on his way, in case you're wondering," Salvador said coldly. "I'm sure you can imagine what he plans to do to the two of you upon his arrival, and just so you know, I won't hesitate to do it sooner if I see you trying to escape. He wants to dispose of both you himself, but he'll be understanding if I have to do it before he gets here." The gun was expertly trained on them, and Mike could see no way out.
He had always thought that he'd remain calm in the face of death—after all, he'd lost his parents, and death meant that he stood some chance of being reunited with them. And while he'd never fully decided on what he thought happened after death; if there was an after-life or not; death had never scared him much. He'd been through some pretty tough stuff in life, and so he'd thought that he'd deal with dying with peaceful acceptance when the time came.
And maybe that had been true of abused, scared eleven-year-old Mike, who had lost his parents and was stuck with the Jensens. But now he realized that was no longer the case—he wanted to live. God, he wanted to live. For the first time since his parents' death, he truly had reasons to keep going—he had a father-figure; he had a chance of actually making it to law school one day. He had his friends and he had Grammy. And he wasn't ready to die and leave all that behind.
Still, he didn't want to do anything reckless that would get Raymond killed. So he obediently sat in the chair and waited for Hawthorne. He mostly thought about Harvey—what was he doing right now? Did the older man have any clue how close to death Mike was right now?
Would they ever see one another again?
All the memories and regrets flooded through him as he sat there in front of the mahogany desk, staring death in the face. All the times he'd fought with Harvey over petty things. All the times he'd been too lazy to give Grammy a phone call to see how she was doing in Florida. All the mistakes he'd made in his life; the lies he'd told; the hurts he'd caused…it all came back to him.
Had he ever truly thanked Harvey for taking him in and saving him; for giving him a family and a purpose again? Had he ever told Harvey that he loved him; that he wished more than anything that Harvey would adopt him and be his father?
He'd taken the time they had had together for granted; had assumed that he'd always be around to say those things when he managed to work up the courage.
But time was short, and as Mike had learned when his parents had been abruptly wrenched away, you didn't always have the time to say the things that you should have said from the beginning.
Harvey was starting to think that he probably should have taken the time to come up with a plan before making the somewhat rash decision to follow Mike's captor into the labyrinth-like depths of the club. He had followed the trio down several confusingly winding hallways and watched as Mike and the middle-aged man (who he had determined was a fellow kidnappeé) had been shoved inside a well-guarded office.
It had taken all his willpower not to simply call out to Mike; not to run over and tackle the large man pushing and manhandling the teenager around so carelessly. One look at Mike's bruised cheek and swollen eye made boiling anger rise to the surface, but with guns and a hulking, menacing guard involved, he didn't want to run the risk of someone being shot. So he had remained tucked into a shadowed corner like a responsible adult.
But inside he was panicking. He had no clue what was going on in that office, and he now realized that he probably should have actually spoken to Wilkes and Davis instead of just vaguely signaling to them.
The man guarding the office door looked both ways, and his eyes seemed to linger on the corner that Harvey inhabited for a second too long. Silently taking a step back, Harvey backed further into the shadows, dropping into a crouch. His shoulder brushed up against a doorknob, and when the guard began walking in his direction to investigate, he wasted no time in pulling the doorknob open and ducking inside another room.
His mouth dropped open as he surveyed this new room, and several pieces of the puzzle clicked together instantaneously. Giant machines whirred and thundered, producing crisp looking dollar bills that were being stacked and bound and packed into boxes.
A counterfeiting operation! No wonder Hawthorne was being so aggressive in his attempts to protect his nightclub. This made everything much more serious—Harvey had just assumed that things had gotten a little too rowdy at the club one night and that Dan Murphy had died of alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose, and that Hawthorne had wanted to cover the incident up because of the bad publicity that would have resulted in that case. But in all likelihood, Dan Murphy had been killed by Hawthorne for threatening to expose the man's secret money laundering scheme.
He felt better now that he fully understood the situation, but the fear that had clenched around his heart the second he'd heard Hawthorne's familiar drawl over the phone a few hours ago—and how has it only been a few hours since his whole world has been turned upside down and put in jeopardy?—grew sharply as he realized that Mike was well and truly in danger of being murdered.
Hawthorne had shown that he was willing to go to extreme lengths to protect himself, and by now Mike was just a chess piece that had already fulfilled his role in Hawthorne's ploys to make money and keep his business safe.
And if Hawthorne was the kind of man that Harvey knew him to be, he'd ruthlessly strike down any chess pieces that stood in the way of victory.
Ten minutes passed, and then twenty. Raymond was sweating, his chest rising and falling quickly with panic.
"I got a wife and two kids, you know," he muttered desperately, not quite meeting Salvador's eyes, as though afraid that looking at Salvador would provoke him to shoot. Mike boldly met the man's gaze, however, refusing to back down. If Salvador was going to kill him, he would at least have to do it with Mike's proud gaze burning into him.
"He's just a kid, you know?" Raymond continued nervously when he didn't get shot, motioning to Mike with his head. "His dad's a lawyer, and he'll kick your ass when he finds out that his kid is dead. I know he will. That's what I'd do if someone took one of my kids and killed them."
Salvador had an odd light in his eyes as he looked evenly at Raymond. "I've got a wife and a family too, man," he said, his voice cold but not cruel. "I'm just doing what I have to do to get home to them at the end of the night. Trust me."
Mike thought there was something weird about that comment, but before he had time to reflect on it further, there was the unmistakable sound of footsteps clipping their way down the polished white hallway.
Salvador seemed to brace himself, his grip on the gun tightening. "Hawthorne," he said grimly. Maybe he didn't want them to die either; maybe he saw his own children when he looked at Mike.
They all waited in silence as the footsteps grew closer.
When Harvey thought that enough time had elapsed, he decided to risk ducking back into the white corridor.
Sure enough, the guard was back at his post, apparently having decided that whatever shadows he'd seen move in Harvey's corner were nothing noteworthy.
But just as Harvey relaxed against the wall, Hawthorne himself showed up, walking at a brisk pace from the opposite direction, a look of unmistakable purpose on his face.
Hawthorne was going to kill Mike.
There was no humanity on the man's face; no hint of mercy or empathy whatsoever. Just cold calculation.
Harvey had never felt so helpless in his entire life.
"They're in there waiting for you, Mr. Hawthorne," the guard said politely as Hawthorne approached.
"Thank you, Nathaniel. I will expect you to do a thorough clean-up when I'm through in there."
Nathaniel, who was hardly more than a boy himself, nodded with a set jaw. Harvey wondered what had led the young man to this life; cleaning up the spilled blood from the bodies of his boss' innocent victims.
Hawthorne disappeared into the office then, and Harvey realized that he needed to act quickly. Mike could be dead within a matter of seconds, and he would never be able to live with himself if he just stood here and did nothing while he heard the gunshots; while Mike suffered. He pictured himself having to go home tonight without Mike at his side, and that was all he needed before he was charging down the hallway towards the office.
Maybe it was a stupid idea to jump right out of his hiding spot, but he was relying on adrenaline and fear and paternal instinct to give him strength.
Nathaniel, who clearly hadn't been anticipating anyone trying to interfere with his master's murder time, looked startled for several seconds as Harvey sprinted at him. He quickly recovered, unfortunately, and was ready when Harvey jumped at him, fists swinging.
They struggled briefly, and Harvey managed to get a good kick to the shins in, pure desperation giving his fighting an edge that it had never had before. He swung upwards with his elbow, connecting solidly with Nathaniel's jaw, and then lunged to his feet, diving for the doorknob of the office.
Just as his fingers closed around the cool metal of the door handle, Nathaniel recovered and grabbed him from behind, yanking him back down to the floor to scuffle anew.
I failed you, Mike, Harvey thought as Nathaniel's fist came closer and closer to his face, a sob tearing through his chest. Any second now there would be a gunshot. I'm so sorry, Mike. I'm so sorry…
He was fully prepared for Nathaniel's punch to knock him out cold, and he was thusly startled when Nathaniel jerked away at the last second, letting out a gasp of pain and clutching at his elbow.
He received his answer as Wilkes and Davis sprinted towards him, both holding guns out in front of them. Blood poured from the bullet wound in Nathaniel's elbow, but he would live. Wilkes quickly set about restraining the wounded guard, and Davis held out a hand to help Harvey to his feet.
"It's about time the two of you showed up," Harvey grumbled, clambering up to a standing position as though unaffected by how close he'd come to getting thrashed. But his hands trembled and his heart pounded. "I've been waiting. Hawthorne's about to kill my son, so if that's suspicious enough for you two to have your 'evidence', maybe we could try to stop them?" He knew he was being an asshole, but the fear made it hard to think straight. He had never thought of the law as a boring profession before, but he couldn't imagine doing this kind of life-and-death work every day like Wilkes and Davis.
Davis was staring at Harvey with a mixture of admiration and disapproval. "You're crazy," he panted as he shook his head, winded from running. "But I would have done the same."
"We do this our way from here on out, Specter," Wilkes said flatly, less than impressed with Harvey's recklessness. "You've put our operation in jeopardy already by running away from us—"
But Harvey wasn't listening—he could hear Hawthorne's voice on the other side of the door, and it made him incapable of rational thought.
He grabbed the door handle and wrenched it open, bursting into the office.
Everyone froze upon his entrance, and he saw that he'd been just in time. Hawthorne stood behind his desk, holding a gun and pointing it straight at Mike's forehead. The captor who had dragged Mike and the other captive from the dance floor had his own gun trained on the other captive's head.
Hawthorne looked up, and a malicious smile stretched across his waxy features. He had the mad look in his eye of somebody with nothing left to lose. "Harvey Specter!" He exclaimed jovially, eyes gleaming crazily. "What a pleasant coincidence. You're just in time to witness your punishment—I told you to leave this case alone, and you just couldn't, could you? Well, say goodbye to young Michael."
Everything seemed to happen in slow motion then.
Harvey felt the word "NO!" tear itself from his chest, and then he watched with horror as Hawthorne's finger moved on the trigger and a shot rang out.
In that instant, Mike was thinking about snow.
It was a weird last thought to have, but that was the only thing that popped into his mind as he saw Hawthorne's hand move on the gun.
When he was seven, the cat that his parents had owned for almost twenty years had to be put down.
"I'm sorry, sweetie," his mom had said to him in the kitchen on a chilly January morning. "Buttercup is sick, and she's in a lot of pain. It's the right thing to do; to let her go peacefully. She won't suffer, and she'll go to heaven to be with my mom and dad."
Little Mike had nodded in calm understanding at the time, but he hadn't really understood. He'd cuddled the cat one last time; had pressed his face into Buttercup's fur and scratched near her ears just the way she liked.
But he hadn't really gotten what Mom had meant until she returned home from the vet an hour later without Buttercup.
The tears had come then as he realized that he'd never see the cat again, and Mike had torn out of the house, barely pausing to throw on his boots and jacket.
It had been snowing, and Mike had thrown himself on the ground under his favorite tree in the backyard, laying in the snow and crying for Buttercup, who had loved snow.
His mom had followed, and she had lain down in the snow next to him without hesitation, because that was the kind of mom she was.
"You know," she had said as they looked up at the gray winter sky together, breathing in the hushed silence of the snowfall. "I bet Buttercup is playing in the snow in heaven right now, and that her body doesn't hurt anymore."
Mike had sniffled, his tears abating. "There's snow in heaven?" He had asked.
"Of course," she had said. "Maybe heaven is just like a big snow day."
Years later, he knew that she had probably just been saying that to console him—his parents hadn't been religious; and he himself didn't know what he believed about death. But it was a small moment that had stuck with him throughout the years.
When Harvey had taken him to his own father's grave last winter, he'd mentioned the idea; that maybe heaven was just like a giant snow day. He didn't know why he said it, and he'd half-expected Harvey to scoff at the idea.
But Harvey had just shrugged. "Winter was my dad's favorite season," he'd said, a quiet smile on his face.
And that was why Mike thought of snow as death came for him.
Before that moment, Harvey hadn't really understood what being a father meant.
But he knew now.
In the split second between life and death for Mike, he truly knew what it meant to love someone more than yourself. In that instant, he would have gladly traded places with Mike; would have climbed the tallest mountain in the world or walked through miles of desert if it meant saving Mike's life. He would have thrown himself in front of the bullet in a heartbeat if he only had more time. No sacrifice was too great if it meant that Mike would live, even if it cost him his own life.
The prospect of ever returning to his life that way it was before Mike had entered it was unfathomable…there would never be a way to fill in the gaping space that Mike occupied in his apartment; in his mind; in his heart.
Why had he never told the kid any of this? Had he ever told Mike that he loved him? Why hadn't he adopted him; made it permanent? He'd drawn up the adoption papers months ago but had never gotten them around to signing them; assuming that he would have plenty of time to do so. But now there was no time left, and it was all Harvey's fault.
He lunged forward to tackle Mike; to try to force him out of the bullet's path, knowing even as he did so that he was too far away; that he would never make it in time.
He landed halfway on top of Mike and for a second all was quiet. Harvey was terrified to open his eyes; afraid that he would see Mike staring back at him with vacant, dead eyes, or that there would be blood everywhere.
But then Mike was moving under him, unmistakably trying to push himself into a sitting position.
"Harvey?" Mike asked, his voice tight and frantic. "Harvey, are you okay? He didn't shoot you, did he? Open your eyes, Harvey!"
It took Harvey a moment to process the fact that Mike was talking to him…did that mean that he hadn't been hit?
"Dad!" Mike said sharply, tugging on Harvey's sleeve.
That was enough to jolt Harvey out of his terrified reverie, and he moved into assessment mode, opening his eyes and scrutinizing Mike, who sat in front of him. There was a livid bruise on his cheek and his face was deathly, deathly pale, but there was no blood blossoming on his chest or anywhere else.
"Are you okay, Mike?" He said in an oddly choked voice, hardly able to believe that Mike was alive and well.
"I'm fine, I think," Mike said shakily. "Are you okay? He didn't shoot you, did he?"
Harvey looked down at himself, and sure enough, he was fine. "No, I'm fine," he said. "But how…"
"Hawthorne never got a shot off," a new voice said calmly, and Harvey looked over to see the large man who had been escorting Mike and the other captive holding his own gun. Wilkes and Davis had pushed past Harvey at some point, and they were handcuffing Hawthorne, who was lying on the floor and bleeding profusely from a bullet wound to his upper thigh.
"Salvador?" Mike said disbelievingly. "You shot Hawthorne?"
The man nodded, smiling in a way that was almost friendly. "Name's Salvador Guerra. FBI." He flashed a badge at Mike, whose mouth had dropped open. "Sorry about having to punch you, kid. I've spent the past three months infiltrating this operation, and it was imperative that Hawthorne not suspect anything of me until the last second."
Mike shook his head, shock still evident on his face. "I'm not sorry at all," he said fervently. "You saved my life. Thank you."
Harvey nodded, clambering to his feet. "If there's any way I can ever repay you for what you did—"
Salvador waved him off. "Just another day on the job," he said. "But I am glad that this case has a happy ending for all involved. And I'm excited to go home and see my daughters tonight."
He finished re-holstering his gun and turned away to consult with Davis and Wilkes. Raymond was on his phone, crying and telling his wife he loved her.
Harvey reached out a hand to Mike, pulling him to his feet and then straight into his arms. They remained like that for a long moment; no words needed. Harvey honestly wasn't sure who needed the physical reassurance of the other's wellbeing more right now; himself or Mike. He felt Mike's fingers tremble as they clenched onto the back of his suit coat and realized that the shock of all that had happened was probably catching up to Mike now that the immediate danger had passed.
"We're going to have to get both of your statements—" Wilkes began saying, but Harvey cut him off, keeping a protective arm around Mike's shoulders.
"Not tonight, Wilkes. We'll answer all your questions first thing in the morning, but it's past midnight and we've all had a traumatic experience. I'm taking my son home," he said firmly, well-prepared to fight them off if he needed to.
Wilkes didn't look like he was going to back down, but Davis nudged him.
"Let them go, Pete," he said. "I think we all need to go home to our families tonight."
Wilkes looked annoyed by the thought of more work in the morning, but he knew when he'd lost.
Harvey nodded gratefully to Davis, shook Salvador's hand, and ushered Mike out of the office as the back-up and medical teams began to arrive to deal with Hawthorne and Nathaniel. Harvey had the sudden thought that maybe Mike should get the bruise on his face looked at, in case his cheekbone was broken, or his jaw…
"I'm fine," Mike said softly, as if reading Harvey's mind. "It's just a bruise. I really just want to go home, Harvey."
"Me too, kid," Harvey said as he pulled out his phone to call Ray to pick them up. "Me too."
He'd eventually have to call Donna and Edith and tell them the whole story. But for now, he just led Mike out of the club and sat with him on a bench as they waited for Ray. Mike was quiet; his mind processing all that had transpired. But that was okay—they had the rest of their lives to say all that needed to be said.
Harvey wouldn't make the same mistakes as he had in the past; not letting people in his life know when they were important to him. He had come incredibly close to losing Mike tonight, and he wouldn't squander the second chance he'd been given to make things right. The first thing he would do after they got home and he got Mike settled for the night would be to find those adoption papers and sign them.
But for now he just kept an arm around Mike's back, taking in the rise and fall of his shoulders as he breathed and lived. He had a feeling that this would be a night he would relive in nightmares for the rest of his life, but he also had a feeling that little things would be more meaningful from now on. After coming so close to losing the most important person in his life, he wouldn't be blind to what truly mattered anymore.
He had truly become a father tonight in that moment when he'd almost lost Mike and he'd realized the true depth of his attachment to the kid. It had been a trial by fire, as had much of his relationship with Mike, but in the end, that had only made the family that they had built stronger.
Okay, kind of a corny ending, but Mike and Harvey deserve happiness after all that kidnapping nonsense, right?
Thanks so much to everyone who has read/favorited/followed/reviewed throughout TBAF and TBAH. So much of the writer that I am today was made during the process of writing these 2 stories, and I couldn't have done it without the support I have received and the friends I have made on here.
I have no immediate plans to write anything else Suits-related at the time being, but I'll be lurking around until the muse strikes again.
Thanks again for reading!