There was nothing remarkable about that Thursday. Spring was still being held under the heavy thumb of winter, who insisted on dropping five more inches of snow in April. But still, the sun managed to peek through the clouds and bounce off the bright white snow. In no time at all it would turn to gray sludge, then melt.
It was around lunchtime, well, for the firm anyway. A typical lunch usually happened at 1 or 2, and a fair amount of workers had left the floor in search of sustenance. But not the dream team…
Gathered in Jessica's office was Mike, Harvey, Louis and Scottie; and Jessica of course. Somewhere along the line, Louis and Scottie decided to go at each other's throats, using their respective cases and whatever spare mental capacity they had to drop bombs on one another.
Mike and Harvey were just casualties, about to leave Jessica's office when Louis came rumbling into Jessica's office, Scottie in tow. When the verbal mudslinging began, Harvey and Mike stood to leave, but Jessica requested they stay to give their opinions as an unbiased third party. Which was bullshit since Harvey was banging Scottie. But then again, that's exactly what Jessica wanted, to see if Harvey could be impartial.
Their backs were all to the glass, save for Jessica's, which is why she was the first to notice the man in the hallway who was out of place. Her eyes were wide, mouth parted in anticipation, when the man burst into her office. "What the hell…" she started, but stopped…dead in her tracks as she watched the man pull a gun out of his jacket.
By now, all eyes were on the intruder, a charged silence hung in the air. Security guards and cops poured out of the elevators and into the hallway.
The man was sweating but held a steady hand. He glanced quickly at the hall and then at the occupants of the room. "You," he waved the mat black gun at Mike, "walk towards me." Mumbles of protest rose out of the lawyers, only to be silenced by the man. "Fucking walk towards me, NOW!" he screamed.
Mike gave a passing glance at Harvey as he strode in front of him, and towards the man, who reached an arm out to snap Mike up. He spun Mike around, keeping the lawyer in front of him, and backed himself into a corner.
A heavy arm pressed tightly into Mike's neck. Louis looked like he was about to piss himself, Scottie's expression was drenched in shock, and Harvey struggled to maintain his composure.
"And who the fuck are you?" Jessica asked cooly, with an undertone of annoyance. The man smiled, he chuckled, Mike could feel his chest move against his back. "I knew you wouldn't remember me," the man said, shaking his head.
Mike's wide blue eyes bore holes into Harvey's, they wouldn't leave his mentor's face. But he blinked tight when he felt the cold press of metal nestling against a patch of his soft blonde hair. "I'm your worst fuckin' nightmare. But most people just call me Bruce. Bruce Tyler."
The man was panting. He had on a worn grey suit, had sharp spiked black hair and empty grey eyes. For a moment his shifting eyes swept the hallway, making sure that no one could hit him, without hitting Mike, but that didn't even matter, the angles were in his favor.
"And what is it you want Bruce Tyler?" Scottie asked, genuinely, politely. Still, Harvey threw her a cross look for even opening her mouth in such a dangerous situation. But the man just smiled, and looked back at Jessica.
"You buried me in a legal suit a decade ago. Accused me of fraud. Ruined my life."
"So this is some vendetta?" Jessica asked. "If it has to do with my firm, you should take it up with me, and let Mike go," she gestured towards Mike who's face was sick with panic.
"It's not just about your firm, you bitch," Bruce seethed, moving his arm, gripping Mike's neck and squeezing.
Louis must've been looking at the door a little too much, because Bruce said "move, and I blow his brains out."
"Mmmy apologies," Louis stammered, shuffling back towards Jessica. "This is just a lot to handle for a man who just had a heart attack."
"Well cry me a river, Justin Timberlake," Bruce cackled. "Maybe if your boss there didn't get me wrongfully convicted, none of us would be here!" he yelled. His booming voice was deafening in Mike's ears, and he was struggling to breathe beneath the sweaty hand of his captor - his face began turning red.
"I know all of you so damn well," the man grinned, shaking his head, gun still digging into Mike's fine hair. "You put me away for twelve years…my own son doesn't know who I am…my wife left me….all because of you," he looked at Jessica, "and you," he looked at Harvey, "who bent the rules so that you could put another "win" down in your books."
No one said a thing.
"And the cherry on top…? The cherry on top was when you led the suit against my family's own business. As if it's not bad enough I can't get work ANYWHERE, you team up with that scum bag who is discrediting and dismantling businesses so that he can get the real estate when they go under!"
Bruce let Mike's throat go, but kneed him, so that Mike fell to the ground. Then he pistol whipped him in the back of the head. He was on his hands and knees, staring at the carpet, which now spun in his vision.
Harvey took a step forward.
"Ah…ah…ah…" Bruce said, pushing the gun into the back of Mike's skull.
"You were the worst of all Harvey Specter. I even came to court to testify for my family's business, and you STILL didn't recognize me. It's as if I never existed, as if you don't even REALIZE what you've DONE!"
"So punish me," Harvey said, hands motioning to himself.
"Oh, but I am…" the man said, pistol whipping Mike again.
Scottie looked to the hallway for help, but no sniper could get to Bruce at this angle. She stared at her boyfriend in horror at what he had just said. She couldn't even believe that she'd wasted the past two weeks being mad at Harvey…how stupid.
"After that court case, after my family lost their business, I began to study you all…very closely. And for the longest time I couldn't figure out what I could do that could get to you. I mean…my life's already over, what've I got to lose? Nothing! But you…you who doesn't care about anything…what could you lose?" he asked, staring at Harvey with death in his eyes.
Mike gasped, his neck was red, a fresh handprint still indelible in his flesh. His head rang, and blood dripped out of his right ear. Then he felt a sharp tug on his hair, and again, he looked up at Harvey.
Never in his entire life had Harvey Specter felt so fucking helpless.
"The more I learned about you all…the more I realized that Mike was the key. He's the smartest fucking person here, and even more important than that…you care about him Harvey," Bruce said, head twisted, the word "care" strung out in disbelief.
"And even better…he cared about you! I watched him you know…during that time when you wanted nothing to do with him, when he almost became Louis' lackey instead of yours. He stopped eating, barely slept, started using again…what a pathetic little fuck," he mocked.
In an instant he yanked Mike up by the shoulder and spun him, before he could stand, just far enough around to get a punch in. Again, Harvey stepped forward, but the gun was back on Mike, whose face was now bleeding.
"You know what this kid wants more than this stupid job?"
"No…what?" Harvey asked.
Tears began to form in Mike's eyes, but not from the pain. Harvey looked at Mike with some emotion that Mike had never seen before - couldn't make out.
"And the fact that you risked EVERYTHING FOR HIM, the fact that you keep his secret, and he keeps yours…is EVERYTHING. HE is what I can take away from you. HE is how I can make you suffer for the rest of your life."
"Don't do this," Harvey's visage cracked. A tear rolled down his face.
"Too late. It's either one of you," he waved the gun at Jessica then Harvey, "or it's him. I'll let him decide," he pulled Mike to his feet.
Mike could hear his own heartbeat in his ears, his head screamed in pain and his legs felt like they were made of jelly. It was like his blood had become ice water, struggling to make it to his heart.
"What do you mean, you'll let me decide?" Mike croaked, his throat burning.
"Ahh…the fun part," Bruce said sadistically. "I really have nothing against you Mikey, I hope you know that."
Harvey's face was tormented, he looked to the hall for help, but the calvary couldn't get a clear shot. He took a moment to look around the room. At the lawyer who had for so long been his enemy, and for what? At the girlfriend he had just begun to fall for. At the boss who believed in him, made his dreams a reality and weathered the storms with him. And Mike…Mike…was beyond words…
"There are only so many live rounds in this gun," Bruce said, waving it slightly. "I'm going to pull the trigger three times, and one of those times, a bullet will be fired, killing either you Harvey, Jessica, or Mike."
"Why would you do this…" Jessica said so low that it was almost inaudible. "I'M DOING THIS SO THAT WHEN YOU WALK INTO THIS ROOM, FOR THE REST OF YOUR CAREER, THERE WILL BE A BLOODSTAIN ON THE GROUND THAT YOU CAUSED! A LIFE TAKEN IN EXCHANGE FOR MINE!" Bruce shook.
Louis was trying to steady his breathing, he looked over at Scottie who looked back at him. She reached over and took his hand.
Bruce cleared his throat and spoke in a growl. "I'm doing this because no matter which one of you gets the bullet, EVERYONE WILL SUFFER."
"So who is it Mike... you? Or Jessica?"
It was hard to breathe, hard to think, but it wasn't a hard decision.
Mike just stared at Harvey, and blinked at him slowly, like an apology. The gun was on Jessica.
"Me," he barely got out before the gun turned back towards him and he heard it click. He nearly jumped out of his skin, tears ran down his face.
"What a noble man…" Bruce said to Jessica, who was now visibly shaking. "You clearly don't deserve him."
"Stop this," Harvey said. "It's not too late…you don't have to do this."
Bruce just smiled. "That's what the great Harvey Specter has to say huh? Don't do it! What happened to the all-powerful persuader, New York's best closer? And that's all you've got?"
Mike was standing, waiting, trying to focus on something other than Harvey's face, but he just couldn't…Harvey was all he could see…all he wanted to see. He could drown in those warm brown eyes, and he'd willingly go.
"The question remains Mike…what'll it be?"
Mike's once blue eyes were blown black with panic, but there was a stillness beneath the fear, a level of acceptance. He knew that this could very well be the last decision he'd ever make. And there was no doubt in his mind about what he should do…about how he would answer.
The gun was pointed at Harvey.
"Me," Mike said, the gun turning back to him...