Author's Note: Inspired by a prompt on LiveJournal's suitsmeme. Thanks to Jet for giving me the best line and indulging me all the way; you're awesome. Summary: Be careful what you ask for.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, and I'm not making any money from this story.
Warnings: Spanking, SPOILERS up to/including Season 1, Tricks of the Trade
Tricks of the Trade
"You see, that's funny, because now I'm quoting Top Gun and - get out of my office."
"Very funny," Harvey mutters, brow furrowing as he makes a strategic retreat from his boss's office. He might be Jessica's favorite, but Harvey Specter knows something about battles, and this is one he won't win. No, he's just going to have to be a good boy and make nice for mommy at least for one evening. Harvey's lips curl into a grin as he imagines Jessica's reaction to being called "Mommy." He decides to try it at the earliest opportunity; the woman's expression might just be worth the ass-kicking to follow. Mood lightened, he slips the tickets into his pocket. He's strolling toward his office when he hears the voices.
"But what?" a feminine voice demands, moments before Rachel Zane charges around the corner of the darkened offices of Pearson-Hardman and straight into Harvey's Tom Ford waistcoat.
"Hey, whoa there," he says, catching her arms to steady her. She's mad as hell and trying to hide it; her dark eyes flashing away from his.
"Sorry, Harvey," she allows. "I wasn't watching where I was going." Self-evident. Harvey takes in the flushed skin, the tight expression, then glances up as Mike trots around the corner of the emptied floor, apparently in pursuit.
"Rachel," Mike pleads breathlessly, just before noticing Harvey. And there it is again; the kid has that look, the one that says "I've made a mess you're going to have to clean up." The one that inevitably precedes Harvey swooping in to save the day. Mike offers a weak grin, his hand automatically moving to pat down his rumpled tie. "Hey, I thought you left."
"What's going on here?" Harvey asks, noting the way Mike's eyes dart to Rachel's stiffened form. Girl trouble; really? Is Harvey going to have to teach him everything?
Rachel's lips purse. "Nothing."
Harvey's gaze flits to his watch with annoyance.
We had a disagreement," Mike confesses, shifting stances uneasily.
"About what?" Mike frowns, glances at Rachel again. The brunette refuses to look at either of them, her fulminating gaze fixed on some distant point over Harvey's right shoulder. And Harvey usually would pick up his jacket and briefcase and get on with his evening. But the paralegal has proven to be a valuable resource, and Mike needs all the allies he can get. Harvey makes a mental note to bill Mike for his time. "My office; both of you."
"This really doesn't concern you, Harvey," Rachel points out, as Harvey's hand at her elbow steers her through the dark and empty floor. Harvey doesn't need to look over his shoulder to know that Mike is following.
"Sure it does," Harvey returns easily. "I'm a concerned citizen." Which is bullshit and they know it, but they also know they don't have the cojones to call him on it.. Harvey ushers the pair into his office and waves at the chairs. "Sit. Please," he adds, when Rachel looks like she might refuse. Harvey waits as she primly takes a seat beside his associate, then begins his interrogation. "What happened?" he asks Mike. The "now" is implied.
Mike clasps his hands together and leans forward in his chair, his face drawn with resignation. "Rachel found out I took the LSAT for people when I was at Harvard."
Harvey huffs in disbelief. "Your surprise applicant actually told her?" Dumb move; these kids have no discretion. They're damn lucky Mike hasn't been outted all over Facebook. At least Rachel doesn't know everything. Right now, Mike's just an opportunist. If she finds out Mike never went to Harvard, he'll be an opportunistic fraud.
"You knew?" Rachel asks, her eyes narrowed on Harvey.
"No." Mike flushes, glancing between the two with something like distress. "I mean, yeah," he amends quickly, deciding to reply to Harvey. "She gave Rachel my name, and
"I tried to hire a genius to take the LSATs for me," Rachel announces bluntly, with a glare for Mike. "I didn't know it was him. Not until tonight."
"You told her?" Harvey should have hired a mute.
"She figured it out!" Mike says defensively, his fingers tightening on the arms of the chair as he turns that ridiculously earnest gaze on Harvey. "I swear I wasn't going to do it, Harvey. Out of nowhere, I get this call, and I told the guy I don't do that stuff anymore. But when I figured out it was Rachel, I let him set up the meeting and tried to talk her out of it." Harvey's shaking his head, but Mike keeps on. "If I hadn't, Scott just would have found someone else to take the test for her, and I couldn't let her sabotage herself that way."
"But it's okay for you to sabotage yourself and me?" Harvey demands. "You do understand that the less people who know about your past, the more likely our chances of keeping our jobs, right?" Mike pales, his head dropping slightly . "And you," Harvey continues, with a hard glance for Rachel. Her brows draw together in a confused line. "I might expect this kind of behavior from Mike, but not from you."
The girl bites her lip, and Harvey suspects her high color is now more shame than anger. And it should be. They've put the entire firm at risk with their what does Louis call them? oh, yeah, their shenanigans. And that Harvey is now adopting Louis's terms really pisses him off. He spins slowly on his heel and steps toward his desk, fists shoved into his suit pockets so he won't be tempted to run them through his perfectly sculpted hair.
There's the soft rustle of Mike rising from his chair, and Harvey senses the kid hovering behind him. "Look, I know I messed up, but we can trust Rachel." Harvey grants his associate a derisive arch of his brow and reaches for the New York Times Donna left on his desk. "She won't tell anyone," Mike persists, blue eyes pleading with Harvey to believe him. His gaze swings to Rachel for confirmation. "Will you?"
A cracking sound bounces from the office walls, and Mike whirls back toward Harvey, gaping alternately between Harvey's face and the now rolled-up newspaper in Harvey's right hand. The same newspaper Harvey just snapped against the kid's ass.
"Dude." Mike blushes hotly. But Harvey's not here to be sympathetic. He points the paper at his associate, pinning him with a dark stare.
"Bad puppy." A nervous giggle bubbles in the heavy air, and Harvey's gaze snaps to the pretty paralegal, the cause of today's Mike-induced headache. "You think this is funny?" he wants to know. "Because you solicited his services with intent to commit fraud. You two could go to jail, and I could be disbarred. Still feel like laughing?" Harvey pauses for effect. Silence; from both culprits. Harvey glances between Rachel and Mike, who won't look at Harvey or each other. Satisfied, he tosses the newspaper back to his desk top. "This is what's going to happen. I want this guy's number; neither of you will be hearing from him again," he reports tersely. "Then, you two kids are going to kiss and make up, and we're all going to forget this conversation ever happened."
Rachel swallows, finally casting Harvey a wary glance. "Your associate cheating on the LSATs is okay with you?"
"Mike and I have a deal," Harvey replies, knowing Mike will catch the not-so-subtle censure threading his words. "I suggest you make one, too. He was willing to lie to me to keep your secret," he says, as some of the tension drains from her face. "If you're half as smart as I know you are, you'll continue to let him prepare you for that test. He's good at what he does; even if he is an idiot," Harvey tells her, with a reproving glance for his associate. The kid has the grace to wince before risking a look at Rachel.
"I really do want to help you; I promise, Rachel," Mike says, holding his palms out in an open gesture that's rife with sincerity. Harvey makes a mental note to use it the next time he's in court.
"Look, I'll keep my mouth shut," Rachel concedes. "But that doesn't mean I'm okay with it, or you," she adds, glancing pointedly at Mike.
"Awwww; that's sweet," Harvey drawls, returning his hands to his pockets. "Get out of my office." Harvey doesn't have to ask twice; the young paralegal hikes her purse back on her shoulder and makes for the elevators, throwing Harvey a cautious look as she passes. Mike tightens his grip on his messenger bag, obviously preparing to follow her out. "Where do you think you're going?"
Mike stops and blinks, the confusion wrinkling his forehead almost amusing. Almost. "You said to leave," he says, jerking his chin toward the office doors as if Harvey might have forgotten their location.
Mike sighs, his face screwing into a pained expression. "Come on, Harvey; it's been a long day and it's going to be fine. Can't we just get some air?" he asks hopefully.
"Oh, you'll get some air," Harvey assures him.
Mike frowns. "What do you mean?"
"I mean you're going to be so busy you won't have time to screw up," Harvey replies, turning and walking behind his desk.
"I don't have time now," Mike protests indignantly, tagging at Harvey's heels.
"And yet you manage," Harvey drawls again, picking up a pen and scribbling a number on a Post-it before ripping it away. "This is Donna's cell. Have her send over the receipts for my dry cleaning so you can pick it up." He slaps the Post-it against Mike's lapel. "I'll also be needing you to make a hundred copies of the Markham brief, complete with exhibits. Consider yourself grounded."
"Harvey - " Mike begins, then groans in frustration, a spark of defiance lighting his averted eyes. "Why don't you just spank me and get it over with?" he mutters.
"Okay," Harvey agrees.
Mike glances up in surprise, blinks nervously. "Ha ha ha
"I'm serious," Harvey tells him. At first he only intends to call the kid's bluff, but the more he thinks about it, the more he thinks smacking some sense into his associate might be much more effective. Not to mention gratifying.
Mike scoffs. "Seriously deluded."
"Who were you talking to when we were getting into the car that day?" Mike glances towards the city outside Harvey's windows, color climbing his cheeks. "That's what I thought," Harvey says. "And you lied to me again tonight when you told me Rachel's buddy told her about you; I thought you needed me to trust you."
Mike flinches. "I wasn't going to bring you into it, Harvey," he insists. "I thought you'd say you didn't know!"
"It's my job to know," Harvey snaps, wondering if Mike Ross is his karmic bill for every headache Harvey's ever caused Jessica.
"But you don't care about me, remember?" Mike volleys, and if he thinks Harvey's that easily manipulated, he's got a hell of a lot to learn.
Harvey steps closer, crowding the kid's space. "I might not care about you, but I care about me, and if I have to replace your skinny-tied ass, that's going to affect me."
"And associates aren't a dime a douchey dozen?" Mike demands, tilting his chin up and holding his ground. Harvey feels a perverse twinge of pride at the gesture, but it's not going to stop him from kicking the kid's ass.
"Not the one I want," he finds himself admitting. "You're smart and you've got good instincts when you use your head," he clarifies, rolling his eyes when the rare praise causes the kid to break into a goofy grin. "But the world doesn't play by your rules, it plays by its own, and if you want to get ahead, you need to learn them. I've tried reason, I've tried yelling and riding your ass, but you're obviously not hearing me. Maybe this will be the trick."
This time it's Mike that rolls his eyes. "And what if I say no?" he challenges.
Harvey shrugs. "Nothing." His mouth quirks wryly. "But I don't think you will."
Mike stares at him for a long moment, trying to read him, before huffing his exasperation. "This is idiotic, Harvey," he complains, taking a step back. He shrugs off his messenger bag and tosses it to a chair. "And juvenile."
Harvey smirks, his fingers deftly removing his cufflinks. "It is, isn't it?"
"I hate you," Mike says, so sincerely that Harvey actually chuckles. "You do realize this is grounds for a lawsuit?"
"Are you trying to make this fun for me?" Harvey inquires, unbuttoning his right shirt cuff with practiced ease.
Mike doesn't reply, and Harvey notes that at least the kid's finally learned how to recognize a rhetorical question. "We're not doing this over your lap," he warns instead, watching Harvey roll up his sleeve.
Harvey huffs in disdain. "And ruin this suit?" He inclines his head, indicating the right side of his office. "Bend over the conference table." Mike takes a deep breath, but doesn't whine or try to pussy his way out of it, just pushes aside a chair and lowers himself over the table's edge. And there it is again, that absurd flash of pride Harvey has no business taking in a mere associate.
"You haven't had sex on this, have you?" Mike asks, resting his head between his forearms.
"Is this really the time to get mouthy?" Harvey pushes the cheap suit jacket up around Mike's waist, his left hand resting at the small of the kid's back to steady him. It's certainly not for reassurance, because that's not Harvey's thing.
"Can I answer that later?"
Harvey chuffs softly and lands a firm smack to his associate's ass; waits as Mike stiffens, inhaling sharply. "Whose associate are you?" Harvey asks, determined to lead the witness.
"Your associate, Harvey," Mike recites, not sounding particularly appreciative of this bounty.
Harvey smacks him again, pleased when this one elicits a tiny yelp. "And what is your job?" he persists.
"Anything you don't want to do yourself," Mike grits.
"Damn right," Harvey agrees staidly, with another smart slap to the seat of the kid's slacks. His palm is starting to sting, and guessing by the tension in Mike's shoulders, that's not the only thing. "You do what I say, and only what I say, when I say to do it. You have a twinge of conscience, you run it by me."
"That conscience saved our client!" Mike argues.
"Forget the client!" Harvey barks. There's an abrupt moment of silence, and Harvey realizes he's forgotten to keep smacking the kid. And advocated heresy. Mike is dead still beneath his stabilizing hand. Shit.
"You care about me," Mike says slowly, the words rolling as cautiously from his tongue as a goddamn foreign language, and really, does he ever shut up? "You care about me," he repeats with dawning glee.
"I hired you," Harvey corrects him, unwilling to indulge delusions of grandeur at this juncture. "Not the client, not the firm. And not the pretty paralegal. You're my associate, your loyalty lies with me."
"You're right, Harvey," Mike agrees, his tone both smug and repentant at once.
"Yes, I am," Harvey replies, remembering to swat him again.
"Ow!" Mike jumps in what Harvey finds a very satisfying way. "Shit. I'm sorry," Mike breathes, more sincerely and with less complacency. "And I'll pick up the dry cleaning."
Harvey keeps swinging. "You bet you will."
"I'll ouch! Shit, Harvey
I'll make the copies, too," he promises.
"Good," Harvey says, as if he and Mike are in some meeting and Harvey isn't spanking him like an errant schoolboy. Harvey continues to let his palm do the talking, watching his associate carefully for signs of distress. It's obvious from the line of Mike's shoulders, the rigid way he's holding himself, that the punishment is uncomfortable, but he makes no attempt to wriggle out from Harvey's touch, or to avoid the blows. No, Mike waits until he reaches his limit, then submits his plea.
"Harvey." Just the one word, a little ragged around the edges, but Harvey figures it's enough.
"You need me to trust you? So do I. So stop giving me reasons not to," Harvey advises, his last two swats falling with slightly more force than those previous and drawing a choked gasp from the kid. "Capiche?"
"Yeah," comes the faint reply, muffled by Mike's arms.
"We're done." Harvey allows his left hand to give Mike's back a small, awkward pat. "Get up," he says, not unkindly. He takes a step back and gives his associate some room, waits for him to stand on his own. A moment later, Mike pushes himself slowly upward, his face brushing suspiciously against his sleeve. Harvey fishes out his silk handkerchief, thrusting it in Mike's general direction. "Here; clean yourself up."
Mike takes it without hesitation, and Harvey watches with faint disgust as the kid blows his nose vigorously. Mike's eyes are puffy and he's splotchy, but Harvey thinks he looks more relaxed than he's seen him in days.
"Thanks," Mike says, although Harvey doubts he knows precisely what he's thanking Harvey for.
Harvey frowns. "Any time."
Mike manages a watery chuckle, crumpling the handkerchief in his hand before holding it out to Harvey, who eyes it with distaste. Mike takes a closer look at it, then throws Harvey a sheepish look. "Uh, maybe I'll just wash this first," he says, stuffing it into his pocket.
"Keep it," Harvey tells him. Then, "Alright?"
"Yeah," Mike says, shrugging off the question with some returning swagger. "Didn't even hurt."
"Yeah, okay," Harvey replies, resisting the urge to rolls his eyes again as he walks over to retrieve the suit jacket hanging neatly over his chair.
"Seriously," Mike continues, picking up his bag and slinging it over his shoulder again. "My grandmother hits harder than that."
"Wanna go again?" Harvey invites pleasantly, as he slips into the pinstriped garment.
Mike shakes his head, mouths the word "no".
Harvey smirks briefly. "Didn't think so." He flicks off his desk lamp and picks up his briefcase before strolling around his desk. "So. Pretty paralegal, huh?"
"I already told you, Harvey; it isn't like that."
"It's totally like that," Harvey replies, but leaves it there. He remembers the anguish on the kid's face when he came around the corner tonight. "She rough you up?"
"It was awful," Mike confesses.
Harvey's mouth curves knowingly. "Takes a lot more than just fancy flying," he tells him, allowing his shoulder to bump Mike's on the way to the door. "You want a ride or not?" he asks, not bothering to turn around as he heads out of the office. "I don't have all night."
Harvey smiles when he hears Mike fall into step behind him.
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