Excerpt from a hitherto unknown stone tablet written by Metatron, the Scribe of God himself, and deeply hidden by him before he perished, whispered about amongst angels and demons alike, commonly referred to as The Fourth Tablet, The Last Tablet or The Archangel Tablet:
… is another, the Fifth of the Five, the youngest, known by the name of Jeremiel, Jerahmeel or Ram’el … renounced his brothers and separated from them … unwilling to carry Lucifer’s endeavors to conquer Heaven… join the others in their fight … hunted … vanished … never seen or heard of … rumored to have sought refuge … humankind … faded from existence and memory … The Lost Brother …
Harvey’s head snaps up and his eyes need a moment to focus after having been glued to the laptop’s screen for far too long.
Licking his lips, Harvey squints. He can still taste Mike, can still feel his hands everywhere on his body and Mike’s skin still burns hot against his palms. He can still feel Mike’s muscles impossibly tight around him and Mike’s fingers pushing into his ass, hungry and possessive, their bodies entwined and both of them desperate to get even closer, just a little bit closer, sweat and come sticky between them and the lack of oxygen making their heads spin. Hearts and minds racing towards completion and the sensory overload making their fingertips and tongues feel numb and their lips prickle.
Ever since that night it happened for the first time, they can’t get enough of each other. Harvey’s hands feel empty and they ache when he isn’t touching Mike and he’s nearly constantly hard whenever he is close to Mike or thinks about him like this.
They are into each other’s clothes as soon as the door falls shut behind them, any door, and Harvey just can’t keep his fingers off of Mike nor his lips and Mike is just the same, a bundle of need and hunger and a constant want.
Mike is insatiable and Harvey feels like a teenager again, only a hundred times worse. He drinks in Mike’s scent and taste as if his life depends on it and he isn’t even exactly sure that that is not indeed the case.
Last night, last night was no different. They fucked twice before they fell asleep and once after they did, in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning, their bodies still pliant and loose from the previous round. And then, when they were about ready to leave the condo in the morning, both dressed up for work and briefcases already in hand, Mike had looked at him just so, his eyes burning and his lips so fucking pink that Harvey hadn’t been able to do anything but stare, and when Mike had blushed under Harvey’s gaze there was nothing else Harvey had been able to do but to take a step closer and then another one and another, and the next moment Mike had been lying back on the kitchen counter, his trousers shoved down and Harvey’s own pants had been pooling around his feet and he had been so deep inside of Mike, so deep…
He can still feel the aftershocks of his climax and his cock twitches at the thought. They had been too late already to take another shower so Harvey had just cleaned himself quickly and they had left – with no time to brush their teeth again before they really had to go. So, when Harvey licks his lips now, there it is, Mike’s taste, strong and comforting and so incredibly arousing, and Harvey is already half hard in his pants by the time he blinks a second time.
Donna is sticking her head into his office and when he acknowledges her persence, she steps inside and pulls the glass door shut behind her.
“Harvey, there are two FBI agents out there wanting to talk to you, Agents Harrison and Best.”
“Did they say what it is about?”
“No, they didn’t,” Donna replies, casting a conspiratorial look over her shoulder. “But to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was about that Bateman thing last month? You heard it here first – that whole thing is not over yet.” She raises her eyebrows and brushes her hair from her face.
“Okay, send them in,” Harvey says, shifting in his chair and straightening his back, a small smile playing on his lips at the memory of Mike’s fingers inside of him. Mike had had to pull him really close trying to push them in further and the sound he had made, that strangled moan… Harvey clears his throat as Donna opens the door and shows the two men in.
The two agents couldn’t be more different – a sturdy one with bow legs and a large one with floppy hair, both of them clad in cheap suits and wearing shoes that don’t really match the rest of their outfits. The large one has his arm in a sling and there is a fresh bruise adorning his cheek bone and Harvey’s smile turns into a grin for a spit second. He wonders what those two might have been up to last night.
Harvey gestures towards the chairs in front of his desk and sits back in his chair, crossing his legs.
“What can I do for you?”
They take their badges out of their front pockets in a suspiciously synchronized move and hold them out for Harvey to inspect.
“I’m Agent Best,” the tall one says and nods to his left, “and this is agent Harrison. There is something we have to talk to you about.”
“Agents Best and Harrison,” Harvey says and closes the lid of his laptop pointedly. “Very early Beatles.”
It seems as if, for a second, both men on the other side of the desk are the slightest bit rattled, but they have each other under control again just as quickly.
“If it’s about the Ba—“
“No,” the tall one cuts in, Agent Best. “No, Mr. Specter, it’s not about the Bateman thing from last month. That one is definitely over. Well, at least as far as we are concerned.”
The sturdy one, Agent Harrison, just nods. Apparently Best is the one doing all the talking today.
Those two seem to be close, and Harvey assumes they have been working together for quite some time. He waits. If he has learned one thing in the thousands and thousands of interviews, hearings and depositions he has been in over the years is never to volunteer anything before you’re not a hundred percent sure what the whole thing is about. So he just waits, raises his eyebrows and tilts his head a bit.
Agent Harrison leans forward a little while Agent Best takes out a small notebook or writing pad from his pocket. That is interesting.
“Mr. Specter, we have received information that there is a person working at your firm who isn’t who they claim to be,” Agent Best says, leafing through the pages of the pad. He gives Harvey a questioning look and clicks his ball pen twice. His colleague raises one eyebrow and his keen eyes scrutinize Harvey carefully.
Harvey’s heart misses a beat. Mike’s secret has been safe for so long now and it would be true irony of fate if someone had uncovered it just now after all these years.
“Agents,” Harvey says after a brief pause, a pause the two men most definitely notice, going by the short glance they exchange. “A lot of people here claim to be something they aren’t.” He forces his lips into a grin. “Louis Litt, for example. He claims to know how to dress, which he clearly doesn’t, and Jessica Pearson—“
“We’ve talked to Ms. Pearson and she has told us the same about Mr. Litt,” Agent Harrison cuts in and that’s the first time Harvey hears him speak. He’s definitely one to watch out for. Sharp as a knife, Harvey thinks, and just as cut-throat if necessary. “We don’t think we need to talk to him just yet. He’s not our guy,” he adds, giving Harvey a shrewd wink.
Agent Harrison takes his time to study Harvey’s whole appearance. “You wear some mighty fancy suits. Big music fan, too,” he states, nodding at the shelves with the records in his back. “Nets or Nicks?”
“Nets,” Harvey replies without blinking an eye. “Would you please get on with whatever it is you’re here for? I have an appointment in court in a few hours.”
“Of course,” Best takes over again, flipping through his note pad a bit more. “Like I said, we’ve received intelligence that there is an impostor working at the firm, at your firm, Mr. Specter.”
“Yeah,” apparently, it’s Agent Harrison’s turn to speak again. “You know, a fraud. Could be anyone. Could be you.”
Harvey simply raises his eyebrows and forces himself to breathe as evenly as he can. “Is it?”
“We’re talking about someone,” Agent Best elaborates, “operating under a false identity or a false name, an alias.”
“I always thought that ‘Norma Gershwitz’ had to be an alias,” Harvey murmurs, the weight of a building lifted off of his shoulders. “Always sounded fake to me.”
Something that sounds suspiciously like a choked laugh comes from the intercom’s speaker.
“Excuse my secretary,” Harvey says pointedly, enunciating it a bit more than strictly necessary. “She has got a cold.” He switches off the intercom and Donna turns around to glare at him behind the agents’ backs. He just briskly shakes his head.
“Never mind. So, someone with an alias? I’m afraid I can’t help you with that one.”
“Well, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.” Agent Harrison again, leaning forward once more. “Our source pointed us pretty much exactly in your direction.”
An ice-cold pit opens in Harvey’s stomach and expands from there through his whole body within the matter of nanoseconds. Shit. Even though he thinks there is no way Forstman could have learned about Mike, with Forstman you never knew.
“He was quite keen,” Agent Best pauses briefly and Harvey recognizes that as one of the maneuvers to scare one’s opponent he himself uses quite frequently, albeit a rather poorly executed version, “and very… talkative.”
“And what exactly did he talk to you about?” Harvey raises his eyebrows again and turns his head a little. He folds his hands in his lap and breathes through his nose as calmly as he can.
“Have you noticed anything unusual recently?” Agent Best enquires, clicking his ball pen again.
“Any cold spots?” Agent Harrison. Those guys certainly are practiced at this. “Flickering lights? Sulfur? Drastic changes in someone’s personality? Wings?”
“Wings. Sulfur.” Harvey frowns. Someone must be having him on. Donna perhaps, getting back at him for that prank he’s played on her only last week. “Who are you?”
“Special cases unit,” Agent Best replies, shooting a sharp glance at his partner. “So, did you notice anything?”
“No, I haven’t. And I am not sure I should—“
“Harvey, we have to—“ Mike barges into the office just like he does on any other given day, his eyes fixed on something in the papers he’s carrying, and he only snaps out of it two steps into the room. “Oh, sorry.”
The two agents turn around and Mike frowns.
“What’s going on?”
“Agent Harrison and Agent Best, FBI.” Agent Best rises and shows Mike his badge, Harrison just holding his up over his shoulder. “And you are…?”
“Mike Ross,” Mike answers, searching for Harvey’s eyes. “Mr. Specter’s associate.”
“And you’ve worked here for how long?”
“Four years to the day next Thursday.”
Harvey can’t help but smile. Mike.
“We’ve received intelligence—“
“Forstman claims that someone here stole someone else’s identity,” Harvey interrupts, nodding curtly. “Those two gentlemen were just about to leave.”
Harvey rises and while Agent Harrison gets up as well, Agent Best turns around to face him again. “If you notice anything unusual, give us a call,” he says and hands Harvey a business card.
“Unusual?” Mike’s eyes widen and he turns to look behind his back as if someone was following him, a faint grin on his lips. “Jesus, who are you guys? The X-files?”
“Unusual?” Mike asks again a few moments later when Harrison and Best have left the room. “Seriously?”
“Yeah,” Harvey shrugs, straightening the knot of his tie. “Sulfur. Wings.”
Donna chooses the exact same moment to open the door again and look inside. “They asked Jessica the same,” she says. “Who do you think they were?”
“Definitely not FBI agents,” Harvey says, furrowing his brows. “Something is fishy about them. I need to talk to Jessica.”
“Harvey,” Mike says and his hand catches Harvey’s sleeve as Harvey walks around the desk and passes him by. “Wait. There’s something—“
“Not now, Mike,” Harvey says but then he stops for a moment and smiles at Mike. “Forstman is at it again,” he explains. “He’s throwing around inane accusations in order to rattle us by threatening the firm. I need to talk to Jessica about what we are going to do about that.”
“There’s something I need to tell you,” Mike says. “Something I should explain about my—“
“Mike,” Harvey cuts in and gives Mike’s arm a quick squeeze. “This is not about your secret. We can talk later. Go home once you’re done here tonight. I’ll talk to Jessica and then I have court – I’ll have to take care of some things at the office once it’s finished but I’ll be home as soon as I can after that.”
“Okay,” Mike murmurs, nodding slowly. “But there’s something I really need to tell you as soon as possible.”
“Okay, Mike. Just – whatever it is, it will have to wait.”
Harvey’s steps accelerate on his way to Jessica’s office. Who the hell were those guys? And why did their gazes feel as if they were looking straight through him and for something else?
Jessica looks up from her files and frowns.
“What did they—“
“Harvey,” she nods. “Take a seat.”
It’s more the tone of her voice that tells him what to do than it is her words themselves. Harvey walks up to the desk and slowly sits down, never taking his eyes off of her.
“What is it?”
“I think,” Jessica deliberately closes the folder in front of her, “they might be on to Mike Ross.”
“Nah.” Harvey sits back in his chair and crosses his legs. “It’s not about that. They’re looking for someone operat—“
“They are looking for an impostor,” Jessica says, narrowing her eyes. “And that kid is pretty much the definition of one.”
“Jessica,” Harvey tries to assuage her as calmly as he can. “They specifically said—“
“I don’t care what they said, Harvey. Once they look into the employees of this firm, they are going to keep digging until they find something – and Mike Ross is something. God dammit, we should have fired that kid ages ago.” She rises and rests her hands on the desk in front of her, left and right of her files. Leaning forward, she searches for Harvey’s eyes. “And now it’s too late. If we do it now, it will raise suspicion.”
“It’s not about Mike Ross.”
“And how can you know that? How can you possibly know that, Harvey? Just because they told you—“ Slowly walking around her desk, Jessica keeps talking. “Just because they told you something, it doesn’t mean it is true. You’re hearing what they want you to hear.” She sits down on the edge of the table very close to his chair. “So now you are going to tell me what I want to hear. Everything I want to hear.”
Harvey looks up at her and raises his eyebrows.
“What are you talking about?”
“I want to know everything there is to know about Mike Ross. Everything you haven’t told me yet.”
“Do you expect me to believe that being a fraud is his only secret?”
“Yes,” Harvey says, leaning forward and narrowing his eyes. “Yes, I do, because it is.”
“Are you absolutely sure?”
“What about you, then?”
“Are you who you say you are?”
“Everybody lies, Harvey,” Jessica actually smiles at him, her eyes shining in a strangely disconcerting way. “That’s what you always say. So, by definition – your own definition, I might add – you are lying as well.”
“Harvey, listen to me. If this firm suffers another blow because of you or that goddamn kid, you’re out. Name off the door and out.”
Harvey’s jaws clench hard and his hands ball into fists.
“Now go get to court and win that damn case. Then find Mike Ross and get it out of him, whatever it is he’s hiding from you. I expect your report and a solution to this whole mess on my desk tomorrow morning. Or your resignation in case you’re incapable to come up with one.”
Harvey rises from his chair and straightens his cuffs. He raises his chin and holds Jessica’s gaze for a few more seconds before he turns around and leaves.
Harvey’s head aches when he returns to the firm a little after eight p.m. that night. He needs to wrap up a couple of things before he can leave for the day and he wants to finish them as quickly as possible, anxious to talk to Mike. So when Donna rises behind the wall of her cubical as he approaches the door to his office, he quickens his pace and raises his hand.
“Not now, Donna. Whatever it is it can—“
“Charles Forstman is waiting for you in your office.”
Harvey stops dead in his tracks.
“I’m sorry, Harvey, he must have slipped by my desk and walked right in when I wasn’t here for a second and I—“
“It’s okay, Donna,” Harvey says and sighs, his shoulders sagging for a moment. “I’ll take care of it.” He nods, adjusts his ties and straightens his back. “Don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault.”
From the corners of his eyes he can see Donna is sitting down again, biting her lips. He takes a deep breath and opens the door.
Forstman is looking out of the window, his back turned towards the door, and he’s holding Kobe’s basketball in his hands.
Contrary to Donna’s belief, Harvey does mind. As a matter of fact, he minds lot.
“Put that down.”
“Harvey,” Forstman turns around, grinning. He tosses the ball in the air and catches it on one hand. “So good to see you again, pal.”
“What do you want? Oh, wait. Don’t tell me because I actually don’t give a damn about what you want.”
Harvey walks behind his desk and places his briefcase next to his chair. He sits down and swings around until he’s facing Forstman. Raising his eyebrows, he waits.
A chill runs down Harvey’s spine, a chill that makes him recoil inside, and Forstman’s grin broadens.
“I want Mike Ross.”
It takes Harvey by surprise when Forstman tosses the ball at him, but he still catches it easily enough, much to his relief. It shouldn’t have taken him by surprise. He tosses the ball back and Forstman catches it with just as much skill and grace.
“You’re in no position to say that to me, pal.” Forstman takes a step forward, but something stops him.
Only then does Harvey realize that there’s another person in the room, in the far left corner, hiding in the shadows.
The dark figure swiftly steps into the light. It’s a man in a black suit with a beard and a truly annoying smirk on his face.
It’s not an American accent with which the stranger is speaking and for a second the image of Ava Hessington and Stephen Huntley flash before Harvey’s inner eye.
“Mr. Specter, pleasure to meet you.”
“Who are you?” Harvey doesn’t mean to bark but that man seems like a serious threat to him that had better be nipped in the bud. “What do you want?”
“Name’s Crowley,” the stranger rasps, a glass of Harvey’s scotch in his hand. “Now, this is what I call a drink.”
He raises his glass in Harvey’s direction and takes a sip from the amber liquid inside.
“Really. This is good stuff.”
“What do you want?” Harvey swings around in his chair again, letting his eyes wander from the stranger, Crowley, to Forstman and back. The tension between the two is palpable.
“Well, that would depend,” Crowley says, his voice filling the room like rich, expensive perfume, “on who is asking.”
“Well, if it’s you who’s asking, the answer would be different from if it weren’t you.”
“Get to the point,” Harvey says, a distinct note of impatience creeping into his voice.
“If you were someone else, I mean.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Gesturing towards the door, Harvey raises his chin. “And now get out.”
Crowley begins to mutter something under his breath, something Harvey can’t quite make out but that doesn’t sound like English at all, more like gibberish, and Harvey’s skin begins to crawl. After just a few moments, though, Crowley is interrupted by Jessica opening the door and stepping into the room.
“It isn’t him,” she says in lieu of a greeting and Crowley’s head snaps up. “I’ve already checked him for it, and far more subtly than you and your pathetic display of a detection spell.”
Harvey’s eyes dart from Crowley to Jessica to Forstman and back to Jessica again.
“Checked me for what?”
“Shut up,” Jessica snaps and Harvey startles. “Nobody is talking to you.”
“I said shut up!” Jessica turns her head around and her eyes are pitch black. Her whole eyeballs are a deep glistening black and it’s the most terrifying thing Harvey has ever seen.
With one movement of Jessica’s hand the door to Harvey’s office slams shut and in the hallway Harvey can see Donna’s feet and legs behind the partition of her cubicle. He makes a movement to rise and rush outside but Jessica raises her hand again and he’s frozen to the spot.
“It’s not him,” she says, turning to Crowley again, who is calmly sipping on his whiskey. “I can assure you of that, Crowley.”
“Then, Mr. Specter, let us get back to your question,” Crowley addresses Harvey with mocking politeness. “I want Mike Ross.”
“You think it’s him?”
Jessica narrows her eyes and takes one step closer to where Crowley is standing, her hand still raised to keep Harvey motionless in his chair.
“Has to be,” Crowley shrugs and then nods towards Harvey. “We knew it was either him or the whelp. And if it isn’t him…”
“… then he is of no use to us,” Jessica picks up the sentence where Crowley has let it trail away. “Then we don’t need him anymore.” She turns around to face Harvey. “Then it’s time to get rid of him.”
“Jessica…” Harvey struggles against the invisible hold and chokes out his words through the tightness in his throat. The need for oxygen becomes overwhelming and he can feel his senses dimming. “What—“
A man in a trench coat and a truly ridiculous tie appears as if out of nowhere and outside, Donna scrambles to her feet again.
“That is not Jessica Pearson,” the man states in a low, monotone voice. He reaches out, his palm turned against Jessica, and frowns.
“Let him go.”
“Oh, why don’t you just go fuck yourself, Castiel,” Jessica spits without turning around. “I’ve played your game long enough and frankly I’m a bit tired of this playing nice thing, so if you allow me…”
The hold on Harvey’s throat tightens and his struggle for air becomes incredibly painful. His hands fly to his throat, loosening his tie, trying to battle those invisible fingers off, but to no avail.
“I’m going to snap this one useless-as-shit vermin out of existence,” Jessica continues, her eyes still fixed on that Crowley guy and with her hand still raised. “And then—“
Harvey’s senses are shutting down and everything seems to be happening as if in slow motion now, and yet still far too fast for him to understand at the same time.
The two FBI agents burst through the door and the tall one, Best, starts to chant something in Latin. Jessica’s face somehow contorts and she moves her head so fast it gets blurry, her eyes bulging and turning entirely black.
For a second the grip closing Harvey’s wind-pipe loosens and he draws in a struggling, greedy breath, but then he’s closed off from air supply again and his vision begins to fade.
Jessica laughs, a harsh, mocking, merciless laugh, and that sound chills Harvey to the bone. His head is swimming and he’s losing touch of reality and when his eyelids flutter closed he sees Mike, Mike’s face, Mike’s eyes and that tentative, beautiful smile on Mike’s lips.
Then, suddenly, the invisible claws around his throat are gone and his eyes snap open. There is thunder and lightning and Mike is there, he’s really there, standing in the middle of the room, eyes glowing, and everyone is ducking, Jessica is dropping to the floor and there are wings, enormous dark, shadowy wings on Mike’s back and they expand until they almost fill up the entire room.
The others shield their eyes, the light that streams from Mike’s form already too intense for them, but Harvey can’t help but keep staring into that blinding light.
“Let go of him!”
Mike’s voice booms through the air and the whole building seems to resonate with vibrations. Harvey’s body is drenched with them and every tone, every note touches his very core in a way that makes his vision go blurry all over again.
The next thing becomes aware of is Mike crouching at his side and when he opens his eyes he can see Donna kneeling on the floor checking for Jessica’s pulse.
“She’s still alive,” Donna whispers and Harvey turns his head towards Mike.
Before he can say anything more, the man in the trench coat, Castiel, takes a step towards them.
Mike rises to his feet again, giving the man a curt nod.
He turns around to face Forstman, looking at him for a long time in complete silence. Forstman holds his gaze and when Harvey’s eyes follow Mike’s and he looks at Forstman, too, really looks at him, what Harvey sees on Forstman’s face and in his eyes makes him question his sanity for the second time in under two minutes.
There’s nothing but genuine love written on Forstman’s face and a smile so warm it makes Harvey shiver.
Forstman nods and Mike inhales sharply.
“Michael,” Mike whispers and reaches behind himself for the back rest of Harvey’s chair to steady his stance. “I didn’t know… How did you make it out?”
The smile fades from Forstman’s lips and the eye contact with Mike breaks. He turns around to stare out of the window.
“When Castiel here sprung our brother free, he left a door open in the Cage. Took me a while to… recover and to regroup. I had to rebuild myself from my deepest foundations after all that time in there with him. But a couple of days ago I finally was able to use that door. Castiel found me and guided me here.”
“Oh,” Mike says and Harvey can practically hear him bite his lips.
“Brother?” That one word is the first thing that makes its way from Harvey’s swirling mind to his tongue. “What is he talking about?”
Mike turns around again and regards Harvey silently. His eyes are burning and the turmoil inside of him breaks Harvey’s heart.
“I…” Mike falls silent for a moment, worrying his lips between his teeth. “I am not who you think I am.”
“No shit,” Harvey deadpans, smiling drily. “I almost figured as much.”
“I am Jeremiel.”
“You are who?”
“My name, my real name is Jeremiel. And I… I am an angel.”
Harvey blinks. This can’t possibly be happening.
“Archangel, as a matter of fact,” Crowley chimes in, taking a step forward and raising the glass of whiskey he’s still holding in his hand in a playful toast. “The infamous Long Lost Brother. Cheers.”
“And we need you.”
Castiel. His obnoxiously calm voice begins to really irritate Harvey. He wants to get up and deck that dude, hell, he wants to get up and smash something, see reality shatter to make sure it’s still intact.
“There’s no…” He swallows and clears his throat. “There’s no such thing. Angels don’t exist.”
“And this is where you are wrong,” Crowley murmurs, taking another sip from his drink. “Unfortunately.”
“So you’re one, too?”
“God, no!” Crowley seems visibly appalled. “Demon.” He toasts Harvey and drains his glass. “King of Hell, actually.”
Harvey’s eyes wander through the room, from one person, if that’s even what they are, to the next until they come to rest on Agents Best and Harrison.
It seems as if the question on his face must be showing in capital neon letters because Agent Harrison immediately shakes his head.
“We are people, dude,” he says and Harvey frowns. “Hunters. We hunt demons. Well, amongst other things. Ghosts. Monsters, you know?”
Harvey looks back to Crowley who merely raises his brows. “Not me. At least not at the moment,” he says. “But we’ve had our rough patches in the past, those two and humble young me.”
“And all of you, you’re working together?”
Harvey slumps against the back of his chair and pinches the bridge of his nose. “This has to be a joke,” he says, looking up again and searching for Mike’s eyes. “Tell me that this is a joke?”
When Mike says nothing, Harvey shakes his head and looks away.
“Anyway,” Crowley ends the heavily loaded silence that follows. He puts the glass down on the coffee table and claps his hands. “Now that we’ve that one cleared up…” He turns to Mike (Jeremiel). “We need you. You coming?”
“No.” Mike, Jeremiel, shakes his head. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“You’ve hidden yourself very carefully,” Castiel says, taking a step closer to the desk. “But now we have found you. There’s no going back for you to the life you’ve been leading. And Heaven needs you. Lucifer… God is gone.”
“Again,” Crowley interjects and Castiel shoots him a murderous look.
“God is gone and there aren’t many of us left and Lucifer… He’s reaching for the throne.”
“You’re the only one who can beat him, Jeremiel. It has been foretold, as you know.”
“Listen, I severed ties with Heaven back when—“
“Brother.” Forstman steps forward as well and Mike’s head immediately turns around when he speaks. “Please.”
Mike’s shoulders sag and it feels as if the floor is being torn open and Harvey is falling all the forty nine stories below him.
“Mike,” he whispers, his eyes glued to Mike’s neck line. “No…”
The silence is deafening and Harvey’s ears are ringing with it. The world around him seems to have frozen in mid motion, everything is still except for Mike, who slowly turns around.
He smiles. He smiles and reaches for Harvey’s cheek, caresses it with the gentlest of touches.
“It’s going to be all right.”
He turns to Castiel and nods. “I know. I need the night, though,” he says. “I need the time to…” He turns back to Harvey, his hand resting on his shoulder. “I need to explain. And to atone.” Their eyes lock and the fall stops. “There is so much I need to tell you,” Mike says.
After that, everyone moves to leave almost at once. Agents Best and Harrison lift up Jessica from the floor and exchange silent nods with Castiel.
“She’s going to be okay,” Best assures Harvey before he can even raise the question. “She won’t remember.”
Crowley follows suite, but before he leaves the room he turns around to nod at Forstman. Forstman nods back and Crowley walks down the dim corridor, Harvey’s eyes following him until he disappears into the darkness at its end.
When Harvey looks up again, Mike and Forstman are staring into each other’s eyes across the room. They do that for a small eternity until Forstman smiles briefly and starts walking towards the door.
Mike’s voice cuts through the silence like a silver knife. Forstman stops and turns and Mike’s hand reaches out for him.
The embrace they share is long and firm and Harvey can feel something fall into place as he watches the two men holding each other close.
They finally break apart and Forstman leaves without another word or without even looking back. No, not Forstman. Michael. Mike’s – Jeremiel’s – brother. His brother, the archangel.
Mike. Jeremiel, the archangel.
The next moment he and Mike are in the car and Harvey doesn’t remember how they got there. He’s glad that it’s Ray who is driving them home and not him. The trip passes in silence and when Mike takes Harvey’s hand in his Harvey lets him, too stunned to do anything else.
His mind is racing and his whole body feels numb. His throat is still sore from Jessica’s, no, that demon’s iron grip and there are still stars dancing in front of his eyes when he tries to focus them too hard.
When they are in his condo, he pours two glasses of whiskey and hands one to Mike. He sits down at the dining table and stares at the glass in front of him for a while, shaking his head.
“Who are you?” He finally says and finds Mike still standing where he left him, glass in hand and looking at him with wide, dark eyes.
“It’s complicated,” Mike says and slowly walks over to the chair on the other side of the table. “Will you bear with me?”
Harvey nods and Mike pulls out the chair to sit down.
“Yeah,” Mike nods, mirroring Harvey’s frown. “He did.”
“Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and you.”
Mike nods again and Harvey can feel his frown deepen. “And Raphael and Gabriel are…”
“Dead,” Mike finishes Harvey’s sentence in a toneless voice. “Yes.”
“So angels can die.”
“Oh yes,” Mike says, taking a long swig from his glass. “We can. We perish like any other being when attacked with enough force.”
“And when Lucifer tried again after… After God took off again with his sister,” Harvey stops for a moment, the words that are leaving his mouth sounding beyond crazy. “When he tried again to take the throne, you left.”
“Didn’t want to join his crazy mission any more than I did the first time around,” Mike affirms. The look in his eyes is so soft, so warm, so infinitely patient and Harvey can’t believe Mike is going through this with him for the fourth time now – or is it the fifth? “And I was too scared to fight him again, too wounded, so… So I left.”
“And then you went into hiding.”
“I did. I am not proud of that but I did. And I am glad I did or else we wouldn’t have met.”
“Okay,” Harvey nods slowly. “There’s just one thing I still don’t understand. How… How did you end up in this…” He gestures vaguely at Mike but then his hand drops and he shakes his head. “I don’t even know how… what…”
“We call it a vessel,” Mike says. He raises his hand before Harvey can speak again. “We have to be invited in, technically,” he goes on, holding Harvey’s gaze the entire time he talks. “And when we get in, the presence, the soul that used to reside inside the vessel, is pushed to the side. It’s still there when an angel takes a vessel, and having an angel inside of you is not pleasant, at least as far as I have heard. It’s like a roller coaster on fire, only worse.”
“And you— What happened to him? To Mike? Did you—“
“Please hear me out, Harvey. I promise I can explain this.”
“Did you… Did you push him aside, too? When? I mean—“
“He was never there.”
“What? What do you m—“
“He died during birth.”
Harvey doesn’t know what to say. This man, the man sitting opposite of him on the other side of the table, the man he has spent the last couple of months with as lovers, the man he has felt as close to as to no one before, that man is tearing the ground away from under Harvey’s feet, he’s making his whole world collapse – and all Harvey desperately wants, all that he wants with everything he is, is to believe him.
“Yes. While he was born.”
“How? I… How?”
“We can… we can travel through time. Bend it. Time is just another dimension and we… It’s a bit hard to explain, I’m sorry.”
Again, Harvey doesn’t know what to say. He opens his mouth but there is nothing.
“I did that, bend time. I hid in the past. Thought it would take them longer to find me that way. Guess I was right.”
Mike scoffs, a mirthless chuckle, and Harvey’s chest constricts.
“Pure souls,” Mike goes on after a short pause, “pure souls like a child’s or a new born baby’s are basically an open invitation to us. They’re the same as we are. So… so I could. And I did. I’ve been him for all those years. There was only ever me, never anyone else.”
Taking a deep breath, Mike rises. “I’ll leave now if you want me to. Give you some space…” He turns to leave but Harvey’s hand catches his sleeve.
“Tell me who you are.”
“I’m Mike Ross. But not only. I’m… I’m also someone else. I am Jeremiel. I’m an Angel of the Lord.”
“When we met,” Harvey says and his mouth feels incredibly dry all of a sudden, “you were high and on a drug run.”
“So I’ve had some issues,” Mike replies and shrugs a little. “I’m an angel. I never claimed to be perfect.”
Something rises in Harvey’s throat and at first he thinks he’s going to be sick, but then he realizes that he is laughing. Short, dry huffs at first, choked chortles, but then it turns into a full body laugh, high-pitched and hick-up-inducing at times, and Mike joins in until tears are streaming down his face and he has to sit down again, the laughter shaking his body that much.
“So,” Harvey says when the fit has died down a little, “you’re an angel and a fraud? A fake human?” Which, of course, sends them into more bursts of laughter and takes their breath away once more.
“What?” Mike eventually wheezes. “Forstman has nothing on me.”
“But he’s never been a real angel, he’s just a vessel, right?”
“Okay, take Lucifer then,” Mike takes a deep breath and wipes the tears from his face. “He’s always been kind of a dick. Misguided jealousy and anger and always that urge to destroy.” He clears his throat and chuckles again. “Can you imagine that one of his last vessels actually was Vince Vincente?”
Harvey’s eyes widen and Mike breaks into another laugh at that sight. “The rock star?”
“Well, if you want to call him that…”
They sober up pretty quickly after that but Harvey feels about a hundred times lighter. This is still Mike, it is still the Mike he knows and…
He has a million questions and Mike answers all of them with a truly angelic patience.
Does he age? (Yes, both the vessel and the essence, the Grace, but each of the two ages differently. The Grace is eternal.) Is that why he knows everything? (Yes, it is. Eidetic memory was the best explanation he had been able to come up with as a “kid”.) Did he ever think about leaving his vessel? (A couple of times and he even did it once, but just for the blink of an eye and then he discovered that it hurt just as much on the outside so he slipped back in, with nobody any the wiser, not even Grammy who had been sleeping next to him that night, holding him close.) Is he really going to go? (Yes. He has to. There is no way around it, he’s the only one who can stop Lucifer.) What will happen when he goes?
They leave the glasses on the table, Mike’s still half full, when they move to the bedroom after all the questions have been asked. They undress each other without saying a word, letting hands roam over exposed skin, drinking in scent and taste and the sound of their hungry, labored breathing.
Everything is different now yet nothing has truly changed.
Mike lies back as if nothing has happened, a dreamy smile on his face and his eyes fixed on Harvey. He spreads his legs for Harvey as he has done so many times before, exposing himself to fingers and tongue and he pulls Harvey into his arms and flush against his chest once Harvey is buried deep inside of him.
Time seems to race and then sometimes stand completely still as they move together, as Harvey fucks into Mike with slow, deliberate thrusts and as Mike writhes underneath him with pleasure and need. Mike is as hot and as tight as he’s always been, the first time, the twentieth and the last time, just last night. He even tightens around Harvey exactly like Harvey needs him to and the sounds he makes when Harvey moves inside of him cause his throat to constrict almost as much as the demon’s grip.
“Harvey,” Mike moans and his fingers dig into the muscles of Harvey’s back. His legs wrap around Harvey’s waist and his hands travel south until his fingers part Harvey’s cheeks and trace his crack. They brush over his hole, tentatively, almost shyly and Harvey nods into the crook of Mike’s shoulder then, whispers yes, god, yes, and Mike breaches him with so much care and determination that Harvey’s heart stops for a moment.
It just stops and just when he thinks they can’t get any closer, this can’t get any more, any more intense, any more intimate, Mike bites Harvey’s shoulder and Harvey cries out against Mike’s sweat-covered skin.
“Show me,” he moans, pulling Mike closer and closer still. “Mike…”
“Close your eyes.”
Mike’s voice is nothing but a hoarse, breathless whisper, but Harvey hears him loud and clear and he closes his eyes just like Mike has asked him to do.
“Okay,” he whispers and nods.
The light he sees through closed eyelids is so bright, so all-encompassing that it takes what is left of his breath away. It’s warm and ice-cold at the same time, it’s like liquid fire and a cool summer rain of blinking, shining drops and it screams, it just screams of love.
It’s nothing like Harvey has ever felt or even thought about, not even dared to dream of. He would have gone mad if he had, he’s sure of that, and he lets it wash over him, wrap around him and pour into him, he lets himself become its vessel and this light fills him and fills him until they are truly one.
Nothing gets pushed aside but Harvey understands now what Mike meant back then when he had explained how these things work.
He’s not sure if it’s not a figment of his imagination, but at some point he hears thunder and lightning and the feeling of being one, of Mike, intensifies a hundredfold.
He only very vaguely registers that he’s coming, that he’s spilling himself into Mike, too, just like Mike is filling him, and he doesn’t notice for the longest time that he’s trembling in Mike’s arms, his body following what his heart and soul and mind desire to touch.
Mike’s voice is what brings him back, his name over and over and over again, almost like a litany, and little by little and step by step Harvey’s essence returns into his body. His grace, because that’s what it feels like after it has been touched like that.
“Harvey,” Mike murmurs, sobs, whispers against his shoulder, throat, lips, “I love you, I love you, god, I love you so much…”
And Harvey resonates with those words, it’s all he can do, it’s all he knows and wants to do and all he has ever done.
Next thing he knows is that he’s making pancakes for everyone and that Crowley prefers his coffee strong and black. He learns that the agents aren’t agents at all (which sounds strangely familiar somehow but Harvey can’t remember why) but brothers. And that their names are Sam and Dean Winchester.
He gets along with Dean extraordinarily well, chatting to him at the kitchen counter over pancakes and cappuccino, while Sam mostly silently looms behind him, watching the others who have occupied the dining table to eat their breakfast and to strategize.
Dean’s quick witted and sharp, he’s a keen observer and, Harvey has to give him that, pretty damn funny.
And the stories he tells, oh god, the stories.
At first, Harvey suspects that Dean makes half of them up as he goes along but Sam looks dead serious over Dean’s shoulder so Harvey can’t be too sure.
Then, in the middle of a hair-raising tale about the hunt of something Harvey is certain Dean refers to as a ‘ghoulpire’, the four men at the table fall silent.
“So,” Dean says when he realizes it. “What’s the plan then?”
“He’s going, what else,” Crowley snaps, rolling his eyes. “There’s nothing else—“
Mike raises his hand but his voice is calm and sure.
“I need to discuss what is going to happen now with Harvey first or I am not going anywhere.”
Harvey puts down the spatula and uses the towel he has thrown over his shoulder to wipe his hands. He walks around the kitchen island and joins the others at the table. One demon, three angels and one man. Not the worst hand he’s ever seen.
“Harvey,” Mike says, reaching for Harvey’s hand. “I need to do this. I’m the only one who can.”
“Good. Thank you.” He gives Harvey’s hand a gentle squeeze before he lets go again. “So here’s what we’re going to do. I am going to leave this vessel and—“
“Whoa, wait a minute,” Harvey interrupts. He hasn’t thought of that before but yeah, of course, that would be how this has to go. “What happens to… it?”
Silence. Four awkward looks on four flustered faces.
“What do you mean, you have no idea?
“We could,” a voice cuts in from behind Harvey’s back. Sam. Sam Winchester. “We could put him in a coma.”
Mike’s head turns around and he inhales sharply. “Keep the vital functions going until I can come back, you mean?”
“Yeah,” Sam nods and steps closer. “Something like that.”
“We’d,” Mike shoots Harvey a quick, almost surreptitious glance, “we’d have only a very slim time frame. I’d have to… leave and then this body needs to be put on life support as soon as possible, or…” He falls silent, searching for Harvey’s eyes. “Or we’ll lose him.”
“Tell me what to do.”
Mike takes a deep breath and nods.
“Call an ambulance.”
He rises from his chair and straightens his back. “There is no time to lose.”
“Wait.” Harvey is at Mike’s side in a heartbeat. “One more thing.”
He cups Mike’s face with his hands. “You will come back, won’t you? You will make it.”
Harvey can feel the ground under his feet shake and there’s a gaping hole in his stomach from one moment to the next.
“I can’t promise, but I swear I will try? As hard as I can.”
Come back to me, Harvey thinks, please, come back to me.
Mike nods and Crowley and the angels rise as well.
“You can’t be here when…”
There isn’t even a sound when they disappear.
“We’ll be in the back,” Dean says, dragging Sam towards the sliding doors by his sleeve. “Just in case.”
“I’ll call the ambulance,” Sam says, fishing for his phone in the pocket on the insight of his jacket. “Get ready, they’ll probably be here soon.”
Dean slides the door shut behind them and Harvey can hear Sam’s voice on the phone, but he doesn’t understand what he’s saying, his words are too muffled by the door between them.
“Please come back to me,” Harvey murmurs, pulling Mike close. He brushes his lips over Mike’s gently, carefully, letting them speak for him, and they tell Mike everything he needs to hear.
“I will,” Mike whispers and opens his mouth, inviting Harvey in.
Harvey kisses him then, hungry and deep, desperate and purposeful, until his head is spinning and he has to break away for air.
“Close your eyes,” Mike says, and the next second the doorbell is ringing like someone’s life depends on it.
The arrangements to have Mike transported to and located in Harvey’s condo take surprisingly little time. There’s nothing that money can’t buy. Mike’s bed is set up in the spare room along with all the monitors and machines that keep his vitals vital.
Harvey sits with him every day and during the nights as well, for as long as his body lets him. He takes care of Mike and he holds his hands and tells him stories, stories from his childhood and stories he has read, stories that he has heard from Dean Winchester over whiskey and beer, even though he is aware that Mike knows all of that already.
He tells him that he loves him, too.
It’s just a thought at first and then a whisper, a kiss, a touch and then words, a room full of words, and after that Harvey can’t stop saying it for some reason. He tells Mike every day and it feels good to say those words out loud, finally, even though Mike probably can’t hear them and even though Mike already knows.
It takes Mike a little over half a year to fight his way back. But then, one morning, Harvey has just closed the windows and is getting ready to settle into his chair at Mike’s side with the Sunday Times, Mike’s body jerks and he’s coughing against the tube in his throat.
Harvey knows what to do, he is ready. He has prepared for this moment ever since Mike went and his fingers have gone through these motions over a hundred times in practice, but they tremble nevertheless. This isn’t practice, this is real.
He pulls the tube out and smoothes his hand over Mike’s forehead, brushing his hair from his face. Mike’s hand in his feels small and fragile but it is warm and it squeezes his hand back, almost imperceptible, but it does.
And then Mike opens his eyes.
“Harvey,” he croaks and Harvey can feel how his face bursts into a beaming smile.
“Hey,” he says, tightening his hold on Mike’s hand. “You came back.”
“Yeah,” Mike tries to nod but winces a little. “We won.”
“Good,” Harvey smiles, caressing Mike’s cheek gently. “I’m glad.”
“Yeah, me too,” Mike says, his voice still incredibly sore. He smacks his lips. “God, I’m thirsty.”
Harvey lets go of Mike’s hand and reaches for a fresh glass of water that he had placed on the bedside table only minutes earlier. He helps Mike to sit up a little and brings the glass to his lips.
“Here. Small sips.”
“Yes, mom,” Mike murmurs and Harvey gives him a mock glare.
Mike takes a couple of tiny sips and when he chokes on one a bit, Harvey takes the glass away and glares at him again.
“I said behave.”
“Hey,” Mike frowns. “Don’t forget who you’re talking to here.”
“Oh, I know exactly who I’m talking to,” Harvey grins and helps Mike settle back into the pillows. “A fake lawyer and a fraud,” he says, caressing Mike’s forehead again, and Mike’s eyes flutter shut. “A lazy slacker who’s been lying in bed for months and who is in desperate need of a workout regimen – and a haircut. An angel with issues and a past in drug dealing. Mike Ross. The man I love.”
“Sap,” Mike murmurs and then he falls silent.
Harvey knows that Jeremiel (no, Mike) will be able to heal his vessel (no, this body, himself) soon, he explained to him how these things work the night before he left. But it’s his mind that is tired now, his soul, his Grace. Mike needs a rest and as far as Harvey is concerned, he can rest for as long as he goddamn pleases.
Harvey listens to Mike’s even breathing, careful not to make a sound and wake Mike up again.
“’s good to be back home,” Mike whispers after a while, and Harvey smiles.
“Yeah, it is. Welcome back, Mike.”
… The Lost Brother will one day bring peace to the Realms of Heaven … Michael … eternal … nothing will ever be heard of him again …
~---~ the end ~---~