Mike Ross will never forget September 18th 2008, "Dean Winchester is saved." That was the day he'd moved to New York, that was the day Mikhail became Mike Ross. He'd fled his post in Montana and lost himself to the city, cutting off all connections and planting memories to create a new life for himself. He made Mike Ross a failure, a drop kick with what seemed like no hope for the future; he figured the others were less likely to find him that way. He knew his brothers; he knew that Castiel would fall into the arms of man and that the others would come looking for him to fix it, he knew Castiel best after all. He knew that war would break out in heaven and he knew he would be forced to choose sides. Choosing neither seemed like the best thing to do, thus Mike Ross was born.
He closed off his own connection almost completely so he'd be practically impossible to find. He'd left himself open just enough to receive the occasional crackle from Castiel while his little brother was none the wiser. He stayed receptive, when the world didn't end in December 2012 he knew it was the Winchesters who saved them; when August 1st 2014 passed by without so much as a glitch, Mike breathed a little easier knowing that the Crotoan virus wasn't going to suddenly take over the world.
The night Gabriel died Mike felt it like a knife to the gut. He was standing in his kitchen, suddenly bending over in physical pain as he felt his brother leave them. The next day he felt ill, his chest ached like a part of his heart had slipped away, and Mike had never seen such a look of pure concern lace Harvey's features.
Mike watched the news and saw what was happening to the world, knew what was really happening, and stayed alert. He knew things weren't good, that heaven had fallen apart and was trying to rebuild, that they were still trying to reclaim Castiel as one of their own. The thought made Mike sigh heavily, he knows Castiel will never turn his back on Dean, that much is clear to him even with a distorted connection.
Much like Castiel saving Dean, Mike thinks his meeting Harvey was the will of God. He believes it was his father’s way of showing acceptance, of saying he didn't blame Mike for running away from the firefight, of choosing neutrality and distance rather than slaughter and familial betrayal.
Keeping his secret from Harvey had never been planned because it had never been questioned. Mike never once doubted that he would keep this to himself, that he and Harvey would grow increasingly close yet Harvey would never know him completely. It wasn't something he wanted to share, even if he felt like he could, Mike hated what his brothers and sisters have done to their kind, that the term 'angel' is now sullied in his mind for all eternity. He misses them, of course, but he could never go back to them.
Mike should know better than anyone that fate plays a role in all of their lives, and just when he thought things were finally starting to settle down, he should have known that's when his world would implode.
The second it happens Mike feels the pain. It isn't as intense as when Gabriel had died, no Castiel is definitely still alive, but his chest aches, his heart beating much too hard for a human body to try to deal with, he feels a sickening chill rush through his long-abandoned wings and his blood is pounding so loud through his brain that he can't hear anything besides the distant screeches of his brother in agonising pain.
When he finally comes back to himself, once he's aware again of where he is, Mike has to consciously fight back the rising panic. He's laying on the sofa in Harvey's office, the older man crouched beside him and looking down at him like he thought Mike had died. The distress is evident and Mike can feel Harvey's panic radiating throughout the room. He doesn't even think, instead acting instinctually when he reaches out with a gentle hand and caresses Harvey's cheek, bringing the older man's focus back to him, to show him he's still alive and that he's fine.
Harvey inhales a shuddering breath and leans into Mike's palm, "What happened?"
"I just passed out for a second, is all."
"Mike." Harvey's tone is stern but still laced with concern.
"I'm okay," Mike smiles weakly up at him, "I promise."
Harvey brow creases and he refuses to break eye contact, "Are you sure you don't need to head home?"
"No." Mike sits up abruptly, hand moving to take hold of Harvey's forearm, "I want to be here."
Harvey still looks doubtful and Mike wants to kiss the insecurity away, he wants to be able to assure Harvey with more than words. That's a dangerous thought process though, he knows he can't have that, he knows that pursuing anything with Harvey would just put the older man in danger and Harvey's already risked enough for Mike. It hurts even more to know that his advances would be welcome; he's seen the signs, he can feel Harvey's feelings dancing through the atmosphere when they become intense enough, and he knows they both want the same things.
He can't do that though. He won't.
It only takes two days for them to show up after that.
Mike's walking back from the library towards Harvey's office when he sees them, stepping off the elevator, out of place in their too-cheap suits and casual demeanour. No one at Pearson Specter looks like that except fresh-faced associates and these guys definitely can't even pass for that. Even without the obvious signs Mike would know who they are, the Winchester brothers are legendary after all. The chosen two, the vessels of Lucifer and Michael to fight out the apocalypse... Or that's what was meant to be. Apparently the Winchesters defy fate and even God.
But even without their glory, Mike can tell it's them, he can feel Castiel's marks on them; the etching into their ribs is evident to him immediately, a feeling buzzing through him like a warning, that he should back off because they're protected by an Angel of the Lord. It's not those markings that capture his attention so completely, however. The atmosphere automatically feels thicker, there's a vibration in the air and a quiet humming washes over him and Mike can practically see Castiel's brand glowing on Dean's arm. It's amazing in its beauty and Mike knows immediately that his brother never stood a chance when it came to this human.
Dean makes eye contact and stops in his place, halting Sam with an arm thrown across his chest. They know it's him too. How, Mike isn't sure, he doesn't even know how they found him when the other angels haven't been able to for years, but here they are.
The brothers approach him with a fierce look in their eyes, an angel-blade concealed within their jackets, but Mike still knows it’s there. They look impatient and ready to attack, like they personally blame Mike for Castiel’s disappearance and don’t plan on listening to him for too long if he fails to explain what little he knows.
Mike nods to them both, pushing forward calm and reliability in the hope they will trust him, “Sam. Dean.”
They don’t even question how he knows who they are. Instead Dean’s rough voice snaps back at him, “Where is he?” Mike can hear the fear and feel the panic even though he knows to anyone else he’d appear angry and impatient.
“Let’s go talk somewhere private.”
Mike leads the brothers to an empty conference room. He had contemplated somewhere more private but quickly dismissed the idea; if someone came across them anywhere else it would appear suspicious, at least within a conference room he can try to pass them for clients. He notices the way Sam constantly checks his surroundings, judging the situation in case anything arises and they need to hightail out of there. It’s almost endearing how well the brothers work together as a team.
In an attempt to mollify them, Mike lets his more human side show, he presents himself as Mike Ross, associate at law, rather than Mikhail, Angel of the Lord. Mike considers it a win when Dean seems to relax somewhat, still wary, but looking much less like he plans on killing Mike if he can’t help them out.
Mike’s calm and pleasant when he speaks, wanting the brothers to know that he’s here to help however he can, “What can I do?”
Dean answers him, voice edgy and straight to the point, "Something's happened to Cas. The last thing he said to me was to look for you. So how about you tell us what you know so we can get him back?"
"I know a lot of things, Dean, but I don't know where my brother is. I wish I could help you."
"Bullshit! You're here living your fancy little high life and your brother suddenly fucking disappears and you're response is 'I don't know'?"
"I'm sorry, I know what he means to you."
"You don't know shit, buddy."
Mike stares and lets the edges of his power start to come forth. It's not something he does often, in fact he hasn't done it in years, but Dean Winchester needs to be reminded that he's just as powerful as their missing Castiel. He knows his eyes begin to glaze into an intense brightness, the air crackles around them and the space behind him shivers but his wings don't yet materialise. They're still in the office, he's not an idiot.
Dean gulps and takes a slight step backwards, Sam following him like neither one of them want to get on Mike's bad side but also don't want to admit it. Mike steps forward and is about to speak again when suddenly Harvey's stepping into the room and Mike lets his overt power fizzle into nothing. Harvey glances at him curiously, his gaze swinging between Mike and the two strangers, the question evident in his features.
"Um, clients of mine." Mike's not proud to say his voice shakes slightly and Sam and Dean both catch it, the two of them looking between Mike and Harvey and obviously trying to figure out the power dynamic.
Harvey steps into the room, his focus now solely on Mike as he speaks, "I didn't know we had new clients."
The way Harvey stares at him, trying to get a read on him, reminds him oddly of Castiel and it hurts; they don't have time for this, his brother is missing.
"What aren't you telling me?"
"Okay, dude, what?" Dean apparently doesn't have much patience and can't hold his tongue any longer, "This is weird. Who's the guy?"
Mike knows Dean sees the similarity too but he doesn't know what to tell him. He doesn't know what to say while Harvey's still looking at him like that.
"Harvey Specter, my boss."
"Mike." Harvey almost growls, apparently he doesn't have time for or interest in exchanging pleasantries.
"Look, I'm sorry you're in a situation right now, but we need to find Cas." The younger Winchester speaks up for the first time and Mike immediately wants to deck him. He knows the brothers see him as an emotionless dick like the majority of his family, but they don't understand he's more like Cas than anyone and that he's made a life for himself here that he loves and doesn't want to lose.
"Who's Cas?" The nickname sounded somewhat normal coming from the brothers, but slipping from Harvey's tongue the word just sounds wrong. It makes him snap in a way he wouldn't have allowed himself to if the emotion of losing his brother wasn't taking hold.
"He's my brother."
"My brother." Mike looks at Harvey imploringly, begging him to not ask questions, "He's missing and we need to find him."
"I didn't even know you had a brother." Harvey’s voice is terse but a flash of hurt flickers through his eyes. He schools his expression quickly but Mike still knows it was there.
"Okay, dude, apparently you're a bit gutted right now or whatever, but my best friend is missing and that's kind of what's important. We can't find him without... Mike, here, so we're going to have to borrow him for little while."
Harvey reads people better than he reads anything else, and Mike knows that he can immediately tell something's up with these two strangers. He glares daggers at Mike, anger suddenly taking hold as he growls, "My office. Now." and walks away without a single glance back at the group he's left behind.
Neither of them speak until they’re safely enclosed in Harvey’s office, Harvey refusing to even look at Mike as he busies himself at his desk, pretending like he’s not bothered by all of this.
There’s a noise outside the office which makes Mike spin around to study their surroundings, and he notices the two brothers speaking with Donna. Dean is leaning over Donna’s desk, his flirtation welcome judging by the grin on her face, while Sam stands beside his older brother rolling his eyes. The sight makes Mike smile softly to himself before Harvey’s voice brings his attention back to the problem at hand.
“Who are those guys?”
“Friends of my brother.” It feels weird to admit that to Harvey. Mike knows already that the truth is about to come out, no matter how badly he’s wanted to protect Harvey from the chaos that is his biggest secret.
“They don’t even know who you are. He even had to think about what your name is! Your brother’s best friend? They don’t seem all that familiar with you to me.”
Harvey’s demanding the explanation Mike doesn’t quite know how to give. This isn’t something he’s ever had to explain with words, the only people who have ever known about him have been his family, and now Mike’s at a loss for what to do.
“Why don’t you sit down?” Mike gestures towards the leather sofa and it seems pathetic and desperate but Harvey complies nonetheless.
When they’re seated, Harvey staring at him with a mixture of confusion, anger, and impatience, Mike huffs out a heavy breath, his heart racing in his chest. When he speaks he’s proud of how calm his voice sounds, it’s calculated and methodical but Mike can’t be anything other than that right now or he’ll lose his nerve.
“I’m going to touch your face now. I’m going to share some things with you that hopefully will explain everything.”
Harvey stares back blankly for a few moments before he nods minutely, the last words he hears a whispered “I’m sorry” before Mike’s palms are resting against his cheeks and his mind turns into a whirlwind of colours and sounds.
Images flash through his brain, images of Mike with wings, Mike almighty and powerful, Mike in what seems like heaven, all bright light and purity. There are images of Mike and another, obviously attached to each other and outcast from the rest. He hears pleas and he hears doubt. He sees Mike fleeing and scared, he sees Mike fighting evil and he sees Mike creating fake memories into the minds of Trevor and Edith. He sees Mike struggling with whether or not to tell Harvey the truth and he hears the word ‘Angel’ repeated over and over again amongst the other messages.
The whole ordeal is surreal, Harvey’s sure he’s dreaming, except that when he comes back around Mike’s still touching his face and staring at him, eyes pleading for forgiveness and ‘Please don’t hate me’. Mike’s terrified he’s just screwed up the best thing that’s ever happened to him but he knows he needs to wait for Harvey to process himself what he’s just learnt.
Harvey stares at him in disbelief, eyes wide as he searches Mike’s face for any hint of a lie, like he’s desperately hoping Mike will tell him this is all an elaborate prank. Mike speaks for lack of anything else to do, “My name is Mikhail.”
"I can't believe I didn't know."
Mike’s never seen Harvey like this, completely at a loss for what to do or how to think, like his whole world has been turned upside down. It has, Mike supposes, but the sight of Harvey with his head bent, running his hands through his hair, makes Mike’s gut tumble with guilt and regret and he needs Harvey to know he never wanted to hurt him and he doesn’t want him to feel like an idiot for not having seen it sooner.
"You didn't know because I didn't want you to know."
"Mike, this is... Why didn't you tell me?" Harvey’s voice is pure hurt and it feels like someone’s clawing at Mike’s heart.
"I'm a monster."
"You're an angel!"
"I don't see the distinction."
Harvey's eyes crease in confusion as he stares at Mike, "Why do you see yourself as something horrible?"
"Angels aren't all grace and beauty. They're warriors! They fight and they kill and they betray one another without questioning what they think is right. They follow orders blindly and they're incapable of empathy. That's not something I ever wanted to be."
"But you're not like that." Harvey’s unwavering belief that Mike is a good person at heart makes the whole ordeal that little bit more painful. Mike wishes he could be the person Harvey seems to think he is.
"Well I guess I'm a little bit different. Maybe that's why I couldn't stay."
"Your friend, your brother, he was like you too?"
"He had the potential to be. Apparently he found the right vice to make him change."
"And that's why those guys are here now? They want to find him?"
"Yeah." Mike finally takes a deep breath and looks outside the glass walls where Sam and Dean are waiting impatiently for Mike to explain himself to Harvey.
"Don't you want to know what happened to him as well? After all this time he obviously still matters to you."
Mike's gaze snaps back towards Harvey, his voice borderline aggressive, "He's still my brother!"
“Mike. I know.” Harvey places a hand on Mike’s arm, his voice and touch soothing. And when did he become the one comforting Mike? Mike breathes a little easier but he still has no idea what he should do. Harvey’s calming voice reaches him again, “Go with them. Find your brother. I’ll still be here when you get back.”
Mike wants to go, he so desperately wants to, but now he’s been found, now that the Winchesters have found him, it’s more likely others will too, and Mike can’t leave Harvey here alone to deal with that. He locks eyes with Harvey and tries to convey what he can, the worry and the fear but the desperate need to help his brother.
They stare at each other for the longest time, unaware and indifferent to the people waiting for Mike outside of Harvey’s office. They’re still focused only on one another when Mike finally reaches out and touches Harvey’s ribs, a shock of pain making the older man flinch slightly, and Mike leans in to brush a kiss across Harvey’s cheek as he whispers, “There. That will keep you safe.” And then he’s gone.
It takes them a little over a week to find Castiel. Some of their lesser brothers and sisters had tricked him and held him captive, trying to find information about the Winchesters and purgatory and the prophets. They didn't like that Castiel was no longer fiercely loyal to Heaven and they took it out on him accordingly.
He'd run in straight into Dean's arms when they'd found him and cleared the room of unwanted angels. Castiel had latched on, clinging desperately like he never wanted to let go again. Sam had looked vaguely uncomfortable but Mike could see it for what it was.
"Uh, Cas? There's someone else here to see you." Dean murmured quietly against Castiel's ear, and had begun to pull slowly out of the embrace.
Castiel's eyes swung to Mike immediately, growing wide as recognition took over. Their graces would never be able to forget one another. When Castiel finally spoke it was in an awed whisper, "Mikhail."
It hit Mike in the chest right then how much he'd missed his brother, how intense a spiritual connection could be with ones own family. He pulled Castiel tight to his chest, let their graces become familiar with the other once again, and when he spoke it was whispered against his little brother’s ear, “I missed you, Castiel.”
The words were unnecessary, they could both feel the others emotions through the connection of their grace, but Cas and Mike had both become so fond of words and human forms of communication that the exchange seemed appropriate and holistically appreciated.
He'd spent some time with Castiel and the Winchesters, discussing events of the past and potential problems for the future. Mike spent the week embracing the feeling of having his family close once again, it was something that was never quite able to be replicated, no matter how much one felt at home with someone else.
It was with a heavy heart that Mike once again separated from his brother, but he opened the connection up a little further, just enough to allow Castiel in, and Mike immediately felt a little more whole. There was a little piece missing though and Mike headed for home.
Mike's already outside Harvey's condo by the time it registers he didn't go to his own home. He'd been too caught up in his thoughts, his brief reunion with his brother, meeting the Winchesters and witnessing their obvious connection with Castiel, the way he missed Harvey during the time he was gone and the look of hurt that splayed across his face when he realised Mike had been lying to him the whole time. He inhales deeply and lifts a fist to knock at Harvey’s door.
It feels like forever before Harvey finally opens the door, but when he does, when he locks eyes with Mike for the first time in almost three weeks, Mike feels his heart swell and he feels at home once more. The second Mike’s over the threshold and the door is closed behind him Harvey pulls Mike close to him, grasp intense and desperate with relief, like he thought maybe Mike was never actually coming home.
They stand there in silence, wrapped up in one another, for what feels like forever and not long enough all at once. Mike never wants to pull away, he never wants to lose this feeling, but he also feels the overwhelming urge to apologise. He distances himself just enough to speak but still keeps his arms wrapped around Harvey’s body, “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologise.” Harvey matches his quiet tone.
“I’ve wanted to tell you, since I met you, but I couldn’t risk-”
“Mike.” Harvey cuts him off, smiling gently back at him, “I mean it. I understand and it’s okay.”
Mike can’t resist anymore. He knows he’s been falling desperately for years now but tonight, Harvey’s unwavering loyalty and belief in him breaks the wall he’s built around himself. He leans forward and presses his lips against Harvey’s, relief and pure love flooding through him when Harvey opens up and lets him in. In that moment there’s nothing more that matters to him. His grace swells with love and pure emotion and Mike understands, completely and suddenly, why some angels fall, why humans are so intent on finding another to spend their lives with. If this is the fulfilment they find, if this feeling is as strong and as true for others, no wonder human beings fight so fiercely for their livelihoods and for one another. Mike knows in that moment he will never let Harvey go, that he will fight to his death to protect this man, and that love and devotion are two entirely different concepts and the angels in Heaven have no real understanding of what it means to love another.