Mike Ross: Oh, and you don't give a damn about the client, right?
Harvey Specter: It's not my job.
Mike Ross: Does your job include giving a damn about me?
"I can't believe you actually came."
"Of course I came. You think I'm going to go through the trouble of hiring a new associate? Please."
Harvey gently grabbed Mike's wrist as it flopped uselessly against the ground. He tried not to look at the hand, at the missing fingernails and the bloody fingers. Poor kid had tried to claw his way out. And why not? He'd been down in the goddamned crawl space for three days.
"I know kid." He was giving Mike sips out of a water bottle. Four minutes ago, when he'd first found him, Mike hadn't been able to speak, his throat was so parched. If Harvey was a halfway decent human being he would have brought food with him too, but he'd been running all over town trying to find Mike. He'd been to this house twice actually, had done his best to appear unassuming as he lobbed one question after another at the client. If the guy thought Harvey suspected him he'd run. But this morning the client had been arrested for killing his teenage son. Body had turned up in the river, and the face that appeared on the news looked so much like a de-aged Mike that Harvey had strode right out of Pearson Hardman, where he'd been pretending to focus on work, and went over to the house. After fifteen minutes of looking he finally got down to the basement and called out softly as he had all day. Mike?
He'd never forget the soft thump that followed. He'd never forget kicking away the chair, unlocking the tiny door, bending over double to drag a dusty and dazed Mike out of the cupboard.
"Didja call someone?" Mike asked for the seventh time in the span of two minutes.
Harvey tried not to let his worry show on his face. "I told you I did. What happened to that good memory of yours?"
"That guy must've bashed it out," Mike said, his voice so weak it was heartbreaking. He cut off with a stream of coughing, trying to get accumulation of three days of dust out of his lungs. When he leaned forward to cough the blood that coated the back of his head was visible.
"You remember how much blood you lost?" Yeah, the whole keep-it-casual thing wasn't really working out. Harvey's voice shook over the word blood.
Mike shrugged and shivered. He slid his eyes over to Harvey, then quickly away before asking, "Can I have your jacket Harv?"
The basement was damp and cool the way subterranean places usually are. Harvey wasn't chilly yet - too much adrenaline from the relief of finally finding Mike - but give him three days and the damp air would seep into his bones. He shrugged out of his coat, thanking God that the winter hadn't been chilly enough to plummet the temperature in the basement further. "No one calls me Harv but my brother."
"I think I just did," Mike smiled, coughed again, and his expression suddenly became worried. "Did I? I can't...I can't remember." Panic now, and Mike's broken and mangled hands tried to move towards the wound on the back of his head. Harvey held them gently, firmly in place. "I can't remember!"
"I know," Harvey said, trying for soothing, but he thought he just sounded scared. He tucked the coat more securely around Mike and pulled the younger man so that he was leaning against Harvey's chest. Mike was so cold... "People are coming. They'll fix you up. And I'm going to make sure that man pays for what he did to you. I'm thinking death penalty." His voice was so hard on the last part of the sentence that it was furious, unrecognizable. But he'd been so scared, and then finding Mike, seeing what he did to his poor hands, and the head wound, the memory loss. Knowing that Mike would have just been left to starve...Harvey gave Mike another sip of water. If he'd gotten here ten hours later Mike would be dead of dehydration.
Mike took a few sips and curled against Harvey's suit, leaving a smear of blood on the collar. "New York doesn't have a death penalty?"
It was the question, the way the sentence curled up at the end, that made Harvey want to punch something. This was a fact Mike would have known without thinking about it five days ago. "God I wish it did. They took it away a few years ago."
"Oh." Mike hugged the jacket tighter.
Harvey looked at him anxiously, "What year is it Mike?"
"2013," Mike said, and managed to put some indignation into the digits. "We made it through the end of the word and everything. It's 2013 and...isn't it...February?"
Harvey had to press his lips to the top of Mike's head to keep from screaming in frustration. Mike's poor hands. His poor brain. "Valentine's Day to be exact," he said once he was sure his voice wouldn't shake. "I guess I'll have to cancel my date tonight."
He meant it as a joke, but he could feel Mike tense, "I'm sorry Harvey. I know this isn't the way -"
More coughing, and Harvey allowed him another few sips of water. Slow and steady. "Shh...as of three days ago, finding you became my top priority. So I could fire you myself." Mike laughed and Harvey grumbled, "What makes you think that was a joke? You handled the client int he most piss-poor way possible."
"He was insane! He - oh my God."
"What?" When Mike still didn't speak, Harvey shook him slightly. "Mike? Mike!" He wouldn't admit, ever, how loud his heart was pounding. Seizures, shock, brain bleed - worst case scenarios were quick to pop up in the silence.
"He killed his son," Mike said his voice shaking. "It slipped out and I was - I was so surprised I froze and that's when he hit me. With a frying pan. It was like being in a cartoon."
Harvey waited for his heart rate to get back to normal. When he spoke, his voice was low and harsh, "New rule. No going quiet on me until the doctors check you out." Mike nodded slowly and Harvey squeezed him to show he didn't mean it. He was just scared out of his mind that Mike was going to die in his arms on Valentine's Day. No big deal.
"Sorry," Mike said, apologizing for that, for everything. "I just...I can't believe he'd kill his son. I met him. He was shy, but told this wicked joke -" Mike coughed again, coughed and coughed and coughed, and when Harvey tried to give him water he coughed that up, too.
When it was over, Mike hung in Harvey's arms like a doll, limp with exhaustion. It was ten seconds, twenty, before he spoke. "I wasn't scared right away. Even when I woke up and it was dark and I knew I was bleeding I thought...I thought you'd be right behind me. You'd know where I was and find me." Mike laughed a little, "That sounds so dumb. I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize," Harvey said firmly. "For any of this. It's not your fault." He paused, rubbing Mike's shoulders absentmindedly. His skin felt even colder than before if that was possible. "I was right behind you. Well, five hours behind you. I interrogated the client that night and did as much searching as I could without a warrant. Then I thought maybe something else happened to you. Donna spent the last two days calling all the hospitals."
It was more than he wanted to admit out loud, and he hadn't even said all of it, about how Donna had opened his door yesterday, ashen-faced, and told him there was a young man matching Mike's description down at the morgue in Brooklyn. How Harvey sat there stunned until he realized Mike had no one else in the city looking for him and went down, feeling dizzy and sick the whole way. How he shook his head, lips pressed together, when the young man turned out to be a different young man with dark blond hair and blue, blue eyes. How he was sick after that, physically sick, sick to his stomach and his heart and his mind, because he was sure that one of these calls they'd go and see Mike's body lying in a morgue, and what would he do then?
"I'm sorry," Mike said again, the words a whisper. He was slipping into shock, that was obvious now. Where were that damn ambulance?
Harvey just stared down at where his hands were, cupping Mike's mangled and bloody hands. "How'd that happen?" He tried to keep his voice even but he knew that if Mike said it was the client again that would be the end. Harvey would kill the man himself, painfully and slowly.
"I tried to get out," Mike's voice was quiet, dazed. "It was...I don't remember a lot of it. But it was so dark. I could barely sit up, never mind stand. And I don't know how much time passed before I started banging on the walls. I was looking for a way out. I didn't know I'd hurt myself. I didn't feel it." He shook his head, and he really did start crying now, his whole body shaking in Harvey's arms. "I'm so stupid. I hurt myself so bad."
Harvey didn't say anything, just rested his chin on top of Mike's head and made nonsense noises of understanding. "It'll be okay. They'll fix you up. You may end up with a bionic hand but it'll just be an excuse to make more Luke Skywalker references."
Mike was still crying, crying so quietly Harvey wondered where he mastered the art of making no noise. But there was so much emotion in the tears. Lots of relief, and lots of pain and regret and anger at the situation, at the man who was so deranged he'd killed his son, tried to kill another young man. He made no acknowledgement of Harvey's words until a minutes later...two...then: "laugh it up, fuzzball."
It was so unexpected, the words he'd managed to choke out, that Harvey barked out a laugh that echoed around the room. When the sound died down Mike said, as if he'd been contemplating the matter, "I'm really hungry Harvey."
"That's good. It means you're getting less thirsty." The bottle of water was empty now. Harvey thought of the deserted kitchen upstairs, all the food, the taps of water. "Do you think you can move?"
Mike didn't even try. "No. I can't. I'm sorry Harv."
That reminded Harvey again of his younger brother, the only person in the world to call him Harv. "No, that's okay buddy. We'll just relax down here. The ambulance will be here in a bit just don't - you listening to me Mike?" Mike's head had started to drop forward, nodding off, exposing the gash on the back of his head. Harvey jostled him, "No falling asleep. If you die you're fired."
"I think that goes without saying."
"I'm already spending my Valentine's Day down here with you. I haven't returned her calls for days. You're probably the reason this relationship won't work."
Mike laughed a little at that, "Yeah, okay." His head drooped forward again. His hair had so much blood in it. Harvey was glad the light in the basement was dim, too dark to see into the crawl space. If he saw the pool of blood that had leaked out of Mike's body...
"Stay awake." Harvey pleaded (where are the damn paramedics?!) "Talk to me."
"What's your brother like?"
That startled Harvey, because he'd been thinking about Josh since he tucked the jacket around Mike, since he pulled the man onto his lap. "You remind me a lot of him."
Mike nodded, his head slipping forward too much. He was cold, cold, and going into shock, and hungry and thirsty and cold. He jostled himself awake before Harvey had to do it for him. "I always wanted a sibling."
"Okay, a brother. An older one who would stop be from doing stupid shit."
"Like getting attacked by a frying pan, Padawan?"
Mike started coughing then, which took the fun out of whatever banter they'd had going on. And it wasn't thick coughs that come from the lungs. These were thin, ragged things that pulled at the throat and pounded the head and made him sound for all the world like a small child. By the time he stopped, Mike was sweating under the coat. Even though his skin was still cool to the touch. Even though he was still shivering.
They waited in the silence. It may have been wishful thinking, but Harvey thought he could hear sirens in the distance. "I'm scared," Mike confessed. It must have been easier for him to say this now, when he didn't have to look in Harvey's face because he was still cradled on the older man's lap.
"It's over now, Mike. It'll be okay."
The quiet after that stretched on for so long that Harvey shook Mike to stay awake again. Finally, Mike's head popped up and he said, "It's just that...I still can't...I don't remember the last three days. I don't really remember any of it. What if it never comes back? What if...my hands...?" He trailed off into a small coughing fit. Harvey balled his own hand into a fist and rocked Mike's body, trying to soothe it, wishing there was a way, any way, to take the pain away. Mike couldn't remember the last three days? Harvey would do anything to not remember running around the city, expecting every call to be the one to inform him that Mike had died in a back alley, alone.
And he'd almost died alone, hadn't he? If Harvey hadn't found him when he had he would have died of dehydration on Valentine's day. Died alone and in the dark with blood on his head and dust in his throat and so, so scared.
"We'll figure it out. I can't imagine that memory of yours is really busted. It's just being as lazy as you are. Stop sleeping!" It was getting harder and harder to keep Mike awake, and every time Harvey shook him he made a small noise of protest that shredded at the remaining pieces of Harvey's heart. "Jesus Christ Mike. Just stay awake."
"I'm trying." There were definitely voices upstairs. They'd be found soon, and Mike would get the medical attention he needed and Harvey would pace outside the room and contemplate all the different ways to make the man who did this to his associate suffer.
But before that Mike had one more question. "Did you say I reminded you of your brother? I don't remember..."
"Yeah. Yeah, you remind me of Josh. You'd like him a lot." Harvey decided that instant to call Joshua as soon as Mike was out of the woods and drag him down to the hospital. He was a good kid. He could entertain Mike with stories of Harvey growing up while Harvey tracked down whoever was defending their ex-client...
"He's lucky," Mike said, his voice the barest whisper, "I've always wanted an older brother like you."
And then his head fell forward for the last time, and nothing Harvey did could wake him up, and when the police and paramedics came into the basement moments later they found the best closer in the city cradling a man who absolutely did not deserve to die. Especially not in his arms. Especially not on Valentine's Day.
happy valentine's day all!
in my head mike didn't die. harvey's just scared and overreacting. but you get to determine your own ending. share them with us if you want, or leave a review about whether you love it, hate it, or wish we would stop writing stories already.