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By the time Lip and Amanda arrived at the Gallagher house, everyone else was already sat down for dinner.

Between his lit test running long and her car getting a flat tire five minutes after they started driving, they’d never really stood a hope in hell of getting there on time.  Amanda had been freaking out about it, of course, her schedule-obsession finally running up against his curse of constant lateness.  Added to the fact that this was the first time she would be meeting most of his family, bar the few who had attended the hellish dinner with her parents, and she’d been kind of a wreck the whole way there.  Still, Lip thought as they hurried through the front door, all things considered they hadn’t done too badly – it looked like everyone had only just started eating, their plates mostly full.

The table, too, was full.  While it had run sparse for a while, the Gallagher family was back to pretty much a full house these days – Liam, Debbie, Carl, Ian, and Fiona were all living there full time, as well as Mickey from what Lip had heard.  With Kev and Vee joining them for dinner that night on top of everyone else, and their twins asleep in the living room, the place was hardly lonely.  When Lip entered, Amanda following close behind him, everyone looked up, and they were met with a round of enthusiastic greetings, curse words, and a flying spoonful of potato, courtesy of Carl.  Lip dodged and let it splatter on the door behind him.

“Hey, sorry we’re late,” he said dropping a quick kiss onto Liam’s head as he passed and shrugging out of his jacket.  Amanda handed him her coat, too, and he threw them on top of the laundry basket in the corner before grabbing a couple of empty plates and sitting down.

“You’re just in time, we’re having lasagne,” Fiona said with a smile, pushing the dish towards him.  He heaped some onto a plate for himself, and then some for Amanda as she took a seat next to him.  It smelled fucking delicious.

“That’s fancy cheese,” he observed.  “You pissing for Meg again?”

“She won’t take mine since the whole coke thing,” Fiona admitted.  “Debbie’s taken over.”

Debbie was sat opposite Lip, and grinned at him proudly when Fiona said that, like peeing into a cup for a deviant government employee was some big right of passage.  He rolled his eyes, but couldn’t exactly fault the system once he’d taken a bite of the lasagne – it was as good as always.

“Oh, Amanda, you didn’t meet everyone last time,” he remembered after his second bite.  She’d been keeping quiet, just watching the chaos of the ten different conversations that seemed to be going on around them, but she turned her attention to him when he said that.

“No,” she agreed, “Just a bus full of kids that apparently didn’t belong to you.”

Laughing, he swallowed his mouthful of pasta, then brandished his fork in turn at the people she had yet to meet.

“That’s our neighbours Kev and Vee, and that’s my big sister Fiona, and that’s my brother Ian, and, uh - that’s Mickey.”

Lip hadn’t really registered Mickey’s presence, because he seemed smaller and quieter than usual, was just tucked into Ian’s side stuffing down his food quietly.

“Another brother?” Amanda asked, pushing her glasses up her nose.  Lip let out a short laugh at the horrors that suggestion entailed, but before he could correct her, Mickey spoke up.

“Nah,” he said. “I’m Ian’s boyfriend.”

Lip raised an eyebrow, and then watched as Ian’s eyes widened, and his head spun to look at Mickey.  Clearly he was just as surprised to hear that as Lip was – as, apparently, was everyone else at the table, which had suddenly gone totally silent.  That was a rare occurrence if ever there was one.

“Is that what you’re calling it these days?” Lip asked, but he found his voice didn’t hold quite the venom it usually did when he talked about Ian and Mickey’s relationship.  Lately – well, lately it was seeming more and more like they had something good going, something he still didn’t really understand in any way but couldn’t really condemn them for, either.  If he was honest, Mickey had been nothing less than a godsend during Ian’s depressive episode, he’d done days of research and blackmailed doctors and knocked over a pharmacy to make sure Ian got every single piece of help he needed – and it had all payed off, Ian back to being stable now, almost completely his old self, with the help of the meds.  The meds Mickey always made sure he took.

Lip had been doing his fair share of self-reflection, recently, thinking about how fucked up his relationships with Karen and Mandy always were – the former not really his fault, but the latter entirely so.  With Amanda, though, things were seeming a little easier.  Like, maybe, he could figure out how to just be happy.

He figured Ian and Mickey had something like that, too.

“We’re calling it whatever the fuck we want to,” Mickey huffed out in response to Lip.  His voice seemed hostile, but when Ian laughed and nudged his shoulder, clearly happy with the development, Mickey’s face softened, broke into a smile.  Lip couldn’t actually remember if he had ever seen Mickey Milkovich smile before.

“About time, too,” Kev chipped in from across the table.  “All that pining was getting fucking sad, man.  I was about to pick you up and throw you on a pride float myself, just to get it over with.”

“Yeah, yeah, someone change the topic before he gets his brass knuckles out,” Ian joked.  Mickey just rolled his eyes, but Lip laughed, because he could actually picture Mickey doing that.  Beside him, Amanda laughed too.  Considering she’d grown up offensively rich and as sheltered as they come, she really did handle Lip’s family well.

Under the table, he took her hand.  It was soft, small, and didn’t really fit perfectly in his, but he liked to hold it anyway.  He could see her smiling at him out of the corner of his eye whenever he did, and her smile was fucking beautiful.

A few minutes later he looked across the table and noticed that Ian and Mickey both had a hand out of sight as well.  Ian was eating his lasagne with his left hand, which looked like it was giving him some trouble, but he didn’t seem to mind.  Lip imagined them holding hands, Mickey’s tattooed fingers, Ian’s calloused ones.  They’d probably slot together pretty well.

Smiling despite himself, Lip tore his eyes off them, turned his attention to Kev, who was telling a rousing story about a particularly explosive poop Gemma had done that day.

Later, when everyone else had gone to bed and he finally led Amanda up to his room, Lip noticed the two figures curled up under the sheets of Ian’s tiny single bed.  Lip couldn’t really imagine sharing a bed that small with anybody – he was happy in his double, here, but Amanda never stayed over in his dorm room.  Ian and Mickey didn’t seem to care at all, though, were wrapped around each other so close they might as well have just been one person.  Lip could see their hands dangling off the edge of the mattress, fingers intertwined.

“Your brother and his boyfriend are cute,” Amanda commented idly, sidling up behind him.  “Oh, hey, if they break up we could set Ian up with Carlton, from Computer Science.  They would totally hit it off.”

“Yeah,” he agreed idly, watching Ian and Mickey for one more long moment before turning back and throwing his arm around Amanda’s shoulders.  “I wouldn’t hold your breath, though.”