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“No, Mickey, this is fucking bullshit.”

“It’s not fuckin’ bullshit, you’re just bein’ a dick.”

“We’re not going.”

“We’re going.”

Ian sighs loudly and Mickey cocks his eyebrow, daring Ian to keep challenging him. He’s being a baby about the situation and Mickey’s tired of coddling his ass. He’s too fucking grown to deal with this shit.

“It’s my family, you don’t get to decide this.” Ian’s giving him the chin like Mickey gives a single fuck about that look. It’s kind of hot, but whatever, he’s not thinking about that right now because they’re fighting. Ian doesn’t get to be sexy during an argument, the fucker.

“And yet, I’ve already fuckin’ decided. We’re going.”

Ian doesn’t want to go to the You’re Dying Again, Here’s One Last Hooray gathering for Frank because Frank’s a fucking asshole and was always a terrible father and isn’t even really Ian’s father in the first place. But Mickey had promised Fiona that he’d get Ian there, and Yev will be pissed if he misses a chance to see Liam and the twins, so they’re going. Because Mickey keeps his fucking promises.

“Whatever, dude, fuck you, you can’t drag me there.”

Mickey snorts. “Wanna bet?” Ian clenches his jaw and sighs again, turning to stomp out of the room. “Yeah, go throw your bitch fit elsewhere. Don’t forget to grab my smokes when you come back, though.”

Ian stops dead in his tracks and Mickey’s waiting for some smart ass comment about how he can get his own smokes but Ian doesn’t look angry when he turns around. He’s got this stupid slack-jawed look that makes Mickey narrow his eyes.

“You’re just- did you just-” Ian sounds like he’s been gut punched but he’s doing this weird ass half smile thing and Mickey is so fucking confused.

“The fuck’s up with you?”

But Ian is rushing back over and Mickey rears back in case Gallagher has truly lost his shit and wants to go a few rounds. Mickey might be old but he can still kick Ian’s gangly ass. Instead of a punch, he gets a kiss. Hard and insistent and Mickey’s really fucking enjoying but no, fuck this, he’s mad. Ian’s a spoiled asshole, why is Mickey kissing him right now?

“You’re not getting out of this by fucking me, man, give it up.”

“Mick, do you not realize what just happened?”

And now Mickey feels defensive because sometimes he’s an idiot and misses obvious things but he’s pretty sure the conversation didn’t fucking change in the last two minutes.

“You were gonna let me leave,” Ian says, smiling so wide that Mickey feels that shit down to his toes. “You were gonna let me leave, and you weren’t worried about me coming back.”

And Mickey has to force himself to remember how to breathe. In and out and over and over again. There’s a second of panic while his mind races about all the ways he could’ve just fucked up majorly but Ian is beaming at him and fuck, Mickey isn’t mad anymore. He’s not even sure why he was mad in the first place because how could anything piss him off when Ian is there and touching him and looking at him like that .

“It’s not a big deal,” Mickey says, kind of wishing he didn’t sound so winded.

Ian kisses him again and Mickey has to kiss back because somehow it’s everything he’s ever wanted, still, right now and back then and before. It’s everything. Ian pressed against him and I miss you spoken through a prison phone and you’re here declared with a nod and every single time that Ian has said I love you.

It’s every time Ian has walked out the door and then back through it in the last year and a half. It’s his mother’s laugh and Mandy’s protection and waves crashing on the shore. It’s the blood in Mickey’s veins.

“I love you,” Ian whispers against Mickey’s throat, hands roaming everywhere until Mickey just can’t keep fucking still any longer. “I love you, Mick. Fight with me later. Come to bed with me now.”

Mickey nods and digs his fingers into Ian’s ribs because he feels like he might fucking float away without grabbing onto something solid. He’s a fucking pussy but maybe Ian loves him just fine anyway.

“Stay,” Mickey whispers against Ian’s lips as they stumble into the bedroom. “Just- with me, alright? Please stay.”

Ian groans and pulls Mickey so tight that it almost hurts. “You’re stuck with me.”

And fuck it, Mickey’s done hiding and biting his tongue and tiptoeing like a bitch. He doesn’t want to be scared anymore.

“I’m gonna ask how you’re doin’,” he mumbles into the kiss, unbuckling Ian’s jeans and wishing he could ignore how hard his heart is pounding. “I’m gonna ask about your meds and your moods and you can’t get fuckin’ mad about it.”

“Ask me. Anytime it pops in your head,” Ian replies, tugging at Mickey’s bottom lip with his teeth as he pushes them down on the bed.

“I’m not gonna call you like a fuckin’ stalker whenever you’re late from work,” Mickey whispers, arching up as Ian pulls his boxers down.

“Call me. I like when you call. I love when you call and text and leave voicemails and call again…” Ian smiles, blindly reaching for lube as he sinks his teeth into Mickey’s neck.

Mickey groans, gasps, tries to fucking breathe but it’s fucking useless because Ian is doing everything right and Ian exists and chose him and keeps choosing him and it’s enough. It’s enough.

“I’m probably always gonna wanna kill any other motherfucker that tries to get with you. Or has been with you. Or even fuckin’ looks at you in a way I don’t like so let’s not pretend that’s gonna stop happening.”

Ian laughs and slides in a third finger and Mickey can feel his hands shaking. “Wouldn’t want it any other way, Mick.”

“Christ,” Mickey grunts, feeling his cock jerk against his stomach. “C’mon, get in me.”

And so what if they’ve fucked a thousand times before? MIckey doesn’t ever want to get used to this. He doesn’t ever want it to stop feeling like he might die from how good it feels. Mickey’s decided that being in love is the worst thing that can ever happen to someone but it’s right up there with getting shot for money. The pain is worth the pleasure and all that shit.

“I fuckin’ love you,” Mickey whispers once or ten times and maybe he doesn’t have to be fucking scared anymore.

Maybe his mother was happy once. Maybe the ocean is as blue as he remembers. Maybe Mandy really does love him. Maybe he won’t become Terry. Maybe Ian will stay.

A bunch of ‘maybe’ is a whole fuckton better than ‘not a chance in hell’.

Maybe Mickey’s skin will heal and his heart will keep beating and Ian will stay.

“I fuckin’ love you back, Mick. Forever. I promise.”

Yeah. Mickey can handle ‘maybe.’