Prompted by: kriadydragon
Beta-read by: pennythepants
Characters: Mike Ross, Harvey Specter
Spoilers: Set in season 1
Word Count: 4206 (chapter 2) - (12 832 total)
Summary: Someone holds a grudge against Harvey and Mike is the convenient target.
Harvey knew the moment he walked into his office that something was wrong. Donna was throwing concerned glances towards the cubicles with the associates and when she brought him his morning coffee, there was a frown on her face. Harvey raised an eyebrow questioningly.
“Don't tell me I forgot someone's birthday,” he said and Donna rolled her eyes.
“Nope, I've already sent myself a nice card from you, along with an airplane ticket to Boca,” she said in her all serious tone and Harvey's eyes twinkled.
“But you might want to check your puppy and maybe take him to the vet. He looks like road kill. Even Louis hesitated for a second before handing him another pile of files.”
Harvey frowned, not even questioning how Donna knew.
“I think my puppy is smart enough to stay clear of roads,” he said, as he sipped on his coffee. While he wanted to check on Mike, there was no sense to rush. The kid was safely tucked into a cubicle. Getting up before his coffee was finished would look like caring, and even though the smirk on Donna's face said he wasn't fooling her, there were other people in the office.
Once he finished the cup though and checked on his appointments with Donna, there was no reason to wait any longer. After all, Mike had some files that should've been already lying on Harvey's desk, and Harvey was planning to tell him just that – up untill the moment he got a good look at Mike.
The kid was slumped in his chair, eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep. His right wrist was bandaged and there were small scrapes on his face and neck. But what worried Harvey most was the lost look on his face. He looked down right pitiful and a little edgy, which was proven when Harvey stepped up to his desk.
“Mike,” he said and the kid almost jumped out of his skin.
“What?!” he asked, eyes wide before he realized who was standing before him and relaxed into the chair.
“My office. Now,” Harvey barked and turned on his heels, sure Mike would follow. It took a little longer than he would've liked, the kid was moving slowly, and was that a limp or did he just slump that much? Shaking his head in frustration, Harvey nodded at Donna to let her know he didn't want to be disturbed.
“Sit down,” he growled when Mike finally arrived and watched as the kid sat down, looking all kinds of worried.
“What the hell's going on?” he asked after a moment of silence and Mike blinked, squirming.
“No-” he started, but Harvey waved his hand dismissively.
“Don't even think about saying nothing. You look like you’ve been dragged to hell and back.” At that Mike gave a choked laugh and Harvey's frown deepened. He didn't like the sound of that. Deciding that maybe he should start with an easy question, he pointed to Mike's wrist.
“What's with that? Did you get into a fight?”
Mike looked at his wrist then up at Harvey. He was tired and his brain felt fuzzy with lack of sleep, his stomach rolling uncomfortably. There was no hiding it, he was scared and Harvey saw right through him. Maybe it was time to fess up and ask for help.
“I think I'm being stalked,” he said and waited for a reaction. He thought Harvey might dismiss him as he did previously when he pointed out the car that was following them, or even ridicule him. But Harvey only raised an eyebrow questioningly, waiting for an explanation. So Mike took a deep breath and relayed all the previous events to Harvey. By the end of it, Mike watched Harvey's face for any clues of ridicule but there was none. Only a look of concentration, and that intense focus Harvey always had when presented with a new case.
“When I turned my phone on this morning, I had three missed calls, from two different numbers.” Mike didn't tell Harvey that he’d been too afraid to leave his apartment through the front door and chose to go through the back, watching the street for the familiar grey Ford until he could meddle with the people in the subway.
“Did you try and call back those numbers?” Harvey asked matter of fact, and Mike nodded.
“Last night I called back and someone picked up. All I heard was breathing, nothing else. When I tried calling this morning, both numbers were disconnected.”
“Here, write them down. I have someone who could check the records.” Mike scribbled down the numbers from memory and handed the paper back to Harvey, watching him with that lost look of his.
“What should I do?” Mike asked, and Harvey let out a sigh. He wanted to tell the kid that everything would be alright, not to concern himself and focus on the job, but he knew this was not an issue that could be ignored. If his years in the law industry had taught Harvey anything, it was the fact that these things tended to escalate. And he didn't want to see what the stalker might have planned out for Mike next.
“Keep a low profile. Change your phone number; maybe stay with Jenny for few days?”
Mike shook his head resolutely.
“I don't want to drag her into this. If I am being followed, the guy would find me anywhere and … no. I won't endanger her. I've already called gram's home and told them not to let any strangers visit her or give out any information. I shouldn't have gone to see her Saturday, it was stupid-” Mike rambled and Harvey put a hand on his shoulder.
“Stop it. I'm sure your grandmother is safe.”
“But what if-”
“No buts, Mike. Take a breath and calm down. So far all those things were just stupid pranks and while they are scary, they have been no threats against your grandmother or Jenny. You are the one that should be careful.”
“Yeah, but how? I don't want to look over my shoulder every time I walk out of my apartment. I don't want to jump at every damn phone call I get!” Mike jumped off the couch, shrugging off Harvey's hand as he started pacing the office. Harvey caught the concerned look Donna was giving them and shook his head lightly, to indicate he had things under control.
“Mike?” he started but Mike seemed to be lost in his mind. “Mike! Listen to me,” Harvey barked, but as soon as he got Mike's attention, his voice changed into a more soothing tone. “I know you're scared, but it's gonna be okay. I have a friend in the department and we will figure this out.”
When? Mike wanted to ask, but knew better than await false platitudes. Harvey seemed to sense the question though.
“Soon. Until then... Ray will drive you to and from work. And get yourself a new phone number.”
Mike looked ready to protest but stopped himself. He had no bike and while riding the subway in rush hour seemed like a safe option, he was pretty sure that riding it at night, after staying in late at work, would pose different dangers.
“Okay,” he said after a moment of hesitation. “Thanks,” he added and felt as if some weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Because Harvey had it all under control and Harvey was the best closer in the city.
“Don't thank me yet, kid. You can send me a card once we catch the freak. But if you want to be helpful, I am sure there's a subpoena in need of filling out. And you better do it before eleven; Donna booked us an early lunch meet with Howard Stein.”
“Aye aye, Captain,” Mike saluted with a smile and left the office. Once the door closed and the kid was out of sight, Harvey slumped into his chair and for a moment let the mask slip from his face. He didn't want to scare the kid, but he was worried, and when Harvey was worried, things weren't good. It was time to call in a favor or two he decided, and picked up the phone.
The phone numbers turned out to be burners, pretty much untraceable and probably already discarded. When Mike returned from the lunch meeting, there was a new phone card waiting on his desk, courtesy of Donna. He still checked his old number once a day to keep tabs on it. The second day he checked there were two missed calls, each from an unknown number, at two and four a.m. Mike grit his teeth, told Harvey and went on with life. By the end of the week, the calls all but vanished. By week two, Mike almost forgot there was someone out there who had been harassing him and he had to admit, having a private driver was kind of cool. Ray always waited to make sure Mike got inside safely.
They all fell into the new routine and Mike started wondering when would Harvey say enough, that the danger had passed and it was time for Mike to man up. In any case, at least Mike was sleeping easier. The world seemed to be back on track and as new cases provided new challenges, he let himself be lulled into a false sense of security.
It was another Friday night and Mike wished Ray a nice weekend. For once he managed to leave work before Harvey, but that was only because the senior associates had some kind of an annual staff meeting, which Harvey had called boring and tried to wriggle out of, but neither Jessica nor Donna allowed it, each having secret pleasure at seeing Harvey squirm. The closer went as low as to ask Mike to call him with some 'emergency' but one look from Donna made Mike shake his head and mouth 'sorry boss, not worth risking my life over it'. He could swear he saw Harvey mouth 'coward' as he made a hasty retreat towards the elevator.
Mike entered his apartment with a small smile on his face. While he loved his job, it was often challenging and tiring. Having two days off, being able to spend them however he wanted, was pure heaven. He was still smiling, keys in one hand, the other reaching to turn on the light, when something moved in his peripheral vision. Leather clad hands shot out from the dark. Mike had no chance to react, no time to scream. He caught sight of a gun descending before he felt a crack and a shock of pain through his head, the impact sending him careening to the floor. He landed with a thud but even through it he could hear the ominous sound of his front door, the lock clicking closed.
Blinking dazedly from the floor, Mike looked upwards to the person towering over him. He couldn't see much in the darkness, the room was lit only by the light of the streetlamps coming in from the windows, but there was no doubt his assailant was a man, and probably a well built one. Mike fought down a hysterical chuckle when he saw the black ski mask covering the face. It was such an absurd sight that for a second he thought it was all just a nightmare. But then the man moved, his foot kicking Mike right in the abdomen and Mike rolled over with a grunt, the reality slamming into him with equal pain. He was locked in his apartment with his stalker, who was obviously armed and holding some kind of a grudge. Mike had no weapons at his disposal, he couldn't fight for shit, and it was the start of a weekend-no one will be looking for him. His outlooks were less than positive.
There was a click and a soft light filled the room. Mike blinked up through the haze of tears and pain, only to see the gun being pointed at his face, the hand holding it just a little shaky. Mike swallowed and tried to calm his breathing down enough to speak.
“W-who-” his voice cracked and he reconsidered his question. “What do you want?” he asked instead, hating how his voice shook.
The man holding the gun watched him wordlessly, then reached into his pocket and pulled out a cable tie. He ignored Mike's startled jerk as he threw the thing at him.
“Put it on, both hands,” he said and waved the gun at Mike. “Do it!” he barked when it took a moment for Mike to figure out what was being asked of him. Then he realized the cable was the modern and cheap version of handcuffs. His fingers fumbled with the plastic cuffs, buying precious time while his brain tried to come up with a way out. There were several that crossed his mind, but none that wouldn't end up with someone shot, and in all those scenarios it was him. He couldn't kick out the gun from the man's hand because he wasn't standing that close. Mike could try and roll away, hide behind his couch, but that would only buy him a few extra seconds. Right now, the only way to stay alive was to cooperate and bide his time. After all, the man wore a mask which meant he was still afraid Mike could identify him. Which meant he could stay alive. “Are you deaf? Put it on, or Specter will get your hand instead of a call as an invitation.”
“What... what do you want with Harvey?” Mike asked, suddenly feeling cold.
“Handcuffs,” came the growl and a warning kick into Mike's left shin, just to drive the point home. Grunting, Mike quickly put on the handcuffs and looked up for more instructions, all the while trying to figure out how Harvey fell into the equation. Or maybe – how did he – equate. “Up, on the couch. And no funny moves.”
The or else was loud and clear, so Mike slowly, carefully rolled over to his stomach and pushed himself up to his knees, hissing when his wrist still protested under the pressure. The man watched his movements, the gun never wavering off target, yet always far enough so that Mike couldn't reach for it even if he found the courage.
Once Mike settled down on the couch, the attacker pulled up a chair and sat down opposite of him. Mike tried hard not to squirm when the green eyes bore into his face. The silence was broken only by the sounds of breathing coming from the two men as they faced off. Mike broke eye contact first, after all, he wasn't the one holding the gun. The other man seemed satisfied.
“Where's your phone?” he asked suddenly and Mike startled.
“Your phone,” the man repeated impatiently, and Mike could practically hear the added idiot in his voice. Harvey would've just rolled his eyes.
“In the bag,” he said and the man stood up and walked over to Mike's discarded messenger bag, keeping the gun pointed at him while his other hand rummaged through the bag, trying to find the phone.
“God, this is worse than my wife's purse,” he grumbled and finally just upturned the whole bag, various documents, pens and Mike's phone falling all over the floor. Picking up the phone he made his way back to the chair.
“If you cooperate, you will get out of here alive.” While it was supposed to sound reassuring, Mike felt anything but, as he heard the dark undertone. There was promise of pain for misbehaving, and he wasn't even the one who the dude was after.
“What do you want from me?” Mike asked, not sure where the courage came from. The man looked up from his cell phone, giving him a scrutinizing look that made Mike's skin crawl.
“Let's just say you're bait, or maybe my secret ace in the trial.” Even under the mask, Mike was pretty sure the man smiled. “Now let's get one thing clear. You will send a message to your boss. If he comes here, alone – you live. If he doesn’t or if he brings the cops – you die. Is that clear?”
Mike blinked, taking in what was said. “W-what do you want with Harvey?” he asked even as the man put the phone into his palm.
“That doesn't concern you.”
“I won’t text him if you’re planning to shoot him,” Mike replied heatedly, throwing the phone away. This time he saw the hand coming but he couldn't stop it from hitting him in the face. The room became blurry as his head hit the armrest of the couch and his face stung from the slap.
“You will do as I say, or I will kill you,” the man hissed, and pushed the recovered phone back into Mike's shaking hand.
“Okay, okay. I’ll do it,” Mike said quickly and blinked, trying to clear his vision enough to see the keypad on the phone. “W-what do you want me to say to him?”
“I don't care, but make sure he will be here within the hour. Or he can start looking for a new associate.”
Mike swallowed and started typing. When he finished he handed the phone back to his captor for revision. The man looked at it then with a satisfied nod pushed the send button.
“Now what?” Mike asked.
“We wait,” was the simple answer and the man sat down in the chair opposite of Mike.
Several minutes were spent in silence as Mike tried to calm down and think, but it was an impossible task. Every time he managed to slow his breathing, a motion or a glint of metal brought his eyes right back to the gun that was pointed at his chest and panic took hold. He tried to imagine what would happen, how Harvey would come and talk down this mad man, or how Harvey would get that the message was a call for help and would involve the police. Those were the positive options that came to mind, but they were harshly overpowered by the images of Harvey being shot in the head and laying in a pool of blood, right next to Mike's own dead body. There were many more scenarios, but none ended well for Mike or Harvey.
Mike couldn't take the silence anymore, not with those thoughts running through his mind. And wasn't it said somewhere that the victim should try to talk to his kidnapper? To create a bond, to humanize himself, whatever. It was worth a shot, Mike thought.
“So...” Mike started carefully, letting out a silent breath when that simple word didn't cost him more than a twitch of the head. “You were the guy calling in the middle of night?” The man watched him a moment, then gave a slight nod. “And the bike. You were the one who messed it up?” Another nod and Mike gave a slight shake of head in disbelief. “Why? Why do it all?” he dared to ask, but there was no reaction. “Did I do something to you?” A headshake and Mike was becoming frustrated. “Then what? Why did you target me of all people? Was it because I work for Harvey?” The man's eyes flashed with hate and Mike instinctively recoiled. Still, there were no words and Mike needed to know. “What did Harvey do to you? Did he seduce your wife? Run over your dog?” There was a warning growl and Mike realized that mocking the man with the gun wasn't the brightest idea. “Did he win a case?”
That one got a reaction. The man jumped off the chair and pushed Mike back into the cushions, hissing angrily. “Win a case? Of course the bastard won the case! He manipulated the jury; the damn judge herself was on his side. The fucker cost me my job, he cost me my whole life!” the man shouted, spit flying from his mouth, the hand holding the gun waving dangerously close to Mike, who was frozen with fear. “And I am gonna make him pay,” the man said coldly. “Now shut up or I will do it for you.” With that he gave Mike a warning push on the chest, and returned to his chair.
For the first time Mike really hoped that Harvey would take the message just as a way out of the crappy meeting and not as a call for help. Because Mike was fairly sure that while the guy wasn't set on killing him, the same didn't apply to Harvey.
The two men fell back into tense silence, both waiting for something else. Mike was still rattled by the outburst and he couldn't find the courage to speak up again, never-mind that the stillness made him jittery. After fifteen minutes of waiting, Mike started to wish that something would happen, anything really. The waiting was torture and all he wanted was for things to end. He started thinking about a possible escape, about wrestling the gun out of the man's hand. A bullet couldn't be as bad as the images his brain kept showing him, surely.
Mike thought he was scared, but it was nothing compared to what he felt when there was a knock on his door. Both Mike and his captor jumped. Mike's heart skipped a beat as he realized that it was too late. Harvey was there and in a few moments he would be shot by this crazy man, just because Mike sent him a message telling him to come over. As if in a haze, Mike saw his captor stand up, give him a warning glance, and then nod towards the door.
Go, came the silent command. No stupid moves.
Mike stood and headed for his front door, every step feeling like his last one. It couldn't end like this, he couldn't let Harvey die. Not in his home, not now. Not after the man gave him a second chance at life. That just wasn't fair. And Mike maybe wasn't the bravest person, but he knew what he had to do.
The moment he reached the door, Mike shouted a warning.
“Run! He's got a gun!”
The next few seconds were a blur. Mike spun around and threw himself at his captor, taking him by surprise. The movement sent them both sprawling and for a stupid moment Mike thought that the gun had hit the floor, and that he had a chance. But his hands were cuffed and there wasn't much damage he could deal with them. He managed a solid head butt and a kick to the stomach before the captor threw him off and Mike felt his back hitting the wall, a pained yelp leaving his mouth as his elbow hit the hard surface. The collision set his nerves on fire, but it was nothing compared to the roaring rush of blood in his head as he heard the click of the safety and felt the cold metal of the gun being pushed against his forehead. Everything went still and Mike barely breathed.
“That was what I meant by stupid move,” the man said, breathing harshly. Mike looked up and for the first time since the man had broken in, he saw his face. Sometime during the scuffle, the mask had come off and Mike's eidetic memory could finally match the voice to the face. It was the man that had helped him after his bike accident, who introduced himself as Eddie Banks. Mike was pretty sure it wasn't the man's real name. He was also pretty sure that his chances of survival had just plummeted to zero.
He was now staring into the barrel of the loaded gun, for the umpteenth time that night it seemed, yet this was to be the last one for sure. Because in a second, Mike's brain would splatter on the white wall behind, making an exquisite mess. Mike thought that this would be a great time for his whole life to flash before his eyes, but the only thing he saw was that damn gun, and the only person he could think of was Harvey, standing on the other side of the door. If he’d stayed despite the warning, he would hear the shot that killed Mike, and would either run or come inside. And then he would die too. Mike wanted to protest, wanted to call a time out and somehow fix this mess. He wanted to wake up. But in the end all he could do was close his eyes and wait for death. Because he didn't want to see the bullet coming.