Mike had been working for Harvey for almost two years now. The first year had been spent getting a grip on what exactly he needed to do, but the second year had been making up for lost time. In a matter of eleven months, Mike's work had surpassed every junior and senior associate and was, on a regular basis, doing work at a Junior Partner level.
Harvey hadn't expected any less of him, naturally.
The fact that he'd been proven right about that initial gut instinct was what made up his mind to let Mike in on some of his more... private work. That was possibly a misleading way of phrasing it, but it was as good as any he'd been able to come up with over the decade he'd developed his... specialisation.
Now it was the rookie's turn.
“Come with me.” He waited for Mike to look up from his computer then crooked his finger and walked out of the bullpen. He didn't relish having this particular conversation in the presence of anyone else.
“What?” Mike said finally, as Harvey closed the door to his office behind them.
“This evening, we've got a meeting that I want you in on and prepped for.” Harvey pointed to a document box on the table.
“All of that? For this evening?” Mike frowned.
“Trust me, you'll like it.” Harvey sat down behind his desk and opened his laptop. He waited for Mike to stop staring and go over to the table.
He made a show of shrugging his jacket off and slinging it across a chair before sitting next to it and pulling the box to him. He could see Mike puzzling over the tape securing it closed and gave up on the pretence of working to see just how the genius would react. After a long moment, he pulled out his keys and neatly sliced through the tape on each end, easing the lid off. Apparently his curiosity was more important than his petulance. He bent over the box, another frown forming as he pulled the top file out and held it closer to his face as if it might change the text printed on it.
“You have got to be shitting me.” He put the file back down, as if it was a wild animal and turned slowly. Harvey cocked his head to one side, an eyebrow going up in question. “Tony Stark?”
Harvey smirked slightly.
“You're the personal attorney for Tony Stark?” Mike's voice had got just a little frantic. “As in, Iron Man?”
“You need to know everything in that box by ten. Got it?” He finally said. Mike just nodded and turned back.
Harvey did his best not to preen or gloat when he heard Mike mutter, “This is unreal. Harvey -fucking- Specter.”
Harvey put a coffee down firmly in front of Mike, drawing him sharply out of the file he was currently devouring. He'd been reading for about three hours and was a little over half way through.
Stark wasn't exactly the easiest of clients – part of the reason Harvey billed him at three times his usual rate – and the vast majority of his cases were to do with destruction of property or media scandals. Neither of them were fun, but they were... interesting. Particularly when the 'property' was two major Vegas casinos and the main roadway through the city.
“This says you've been dealing with Stark for seven years.” Mike pointed to the file as he reached for his coffee and downed half of it in one go.
“Well done.” Harvey sipped his own as Mike pulled a face. “What, do you want a sticker for knowing how to read? Aren't we a little old for that?”
“Har har.” Mike rolled his eyes. “What I mean is, none of these are low-profile cases. At least half of them have been mentioned in the news, if not made into their own feature shows. How did I not know you were behind those cases?”
“Because I'm very good at what I do.” Harvey replied. He paused for a moment before changing the direction of the conversation. “Four years ago, what was the middle name of the man incarcerated with Stark in Afghanistan?”
“There's no record of him having one – he was listed by his first name only.” Mike answered coolly, taking another mouthful of his drink.
“Good. Now get back to it.” Harvey sat back down, signalling an end to the conversation.
“I feel like my brain's about to explode.” Mike broke the silence a few hours later, with half an hour to spare before the meeting. He let out a low groan and sunk down in his seat, rubbing the heels of his hands hard into his eyes.
“Have you finally met your match?” Harvey asked wryly, looking up from the game of solitaire he'd been indulging in under the pretence of checking his emails. He'd finished his own work half an hour earlier and was just enjoying Mike's company - not that he'd ever let the kid know that, of course.
“Never.” Mike sat up and twisted around. “This guy should make people sign disclaimers before they even shake hands with him. He should have a hotline to a therapist on his business card. He should staple litigation sheets to himself every time he leaves the house.”
“Because I'm a walking law-suit, nice, I get it.” Mike froze, a rather comical look on his face that Harvey smiled at before turning his attention to the man who'd just wandered into his office.
“You're early.” Harvey said calmly.
“No, I'm just not as late as usual.” Stark shrugged, holding his hand out in greeting.
“He's got a point though, Tony.” Harvey said, shaking his hand before Stark dropped into one of the free seats and angled himself to include Mike in the conversation. Outside, Donna was already deep in conversation with Pepper Potts. Personally, Harvey thought it should be illegal for the two to discuss any more than the weather – it always lead to trouble for him in some form.
“Of course he does, he's a smart boy – read our entire history in,” Tony glanced down at his watch then back up at Harvey, “Six hours and twenty-eight minutes. I'm disappointed, kid, I expected you to make it within the six hour mark.”
“You look taller on TV.” Mike said shortly, levelling a look at Stark which was met with a degree of intrigue. Harvey supressed a grin.
“You look more qualified on my camera feed of Harvey's office.” He shot back. Harvey watched them closely, keeping a measure on the situation. Mike paused for a long moment, his expression shifting slightly before going back to pure curiosity.
“How'd you get past the palladium poisoning?” He asked. Harvey raised an eyebrow slightly. He hadn't realised that chemistry fell under Mike's umbrella of interests - but perhaps Iron Man did.
“I synthesised a new element. How'd you take the LSATs for a girl?” Stark fired back.
“We both sat the exam, signed our names on each other's papers. Why isn't there a patent deal in your files, let alone 'Scientific Breakthrough!' screaming across every screen in the world?” Mike raised his fingers in air quotes.
“It could only be made in my work shop and there are only enough of the raw materials on the entire planet to make two of these.” He tapped the arc reactor shining under his t-shirt. “You know, I was hoping you dragged-up – it'd suit you.”
Mike opened his mouth to snap something back when Harvey cleared his throat and they both looked over at him. “You done?”
“Wait,” Tony held a hand up, glancing from Harvey to Mike and back before nodding and folding his arms in a way that he could rest his chin on one fist, “now I'm done.”
“San Fransisco.” Harvey said, sitting back and staring Tony down.
“See, the thing you have to bear in mind about San Fran is that it wasn't, strictly speaking, my fault. I mean, how was I to know the bridge would snap like that from a sonic boom? You'd have thought it would be resistant in this day and age...” Tony said, his words coming out in the usual, unfiltered torrent. Harvey listened patiently as he heard Stark's account of his latest lawsuit and Mike sat at the table, listening diligently.
Stark rambled for a good twenty minutes, maybe three of which held any information that Harvey would actually be able to use in his arguments with the opposition. When he finished, Tony frowned in a slightly defeated manner. “Is this going to hurt the tower planning?”
“If it did, I wouldn't be very good at my job now, would I?” Harvey said, glancing over at Mike and smiling slightly at the knowing look on his face. “Don't worry, your monstrosity will still be allowed to mar my beautiful city's skyline.”
“Enhance, Harvey. I'm enhancing your skyline.” Stark grinned.
“If I find out that your building is visible from my lounge and my office, I will not be held responsible for the permission board finding suitable cultural objections.” Harvey's frown held little heat, though there was some truth behind his words.
“How about we hike your fee?” Stark replied. “Have Donna send JARVIS the information in the morning and your fee will be up ten percent by the end of the day.
“Thirty percent and she'll do it before you leave.” Harvey fixed him with a look, but Tony just waved a hand.
“Fine, whatever.” He smiled and turned in his chair to face Mike. “You know, I can pay you double what Harvey does. Triple even – and I don't care about, you know, your Harvard degree or the lack thereof.”
“Thanks, but I'm fine where I am.” Mike smirked, meeting Tony's eyes easily. Harvey was struck with the horrible feeling that introducing the two of them might just be one of the more poorly thought out decisions he'd made in a while. Two genius minds, eidetic memories and penchants for acting first, thinking later... no, definitely not the best idea he'd had. Not by a long shot. And Tony kept shooting him a look.
“Donna, that goes for you too – say the word and I'll whisk you away from this slave-driver and show you a life of luxury.” Tony leaned over Harvey's desk towards the intercom, looking back over his shoulder and grinning as the redheads outside turned to look at him.
“Tony, honey, you wouldn't even know where to begin.” Donna smiled and Pepper laughed next to her before they went back to their conversation.
“The loyalty of your guys is touching, Harvey, really.” Harvey was smirking and Stark rolled his eyes, his attention back on Mike. “Fine, fine. The offer's always on the table, rookie. I could introduce you to information manuals on every topic available to man – and a few that aren't.”
“I've probably read all the ones worth reading.” Mike replied.
“People who make Harvey look like a garden gnome in every way?” Tony splayed his fingers out in Harvey's direction.
“Tempting.” Mike nodded.
“Hey.” Harvey snapped his fingers and pointed sharply at Mike, who just smirked.
“You're adorable, you really are. I know you're feeling a little inferior right now, Harve, but there's no need to get angry. The sooner you, you know, accept it, the happier we'll all be.” Tony grinned as he got to his feet. “Now, if you boys don't mind, I have a date with some ice-cream in South Beach.”
Stark saluted them both before strolling out of the office. They both watched as he failed, quite spectacularly, to woo Donna for a few minutes before Pepper steered him away.
“I like him.” Mike said suddenly.
“Of course you do.” Harvey rolled his eyes and shook his head slightly. Mike grinned again and Harvey made a note to make sure he was proofing files for at least the next two days.
Harvey had the San Fransisco dilemma under control and dealt with in eleven days. He'd let Tony know he was all clear, to which he received another request for Mike to go work for him. Knowing Tony, it wasn't the only request he'd made for Mike's services since their meeting. When he asked Mike about the state of his emails, Mike just glared at him.
“He's been carpet bombing me all week. I changed my passwords, set up two new accounts, and he'd over-ridden everything in about ten minutes.” Mike shoved his phone at Harvey, who took it and smirked when he saw it.
The background was an 'oh so charming' shot of Tony doing what Tony does and his inbox was flooded with texts all from one 'God (or as close as a human will ever be because there are actual demi-gods but that's a whole other story – I'll tell it to you when you come work for me)' that all promised various degrees of scintillating activities once he gave up the ghost and just gave in.
“Please, Harvey. Please.” Mike dropped onto the couch and covered his face. Harvey smiled, about to say something when his own phone buzzed at him.
Man up and claim him, Specter. And before you say it, you're welcome – there's really no need to start worshipping me. - Iron Man
He glared briefly at the proof that Stark could access his phone - because really, Harvey was a professional and his client was not legally called 'Iron Man'. Harvey made a noise in the back of his throat and shoved his phone in the drawer – it had been a long time since he wondered how Stark managed to survive with his ego. He did, however, have a point along with an unnatural talent for reading him and Harvey cursed his seven years of quasi friendship with the man. He turned back to Mike. “Have you finished going through those papers for Stark?”
“Yeah, almost done on prepping the next round of that dumb planning permission too.” Mike lifted a hand and glanced over at him.
“Good. Lets go.” Harvey stood up and shrugged on his jacket. After a moment, he retrieved his phone and pocketed it. He waited for Mike to get to his feet before pushing him out of the office with a hand at the small of his back.
“What are we doing?” Mike asked as Harvey followed him round to his desk where he grabbed the planning files and his bag. Harvey spared a glance at Mike's computer, the email inboxes continuing to receive more offers at about ninety second intervals.
“We're stopping him before I have to waste my time on yet another harassment suit against him.” Harvey smiled slightly at Mike's confused expression, but it only lasted a moment before Mike threw his hands up in the air.
“Fine, whatever floats his boat.” He stormed off from his desk as the computer finally powered down and Harvey followed after him with a smile, checking another text as it arrived.
Now that wasn't so hard now, was it? - Iron Man