“I’m not saying that he’s blackmailing McCoy, Harvey,” Mike insisted as the both of them headed down the steps of the New York City Supreme Court, “I’m just saying that I think Moore is blackmailing someone, and someone is blackmailing McCoy.”
Harvey sighed. “You want to talk big, rookie? Rule number two – you always need evidence.”
“I know. But if maybe, you’d let me investigate Whittaker for just a bit, I can get that evidence you need.” Mike persisted in earnest.
“Fine. But don’t tell me about what you didn’t find, got it?” Harvey said, slapping the case file gently on Mike’s chest.
Mike beamed in response, about to throw out a remark when he’s interrupted by another voice.
The both of them turned in unison, and Mike watched a pair of men walk up the steps and towards them from the bottom of the flight of stairs. The one who had called out to Harvey was leading the pair, bit older than himself and probably around Harvey’s age, Mike assumed. Following behind was a guy with a fedora and…
Oh god. Mike thought, as he recoiled inwardly. No way.
Apparently, yes way, because staring at him with slightly widened eyes was his childhood friend, Neal Caffrey. His traitorous brain also began flooding his mind with their unhappy termination of friendship, every detail included.
“- yes, thanks for that. I’ll see you around, Peter.” Harvey was saying conversationally as Mike broke out of his reverie.
“You too, Harvey.” The guy, Peter, nodded at Harvey, and beckoned for Neal to follow him. Neal’s face was schooled into one of cool apathy as he walked away with Peter. Mike watched, dumbstruck.
“Are you nursing a crush?” Harvey commented, raised eyebrow and all.
Mike jumped a bit in surprise. “What? No. No.” He frowned. “But, uh. Did you, uh know that other guy? Peter?”
“That’s Agent Burke to you, rookie.” Harvey said, smirking. “But your skills of observation continue to astound me.”
Mike groaned. “Harvey, this is serious. Wait. Agent? Agent, as in, the police kind of agent?” Mike whipped his head around in worry, scanning the steps for Peter and Neal. Was Neal in some kind of trouble? Was that why he was here, at the courthouse? And escorted by a police officer, nonetheless. But Neal didn’t appear to be in custody, the lack of handcuffs was obvious. Still, if Neal needed a lawyer, needed help, then Mike had to give all the help he could get.
“Agent, as in, the FBI kind of Agent.” Harvey said. “Why?”
Mike turned back to face Harvey, shifting uncomfortably. “It’s just, the other guy, with him? I mean, I think.” He shifted again, unsure of what to say. Harvey seemed to understand anyway.
“Fine.” Harvey said, walking again and waving his hand at Mike, calling him to follow, “Get me some good arguments for Asces vs State, and I’ll ask on your behalf. This guy better not be yet another Trevor.”
“He’s not.” Mike promised. “Thanks, Harvey.”
Harvey’s lips twitched faintly in amusement. “Just do your job, rookie.”
Mike spent the entire day in the library reading up on Ponzi schemes for the Asces case. He wouldn’t be surprised if the case ended up under his responsibility anyway, since that’s what usually happened to pro bono cases, so either way, it was probably fated to be his job.
When he got all his data in order and files ready, he made his way towards Harvey’s office, feeling slightly triumphant.
Harvey doesn’t even let him speak first. “He’s an ex-con-artist. I’m not sure I really want the both of you meeting.” Mike’s shock at that statement must have shown on his face, because when Harvey looked up from his papers, he raised an eyebrow in question. “Oh, you didn’t know?”
“No.” Mike dropped the papers on Harvey’s desk, “Are you sure you even got the right person?”
“Are you questioning my information, puppy?” Harvey smirked. “I could always throw away his address.”
“Woah, hold up.” Mike raised both hands in surrender, “I didn’t say that. And how did you get his address? Oh right, because Harvey Specter knows everything. Can I have it though? Please?”
“Are you sure you can handle this?”
“Please, Harvey, if anyone could handle him, it’d be me.” Harvey’s raised eyebrow seemed to rise even higher, so he shrugged. “Okay, fine, I don’t know. But he’s my friend, was, still is, whatever, and I’ll believe him.”
“With great information comes great responsibility.” Harvey said, as he handed a slip of paper to him, “Use it wisely.”
“Of course, Captain.” Mike saluted, “You’d kick my ass if I didn’t.”
Mike cycled about the neighbourhood and around a block for a good ten minutes trying to find the address Harvey had given him, before realising the whole block was Neal’s address.
Chaining his bike to a lamp-post, he made his way cautiously towards the front gate, just as an older lady stepped out of it. He shifted slightly as she noticed her watching him carefully, and wondered if he got the wrong address. But Harvey’s information was never wrong, so he decided to suck it up and ask.
“Hi. Uh, I’m looking for Neal Caffrey. Does he live here?”
“That depends.” The lady said smoothly, “Who’s asking?”
“Oh yeah! Mike Ross. Sorry, I forgot,” He extended his hand, “I’m a friend of his.”
“I’ll let him know.” She took his hand and shook it firmly, “June Ellington. Come on in.” She led Mike into the house, and pointed up. “He’s upstairs. Take the left turn at the top landing.”
“Right.” Mike nodded. “Thanks Miss Ellington!”
He climbed up the flight of stairs two at a time, and when he reached the top, he was slightly out of breath, so he took a minute to compose himself, before knocking on the door nervously.
“Neal, I want to apologise.” There’s silence, so he continued. “Okay, you were right. You were so right. You were totally, completely, absolutely right. Trevor’s a dick. I totally should have listened to you ten years ago, and I regret it till this very day, so would you please, please, open the door to let me apologise?”
Neal opened the door, and leaned on the frame, staring at him impassively.
“What do you want?”
Mike breathed. “I want to tell you that I was an idiot, and that I should have believed you when you said he was going to drag me down, and that I shouldn’t have left you for him, and I’m sorry, and that I wish you would forgive me and that I hope we can still be friends again, even though I was such a jerk.”
Neal smiled a little, and stepped aside to let Mike in.
“I wasn’t better.” Neal admitted softly, closing the door. “I was a hypocrite. Even if you had decided to stick with me, it wouldn’t have gone well.”
Mike scoffed lightly. “I find that hard to believe. Nothing could have been worse than what Trevor did.”
Neal narrowed his eyes slightly. “What did Trevor do?”
Mike swallowed a lump. “Uh.” Admitting that Trevor was an ass was one thing, telling Neal about Trevor’s activities was a lot more difficult.
Neal folded his arms, “Are you going to tell me, or should I guess?”
“It’s a long story.”
Neal strode towards the pantry shelf and pulled out a bottle of wine and two empty glasses. “I’ve got time.”
Mike laughed, and told Neal everything. From the high school maths test cheat screw up, the weed incident, to the lucky employment at Pearson-Hardman, and the recent sabotage. Neal was wearing a thoughtful frown when he finished, and he recognised not just that expression, but also how much he missed seeing it.
“I know that look,” He said in playful accusation, “You’re planning something.”
“I’m just proud that my little Mikey’s all grown-up, and a little con-artist in his own right.” Neal replied smoothly, “I’ve got tears in my eyes and everything, look. Welcome to the ranks, Ross.”
Mike poked Neal in the shoulder gently, “Don’t lie to me. You can’t get pass me. But that’s it? No raging, no going Vader on my ass for being such a dick and not looking for you for the past ten years because I was just too damn proud to do so? I mean, if I were you, I’d probably want to.”
“No, not really.” Neal shrugged, and took a long drain from his glass. “I meant it, you were better off without me.” Mike watched as Neal brought his foot up, pulling back the bottom of his trousers to show Mike the electronic cuff around his ankle. Mike’s eyes widened ad he leaned over to touch it.
Mike glanced back up at Neal, “How did that happen?”
“It’s a long story.”
Mike raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’ve got time.”
“Oh, so you want a bit of quid pro quo?” Neal laughed, “Alright, I’ll tell you. There was an incident. Things happened, mistakes were made, I went to jail, more things happened, and now I’m a criminal consultant for the FBI.”
Mike stared at the wine in his glass, swirling it around for a bit. “I remembered you always wanted to be a cop. Ten years really changed things, huh?”
“I wouldn’t say that. You’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, and me a cop, and look where we’ve landed.”
“You forgot I’m not really a lawyer”
“And neither am I really a cop, so I’d say things worked out.” Neal smiled and raised his glass in a toast, “It’s not that bad.”
“Not bad’s an understatement for your place.” Mike said, gesturing at the décor and the large view of the night sky provided by the large French doors to the sky patio. “I don’t even have a view this good.”
Neal set the glass aside and reached over to hold Mike’s hand gently. “Stay with me tonight?”
Mike smiled. “It’ll be like old times, wouldn’t it?” He murmured, placing his own glass on the table as well, to lean his forehead against Neal’s.
“It’ll be anything you want it to be.”
“Harvey’s going to kill me for wearing the same suit twice in two days.” Mike chuckled.
“You can borrow mine,” Neal insisted, “Stay.”
“I can’t imagine why I’d reject this.” Mike said, beaming. “I’d have to lock up my bike properly though, I was in a bit of a rush just now.”
Neal pulled away, and exclaimed in mock disappointment, “You cycled here in a suit?”
Mike groaned. “Stop it, not you too!”
“I didn’t say that I disapprove, did I?” Neal laughed. “I’d bring it up for you later.” He pulled Mike close to him, and held him tightly. “I missed having you around.”
Mike returned the embrace, “Me too.” He murmured, before being hit with realisation. “You knew I was coming. You probably let Agent Burke give Harvey your address, because you knew I’d ask Harvey to ask him and then you told Miss Ellington downstairs to let me up if I came knocking. You knew.” He grinned. “Awwww. Did you miss me that much?”
Neal laughed. “Okay, fine. Yes. Maybe I did.”
“Good,” Mike said, “Because I did too.”