Title- Grammy Knows Best 3b/?
Rating- PG-13 (possibly NC-17)
Genre- first-time, romance, drama, slash
Wordcount- 8,000 (4,800 part b)
Disclaimer- I do not own Suits
Chapter Summary- Mike has some trouble getting to his inerview, and Trevor is acting suspicious.
Overall Summary- Grandma Ross wants her grandson to find a new friend so he'll stop hanging out with Trevor. When Harvey Specter crashes her interviews, it might be the begining of something better than she could have hoped for.
Harvey had been waiting impatiently by the door for his ten o’clock appointment. He watched the minutes tick by and glanced at Donna, who rolled her eyes skyward. He managed a wry smile in return, thinking that at least she was having some fun now that he’d assigned her to play games with the prospective associates. He glanced at the clock again, wondering how much time he could let pass before he would have no excuse for not moving on to the next candidate.
“Mike Ross?” he heard Donna ask, and his focus returned to the entrance way. He was hidden by the wall, but he could hear everything that was said between the two. He smirked when he heard the kid’s response to Donna’s digging. He didn’t need Donna to tell him that Mike had passed this test, but still her wink was a welcome encouragement; he was glad she approved of his favorite candidate.
Harvey led Mike into the room and motioned for him to sit down in front of the desk. “A car chase with drug dealers?” he asked with a raised eyebrow, making certain to keep the smirk from his face.
Mike flushed, fidgeted, looked uncomfortable. “First thing I could think of,” he mumbled.
“Did it also happen to be the truth?” Harvey asked, taking a good look at Mike for the first time since he’d walked in. He was breathing hard and there was sweat showing through the fabric of his suit under his arms. His hands were trembling slightly and his eyes seemed over-bright. “Are you high right now?” Harvey asked incredulously. It took him a moment to identify the sinking feeling in his stomach as disappointment. He had really hoped that this kid would be able to overcome the drug habit once Harvey gave him a shot at something better, but it seemed even the chance to have his dream job wasn’t enough to overpower the addiction.
“No!” Mike exclaimed, glaring at Harvey. “It’s not- I wasn’t- I’m not, okay!”
“Explain it to me.”
“Look, I’m not high, alright? I got mixed up in something by mistake. I really was chased by drug dealers, on my bike. I was able to outrun them, which is why I’m all sweaty, and breathing hard, and if I’m shaking it’s only because they shot at me!” He balled his hands into fists at his sides to hide the tremors and looked Harvey in the eye. His expression was a mix of pleading and anger, and his denial seemed sincere.
If Harvey had been going on Mike’s reaction alone, he would have still been suspicious, maybe suspicious enough to call off his whole plan involving Mike. But he also had the information from Carol Ross, who swore up and down that her grandson wasn’t the problem, but his friend Trevor. Harvey wondered if he was being foolish even as he made the decision to give the kid the benefit of the doubt.
“Explain it to me,” Harvey challenged again. “I need to know exactly what you’re involved in if I’m going to even consider hiring you. I need to know it’s not something that’s going to come back and bite me in the ass.”
Harvey watched as the kid took a deep breath and blew it out slowly, probably weighing all of his options even as he did so, considering how much was enough truth to make Harvey believe him and how much he could keep hidden. “Okay,” he said at last, “I’ll explain it.”
Mike swiped his tongue over his lips and looked up at Harvey, then away. “My, ah, my friend Trevor, he’s a software designer, but he deals drugs on the side.”
“And uses?” Harvey interrupted.
“And you use?”
Mike looked pained, grinding his teeth before finally forcing out the answer. He had no way of knowing it was one that Harvey already knew. “A little pot now and then. Nothing serious. And I never got involved with the deals; I know how dangerous that is.” Harvey neglected to say anything about Mike letting his friend continue to do such a dangerous thing; he simply nodded for Mike to continue.
“Well, Trevor loaned me a suit for this interview, and one of the briefcases he uses in his deals. He fills them with drugs and hands them off for ones filled with money. This one’s clean,” Mike opened the briefcase and displayed the contents to Harvey for inspection, “but there was this black car parked outside my apartment that wasn’t there the night before. I realized after a few blocks that they were following me, and I figured they’d followed Trevor to my place and thought he’d handed drugs or money or something off to me.”
“And how the hell did you escape a drug dealer with a car and a gun when you had nothing but a bicycle?” Harvey asked, not fully managing to hide the fact that he was impressed.
“I know the streets,” Mike said with a shrug, like it was no big deal. “I knew where the alleys were that the car couldn’t follow me into, and abandoned buildings where I could hide until they passed. Also I might have driven across a busy street and run a red light.”
“On a bike?” Harvey knew he sounded incredulous, and maybe even a little awed, but he couldn’t help it. If Mike really had been shot at by drug dealers and run a red light on a bicycle in New York City traffic, it was a wonder he wasn’t dead. Mike merely shrugged in answer, looking mildly embarrassed.
Harvey looked the kid over thoughtfully, wondering what was going through his mind. Finally he spoke. “This Trevor guy, the drug dealer. How’d you get involved with him?” Mike’s grandmother had told him, of course, but he wanted to know how much Mike would tell him.
“Known him since we were kids,” Mike replied. “He’s always been my best friends.”
“And has he always been getting you into trouble?” Harvey asked. Mike’s averted eyes and silence answered for him. “Tell me about how you left law school without a degree.”
Mike looked away and scrubbed a hand over his hair as he debated what to tell Harvey. “I have eidetic memory. That’s how I knew the roads so well. Trevor, he… convinced me to memorize a test for one of my classes and sell it. I needed the money; my grandmother’s in the hospital, and working part time around classes wasn’t covering her bills and mine. Trevor and I made a good profit off the test, but the girl we sold it to didn’t think to miss some points so it wouldn’t look suspicious. The professor thought it was weird that a C average student got almost every question right, so he put her before the ethics board and she gave them my name. But, her daddy was a big donor and I was there with a scholarship. Daddy paid for a new library wing, she got put on probation, and I got a black mark on my record that no other law school would overlook.” Mike shook his head and laughed, a raw and humorless sound. “Guess that’s the economics of higher education.”
Harvey nodded slowly, fighting back the twinge of sympathy he felt at the unfairness of Mike’s position. Mike had confirmed everything his grandmother had said. Trevor was the problem, and without him Mike would have probably graduated from law school and been applying for the associate’s position at another firm at that moment. Their loss; Harvey’s gain.
“Eidetic memory, huh? So that’s how you managed to pass the bar.”
“Hey, it’s not just memorization,” Mike said defensively. “I don’t just know the words. I know what they mean, too. I understand everything that I read, and I know how to apply it. Here,” He shuffled through the papers in his still-open briefcase before producing records of his LSAT and bar exam scores. “I thought I’d bring these as proof, even though you already seem to know about my scores.” Harvey glanced over them and saw that they did indeed reflect what he’d been told. A perfect score on the LSAT, and a high passing score on the bar exam.
“How did you know, by the way?” Mike asked, interrupting his thoughts. Harvey looked up to see that the young man had leveled him with a suspicious gaze, one that wouldn’t be redirected by double-talk. “It’s not like those results get sent out randomly to law firms.”
“No,” Harvey admitted, glad he’d come up with a suitable explanation already. He’d known after meeting Mike that the man wouldn’t leave this alone. “But law professors gossip about their promising students, and I know some people who keep track of that and can give me the names of the most promising new faces. Can’t hire them if they didn’t go to Harvard, but it’s always smart to keep an eye on the future competition. Apparently some people were wondering why the kid they’d heard about before hadn’t graduated yet.” Mike nodded slowly, and Harvey found himself mentally breathing a sigh of relief. He wondered why he’d been so worried about this man seeing through his lie.
“But,” Harvey said, getting back to the matter at hand, “so far you’ve just confirmed what I already knew and given me several reasons not to hire you. Academic dishonesty, drug addiction, connection to organized crime. When’s the part where you start impressing me with your legal knowledge?”
“That’s a Barbary legal handbook right there, right?” Mike asked, nodding to the book on Harvey’s desk. “Open it up. Read me something. Anything.”
Harvey laid a hand on the book and pulled it towards himself. He opened it up to a random page and let his eyes skim down it. Then he stopped and looked up at Mike. “You’ve read the whole damn thing, haven’t you?”
Mike smirked. “Cover to cover. I could quote you any line, paragraph, chapter. Anything you want. Go ahead. Read me something.”
“How much do you read?”
“Anything. Everything.” Mike shrugged. “Whatever I get my hands on. Law is my favorite subject, though. Just because I got kicked out of law school doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping track of what’s going on. I’m still reading legal journals, learning the new precedents being made. I know it all. Pick a topic, and I’ll give you the most up to date information on it from the best legal journals.”
Harvey stepped back and looked at Mike, realizing for the first time that he may well have a walking, talking library of legal knowledge sitting in front of him. He doubted the young man would have issued the challenge if he didn’t know he could win. If he’d asked, Mike probably would have been able to quote the latest issues of legal journals on any topic Harvey named. The kid was impressive, certainly. But he was still just a kid. “No way, hotshot. Anyone can memorize words. Tell me how you would handle a real case.”
“What kind of case?”
“Say, sexual harassment. Your client was harassed, and you want to win a settlement for her.”
“Well, if they don’t want to settle, then find someone to back it up. Witnesses who saw the harassment.”
“They won’t testify against their boss.”
“Then try to find another victim. Maybe someone who got fired for threatening them and has no reason to keep quiet about it. It might not prove my client is telling the truth, but it’d make it a lot easier to believe.”
“Except none of the employees are pointing you to other victims.”
“Subpoena the employee files.”
“They fight the subpoena. You’re fishing.”
“Then I need to find some kind of precedent. Something that says I can look for evidence if I have a good enough reason to believe I’d find it. If he’s done it once, he’s done it before, and probably tried to cover it up. Like you said, witnesses wouldn’t testify against their boss. Besides, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable if I’m only asking for the files of women who aren’t current employees.”
Harvey nodded as he considered the answer. The argument was unpolished, but this was an interview, not a courtroom. There would be time to work on that later. “Good. Now what if your client is the rich guy doing the harassing?”
“Get him to settle.”
“Say he doesn’t want to. Say he thinks he can just fire her and solve the problem?”
“He’s an idiot. She could hire a lawyer and take him to court for that and the harassment. Or she could go public, tell the whole world what he did. Settling keeps everybody happy.” Mike looked uncomfortable with the line of questioning. That worried Harvey. As lawyers working for a corporation, they didn’t get to pick their clients. Some of them weren’t the most pleasant people and some of them might have deserved everything the opposition wanted for them, but it would always be his job to serve his client’s best interests. He nodded in response to Mike’s answer, wondering if the young man would really be able to do the job.
“But,” Mike added suddenly, “I’d include a gag order in the settlement, so she couldn’t testify for someone else if he does it again. And make sure that if she gets transferred or leaves, it’s not in a way other people would notice and talk about.
Harvey looked Mike in the eye, sizing him up. He probably knew that Harvey had sensed his unease moments before, and was trying to make up for it. But his answer was right, however reluctant he was to give it, and Harvey couldn’t deny that he was good.
“Not bad,” Harvey admitted. “As good as any of the guys waiting outside. Probably better.”
“Does that mean I get the job?”
“You don’t have a Harvard law degree.”
“You didn’t seem to mind much the other day. Besides, unlike them, I don’t have a ‘false sense of superiority.’” Mike smirked as he quoted back what Harvey had said to him earlier, the implication that his superiority was genuine unspoken but obvious.
“This isn’t a test in law school; you don’t get to retake it if you fail. It’s the real world: hard work, long hours, high pressure. You do your job, right, the first time, or you don’t do it at all.”
“If you give me this, you won’t be sorry.” Mike met Harvey’s gaze head on, unflinching. “I will do whatever it takes to show you that you made the right choice. I will become the best lawyer you have ever seen, a thousand times better than any of those Harvard douches.”
Harvey nodded. “Good.” He watched the younger man’s face as Mike processed the word and all it meant, feeling a certain satisfaction at the flicker of joy in his eyes. “You’ll need this,” Harvey said, handing Mike a piece of paper from one of his desk drawers.
“What is it?” Mike asked, turning it over in his hands.
“Pre-paid ticketless itinerary for a round trip flight to Cambridge, Massachusetts.” Mike gave Harvey a confused look, and he smirked. “See, if you actually went to Harvard Law like all the other lawyers at our firm, you’d know the name of the city it’s in. You’re going to go to there and learn everything there is to know about being a Harvard Law student. When I said this firm only hires from Harvard, I meant it; I don’t want you to stand out in a group of people who’ve lived there for at least three years. You start a week from Monday; that flight leaves in a couple hours and gets back Saturday. That should be more than enough time for someone as smart as you to pick up everything you need to know.”
Mike stared at the paper in his hands, the looked up at Harvey and grinned. “You knew you’d choose me. You planned on in.”
Harvey shrugged. “I suspected that there wouldn’t be anybody else that impressed me. It’s not my fault it none of the other candidates exceeded my expectations of them.” Mike laughed and shook his head, and Harvey allowed himself a small smile before growing serious once more. “Besides, those drug dealers know where you live. Probably a good idea to get out of town for a few nights. When you get back, you’re going to make sure you keep that promise about not getting into car chases again. Stop hanging around with drug dealers; that’s how you get pulled into this. Stay away from that Trevor guy. And stop smoking, too; we drug test. You quite now and you’ll be fine by the time you get back.”
Mike was staring at him with wide eyes, like Harvey was saying too quickly too many things that he’d never considered. Harvey made it simple. “No drugs; no Trevor. Those are the conditions of your employment. Do we have a deal?”
Harvey could practically see the gears turning in Mike’s head as he thought about it. From what he’d said and what Harvey knew from his grandmother, Mike and Trevor were very close. It would be hard for him to give that up. But probably easier to lie to Harvey and say that he would. “Alright,” Mike said at last. “We’ve got a deal.”
Carol Ross sighed as she put the phone in her room back into its cradle. It had been Harvey calling, and while he’d told her that he’d hired Mike as the new associate for his firm, he had also informed her that Mike had been late for his interview, and told her exactly why he’d been late. Her grandson, her precious Michael whom she’d raised since he was six years old, had been chased by drug dealers who believed he was working for Trevor. He’d been shot at and forced to risk his life in traffic in order to escape. Mike’s situation was worse than she had realized. Carol only hoped that Mike would follow Harvey’s terms like he’d said he would, and keep away from Trevor.
It was possible that the latest trouble that Trevor had gotten him into, something that had genuinely put his life at risk, would be enough for Mike to realize that he couldn’t trust Trevor. Carol thought, however, that it was perhaps more likely that Mike would say that Trevor had had no idea that something like that might have happened, and had no intention of endangering Mike. He would give Trevor the benefit of the doubt, and he would continue to spend time with him, risking not only his new job but his life as well.
Carol shook her head at the thought. She could only hope that a week away from Trevor followed by extremely long work hours would be enough to put a rift between Mike and Trevor, one that would slowly begin to widen as time went on and Mike’s life began to revolve more and more around his job and the new friends he would make there.
Carol was startled from her thoughts by the sound of her phone ringing again. She picked it up again, knowing that it was probably Mike calling to tell her about his new job. “Hello?”
“Grammy! You know that job offer I was telling you about?” Mike asked, sounding breathless with excitement.
“The one at the law firm? Of course!”
“Weeeell,” Mike drew the word out as though to create suspense, even though his enthusiasm made it clear what the outcome had been.
“Come on, Michael!” Carol laughed. “Don’t tease an old woman!”
“I got it!” Mike cried happily. “Grammy, I got the job!”
“Oh, Michael, that’s wonderful! I knew you could do it.”
“Yeah, I think he was really impressed.”
“I’m sure he was,” Carol said, thinking of what Harvey had said over the phone. Although he was much more reserved than Mike, he too had seemed eager for them to work together.
“Anyway, I wish I could’ve come over there and told you in person, but he’s put me on a plane to Harvard and it leaves in a couple hours. All the people at this firm went to Harvard Law, so I have to make sure I can play the part. I’ve just got time to pack a bag and take a cab to the airport before I need to be there.”
“I understand, baby. Learn all you can. Good luck.”
“Thanks, Grammy. I love you.”
“I love you too, Michael.”
Carol sighed as she heard the dial tone sound when Mike hung up his cell. He hadn’t said anything about the drug dealers, and Carol could understand that he might have forgotten in the midst of his excitement, or not wanted to mention it along with his good news. It was also possible he didn’t want to worry her, but Carol didn’t truly believe that. Mike had never lied to her about anything, nor had he ever failed to mention something important. She had known about Trevor convincing him to sell the test in law school, and her warning against it had done nothing to deter him. She had known about the drugs as soon as they started, and known that Trevor was a dealer. It was very unlike Mike to hide anything from her, and she hoped that this was only because he’d forgotten.
Carol would have done anything to help Mike have the life he wanted, but she couldn’t stop him from sabotaging himself by cheating, smoking, or spending time with Trevor. She had set this up, had given Mike a chance to turn his life around. Now all she could do was watch and hope that he would take it.
Mike was grinning when he hung up, but the smile melted way as he stashed the phone in his pocket. He hadn’t wanted to worry his grandmother by telling her about what had happened before his interview, and even if he had he couldn’t have found a place to insert it into the conversation. He didn’t like keeping secrets from her, but he told himself that he would give her the whole story when he got back from Harvard.
In the meantime, Mike was weighing his options and wondering if he could even risk going home to pack before his trip. Harvey had been right about the drug dealers knowing where he lived. It could very well be dangerous to go back to his apartment. On the other hand, he didn’t have the cash to buy a week’s worth of clothes while he was at Harvard, and a bag to bring them back home in. Besides, Trevor was probably still there, and Mike wanted to talk to him, at least to tell him what had happened and warn him that they might be after Trevor too, and that was a conversation best held face to face.
Mike made the trip back to his apartment cautiously. When he got close, he swung off the bike and walked with it along the sidewalk so that he could peek around corners in search of the black car, and look behind him to make sure he wasn’t being followed. He didn’t see the car from that morning, though, or any other car that seemed suspicious. He wondered if that meant they’d given up or if there was something going on that he hadn’t noticed.
Mike breathed a sigh of relief when he slipped into his building safely. He went to his unit and put a hand on the door to open it, only to find it locked. He knew that he had left it unlocked that morning because Trevor was there. Trevor had a key; if the door was locked, he’d probably left. That meant that Mike would either have to call him to warn him about the dealers, or have to wait until he got back to tell Trevor in person.
Mike took out his key and put it in the lock. As he did, he thought he heard voices inside. He carefully put an ear to the door, listening for any more noise. He could hear a man’s voice, too indistinct to make out any words, and then a girl’s giggle. Mike relaxed, realizing that it must be Trevor and Jenny, using his apartment again. He turned the key in the lock and opened the door to reveal his friend lounging on his couch.
“Welcome home,” Jenny said, standing up to greet him.
“Hey,” Mike answered, with less enthusiasm than he’d intended. He couldn’t talk to Trevor about drugs with Jenny around; it would still have to wait.
“How did it go?” Jenny asked, a hint of disapproval in her tone.
“I got the job,” Mike replied with a tired grin.
“Awesome!” Trevor heaved himself up from the couch. “Let’s go out and celebrate!”
“I can’t,” Mike said, truly regretting it. “I’ve got a flight to Cambridge, Massachusetts that leaves soon. Gonna learn all there is to know about Harvard so I can make it look like I went there.”
“And the lie gets more and more complicated,” Jenny commented, shaking her head at him.
“It’ll be fine,” Mike assured her. He kissed her cheek as he went to his closet to pull out a bag.
“I’ll take this before you go,” Trevor said, picking up the briefcase from the floor. Mike nodded and watched as Trevor opened the briefcase and took Mike’s papers from it. He didn’t want to be suspicious of his friend, but he couldn’t help but wonder if Trevor had some reason to want to get it back. Mike shook his head to clear it of thoughts of hidden compartments and false bottoms. Trevor wouldn’t have put him at risk by handing him a briefcase with drugs or cash hidden in it.
“Sure. Thanks for the loan; it came in handy.” Mike said with a forced smile. He watched Trevor pick his messenger bag up from the floor and slide the papers from the briefcase into it. Mike’s hand froze over a pair of pants he’d been about to stuff into his bag. He remembered quite clearly leaving the messenger bag on the back of the chair in the kitchen after he’d moved the papers from it to the briefcase. And it didn’t look like anybody had been using the chair, so there was no reason for the bag to be on the floor.
Trevor caught him staring and grinned. Mike smiled in return and resumed his packing. He had a thousand things to ask Trevor, but he couldn’t do anything with Jenny there. More and more he felt like this was a conversation he needed to have in person, but it would be over a week before he’d see Trevor again.
Mike zipped his bag up as he resolved to at least text Trevor from the road to warn him that some guys with guns had chased him and might be after Trevor. He would wait to actually talk about it until they could see each other again. Jenny gave him a hug and a kiss even while admonishing him for his deception, and he and Trevor pretended for a moment to be too manly to hug before relenting and giving one another a quick squeeze and a slap on the back.
“I’ll see you in a week,” Mike promised, “and we can officially celebrate after my first day on the job.”
“I will hold you to that,” Jenny said. “You’d better come home ready for New-Job Cake.” Mike laughed and shook his head. His job losses had been so frequent that Jenny had made it a tradition to bake cookies when he lost one to cheer him up, and cake when he found one to celebrate. His smile at the fond memories was dampened by the recollection of his deal with Harvey. He had made the promise, but even as he said it he’d had no intention of keeping it. He could never willingly give up his closest friend.
“Hey, lock up for me when you leave, alright?” Mike told Trevor.
“Hm. Nah, I think I’ll just leave it open for the looters.” Trevor quipped. “You’ll be getting a nicer place before too long anyway.”
“Let’s hope the job pays that well,” Mike replied. He waved goodbye to them and stepped out of the apartment, closing the door behind him. He looked down at the doorknob as he did so, wondering why it had been locked if Trevor had not left. Yet another thing to ask about when he returned, Mike decided with a sigh of resignation. Then he started in the direction of the stairs and pulled out his cellphone to call a cab.