Mike’s been working there for two weeks when Harvey begins to realise something’s not quite right. It starts with the phone calls. Mike gets a lot of phone calls that he doesn’t answer. Harvey doesn’t think much of it; he’s just glad the kid realises where his priorities lie. As long as the phone calls remain unanswered, Harvey doesn’t give a damn who it is.
Then he’s walking back to the office one lunch time, hot dog in hand, and notices him outside the office, leant with one hand against the wall, his head down and shoulders hunched. He looks… subdued. Like someone kicked his grandmother. It makes Harvey pause. Mike Ross is a lot of things, but subdued isn’t one of them.
He heads for him. He isn’t worried, but it won’t do to have him distracted whilst they’re in the middle of a case. But as he approaches he realises Mike is actually in the middle of a phone call. He doesn’t intend to eavesdrop, but he’s already within hearing range and… well, Harvey’s not one to pass up a perfectly good opportunity.
“-- you were the one who wanted me to get a proper job… and now Trevor’s gone, why are you -- I’m not -- Chris, please --” He sighed heavily. “Yes. I’ll try -- Chris, don’t… Look I’ll do my best. I’m a lawyer, not a waiter; my hours --” He lifts his head then, catches sight of Harvey and straightens up. “I’ve got to go. I’m sorry, I’ll see you later.”
He hangs up and swaggers over, his usual cocky expression back in place as he digs out a folder from his bag. “Hey, so I looked through those files. I didn’t find anything in the contract but I did find something interesting in the financials.”
Harvey eats the last of his hot dog, wipes his hands off, and takes the file, flipping it open and looking over the papers inside. It shows several large payments that don’t help their case at all -- hinder it, in fact -- and leave Harvey wondering why the kid looks so smug.
“This is bad. When this comes out in court --”
“Yeah, about that. I actually have an idea…”
* * *
He notices the bruises a few weeks later. Harvey walks into the men’s room to find Mike half undressed in the process of changing suits, apparently having been caught in the morning’s downpour. He’s just pulling on fresh pants when Harvey comes in, but hasn’t yet put a new shirt on. It’s impossible to miss the line of bruises along his hip and side. It looks like someone took a baseball bat to him.
“You challenge Mike Tyson to a knock out round?”
Mike looks up, his surprised gaze meeting Harvey’s inquisitive one in the mirror before he hurriedly grabs his shirt.
“Oh, it’s nothing.”
“Doesn’t look like nothing.”
White fabric slides over the purple skin, hiding it from view. “It’s fine, really,” Mike insists, tucking the shirt into his pants. “Are we ready for court?”
Harvey scoffs. “Of course we’re ready for court. Just make sure you’re ready. I don’t want you showing up looking like a drowned rat.”
* * *
After that there doesn’t seem to be a day when Mike isn’t bruised -- on his wrists, just below his shirt collar, and again along his hips, visible when he reaches for a book on the library’s top shelf and his shirt comes loose. Either that or Harvey’s only just noticing them, and he doesn’t like that idea. He reads people and it pisses him off to consider the possibility that he hasn’t been able to read the pain that Mike seems to carry around with him.
It’s obvious in the little things -- stiffening up when someone brushes by him, a clenched jaw and hitched breath when Harvey pats his shoulder, a hesitant pause before sitting down and a distinct stiffness when he is seated. But he never says anything, never complains, and if someone does say something he brushes them off with that little grin that Harvey absolutely completely definitely does not find adorable.
It’s not until one night when they’re working late, trying to find a loophole in the contract of a top publishing house, that Harvey starts putting things together. Their cell phones sit on the table amidst the files and folders. Mike’s rings and Harvey glances at it, seeing the name Chris flash on the screen before Mike snatches it up and hits the ignore button.
“You can answer that,” Harvey tells him.
Harvey shrugs. “It’s after hours and we’ve been at this for way too long. Take a break.”
“It’s fine. It’ll wait.”
As if it wants to contradict him the phone rings again.
But Mike hits ignore again and continues flipping through papers. Several minutes pass but Harvey’s too curious to keep quiet. He’s remembering the conversation he overheard weeks back and he remembers how much an associate’s work hours cut into their social life.
“I don’t care, you know. That you’re gay,” he clarifies when Mike looks at him.
“I know that. Obviously you would never -- I mean, y’know -- I didn’t think that you -- I’m gonna shut up now.”
“Call him back, tell him you’re working late.”
Mike glances at the phone but doesn’t touch it. “He knows.”
“You need me to vouch for you?”
Harvey raises an eyebrow. Mike looks away.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to -- can we just work? I’d like to get home some time before sunrise.”
Harvey nods, but when Mike reaches for a file he can’t help but notice the yellow-green marks on his wrists.
* * *
Neither of them get home that night. The sun is gleaming off the office windows before they manage to find the loophole that’ll wipe the smirk off the face of the over-confident douchebag that’s suing the publishing house. Harvey tells Mike to go home, get some rest and come back in a few hours. He watches him leave then shuffles the files into a semblance of tidiness before standing, stretching, and leaving to do the same thing. The settlement meeting isn’t until eleven; it’s enough time for him to shower and sleep just enough that it won’t be obvious he’s been up all night.
When eleven rolls around Mike is nowhere to be found. He doesn’t answer his phone and neither Donna, Rachel, or Louis has seen him since the day before. Harvey goes to the meeting alone and leaves Donna with orders to hog-tie the kid into his office when he finally turns up so Harvey can tear him a new one.
But the meeting finishes (brilliantly, Harvey thinks, like everything he does) and Mike still hasn’t turned up. Something must show on Harvey’s face because Donna attempts a reassuring, “He’s probably just catching up on some sleep.”
Neither of them are convinced. She’s never said anything but Harvey knows Donna’s noticed Mike’s bruises as well.
“Call Ray. I --”
He doesn’t need to turn around to know that the expression on Jessica’s face is one that would make a lesser man squirm like a disobedient five-year-old.
“My office. Now.”
He raises a questioning eyebrow at Donna who shrugs. He spins on his heels and stalks down the hall, hoping whatever it is that has Jessica’s panties in a twist is going to be quick.
* * *
It’s not. A merger between two energy companies which is all but signed has been called into jeopardy by one of the involved parties deciding he isn’t getting enough out of the deal. Harvey spends the entire afternoon convincing the guy that this is the best deal he’s going to get and reminding him that without this merger his entire company will be bankrupt in less than six months.
So it’s almost sundown before he gets to the building Mike lives in. As he climbs the stairs and knocks on the door he goes over exactly how he plans to kick Mike’s ass for not turning up to work all day, and not answering his phone, and not having the decency to leave so much as a message to apologise --
Then Mike opens his door and all the thoughts flee Harvey’s head. Half of Mike’s face is covered by an ugly blue bruise, his left eye is swollen shut, and he’s sporting a split lip. He leans against the door like it’s the only thing holding him up and has one arm curled protectively across his stomach.
But that’s not what silences him. No, what really shuts up the racing thoughts in Harvey’s head is the fact that the expression on Mike’s face can only be described as terrified.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he says, peering down the hallway like he expects to see the Incredible Hulk charging towards them.
“The hell I shouldn’t. You don’t turn up to work, you don’t answer your phone. Now this. What the hell happened to you?”
“Nothing. I --”
“Don’t bullshit me, Mike.” He pushes his way into the apartment. It’s small and messy but Harvey can’t manage to criticise it, not right now. “Who did this to you?”
“Look, I appreciate you caring, but you really can’t be here.”
“I’m your boss; you’re my responsibility. Do you understand what that means?”
“It means you get to tell me what to do around the office. It doesn’t mean you get to barge into my home and invade my private life.”
He says it with the conviction and self-confidence that Harvey’s used to hearing in Mike’s voice, but it doesn’t matter because he’s still using the door to support himself and his annoyance doesn’t quite overshadow the fear still on his face.
“He’s coming back, isn’t he?” Harvey says, the pieces sliding into place.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Chris. Your boyfriend. He did this to you.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” But it’s not a denial and Mike’s not meeting his eyes.
Mike doesn’t answer. Harvey steps forward but stops when Mike flinches. It’s only small, but it’s enough, and the flush on Mike’s face says he knows Harvey noticed.
“It’s none of your business. Just get out.”
“And leave you here so he can smack you around again? I don’t think so. You’re coming with me.”
“I’m not some abused housewife, Harvey.”
“Please tell me you’re not that stupid.”
Footsteps sound in the hallway outside. The annoyance on Mike’s face vanishes in an instance.
“Harvey, please,” he begs. “Just go.”
Harvey couldn’t. Even if the footsteps outside hadn’t been approaching the apartment, even if Mike hadn’t been his associate, even if Harvey didn’t give a damn about him, he couldn’t leave. Because whatever else Harvey Specter is, he isn’t the kind of man to leave a person in danger.
The footsteps pause just before reaching the door then storm inside. Chris isn’t anything like Harvey expected. He imagined a tough man, someone at least as big as himself if not bigger, but the man in front of him is barely bigger than Mike’s own scrawny frame. He’s got a boyish face, wide eyes, and floppy hair, and he looks completely innocent with a brown bag of groceries tucked in the crook of one arm. Harvey suddenly second guesses himself, wondering if this is really the guy who left the bruises on Mike’s face.
“What’s going on here?” Chris asks.
“Nothing,” Mike mutters, staring at the floor. “He was just leaving.”
The doubts flee. Chris might not look like much, but Mike’s reaction to him tells Harvey everything he needs to know.
He straightens his shoulders, forces a smile onto his face and holds out his hand. “You must be Chris. I’m Harvey Specter, Mike’s boss.”
Chris doesn’t take his hand. Harvey gets whiff of stale cigarettes when he speaks. “Yeah, I know who you are. What are you doing here?”
“Well, my associate here didn’t turn up to work today.”
“Do you people normally make house calls? I was under the impression lawyers were heartless bastards.”
“Oh we are,” Harvey agrees. “But I’m a successful heartless bastard. Do you how I became successful, Chris? I did it by making good investments and looking after those investments. Mike is one of my investments.” He move forwards just enough to push on Chris’s personal space. “Do you understand what I’m saying, Chris?”
Chris pushes into Harvey’s space until they’re almost nose to chin. “I understand that you’re sticking your nose in where it isn’t wanted.”
“Shut up,” Chris snaps, and Mike does. To Harvey he says, “I’m going to give you two seconds to get out of here before I have you arrested for trespassing.”
Harvey backs up, putting some space between them, and smiles. Chris’s brow furrows, confused, but Mike leans his head against the door with an expression that says he knows exactly how this is going to play out.
“You go right ahead,” Harvey says, pulling out his phone and dialling 911 but not hitting the call button. “Here, you can use my phone. Then when the police arrive you can explain to them what happened to Mike. Just remember that I’ll be watching when the jury finds you guilty.”
“Guilty of what?” Chris sneers. “You can’t prove anything.”
“Sure about that?”
Apparently he isn’t, because he drops the groceries and swings a fist at Harvey’s face. Harvey jerks away and knuckles just brush his jawline. Chris clearly isn’t used to hitting people who fight back though, because he doesn’t even try to avoid Harvey’s returning punch. The man stumbles, mingled pain and surprise on his face as he lifts a hand to his jaw.
“Get the hell out of my sight,” Harvey says, and Chris flees.
Mike turns to go after him and Harvey grabs his arm, but Mike jerks out of his grip. “You shouldn’t have done that.”
“You’re right,” Harvey agrees. “I should have beat him ’til he was black and blue like you are, but I’m a better man than that. Now pack a bag, you’re coming with me.”
“Fuck you, Harvey. You can’t just waltz in here, assault my boyfriend, and --”
“Assault him?” Harvey interrupts incredulously. “That wasn’t assault. This,” he says, gesturing to Mike’s swollen face, “is assault. And if you think I’m going to let him get away with it you seriously underestimated me.”
Mike looks at him, his good eye flicking over Harvey’s face like he’s searching for something he’s not sure he’ll ever find. Harvey says nothing. Eventually Mike sighs and drops his gaze. He crouches, wincing with pain, and start to pick up the fallen groceries.
“Just go away.”
“You’re coming with me.”
“Coming where? This is my home, Harvey.”
“Yeah, that’s my problem. Your ‘boyfriend’ can clearly come and go as he pleases and that --” He cuts himself off before he can say it worries him. He’s Harvey Specter. He doesn’t worry. “You’re coming home with me.”
“I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Harvey bends and scoops up the bread, bag of apples, and carton of orange juice from the puddle of milk. Mike stands, using the sofa to support himself, and clings to a can of soup and empty milk carton. Harvey takes them from him, dumps everything on the kitchen counter then glances around.
“You got a mop?”
“There’s paper towels somewhere.”
Harvey rolls his eyes. He’s not kneeling on the floor to mop up spilt milk. He stalks out the still open door and knocks on the one opposite. It’s answered by a tired looking middle-aged woman with a toddler on her hip. She’s clearly surprised to see someone like Harvey on her doorstep, but that quickly turns to suspicion.
“What do you want?”
Harvey puts on his most charming smile. It makes the woman blink, mouth opening slightly in surprise. He doubts anyone’s smiled at her like that in a long time.
“I’m sorry to intrude, but do you have a mop I can borrow? I had a little accident.”
He half turns, gesturing behind him. She peers past him, sees the spilt milk, and nods. “One sec. Here, just hold him for a moment.”
Before he can object he’s got an armful of toddler. He tries not to scowl and holds it at arms length. The kid’s wearing only a diaper and has a pacifer in it’s mouth. It stares at Harvey. He wonders if the kid’s even human. Human’s are supposed to blink and this kid is just staring and staring. Does it never blink?
He glad when the woman comes back and swaps the toddler for a bucket and mop. Harvey smiles, thanks her and goes back to Mike’s apartment and quickly cleans the mess on the floor.
“I never thought I’d see you dong housework.”
“You’re not. It’s an illusion.”
He finishes quickly, returns the cleaning supplies (thankfully without being affronted by the alien child), and shuts the door when he gets back.
“Please tell me you have a closet somewhere with some clean clothes in it,” he says to Mike, pulling out a holdall from the mess on the floor.
“I have clean clothes,” Mike answers defensively. “Why?”
“And again, why?”
Harvey sighs. He’s tired and annoyed and just wants to go home and relax in front of the sports channel with a beer.
“Because I’m not leaving you alone tonight when your douchebag of a boyfriend could come back, but I’m not sleeping in this rat-infested dump. You’re coming home with me.”
“I don’t have rats,” Mike mutters, but he doesn’t argue with him. He finds some clean clothes, a set of pyjamas, and his toiletries. Neither of them says anything when Harvey slips an arm around Mike’s waist and helps him out the door and down the stairs to the street, or when Harvey lets Mike sit on his side of the car, or when Mike shuts his eyes and rests his head on Harvey’s shoulder. He’s asleep by the time they reach Harvey’s apartment.
* * *
Harvey puts Mike in his bed and sleeps on the couch. He’s woken the next morning by Mike’s noisy attempt at sneaking out the front door, still wearing the clothes he slept in.
“Where d’you think you’re going?”
“Uh… home. I’m going home. I need to… get some… things. For work.”
Harvey stands, stretching his arms over his head and going over to the door. He flicks the lock closed again. “Get back to bed. You’re not going to work today.”
“I mean it.” Mike glares at him. He returns it. “You’re not fit for work. Take the day off, spend the weekend resting and come in on Monday.”
“You can’t tell me what to do, Harvey. We have a case to work on.”
“I’m your boss, of course I can tell you what to do, and I’m telling you to take the weekend off. The publishing case is sorted and everything else can wait. I know you think you’re special, Mike, but you’re not so important the firm can’t manage without you for three days.”
“Fine, but I’m going home.”
“I don’t think so.” He takes Mike by the arm, guiding him back to the bedroom. “Not until I know for sure that Chris won’t be coming around again.”
“You can’t stop me seeing my boyfriend.”
Mike jerks his arm out of Harvey’s grip. He leans against the wall, breathing just a little too hard. Harvey wonders just how bad the bruises under his clothes must be.
“Why are you doing this? I thought you didn’t care about me.”
“I don’t. But you’re not working at your best when half your attention is on how badly your body hurts and the other half is worrying about how Chris is going to react to you working overtime.”
“That’s not…” He trails off at Harvey’s raised eyebrow. “He thinks I’m cheating on him.”
“When? You’re working all hours.”
Mike looks up at him and says nothing. It takes Harvey longer than he’d like to realise what Mike’s implying.
“He thinks you’re cheating on him with me?” he asks incredulously. Not that Harvey hasn’t thought about it, because Mike’s pretty and has those gorgeous come-fuck-me eyes and a mouth that Harvey --
He cuts off that line of thought.
“Don’t worry about Chris. I’ll deal with him. Just get back to bed. I’ll be home later.”
Mike doesn’t move. “Deal with him how?”
“The best way I know how. Go to bed.”
Mike pulls a face but finally moves. “Yes, Dad.”
“Don’t ever call me that.”
* * *
Harvey showers, and put his pants on in the bathroom. When he comes out Mike is in bed, now wearing his pyjamas. Harvey can feel his eyes on him as he finishes dressing, but doesn’t say anything until he’s knotting his tie.
“You want some breakfast?”
The corners of Mike mouth twitch. “You’re making me breakfast in bed?” Harvey just stares at him. Mike clears his throat. “Toast. Toast is fine. Thanks.”
Harvey makes his coffee whilst the bread is in the toaster and empties the last of his orange juice into a glass for Mike. He butters the toast, thinks about adding Nutella, decides that’d be too nice, and takes it through. He drinks his coffee on the wet balcony, watching the city below and not thinking about anything.
A little while later, when he’s about to leave, Mike calls his name. He’s still in the bed, the sheets already bunched up around him, and he doesn’t look at Harvey when he says, “You won’t tell anyone, right? Not even Donna?”
“I won’t say anything. But you’ll need a reason for those bruises come Monday.”
“I know. Just… thank you.”
He’s not sure what, exactly, Mike is thanking him for, but he doesn’t ask. Instead he just tells him to go to sleep and not destroy the apartment before Harvey gets back.
* * *
Despite what he said earlier, he doesn’t do anything about the Chris situation. He isn’t sure what to do. He doesn’t have any evidence against Chris that would hold up in court and he’s pretty sure Mike wouldn’t testify to anything.
He tries to focus on his work but every so often he finds his thoughts drifting back to Mike, wondering what he’s doing, how he’s feeling, whether he’s still in bed. That particular thought leads to ten minutes of highly inappropriate daydreaming.
He says that Mike is sick. Louis isn’t impressed but a harsh word makes him slink off muttering under his breath. Donna doesn’t look convinced but she doesn’t ask questions. Harvey wouldn’t be surprised if she has everything figured out.
He leaves work a little early and tells Jessica and Donna he’ll be working from home the next day. He spends the trip drumming his fingers against his knee and staring out the window. He impatiently rides the elevator up to the apartment, where he finds Mike sprawled on the sofa, asleep, with the TV playing Mythbuster re-runs.
He changes into casual clothes, grabs a beer, and sits down beside Mike with a handful of files. He pulls the TV remote from under Mike’s thigh and lowers the volume, using it for background noise as he flicks through files.
Mike stirs half an hour later, managing to knock two of the files in the process, scattering paper across the floor.
“Shit, sorry.” He shifts, bends to pick them up but stops, face screwing up in obvious pain.
“I’ve got it.” Harvey slides off the sofa, reaching for all the scattered pieces and tossing them onto the coffee table. One still sits on Mike’s lap and he pauses as he takes it from him. Mike’s t-shirt has hitched up an inch, showing a strip of flesh half darkened by bruises. Barely even thinking about it, he reaches for the fabric and pushes it further up.
“Whoa, hey, what are you doing?”
He shrugs off Mike’s hand and pushes the shirt as far up as it’ll go. “Inspecting the damage.”
The bruises run all along his left side and across his stomach, a motley of dark blue and purple. There’s also healing burn marks across his chest, small round wounds that Harvey is certain weren’t there a month ago when he found Mike changing at the office.
Mike pulls his shirt down. “I’ve had worse,” he mutters, like he thinks it will make Harvey feel better.
“You shouldn’t have had any of it. He has no right to treat you like that.”
“He’s my boyfr–”
“That’s no excuse!” He looks at Mike’s face, at the still swollen cheek, the fat lip. “Lovers are supposed to treat you like a god, not a punching bag. Come on, Mike. You’re a smart guy. You have to know that this isn’t right.”
Mike says nothing. Harvey drops his head, resting it against Mike’s knees. “You deserve better than this.”
He almost doesn’t hear the response, it’s so quiet.
“No, I don’t.”
Harvey snaps his head up and his hands clench on Mike’s shirt. “You don’t really believe that.”
“Mike. Hey, look at me.” He wants to reach up and grab his chin, forcing him to look, but he doesn’t want to hurt him any more. “Do you really believe you deserve this?”
“I’m not a good person, Harvey.”
“Not a -- are you kidding me?”
“I took drugs. I was going to deal drugs. I cheated on tests. I’m lying to my employers, my co-workers, to everyone about having graduated from Harvard and gotten a law degree. Now I’m sat here with you, having slept in your bed, when I should be at home or at Chris’s, who, I might add, I’ve hardly seen since I started working at Pearson-Hardman. He has every right to be mad at me.”
For a long moment Harvey can only stare at him, trying to compute the fact that someone as intelligent and likable as Mike can believe something so stupid and carry around such bitterness without letting it show in his day to day life.
Eventually he says, “Just because you made some bad decisions doesn’t make you a bad person.”
“Depends how bad they are.”
“You ever hurt anyone, Mike? I mean on purpose. Have you ever gone out with the explicit intention of causing someone pain?”
“What about accidentally? Not in little ways but something big, something life changing.”
“Is that a question or an answer?”
He hesitates then shakes his head. “No, I’ve never hurt anyone.”
“So why do you think you deserve to be hurt then?”
“I… it’s not that simple, Harvey.”
“Actually, it is.” He lets go of the shirt and curls his fingers around Mike’s hands instead. “You’re not a bad person, Mike. You don’t deserve this. No one deserves to be treated like this by someone who’s supposed to care for them.”
Mike doesn’t respond, but he’s not arguing it so Harvey figures that’s progress. He gets up and goes to the phone, looking through the pile of take-out menus sat beside it.
“What do you want -- Indian or Greek?”
Mike shakes his head. “I’m not hungry.”
“No, I’m just not --”
“Greek it is.”
“Do you listen to anything I say?”
“Sure,” Harvey grins. “When it’s not stupid.”
* * *
They spend the weekend watching TV, discussing cases, and eating expensive take out. Mike doesn’t mention wanting to go home again and Harvey doesn’t bring it up. He doesn’t mind the intrusion in his condo if it means keep Mike away from Chris until he figures out what to do about the situation.
Harvey sleeps on the sofa again Friday night but on Saturday Mike falls asleep against his side, and when he carries him through to the bedroom Mike grabs his wrist and tugs him down. They share the bed and when he wakes up it’s with Mike’s arm slung across his chest and his leg thrown over Harvey’s own. He passes on going to the gym and spends an hour just lying there until Mike wakes up.
Harvey wakes first on Monday, showers, and dresses, then wakes Mike and sends him to shower whilst Harvey makes them both breakfast.
Mike comes out, hair wet and dressed in the clothes he’s been wearing all weekend, just as Harvey’s dishing eggs onto a plate. His culinary skills aren’t great, but he cooks a mean fried egg.
“Have a seat.”
“I need to go home,” Mike says, sliding onto one of the stools at Harvey’s breakfast bar. He’s moving a little easier now; he’s still in pain but he’s no longer wincing with every step. “I need clean clothes.”
“You got a suit at the office?”
“Change there. Have you figured out what you’re going to say about those bruises?”
Mike doesn’t answer. Harvey snatches two slices of toast from the toaster, adds them to the plate and pushes it over to him.
“You can’t stop me going home forever, Harvey.”
“Who said anything about that?”
“Maybe the fact that you’ve kept me prisoner here all weekend.”
He cracks another two eggs into the pan. “I didn’t keep you prisoner. That would be illegal.”
“I know you were trying to keep me away from Chris.”
“I have good reason.”
“So I was a prisoner.”
Harvey looks at him across the bar. “If you really think that, why didn’t you just sneak out during the night?”
Mike says nothing.
“You could have left any time you wanted. You chose to stay here. I didn’t force you.”
The next half an hour passes in stony silence.
* * *
They arrive at work together. Mike’s bike is at home, of course, and Ray drives them across town. There’s an unspoken agreement not to mention the weekend and Harvey doesn’t even ask again what Mike’s excuse for the bruises will be.
They’re halfway to the building when the commotion starts. They both turn to look in the direction of the shouting but Mike sees it first. His face goes suddenly pale and he grabs Harvey’s sleeve. Harvey scowls and is about to shrug him off but then he sees it too.
Chris, pushing through the crowd towards them, a gun clenched tightly in his grip.
Harvey glances up and down the street -- there are always cops hanging around this area, but today they’re just a little too far away. They’ve noticed the commotion but they can’t see the gun; even if they could, they’d never reach them in time.
He doesn’t know which of them Chris is aiming at, he’s only aware of the gun raising, a flicker of sunlight reflecting off its silver casing. His entire attention focus on it, the noises of the street dimming, the faces of everyone around them blurring.
Then something slams into him. The gun goes off with a bang that seems to echo in Harvey’s ears. He staggers, catches himself, straightens and turns just in time to see Mike stumble, his eyes wide, his mouth working silently, his body falling backwards.
The noises of the street rush back into focus at the same moment Mike hits the pavement. Harvey drops his coffee and paper and falls to his knees beside him.
There’s blood staining his front, spreading all across his stomach from his hip. He looks up at Harvey, the bruises contrasting starkly against his suddenly pale skin.
“Ow,” is all he says.
Harvey pulls off his jacket, scrunching it up and pressing it to where the blood is pouring from, and Mike whimpers.
“Hang in there, Mike, you’re gonna be fine. Someone call a goddamn ambulance!”
“There’s one on the way,” someone responds.
Mike’s hand twitches on the ground. Harvey shifts, keeping his hands in place but putting his knees in reach of the scrabbling fingers and feels the warm press of a hand against his leg.
“You’re gonna be fine,” he says again.
* * *
The police catch Chris. There’s a dozen witnesses to attest to the shooting and Harvey calls in several favours to get the maximum sentence handed down. He’s sitting at the front of the spectators box when the judge bangs her gavel and Chris is marched out of the courtroom.
“I feel bad for him.”
“He shot you. He’s only getting what he deserves.”
“I know. I just… I guess it’s still sinking in.”
Harvey gets to his feet, buttons his jacket and sidles out into the aisle. Mike follows. The self-confidence he carries himself with is genuine and he holds his chin a little higher than he used to. Looking at him, it’s impossible to tell that he’d been shot just a few months earlier. There’s a scar on his hip that’ll never fade but other than that there’s no lasting damage.
They walk out of the courtroom together and get greeted by a gaggle of reporters. The public shooting and Harvey’s already high profile status means the entire case makes the news. Microphones and cameras are shoved in their faces, voices clamouring for a comment. Harvey delivers a brief, prepared statement then pushes past them, Mike dogging his heels all the way out the courthouse and to the curb where Ray waits with Harvey’s car. Harvey lets Mike get in first then slides in after him, shutting the door on the still shouting reporters.
Beside him, Mike leans his head back, eyes shut as he lets out a sigh. Harvey puts a hand on his thigh.
Mike nods without opening his eyes.
“You wanna head home?”
Eyes still shut, Mike puts his hand over Harvey’s, linking their fingers together.
“I was thinking we could go back to your place.”
“Chris got what he deserves,” he says, lifting his head to finally look at Harvey. “I figure it’s only fair we do too.”