A/N Don't worry, guys - the FIRST thing I'm doing after this is writing the final chapter of 'Behind The Mask'. But I promised this a while ago and it's also a somewhat late birthday present to my good friend, Rae7788 :) Hope you like it, Rach! And yeah - sequel to 'You're Never Gonna Fit In Much, Kid' :) Enjoy!
Mike was pleasantly surprised that Harvey and Donna kept their word, and weren't telling everyone they knew about their new, 'baby' associate (which is what he'd heard both of them refer to him as). Harvey had even agreed to keep the teasing to only when Donna was in earshot, or when he thought it appropriate and felt like he could get away with it.
He would still get the occasional hair ruffle if they had just wiped the floor with someone in court (and he secretly liked the hair ruffles) and sometimes he would be sent home early and one time Donna actually slipped him some money to 'buy himself something nice'. He refused to tell her what he bought and hoped they would never bump into each other on their days off, when he wore typically teenage clothing and had in fact, just bought a Doctor Who t-shirt that, when combined with his skinny jeans, made him look even younger.
He'd used what was left over to treat himself to pizza and The Big Bang Theory boxset.
She'd given him a lot of money.
He was starting to think on a Saturday morning that them knowing his real age may not necessarily be a bad thing. But then he got a knock on his door. He stumbled out in Spongebob Squarepants pyjama bottoms and a dark blue t-shirt. He was pulling on a hoodie as he answered the door (his apartment was freezing) and it took a while for him to focus on who the person was.
"Harvey?" He rubbed at his eyes and let his hand go further up to ruffle his own hair. "What are you doing?"
Harvey just stared at him for a while, an eyebrow raised. "You look like Donna's nephew."
"Uh... thank you?"
"I'm allowed to wear whatever I want to go to bed," Mike argued, fearing this may not actually be helping matters. If anything, Harvey just shook his head and pushed past. "What are you doing?" Mike asked, edging towards his bedroom and trying to kick away rumpled suits that were lying on the floor; he hadn't gotten round (read into that: couldn't be bothered) to doing his laundry yet.
"I'm just... observing."
"Oh. Can I go back to bed?"
"Uh, yeah - some of us like to sleep in 'til a more civilized hour."
"Oh my god, you really are a teenager."
"Is there a reason you're interrupting my day off?"
Harvey nodded but didn't answer, and Mike just shrugged, wandering over to the kitchen unit and making a bowl of cereal (And Harvey noted that it was Lucky Charms) and sat on the couch cross legged, turning the TV on and watching cartoons.
"You've gotta be kidding me," Harvey said, when he saw what was Mike was watching.
"What?" Mike looked up innocently.
"You know what, I'm even doubting you're telling me how old you really are. When were you really born, 2009?"
"My home, my rules. Saturday morning cartoons are background noise while I refresh my law terms," Mike replied, patting the large tome on his coffee table. After a moment of silence he shrugged. "You know what, you're right - I'm just watching cartoons. Are you going to tell me why you're here?"
"No reason in particular," Harvey replied, glancing around the kitchenette. "Have you ever cleaned this oven?" He asked, glancing into it.
"You have to clean ovens?" Mike asked, looking genuinely confused.
"Oh my God." Harvey pulled out his cell and called someone. "Hi, Donna. Yeah I'm going to need you to come over here. Yeah. Bring as much as possible. No, I wouldn't trust him to. He's occupied."
"I'm not a toddler!" Mike complained, feeling like Harvey and Donna were plotting to get a playpen before too long. "And what does she need to bring as much of as possible?"
Donna turned up with a large bag full of cleaning supplies and several pairs of rubber gloves. She glanced around the place before deciding where to start.
"Okay - I'm going to do the bathroom; Harvey you get started on the kitchen; Mike go tidy your bedroom."
"You can't just come in here and order me around like you're my parents!" Mike said, outraged. He had been intending on sleeping in until past midday, and he could already feel a headache forming from not getting enough sleep. He was frustrated beyond belief that even just watching TV on his day off was just turning into what looked like a day full of chores.
"Mike if I didn't know better, I'd say you've never gotten rid of the lime scale off these tiles!" Donna called from his bathroom. His silence caused her to sigh and continue scrubbing. "Do you even know what lime scale is?"
"Yes!" Mike argued, before pausing for a while. "But I thought it was just in pipes?"
"Bedroom. Bin bag. Go," Harvey pushed a black sack into his hands and pushed Mike into his room, switching the TV off and taking the now empty cereal bowl and putting it next to the sink to be washed up. He had to admit that Mike's apartment wasn't in as bad a condition as he would have expected from a 19 year old who in all likelihood hadn't been living on his own for that long.
Mike went into his room, slamming the door to show what he thought of them bossing him around in his own home on his day off. Harvey was just his boss, he had no right to tell Mike to do anything when they weren't at work. He sat on his bed, looking around. His room was tidy enough - he had grown up knowing how to clean, his Gram had made sure that he had. Okay, he didn't know the adult stuff - like lime scale and knowing exactly what could be recycled, but he knew how to keep the place he lived in relatively sanitary and free of clutter.
He straightened his bed clothes and flopped down onto the bed, closing his eyes. He was still tired and hoped the headache could be eradicated if he just rested for five minutes...
Donna walked out of the bathroom, looking very proud of herself. "I would happily let my parents eat their food off that plumbing," she announced. "Although it wasn't that bad, I'm quite proud of him."
Harvey nodded. "Apart from not knowing he had to clean the oven, and a suspicious jar of something in the fridge - he's done well."
"Are we being too harsh?" Donna asked. "He has been fine til now. And he's nearly 20, he should already be independent. He doesn't need us to clean his home."
"You'd better not be suggesting you'd be up for a repeat service," Harvey growled. "This was a one time thing."
"But he is just a kid," she worried, gazing around the newly sparkling apartment. "Maybe we should come over sometimes just to see if he's okay?"
"You weren't suggesting that when you thought he was older," Harvey pointed out.
"Neither were you," Donna replied, before looking around. "Where is he?"
"I sent him to tidy his room," Harvey smirked. "I didn't really think it would take him so long. I guess it was messier than I thought it was."
They both went to the closed door, and Harvey opened it, rolling his eyes at the sight before them. Mike was curled up on his bed, drooling onto his pillow, and empty bin bag laying forgotten on the floor. Donna cooed - even though Harvey remembered a time when they had found him asleep in the file room and she had laughed and pulled his chair out from under him; of course that was when she thought he was 25. He still thought that this was weird - there wasn't that much of a difference in the ages. It was just because the moniker of 'teenager' changed both their views.
It was because of this that Harvey felt bad for getting him up on his day off and telling him to tidy his home. And it was because of this that he found a bundled up blanket and threw it over Mike, deciding that his room could wait to be cleaned.
Mike stumbled out of his room at 12.30pm with the blanket wrapped around him. He collapsed on his couch only to start when he realised that Harvey was still there.
"What are you, my house mother now?"
"Believe it or not, I came here for a reason. But the state of your apartment made me put that on hold."
"Funny. Will you tell me so I can have one day away from work?" Mike got up and went to the kitchen, keeping the blanket around him as he looked around his cupboards. "What have you done with my food?"
"I got you better food," Harvey got up. "You should be grateful - all you had was microwaveable mac n cheese."
"Yeah, but now I've got real food that needs real preparation!" Mike said, coming close to a whine.
"You can't cook pasta?"
"Of course I can! I just don't like cooking," Mike sighed as he got some pans out and measured out some pasta. "Now will you please let me torture myself in peace?"
"We have a firm social tomorrow night," Harvey told him, rolling his eyes as Mike poured out boiling water from his kettle into the pan and then dumped the pasta in, causing the water to splash out and onto the teen. "And you have to be there as my associate."
"And that means Donna thought I needed to go over ground rules."
"What?" Mike turned to ignore his pasta. "What rules? I've been to loads of firm socials."
"But now that we know your age, there are different rules."
"Oh my god," Mike rolled his eyes, deciding that his pasta made a better sight than his boss telling him what to do on his day off.
"So that means - I'll allow you one glass of champagne," Harvey told him. "And you stay in my sight."
"I'm not five!" Mike argued. "Stop doing this! Why are you doing this to me?"
"Because I don't want something stupid to happen that'll force your secret out," Harvey explained patiently, seeing how wound up Mike was. He waited a moment and Mike breathed out, looking down.
"Fine," he muttered. "But only because I know you're worrying over nothing, and you'll see that when I'm stupidly well behaved and you'll cut me some slack."
Harvey snorted. "Okay, kid. Look, Jessica already has enough on her plate with Hardman. Just don't let either of them find this out; because nothing I can say will stop you from being fired. Got it?"
"Got it. Can I eat now, Mom?"
Harvey rolled his eyes but left, although he shouted, just before the door shut, "Don't forget to wear a tux!"
Mike arrived at the firm social, thankfully without one of his babysitters, as they were both turning up at different times. He scanned the room and didn't see either Donna or Harvey, so he took the opportunity to grab three glasses of champagne. He walked over to Rachel, who raised an eyebrow.
"Why do you have three glasses?"
"Because one of them's for you," he told her, a smile on his face. She took it, raising it and he raised his, quickly downing it and putting the empty glass on a tray, just in time for Harvey to walk in.
The man had thankfully not seen it, and Mike was so relieved that Harvey was apparently not even acknowledging his existence. He took the opportunity to sneak another glass, causing Rachel to worry about his drinking.
"Are you okay?"
"That's your 3rd glass."
"Aren't we celebrating?"
"Not really. It's just a social. Has something happened?" She looked at him with concern and he felt his chest twinge slightly. But he knew he could never share either of the biggest secrets in his life with her. It just couldn't happen. "Well just take it easy, alright? Unless you want Louis snapping at your heels. He's already looking for someone to 'woo' Mrs. Astor."
Mike pulled a face. Mrs. Elizabeth Astor was a woman who had been invited to the social in the hopes that she would choose them as her law firm. And Mike knew that when Louis said 'woo', it wasn't a 'take them out for dinner' woo. It was either a 'get high with them' or 'have an affair'. And she didn't look the type to get high.
"I'll stay away from him," he replied, looking out for Donna or Harvey, now glad of his guardian angels. He knew that Donna, at least, would save him if Louis tried to get him with the 50 year old woman. Why couldn't Louis do it himself? He was old as well, right? Well, 36... That was old, right?
Mike closed his eyes as the man in question stood behind him, a sinister smile on his face. He turned slowly, still looking around to try and find one of his 'parents'.
"Mike, this is Mrs. Astor," Louis introduced the woman to him. He gave her a very bright yet fake smile and shook her hand. "She's been telling me how much she wants to learn about our firm and it's associates. I told her that it was best to get it from a young person's perspective."
She give a tinkling laugh. "Oh you're young too, Louis! I just think I should hear it from someone less..." She looked Mike up and down, making him extremely uncomfortable, "experienced."
Mike thought he could hear Rachel choke on her drink and put his hands behind his back, slowly flipping her off, pleased when she choked again.
"I'll leave you two crazy kids to it," Louis said, walking away and nodding at Jessica, as if she was the one to mastermind this scheme. Mike swallowed nervously but gave Mrs. Astor a small smile.
"So uh... what do you want to know?"
"I was wondering if you would give me a tour? That way we can be alone and won't be disturbed in our discussion."
Mike could hear alarm bells going off, and for the first time wished he wasn't yet 19, or even 18, and could quickly have her charged. Not that she knew his age. But he held out his arm weakly like a gentleman and took her to the offices.
Harvey had been purposefully ignoring Mike since he arrived. He searched for him in the crowd when he first got there, to check his suit - a very cheap rental - and also spied a glass of champagne in his hands. He assumed it was the first one, and tried to stop himself wondering and having the niggling thoughts about how much more Mike had drank. It wasn't like he wasn't mature enough and he could more than likely handle his drink - teenagers in Europe could drink at 18 after all, and Mike had no doubt been hungover quite a few times in his life.
So Harvey did his best no to keep looking over. It was because of this that he missed seeing Louis introduce Mike to their newest almost-client (who has been known to seduce men much younger than herself).
So he was confused when Louis came over to him, grinning.
"What are you so happy about? Finally found a suit your size in the sale bin at Target?"
"I think I just closed Mrs. Astor."
"Really?" Harvey was genuinely surprised. He was about to attempt it, and hadn't even seen Louis talking to the woman.
"Well, I couldn't have done it without a little help from Mike."
"What?" Harvey didn't think it likely that Mike would want anything to do with helping Louis.
"I just sent him and Mrs. Astor on a romantic walk through the offices. And you know she likes to... get to know the associates she works with."
Harvey stared at him, dumbfounded. Everyone had heard about Mrs. Astor - the last law firm she was with, she had an affair with a 28 year old associate. If this happened here, Mike could be fired. And damn it, Harvey was worried about the kid. Yes he was technically an adult, but he was only 19 and Harvey hated to patronise teenagers but still... he wasn't sure how Mike would react under duress from this woman.
"Donna," he said, the woman in question magically appearing beside him, "I'm going to find Mike. Keep Louis company and just inform him of your opinions on pimping Mike out to promiscuous clients."
Donna's face formed into shocked horror and she drew herself up to be taller and more threatening.
"He's a legal adult, Harvey, he can take care of himself!" Louis told his retreating back. Harvey clenched his fists to stop himself from turning around and snapping, saying that Mike wasn't a legal adult and that dammit, Harvey didn't want him getting mixed up with an older woman. He stopped himself but could almost feel a smirk on his face as he heard Donna muttering to Louis, causing him to fall silent.
He knew she wouldn't say anything to give away Mike's secret - it was in essence a bigger one than the Harvard one, because at least they could quickly cover it up and he could still continue to practise law - Harvey was certain he would manage that. But his age would quickly show that he hadn't been to Harvard; and that was proof too big for Harvey to cover.
He mulled this over as he prowled the darkened corridors, before hearing the sounds of a nervous teenager - Harvey could practically hear him biting his nails from the other end of the corridor.
"Mrs. Astor, you seem like a lovely woman, really, but I - "
"Really, I don't know what you mean, I just thought it would be nice to... get to know each other better."
Harvey winced on the kid's behalf. He upped his pace (he didn't know why they were talking so loudly; probably because Mike was praying they would be disturbed) and arrived to see the woman pretty much grabbing Mike's ass.
"Mike," he said; unsure of how to break it up, and hid a smirk as Mrs. Astor quickly leapt away and Mike seemed to almost melt in relief. "Mrs. Astor," Harvey went on to say. "I don't believe we've met. Harvey Specter - this is my associate, Mike Ross."
You know, the kid who you've just been trying to molest.
She gave a tinkling laugh. "I've heard about you, Mr. Specter. I'd be delighted to hear more about what you've got to offer me as a lawyer."
He swore she then looked him up and down approvingly. He shuddered, rubbing his arms slightly to pretend he was cold. "How about we go back to the party? It's warmer there."
She nodded and turned, walking away.
"Thank you," Mike murmured, rubbing what were no doubt clammy hands on his tux pants.
"Why didn't you push her away?" Harvey asked dangerously, glaring at the woman.
"Louis told me..."
"You do everything Louis says?"
"It was to get a client, Harvey."
"And next time he tries to make you do something you're uncomfortable with to get a client?"
"I'll come to you," Mike said, almost resignedly.
"You said that after you smoked pot with Tom Keller," Harvey reminded him.
"I'm sorry, Harvey."
"No, Mike," Harvey said, hoping that Mrs. Astor was out of earshot as he was getting agitated and wanted to straighten Mike out once and for all. "Look - you're 19 - "
"As you keep telling me," Mike muttered.
"And it's my responsibility," Harvey continued, pretending not to have heard him, "to make sure you don't do anything stupid. Donna's going to deal with Louis. But for now, you just follow me for the rest of the night, because apparently I can't trust you to act like a grown up. And then afterwards, we're going back to mine - consider yourself grounded."
"But, Harvey!" Mike whined slightly. "I'm the one who's going to be scarred for life after this!"
"I'm sure Donna will have a thing or two to say to Mrs. Astor afterwards," Harvey assured him. "But until then, just stay behind me and keep your mouth shut. Got it?" Mike nodded glumly, avoiding people's eyes as they walked back and looking every bit the recalcitrant child who has just been firmly told off. Donna quickly came over after seeing them walk in and gave him some secret mothering before listening to what happened.
Mike turned his back as she stormed over to Mrs. Astor.
The night ended with Harvey pushing a drunken teen into a taxi and going back to his place. Mike had continuously sneaked champagne when he knew Donna and Harvey weren't looking. He wouldn't have done it otherwise, but having been giving a telling off, he felt like he should rebel just so he felt justified in getting told off.
So now he was sitting in the back of a taxi, his head lolling on Harvey's shoulder, mumbling about not much in particular, apart from when they got up to his apartment, and Harvey was treated to an almost hour long tirade on the pros and cons of human flight.
"Okay, Earheart, that's enough from you," Harvey told him, tipping him onto the couch. "Go to sleep."
"Aye, Cap'n," Mike dozed off just at the end of his words, causing Harvey to sigh in relief and feel like he could go to bed without worrying about the kid choking on his own vomit.
Although he left a trash can next to the teen - just in case.
"Harvey, you need to... come here!"
Harvey blinked, looking down at his phone in confusion before putting it back to his ear. "Do I? And why is that?"
When they had woken up that morning, Harvey had taken Mike back to his own apartment (still in the wrinkled tux he passed out in) and given him strict instructions to have a shower, eat something, drink some water, take some painkillers, and come in just after twelve.
Not that he cared. He just didn't want a brain dead associate.
"Mike?" He prompted, after only hearing harsh breathing down the phone. "Why do I need to come to yours?"
"Because you... tidied my... place!"
"I did. You're welcome."
"You moved something... important, I need to... know where... it is!"
Why was the kid sounding so out of breath?
"If this was weed - "
"Or porn - "
"What, Mike? I'm a little busy."
"My inhaler - where is it? I need it - now."
Harvey sat up straight. "Mike, you didn't tell me you use an inhaler."
"I don't... usually but I... I need it... where is it?" He sounded like he was panicking more and more.
"Calm down, Mike - I'm going to come over, and I'll get Donna to grab a new one and meet us at yours, okay?" He said calmly, although he was freaking out slightly. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Donna already leaving and he was quickly shutting his laptop and grabbing files to take with him as he talked. "We'll be there soon. Okay?"
"You don't... you don't... need to, I just need..."
"Mike we're coming over. Just keep breathing deep breaths, okay? In and out slowly. You got that?"
"You'll be fine, Mike. I'll be there in a minute."
He put the phone down and looked out of his office, not surprised to see she had already left. He called his car round and waited impatiently inside it, tapping his knees with nerves.
As soon as he got up to Mike's place, he didn't bother knocking, instead he just opened the door, finding the kid kneeling down by his couch, struggling in vain to breathe evenly.
"Okay," Harvey said, kneeling beside him and placing a hand on his back. "You're okay... Donna's on her way with a new inhaler..."
"But I..." He gasped for a breath. "Where's mine?"
Harvey rolled his eyes. "I don't know - I don't remember seeing one in here when we came by. Just focus on breathing, alright?" Mike made a strangled sound but nodded, squeezing his eyes shut, cheeks inflaming as tears fell from beneath his eyelids. Harvey panicked slightly. What does one do with a crying teenager?
"Can't... breathe!" Mike gasped, holding out a hand blindly until he managed to find Harvey's shirt to cling onto.
"Yes you can," Harvey said, trying to keep a calm voice. "Follow what I do, okay?" He breathed in deeply, loudly. Mike took in a shuddering breath before it coming out in pants instead. "C'mon, kiddo - you can do this. Copy what I do." He tried again, and was still met with less than success.
All he could really do was rub Mike's back and - although he would deny it later - wipe away the tears that had worked their way out in exhaustion. Mike seemed to have calmed, but his breathing was still off, and Harvey was contemplating picking the kid up and running to the hospital before the door opened.
"Where have you been?" Harvey snapped as Donna rushed in, taking a new inhaler out from her purse.
"It's harder than you'd think to get to the front of a queue in a drug store at peak time!" She scolded him, before dropping down to her knees on the other side of Mike. "Mike, open your eyes," she said in what could be construed as a 'coo'. "Come on." He looked at her with bloodshot eyes. "That's right," she nodded, shaking the inhaler and putting it to his lips. "Ready?"
He nodded and she pressed down on the top, watching as he breathed in, trying desperately to hold the medicine in his throat for a while. He quickly breathed out again, however, panting.
"One more," Donna promised him, doing the same thing again.
Harvey kept up rubbing the kid's back, feeling himself relax as the muscles didn't seem to contract as much, and Mike just sounded as if he'd ran up at least 5 flights of stairs. This was an improvement from sounding like he'd just tried to do a triathlon in 10 minutes.
"That's it..." Donna cooed. "You're doing so well..."
"Thanks," Mike said hoarsely, his head dipping with tiredness. "Sorry," he added. "This wasn't exactly how I thought today would turn out..."
"Why didn't you tell us you needed an inhaler?" Donna asked, as Harvey stayed silent, not moving his hand from Mike's back.
"Never thought I would have to," Mike replied, slowly straightening up and pulling himself onto his couch, wincing slightly and rubbing at his chest. "It's in any medical records the firm has. I don't usually need it."
"What started it?" Harvey questioned, almost startling Mike since the older man had been silent for so long.
"I don't know," Mike murmured. "It just... started. You obviously didn't dust very well when you cleaned." Harvey raised an eyebrow and Mike's grin soon slid off his face. "Sorry. And uh... thanks."
Donna nodded, pulling his upper arm. "Come on," she decided. "You should sleep."
"It's 11:30am," he said, confused - although he didn't try to stop her from taking him to his bed.
"And you need sleep."
"Okay, Mom," he teased slightly, but as soon as his head hit the pillow he was out for the count. Harvey and Donna glanced at each other, before Donna pulled the covers over him, effectively tucking him in.
"What do we do with him?" Donna asked, frowning. "I want to stop him from working - he can't look after himself, he's too young."
"He's fine, Donna," Harvey told her. "I don't really like it either, but he needs this job. And you can't tell me you wouldn't have cared so much if he hadn't told us his age."
"Well he did," she almost snapped. They were in silence for a moment before Mike started mumbling in his sleep, and Donna quickly started to run her fingers through his hair, catching Harvey's stare from the corner of her eye. "Okay," she conceded. "I get it. But don't think I haven't seen you worrying too." Harvey raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything.
Mike suddenly mumbled something along the lines of; "Harvey, tell them; keep me safe..." which quickly fell into nonsensical mutterings. Donna looked up at Harvey, as if to say, 'see?'
He rolled his eyes but sat on the bed, the kid's inhaler in hand (just in case).
"I will, Mike."
A/N So uh... yeah. Hope you enjoyed whatever just happened and yeah - happy belated birthday to Rae7788 :)