Notes: This is my first contribution to Suits fandom. I've written this part a while back, but never got around to post it. This story, with my outlines right now, will be long, and I'll try my best to finish this within a reasonable amount of time. So, enjoy the first chapter!~ :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, sadly.
Part One - Harvey
Chapter 1: The Beginning of an End
The sun had yet to reappear. It had been days, maybe weeks, since he had last seen some sunlight. He did not particularly care about it anymore, though it was an annoyance for it was becoming difficult to distinguish day from night. Not that it really mattered. Time was obsolete, but he wanted to maintain as much normalcy as he could in this newly collapsed world.
Kicking a few pebbles with his left foot, he watched as they skidded across the deserted road and bounced backward when they hit a toppled trash can. A few sharp, clinking noises echoed in the thickened air. He winced. That was unintended. His ears were used to the horrid stillness, which had blanketed the city after the initial shock was over, that such sudden noises startled him .
If his memory was correct, then it had been almost two months since Day Zero, as they had come to call it. Day Zero - the beginning of an end. An unexpected end, but an end nevertheless. It all happened too quickly for his liking. He was unprepared. Not that he was the only one. The rest of the world did not know what was about to come. Even now, months afterward, he was still a bit unsure of what exactly had happened. All he knew was that the world had changed, drastically, for the worse.
The weather had remained perpetually cold ever since Day Zero. He could see his breath materialized into puff of icy smoke, and he craved the familiar warmth of a burning cigarette on his lips, if he could only afford it. One advantage of living in this New World, if anyone would even call it that, was that one must give up on such bad habits like smoking. Cigarettes were a rare commodity to the point that they had become a sort of currency. Anything edible was currency, really. Especially clean water.
How utterly and bitterly ironic. Just a couple of months ago, he was a wealthy bachelor with a luxurious apartment and a chauffeur. He was Harvey Specter - the best closer of New York City. Now, he couldn't even afford a cigarette. His money would have no meaning in this world; at best, it could be used as fuel to keep the fire going. A small huff of a laugh passed his lips at the thought, curving his mouth into a lopsided U. The movement cracked his dried lips. The smile was replaced by a disgusted grunt.
Turning around, he headed back inside the house. It was a small townhouse in Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River, and directly across from Jersey City. Behind him, the fallen cityscape imprinted itself onto the thick veil of fog that was hovering about the water's surface, like a ghost of a distant past. The house had been raided before. Most of the cabinets' doors in the kitchen were hanging opened, showcased their emptied shelves. There were a few bottles of water in a small storage tucked neatly under the stairs leading down to the basement. It was a wonderful find. The other upside of this house was that its doors were still relatively intact, promising a bit of security. In all honesty, Harvey did not think they could stand a chance if another storm passed by. This false sense of security was only for the benefits of his companions: his ex-secretary - a feisty red-haired Donna, and a five-year-old kid named Mike.
Donna was the closest to a friend he had. Ever since his law career started in the DA's office, she had been there with him. That was probably more than a decade ago. Had it really been that long? She was there through the ups and downs of his career. Well, if it wasn't because of her, he wouldn't made it to senior partner at Pearson Hardman. Things changed over the years, but Donna remained the constant variable. Without him realizing, she had slowly become a part of his very own existence that the thought of leaving her behind, no matter how difficult things were, had never crossed his mind. And so, on the eve of the End of the World, he had rushed to her apartment with all his strength, even if it was to share the last moments with her.
Mike, on the other hand, had been entirely an accident. He insisted it was by accident that the kid got to tag along with him and Donna. An accident. The kid was an orphan, much like half of the lucky (or more accurately: unfortunate) children who outlived their families. There were not much in the future for them. He felt a stab of pity for Mike; the kid had shown much potential with his eidetic memory, and an actual brain to process the information he could memorize. Growing up in this world would be the cruelest thing for a child of his age. Harvey had absolutely no idea how Mike managed to survive the weeks following Day Zero all on his own. When he and Donna found Mike, the kid was hiding under his blanket and curled into a ball with his teddy bear in the basement of his grandmother's house, looking quite pale and very skinny. Donna, and her maternal instinct, insisted that they took the kid along with them. He knew leaving Mike behind would equal to sentencing the kid to death, but frankly, what were his chances of survival? A mere five-year-old who still required looking after in an ideal world, let alone in this mess. Nevertheless, he couldn't bring himself to actually leave the kid behind, despite his outward protests.
So here they were, bundled together under a thick, albeit small, blanket he found discarded in a bedroom upstairs. Harvey's only coat draped over it, adding an extra layer of warmth. Though it was mid summer, the temperature had dropped significantly since the sun had been covered up by thickening dark clouds and fog. It was probably around mid-thirties outside right now.
Harvey stood at the threshold, flexing his figures to encourage more blood flow, and looked at how peaceful Donna and Mike were when they were asleep. Donna with her fiery red hair tangled and fanned around her head, resting an arm across Mike's small torso, hugging him close. The kid snuggled into Donna's embrace, his head tilted slightly to the side and his mouth hanging open, drooling. Mike's other arm wrapped tightly around his beloved, extremely tattered, teddy bear named Bunny. Apparently, Mike wanted a bunny but his dad thought a bear would be more "manly"; to retaliate, the kid had named the bear "Bunny". When Harvey heard this story from Mike, he couldn't help but laugh a little.
He tiptoed carefully into the room. The thick layer of dust managed to soften his footsteps just enough to not disturb the sleeping forms on the couch a few feet away.
They were forced to settle down in the living room since the bedrooms upstair were in ruins. The first morning when they got here, Harvey had ventured upstairs to make sure there were no unwanted guests. What he came across was similar to a scene from one of those cheap horror movies his brother used to be fond of.
The tattered bed sheets in the smaller bedroom were covered with large dark stains that looked suspiciously like blood, the furnitures were turned over and broken. He found a rather clean blanket shoved in a corner of the closet. Folded it neatly under his arms, Harvey went back out. He had already started to feel a bit nauseated from the possibly-bloody mess on the bed. To his dismay, there were dark lines trickled down the hallway and on the walls between the rooms, suggesting a variety of scenarios, none of which was rated PG. Harvey followed the trail toward the master suite. Through the opened door, he caught a glimpse into the dark room. A rusted knife lie in a corner next to the door and caked with something akin to rotten flesh caught his eye. Beside it, lying on top of the toppled dresser, was a bundle of wilted intestines. There were streak of dried blood spreading around it like a spider's legs. Harvey let out a shuddering breath and leaned against the door frame to support his suddenly wobbly legs. He managed to shut the door as he turned around without looking at the other dark corners of the room, afraid of what he might find.
He remembered giving Donna an uneasy glance when he got back downstairs and told her that they should camp out in the living room instead, handed her the blanket he found. Donna understood the words left unspoken for Mike's benefits.
Just about a week ago, the trio had stumbled across the splattered remains of a little girl about Mike's age when they passed by the ruins of a post office. What was left of her white dress was stained with her own blood, dried and dark. There were not much left of her body but a muddy mess for her torso, a few broken limbs (which sported spectacular bite marks), a few traces of curly blond hair scattered about, and probably an eyeball (though Harvey didn't dare to look too carefully at it). The ghastly sight sent him reeling to the sidewalk, grabbing onto a tilted light pole and wretched the meager contents of his stomach out. Donna saw the gruesome sight and had shielded Mike from it. She felt sick herself and had to hold onto Mike's shoulders to stable her weakened legs while swallowing the lump that threatened to rise up in her throat.
After regaining his composure, he turned around and firmly but gently pulled Donna and Mike away from it. Neither of them had spoken a word about it since. Mike didn't ask what it was that he wasn't suppose to see. The kid knew enough not to ask. Civilization was long gone just after two months of chaos. What would happen another few months from now? Harvey didn't want to find out.
They didn't have much choice when it came to picking a shelter. This townhouse with its own crime scene was the best option they had in the entire neighborhood, and it was getting darker under the curtain of fog and who knows what else. Plus, Mike was worn out from walking all day. Donna didn't look too good either. He was sure he looked just as battered himself, but he couldn't let it show. He needed to keep them safe. He needed to be strong.
After securing the front door with a makeshift lock and made sure all front windows were covered, except a side window for air circulation, Harvey walked over to the tin can sitting near the other end of the couch in which they had lit a fire. The flame had reduced to a fluster of sparks and a bit of smoke. Well, if there were one thing they had plenty of, it was wood. Harvey fetched a few pieces of a broken cabinet door from the kitchen down the hallway, and threw them into the tin can along with a newly lit match. The fire licked and slowly devoured the wood.
Satisfied, he sat down on an armchair opposite of the couch, looking at the growing flame. He could feel the warmth radiating from it. They would need to move soon, and they needed to replenish their supplies. There was still enough water for a few days, but Mike and Donna needed to eat solid food, anything other than expired beef jerky and dry instant noodles scavenged from a convenience store.
Harvey felt his eyelids began to droop. He hadn't slept well since they came across that gruesome sight at the post office. The image of the little girl being butchered haunted his dreams. On a few occasions, it was Mike who lied lifelessly in a pool of his own blood with his internal organs being pulled out of him. The screams would echoed in Harvey ears even after he had woken up, sweating and crying. Donna noticed his uneasiness; she had a few nightmares herself, which was why she had hugged Mike closer while they were sleeping (the kid seemed to like it). Harvey, she knew, was not the sentimental type; he did not endorse outward displays of emotions. Harvey Specter did not do caring, or so he used to say. Donna tried to talk to him about it. Harvey waved it off every time. He was not about to admit to Donna that he had cried over Mike. He had a reputation to uphold, even in this leftover of a world.
He hadn't thought of such desperate measures to be taken by other survivors. The very idea of murdering another human being sickened him, let alone eating the body. He had heard of other cases of cannibalism but that was before, when law and orders still governed the world, and the accused cannibals were captured. Back then, they didn't have to constantly worrying about being eaten. His list of priorities was short, and definitely didn't include "Watch out for cannibals". Unsurprisingly, his top priority now was to keep Donna and Mike safe.
Things have changed quite a bit, haven't they, Harvey mused. Slowly and against his will, his eyelids sagged completely, sending him off to a restless sleep.
"Harvey Reginald Specter, climb down here right now!" His mother was standing next to the swing hanging near the foot of the tree, looking up at the seven-year-old Harvey who was dangling his feet from the highest branch (looking quite smug with himself).
"Harvey, James and his daughters are on their way. I want you to go change into the suit I left on your bed now!" His mother yelled. Her face contorted into an ugly mess of angry lines.
"I don't want to meet them," Harvey replied with all the hatred he could infuse into the sentence.
"Soon, we will move in with them! And you can't stay up there forever," she said. The thought of moving in with James softened her features a little. "Harvey, honey, please."
He hated when his mother used that tone of voice. James was her lover, Harvey didn't have to like him, and most definitely did not have to treat him like his father. No, his father died two years ago. This man, James, could not replace him. No one could.
Harvey sat there, pondering the thought of living with James and his equally hateful daughters when the doorbell rang. His mother gave him one last warning glance before heading back inside through the back door. His grasp on the branch tightened as he heard footsteps coming back toward him. There were more voices. The high-pitched giggles must be from James' daughters. Already being so annoying.
"Hello there, little fella," James emerged from the back door and occupied the exact spot under the tree that Harvey's mother had vacated. His voice was deep and hoarse that didn't match up with his slim physique. "You might want to climb down here. I have a gift for you in the house," he said and gestured toward the door.
Harvey smirked. Old tricks. He wouldn't fall for it. "I'm not going back in until you leave!" He yelled, ignoring the piercing glances James' daughters were directing at him. They were both older than Harvey; Anne-Marie was twelve and Victoria was ten. They didn't intimidate him at all. They were definitely taller than he was, but hey, he was the tallest of his class. They were just older. That was all.
"Are you sure you don't want to find out what's inside?" James asked. His voice deeper - a hint of patience running thin.
"Harvey, please, get down here now!" His mother hissed. Her eyebrows stitched together and her forehead scrunched up.
He knew what that expression entailed too well. But no, he would not move an inch from this branch. Looking away from his mother, he noticed the irritation that had appeared on James' face. Harvey smiled victoriously. His soon-to-be stepsisters were standing next to their father, quickly losing interest in Harvey.
"Steph, let's go inside," James placed his left hand on her back, steering her toward the door. "Let's see how long he could stay there." He ushered his daughters to go ahead; the girls gladly obeyed.
"If he wants to stay up there, let him. He needs to learn the consequences of his actions," James said, all the while staring at Harvey. For the first time, Harvey noticed James' pale blue eyes - cold and determined.
His mother surprised him by nodding at James and walked back inside, leaving Harvey by himself (though she did glance back at him before stepping onto the threshold and vanish into the kitchen). She had never done that before.
Fear gripped through Harvey.
It wasn't the fact that the night was approaching and a monster could catch him. But it was the fact that his mother had just... abandoned him.
So Harvey Specter stayed where he was - dangling on the tree, all by himself until the late hours of the night when James and his daughters had left.
"Harvey!" A pair of small hands shook his shoulders slightly. "Harvey! Wake up!"
He jolted awake, struggling a bit to blink his eyes clear and readjust to the complete darkness around him; the fire had been put out. "Mike? What's wrong?" Alerted by the whimpering kid hanging onto his arm, Harvey sat up and grabbed the knife at the foot of the armchair. "Donna?" He called out softly into the suffocating darkness.
"I'm here," Donna's voice echoed from somewhere in front of Harvey.
"What's going on?" By this point, Mike had climbed onto Harvey's lap and buried his head into the man's chest; the kid was still shivering. Harvey tightened his grip on Mike while trying not to accidentally stab the kid with the knife he was holding in his free hand.
Before Donna could answer, there were heavy footsteps outside the house. Immediately, Harvey urged Mike to stand up. "Donna! Come over here," he whispered urgently. He heard Donna's muffled footsteps heading toward his direction, and he reached out his hand, waving it wildly around in search for her. "I'm here!"
The cold skin of Donna's hand found his; Harvey pulled her and Mike around the armchair, heading toward the general direction of the hallway. Donna understood his intention and was tracing her hand along the wall, searching for the door frame that led to the dining room or the kitchen, anywhere they could hide from the intruders. It was Harvey who pulled Donna away from her search. He had found the storage room to their left. The three hurried into the room; as the room's door closed, the front door was kicked opened. Harvey let out a relief sigh as he ushered Mike and Donna behind what felt like a stack of cardboard boxes.
"Are you sure you saw someone here?" A deep voice boomed through the house.
"Of course I'm sure," another voice, calmer and a bit squeaky, answered.
"Oh there was a fire," a third voice chimed in. "It is still warm. There are bags and clothes here too. They must still be close by."
Harvey's heart was about to jump out of his chest. They did not know who these men were and what they could do. What if they were... cannibals looking for their next meal? If it was difficult to judge human nature when the world was still intact, then it would be impossible to do such thing now. He silently berated himself for over slept; if only he had stayed up to guard, he would have spotted these strangers and they would have been out of the house by now.
"Let's take a look around here, see if we can find some supplies," the first voice commanded.
"But Jeff, we have been wandering around for hours. The others might..."
"One more word from you, Adam, and I swear I will rip that tongue of yours out!" The man named Jeff shouted.
That threat was enough for Harvey to decide not to come in contact with these men. Unconsciously, he tightened his arm around Mike. The kid was still shivering. Harvey rubbed soothing circles on Mike's back, trying to ease the fear away.
"George, you go check the back. James, go upstairs," Jeff barked his orders at the other men, who hurried off without comments.
There were footsteps coming down the hallway, toward the storage room. Must be George. Harvey felt Donna stiffen next to him. Luckily, the man called George decided to inspect the kitchen first for the trio heard him yelled out, "Emptied! Looks like a war in here."
"Of course, you idiot. It's the freaking apocalypse!" Jeff shouted back his reply. "Look for the storage, see if you can anything useful, and that does not include stacks of Hustler! Though that would be nice too!" He let out a hearty laugh.
Donna flinched at the words. Harvey could practically feel her glaring at the door toward the living room. "Disgusting!" She hissed.
But before George could find the storage room, there were a series of hurried footsteps running down the stairway. "Let's get out of here!" James said shakingly. He must have discovered the scene in the bedrooms. Harvey smirked.
"What's with ya?" Jeff's voice echoed down the hallway.
"Your face is white as a sheet. What's going on?" George re-entered the living room; Harvey let out a breath of relief.
"Upstairs...can..." James stuttered. The poor man sounded like he was about to faint.
"For god's sake can what?" Jeff was losing his patience.
"Can...cannibals...they were here!" Finally, the words escaped James' throat in a horror-stricken voice. "I saw...Blood, there is so much blood. And remains..." His voice croaked and faded away, leaving the room in silence.
"Let's get out of here. There is nothing salvageable in the kitchen," George was the first to speak. "They might still be here."
Harvey was glad that these men were not cannibals, but they did not necessary sound pleasant either.
"Yeah, let's go, Jeff!" James pleaded.
"Fine," Jeff said. He had seen the traces left behind by the cannibals far too many times to forget.
[Reviews are very much appreciated. Thank you! :)]