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Just Part of the Job

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Mike doesn't even have to wait anymore for Francesca to buzz him into Saul's office—one of the few perks of working for the guy. Saul's a little startled when Mike comes shoving his way through the door trailing violent intent and quiet rage.

"Mike, hey—what's shakin'?" Saul greets him, threaded with panic. He seems to be in a permanent state of paranoia, which, in this business, probably suits him pretty well.

Mike steps inside and shuts the door in a particularly meaningful way. Saul pushes away from his desk, like he's getting ready to make a run for it. "I'm only gonna tell you this once," Mike says, moving closer, "so listen up and listen good. Stay away from Pinkman."

Saul breathes out nervous laughter. "Wh—what? What're you talkin' about?"

Mike approaches the desk and just stares. "You know exactly what I'm talking about."

Saul blinks a few times too many, does that nervous chuckle again. "Mike, c'mon, I really don't. Is this about that address thing? Because, really, I—that's water under the bridge, right?" If the San Andreas quaked like Saul's voice they'd be calling for an evacuation.

Mike lifts an eyebrow. He figures he's just going to have to spell it out, because clearly Saul's taking the "deny everything" route, and this shit is just wasting time. "Pinkman told me."

Saul's face loses a bit of color.

"Does that jog your memory?"

Saul does some panicky gesturing with his hands. "I—look—what is this really about? I can't control what the kid does any more than you can. Although, yeah, maybe you've got an advantage with all the guns and threats of violence, but I don't see that working on him."

"You're right, it doesn't." Mike circles around the desk and moves in. "But with you, that's another story."

Saul rolls back in his chair and leaps to his feet. "Whoa, whoa, hey, c'mon, let's—let's talk this over, alright? If you want me to stop seeing Je—Pinkman, maybe you should take it up with him."

"He won't see sense. But you're a rational guy, despite our misgivings. I think you'll see the benefits to this."


Mike makes his point by moving closer. Saul steps back. "You stay away from Pinkman, or I beat you 'til your legs don't work."

"Oh, that's—that's still a thing? We're still on that?"

Mike gives him a look that no one could ever consider friendly and takes a step closer. Saul scurries backwards, sort of stumbling over his own feet.

"Whoa, seriously?" Saul throws his arms out for emphasis before quickly returning them to a "protect my vital organs" position. "I thought we worked past this kind of thing in middle school. What, are you gonna shove me into a locker? Tie me to the flag pole?" Big talk for a guy who knows Mike can and will do much worse.


"I can't do it, Mike. Alright? I'm sorry."

Mike thinks about saying, "Not as sorry as you're gonna be," but he knows the stoic, silent thing is so much more effective than spouting off one-liners.

He advances on Saul, who flails his way backwards, his path curving around the side of his desk. "W—wait, wait, maybe we can work something out—"

Saul's next step puts him right in line with the leg of one of the chairs at his desk; Mike sees it coming and just lets it happen, because it's been a while since he truly laughed. And, hey, it's not every day the person he's supposed to beat up does all the work for him.

Saul stumbles over the leg of the chair and makes a totally manly noise of panic as he moves to stop his fall. But it's too late. Saul drops to the ground like a target in a shooting gallery, clutching his ankle and hissing agonized curses at Mike.

Mike just stands there watching the spectacle; it's not unlike Saul to fake an injury to keep him at bay. Saul's on the floor whining pathetic noises of pain, and this is why Mike can't hate him, even when Saul's doing stupid shit.

"Can you walk?"

"I hate you so much," Saul hisses through his teeth.

Mike sighs. "I'm going to take that as a no."

"This is all your fault, you know."

Mike says nothing, just turns the page of the magazine he's reading.

Saul looks at him. "I'm serious. I'm holding you responsible here. If you think I'm paying for this, you've got another thing coming."

Mike's a goddamn pro at the silent treatment—he's always considered it a useful negotiating technique—so Saul's shit out of luck as far as an apology goes. Honestly, Saul should be used to this by now. A good seventy percent of their encounters involve Mike presenting what he wants, Saul flailing his arms and protesting, and Mike just glaring at him pointedly until Saul relents or, in this case, grievously injures himself.

Saul ought to consider himself lucky he's in the emergency room and not the morgue. Because Mike's still royally pissed.

"He's going to ask about this," Saul says, gesturing to his ankle, and oh my God, he's still talking? "And I'm absolutely telling him you burst into my office and accosted me."

Mike turns another page, granting Saul the first words he's said since the drive to the hospital. "If I know Pinkman—and I think I do—he's gonna find it hilarious that you let me kick your ass."

"Okay, first of all: I didn't let you do anything—"

"That's right; you did it yourself." Mike can't help the twitch of a smirk that tugs at the corner of his mouth.

Saul scowls at him. "You threatened to break my legs. This is at least fifty percent your fault. You can't threaten bodily injury and expect a guy not to panic." He huffs a shaky laugh. "How have you not learned that by now?"

Mike goes back to ignoring him, which is no easy feat, because Saul Goodman doesn't know when to shut the fuck up. How does Jesse put up with this?

"The kid'll never go on one of your little ride-alongs again if he knows you threatened me," Saul continues, "much less beat me up. So, really, this was an exercise in futility on your part. I mean, there are so many more creative, ingenious ways of keeping people apart besides physical violence. Though, hey, I'm not surprised that's your go-to solution for things like this, but a friendly chat goes a long way, y'know?"

"Saul, stop talking, or I'm going to break more than just your ankle," Mike grits out.

Saul scoffs an indignant sound. "You know why Magnum was such a good private eye? Because he actually knew when to hold back with the punches. You can't just knock a guy around and expect him to cave to your demands. Finesse is part of the package, pal."

He's using alliteration. He must be stopped.

Mike sighs and sets his magazine on the empty couch space. He rises slowly from his seat and saunters over to the front desk. "Would you mind having a nurse sedate my friend over there?" he asks the attendant, gesturing to Saul, who's doing his damndest to give off an air of menace and rage. "He's a bit hysterical. He doesn't like hospitals."

"Hey, I heard that!" Saul sneers.

Mike hates his life. He really, really does.