I once knew your father well.
He fought tears as he spoke
Of your mother’s health.
Harvey surveys the city through the thick glass of his windows.
Today, more than most days, had been hard. Too hard. He doesn’t really want to think about it, because, honestly, thinking about it would mean wallowing in self-pity and pining over what could have been but isn’t.
He won’t do that. He cared that Zoe wasn’t staying. He cared that he won’t get to see what it could have been, but he won’t stop his life for it – he cares that Scotty will be back in London in just a few days, and they’ll never amount to anything, because he can’t trust her. He doesn’t know how.
And now he has to deal with a whole other level of betrayal. Mike’s, mainly. He doesn’t even know how to handle that.
Or Jessica and her refusal to make him a part of the firm. A real part.
It’s like everything is falling apart – except it isn’t. It’s just… hard sometimes to deal with everything at once.
But he’s Harvey Specter, he can deal with anything, even if it’s just by ignoring it until it all goes away – like his feelings. He can do that.
His phone rings suddenly – it’s late, almost two the morning, and he frowns, knowing that whatever is waiting for him on the phone (his landline no less, which is strange in and of itself) is not good.
“Hello?” he answers, his annoyance clear in his tone.
“Mister Specter?” says a professional voice. Harvey frowns even more.
“Here is from Beacon Hills Hospital. We have some very bad news.”
Harvey closes his eyes. It just keeps getting better.
He gets to the office half an hour earlier the next day. Not even his usual early, but seven thirty. Donna gets there after him, and she looks at him as if she’s seeing a ghost.
“What are you doing here?”
“I need you to do something for me.”
Donna keeps staring, his voice is somber and guarded, and she’s starting to freak out a bit.
“What do you need?”
“I need you to solve this for me. As soon as possible.”
He turns the computer monitor towards her, and she sees the headlines of some Beacon Hills Gazette.
Sheriff killed in violent attack.
It follows with a small report that doesn’t make any sense, but it does say that the sheriff’s son is still in the hospital. In stable, but serious, condition. The report talks about gun wounds and animal caused lacerations.
“Oh my God, Harvey” she says, her hand on her mouth, but he just shakes his head.
“I need you to assess the whole situation. What needs to be done and all that crap.”
“I mean if he survives, he doesn’t have anyone else. I’m next of kin. The hospital called me last night, I need this solved as quickly as possible.”
His voice is cold, almost uncaring. Almost too uncaring, and Donna sighs.
She thinks about a thousand things, she thinks about scolding him for waiting till the morning. She thinks about what this will mean for Harvey, and the fragile state of mind he seems to be lately.
Maybe it’ll be good for him.
She’s not so sure about how good it can be for the other part involved in this, though.
Four days go by with nothing else said out loud about the situation. At noon, on the fourth day, Donna slips Harvey a small note over his desk. She’s in and out of the office so fast Mike doesn’t really register her – she’s absolutely quiet too, which is just all kinds of strange.
“I need you to take a trip for me” Harvey says, after he’s done inspecting the piece of paper Donna gave to him. His voice is cold and professional, just like it has been for the past two weeks.
Sure, he wasn’t fired, Jessica had seen to that, but Harvey might as well be in another continent he’s so distant.
And don’t even get him started on the whole Rachel situation.
“Ok” Mike agrees, looking a bit confused – two weeks with nothing from Harvey but direct orders, and now he’s sending Mike on a trip? “Where to?”
“You are going to pick someone up, and bring them here. His name is Stilinski. Vojtěch Stilinski. I need you to pick him up from the hospital and bring him here. Your plane is leaving in five hours, don’t be late” the lawyer orders without even looking up from the laptop he’s working on.
“Okay… who is he? A client?” with a name like that, maybe he’s a part of the whole European clientele this merger has brought them.
“Oh. A friend?”
“He your secret lover or…” Mike says smiling a bit, just to get a rise of him.
Harvey levels him with the coldest glare Mike has seen on the man, ever. Not even when Harvey was pissed off at him for smoking weed he looked this… hurtful.
Not even when he was firing him he looked this distant.
“He’s my brother.”
So… Stiles has a brother. It’s not like he ever sees the guy, as if they exchange heartfelt Christmas Cards or spend holydays and family vacations together – they don’t.
He saw the guy once, and he doesn’t remember it. His mom used to tell him he was two, they were in New York for a weekend, and she had looked for her eldest son. She had been trying to make amends, show him his little brother.
The guy had told her to get lost, Stiles had kicked his shin, and that was that.
The second impact of any kind that Stiles’s brother had had in his life had been, well, when his other older brother had gotten sick. Stiles’s brother had known it before their mom did, he paid for the treatment using his tuition money, and when their mom tried to give it back to him, he wouldn’t take it. His mom had been sneaky, though, and everything worked out pretty well. For a while.
The money helped a bit, but his other unknown brother had cancer. He died within two years. The day after that, Stiles started getting money from his brother. More than Stiles could spend as a toddler, of course, and something that his dad didn’t like to talk about, because every month, on the dot, a new sum of money was deposited on an account in his name.
When his mom died, Stiles thought that was it, his supposed brother would never bother with him again, and yet the money kept on coming. He never called, he never showed up, he never even thought to ask what Stiles or his dad were doing with that money – the one time Stiles tried to find him, the guy’s secretary had told him not to call anymore, and Stiles gave up.
For Stiles, Harvey Specter was kind of a giant credit card that allowed him to have a car even though he had no job and no allowance and buy Lydia Martin fourteen different choices for her birthday present. That is to say he was that until the day his father died.
Sheriff Stilinski was dead. And Stiles was all alone in the world.
At first, he actually thought he wasn’t so alone.
He was supposed to have the Pack. To have Scott.
To have… well, to have Derek.
The last month had been kind of hard to get through, because the Alpha Pack hadn’t been really picky – they were out to kill all of them, no questions asked. Scott couldn’t be left out, Allison had to put her mourning and nervous breakdown aside, Chris had to take up guns along the Hale Pack, and Stiles was all in for fighting against the crazy wolves.
They had won. Not easily, not soon enough, but they had.
They had won the fight, and only two of the five Alphas remained. And they had thought themselves victorious until the very night the two last members of the Alpha Pack murdered his father. His father, the last person he had in the world, who would never do anything wrong, had been attacked by the werewolves, and torn to pieces, just because.
They hadn’t managed to do any real damage to Stiles – nothing as permanent as death, of course. He had a broken arm, scratches all over him, stiches crisscrossing down his arms, legs and back. His face was a collection of different bruises, varying from sickly yellow to disgustingly purple, but he was alive.
Derek hadn’t gotten there in time to save the Sheriff, but he had made sure Stiles got out of there alive.
But now his father is dead.
And if that isn’t enough, he has to deal with… with leaving Beacon Hills behind to stay with his brother, who he doesn’t even know. Sure he googled the guy, and he’s some kind of douchebag lawyer in New York. It’s not the same, though.
He hadn’t even deigned to show up for his dad’s funeral.
Stiles needs to wait in the hospital to be discharged by someone who’s legally responsible for him, and while a part of him recognizes that this is the end of so many things, things he doesn’t want to end; another is kind of glad, because he’s not sure he can take this much pain anymore.
He lost his dad, and then…
Them. He lost them.
He puts the last of his things in a backpack with some difficulty, what with having to use only one arm to do it, and sighs. He eyes his things there, the few possessions that aren’t packed up and waiting for someone to make something out of them, take it to New York, throw it away, he doesn’t even know.
He thinks of Derek.
That had been an interesting development during the war against the Alphas. His hate turning into a crush, the crush turning into an impulsive kiss, the kiss being returned.
The feeling of belonging to the pack now that he was with Derek, even if he wasn’t a wolf.
Maybe a month was too short a time to feel like they belonged together, but try living a whole month on the brink of death, and knowing you can count on this single person to always have your back, in a way not even Scott ever had. Derek had turned into kind of the center of his world in the last month, and now he feels as if he’s falling apart without him.
He knows, consciously, that Derek is right. The essence of what his… what, ex-boyfriend? Was what they had even that? But the essence is right. It’s the way he said it, though.
It’s always in the details, isn’t it?
You’re a liability. Your father is dead because you were involved, and I can’t have this kind of thing happening again. I like you, and I respect you, but my pack comes first. As an Alpha, my pack has to come first.
And that’s how Stiles ended up with no father, no boyfriend, no friends, no pack.
He gets what Derek is saying, but he thought… he thought they were pack. He thought he was a part of it, even if a smaller part than the rest of them. He thought he had a more significant role than a guy who’s a liability.
Or maybe he didn’t so much as thought that, as he wanted to think that. It wasn’t easy, none of it was easy, but he… he wanted to stay so badly, but his last remaining thread to tie him to Beacon Hills had cut him loose just a few hours after he had woken up.
Derek had, well, broken up with him two hours after he’s learned his father was dead.
Who does that? Who breaks someone this way? Why?
He had been alone the day of the funeral. He hadn’t gone either, couldn’t stand the thought of seeing his dad like that. He wanted to keep him in his memory as the man who loved him more than anything, he didn’t want to remember ashen features and fake make up.
He doesn’t want his last memory of his dad to be tainted by death like his mom’s was.
His house is mostly untouched, he knows. Pretty much what his dad did when his mom died – everything is left exactly in the same place it was before, as if that will make the memories last longer.
He’s not taking much from there. He’s taking his clothes. His laptop and phone. Basic necessities.
His home, though, his home is here, and he can’t take any of this to New York – it’s not something you can pack up and take away. It’s a feeling, a sentiment, and that? He’ll never have again.
He’ll never be home again.
He looks at the clock, and knows that his brother is supposed to show up in the next hour. He closes his eyes, and tries to sleep.
He doesn’t think.
He gave up thinking the day he got to the hospital, bruised and bleeding, and in so much pain. He gave up thinking when he finally regained consciousness, and saw Melissa staring at him with tears in her eyes – and they weren’t because of him. They were for him.
Not thinking, and not going there.
Pain is just like a problem – if you ignore it for long enough, it’ll just go away.
Mike isn’t sure what to expect. He also doesn’t really know how to recognize Harvey’s brother. He doesn’t know what age the guy is, what he looks like, nothing. He knows he’s in the hospital, and he needs to take him to Harvey, but that’s all.
When he finally makes it to the small town called Beacon Hills, he heads straight to the hospital. He looks around for a bit, then goes to the nurse station, asks for Vojtěch Stilinski’s room, and hopes for the best. He also hopes he got the name kind of right.
The nurse is a thin, beautiful woman, with curls lightly tied at the back of her neck. She looks exhausted, and Mike kind of guesses it comes with working at a hospital, but there’s something about the way her face blanches when he says the surname that makes him think that maybe he’s falling into a small town cliché, and the nurse actually knows Harvey’s brother.
“I thought his brother was older” she comments, instead of giving him his room number. She looks like she doesn’t trust him one bit, and Mike doesn’t quite know how to respond to that.
“I’m Harvey’s associate. He’s my boss. There’s… a big case going on, he couldn’t make the trip to pick him up.”
Which is a lie. Harvey has dozens of big cases all the time, but Mike doesn’t really know why he’s coming to pick this guy from the hospital. Ever since that day Harvey tried to fire him, he’s trying to just… do what he’s told. He owes too much to Harvey, he doesn’t want to let him down ever again, and he doesn’t know how to gain his trust back, but that’s not what this is about.
“Right” she answers, shaking her head, “I would have stayed with him, but with the way things are he’s probably better away from here” she completes, looking down, as if she’s not really talking to him, and Mike frowns a bit, waiting. She shakes her head, and offers to take him to the room. Mike follows her down a few halls, and eventually she knocks and enters a room just like all the others.
“How’s my most troublesome patient doing?” she asks, a hint of a smile in her voice, and Mike looks over her shoulder.
It’s a kid. Fifteen… seventeen tops, with a shaved head, a bruised face, arm in a cast, stiches all over, but… it’s a kid.
He doesn’t know why he’s so surprised, because if Harvey’s brother was older, he could have gone home by himself, but he is: he never expected Harvey to have a little brother.
“Aching all over” the kid answers, his almost smile a bit strained, “But I’ll manage. Is he here yet?” he asks, voice eager and looking up, as if he trying to see something behind Mike.
“I’m afraid he couldn’t come. But he did send his associate to pick you up” she says, trying to sound upbeat, and Mike sees the kid smile bitterly.
There’s silence for a moment, and then the nurse sighs.
“I’ll leave you two to it.”
The kid nods, and Mike enters the room as the nurse leaves and closes the door behind her.
“So… you’re Vojtěch?” Mike asks, and the kid pulls a face.
“Dude, I go by Stiles, okay? I can’t even pronounce that monstrosity there.”
Mike looks at him, and yeah, this is definitely Harvey’s brother. They have the same golden brown eyes, the same mouth. The same marks and moles on their faces.
Of course this kid looks pale and worn out, his face is so white he could be a vampire if those were real, and he has dark shadows under his eyes. His clothes aren’t something Harvey would be caught dead in – Harvey’s pajamas have more style than the graphic t-shirt under a plaid shirt. Everything is a bit too loose to be the result of his hospital stay, and Mike thinks this may be just the way the kid dresses anyway.
“So, you’re Harvey’s brother?”
“And you’re… not him. I mean you’re a bit young to be him. When I was born dude was, like, twenty. Twenty-one. You’re not thirty-seven. Therefore you’re not him. Actually, you look nothing like the him I saw on Google, so you’re really not him. Who are you?”
Mike startles a bit at the kid’s motor mouth.
“I’m his associate, Mike Ross.”
“Associate? Like, partner?”
“Yes. In the Law firm he works at” Mike explains slowly.
“Cool” the kid comments, nodding, and picking on the sheet of his bed. He is sitting kind of awkwardly, his posture stiff, probably because of the reason he’s in the hospital to begin with, and if his face is any indication, things are pretty serious, “So… you’re here to…” he starts, and Mike swallows hard.
He’s not sure why he’s here for. All he got was the order to come and pick him up, a text from Harvey that he got when he finally left the plane, telling him to make all the necessary arrangements so they wouldn’t have to come back.
He thought they would have to, well, maybe sell his house? Pack? He didn’t think he’d have to pick up a kid.
“I’m here to take you to Harvey…?” he says, the ending almost like a question, but the boy, Stiles, is nodding a bit.
“Yeah, I thought so. I mean, it’s not like they can let the orphaned son of the Sheriff live alone, right?”
Mike falters at that. Harvey didn’t say anything about that.
“So, you’re taking me to New York, right?”
“Yeah. I mean, Harvey asked me to put everything in order here, so we wouldn’t have to… come back.”
“Okay” the kid says and gets off the bed, pulling a face the whole time, “I think we better head home… My house. I need to get my stuff together and lock everything up. I think. I don’t know, I’m not really sure what the procedure is supposed to be for when you dad dies and your only living relative doesn’t come to pick you up.”
His voice is a little lost at the end of it, and Mike doesn’t know what to do. He didn’t even know Harvey’s brother was a teenager, he didn’t know his dad had died, he didn’t know anything.
“He… is going through a lot at work” Mike tries, and the kid looks up at him – his eyes are almost mocking him.
“I’m sure he is” he says, “Can we go now? If we’re supposed to go, then we should go.”
Mike nods, and they leave the room. Stiles walks a little slower than normal, but waves Mike off when he asks if he wants any help. The nurse from before comes when they are getting to the door, and stops both of them.
“I don’t know what happened, Stiles, but I trust Scott that this is the best for you” she says, hugging him to her, and Mike sees him closing his eyes.
“I know he thinks that. He’s not the one I’m upset about” he whispers, and makes Mike feel bad for listening in, but it’s not like he can help it.
“I know” she says back, and then lets him go, tears in her eyes, “Call as soon as you get there, and we expect updates. Regular ones, okay?”
Stiles nods, and then turns away, as if he can’t stay a single moment more there.
Mike takes the kid to the car he rented, and the only time any of them say anything is when Stiles points the way to his house. It’s a two story place, with a small garden in the front. It looks well lived in, the grass a little out of control, but nothing wrong with it. Stiles takes a deep breath and gets out of the car, taking a set of keys out of his pocket, and opening the door.
He stops for a moment, and closes his eyes, almost swaying in place.
Mike doesn’t really know what to do, because this is not something he’s used to dealing with. He can barely work through his own grief – he doesn’t know how to work with someone else’s.
Stiles doesn’t tell him to get in, but he does, anyway. The kid is still looking around, and he doesn’t look at Mike when he says he’s going upstairs.
“We should…” he starts, but doesn’t really know how to finish. What should they do?
“I just… I don’t think I can stay here tonight” Stiles’s back is still turned to him, but he can hear his voice getting shaky, “So, maybe, I just pack my stuff, the things I have to take, and then we leave? To a hotel or something?”
“We can manage to get a night flight out to New York if you’re up to it” Mike says, suddenly eager to get something – anything – the kid wants.
“That’d be great” Stiles says, turning around a bit, and then heading upstairs.
Mike looks around the house, and tries to think. He pulls out his phone and checks out Beacon Hills newspapers and articles online, and God, did he wish he didn’t have to.
Some of them have pictures, the blood on the old blue Jeep. The Sheriff’s body. Stiles’s, bloody and bruised – small facts about Stiles being an orphan, about the Sheriff regaining his position after being taken out. This is bad. This is so bad he can’t even think straight, and Harvey sent him here? To deal with this? He is not the one this kid needs, he needs his brother. His family.
He’s so angry he actually startles a bit when there’s a knock on the door. He looks upstairs and shrugs, going to answer it, because he doesn’t think Stiles actually needs to come down to do it.
The man at the other side is… weird. Dark hair, green eyes, a scowl in his features, a leather jacket – he’s pretty much the textbook definition of dangerous and bad news, and the kind of guy moms and dads would warn their children against.
“Can I help you?” he asks, and the guy glares at him for a moment.
“I need to talk to Stiles” he answers, and Mike tries to close the door a bit.
“I’ll see if he’s up to it, just wait here—“ but he doesn’t manage to do it, because the guy snorts, and pushes the door open, getting in.
He just stares at the stairs and calls the kid’s name.
Stiles comes to the top of the stairs, looking angry and pissed off, and hell if Mike doesn’t get the full punch of the family resemblance right now.
“What do you want?” the kid’s voice is shaking, and Mike can see it’s from anger. The man seems to deflate a bit.
“I just came to see…”
“To see if I’m leaving? I am, Derek, thanks for showing up. Now go.”
“Do you want me to go or not?”
“It’s not that simple, and you know it!” the guy exclaims, and then looks angrily at Mike, but the fake-lawyer isn’t about to leave the kid alone with this guy, “Right now you are…”
“A liability. Oh, I know. Do you want a declaration that I got my dad killed too? Is that it? I’m leaving, Derek. Now go away.”
“GO!” Stiles finally shouts, and the man looks as if he’s going to advance towards the stairs, but Mike puts a hand on his shoulder, and when he turns, Mike can swear the man’s eyes are just a bit red.
“You should really go” he says, his voice low, but the man looks once more at Stiles, and then turns and leaves.
Stiles is standing at the top of the stairs, breathing in and out deeply.
“Hey, you okay?” Mike asks, and Stiles shakes his head no briefly.
Stiles takes a few shaky steps into a room, and Mike hurries to follow. When he gets there, the kid is hurdled at a corner of the room, his head between his knees, and he’s breathing hard but in a controlled manner. He looks up at Mike and raises his eyes, staring at the man for a few seconds, before going back to his breathing focus – after watching for a few moments, Mike recognizes a pattern – five seconds in, hold two seconds, five seconds out. Stiles is counting low along with it, and the fake lawyer recognizes what the kid is doing. He’s fighting a panic attack.
He waits. He can’t help, but try not to disturb the kid. He sits on the chair by the bed, and waits it out – Stiles goes through series of breathing and then starts over. It’s obvious he’s fighting the attack with everything he has, and Mike wants to go and help, but he can’t. He doesn’t know how, and, more than that, he’ll probably make it worse.
Finally, Stiles lets out a deep breath and looks up.
“Fun, right?” he says in a tired voice, and Mike smiles sympathetically, before getting up, and moving closer, sitting on the bed.
“You have them often?” Mike asks, and Stiles shakes his head.
“Used to get them a lot after my mom died. My dad…” his voice breaks, and then he has to take in some deep breaths before going on, “My dad was the one who could help me avoid them. The rest of the time, I just carried an inhaler with me. You know, trick myself into thinking it’s an asthma attack so I won’t have a panic attack. It helped most of the time, but I guess I forgot the tricks after all this time.”
“I’m… sorry about your dad. I lost my grandma a few weeks ago; she was all the family I had left. I… can imagine what you’re going through.”
He doesn’t know what he expects when he says that, just that the kid looks so miserable, all curled up in a corner that he has to say something.
“Thanks” his voice is shaking, and Mike starts to see some tears in his eyes.
It’s strange, in a way, seeing someone who looks so much like Harvey be this desperate, this out of sorts with everything.
“I just… Being here doesn’t help” the kid starts, “I want to be home again. I want to… go back. I want my family back” he whispers by the end, shaking his head, and Mike has to fight the urge to actually hug the kid – for all that he’s still at the place he probably grew up in, Mike gets it. He’s not home. He probably won’t be home for a very long time, because home is family, and he doesn’t have any of those anymore.
Except for Harvey, that is.
“Let’s finish your packing, and then we can go, ok?” he suggests, and Stiles stands up, looking around his room, as if he’s not sure what to do first.
There’s another knock on the door suddenly, and Stiles looks angry at it.
“Let them knock, I don’t feel like visitors” he says, and Mike shrugs, remembering quite well the mess he was in when his grandma died. If the kid wants to see no one, then let him. The person on the outside knocks a few more times, and then there’s a crack on the door. When Mike goes to check it, his eyes wide, there’s a girl, with long, red hair already coming up the stairs.
“Avoiding them, I get” she starts, even before she’s past Mike, and he doesn’t even stop her, because he’s so shocked, “But avoiding me is pointless, Stiles” she says, coming through the door, and Mike follows.
Stiles is smiling a bit at her, and Mike is a bit relieved.
“I just wanted to see you” she says, her voice quiet, and Stiles shrugs a bit, but doesn’t answer, “Jackson broke your lock, I’ll have a new one installed when you leave, okay? Send you the key. Keep one of my own. I’m very handy with keys” she says, and for some reason that makes Stiles laugh, a bit startled, but it’s a laugh. The girl smiles at him, “Was he here?” Stiles nods, and the girls looks pissed, “I swear I don’t know what he’s doing anymore.”
Again, Stiles doesn’t answer, but the girl looks around the room, opening the closet and taking shirts out, folding them neatly, and putting them on the bed.
“That’s not your brother” she points out, talking about Mike as if he’s not even there.
“No, it’s his… associate. He couldn’t come. Too busy.”
The read head looks pissed again.
“I swear to God, Stiles…”
“Lydia, it’ll be fine. Just… help me pack. I need to leave.”
They look at each other for a long moment, and eventually she nods.
They don’t talk anymore, and yet, somehow, Mike sees himself being ordered around by a girl ten years younger than him.
It does make the packing go faster, though.
A few hours later, they are done. Stiles had to lie down halfway through, and Lydia finished packing mostly on her own, with Mike helping out when she asked. She talked the whole time, about people Mike doesn’t know, but are, apparently, Stiles’s and her friends. Stiles is silent, and Mike has a hunch that this isn’t normal behavior for him – Lydia hugs him tightly before leaving, but doesn’t really say anything anymore.
They get into the car, drive to San Francisco, and catch a night flight to New York. Stiles takes some of his medicine, and falls asleep ten minutes into the flight.
Mike can’t manage to rest a single second, because this kid needs a family.
And that’s one thing he knows Harvey knows nothing about.
Vojtěch means, very loosely, Eager or Happy Warrior. I thought it fitting.