Harvey frowned as he swung open his door at 11.16pm to find Mike Ross standing there, his whole body shaking and his eyes brimming with tears.
"Mike? What- Are you okay?"
"Harvey.. Theres some things. I never told anyone but I- Well- I think I want to tell you. Because I think- I think I might need your help and- I trust you." Mike stuttered, barely getting the words out, while Harvey stared at him wide-eyed.
"Sure. I mean, yeah, of course. Come on in. I have a feeling this isn't exactly a doorstep conversation. I'll get you a drink." Harvey smiled softly, trying to calm his best friend and associate who was trembling and looked on the edge of tears.
Ten minutes later, Mike was settled on Harvey's couch, with the older man sitting across from him, both of them with a mug of coffee in front of them.
"Take your time, Mike. I'm not going anywhere, okay?"
"I-I wasn't born like this. I didn't- I wasn't right." Mike started, his voice shaking more than his hands had been doing. Harvey frowned in confusion but nodded for Mike to continue.
"I- Fuck!" Mike choked out angrily, wiping his face with his hands as a burst of tears escaped his eyes and rolled down his face.
"Hey, hey, it's fine. Just take it slow. I'm right here, okay? Don't be scared. Even if you've killed a man, you can bet your ass I'll be the one right here getting you out of a sentence." Harvey reassured him with a smile, shuffling forwards a little to shorten the gap between them.
"I was born Alice Michaela Ross. I'm transgender." Mike rushed out in a single breath, closing his eyes as if preparing for a storm of abuse.
"Mike", Harvey smiled softly, taking one of the younger boys hands in his own, "I'm proud of you for telling me. I'd never be mad because of something like that, okay?"
Mike choked out a small laugh and smiled up at his boss, more tears escaping his eyes.
"I-I went to Harvard. I wanted to tell you but I- I wasn't me. I couldn't stay like that so as soon as I graduated I- I changed everything. But I couldn't go back to resit a course I'd already aced, and I couldn't face getting a job where everyone knew. S-So I just didn't."
"Until I hired you, no questions asked, and you had the chance to take the job without having to tell me the truth." Harvey finished for him, getting a nod in response.
"But Mike, if you don't mind me saying, you're just a kid. You couldn't have gone to Harvard more than 5 years ago, and you must have been there at least 3 years, so if you only started transitioning when you left then-"
"I'm still binding. And packing." Mike cut in, a small blush rising on his cheeks, "I wanted top surgery- I wanted it more than anything in the world. But grammy's in the home and I can't put her in a state facility- I can't do that to her. She needs the money more so, I can wait."
"You're a good kid, Mike. Don't be scared to tell me stuff like this ever again. I'm always here."
"T-That's not all. It's work." Mike stuttered out, his eyes filling with tears again as he seemed to remember his other point suddenly.
"What is it?"
"Gr-Gregory and Kyle. Th-They found out. I always- always change in this weird store cupboard thing. It's n-next to the men's room so nobody usually notices, and nobody ever goes in there. B-But then- I- I don't even know what happened but they must have seen me going in there and- Th-They saw my binder and my packer on the side and I had no sh-shirt on and they saw- J-Jesus, they saw everything, Harvey." Mike broke down into painful sobs, crossing his arms tightly across his chest.
Harvey immediately pulled the boy against himself in a hug, running a hand up and down his back and soothing gently until Mike seemed coherent enough to speak again.
"Have they said or done anything since then?"
"Th-They keep sending stuff. Stupid emails with l-links to pages of slurs and things like that. And they- they've been leaving s-sex toys in my desk." Mike stuttered out, and Harvey sighed sadly, looking at his distraught associate.
"We can stop this Mike, I promise. First, from now on you're gonna go to my office whenever you need to change, okay? There's blinds, a lock on the door, and Donna can stop anyone coming in until you're done. And I can leave for as long as you need, it's not a problem. But I'm gonna have to tell Louis and Jessica. We can't do anything about Kyle and Gregory until they know."
"I know, you don't want anyone to know. And nobody else has to except them. But I can promise you Mike, all they're going to do is try to protect you. And if they don't, then we'll leave together. There's a thousand other firms out there fighting for me, and I don't come without you, so you won't be out of a job. I just need you to trust me, and the firm, can you do that for me?" Harvey assured Mike, who eventually gave a small nod in agreement.
"Good boy. I'm really proud of you, Mike. And we're gonna get this sorted, I promise you that. You stay here tonight, and we'll go in early together tomorrow. I'll grab you a pair of pyjamas." Harvey smiled, patting Mike on the shoulder as he stood up and headed towards his bedroom, praying that his promise to his friend had been a true one.