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11 February 2017 @ 12:53 am
Suits Fic: Semper Fi  
Title: Semper Fi
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Season 5, specifically 5x11
Word Count: 3711
Summary: The door to the interrogation room opens. Harvey? flashes across Mike's mind - like a trigger, like instinct, because five years in and youngest junior partner at the firm, but some things don’t change. There’s always going to be a part of Mike waiting for Harvey to emerge from the shadows, kick everyone’s ass, and save the day.
(This is essentially an AU of 5x11, except with significantly more hurt/comfort and Harvey/Mike.)
A/N: Holy hell, I wrote fic. It's been awhile. Thank you to jmathieson for being a wonderful beta and making this fic better in every way.

Also on AO3.



Does Harvey know about this?

That’s not your problem.

Oh please, Mr. Ross. It’s my problem if it means I’m going to have him coming after me for sending his protégé to prison.

This is my choice. My signature right there on that line, so the only thing you should be worried about is making sure the whole firm goes clean, got it? You don’t go after any of them. You stay the hell away from Harvey.


-----


Mike is eighteen pages into his inner recital of The Fountainhead when the door to the interrogation room opens.

Harvey? flashes across his mind like it’s done every other time the door opened, like a trigger, like instinct, because five years in and youngest junior partner at the firm, but some things don’t change. There’s always going to be a part of Mike waiting for Harvey to emerge from the shadows, kick everyone’s ass, and save Mike’s day.

The distinctly un-Harvey-like district attorney closes the door behind her and takes a seat. Mike sighs. It’s not the first time she’s interrogated him. He doubts it’ll be the last. (Until Harvey comes for him.)

But Gibbs doesn’t say anything. She sits there for a moment, watching him, not like she’s waiting for Mike to break first, but like she’s trying to figure him out.

“You’re a smart man, Mr. Ross,” Gibbs says suddenly, breaking the silence. “I’ve read through your case history at Pearson Specter.”

“Uh.” Mike glances at her unsurely. “The good cop bad cop routine usually works better when you’ve got someone different playing the good cop. You know that, right?”

“Creative. Quick-witted, and I’m willing to bet you’re a quick learner too. No wonder Specter took a chance on you.” The ventilation fans in the room hum, working invisibly in the background. “All those years, spent defending clients and uncovering secrets. You’ve realized by now, haven’t you? No one hides forever.”

The room feels cold. Has the heating system stopped working? Mike tamps down the heavy foreboding in his gut. This is a different tack to the one she’d taken before. Doesn’t matter. He’s not falling for her mind games.

“You’re a criminal,” she continues, “and you deserve your time. But your superiors are the top of the chain, and given the chance?” She stops. Leans forward and smiles, like she’s bringing him in on a secret. “I’ll take them over you.”

The pieces of Gibbs’ plan fall into place, and before he knows it he’s already shaking his head. “No. No way in Hell.”

“Your loyalty is commendable, but this isn’t a decision you want to make hastily.”

“No,” Mike repeats, panic surging through his veins. “I don’t need this. In less than a day, I’m going to be out of here and you’re going to be left with no case and no –“

“Cut the bullshit.”

Mike stops.

“You see up there?” She tilts her head towards the ceiling. The cameras aren’t blinking. “No video. No hidden recordings. I’m not even asking you to confess. So for one minute, just let all the lies go and listen. You’ve been lucky to last this long, but your luck isn’t going to last forever. Cutting a deal is your best ticket out.”

Mike can’t think about it. He can’t. The fear of going to jail cripples him, the thought of being locked up, years of his life thrown away, everything he’s worked so hard for. Lied so hard for.

“Think about it. What’s all this worth to you? You’re sacrificing your freedom for a man who’d probably throw you to the wolves to save himself.”

And there it is. Her first mistake.

Mike opens his eyes and stares at her. “No. I’m not giving up Harvey.”

Stalemate.

Mike shuts himself down after that. The walls of the room close themselves around him like a cage. One hour later and Gibbs leaves empty-handed, but he catches the smile on her face, and the sound of the door clicking shut rings heavy and hollow inside him. Above his head, the red light of the cameras flicker back on.

That’s about when Mike starts pacing.


-----


Mike, college-dropout photographic-memory skinny-tie Mike was never supposed to be a part of Harvey’s life.

They’d been in two completely separate worlds, and sometimes Harvey contemplates how different things would have been if Mike hadn’t gate-crashed his way into Harvey’s career (Harvey’s life). If that briefcase of weed had never spilled open; if Mike hadn’t chosen Harvey’s interview room to hide from the cops; if Rick Sorkin hadn’t been absent.

If Harvey hadn’t said yes.

But it had, and Mike did, and Rick was, and with each choice everything had raced towards a snap-crack-worldshift that had uprooted Harvey’s vision of his future and turned Harvey into Harvey-and-Mike.

Protégé, as the senior partners referred to it. Harvey Specter’s golden boy.

Family, is what Harvey thinks as he races towards Mike’s interrogation room, an echo of just days before when Mike had stood in the doorway of his office, –You’re family, Mike – a look in his eyes that Harvey couldn’t have described in a lifetime, like a jazz song right before the chorus, warm and uplifting and pure.

There’s no chance in hell it’s ending like this. Harvey makes a sharp turn round the corner to reach where Mike is being held. He wrenches open the door to Mike’s interrogation room with more force than necessary, a carefully constructed speech ready at the front of his mind.

The words disintegrate the moment he steps into the room.

Mike’s wearing a hole in the floor, pacing quick and unsteady like a broken wind-up toy. His tie is gone, shirt and hair in disarray, and he jerks his head up as Harvey walks in. Something in Mike’s expression almost makes Harvey flinch. He’s seen Mike panicking after a screw up, during a tough case with a brutal opponent. This is different; this is more, and there’s a look in Mike’s eyes that says he’s already right at the edge of the cliff.

Mike’s gaze flicks away, and he ducks his head down. Retreating. It fuels Harvey’s anger because Mike’s one of the strongest, most stubborn people Harvey knows. But anger is the last thing Mike needs right now, so Harvey locks the emotion away.

“Mike,” Harvey tries. “For god’s sake, sit down. You’re doing exactly what they want you to do.”

Mike makes a sound that’s not quite a laugh, jagged and shaky. “What, worrying about my future? My bad, I’ll just get back to proofing those Ellersie briefs for you. Oh wait, I can’t because I’ve been arrested.”

“They haven’t done jack shit except throw you into a room and turn up the heat to watch you dance. You should know better than to fall for this. I taught you better.” Mike’s eyes flash with some buried emotion, but Harvey cuts him off before he can speak, leaning forward to grip his arm. “Now, I hired a grown goddamn man, not a teenage girl, so cut it with the doomsday spiel. We’re going to be okay.”

Come on, Mike, Harvey thinks. Don’t let those bastards get to you. Don’t let them see you bleed.

But Mike doesn’t get the message, and instead he jerks back, eyes flashing angrily. “Don’t you dare treat this like it’s nothing. They dragged me in here in freaking handcuffs, which means they have something-“

“You don’t know that–“

“–over me, yes we do know that, and the goddamn prosecutor knows it, so don’t give me that patronizing client bullshit–“

“All I know right now is that you’ve completely fallen for whatever bullshit that prosecutor’s said–“ 

“She said I could be facing charges for up to sixty-five years! Sixty-five freaking years, I haven’t even lived half that long, I can’t–“

“They haven’t even shown any evidence and you already look ready to tap out–“

“I don’t want to go to jail, Harvey!”

Silence.

Mike crumples into himself.

They got to him, Harvey realizes, feeling hollow. They said something that got in deep.
Harvey breathes, deep and slow. He wants to find out who turned Mike in, slam them up against a wall and punch their face in, rip their entire life to shreds. Damn them. Damn them for putting that look on Mike’s face.

Instead, he carefully wraps his fingers round Mike’s wrist. “Mike. Listen to me.  We’ll find a way to fix this. You’re not a fraud.” He’ll say those words as many times as he needs to; ram it into everyone’s faces until it sticks. It’s the closest he’s ever come to committing perjury, and he’s never believed something so much.

“No one’s going to believe it, Harvey,” Mike says quietly. “This is it.”

“No, it’s not. I’m not letting you go, Mike, so you don’t get to give up on me.”

Mike closes his eyes; his hands clench into fists and he lifts them slightly before he slumps, palms open like in supplication, and then he’s leaning into Harvey, forehead against Harvey’s shoulder, like Mike wants so much to believe but he can’t bring himself to.

“I asked you, once.” Mike’s voice cracks and he stops. “I asked you what we’d do when I got caught. And you said–“

“I said you wouldn’t. I know.” Harvey tugs Mike closer to him and wraps him tightly into a hug. The cameras and the guards on the other end can go fuck themselves. “I was wrong.”

The words don’t come easy, vulnerability going against every instinct he has. But the truth is what Mike needs right now – and Harvey will do anything he can do keep Mike grounded within the foundation of lies they’ve built around them.

“You’re going to be okay, Mike,” he says into the side of Mike’s head. “Hang in there. I’m going to get you out of this.” 

Mike doesn’t move. “Yeah,” he says, quietly, after awhile. “Okay, Harvey.”

Harvey thinks he feels something inside of him break.


-----


A woman stops him in the hallway outside Mike’s interrogation room. “Mr. Specter? Anita Gibbs, I’m the prosecutor overseeing Mike Ross’s case.”

Harvey dislikes her instantly.

“Yes, Ms.Gibbs?” He’s half a step away from tearing her to shreds even though this is the first time they’ve met. It terrifies him sometimes, how little control he has when it comes to Mike.

“Just wanted to introduce myself.” Gibbs smiles politely and shakes his hand. Minimal makeup, professional but bland clothing. A fierce intelligence in her eyes. “I get the feeling we’ll be seeing more of each other over the coming weeks.”

“Then get ready to be disappointed, because there’s no case and Mike will be out of here sooner than you can blink.” It’s as clear a dismissal as he can give; he prepares to turn and leave.

“I hope you realize just what you have, Specter.”

And Harvey stills, eyes snapping back to hers, even though he knows it’s exactly the reaction she wanted. “Excuse me?”

“That man in my interrogation room? He’d take a bullet for you and then some, and he’d do it without looking back. I’ve worked enough cases to know how rare a thing that is.”

Harvey’s mind freezes. The next thing he knows he’s striding straight up to her, crowding into her personal space, revelling in the split-second flash of fear on her face. “If you try and use me to get Mike to cut some bullshit deal,” he says quietly and slowly, “you are going to regret it for the rest of your life. Do you understand me? I will rip your life apart. ”

And then he turns and leaves before she has a chance to react, before he gives away any more of himself (and Mike) to a stranger who has no right.


-----


Hours later, Mike finds himself pushed roughly into a temporary holding cell. The guards slam the door shut, the noise reverberating through his skull. He turns to take in his surroundings and tenses.

In one corner of his cell is a heavyset man who has an aura of pissed off crawling all over him. His cellmate eyes him in a sickeningly familiar way, and Mike wills himself not to recoil like he really, really wants to. Especially when the man uncoils from his corner and staggers over to Mike with a squinty glare.

“Youuu,” the man slurs. “Guys like you deserve to rot in hell.”

Slurred speech, dilated pupils, and the faint scent of whiskey clings to the man. All of it spells out nothing but trouble.  “Look, man,” Mike holds his hands out in surrender. “I don’t want any troub–“

The man slams him up against the wall. Pain lances down Mike’s back. “Rich dickbag piss-ants like you, in your fuckin’ suits, think you’re better than us, huh? You’re fuckers, all of you,” the man snarls. Mike’s heart is thundering, fingers grappling desperately for purchase against the wall.

“Guard!” He yells, desperate. The guards glance over briefly, then turn away. Mike’s heart sinks. It’s fine, he thinks. He just needs to talk the guy down. He’s a lawyer, he’s Harvey’s goddamn associate. One hundred and forty six choices when someone puts a gun to your head.

“Alright, hey take it easy, okay?” Mike swallows. “You don’t wanna do something you’ll regret, right?“
“Oh, yeah?” The man says, and swings. His first shot goes wide, hitting the cell bars instead, and the man howls, cradling his fist gingerly. “Look what you did! You fucker, look what you did!”

Mike’s scrabbling back, but the cell is 6 by 8 feet and the man’s lunging at him in seconds, blocking any escape path. He swings again and punches Mike in the gut. Mike doubles over, gasping, pain exploding brightly and scattering his thoughts. 

“Fuckers, all ‘f you,” the man’s yelling, moving forward and bringing his fist up again. Mike scrambles to his feet but he isn’t prepared, hadn’t expected a fight, and backtracks until his back hits the cold, metal bars. The man corners him. Mike swings out desperately and the punch collides, but the man barely feels it past the alcohol, just grunts and punches Mike right in the face before he can move out of the way.

Mike yelps and falls to the ground, curling up into a ball in an attempt to protect himself. The hits keep on coming, hard and fast until finally he hears one of the guards call out, Alright, pack it up, that’s enough before dragging the drunkard away. Mike stays down, head tucked in and elbows up, heart beating out of his chest. His entire body hurts and there’s blood running down his nose and he’s five seconds away from falling apart.

Everything will be okay, Mike thinks, desperately. Everything will be okay everything will be okay everything will be okay. He’s fine. And Harvey will be there tomorrow. Harvey will fix it.

Mike uncurls slightly, spits out some blood and winces at his split lip. Then he stumbles back to the jail bench and collapses onto it, one arm reaching round to curl around his stomach. He can hear the sound of his breathing in the silence, shallow and rapid, and tries to suppress the shake at the end of each exhale. He shuts his eyes and waits for morning. Breathes.

-----


The journey to court the next day feels like one of the longest trips of Mike’s life. He feels his heart beating out of his throat, and tenses every time one of the guards reach out to adjust the handcuffs or prod him in the right direction.

When he finally sees Harvey, the sheer relief all but freezes him to the spot, and it takes another prod before he jerks forward. Harvey turns round to him, eyes him up and down and his expression changes from neutral to anger in a heartbeat. Harvey’s eyes turn hard like steel, and he barks at the guards.

“What the hell happened to him?”

The guard looks unfazed. “One of people he was detained with attacked him. We moved the guy to another cell.”

“What, did you guys stop for a cup of coffee on the way?” Harvey snaps. “That’s not just a few punches, that’s a goddamn beatdown.”

Mike winces. He’s not sure if he wants to look at himself in a mirror right now, but if he looks half as bad as he feels, well. The guard shrugs. “Look, our job’s to escort the prisoner over. You want to file a complaint, take it to the front desk.”

There’s nothing to be done, and Mike knows it. And if Mike knows it, Harvey definitely does too. “Harvey.”

Harvey glances at him, an unreadable look in his eyes. Then it’s like he pulls himself back in, all signs of anger gone, just a mask of cold neutrality. “My client has a right to be safe from harm when in police custody. If I hear of something like this happening again, you can be damn right I’ll sue every single one of you.” It’s the closing line of a losing speech – lost the battle, but not the war.

Harvey gestures sharply towards the handcuffs, and the guard moves to remove them. Mike steels himself because he knows what’s coming, he does, and yet he can’t help but flinch when the guard grabs his wrists. He sees Harvey narrow his eyes, and Mike looks away as he sits down. It feels like a memory gone wrong, sitting beside Harry not as his partner but as the client. The accused.

Harvey turns to him instantly after the guards leave, expression tight and closed in the way that Mike knows means I’m worried but I’m trying not to show it because I’m not supposed to care. “You look like shit.”

“I’m okay,” Mike says and goes for a reassuring grin, but he can’t have been that successful because Harvey just frowns.

“No, you’re not. What happened to you last night?”

In any other situation, Mike would be teasing Harvey over the concern he’s showing. Right now, it just makes Mike feel safe. “Nothing I haven’t handled before.” It’s almost true. “Former wrestler, remember?”

“Yeah, you’re a regular Rocky,” Harvey mutters. He lifts Mike’s chin up to the light and brushes his thumb gently across the bruises that line Mike’s jaw; the split lip. Mike winces, and he watches as Harvey’s face hardens.

“They get you anywhere else?”

“I’m fine.”

“That’s not answering the question.”

“Harvey–“

“Mike.”

There’s some odd, strained quality about the way Harvey says Mike’s name that makes Mike pause, staring at Harvey in the silence. He drops his gaze. Tilts his shoulder in a half-shrug. “The guy slammed me around a little; kicked me in the gut a bunch. I’ve been through worse.”

Something flashes in Harvey’s expression, cold and dangerous. “Those bastards.”

Mike blinks at the outright hatred in Harvey’s voice, far less concealed and neutral than it usually is. He sees Harvey takes note of the careful way Mike’s holding himself, but drops it. There’s nothing either of them can do about this, not without making it worse, and they both know it.

They spend the rest of the time they have before the trial going over their plans. Harvey’s lips twitch as Mike tells him about the tape confession trick, and the subtle pride Mike sees in Harvey’s eyes is almost enough for Mike to think that things are normal; can go back to the way they used to be. But soon enough it’s time for the deposition. As they both head toward the door, Harvey presses a hand against Mike’s back, just before they enter the courtroom.

“It’ll be okay, Mike,” Harvey murmurs.

And then Harvey’s opening the door, walking past him and into the sea of eyes turned towards them. The warmth of Harvey’s hand is a tangible imprint on the small of Mike’s back. Mike takes a deep breath and walks into the courtroom.

-----

After the trial, they make their way back to Harvey’s apartment in silence. Harvey curls a hand around Mike’s shoulder as they sit in the backseat of the car. Mike steps in right next to Harvey in the elevator up to Harvey’s condo, leaning ever so slightly against Harvey’s side. It’s the most they’ve spoken in a lifetime.

Dinner is Chinese; sweet and sour chicken, deep-fried spring rolls, Harvey and Mike’s combined weight in shrimp crackers.

It’s almost routine for Mike to just make his way to Harvey’s bedroom and collapse onto the bed, unmoving, staring out the ridiculously large windows until Harvey detaches himself from his suit and tie and steps back into his own skin. Ten minutes later, he joins Mike in bed, clad in a soft Harvard sweatshirt, and folds himself along Mike’s back. Presses a kiss to the curve of Mike’s shoulder. Mike doesn’t move, staring out into the night.

The stars glitter. The patch of skin that Harvey had kissed flares warm and bright in Mike’s mind. They have come so far from broken suitcases and smuggled weed, the path winding on and twisting back round to wrap full circle around them both. Mike twists round and wraps a hand around Harvey’s wrist, gently, like handcuffs. A sick feeling of fear and foreboding rises up within him.

“Mike? What’re you thinking about in that big brain of yours?” Harvey says.

Mike twists Harvey’s hand until Harvey’s the one with his fingers curled tight around Mike’s wrist. The fear subsides. He looks at Harvey, who’s staring back at him, puzzled and concerned and fond, and realizes what he’s chosen for a long time now.

“Mike?”

“I’m thinking ‘bout you,” Mike says, and reaches up to kiss Harvey on the temple, on each eyelid, at the edge of his upturned lips, down every inch of Harvey’s skin, soft and slow and careful, over and over until the touch and taste of Harvey is imprinted in Mike’s brain, piece by piece, collecting memories to last sixty-five years, a lifetime’s worth, that prison cells will never be able to take away.  Because when it comes down to it, choosing Harvey has always been the easiest thing Mike’s done.
                                                                                                                                           

-----


So, do we have a deal or not?

We do, Mr. Ross.



fin.
 
 
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