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Somebody that I used to know

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I know you don't think you did me wrong

And I can't stay this mad for long

Keeping ahold of what you just let go

You're just somebody that I used to know

- Elliott Smith-

 

"James, please." Ian sighed, running his fingers through his red hair, pulling the strands tight in his fingers. "I don't want to do this again tonight. Just go home. To your apartment."

"Ian, that apartment is not my home. My home is here, with you." James looked tired. He had dark circles under his red-rimmed eyes. It's obvious he's been crying. "Why are you doing this to us?"

Ian sighed again, louder this time. He was getting angry. Again. They never get anywhere when they have these arguments. They've said everything they have to say. Nothing ever gets resolved. "James, I don't want to do this with you tonight. I've had a long day, and I'm tired. I just want to have a beer and go to bed."

"How can you be so cavalier about this? You act like the past three years have meant nothing to you." James sniffed, fresh tears slipping from his eyes. "Ian, we built a life together."

"I have nothing more to say." Ian replied quietly, turning away from James. Facing the bay window in his living room, he cast his eyes across the moonlit yard. The trees swayed in the breeze, soothing Ian. He's always loved nature, and he finds great solace in the silence afforded by the wilderness. He focused on the scene out his window, waiting patiently for James to take the hint and leave.

Ian listened to a few minutes of quiet crying, before he heard the door open and shut. He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. He turned on his heel, stalking over to the door and flicking the deadbolt. He needs to change the locks, this shit is happening way too often.

He grabbed a beer from the fridge and dropped down on the couch. He took a long sip off the bottle, grabbing his remote and turning on his TV. He just wanted a quiet night at home, was that too much to ask?

Ian's been back in Chicago for about two years now, in a townhouse on the north side. He left when he was eighteen, joined the army. Didn't tell anyone, just took off. He was running, it's that simple. Trying to escape the chaos and pain of his life back then. He doesn't like to think about his past. He doesn't like to think about that time specifically. He was so broken, so angry. So god damn empty.

But the army saved Ian's life. After what happened with Mickey, Ian needed a fresh start. A way to reinvent himself. As someone strong. As someone capable. As someone who'd never had their heart shredded by a man who would never give him what he needed.

So Ian had ran. He joined the army and he did fucking good. He ended up being a medic. Did two tours. Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of four years of his life spent with sand up his ass and down his throat. He saw some truly awful shit over there. Shit that fucked him up. Changed him, like on a cellular level. He was a mess for a while there. When he rotated back to civilian life, he needed a lot of support. Needed people in his life to hold him up. His family, his war buddies, his VA therapist, and James. He needed to lean on them when shit got hard. Panic attacks, painful flashbacks, emotional breakdowns over the lives he couldn't save. He's been in therapy since he got back stateside.

But he got that shit under control too. He doesn't need anyone or anything anymore. He's just fine on his own. That's what James doesn't understand. Ian can enjoy James's company, but that doesn't mean he wants him breathing down his neck 24/7. That's not Ian's idea of a healthy relationship. Ian needs his space, always has. He never had a moment to himself growing up, crowed into that bedroom with all his brothers. He barely had room to breathe back then. And he went straight from that cramped room to the army, where privacy was just a word. He'd spent years of his life in the company of an endless stream of men. In theory, that would be great for a guy like Ian. But the army is not at all like you see in porn. It's more or less just being surrounded by gross dudes on all sides, at all times. Ian loves his brothers in arms, but he's seen enough dirty asses and heard enough disgusting belching to last him a lifetime.

So yeah, Ian enjoys his alone time. And even though he shared his life with James, shared his home with him, he still needed some moments to himself. But James never wanted to give him that. He'd show up at his work. He'd drop by Ian's family's house when he was trying to help Lip through a crisis, or tune up the sink for Fiona. He even followed Ian to his therapist's office, convinced Ian was lying, that Ian was using his PTSD for an excuse to step out on him. To cheat on him.

That was the last straw. When Ian had told James that enough was enough. That he had to move out. James had lost it in spectacular fashion. Calling Ian every name in the book, accusing him of cheating, again. Saying shit about Ian's time in the service. That his PTSD was a joke, that he was just a pussy that couldn't handle life. Ian wanted to deck him, make him bleed. Instead, he just grabbed him by the arm, hard, and tossed him out of the house they used to share, lobbing his packed duffel bag out after him and locking the door.

Ian sighed, picking up his beer bottle again. He's had a lot to drink tonight, starting to get fuzzy around the edges. He's come to the conclusion that things are really over with James. They aren't on a break. They aren't figuring things out. Ian wants to end it. Two years of his life, almost three, all for nothing.

He met James right after he finished his last tour, when he was still living in California. When Ian decided to move home to Chicago, James followed him. It felt right at the time, like what a grown man would do in a relationship.

It was Ian's first real relationship since, well, ever. Ian's mind is drawn to Mickey. But that doesn't feel like a real relationship. It was all secret trysts and denied feelings. It was powerful, but it wasn't real. Not like it was with James. Sure, he never felt that spark with James, that passion that flowed between Mickey and him. But James was proud to call Ian his. There was no hiding with James, and Ian thought that was enough at the time.

He was wrong.

Ian sits on his couch, drinking and thinking, for a long time. He starts to feel woozy, his eyes slipping shut now and again. He leans forward, grabbing his cigarettes off the coffee table. He lights one, inhaling deeply as his eyes fall on his phone.

Should he do it?

He's feeling lonely and nostalgic. For a time when things were different. Not less complicated or necessarily better, but different all the same. He thinks of himself, so young and consumed by passion. Heat. Fucking Love.

Ian thinks he did love James. Once upon a time. But it was never that powerful. It was like a low-grade affection. Quiet. Simple. After the chaos and madness of war, Ian thought he needed quiet. He thought the mellow, laid back way he and James loved each other was what he wanted. But now he's just bored. And the more he pulls away, the harder James tries to hold onto him.

Ian knows he's made a mistake. Moving James here, keeping up with this charade of a relationship. Ian was never good at being alone, and it was easy with James. Until it wasn't.

Now he has to clean up the mess he's made.

But not tonight. Tonight, he wants to do something else. Something he's been thinking about doing for years now. Something he's been thinking about since he stepped on that bus to Basic, leaving his old life in the dust behind him.

He grabs his phone, opening up his Facebook app. He hesitates, staring his news feed.

Ian's almost twenty-four years old now. Probably too old to be doing this. Too much time has passed, too much has changed. He's changed too much. He's not that same kid he was back then.

This is a stupid idea.

But he's drunk, and sad, and longing for something he's not sure even exists anymore.

So he does it. He clicks on the search box, typing his name in. His fingers aren't working so well, the booze in his blood making him slow and sloppy.

He's thought of this a million times. Wondered what it would be like, to reach out like this. But something stopped him every time. He's never looked for him, not once. Part of him thinks there's no way he'll even be on Facebook. It's such an out of character thing to do. But Ian's drunk and desperate, logic is playing no role in his actions at the moment.

He types his name in the search box and stops. He doesn't hit enter. He just lets his eyes slide over the name. That name he doesn't ever say out loud, but whispers in the dark when he's alone.

Mickey Milkovich.

Ian is surprised to feel the sting in his eyes. He must be drunker than he thought if he's on the verge of tears over an old lover.

But Mickey's not just an old lover, is he? That's just what Ian's been telling himself for the past six years.

Ian blinks and blinks, a single tear escaping one eye. He wipes at it with his thumb, deciding 'fuck it' and hitting the enter button.

"No fucking way." Ian whispers.

There he is.

Only one, on all of Facebook. His page is not set to private, so Ian can go right in and look around. His eyes start to burn again when he sees him. Sees his face for the first time in six fucking years. He looks the same. Older, sure, but still gorgeous. Ian flips through the pictures, his mouth hanging open in shock.

Mickey with Mandy at a White Sox game. Mickey with Iggy, both of them covered in dust and chunks of white plaster, dust masks pulled back, resting on their foreheads. Mickey holding a young boy, smile stretched across his face. Ian's heart stops, his stomach dropping. Is that? No way. It can't be...

Ian's eyes scan the comments under the picture. One catches his eye. Mandy wrote 'your kid's lucky he looks nothing like you'

So it is. It's Mickey's son. The one conceived that awful fucking day. Ian never thinks about it. He won't let his mind go there. But now, looking at Mickey holding his son with that smile on his face, Ian thinks that maybe something good actually came out of that nightmare.

Ian's eyes scan the rest of the pictures, noticing two things. First, there are no pictures of Svetlana anywhere. Mickey's relationship status is 'single' - so maybe they are divorced? Secondly, he doesn't see any pictures of Mickey with any men. He doesn't see any pictures of hot guys. Ian wonders if Mickey is just private. He never was one to crave attention. So, it would make sense that he didn't flaunt his relationships online. So if Mickey did have a boyfriend, Ian's not sure he'd see him all cuddled up with the guy on the damn internet.

Or could it be that Mickey is still lying? Lying to everyone else. Lying to himself. Ian wouldn't be surprised if Mickey was still very much in the closet. The idea makes him sad, but Mickey was never one to talk about that kind of shit. Too ashamed and scared to take that leap. That was the whole reason Ian ended things between them. He just couldn't do it anymore. Be the secret. He couldn't breathe, stuffed in that tiny closet with Mickey.

Ian's curious. He wants to know the story behind these pictures. He wants to know what Mickey's been up to in the past six years. He wants to know if Mickey is finally being honest. With the world. With himself. He wonders if Mickey would even give him the time of day, after so much time and distance between them.

If he were sober, he wouldn't even be considering doing this. But he's not sober, and his burning curiosity coupled with a desperate desire to reconnect with his first love compels him to act.

 

From: Ian Gallagher/To: Mickey Milkovich

hey mick, long time no see. i know this is out of the blue, but i just wanted to say hi, see how you are doing. hit me back if you feel like it. you look good, btw.

 

Ian hits send and quickly drops his phone back down on the coffee table. He lays back against the couch cushions, grabbing his beer and the remote. A little hum of excitement is bubbling just under his skin at the thought of talking to Mickey again.

He might regret it in the morning, but right now, it feels like the right move. It feels like the first right move he's made in years.

 

***

 

Mickey groans into his pillow as his alarm starts blaring. Fuck. It's still dark out, and Mickey fumbles around blindly for his phone to end the incessant wailing. His fingers find the device and he silences the noise. Once it's quiet again, Mickey sits up, flicking on his bedside lamp as his feet hit the cold hardwood floor.

It's early Saturday morning, but Mickey's working today. He works every other weekend, the weekends he doesn't have Yev. If you had told Mickey five years ago that he'd been sharing custody of his young son with his bitch ex-wife, he'd have laughed you out of the room. But here he is. He loves his son, and it doesn't matter anymore how he came to be.

After that day, with Ian, Svetlana and Terry, Mickey shut down. He went through a very dark time, wasn't sure he'd ever find his way out of it. Then, when Svet was about three months along, Ian took off. Disappeared like he was never in Mickey's life at all. One day he was there, the next he was gone. No one knew where he went. About six months later, Mandy got a letter from Texas. Ian had enlisted in the army. So desperate to get away from Mickey and his bullshit that he abandoned his entire life, never looking back.

For a long time after that, Mickey was inconsolable. He had driven Ian away, lost him forever. Because he was too much of a pussy to admit his feelings, too much of a coward to stand up to his father. He drank and he got high. He got into fights and fucked his way through half the twinks in Boystown. He hated everyone and everything, but not as much as he hated himself. He didn't think he'd ever be happy again.

But it got easier with time. Life goes on, and shit changes. After a while, it didn't hurt quite as much to think about Ian. Then, he pretty much stopped thinking about him all together. He put away his pictures of the other man, shut that part of his heart down, locked it away.

When Yevgeny was about six months old, Terry got into a bar fight, killed a guy. Beat him to death with his bare hands. Mickey wasn't surprised when he heard the news, he'd been on the receiving end of those beatings countless times, and was only alive to tell the tale due to dumb luck. Terry got life in prison for the murder, mostly due to his ridiculously long rap sheet. Mickey had actually cried. Happy fucking tears. Free, at last.

The relief Mickey felt when he got the news was unlike anything he'd ever felt. It was like a knot in his chest had unraveled. A knot that had been tangled up inside him since he was just a child. Always scared, always waiting for that moment when Terry had had enough, when his father decided that Mickey wasn't worth the air he breathed anymore.

Once Terry was gone, Svetlana wasn't far behind. Mickey's not sure if she stuck around because she was scared of Terry like Mickey was, or if she had some kind of secret deal with the old man. All he does know is that as soon as the sentence was handed down, Svet started making plans to move on. She met a guy at some Russian restaurant. The joint had ties to the mob, that much Mickey knew. Svetlana started coming home with these gifts. Fur coats, expensive jewelry, purses and dresses. She was moving up in the world.

When she told Mickey she wanted a divorce, Mickey had conflicting emotions. Of course, he was relieved. He never wanted to be married in the first place. And now that his father was gone, he felt like maybe he could actually live his life as a gay man.

He never had a big 'coming out' moment. Not like you see on TV or whatever. It was just something there, that people knew but didn't really talk about. His sister had made some snide comments about Mickey driving Ian away, and Mickey didn't deny it. When Mickey brought the random stranger home to fuck, no one said anything. Iggy would waggle his eyebrows at him, Mandy would roll her eyes, but they never talked about what it really meant. Mickey was out to them, but they never actually had a conversation about him being gay. What was the point?

So yeah, it would be nice to be able to have his own life again. Not to have to worry that his wife would walk in on him with some stranger's dick in his mouth. But beyond all that, there was a sadness. Regret that he wouldn't be there for his son. It's true, when Svetlana first got pregnant, Mickey wanted nothing to do with her or the kid. But now, Mickey can't imagine his life without his son. He's five years old now, getting ready to go into kindergarten. He's smart as fuck, and oddly well-behaved. Mickey would do anything for him. Mickey would die for him. To think of him living somewhere else, with some other guy raising him, sets Mickey's teeth on edge.

But Svetlana deserves to live her own life, just like Mickey does. It made no sense to stay in a loveless marriage when they were both miserable. So, she had moved on. Moved to a big house on the west side with Alexi, her new man. Mickey sees Yev every other weekend, and he soaks up every moment he can with him.

Mickey's life is not what he expected it to be. It's actually a lot better than he ever thought it could be. Sure, he gets lonely sometimes. He's dated, fucked around, had a couple boyfriends, but nothing serious. Nothing seems to stick, no one really clicks with him in that way. Not like..... eh, fuck it. He's not gonna go there today.

He's got to get to work. He can hear Iggy puttering around in the kitchen. Good, he hates it when he has to shake him awake on Saturday morning. Iggy and Mickey both work for South Side Blueboard. A drywall and plaster company owned by a high school buddy of Iggy's. Mickey never thought either of them would be gainfully employed, but after Terry got locked up, it all sort of just fell into place. Like they were just waiting for the right moment to leave all that old Milkovich baggage in the past and move the fuck on.

It feels good. Strange still, but good. To be a regular guy. Someone who works for a living. Not selling drugs or running guns, or busting kneecaps. Just a guy who works with his hands and pays taxes. Just a guy who wakes up at the ass crack of dawn, works long hours, and goes out for beers at the end of the day. That's who Mickey is now. He's got his kid's finger paintings on his fridge next to bills he has to pay and a reminder for an eye appointment he has next month. All stuck to the metal with hand painted magnets his kid gave him for Father's Day.

Mickey smiles to himself as he makes his way to the bathroom to get ready for the day. He takes a piss, brushes his teeth. He catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He grins. He never thought he'd get to this place. The place where he didn't hate himself. The place where he thought he might just be able to be happy. To let go of all the shit that held him back for so long. He wasn't quite there yet, but he was on his way, and that was more than he ever thought he'd have.

His eyes catch on a small bruise on the base of his collar bone. Looks like AJ got a little aggressive. Mickey chuckles, remembering a time when getting marked up like that would make Mickey irate. He's changed a lot in the past five years.

Mickey wanders back into his bedroom, dressing in the clothes he laid out for work the night before. After he's dressed for the day in his old jeans and stained t shirt, he grabs his phone to text AJ.

AJ is a guy Mickey's been seeing casually for a couple months. Mickey doesn't think it's headed anywhere serious, they both still see other people. But he's a cool guy and they have a good time together, which is pretty much all Mickey could ask for. He's not looking for love. He did that once, albeit accidentally. It left him a broken shell of a man, which is kinda funny since he was really fucked up before that. Of course, he never told Ian he loved him. He hardly told Ian he liked him. He thought it was implied, but looking back now, he probably should have said it. He should have said a lot of things, done a lot of things differently. Now he sees how shitty he was to Ian. How shitty they were to each other. It was a chaotic mess of blood and cum and emotions neither of them could articulate. Now that he's so far removed from it, he can see it more clearly. Does he still miss Ian? Yeah. Does he hope he's doing well? Of course. Does he still love Ian? He probably always will. But none of that matters. Ian's gone, and Mickey's moved on.

So AJ it is. For the time being.

Mickey sends a text to AJ, knowing full well he won't get it until he wakes up hours later. He doesn't work weekends like Mickey does. He works in some office, doing some incredibly boring shit with spreadsheets that Mickey doesn't care to understand.

After he send the text, he sees he has a Facebook message. It has to be his sister, or Svetlana. They are the only people who use the messenger app to contact him. They are the only reason he has Facebook at all. Mandy said it was the easiest way for them to communicate regarding Yev. Sending pictures back and forth, coordinating play dates, whatever.

About a year ago, Mandy moved out of the family house, and in with her boyfriend Tommy. He's a good guy. Carpenter. Sometimes Mickey and Tommy will work the same job sites. He's kind of a bro-dude, making dumb sexist jokes and always talking about football, but he's not an addict and he never lays a hand on his sister, so he's okay in Mickey's book.

Mickey remembers Mandy wanted to take Yev to the movies next weekend. See some cartoon shit that Mickey will probably sleep through. It's all good, though. Having this little family with his son and his siblings is actually pretty damn cool. He smiles, opening the app.

His eyes catch on the new message, and suddenly he feels dizzy.

His heart seizes in his chest. It honestly feels like it stops beating for a second there. It hurts, his chest. Like he can't fucking breathe. His fingers tighten around the phone as he falls back down on his bed like dead weight. He just sits there for a second, staring at the message.

What the fuck?

What the actual fuck?

He sits on his bed for god knows how long, staring at the brief message. Why is Ian contacting him now? After almost six years? What the hell does he mean, 'hit me back'?? Like they are friends or something. Like they parted on good terms, like they've been talking to each other this whole time. Like Ian didn't cut and run, leaving Mickey with nothing but painful memories and unanswered questions.

Mickey doesn't even know where the hell Ian is right now. He hasn't heard one word about his ex in years. Mandy told him a long time ago that he was in Iraq, serving as a doctor or something in the army. But from the looks of this message, he's got to be done with that shit now. Mickey's not friends with him on Facebook, and he never talks about him with anyone. So he has no way of knowing what his life is like now. He didn't think he wanted to know. But now that Ian has opened the door, Mickey finds himself painfully curious.

Shit. Fuck.

He doesn't need this shit in his life. He closed that door a long time ago, moved on. Who the hell does Ian think he is, dredging up all this long-buried shit?

Mickey doesn't have time for this bullshit. Iggy knocks on his door and Mickey closes the app, stuffing his phone in his pocket.

He opens the door to find his brother standing on the other side, looking haggard.

Mickey chuckles. "I told you not to hit the Jager last night. You look like death warmed over."

"Fuck you, Mick." Iggy bit out. "Let's just go, before I puke."

Mickey laughed again, shouldering his brother out of the way as he made his way to the front door. He grabbed his keys off the little table by the door and wandered out into the early morning light, his brother trailing behind him tiredly.

As Mickey made his way to the job site in the early June sunlight, he turned the radio up loud, drowning out his brother's whining, and his intrusive thoughts of a ghost from his past, suddenly back to haunt him again.

 

***

 

"You're going to be just fine, David." Ian tells his patient as they speed toward the hospital. It feels nice to not have to lie to his patients. Not like he did when he was in the army. Most of the time when Ian told soldiers in the desert that they were going to be 'just fine', that was code for 'you're dying, but I want you to remain calm'. Now, he means it. This man will be just fine.

Ian's been and EMT since he left the army. It made sense, since he spent his entire army career saving lives. He was good at it, and it gave him a purpose in life. It made him feel like he was doing something meaningful.

The man on the gurney cries out, trying to sit up, but the straps around his chest held him still.

"Sir, please stop struggling. You have a broken ankle." Ian says calmly, injecting some pain meds into the man's IV. He needs to stay calm, in his job. No matter what he sees or what happens, he needs to maintain his composure. He needs to keep a singular focus on his work, can't let anything from his life outside the job jeopardize what he's doing.

That's why he keeps his phone off while he's working. He can't afford to get distracted by anything. Not his family, not his friends. And certainly not James, who has been texting and calling him incessantly since they last spoke on Friday night. Ian has to wonder why James is so upset all of the sudden. It was his idea to take a break in the first place. Ian wonders if it was all some kind of weird power play on James' part. Like he hoped if he pushed Ian away, Ian would beg him to come home. Whatever, that's not going to happen. Ian's not even sure if it's really over with James. All he does know is that he needs some time alone to think about it. Which is why he agreed when James suggested he move out.

Looks like James is regretting his actions now. But Ian can't regret it. He's putting himself first, for the first time in a long time.

Once the patient is safely handed off to the nurses at Chicago General, Ian and Sue head back to the station house. It's the end of their shift, and Ian is eager to park the bus and get in his car. Maybe he'll go out tonight. Maybe he'll stop by the house and see Fiona. Maybe he'll swing by Lip's house in Wicker Park.

Ian knows he needs to get out more. Ever since he ending things with James, he's been kind of folding in on himself. Not calling his friends, not going to family dinner. Ian moved home so he could be more involved in the lives of the people he loves, but now that he's here, he feels more alone than ever.

He sighs, unbuckling his seat belt. Sue gives him a look he can't decipher. "What?" he asks as she follows him back into the station house.

"Nothing." Sue says, opening her locker. "You wanna grab a beer? The kids are with Pete tonight, and I got nothing better to do."

Ian laughed, tossing his uniform shirt into his open locker. "Way to make me feel wanted, Suzy."

Sue grinned at him. "C'mon, Gallagher, you've been a ghost for months. Come out with me. Drinks on me, all night."

"Well, who in their right mind would say no to that?" Ian smiled back.

That's how he found himself at the Southside Grill & Bar, tossing back margaritas like he was getting paid for it. Sue was nice and funny, by far his best work friend.

"So what's the deal with you and Jimmy?" Sue asked after three drinks and two plates of fajitas.

Ian sighed, running his fingers through his hair. "You know he hates being called Jimmy. His name is James, and nothing has changed."

"So, this is it? You think it's over for real?" Sue asked, her eyes kind, a little sad.

Ian huffed, tossing back the rest of his drink and calling for the waitress. "I'm not sure." and he wasn't. Not really. He didn't know what he thought or how he felt. He hasn't known for a long time.

Just as he opened his mouth to tell her the latest drama between him and James, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He hadn't checked it at all since they got off work, worried he'd have a slew of messages from James.

He put one finger up, silencing Sue as he pulled the device from his pocket to read the message.

It wasn't a text.

It was a Facebook message.

Ian opened the app, and promptly almost fell out of his chair.

No way.

Last weekend, in a moment of drunken weakness, he'd sent a message to Mickey. Nothing overly personal, but it was still crossing a line he promised himself he'd never cross. He'd thought Mickey would just ignore it. Maybe delete it without even reading it.

But it looks like Ian was wrong.

Because there is a message from Mickey in his inbox. And Ian is deathly afraid to read it.

Sue must be able to see the look of abject terror on his face. Because now she's leaning forward, reaching for his free hand and squeezing. "Is that him? You tell that prick if he doesn't cut the shit, I'm gonna go down to his house and take a bat to that stupid fucking Beemer he loves so much."

Ian tears his eyes away from his screen to give Sue a small smile. "Uh, no. It's not James. It's an old friend. Haven't talked to him in a long time." the sentence feels like a lie, and it is. But Ian can't explain to Sue who Mickey is. There aren't words for what Mickey was to him.

What Mickey is to him.

"Oh? Tell him to come down. The more the merrier."

Ian's smile falters, his eyes going back to his phone. The message is simple. Succinct. Just like Mickey always was.

 

From: Mickey Milkovich/To: Ian Gallagher

ballsy move, gallagher. after all this time, you just pop up, wanting to shoot the shit. what the fuck am i supposed to do with that? but...it's been a lifetime, and i really don't care one way or the other. so what do you wanna know, you nosy fuck?

 

Ian smiles at the message, even though it's rude and a little standoffish. Just the fact that Mickey wrote him back is proof that he's open to communicating. Ian feels a strange feeling bubbling up in his stomach. Excitement. Anticipation. His body is hot all of the sudden, his muscles tense.

"Well, you gonna invite him?" Sue's voice breaks Ian out of his revelry. He closes the message box without replying. He wants to be alone when he sends that message.

"Nah. He's busy." Ian lies easily. He's not ready to tell Sue about Mickey. He's not ready to talk to anyone about his ex-lover. It's nothing. It's not even a real thing. It's just two messages on Facebook. No reason to make a big deal.

But that churning in his gut says otherwise. That tingly feeling dancing along his skin tells a different story. That anticipation he can't seem to control says he's fucking lying to himself.

He suddenly can't wait to get home, so he can see what else Mickey has to say.

 

***

 

Two weeks.

This shit has been going on for two weeks.

What the fuck is he doing, getting pulled back into this shit again? He should know better. But he's never made sound decisions where Ian is concerned. He never did use his brain. He was always led by his heart and his dick with Gallagher. He always felt so out of control when he was with Ian. Like his choices weren't his own. Like his actions weren't his own. Like he was a puppet and Ian pulled the strings.

Looking back, Mickey knows he fucked up. He did some truly awful things to Ian before he ran away. Mickey regrets that shit, a lot. He wishes he could have sacked the fuck up back then and just told Ian the truth. That he loved him. That he was sorry he hurt him. Sorry he pushed him away, made him think he didn't matter.

That he's missed Ian, a lot over the past six years.

So now that Ian had made contact, Mickey was unable to resist that pull.

They've been chatting on Facebook now for two weeks, talking pretty much daily. They are not 'friends' on the site, however. Mickey just isn't comfortable with the idea of Ian seeing all his posts. He set his page to private after Ian started messaging him, not too keen on letting Ian that far into his life just yet. Ian didn't send him a friend request either, so Mickey assumes he's content with what they have going on.

They talk about all kinds of shit, but not the important stuff. Not yet anyway.

Ian told him about the army. About being deployed overseas. About his work as a medic, and the lives he saved, how it inspired his current career as an EMT. He glossed over the grittier details, and Mickey's certain there are some truly horrific stories that Ian is just not ready to tell. Who knows if he'll ever be able to talk about that shit.

Ian told him about living in California, about the ocean and all the plastic people he met out there, with perfect teeth and permanently tanned skin. He told him about Hollywood and Disneyland and surfing. Sounds like Ian had a blast living in the Golden State.

Ian told him he's been back in Chicago for a couple years now, living on the god damn north side. That shocked Mickey for some reason. He'd stupidly assumed that if Ian ever came home, he'd reach out. Mickey hasn't gone anywhere. He's still living in that same house on Trumbull, just like he always has. So if Ian has been in Chicago for the past couple years and didn't reach out until now, that means he didn't give a damn about Mickey until just now. Whatever changed, Ian's not telling him.

Mickey's sure it's quite a story.

Mickey can tell Ian's holding a lot back. They both are. They don't talk about their shared past, or why Ian left.

Mickey did tell Ian that he and Svet are divorced. Ian wasn't surprised. He told Ian that Terry is locked up for life, and the world is a better place now that he's gone. Ian agreed. He told him about Mandy and her new boyfriend. Mickey was mildly shocked Ian hadn't at least stayed in contact with Mandy. They'd been thick as thieves for years, and even though things soured between Ian and Mickey, he hadn't expected Ian to ditch Mandy too. Looks like he was wrong.

He told Ian about Yevgeny, and how he's not a mistake at all, but kind of a miracle. He got a bit carried away for a second there, telling Ian about tee ball and soccer and Yev's school play. But Ian listened, sounded interested, even. Mickey's just as surprised as anyone else, that he ended up that guy: the proud dad.

He told Ian that he left his life of crime in the past and now makes an honest living doing backbreaking, but rewarding work. He tells him about blueboarding, surprised to find Ian's even interested in something so mundane. He tells him crazy stories about working with Iggy, wishing he could hear Ian laugh when he gets a LOL response to one of his stories.

Mickey wonders if Ian's laugh still sounds the same, all these years later. He wonders if the sound would still have that same effect on Mickey. Would it still send a thrill down his spine, like it did when they were kids?

Shit. What is he doing? He's getting in too deep, and they haven't even spoken yet.

What does Mickey expect from this? What good can come out of talking to Ian again after all this time?

Six years. Six fucking years have passed. Mickey's a different person now. Ian's a different person now. What do they think they are going to accomplish, revisiting all this shit? They haven't even talked about them at all. What they were to each other, what they did to each other. They haven't talked about their relationship, the wedding, or Ian's Houdini act.

What is the point of all this?

Mickey asks Ian, late one night. They've been messaging for hours, just shooting the shit like old friends. Were they ever friends? Just friends? Mickey's not sure. Everything was so intertwined with Ian back then. Best friend wrapped in a lover, tangled up in an enemy.

But what were they NOW? And was all this talking going anywhere?

 

From: Mickey Milkovich/To: Ian Gallagher

dude, what are we doing? why did you contact me in the first place? what's your endgame here?

 

He sent the message and closed the app, laying his phone on his bedside table. It was Wednesday night, and he had to get up before sunrise to get on the road for a job in Long Grove. He flicked off the lamp on his nightstand, blinking up at the ceiling in the dark.

He runs a hand along his bare chest, images of Ian flashing behind his closed eyelids. The Ian of his youth, and the Ian of today he's seen on his laptop. Still pale, still built, still sporting that wild red hair and dorky smile. Still fucking gorgeous.

Mickey's breath starts to speed up, his fingertips roaming along his bare chest, traveling lower and lower. He slid his hand along his lower stomach, grazing his hip before trailing his fingers through the wiry patch of hair in his groin.

He sighs, arching his back as his fingertips ghost along his rigid dick. It didn't take much to get him hard, just a few moments immersed in the memories of his long-lost lover.

His mind still fixed on Ian, he grabbed his dick and started pulling, groaning in relief. It's been a long ass time since he jerked off thinking of Ian. He made himself stop, back then. It was too painful, made him feel like a pathetic little bitch, pining over a guy that ditched him for greener pastures.

But now that Ian has wormed his way back into Mickey's life, it seems inevitable that he'd take center stage in Mickey's wank sessions again. It feels a little dirty, for whatever reason, bringing Ian into this moment. Like he doesn't have permission to think of him like this anymore.

But he does it anyway.

He closes his eyes as his hand slides up and down his hard cock. He can see Ian's flushed face like it's right above him. He can see Ian so clearly, he feels like he could reach out and touch him. Ian's hair damp with sweat, falling in his eyes, his mouth slack, his pupils dilated. He can almost feel Ian's breath on his face, can almost feel Ian's fingertips digging into his flesh, his narrow hips spreading Mickey wide as he moves inside him.

Mickey bites back a moan, arching his back as he comes all over his chest.

Shit. Didn't think this through. He turns the lamp back on, leaning over the bed to grab his discarded tee shirt. As he wipes the cooling jizz off his chest, his eyes catch on his phone.

He's got a new message.

He tosses the shirt back to the floor to deal with in the morning, and grabs his phone. He opens up FB messenger and reads the latest message.

His mouth is hanging open, his eyebrows high on his forehead. He imagines he must look like an utter moron. But he just can't seem to comprehend what he's reading. It just doesn't make any sense.

 

To: Mickey Milkovich/From: Ian Gallagher

i don't know why i contacted you, honestly. but now that i did, this internet shit is not enough. i think we need to talk, face to face. hash out all that old shit, at least. i think we owe it to each other, even if that's all it is. closure. i have a house on the lake in egg harbor. did you want to maybe meet me there this weekend? you don't have to stay if you don't want to. if shit gets weird or whatever, you can go any time. but i'd really like the opportunity to talk to you about this shit face to face. let me know.

 

Mickey stared at the message for what felt like hours. His thoughts were a jumbled mess, he didn't even know how to start processing this shit. How did things get so complicated so fast? Two weeks, and Mickey's already a confused mess of repressed feelings and unresolved tension.

That's a dumb question. Shit was always complicated with Ian. He's the only person alive who can simultaneously fill Mickey with elation and dread. Just the possibility of being in the same room as him after all this time has Mickey's anxiety spiking. Does he want to do this? Does he want to open up these old wounds again? Does he want to dredge up all this shit he's spent years of his life burying? Does he really want to hear what Ian has to say? Is he prepared, for whatever Ian has to say, good or bad? Is he ready to own his own shit? His mistakes and his regrets? Is he ready to apologize for things he did when he was just a stupid fucking kid?

Fuck this. He has to get up early. He'll think about this crazy shit, and get back to Ian later. He's got a couple days before the weekend. He doesn't have to decide anything right now.

Sleep doesn't come for a long time, and when his alarm goes off hours later, Mickey doesn't feel like he slept at all.

He hasn't even laid eyes on Ian yet, and the guy is already fucking his shit up.

Looks like some things never change....

 

***

 

Ian doesn't hear back from Mickey, but he makes plans to go up to the lake house anyway. Even if Mickey decides not to join him, Ian's going to spend the weekend up there. He needs to get away for a while. Away from James' incessant badgering, away from his family's probing questions about his relationship, what he plans to do about it. Fiona's never short on opinions, and ever since James moved out, Fiona has been on Ian's ass to talk about it. Like she would have the answers he's looking for. Like Ian would ever take her advice anyway. Like she has some perfect relationship track record. Yeah, okay.

So Ian thinks a weekend away from all that shit will do him good, whether Mickey decides to show or not.

It's Friday afternoon. Ian's just wrapped up his shift and is headed back to the townhouse to pack his shit. It takes about two hours to get to Egg Harbor, so if he leaves before rush hour, he can get to the house before six, clean up a little bit, and settle in for a relaxing weekend.

He wants to message Mickey again. Wants to beg him to join him at the house. Wants to tell him how desperate he is to see him. But he doesn't. He doesn't do that, because he wants it to be Mickey's decision. He doesn't want to push him or pressure him. If they do reconnect, he wants it to be because they both want it, not because Ian made Mickey feel like he had no choice.

He parks his car in the driveway and makes his way to the front door. He lets himself in, leaving his keys on the little table in the hallway and moving toward the kitchen. He drops his work bag on one of the bar stools, leaving his phone on the granite island as he makes his way to the fridge. He pulls out some left-over takeout, tossing it in the microwave. He grabs a sparkling water, popping it open as he watches last night's chicken parm spin as it heats up.

He hears the little ding of his phone's notification. His head whips up, water bottle halfway to his mouth. A slow smile splits his lips as he abandons his food and drops his water down on the island, picking up his phone and opening the message app.

There he is.

Ian's smile widens as he reads the simple message.

 

To: Ian Gallagher/From Mickey Milkovich

why the fuck not? send me the address, and i'll head up after work tonight. no promises though, you prick. you piss me off and i'll lay you out and bounce.

 

Ian can't contain his excitement. The microwave dings, but Ian ignores it. He just stares at his phone, smiling like an idiot.

It's really happening. He's really gonna see Mickey again.

Fuck.

The gravity of the situation hits him like a ton of bricks. The smile slips off his face, leaving a twisted mask of anxiety in its place.

He's gonna see Mickey.

He drops the phone, running his fingers through his hair then down his face, shaking his head a little.

Ian didn't put much thought into what he'd actually DO if Mickey agreed. He honestly didn't think Mickey was going to. He thought Mickey would curse him out, tell him to fuck off. Block him on Facebook. Maybe take out a restraining order.

Jesus, Ian hasn't even seen Mickey yet, and he's already spiraling.

He shakes his head, willing his mind to stop spinning and his heart to stop pounding. He reaches for his phone again, surprised to find his hand is shaking.

He's really nervous.

Scared of what's going to happen when they come face to face again. Ian's not eager to explain a black eye to his coworkers on Monday if this goes badly.

He pushes those thoughts to the back of his mind, opening the app to the Mickey's thread once more. He sends him the address to the the lake house. Gives him a time to show up. He tempers his desire to add more. He stops himself from telling Mickey how excited he is to see him. He doesn't mention that he thinks about him, still, all the time. He doesn't say he's sorry, or tell him that he misses him. He just sends the address and the time. Closing the app, he drops his phone back to the counter, and takes his food out of the microwave.

He's gonna finish his dinner, pack his shit, and get on his way.

He's not sure what's going to happen, but he's gonna let himself hope for the best, just this once.

 

***

 

"Mickey, what's going on with you?" Mandy said, crossing her arms over her chest. She was leaning up against the wall in Mickey's bedroom, watching him sort through a mess of clothes on his bed. "Where the fuck are you going? You never do this kinda shit."

Mickey sighed, tossing a pair of ripped jeans into his open duffel bag. "None of your business where I'm going. Maybe I have plans with AJ, you ever think of that?" Mickey doesn't really wanna lie to his sister, but if he told her where he was really going, he'd never hear the end of it. Besides, it's none of Mandy's business, and he doesn't want to get her hopes up. She loved Ian too, back in the day. Mickey hasn't heard her talk about him in a long time, and Mickey's not sure where they stand. If Ian wants to talk to Mandy, he's gonna have to man up and call her himself. Mickey's not going to do his dirty work.

"You do NOT have plans with AJ." Mandy replied, pushing off the wall and stalking over to Mickey's bed. "I know this because he called while you were in the shower."

"Bitch, what did I tell you about answering my god damn phone?"

"Whatever, Mick." Mandy waved him off, clearly not giving two shits about violating his privacy. Mickey was glad he deleted all of Ian's messages. The last thing he needs is for his sister to figure it out before Mickey even knows what's really going on. This trip could amount to nothing, and he doesn't want to hear about how much she misses Ian for the next ten years. "You called me up, asked me to come over here, spend the night with YOUR son so you can go out of town on some last minute, secret overnight, and I'm not supposed to ask any questions? I thought you and AJ were getting serious. How many other guys do you have on the side, you man-whore? You're getting a little old for the slut routine."

"You're one to talk." Mickey bit back, tossing some socks into his bag.

"I've been with the same guy for years, dickbreath. You haven't had a boyfriend since Dave. Whatever happened with him anyway? He was a halfway normal dude."

"Why do you give a shit who I bang? What the fuck?" Mickey sighed, so beyond over this conversation.

"Mick, I just want you to be happy." Mandy replied, all sarcasm gone from her tone. "Yev's getting big, and it's gonna start to get weird, explaining to him how come all these dudes come around, but none ever stay."

"No one's meeting my kid." Mickey replied, as if it were obvious. It should be, Mickey's never been serious enough about any of the guys he fucks to introduce them to his son. Hell, Yevgeny doesn't even know Mickey's gay yet. How do you explain that shit to a five-year-old? Yeah, no. Not right now. Not yet.

"So what? You're just gonna keep banging dudes on the sly, never getting to know them beyond their dick, never loving anyone? What kind of life is that?"

Where the fuck was this shit coming from?

"Mandy, don't worry about what I do with my dick, or my heart. Just drop it, okay? If and when I find a guy I wanna keep around, you and Yev will be the first to know, okay?"

Mandy smiled smugly, nodding. "You're damn right I will be."

"Not like it's any of your god damn business anyway." Mickey reiterated, shaking his head as his sister left his room, flipping him the bird over her shoulder on her way out.

Mickey kinda feels like an asshole, asking Mandy to come down to the house to watch Yevgeny on Mickey's weekend to have him. He never does this shit, his time with his son is important to him. But this thing with Ian feels like a one-time opportunity, one that will slip through Mickey's fingers if he doesn't act now. Honestly, Ian could disappear for another six years if Mickey didn't show.

He might disappear forever.

And even though Mickey had thought he was over Ian, now that he's within arm's reach again, Mickey knows he was bullshitting himself.

Just the chance to see Ian again, to hear his voice, maybe touch him a little bit...just the chance to do that is worth a lost weekend with Yev. It was worth the two-hour drive. It was worth putting himself out there, one more time. It was worth risking his heart and his sanity.

Mickey wonders what would be different if he'd been willing to take a risk for Ian back in the day. What would have happened if Mickey hadn't been such a coward?

Fuck it. Nothing he could do about that shit now. All he can do is head down to Egg Harbor and hear Ian out. Hope for the best, whatever that means.

He heaves his bag up over his shoulder, pocketing his phone on his way out of the room.

Mandy is sitting on the couch, flipping through the channels on Mickey's flatscreen TV.

"Yev should be here within the hour." Mickey said, leaning down to catch his sister's eye, who was ignoring him in favor of scrolling through his pay channels. "He can sleep in my bed, or you guys can make a fort out here if he wants to do that. He can watch two movies, no more." Mickey pointed at his sister. "No more, Mands. He needs to be in bed by ten. None of that staying up late bullshit you pulled last time. He was a dick to Svet the whole next day."

Mandy grinned at him, rolling her eyes. "You are such a dad, Mick. Jesus."

"I sure as fuck hope so." Mickey replied, laughing. He may be a shitbag of a person, but he does what he can to be a good father to his son. He pretty much just does the opposite of what Terry did. Seems to be working out okay so far. "I left money for pizza on the kitchen table. That's for you and Yev only. If Iggy comes home stoned out of his mind, you tell him to order his own damn food. My kid's gotta eat, and Iggy never leaves shit for anyone else."

"I got it, Mick. Jesus. You'd think this was my first time watching him."

Mickey ignored her snark. "Call me if you have any problems. I'm gonna be a couple hours away, but I'll come right back if something happens, okay?"

"Nothing's gonna happen." Mandy sighed, finally picking a show and starting it. "Go. Go get laid, you fucking need it, you stressbox. Fuck outta here." she shooed him toward the door with the remote, not taking her eyes off the TV.

Mickey flipped her off but made his way out of the house anyway. He opened the driver's side door of his Honda, tossing his bag in the back before climbing in the car. It was late June, and the air was warm, even in the early evening. He opened up his GPS on his phone, typing in the address Ian had sent him and started his car.

He pulled away from the curb and into the street.

What the hell is he doing? Driving an hour and a half away to have a conversation. With Ian of all people. Jesus. This could go terribly awry.

But...but it could go really fucking well. They had never been all that good at communicating, but they sure were good at fucking. Mickey's not sure that's what Ian has planned, but Mickey wouldn't be opposed. It's seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity otherwise. There's no way Ian would invite him over just to talk, right?

He may or may not have packed his bottle of lube, just in case.

Always be prepared, and all that...

Mickey smirks, flicking on the stereo. He lets the clanging guitars and pounding drums of his favorite band fill his head, drowning out his thoughts of Ian, for the time being, anyway.

 

***

 

Ian is nervous. He's been nervous since he pulled into the driveway at the lake house. He arrived at the house a couple hours before Mickey was supposed to get there, so he could tidy up, get rid of anything he didn't want Mickey to see.

This lake house was the only thing Ian and James had ever bought together. It was a spur of the moment thing when they first got to Illinois. A friend of Ian's from the army was selling it cheap, and Ian jumped at the chance. He'd never owned a house before. It was supposed to be a place they could go to get away together, but they'd only ever used it a handful of times over the years. James is not a nature person, much happier with the hustle and bustle of the city. So Ian comes up here alone. He likes the quiet. He enjoys the low sound of the water lapping against the rocky shore beyond the window. He likes sitting outside by the fire, watching the moon glittering off the placid lake.

Ian wonders if he's going to have to sell the house now that he and James are no longer a thing. He's not sure if James will give up his rights to the house. He's not even sure he can afford the mortgage on his own. Maybe if he rents it out year-round, instead of just in the summer months.

Fuck it, he'll worry about that shit later. He's got more important things on his mind right now. Ian moves through the house, collecting all the pictures of him and James. He grabs the framed photos, tossing them into a drawer in the kitchen. It's not like Ian is ashamed of James, or what they had, but he'd rather not discuss this failed relationship with his ex-boyfriend when they've got their own broken relationship to discuss.

After all the evidence of James' existence has been eliminated from the house, Ian moves around cleaning and generally tidying up. It's not like he thinks Mickey's turned into some kind of snob about cleanliness, he's sure it's quite the opposite. Ian doesn't have to impress him, he knows that. He's just trying to burn off some of this nervous energy.

He pours himself a whiskey when there is nothing else to clean. He sits on the couch, sipping his drink and listening to music coming from his wireless speakers. The more he drinks, the calmer he feels. He pours himself another, relaxing back against the couch cushions with a small smile on his lips.

This is Mickey we're talking about. Why the hell is he nervous at all? It may have been years, and they may have parted on pretty shitty terms, but if Mickey didn't want to talk, he wouldn't have agreed to come out. He wouldn't drive all the way to Egg Harbor just to punch Ian in the face, would he?

Well, yeah. He might.

Ian leaned back, training his eyes on the ceiling. Oh well. He can't do a damn thing if Mickey wants to kick his ass, except fight back.

He hopes it doesn't come to that, but with Mickey you never know.

 

***

 

Mickey curses under his breath when he pulls up to Ian's lake house. What the fuck is Gallagher doing with a lake house anyway? How much money does the army pay retired medics? What the fuck?

The house is not big, but it's clean and well maintained on the outside. The wood siding is tan, with dark brown trim. The windows are big, and there are lights on inside. There is a large yard on the side of the house, and Mickey can see the lake beyond the grass, the rocky beach just beyond the house's fire pit. There are a few Adirondack chairs around the stone fireplace. Looks peaceful. Mickey bets Ian sits in those chairs for hours, feeding the fire and gazing out at the water.

Mickey puts his car in park and kills the engine. No more stalling. His eyes fall on the other car in the driveway. Ian's car. Ian is in that house right now, waiting for him. Those nerves are back, out in full force. Mickey's brain is an endless loop of 'what the fuck' as he grabs his bag from the back seat and make his way up the stone walkway.

Okay, this is it. The moment he hadn't known he'd been waiting for the past six years. He hitches his bag up higher on his shoulder, willing his hand to stop shaking so he can knock on the fucking door.

He wraps on the door with his tattooed knuckles, shifting from foot to foot anxiously.

The door swings open and there he is, in all his ginger glory. Ian looks fucking edible, and Mickey swears his mouth starts to water as his eyes greedily soak him in. He's wearing a pair of tight jeans and a wife-beater. His toned arms are on display as he runs his fingers through his fiery red hair. It's longer than the last time Mickey saw him, and Mickey just wants to grab it and pull.

Fuck.

Ian just gapes at him, his mouth open, eyes wide. Mickey stares right back, suddenly forgetting all the shit he had planned to say when they finally came face to face.

"Hey." Ian finally says, but his voice is low and weak. It comes out in a breathy whisper, and Mickey relaxes just a tiny bit.

Ian is nervous too. That makes Mickey feel better.

"Hey Gallagher." Mickey replies, voice strong, confident. He can do this, put on this facade. Fake it. Like he's not scared or worried at all. It's what he's best at. What he's always been best at. Lying. Pretending. It's been a while since he's had to lie at all, but it comes back like no time has passed. "Gonna let me in, or am I gonna hang out on the porch all night?"

Ian gives him the smallest smile, stepping aside so Mickey can walk through the door. He crosses the threshold into a small living room. He cast his eyes around the space, just as impressed with the inside as he was with the outside. The far wall is all glass, an unobstructed view of the lake beyond the yard. Mickey drops his bag by the door and wanders over to the window.

"Um, you wanna drink?" Ian asks, because he doesn't know what else to say. This feels a lot weirder than he anticipated, and he's desperate to make it less awkward.

Booze always helps with that, right?

"Sure." Mickey replies, not taking his eyes off the lake. "What are you having?"

"Maker's Mark." Ian replies, moving toward the cabinets in the kitchen. "You still drink whiskey?"

"Stupid fucking question, Gallagher." Mickey chuckled, finally turning around. Ian nodded, but said nothing, pouring their drinks. He walked back to the living room, handing Mickey his glass. Ian's eyes were fixed on Mickey's mouth as he took a long sip of his drink.

Seeing Mickey here, in the flesh, was like living a dream. Ian can't believe it, it's just so surreal. After all this time, here he is. Mickey.

"What?" Mickey asks, cocking his head to the side. Ian's looking at him like he's some kind of rare bird. It's sort of freaking him out.

"I just can't believe you came." Ian replied honestly.

"Well, I didn't have anything better to do this weekend. Never been to a lake house before."

"Is that the only reason you came?" Ian asked, unable to hide the insecure lilt in his voice.

"You know it's not." Mickey replied, all teasing gone from his tone. "You said you wanted to talk this shit out. So I guess we're gonna do that. Not that I think we have a whole hell of a lot to talk about. We used to fuck. Not much more to it than that." the lie tasted bitter in Mickey's mouth, but it flowed off his tongue just the same. He took a sip of his whiskey, glancing away from Ian's imploring eyes.

"Are you for real right now?" Ian asked, trying to temper his anger. "This is how you want to start this off? With a lie?"

Mickey sighed, dropping down onto the couch and tipping his head back against the cushions. "No." he polished off his drink, setting the empty glass on the carved wood coffee table. "Sorry, man. Old habits."

Ian nodded, moving across the room. He set the bottle of whiskey on the table in front of them, sitting next to Mickey, close but not too close. He took a sip from his glass before setting it on the table next to the bottle and turning on the couch to give Mickey his undivided attention.

Mickey just stared at Ian for a moment, trying to figure out where he wanted to start, how much he wanted to reveal. They'd been talking for weeks now on messenger, but hadn't gotten to the real shit.

Looks like that is what they are going to do right now.

"Okay, fine." Mickey said, crossing his arms over his chest. Closed off, defensive. "Where do you want to start?"

"Um, well, how have you been, I guess?" Ian asked, voice unsure. What the fuck is his problem? He had a plan, and he's not following it at all.

"How am I?" Mickey chuckled, shaking his head. "I'm just dandy, man. Living the dream, really. But I'm not the one who fell off the face of the fucking earth six years ago, so I think that is a better question for you."

"I'm good." Ian nodded, his eyes on his glass instead of Mickey. He leaned forward, grabbing it and setting it in his lap. "Army was good to me. Learned a lot. Saw a lot of cool shit."

"And some not so cool shit, I'm guessing." Mickey said, leaning in to catch Ian's downcast eyes.

"What, what do you mean?" Ian asked, still not looking up. He could feel his face heating up. When he asked Mickey to come up here to talk, he didn't think they'd be talking about his time in the service.

"Ian, come on." Mickey sighed. He leaned forward for his glass and filled it again. "Mandy told me years ago that you were stationed over in that fucking sandbox. Iraq, Afghanistan, whatever. I'm guessing it wasn't all sunshine and tequila over there. Not to mention the fact that you were a medic. I read some shit online. Firsthand accounts of soldiers and medics over there. None of it was fucking pretty." Mickey felt exposed, like he was tipping his hand too much already. Now Ian knows he's been keeping tabs on him all these years. Now Ian knows that Mickey cared enough to read about his experiences. That he wanted to know what Ian went through, that he worried about how much Ian suffered. "I didn't like to think of you going through that shit, but you did, right?"

Ian just stared back at Mickey, his mouth once again slack. He just couldn't comprehend what he'd just heard. Did Mickey just say that he thought about Ian, while he was overseas? That he looked up PTSD and soldiers returning from war? Because of Ian?

That's just...wow.

James would never do something like that. He was convinced that PTSD wasn't even real. Ian didn't talk about his time at war very often, but when he did want to talk, James didn't want to listen. It turned his stomach, and he got angry with Ian for bringing it up. Not even Ian's own family could listen to him when he got the odd urge to speak on it. It was too much for them. Too bloody, too gruesome. Too real.

So, to have Mickey ask about it so casually was strange for Ian. Bizarre, but comforting all the same.

"Ian? Hello?" Mickey waved his hand in front of Ian's face, a little concerned by the distant, vacant look in his eyes.

"Sorry. Sorry." Ian said, giving Mickey a sheepish smile. "I kinda get lost in my head sometimes when I think about it."

"Shit, I'm sorry, man." Mickey said, his face softening. He's such a fucking idiot sometimes. "Of course you don't want to talk about it. It's none of my business."

"No, no." Ian said, reaching out. He closed his fingers around Mickey's wrist before he could think better of it. Mickey's eyes widened, glancing down to where they were touching. "Sorry." Ian said, taking his hand back.

Mickey swears his skin was burning from the simple touch. His wrist tingled, all the way down to his fingertips.

"It's just, no one ever asked me before."

"About your time in the service?" Mickey balked. That couldn't be true. Ian had been in the army for years, how could no one have asked him?

"That's not what I mean." Ian shook his head. "No one ever asks me what it felt like, for me, over there. You know, the really bad stuff. No one wants to hear it. It was horrific, Mick. And even though I'm sure Fiona and my family wants to help, they can't listen to me talk about six-year-old kids being used as suicide bombers, or me trying to push my friend’s intestines back into his stomach as he bleeds to death in my arms."

"Jesus fuck, Ian." Mickey whispered, shaking his head. He didn't think. He didn't consider what asking Ian about this would dredge up. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to drag all this shit up. I just know that it's a lot. Not that I've ever been to war, and I sure as shit have never seen a little kid get blown up.” Mickey shivered, his mind automatically going to his own child. He’d die if anything like that ever happened to Yevgeny. “But I have seen my fair share of awful shit. And I know we're not close or whatever, but if you ever need to talk about that shit with someone who doesn't get paid to listen, I could, you know, be there for you." Mickey dipped his head, staring at his hands. What the fuck is he doing? Ian's not his friend. Is he overstepping? He probably is.

Shit. Fuck.

"Mick..." Ian said quietly, reaching out once again. Surer this time, he gripped Mickey's hand, relieved when he didn't pull away. Ian was yet again surprised when Mickey flipped his hand over, interlacing their fingers. Ian can't remember if he's ever held Mickey's hand. "Thank you. That means so much to me, that you'd be there for me like that."

"Yeah, well..." Mickey cleared his throat uncomfortably. "I just know what it's like to feel like no one understands the fucked up shit you had to do, the fucked up shit that you've been through."

Ian nodded, a small smile ghosting his lips. He can't help but feel like he barely knows Mickey at all anymore. The Mickey he remembers from his youth would never offer to talk about his feelings, or Ian's for that matter.

"Anyway." Ian said, ready to change the subject. "What about you? I've been gone a long time, Mick. You told me your dad got locked up and you and Svetlana split up. But what's life really like for you now?"

Mickey smiled, and Ian was surprised for some reason. He doesn't think he's ever seen Mickey smile like that when thinking about his life. He's always been so sad, so bitter about his lot in life, and with good reason. But it looks like Mickey has turned some kind of corner, and Ian couldn't be happier for him.

"Well, there's not much more to it, honestly. Terry killed a dude in a bar fight, no big surprise there. But the DA charged him as a career criminal, and he'll never see the light of day ever again, thank fuck." Mickey smirked, leaning forward to fill their glasses again. He handed one to Ian and held his up, waiting.

"I'll toast to that shit." Ian chuckled, clinking their glasses together. "To Terry dying alone in a cold 6X9."

"Cheers." Mickey laughed, tossing his drink back. "So, after he was gone for good, the rest of it just snowballed. Svet met some low-level Russian mob guy, connected yet not. Kindof a dumbass, but Svet thinks the sun shines outta his ass. I don't really give a fuck, as long as she's not breathing down my neck anymore, and my kid's taken care of. She moved in with him, took Yev. I still see him, on my weekends. Kid's amazing, actually."

Ian beamed at Mickey, smiling so wide his face hurt. "So, you're like a real dad now, huh? I wasn't sure you'd get there."

"You and me both." Mickey nodded, all hints of humor gone from his voice. "It took me a long fucking time to get there. Sometimes it's still hard, you know. I fucking hate to say this, but sometimes when I look at him, all I can see is that day. You all bloody, your face so...so fucking scared. Her, naked, just...yeah. And that prick with a gun to your head. And I hate it, man. I hate that when I look at my beautiful son, I see that dark shit." Mickey looked away, his eyes fixing on the setting sun out the window. "Sorry, I don't talk about this shit."

"I get it, Mick. Sometimes I still have nightmares about it." Ian said lowly. He wanted to reach for Mickey again, but he second guessed himself, tucking his fingers between his knees instead.

"Yeah." Mickey nodded, filling their glasses again. He only filled them halfway this time. He was already starting to feel tipsy. "Me too. But Yev doesn't know any of that shit. We obviously didn't tell him. He's only five years old man. All he knows is Mommy is in love with Nikolas now, and Daddy sees him when he can."

Ian nodded, unsure how to broach his next question. "So, does he, like, know...about you? That you're...."

"What?" Mickey laughed, eyebrows raised. "That I'm gay?"

"Well, yeah." Ian replied slowly. "I don't think I ever heard you say that out loud before." the realization is odd to Ian. He's been out for so long now. But he also remembers how vehement Mickey was about never saying it, to anyone. Not even Ian, who fucked him in the ass.

"I'm fucking gay. There. You happy now?" Mickey laughed. "I know, it was hard for me back then. And I still don't fucking advertise. But the people that matter know. And if someone asks me, I'm honest. After Terry got sent upstate, I didn't feel that desperate need to hide anymore. I'm still not gonna shake my ass on some parade float, but I'm not too much of a pussy to tell people I'm a fag. Not anymore." Mickey shook his head, trying to remember what it felt like back then, when he was so terrified of his father, of himself. Of who he was. He's glad he's not that guy anymore. "But if you're asking about Yev, then no. I haven't told him I'm into dick. It hasn't come up yet because I haven't had anyone worth telling him about."

"Wait." Ian said, sitting forward. He was so close to Mickey now he could see the faint freckles dusting along his nose. "So you've never had a boyfriend? Not one? In all this time?"

Mickey shook his head, leaning back so he could pull out his cigarettes. He slipped one between his lips, flicking his lighter. "Shit, can I smoke in here?"

"We usually don't, but..." Ian said, trailing off when he noticed what he said. Shit. We. "Go ahead." he muttered quickly. He passed Mickey a glass candy dish for his ashes. It'll do in a pinch.

If Mickey noticed Ian's slip, he didn't mention it. "I've dated some." he shrugged, taking a long drag off his cigarette, blowing the smoke toward the ceiling. "But never too seriously. Just guys to pass the time. Decent sex, and sometimes decent company. Nothing more." Mickey glanced up at Ian, his eyes serious. "I've only ever felt that way about one guy."

Ian swallowed, looking away.

"What about you, Gallagher? You have anyone special in the past six years? Anyone worth keeping?"

This is it. This is when Ian should tell Mickey about James. They are being honest with each other. At least Ian thinks they are. He should tell him, it's a big part of Ian's story. A big part of what made Ian who he is today. Part of the reason Ian's even here right now, with Mickey.

But he doesn't. He just shrugs, his eyes shifting toward the window. "A few guys. One that was more than the others, but if you are asking me if I've found true love, the answer is no."

There. That's not so bad. That's close enough to the truth for right now. He doesn't owe Mickey anything, not really.

"I hear that. It's hard, to find someone like that. Probably only happens once in a lifetime, if ever." Mickey glanced over at Ian, wondering what he saw when he looked at Mickey. Is he feeling that same feeling? That full body flush, that aching desire to touch and be touched. Mickey is surprised by how much he wants Ian. He knew it would be hard to see him again, but he had no idea he'd feel like this.

Like no time had passed at all. Like Ian was still just as perfect in Mickey's eyes as he had been all that time ago. Like Mickey is just as in love with this red-headed asshole as he was when he was just a stupid kid that didn't know shit about shit.

Ian smiled at Mickey, feeling more at ease than he has in ages. He suddenly feels so stupid for not reaching out sooner. They could have had this talk years ago. Maybe Ian never would have started up with James to begin with. Things would be so different. So many missed opportunities. So much wasted time.

But...but, maybe it wouldn't have worked out if Ian had reached out sooner. Maybe Mickey wouldn't be ready to talk to Ian. Maybe he wouldn't be ready to even think about Ian, or what they meant to each other.

Maybe this is the perfect time, the perfect place.

Mickey smiled back, shaking his head a little. "It's really nice to see you, Ian." he says the words before he knows he's even thinking them. But it's true, so it doesn't bother him. He's not that scared little kid anymore. Mickey hopes Ian can see that. See that he's not that angry little fuck he was when he kicked Ian in the face. Mickey grimaces at the memory. "Listen, Ian, I just want to say I'm so...." Mickey's words are cut off when Ian lunges for him. Mickey is shocked when Ian's fingers sink into his hair. He huffs out a surprised laugh as Ian's lips find his.

Mickey kisses him back eagerly, pushing his tongue into Ian's mouth. He leans forward, gripping the back of Ian's head. Before he knows what he's doing he's throwing one of his legs over Ian's lap. Ian gasps, utterly shocked by this turn of events.

They are kissing like their lives depend on it. Mickey groans against Ian's lips, his breath sweet on Ian's tongue. Ian's never seen Mickey like this. Confident in his sexuality, unafraid to show who he is. No longer hiding behind his brash exterior. Ian is enamored with this new Mickey. The Mickey that can just crawl into his lap like it's nothing. It gets Ian so fucking hard, seeing Mickey let go like this.

In that moment, Mickey is acutely aware of all the shit they've never done together. Their time together was punctuated by secret trysts and bloody brawling. They never really had the time to just enjoy each other. Be open with each other, what they needed, what they wanted. Even that one time, the sleepover. The night before it all fell to shit. They had fucked like maniacs all night, but never talked about what they were doing, or why. What made them feel good, how they wanted to make each other feel good. Mickey had tried, that morning. The beads. But Ian had seemed so disinterested, so unsure. Mickey had second guessed himself, dropped it.

They just weren't there, back then. That trust. That confidence in themselves, in each other. Mickey had hoped he would get there. He had hoped he and Ian would get there together.

Then, the whole world burned to the ground around them, and nothing was ever the same. Before Mickey even had time to process what they'd been through, Ian was gone. So Mickey never got to learn about Ian this way. He didn't know he wanted, back then. Couldn't name it or explain it. But he knows now. What he wants to do.

He wants to please Ian. Bring him to that place where nothing exists but that ecstasy, that pure liquid sex that has always flowed between them. Pleasure given and received equally.

Everything had always been hard for them. It had been hard for Mickey especially. The talking, the fucking feelings. But the sex? The sex was easy as breathing.

Mickey's learned a lot in the past six years. And now he's gonna take Gallagher to school.

Mickey grins against Ian's lips, circling his hips on Ian's rapidly filling cock. He can't help but think of all the opportunities they'd missed when they were kids.

They had barely started kissing when Ian disappeared. Mickey thought he remembered it perfectly. But he was wrong. Memories and fantasies are nothing compared to the real thing. Kissing Ian is fucking mind blowing. He tastes amazing.

Ian's hands trail down along Mickey's neck, skimming his shoulders, his muscular back, before landing on that ass. That ass that Ian's been dreaming about since he was fourteen years old. Jesus, construction has done Mickey's body good. He's all taut muscles and sexy curves.

"Fuck." Mickey whispers against Ian's mouth, turning his head to get a better angle. His tongue slides against Ian's easily, and he feels like an idiot for not doing this all the time when they were kids. Ian can fucking kiss.

Ian is losing his mind. He feels like he's flying. Like he's on fire. He's so hard, thrusting up against Mickey's ass as the other man grinds down on his hard cock. He can't sit still. He can't stop moving his hands. Up and down Mickey's back, along his ribs, down his thighs, inevitably landing on that ass again. Jesus fuck. He can feel the muscles flexing as Mickey rolls his hips on top of him. It all just feels so good, Ian's afraid he might cum just from this.

He sighs, letting his head fall back against the couch cushions as Mickey latches onto his neck. "Oh fuck." Ian chokes out, his eyes rolling back in his head as Mickey bites down on his collar bone. Mickey soothes the mark with his tongue before going back to sucking and kissing on Ian's throat. Ian's legs are twitching, his fingers digging into Mickey's ass so hard his nails are tearing at the rough fabric of his jeans. A strange scraping noise fills the air as Ian paws at Mickey's ass possessively. "Mick...Mick!" he yelps, unable to control himself anymore. "Please."

"Please what?" Mickey chuckles against Ian's skin. He ground his hips down on Ian's erection, his body rolling in painfully slow circles. He was so hard, his cock trapped in his jeans, pressed tight to Ian's stomach as they moved against each other.

"Please." Ian repeated, his thoughts an incoherent mess. He was so lost in just feeling Mickey again, he could hardly articulate what he needs. "Mick. Please."

Mickey laughed, tipping his head back up, immediately going in for another kiss. Ian's hands flexed on his ass, pulling him down harder on his lap. Mickey licked into Ian's mouth, biting his bottom lip savagely.

"Oh shit. I want you so bad." Ian moaned, his eyes slipping closed as Mickey's fingers dragged through his hair. "Mick, my bedroom is right over there." Ian wriggled underneath Mickey, trying to stand up.

Mickey laughed again. He was pretty desperate to get to the main event himself, but he was having too much fun teasing Ian. He kissed him again, hard. Pulling Ian in closer with his fingers still tangled in his hair. "Yeah? You wanna fuck me?" he whispered against his lips. "Wanna be inside me?"

"Oh my god." Ian groaned. Mickey never would have said shit like that when they were kids. Talking about the sex they had was a sure-fire way for Ian to get a black eye. Hearing Mickey talk like this now was like living a fantasy. "Yeah." he growled, hooking his hands under Mickey's thighs and planting his feet on the ground. "Yeah, I wanna fuck you." with that, he stood from the couch, easily supporting Mickey's weight as he strode toward the bedroom with purpose.

Mickey chuckled, curling his arms tighter around Ian's shoulders as the ginger idiot walked them to the bedroom. If Ian had tried to pull this shit back in the day, Mickey would have killed him. But he can admit it now, he's into the manhandling.

Ian groaned as he felt Mickey's teeth on his throat again. He fought the urge to close his eyes as Mickey worked his neck. He had to see to get them to the bed, after all.

Ian kicked his bedroom door open, sending it swinging as they entered the space. It hit the wall with a thud and Ian felt Mickey giggling against his skin. He ignored it, much more intent on getting Mickey on the bed, and naked. He hurried over to the bed, dropping Mickey on the mattress with a little flourish.

Mickey grinned up at him, sitting up and quickly pulling his shirt over his head. He tossed it behind him on the floor and kicked off his shoes, leaning back so he could unzip his jeans and wriggle out of them. He dragged them down his hips, along with his underwear, leaving the clothing in a heap at the end of the bed.

Ian watched Mickey strip with wide eyes. He thought Mickey's body was hot when he was touching it in the living room, but seeing it with his own eyes was another thing entirely. The defined muscles of his abs, the slope of his chest, his hard cock laying against his stomach. God, Ian just wants to devour him.

Mickey smirked at him, eyebrows high on his forehead. "You wanna watch me jerk off, or are you gonna get naked too?"

"Oh, yeah." Ian nodded, smiling. What the hell is wrong with him? He's acting like a fucking idiot. It would be awesome if he could just get his shit together, like right now. "Yeah." he repeated. He pulled his shirt up over his head, tossing it haphazardly over his shoulder before his fingers fell to his belt. He made quick work of his pants, letting them pool at his feet as he kicked them off, taking the two steps toward the bed.

Mickey did not wait for him, however. His hand was already heavy on his own dick, pulling it slowly while his other hand trailed up and down his chest. His eyes stayed on Ian, a playful gleam in his irises as Ian finally knelt on the bed. He planted his hands on either side of Mickey's head, gazing down at him with fire in his eyes. He dropped his body on top of Mickey's, stilling his hand as their mouths met again. Mickey released his erection in favor of digging his fingers into that fire red hair he's missed so much. Ian rolled his hips, knocking his straining erection against Mickey's with each thrust.

Mickey dragged Ian's head down, bringing their mouths together again and again. He kissed him hard, delighted in the pained grunts slipping past Ian's lips with every tug Mickey gave his hair.

"Jesus, you're so sexy." Ian murmured against Mickey's lips. He reluctantly rolled off Mickey and reached for the bedside table. He ignored the tremor in his hand as he dragged the drawer open and began rummaging around inside for what he needed.

His movements were significantly hindered when Mickey jumped up and sutured himself to Ian's back. His hands were warm, his fingers skimming along Ian's stomach and chest. Ian moaned when Mickey pinched his nipple, biting down hard on his neck. "Jesus, Mick." he groaned, turning to face him once more with a small bottle of lube and a condom in his hand. Mickey grabbed the stuff from Ian's hand, laying it on the blankets next to them before gripping Ian by the shoulders and throwing him down on the bed.

Ian laughed as his back hit the comforter. He honestly can't remember the last time he was this excited. Not just for the sex, but for Mickey. All of him. His smile and his voice. His attitude and sick sense of humor.

God, he fucking missed him.

"C'mere. Too far." Ian smiled, arms out. Mickey smirked at him, crawling up the bed and into Ian's open arms. Ian let Mickey lead the kiss, his hands skimming down Mickey's sides before landing on his hips. Ian groaned against Mickey's lips, his eyes clenched shut, his body on fire.

Mickey kissed Ian once more before leaning back. Ian's eyes snapped back open, confused. But Mickey just smirked again, backing down the bed. His traced Ian's body with his tongue as he slowly made his decent, licking and nipping along Ian's torso. He lapped gently at Ian's nipple, grinning against his skin when Ian's sharp intake of breath hit his ears. Ian's hands were in Mickey's hair again, gently pulling the dark strands as Mickey continued to tease him.

"Prepare yourself, Gallagher." Mickey murmured against his heated skin. "I'm about to destroy you."

The words sent a thrill down Ian's spine, and he bit his lip hard to keep from saying something he would surely regret later.

Mickey nipped at Ian's hip bone before making his way slowly across his stomach, swirling his tongue around Ian's belly button before sucking on the opposite hip, scraping the bone with his teeth. Ian's skin tasted amazing. How that was possible, Mickey had no idea. He doesn't remember it being this erotic when they were kids. Every touch, electric. Every sense overloaded.

Mickey probably never let it get that far. Never let himself feel that much. It was mechanical back then, even with Ian. A series of movements and programmed responses, resulting in an orgasm. It couldn't be anything more back then. And when it became more, Mickey shut it down, pushed it away.

Which is probably the reason he hasn't seen Ian in six years.

The fact that he drove Ian away hits him like a ton of bricks. He knew, of course, but refused to believe it. But it was true, and he could no longer ignore it. Guilt floods Mickey's system so fast he feels like he's drowning in it.

"Mick?" Ian's worried voice filters into his ears and Mickey realizes he's not moving anymore. His hands remain, unmoving, on Ian's hips, his mouth hovering over his dripping cock, and his mind stuck in the past. "You okay?"

Mickey grinned up at him, forcing himself back into the present. "Yeah." he nodded, reaching up to grip Ian's cock. "Just thinking about how much I missed this dick." he caught Ian's expression, a strange mixture of arousal and sadness, but chose to ignore it, instead closing his lips around the head and pulling Ian slowly into his throat.

The diversion tactic worked, and Ian's head dropped down on the pillows, a low 'fuck.' slipping past his lips as Mickey sucked him off. Mickey let himself get lost in the action. He dragged his lips up and down Ian's shaft, slowly circling the head with his tongue, lapping at the slit, greedy for the taste of Ian. He bobbed his head, pressing his tongue tight to the underside of Ian's cock. He swears he can feel Ian's erratic heartbeat thrumming in the veins under his tongue.

Mickey let his eyes slip shut, one hand holding Ian's hip down hard against the bed, the other sliding up between his spread legs to cup his balls. They are tight, pulled up high against his body, and Mickey knows what that means. He grins around Ian's erection, rolling his balls between his fingers, pulling on them gently to relieve some of the tension there.

"Oh my god." Ian moaned, his fingers once again finding Mickey's head. He twisted his fingers in Mickey's hair, pulling tight. He's trying to be good. He's trying not to pull Mickey's head down, trying not to force him to swallow his whole cock. He's trying not to thrust up into his wet mouth. But it's hard. Ian doesn't remember it being this good. His memories of Mickey blowing him are few, and fuzzy. Mickey had hardly done it at all back then, convinced it somehow made him gayer than taking it in the ass.

Looks like Mickey got over that hang up. Ian is hit with a sudden rush of irrational jealousy. Angry that someone else was there when Mickey finally let go, finally discovered that sucking dick did not make him any less of a man. Finally realized there was nothing wrong with who he is, how he was born. Ian wonders what that must have been like for Mickey, that moment of freedom. Who was it? The first guy Mickey really let go with? Does Mickey remember him fondly? Does he still talk to him?

Ian's thoughts are pulled back to the present when Mickey swallows him down to the hilt. He buries his face in Ian's pubes, swallowing convulsively around him.

Ian pinches his eyes shut as pleasure rips through his body like wildfire. He's shaking, desperate to control himself before he blows his load like a teenager.

"Mick, fuck, get up here. I'm gonna come if you don't stop." he whined, trying to buck Mickey off his body. Mickey let Ian fall from his mouth, resting his head against his hip as he caught his breath. He gave Ian a smug smirk, crawling slowly up his body. He ground his hips down against Ian's, his eyes dancing.

"Told you I was gonna wreck you."

Ian laughed, totally enamored with this version of Mickey. It's like all the shit that ever held him back had disappeared, leaving this confident, sexy bad ass in its place. Ian surged up, wrapping his arms around Mickey and flipping them. Once Ian had settled over Mickey's body, his leaned down, kissing him fiercely.

Mickey sighed into his mouth, his arms curling around his neck as he let his legs fall out wide, inviting Ian to settle between them. Mickey felt like he couldn't breathe. Suffocating on the heavy arousal hanging in the room.

Ian's hand skimmed down Mickey's side, his blunt nails dragging down his rib cage before landing on his thigh. Ian gripped the muscle tight in his hand before gliding it up to cup Mickey's glorious ass. Jesus, if Ian thought the rest of Mickey's body was hot now, his ass was next level. So firm, yet soft. It filled his hand wonderfully, the muscles flexing deliciously with every move of Mickey's body.

"Now lemme show you what I can do." Ian grinned down at him, bringing their lips together again before sliding down the bed to settle between Mickey's spread legs.

Mickey stared down at him with wide eyes as Ian's fingertips dug into his thighs, pulling his legs up and resting them on his shoulders.

Oh shit.

Mickey's been dreaming about this since he and Ian first started fucking. He'd be curious about it, but obviously too scared to bring it up. Looks like he's not the only one that had thought about it. Mickey sucks in a sharp breath at the feeling of Ian's tongue dancing along his balls. Ian leans forward, dragging his mouth up Mickey's shaft, circling the head before licking his way back down to get to what he really wanted.

Mickey's breathing heavy in anticipation, his mind buzzing, his heart racing. He glances down at Ian, who is smirking up at him. Mickey's about to say something smart when all coherent thought is cut off with the first touch of Ian's tongue.

Mickey feels like he's vibrating, he's so overcome with pleasure. Ian's tongue is hot and slick against him. He's eating Mickey out so enthusiastically, Mickey's not sure who's enjoying it more. Mickey reaches up with one hand, tangling his fingers in Ian's hair, keeping him close.

Of course, Mickey's been eaten out before. He's not sure why he's having such a visceral reaction now. Could it really be just because it's Ian? He's not sure. All he knows is that his whole body is tingling with pleasure. He's shaking with it, moaning like a porn star.

Ian groans against Mickey, totally gone on the taste of him. He forces himself to slow down, to savor the moment. He laps at Mickey's rim languidly, laying gentle open-mouthed kisses to his hole, delighted with the sweet, needy sounds slipping past Mickey's parted lips. Ian drags his tongue along Mickey's ass, lapping at him voraciously. God, he could do this forever. He's breathing heavy, feeling totally out of control. He points his tongue, desperate to get deeper.

A deep moan rumbles out of Mickey's chest, and Ian responds with another moan of his own. Fuck, this is the hottest thing that has happened to him in years.

He doesn't look up, he didn't have to. He can picture Mickey's face perfectly, even after all this time. His eyes pinched shut tight in pleasure, his mouth hanging open, his eyebrows dancing on his forehead as he tries to control himself. Ian hisses as Mickey pulls his hair savagely, another wave of pleasure rolling through his body.

"Get up here." Mickey ground out, squeezing Ian's head with his thighs.

Ian chuckles, crawling up Mickey's body. Mickey pulls Ian down for another kiss, needy for the contact. They made out like teenagers, like this was the only thing they'd ever need for the rest of their lives.

Ian pulled back with a gasp, trying to breath down his arousal so he could think for half a second. Mickey peeled his eyes open to see Ian staring down at him like he was the answer to all Ian's questions.

"What?" he asks, suddenly feeling self-conscious and exposed.

"You're fucking gorgeous." Ian replied, like it was obvious.

Mickey rolled his eyes, trying to temper his smile as he reached blindly for the lube and pressed the bottle to Ian's chest. "Enough of that girly shit. Fucking open me up. I want that cock."

Ian laughed, nodding. Yeah, he could do that. He took the bottle from Mickey's hand and sat up on his knees so he could coat his fingers with lube. Mickey watched him, his eyes bright, biting his lip.

God, he can't believe this is really happening. He never thought he'd be under Ian ever again. Never thought he'd feel his skin, or taste his lips. Never thought he'd ever again have the pleasure of feeling Ian move inside him.

He has no idea what's going to happen tomorrow, but he does know he's going to enjoy this. He's going to make the most of these stolen moments.

Mickey sucks in a sharp breath as Ian breaches him with a single finger. He reaches up, pulling Ian back to his mouth. He needs to taste him again.

They make out all through the prep, and by the time Ian is easily thrusting three fingers into Mickey's tight hole, Mickey is a writhing, moaning mess.

"Eh, enough." Mickey groaned. "You gotta fuck me now, man. I'm crawling outta my skin." he barely recognizes his own voice, it's so wrecked. He pats around blindly on the bed for the condom he threw down early, sighing in relief when his fingers wrap around the foil package. He pins it to Ian's chest with a smile. "Get to it, firecrotch."

Ian grins down at him, his whole body aching with desire. He carefully pulls his fingers free, wiping them on the blankets before taking the condom from Mickey. He leans back on his knees, ripping the condom with his teeth and spitting the package on the floor. He rolls the rubber down his dick with shaking fingers, lubing himself up generously before leaning over Mickey's body again.

Mickey looks fucking amazing. His skin is pink, hot to the touch, hair damp with sweat. His blue eyes blown wide with arousal. His lips swollen, his body covered in bite marks and scrapes from Ian's grabbing hands. It's beautiful. He's beautiful.

Mickey reaches for Ian immediately, wrapping his legs around his hips once more. He doesn't remember if they've ever done it like this before. Face to face. But he has no desire to move. No desire to hide. He wants to see Ian. He wants Ian to see him.

Ian locks eyes with Mickey as he lines himself up. He pushes forward slowly, watching Mickey's face for any sign of discomfort. Mickey sighs as Ian breeches him, his eyes slipping closed as he breathes through the stretch. It's better than he remembers. Of course it is. His breath hitches as he tries to curl his legs higher on Ian's hips.

Ian can't breathe. Holy fuck. Mickey is so tight, feels so good. He shimmies his hips, rocking back and forth slowly until he's fully seated inside his lover.

Ian adopts a slow, steady rhythm, thrusting into Mickey's pliant body languidly. One hand gripping the sheets above Mickey's head, the other cupping his ass as he moves inside him. Mickey is watching him, eyes bright, lip wedged between his teeth.

"Jesus fucking christ." Mickey groaned, his eyes rolling back in his head. He curled his hands around Ian's shoulders, keep him close as he rolls his hips.

Ian leans down, kissing Mickey fiercely as his pace increases. He digs his fingers into Mickey's hip as he pounds into him roughly.

Mickey kisses him back just as passionately, breaking free to breathe. He's so gone, he can't focus on anything but his own heart pounding and the feeling of Ian stretching him wide. He grins, his eyes slipping closed as he totally surrenders to the onslaught. He can't remember it ever being this good.

Mickey cries out, pulling Ian's hair tight. Ian chuckles against his mouth, standing on his knees and grabbing Mickey's hips instead. From this new angle he can see it all. Mickey writhing underneath him, his cock sliding in and out of his body fluidly, Mickey's thighs quivering with the force of taking Ian so hard.

"Fuck yeah, gimme that cock." Mickey moans, his hand sliding down his stomach to grip his own dick. He's so hard, and so close to coming he thinks he could probably just touch it and he'd be jizzing all over himself. Ian's hand flies up, gripping Mickey by the wrist before he can get where he wants to be. Ian grabs Mickey's other hand, pinning them both above his head.

"Uh uh." Ian chuckles, breathless. "I'm not done with you yet." He can tell Mickey's close. His body is shaking, muscles taut, his ass clenching around Ian hard. But Ian wants to prolong this as much as possible. Which probably won't be all that much longer, since he's perilously close to coming himself.

"Fuck, fuck." Mickey chants, thrashing around on the pillow. The feeling of Ian's fingers tight around his wrists sends another shock of pleasure down his spine. He loves this shit. Being held down, dominated. Ian doesn't know that about Mickey yet, but Mickey wouldn't mind him learning... "Yeah, Ian. Jesus."

Ian watches Mickey's face. The pure pleasure radiating off him. He fucks him hard, the headboard slamming against the wall with every thrust. Mickey moans, digging his head deeper into the pillow, eyes pinched shut. He's got sweat dripping down his throat, collecting in the dip of his collar bone. Ian doesn't even think, he just leans down and licks it up. Mickey always tasted delicious. Ian moans against Mickey's skin, fucking him harder and harder until it feels like he's going to explode.

"Mick, I'm gonna come." Ian says, voice broken. Mickey just nods, fast and hard. Ian releases one of Mickey's wrists so he can wrap his long fingers around Mickey's weeping cock. He's barely touching him when Mickey explodes all over his hand.

"Shit, shit." Mickey whines, bucking up into Ian's hand.

"Yeah, holy christ." Ian replies, falling down on his elbows as he chases his own release.

"Jesus, Ian, you fuck me so good." Mickey whimpers, starting to feel overstimulated. "Always did."

Those words do something to Ian. He drops down heavily on top of Mickey, still deep inside him as he comes harder than he has since his teenage years. His hips move on their own, fucking Mickey through the ebb and flow of his orgasm.

Mickey grips Ian by the back of his head, pulling him down for another passionate kiss. So much is said in that kiss. Shit they still don't know how to say, even after all this time.

Ian kisses him back just as fiercely. Their tongues tangle, fast, then slower. Soon they are just nipping at each other's lips, goofy smiles on their faces.

"Holy shit." Ian whispers, kissing Mickey one last time before pulling out and rolling over. He removes the condom, dropping it in the waste basket next to the bed.

"No kidding." Mickey chuckles, sitting up. "Where's the bathroom?"

"Uh, end of the hall. Beyond the kitchen." Ian replies, still trying to catch his breath.

"Cool." Mickey said, his feet hitting the floor. He walks out of the room bare-assed, leaving Ian sated and a little confused in his wake.

What the hell is Ian doing here?

When Ian asked Mickey to come up and talk, he didn't know what he expected. But this rush of old feelings and incredible sex was not part of the plan. Ian knew he wanted to apologize, to set the record straight. He knew he wanted Mickey's apology. He wanted to know that he'd mattered, once upon a time. He wanted to know that it wasn't all one-sided, that he hadn't imagined it all.

He never anticipated those long buried feelings flooding him again. Shit he thought he let go a long time ago. Stuff like this doesn't happen in real life. Long lost old flames don't just show up in your life. You don't just wander off into the sunset with your first love.

Was Mickey his first love? Fuck. Probably. Jesus. Ian's made a fucking mess here. For the first time in hours, he thinks about James.

Ian hasn't even ending things officially with him, and here he is, in the house they share, fucking someone else. He throws a hand over his face, succumbing to the shame and guilt.

He fucked up.

"Hey, you okay?" Mickey asks, coming back into the room with a couple more glasses of whiskey and his cigarettes. "I know you said you don't smoke in here. I can throw some pants on and go outside." Mickey motions over his shoulder with his thumb, handing one of the glasses to Ian.

Ian takes the glass with a nod of thanks. "Um, no. You don't have to do that. Come back to bed."

Mickey smiles warmly at Ian, and Ian feels another wave of shame wash over him. Not only is Ian lying to James, he's lying to Mickey. Ian is pretty sure Mickey wouldn't be crawling back into bed with him if he knew the truth.

But Ian pushes his worrisome thoughts aside, choosing instead to focus on Mickey. He takes the glass Mickey offers him, sitting up against the pillows so he can sip it. Mickey sits right next to him, so close their thighs touch. He lights the butt, inhaling deeply. God, he needed that. He blows the smoke toward the ceiling before taking a long sip off his glass.

"Damn, man. You still got it." Mickey chuckles, passing the cigarette to Ian. Ian takes it with a proud smile.

"Not so bad yourself, there, Mick." he replied, grinning. He brought the cigarette to his lips, his eyes searching the space for something he could use as an ashtray. He grabbed a small ceramic trinket bowl from the nightstand, trying not to think about what he usually kept in there. He ashed the butt, handing back to Mickey and picking up his glass again. He drained the whiskey, setting the glass back down and laying heavily against the pillows.

He and Mickey passed the cigarette back and forth silently, Mickey slowly sipping his drink, mulling over what just happened.

It's true, when he came up here he was kinda hoping that he and Ian would have sex. What he wasn't anticipating was wanting more. He never considered the fact that he’d want it all, with Ian. Jesus, Mickey is still Gallagher's bitch, even after all this time.

This is the reason he never reached out, never tried to find Ian. Yeah, part of it was wanting to respect Ian's wishes. Ian didn't want to see him, so Mickey wasn't going to push. But the other part of it was pure self-preservation. He can't control himself around Ian. He cares too much, too deeply.

It's a guaranteed way to get his heart stomped on. Opening that door again would be like inviting Ian to rip his heart out and spit all over it.

Looks like it's too late for that now, two hours of conversation and one mind blowing orgasm later, and Mickey is utterly at Ian's mercy.

Fuck.

Whatever, he'll worry about that bullshit when the sun comes up. For now, he knows what he wants. He stubs out the cigarette in Ian's makeshift ashtray, dropping his empty glass down on the nightstand before swinging his leg over Ian's hips.

He grabs Ian's hands, pinning them above his head as he playfully rolls his hips. He dips his head down, catching Ian's smiling lips in a kiss.

"You ready to go again, or what, asshole?"

Ian laughs, lurching up to capture Mickey’s lips once more. "You always did know how to sweet talk me, Mick."

 

***

 

The room is hot. The sun creeping through the curtains warms his face. Mickey smiled to himself, delighted in the strong arm wrapped around his chest and the dull ache in his ass.

He and Ian had quite a night. Full of sex and long talks. More talking than they'd ever done when they were kids. Mickey was pleased to find that they still had that spark. That unnamable thing that drew them together all those years ago.

Love.

Mickey supposes it was love all along. And after what they'd said to each other last night, it seems like it's still love now.

Mickey grins harder, remembering how Ian had told him over and over how much he missed him, how no one could ever take Mickey's place in his heart. How Mickey is the only man he's ever loved, could ever love.

And Mickey had surprised himself by being just as honest. He told Ian all that shit he never could when he was a kid. He told him how scared he'd always been, especially of Ian. He told Ian how much being with him had changed Mickey for the better. How Mickey is the man he is today because he promised himself he'd never hurt someone like he hurt Ian ever again.

He told Ian that he missed him, has always missed him. That he regrets the way things ended, and would give anything to go back and change it.

They had even talked about the future. Their future together. Just being with each other. Dates and stuff. Real shit that people do when they want to spend time together. Ian and Mickey already know each other, of course, but a lot of time has passed, and it feels like the right thing to do if they are serious about starting over.

And Mickey is serious. It's kind of shocking how much he wants it. A real relationship with Ian. He wants Ian to see that he’s capable of being a real boyfriend, that he’s capable of caring about someone besides himself. He's even thinking about introducing Ian to Yev, someday. He's never wanted to do that before.

But Ian's always been different.

Mickey always wanted more with Ian. And even if he couldn't say it then, he's sure as shit able to say it now.

Mickey's excited. For the first time in a long time, he's excited about an actual chance at love. It's not like he hasn't tried since Ian took off. It just never felt the same with anyone else. Mickey can admit now that maybe he didn't want it to work with anyone else.

Maybe he just wanted Ian this whole time.

Mickey smirks against his pillow, wondering where all this luck came from. He has half a mind to wake Ian up with some epic head, but they have the whole weekend, so he thinks he might just save the sex for after breakfast.

He finds he wants to impress Ian with more than his incredible felatio skills. He's learned other things in the past six years he'd like to show Ian.

So he very carefully slides out from under Ian's arm, slipping his bare feet along the hardwood floor as he twists his body to a standing position. He looks down at Ian sleeping in the bed. He's stretched out along the mattress, his arm still settled over the spot where Mickey was just lying.

He looks so peaceful as he's sleeping. His face lax, his hair a mess. Mickey is overcome by the urge to just crawl back in bed and cuddle up to the ginger idiot. But he really wants to make breakfast for Ian. He wants to do something nice for him. He wants to show Ian's that he's a grown man now. A guy who's more than just sex and unresolved emotional issues. He wants to show Ian he's a whole person now. And in his mind, the first step to that is making the motherfucker breakfast.

He sits at the edge of the bed, carding his tattooed fingers through Ian's messy hair for a moment. He grins to himself as Ian curls into his palm. It warms his heart to see Ian seeking out his touch, even unconsciously.

Mickey slides his fingers through Ian's hair and down his neck, gripping the meat of his shoulder tightly before releasing it and finally standing. He grabs his boxers off the floor, pulling them up over his ass as he wanders toward the door, grabbing his cigarettes along the way.

He makes his way into the hall, lighting a cigarette. He inhales deeply, letting the smoke soothe his nerves as he wanders into the kitchen.

Mickey looks around the kitchen, finding himself again curious how Ian affords this place. The kitchen is bright and big. Stainless steel and granite counters. Bleached wood cabinets and a small island in the middle of the space. Mickey wanders over to the coffee maker. First thing's first. He takes a drag off his cigarette, ashing it in the sink before letting it rest between his lips as he spies a glass jar full of coffee grounds. He makes quick work of the coffee, and as the machine percolates, he opens the fridge, looking inside to see what he can throw together for breakfast. He sees eggs and cheese, some bacon and bagels. Who puts bagels in the fridge? Whatever. He grabs the eggs, cheese and bacon.

He drops the items down on the counter, before digging around under the island for a bowl and a frying pan.

He goes about making breakfast quietly. It's an easy meal, and he doesn't have to think much about it. He pours himself a cup of coffee while he works, sipping it slowly while he contemplates the turn his life has taken over the past twenty-four hours.

Never in a million years did Mickey think he'd find himself in this position. Inviting Ian back into his life after so much time had passed.

The strangest part is how not strange it feels. It feels natural, like Ian belonged in his life all along. Ever since they laid eyes on each other the night before, it was like no time had passed at all.

Except that's not right either. Because they aren't the same people they were back then. They are both better versions of themselves. They aren't scared kids anymore. They are grown men.

The biggest testament to how much they changed had to be how much they opened up to each other last night. They didn't just talk about their relationship. They didn't just talk about how they hurt each other. They actually had deep, meaningful conversations about the shit that really mattered.

Something they never could have done before. They just weren't capable.

Mickey had spilled his guts to Ian in a way he'd never thought possible. He told him things he'd never told anyone. Shit about growing up, living with Terry. The abuse and neglect. The terror of living in that house, and his twisted desire for his old man's approval. He'd told Ian about his mother's death, and how he wasn't allowed to cry at her funeral. He told Ian all the reasons he couldn't be the person Ian needed back in the day. About his paralyzing fear of his father, his own self-hatred, and his certainty that Ian was too good for him. He told Ian how things were after he left. The booze and the drugs and the endless parade of men. He told him how none of it mattered, nothing filled the void that Ian left behind.

And in return, Ian had told him things too. He told Mickey that yes, Mickey's wedding was the catalyst that made him run, but it wasn't the only reason. Ian told him he felt stifled at home, and so very lonely. He told Mickey that back then, his family barely noticed him, and he felt more like a burden than a brother. He told Mickey that the army not only gave him purpose, but a way to give back to his family. He told Mickey that he sent most of his army pay home to help with expenses while he was gone. He told Mickey that being in the army gave him a dual purpose: serving his country and helping his family.

Ian told Mickey how alone he feels, most of the time. How after he came back from overseas it was like no one could see him anymore, no one could understand him anymore. He told him about long nights crying alone in his bed, mourning the loss of the friends he couldn't save. He spoke of reoccurring nightmares full of blood and body parts. About waking up in a cold sweat, screaming for men who are long dead.

And of course, they had spoken about them, now. Mickey hadn't held much back. Telling Ian in no uncertain terms that he wanted more this time. Mickey was ready.

It's not like Mickey had been waiting for Ian to come back into his life. He'd tried with other guys. But now that Ian is laying there in the other room, Mickey might just have to admit to himself that the reason it never worked with any of those other guys was the simple fact that none of those other guys were Ian.

Mickey smiles to himself, sipping his coffee. He cast his eyes over to the eggs.

"Shit." he says, dropping his mug down on the island. He has to flip the eggs, but doesn't have a god damn spatula. He opens one drawer under the island, but only finds regular silverware in there. He tries the next one, finding a seemingly endless supply of Tupperware lids. He smiles, thinking it's such an Ian thing to have so much flippin' Tupperware. He tires the next drawer, but it's full of hand towels.

"Fuck." he mutters, glancing back at the pan. The eggs are starting to smoke and if he doesn't flip them soon he's gonna burn them.

He spins in the kitchen, finding more drawers on the other side of the space, by the sink. There's got to be a fucking spatula somewhere in this god damn kitchen. He pulls out the drawer closest to the wall, but doesn't find the spatula in there either. What he finds instead gives him pause.

He pulls the items out of the drawer, one by one, glancing at each on in disbelief. He’s vaguely aware that his eggs are burning now, but can’t be bothered to care.

What the fuck is this bullshit?

Mickey lays the items on the counter, leaning over them, a hand on either side of the counter, head hung low.

He should have known. He should have seen this shit coming.

Mickey's overcome with an emotion he can't describe. It's like a tidal wave of every shitty feeling imaginable just crashing over him at once.

Sadness. Embarrassment. Jealousy. Disgust. Self fucking pity.

He's so stupid. So fucking stupid.

He takes a deep breath, shaking his head. No. Just fucking no.

All those other emotions are swallowed up by blinding rage. His body is hot, almost vibrating with anger as he scoops up the offending items and storms back into the bedroom.

Ian is still sleeping, and Mickey's anger takes a hit when his eyes fall on the unconscious red head.

God, he still fucking loves him.

But that realization only redoubles his anger. He let this motherfucker back in. Let himself feel shit for him for the first time in forever, and it was all a lie.

Ian's a fucking liar.

Mickey looks down at the shit in his hands. The shit Ian obviously hid from him. He tosses it all on the bed, one of the frames hitting Ian in the shoulder.

The other man stirs, his brows drawn together in confusion. "Mick? What's going on?"

"I don't know Ian." Mickey replies, voice low and cold. "Why don't you tell me?"

Ian sits up, rubbing his eyes, confused. His eyes catch on the bedspread, at the item that had hit him, woken him up.

The photos. The photos of Ian and James that Ian had hidden before Mickey arrived.

"Mick, where did you find these?" Ian asks, even though he knows where they were. "Were you going through my things?"

"Oh, don't you dare." Mickey spat, arms crossed over his chest. "If you must know, I was trying to make you breakfast. Looking for a fucking spatula. Imagine my surprise when I find these in the god damn drawer."

"Mick, it's not what you think it is. Let me explain." Ian said, standing from the bed and pulling his boxers up over his hips.

"Explain what? That you're fucking married, Ian?" Mickey replied hotly. He can't believe this shit.

But the evidence is there. In those photos. Pictures of Ian and some blond dude. Matching suits, matching rings. Kissing and smiling, holding their marriage certificate. Fucking dancing together. Ian and this same guy, over and over. In front of a Christmas tree, holding hands. On the beach, laying together in the sand. Standing on the Golden Gate Bridge. And of course, the best one had to be Ian and this guy, his fucking husband, sitting on the rocky shore outside this very house.

This is Ian's house. A house he shares with his husband.

Mickey feels sick.

"Mick, please." Ian says, taking a step forward. Mickey takes a step back and Ian feels his stomach drop. He should have anticipated this might happen. He should have just been honest. Fuck. Fuck. "It's not like that."

Mickey backs up until his back hits the wall. He's overcome by the desire to run. To leave this place and Ian, and never look back. But he's stuck. Trapped against this wall, held in place by Ian's imploring eyes.

"So you're not married?" Mickey asks, pissed at himself for how hopeful he sounds. But that hope is dashed when Ian looks away.

So it's true.

Ian feels his face heat up, overcome with shame. "I am. Married." he says, chancing a glance at Mickey. Mickey's face is hard, his eyes dark with anger. "But...but we're separated. He doesn't even live with me right now."

"How long?" Mickey hears himself ask. He shouldn't care. He should just grab his shit and go. Ian is a fucking liar. A married liar. A cheater.

Ian sighs, running his fingers through his hair in frustration. He had really hoped he could avoid talking about it this weekend. He hadn't anticipated wanting more with Mickey. He'd stupidly thought he could get his closure and move on.

Or maybe he'd been lying to himself all along. Maybe he wanted Mickey to know. Maybe he wanted it all out in the open so he'd be forced to finally DO something about it. Who the fuck knows.

All he does know is that this is not the way he wanted Mickey to find out.

"We've been together for three years. Married for two."

"Un-fucking-believable." Mickey groaned, moving toward his clothes. He starts dressing, his back turned to Ian.

"Mick, please. Don't go. Not like this." Ian pleads, pulling on a pair of sweats.

Mickey turns fast, dropping the rest of his clothes on the floor and stomping over to Ian. He gets right in his face. "You fucking asshole." he pushes Ian hard, sending him stumbling back. "Who the fuck do you think you are? Asking me up here, acting like it means something, and all along, you're married to some other fucking guy? What was all that shit last night? All the shit I told you man, what the fuck?"

"Mick, it was real, I swear." Ian pleaded, eyes wide. "Nothing's changed."

"Oh fuck off." Mickey spat, pushing Ian again. "All that shit you said about trying again, was that fun for you? Fun to fuck with my emotions? Promising me that we could have a real chance this time? Start over? And the whole time you're planning on going home to your husband?"

"You're not listening!" Ian shouted, feeling his own anger start to build. "We're separated."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Mickey spat, incredulous. "You fucking lied. About having a husband." Mickey shook his head, running a hand over his mouth in irritation. "What else did you lie about?"

"Nothing." Ian shook his head, taking a step forward.

"Don't come near me." Mickey said, voice low. "I'm serious, Ian. Stay the fuck back." Mickey's surprised by how hurt he really is. He can't believe he let himself get sucked back into Ian's bullshit so quickly.

Looks like he's just as stupid as he always was.

Ian doesn't listen, of course. He gets right up in Mickey's face. Ian reaches for him, and Mickey reacts without thinking.

He swings on Ian, hard. His fist connects with Ian's jaw and the red head goes sprawling. He catches himself on the wall, his hand moving to his bleeding lip, his eyes wide.

"I told, you." Mickey shrugs, on the verge of losing his shit. "Stay the fuck back."

Ian lunges, fists first, and catches Mickey right in the stomach. Mickey drops to his knees, clutching his abdomen, a pained grunt slipping past his lips.

"You fucking asshole." Mickey mutters, hooking his hands behind Ian's knees and pulling hard, sending the other man flying to the floor.

Ian's back hits the wood hard, all the air leaving his lungs in a whoosh. He groans, but doesn't have time to do much else before Mickey is straddling his waist and delivering blows to his face and head.

Ian tries to protect himself, pressing his hands under Mickey’s chin, trying to push him off. He digs his fingers into Mickey's face, catching his bottom lip and scraping his chin. Mickey's hands fly up, covering his own face and Ian takes advantage of his distraction to flip them over. He delivers a hard punch to Mickey's stomach, and the smaller man curls into a ball underneath him.

Mickey starts to gag, and Ian's afraid he might puke. In that moment, all the anger drains out of Ian. He rolls Mickey back over, trying to assess the damage, but when he comes face to face with Mickey again, there is no pain in his expression. There's not even anger. Ian is a little confused to find Mickey's eyes vacant. Empty. Like he's not even there anymore.

Ian's about to ask him if he's okay, when Mickey wraps a hand around the back of his head, dragging him down into a biting kiss.

Ian gasps into the kiss, momentarily thrown by the rapid change in atmosphere. He groans when Mickey bits his lip hard enough to draw blood, swiping his tongue along the wound before plunging deeper into Ian's mouth.

In the back of his mind, alarm bells are going off, but the way Mickey is kissing him makes it hard to focus on anything else.

Mickey sits up quickly, sending Ian scrambling backwards. Before Ian can ask him what's going on, Mickey is on him again. He's pulling at him, clawing at his sweatpants, dragging them down his hips.

Once Ian is naked again, panting on the hardwood floor, Mickey strips the rest of his clothes and crawls over to Ian again.

Mickey isn't sure what he's doing. All he knows is that he needs to do this. He needs to do it now. He's still stretched from the night before, doesn't want the foreplay anyway. He wants Ian touching him as little as possible.

He's hard and ready, and so is Ian. A brutal fist fight was always a good way to get their juices flowing.

"Mick." Ian says, voice unsure.

"Shut the fuck up." Mickey barked, straddling Ian's waist. He pinned the other man to the floor with a hand to his chest. "Don't fucking talk to me."

Mickey spit in his hand, smearing the mess all over Ian's rigid dick. Ian groaned at the touch, but wisely kept his mouth shut.

Mickey's so angry. He feels so betrayed. He's not sure why he's doing this right now. It will probably only make things worse.

He's vaguely aware that they aren't using protection this time, but he's too overcome by rage and lust to think about it too much. He grabs Ian's cock, lining it up with his waiting hole, and sinks down on it in one fluid motion.

It burns. It even hurts. But Mickey finds he wants that pain. That distraction from what this really is, what it really means.

Ian's eyes roll back in his head as Mickey starts to move. He's riding Ian hard, like a man possessed. His fingers dig into Ian's wrists, holding him still while Mickey takes what he wants. Ian's hips surge up to meet him, but Mickey is the one steering this ship.

Mickey's head is thrown back, eyes closed, as he pops his ass on Ian's dick. Ian feels so good inside him, but this time it's tempered by the emotions Mickey is feeling. He can't lose himself in the sensation of being filled, when he feels so empty inside.

Mickey blinks back tears as he rocks on Ian's lap. He refuses to look at him. He's going to get this one last thing, and then he's going to go.

This is goodbye.

Ian is staring up at Mickey as he rides him. Mickey's eyes are closed, head back. His chest is heaving, his breath uneven. He looks fucking gorgeous, even if Ian can tell something is very wrong. How they went from throwing punches to fucking, he's still not sure. But Ian can tell something is not right.

Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't feel good. Mickey rides him like a fucking pro, and Ian is so close to coming already. He thrusts up into Mickey's body as the other man fucks him with abandon. Ian feels like he's being used. Like Mickey is getting himself off using his dick, and couldn't care less if Ian's even there or not.

"Mick, I'm gonna come." Ian whimpers. Mickey doesn't reply. Doesn't even look at him. He just grinds down on Ian's dick harder, rolls his hips faster. He finally releases on of Ian's wrists in favor of gripping his own bobbing cock, stripping it in time with his hips. His eyes are still closed, and Ian has the sudden worrisome thought that Mickey is thinking of someone else while he uses Ian's cock like a dildo.

Ian's inner turmoil is interrupted when Mickey clenches hard around his cock, coming all over his own hand and Ian's chest.

That's enough to send Ian over the edge. his free hand flies up, gripping Mickey's hip hard as he bucks up off the floor, filling Mickey's ass with his release. The orgasm is all consuming, surging through his body like a flash flood. Ian's whole body burns with it, and he's left a quaking, moaning mess in its wake.

He's still rolling through the aftershocks when Mickey wipes his soiled hand on Ian's chest and stands from his lap. Mickey doesn't look at him as he walks toward the bed, grabbing the first thing he can find to wipe down his ass and thighs. Ian's a bit disgruntled to find it's one of his favorite shits that Mickey is now tossing back to the floor like a used kleenex.

He's about to say something. He's not sure what, but he feels like he needs to say something.

Mickey's back is turned to him. He's pulling his clothes on fast, like he doesn't want Ian to see his nakedness.

"Mick." Ian finally says, standing himself. He pulls his sweats back on, forgoing underwear. He takes a step toward the other man but stops short when Mickey spins to face him. His face is hard again, eyes dead again.

Ian hasn't seen that look since that day. With Svetlana.

That looks chills Ian to his very core.

"Save it." Mickey says, hand up. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigarette, lighting it. "I don't give a fuck. This is done." he motions between the two of them with his cigarette. "It was a mistake to come up here. A mistake to revisit all this old bullshit." Mickey nods to himself, brow furrowed. “This was a fucking mistake.”

"Mick, you don't mean that. After what we said last night." Ian's voice is desperate. It can't end like this.

Not again.

"Everything you said last night was a LIE, Ian." Mickey said, glaring at him. He can't believe he'd been so stupid.

You can't go back in time and fix shit that was broken years ago. You can't pick up pieces that were shattered in another lifetime. He was stupid to think Ian was serious about them. He was stupid to think Ian would ever give a shit like that again.

Maybe Ian had been lying to him all this time. Or maybe he'd been lying to himself. He's certainly lying to his husband.

Husband.

What the fuck.

Mickey took a long drag off his cigarette, rolling his head on his neck. God, he's so fucking tense now. Anger swims in his veins, he can barely control himself.

"I don't know what you thought you were gonna get from me." Mickey shakes his head. "Hell, you probably already got it, three times." Mickey isn't going to admit to Ian that he feels used. That Ian made him feel like some kind of whore. Like some cheap side piece.

Mickey idly wonders as he flicks his ash on the floor, is this what Ian felt like, when Mickey married Svetlana?

No. Fuck that. That was an entirely different situation. They were just kids, for one. Mickey was not in control of any of that shit, for two. And lastly, Mickey never lied to Ian. Ian knew all along what Mickey was, where he stood.

Now, Mickey has no idea how Ian feels. About him, about them, about his husband.

He doesn't know, and he knows he shouldn't care. He can't care.

"I'm sorry, Mick." Ian says, eyes pleading. "Please, you have to know. James and I are separated. We live in different houses, I want a divorce."

"I get that, Ian." Mickey sighed, suddenly very tired. "But you're not divorced. You're married. And you didn't tell me." Mickey cleared his throat, blinking back tears. He stubbed out his cigarette in the little bowl by the bed, suddenly realizing what it's for. "Is this thing for your wedding rings?" he pointed at the bowl, full of butts and ashes. "Is this where you put them when you share this bed with him?"

Ian glanced at the bowl, then back at Mickey. He pinched the bridge of his nose with two fingers, nodding.

"Unbelievable." Mickey sighed. “Who the fuck are you? Cuz you’re sure as shit not the person I used to know.” He glanced at Ian once more before turning and leaving the room. He could hear Ian following him, but he didn't look back. He grabbed his coat off the back of the chair, slipping it on before crouching down to slip on his shoes. He had his bag hitched up over his shoulder and his keys in his hands. He opened up his navigation app with his other hand, glaring at the screen when it told him how far he was from home.

He never should have come.

"Mick, please don't leave like this." Ian begged, his eyes wet. He can't believe after everything, this is how it's going to end.

Mickey turned, facing Ian once more. It was a mistake. There were tears in Ian’s eyes, his mouth hanging open like he wanted to say something but didn’t know what.

Mickey shook his head, anger bubbling in his gut again. He can’t believe he fell for this shit. He feels like a fucking moron.

"Ian, we're done here. Go back to your husband. Or don't. I don't care. It's none of my business. Don't contact me again." with that he turned his back on Ian's shocked face and made his way out of the cottage.

It's still early in the morning, and the sun is hard on Mickey's eyes. His eyes fill with tears and he wipes them away with angry fingers. He can't believe he let himself get so deep in just one day. He can't believe he's still such a bitch for Gallagher. He can't believe he let himself fall for Ian's bullshit. He can't believe Ian's fucking married. To some guy named James.

What the fuck. What the fuck.

He slides into the driver's seat, tossing his bag into the passenger seat and starting his car. As he pulls a U-turn to get out of the driveway, he sees Ian standing on the steps, arms wrapped around his chest, tears in his eyes.

Mickey doesn't stop. He completes his turn and makes his way down the driveway and away from Ian, forever.

He throws his sunglasses on, turns the radio up loud. So he can't see the tears streaming down his own face in the mirror. So he can't hear the endless stream of anger and pain in his own head.

Fuck this. He's going home.

 

***

 

Fall is Mickey's favorite time of year. Just warm enough that he doesn't have to wear his big puffy coat, but cool enough that he doesn't have to waste money on air conditioning. He's busy at work. He's grateful for the distraction.

It's been almost three months since his night with Ian. Three months, and Mickey's still fucked up over it.

Once he got back to Chicago, he threw himself back into his routine. Work, Yev, Mandy and Iggy, AJ. He put anything and everything else out of his head.

Ian tried to contact him again on FB messenger. Those first few days were full of endless messages, all of them left unread. All of them deleted. Mickey didn't want to hear it. He didn't fucking care.

He doesn't care. He doesn't.

He's making his way home from a job on Metcalf Street. Doing blueboard on a house addition a few blocks from his house. He likes it when he works close to home. The commute at this time of day is a bitch.

His phone starts ringing and he reaches for it blindly. He answers without looking at the screen. "Yo."

"Hey Mickey." AJ's voice flows over the line and Mickey rolls his eyes a little. Mickey told him he'd call him once he got home. "Where are you?"

"On my way back to the house, why?"

"Just wondering if you wanted to grab a beer?" AJ sounds hopeful. He's been pushing Mickey for more lately, but Mickey's heart's just not in it.

He doesn't like to think about why.

"Maybe. I got Yev tonight, so I'd have to see if Mands or Igg could watch him."

"I mean, I could bring beer over? If that would be easier." AJ is transparent as fuck. He wants to come to Mickey's house, he wants to meet his son.

Yeah, that's not happening.

"Nah, man. Lemme just figure some shit out, and I'll call you back." Mickey says, biting his bottom lip.

"Sure, Mick. Fine." AJ spits back, hanging up before Mickey can reply.

"Fucking Christ." Mickey mutters, finally pulling up in front of his house. He cuts the engine and makes his way inside, desperate for a fucking beer.

He lets himself into the house, dropping his keys on the coffee table and making his way to the kitchen, where Mandy and Yevgeny are already sitting, coloring.

"Hey buddy." Mickey says, ruffling Yevgeny's hair as he makes his way toward the fridge. He grabs a beer, popping the top and taking a long swig off the bottle. "Hey Mands."

"Hey dad, look what I made." Yevgeny says, holding up a picture of a boat. "It's the Titanic."

"It's the what?" Mickey replies, turning toward his sister, eyebrows raised.

"We watched the movie." Mandy shrugs, "Kid's a history buff, who knew?"

"Everyone died." Yevgeny said excitedly.

"Yeah, buddy." Mickey replied, unsure of what else to say. "Lotsa people died." he glared at his sister who was just smirking back at him. "Why don't you go wash up. I ordered Chinese, and it should be here any minute."

"Oh!" Yevgeny yelped, jumping up from the table. "PooPoo?"

Mickey chuckled, shaking his head. "Yeah, kiddo, PuPu platter."

Yevgeny gave his father a blinding smile, and was up and away before Mickey could blink.

"That kid, I swear." Mickey laughed, sitting across from his sister and taking another long sip off his beer. "You staying for dinner? I got more beer."

"Mick, we need to talk." Mandy sighed, standing up and moving to the fridge. She came back with a beer of her own, regarding her brother across the table.

Mickey was instantly wary. What now? "What? Spit it out."

"Ian contacted me." Mandy said, cutting right to the chase.

Mickey groaned, rolling his eyes. "Of course he did."

"He told me what happened." Mandy continued undeterred. "Between you two, I mean."

"Sure, yeah. I can see why he'd do that." Mickey muttered bitterly. "You know, calling you, after falling off the face of the earth for years, abandoning BOTH of us, I might add. Then he gets caught in a lie and goes running to you of all people to whine about it. You bought that shit?"

Mickey knows he's being a dick. Taking shit out on his sister that has nothing to do with her. But he can already tell where this is going.

He's not the only one who had a soft spot for Gallagher.

"Mick, I think you should talk to him." Mandy says, just like Mickey knew she would. "He's got a lot going on, but he feels really bad and wants to make it right."

"Oh, he feels bad. Okay then. I'll just forget all about the fact that he lied to me. That he used me to cheat on his husband. That he led me on for weeks, never once thinking 'oh, maybe I should tell Mickey that I'm in a relationship before I put my dick in him."

"Ey, come the fuck on." Mandy groused, throwing her hands up. "I don't want to hear the nasty details." she shakes her head, like it will erase the words from her head. "All I'm saying is that you should maybe hear him out, just one more time. If not for anything else, then for closure."

Mickey chuckles darkly, shaking his head. "Fucking closure. That's what we were trying for the last time we got together. All that it did was make shit worse. I just need to cut my losses, Mands. I can't be around him anymore. I gotta move on."

Mandy sighed, running her fingers through her hair. "Mick, I get where you are coming from, but I think you should at least let him explain. Just one more time. I think you may feel differently once you hear him out."

"What the fuck is this, Mandy? I didn't know you and Gallagher were even girlfriends anymore."

"We reconnected not long after that night. He called me a few days later, to talk about what happened between the two of you."

Mickey felt a spike of irrational anger. " Three months, Mands? You've been talking to him for three months? He's been running his mouth this whole time? Who the fuck does he think he is, talking about our shit with you? It's none of your god damn business."

"Mick, who else would he talk to? I know you guys better than anyone. Of course he'd come to me. Besides, it's not just about you, Ian and I are hanging out again, as friends. It's nice, I missed him."

Mickey just nodded, all the fight draining out of him. He was about to ask his sister to drop it for the night when there was a knock at the door.

"That's the food." Mickey said, moving to stand.

"I got it." Mandy said, waving him off. "I think you have a phone call, anyway."

"What are you talking..." Mickey's words were cut off when his phone started ringing. It was an unknown number and his eyes shot up to his sister, who was wandering back into the kitchen with the food. "Tell me you didn't give him my number."

"Just answer it, Mick." Mandy said before turning toward the hallway. "Yev!!! Dinner!!!"

Yevgeny comes running from the back into the kitchen, opening a paper container, giggling as the steam billows out. Mickey swipes his fingers against the screen, putting the phone to his head.

"Dad, food." Yevgeny says, his brow furrowed.

"I know buddy, one sec." Mickey puts up his finger, backing away toward his room. "Hello."

"Hey Mick." Ian's voice filters over the line, and Mickey is angry with himself at how the sound of the other man soothes him so much. "You busy?"

"Kinda." Mickey says, sitting on his bed. "Food just got here. Tryin' to eat with my kid."

"Oh, he's there." Ian replied, voice low. "I'm sorry, I didn't know."

"It's fine. Kid's gonna be gorging on crab rangoons for the next half hour." Mickey sighed, already over the small talk. "Ian, what do you want?"

"I wanted to talk." Ian replies, like it should be obvious.

Mickey sighed again, already feeling overtaxed emotionally. It's incredible how quickly Ian can take it all right out of him. Leaves him weak, tired. Sad. "Talk about what?"

"Not over the phone." Ian replied quickly, like he was hoping Mickey would agree. "We can meet somewhere? Drinks? Or you could come to my place? I have a duplex on Grove Street. Do you know where it is?"

Mickey laid his head in his hand, already feeling himself giving in. What was it about this fucking guy that turned him into such a pushover?

"Yeah, man. I know where it is. Did some work over there not too long ago."

"So you'll come?" Ian's voice was hopeful, and Mickey once again felt powerless against him. He should be angrier, right? Ian lied. About something pretty fucking important. But Mickey finds he still wants to hear him out.

Mandy's right. Whatever it is between him and Ian doesn't feel finished. He's not sure it will ever be finished.

God damn it.

"Yeah, Ian. I'll come. What time?"

"Oh yeah? Awesome." Ian's smile was evident over the phone. "I'm home, so you can come by whenever. Thanks, Mick. This means a lot to me."

"Don't thank me yet." Mickey said, ending the call before Ian could respond. Before Mickey could even put the phone down it was ringing again. He groaned, saving Ian's number in his phone before answering the next call.

AJ. Wonderful.

Mickey again swiped his finger over the screen, making his way back to the kitchen to stuff some boneless pork ribs into his mouth. Yevgeny was covered in fried rice, and Mandy was scrolling through her phone, crab rangoon poised halfway to her mouth.

"Hey AJ." Mickey said, moving his lo mein around on his plate. Now that he had plans with Ian, he kinda just wanted to get to it.

"Hey Mickey. Are we on? You wanna meet up?" AJ sounded so hopeful, Mickey kinda felt like an asshole for dicking him around.

"Can't man. Something came up." Mickey said. It's not a lie, but it feels like one.

"Is Yevvy okay?" AJ asks, and Mickey just feels worse.

"Yeah, yeah, he's fine. Uh, Mandy just can't stick around and watch him. And you know I'm just not ready to have you over here."

AJ huffs on the other line, and Mickey knows he's pissed him off. "Fine. Call me when you wanna hang out. If I'm free I'll think about it." AJ hangs up before Mickey can reply, and Mickey takes a minute to marvel at the fact that he got AJ to hang up on him in a huff twice in an hour.

Whatever, fuck it.

He drops the phone back on the table and looks up at his sister, who is already smirking back at him.

"Do I have plans tonight I don't know about?" Mandy laughed. "I mean, where am I going that I can't watch Yev?"

"Fuck off." Mickey replied, stuffing his phone and his cigarettes in his pockets. "I'm going down to Ian's. Can you stay here with Yev?"

"You're gonna go see Ian?" Mandy beamed. "Oh, that's great, Mick."

"Don't get all excited. I told him I'd hear him out. Nothing could come of it."

"I highly doubt that." Mandy sang, standing from the table and making her way to the living room, towing Yevgeny behind her by the wrist. They flopped down next to each other on the couch, Mandy tossing a Tigger blanket over them and handing Yevgeny his teddy. "Hey Yev, you wanna watch Transformers? Daddy's going out for a while."

"You are?" Yevgeny asked, turning on the sofa to gaze at his father. "Hot date?"

"What the fuck?" Mickey yelped. "How do you know what a hot date is?"

"Tommy from school." Yevgeny replied. "Tommy said that daddies who aren't married go on hot dates with pretty ladies, and that's how we get new mommies."

"No one's getting a new mommy." Mickey sighed. What the hell. "I'm just going out to see a friend."

"You have friends?" his son countered, cocking his head to the side, confused.

Jesus fuck. "Yes, I have friends." Mickey replied, shooting his sister a glare when she started chuckling. "Nobody asked you." he flipped her off, moving toward the door. "I'll call if I'm going to be late."

"Don't come home at all." Mandy laughed. "We're good here, right buddy?" she squeezed Yevgeny around the middle, ruffling his hair.

"Yeah, daddy, don't come home." Yevgeny giggled.

"Yeah, yeah, I get it. See ya." Mickey laughed, leaving them to it and wandering into the night.

Looks like he's not quite done with Ian after all.

 

***

 

Ian feels like he's been here before. Hustling around his apartment, cleaning and organizing, trying to make a good impression on Mickey.

This time feels different, though. It is different.

For one, Mickey already knows the truth. For two, Ian is divorced. He and James finally made it official about two months ago. It was a relief, honestly.

James didn't make it hard, but he didn't make it easy either. They fought over what little assets they shared. James wanted to sell the lake house, but Ian didn't want to. He ended up buying James out of the contract, and now he has to pay him two grand a year until his ten thousand dollar deposit is repaid. He also wanted Ian's car, but the judge agreed that Ian could keep it. Thank god.

Besides that, it was just little shit. Furniture, clothes (what self-respecting man asks for another man's clothes in the divorce settlement?) knickknacks and shit from when they shared a home.

But after that shit was settled, Ian walked away from James and didn't look back.

It was done. Ian's marriage was over.

And hopefully, he's about to start something new. Something better.

Something he's wanted all along...

His head whips up when he hears a knock on the door. A wide smile splits his lips as he drops his phone onto the coffee table and lurches toward the door.

He flings the door open, unable to temper his smile when he sees him standing there.

Mickey is standing on his porch, hands stuffed in his coat pockets, shuffling from foot to foot. He glances up at Ian, biting his lip, and Ian just wants to jump him.

Mickey knows he's making that face. The one that gives him away totally. But he can't help it. It's like he can't hide anything from Ian.

He wishes it was the same for the other man, but Ian clearly has no problem hiding shit from Mickey. Their last meeting is a testament to that.

"Hey." Ian says, smiling wide. He steps aside so Mickey can make his way into the house. Mickey cast his eyes around the space, taking it in. He finds himself searching the living room for pictures. Pictures like the ones he found in that drawer at the cabin. He doesn't see any evidence of Ian's husband.

Ex. Ex-husband.

Ian's divorced. He said it's over. He said it was over well before they met up at Egg Harbor.

Now Mickey needs to decide if he believes him.

"Have a seat." Ian says, making his way into the kitchen. "Do you want a beer?"

"Of course I want a fucking beer." Mickey spat back, immediately regretting his tone. Jesus, he needs to get it together if they are going to get through this talk without bloodshed. "Please." he added quietly.

Ian wandered back to the living room, sitting next to Mickey and handing him a beer. Mickey can't help but notice how close Ian had decided to sit. Mickey could feel the heat radiating off Ian's body, and he could feel his own body starting to react.

Shit.

It's crazy, how much Ian affects him. He's never experienced anything like it in his life, before or after this ginger moron.

There's just something about Ian. Mickey can't explain it. And he sure as shit can't shake it.

"So..." Ian starts, glancing up at Mickey before casting his eyes down toward his lap.

"So..." Mickey replies, taking a sip off his beer. He spies an ashtray on the coffee table and sighs in relief. He places his beer on the coffee table in favor of retrieving a cigarette out of his pack. He puts it to his lips and lights it, blowing the smoke toward the ceiling before locking eyes with Ian again. "Married?"

"Divorced." Ian replies. He knew this was where it was gonna start, and he's ready for it. "I was married, though, when I met you at the beach house. I should have told you, and I'm sorry. But it really was over before I even contacted you. James had his own place, we weren't living together, for months. Mick, I promise."

Mickey sighed, nodding. He picked his beer back up, taking a long, satisfying pull off the bottle. "Okay, yeah. That's fine. But then why did you lie about it?" Mickey just didn't understand. There was no reason to lie. "We talked about that shit that night. You asked me if I had anyone serious. I told you no. That was the truth. I asked you the same thing, and you said no too. But that was a fucking lie. A big one. Why did you do that?" his eyes were boring into Ian's. He could see the pain in Ian's face, clear as day. He wasn't trying to hurt him, he just didn't understand.

Ian held his hand out for the cigarette, and Mickey passed it over. He took a long drag, passing the smoke back before leaning back against the couch cushions. "Honestly?"

"Yeah, Ian." Mickey replied, eyebrows high. "Honesty would be pretty fucking sweet right now."

Ian chuckled, shaking his head. "Well, when we first started talking, I didn't even know if it was going anywhere. I didn't even have your phone number. Just chatting on the internet, you know? I didn't wanna get too deep, scare you off."

Mickey laughed at that, shaking his head. "I can see why you'd think that, but I'm not that guy anymore."

"I know, Mick." Ian replied quietly. "I know that now. But before that night at the lake house, I had no way of knowing who you were now. You were just somebody that I used to know. Does that make sense?"

Mickey nodded, sipping his beer. He shook the empty, glancing at Ian. "Got another?"

"Yeah, kitchen." Ian replied.

Mickey nodded, standing and making his way to the kitchen.

Was Ian right? Was his marriage unimportant at the start of this whole thing? No. No way. He wandered back into the living room, dropping down next to Ian. "But, after all that talking we did that night, why didn't you tell me?" Mickey could hear his own voice getting higher, letting on how hurt he really was. He didn't try to hide it.

He doesn't hide anymore.

"You were talking to me like you thought we might have something. Something real to work toward. And I believed it. Y'know? I believed you."

"It was true, Mick." Ian insisted. He closed the small distance between them, gripping Mickey's hand in both of his. It reminded him of that moment at the cabin, the first time they ever held hands.

Ian can't let this be the last time they ever touch like this. He won't let go this time.

"Everything I said to you was true. And I know that I fucked up, not telling you about James. I know we hurt each other a lot, back when we were kids. And I know I hurt you when I lied. I know it's a lot, it's just one of many things we still need to work through. But I'm in this. I want to try, with you. I want you. Only you. I think I've wanted you all along. Do you not feel that way?"

Mickey cleared his throat, squeezing Ian's hand in his own. He looked up, locking eyes with Ian. His Ian. The one he let go so long ago, when he was too scared to admit how he felt. Too scared to admit who he was.

Was he ready to let Ian walk away again? Let him walk out of his life over something like this? A lie?

Before Ian ran away, all Mickey ever did was lie. Lie to Ian, to his family, to himself.

Does he understand why Ian would lie about being married? Yeah. Can he forgive that? Yeah, he thinks he can. After everything they've been through, it seems like a small thing. Too small to throw it all away over.

Mickey knows there is still something there. Between he and Ian. He can feel it radiating between them at this very moment. And he knows he can't ignore it. Doesn't want to.

"I don't want that." Mickey says suddenly.

Ian's eyes snap up, his fingers tightening around Mickey's, like he's afraid Mickey's going to pull away, leave him sitting alone in his house, walk out of his life.

"I don't want to just be somebody that you used to know." Mickey clarifies. Ian deflates, relief flooding his system as Mickey scoots closer to him on the couch. "I wanna be someone you know now."

Ian smiled so wide, his hands coming up to cup Mickey's face. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." Mickey nodded, smiling himself. "You're right. We don't know each other anymore. There is so much we need to work out, but I don't want to look back at my life and regret walking away from you. I don't want you to be just somebody that I used to know, either. I want you, Ian. Always have. And now I'm pretty sure I always will."

"Oh fuck, Mick. Jesus." Ian sighed, pulling Mickey toward him with both hands cradling his face.

The kiss was soft, like a first kiss. Ian pressed his lips to Mickey's again and again, gently, then not so gently. Mickey grinned against his mouth, pushing his tongue past Ian's lips. Ian moaned, gripping Mickey's face tighter, pulling him closer. Mickey chuckled, turning on the couch and swinging his leg over Ian's lap.

Ian huffed out a surprised laugh, curling his hands under Mickey's ass without thought. Mickey grinned down at him, rocking in Ian's lap.

"This remind you of anything?" Mickey murmured, trailing kisses down Ian's neck.

Ian laughed, tilting his head to the side to give Mickey more room to work. "Yeah, that night at the beach house. You crawled into my lap and I almost came in my pants right there.”

Mickey laughed, pulling back so he could glance into Ian's lust blown eyes. God he was so sexy. His skin was already pink, thin sheen of sweat shining on his neck. His hair was askew from Mickey's fingers. A strange swell of pride bubbles up in Mickey's chest. He has the overwhelming desire to mark Ian all over. Let everyone know he was there. "I wanted you so bad that night." Mickey says, sliding off Ian's lap and settling on the floor between his legs. "Almost as bad as I want you right now."

Ian watched with wide eyes as Mickey unzipped his jeans and pulled out his dick. It was already rock hard form the dry humping, aching to be touched.

Ian's whole body spasmed when Mickey took him in hand. He groaned, throwing his head back. Mickey jerked him off slowly, darting his tongue out, lapping at his head playfully.

"Fuck, Mick." Ian groaned as Mickey suddenly swallowed him down. Ian's head jerked back up, his hands curling around Mickey's skull. Mickey was staring up at him, a playful gleam in his eyes as he sucked him off.

Jesus, Mickey could do this shit forever. He loved sucking Ian's dick. He's never felt like that with anyone else. Blowing a guy was just something he had to do to get to the main event. But with Ian, shit, it was a whole other level. He loved everything about it. The way Ian's massive hard on stretched his mouth wide, hitting the back of his throat again and again, the salty tang of his excitement on his tongue. Everything about it was just so erotic. The feeling of Ian's fingers in his hair, his desperate moans hitting Mickey's ears. Mickey was so hard. He pressed down on the front of his jeans, trying to relieve some of the pressure.

He pulled off with a pop, letting Ian's cock slap back against his stomach. "Get your fucking clothes off." he said, breathing hard.

Ian smirked at him, sitting forward so he could pull his t shirt over his head. He tossed it to the side before leaning back on the couch so he could shimmy out of his pants.

Mickey stood from the floor, making quick work of his own clothes. Once he was naked, he stood in front of Ian, stroking his cock. "Where's your shit, man?"

"Uh..." Ian actually had to think about it, his thoughts so clouded with lust. "Right there." Ian pointed over Mickey's shoulder. Mickey quirked an eyebrow, turning on the spot. On the other side of the room, on a small table by the window, sits a small bottle of lube.

"Tell me you didn't just assume I'd fuck you when I came over here." Mickey groused, crossing the room quickly and snatching the bottle up.

"Nah, had to relieve some tension." Ian smirked, opening his arms so Mickey could crawl back into his lap. "Just thinking about you coming over got me hard. Couldn't think straight until I rubbed one out."

Mickey laughed at that, uncapping the lube and slathering the slick liquid all over Ian's hard cock. He crawled back into Ian's lap, standing on his knees. He curled one hand around the back of the couch, using the other to line Ian up against his ass. He was ready to sink down on him, when Ian's hands on his hips stopped him.

"Mick, wait. Gotta stretch you." Ian panted, desperately clinging to his control.

"Nah." Mickey shook his head, sliding down on Ian's dick in one smooth motion. "You're not the only one who had to relieve some tension today. You've been on my mind so much lately, I've been jerking off like a twelve year old who just discovered boners. I've never used my dildos more in my life."

"Oh shit, Mick. That's fucking hot." Ian laughed through a moan. "You gotta show me that shit some day."

"Yeah?" Mickey asked as he slowly started to ride Ian. "You want me to put on a show for you, Ian? Get on all fours and fuck myself with one of my toys? Get my ass nice and stretched so you can fuck it?"

"Oh, fuck yeah." Ian growled, his fingers digging into Mickey's ass cheeks, pulling him down harder onto his cock. "I could do that for you. Tie you up. Get you all worked up with one of those toys, make you beg for the real thing. Would you? Beg me for it?" Ian is cognizant somewhere in his mind that they've never done this. Talked dirty like this. He's surprised by how normal it feels. Like they've been doing this for ages.

"Yeah, I'd fucking beg for this cock. I'd do whatever you want." Mickey moans, fucking himself down on Ian’s dick. He gripped Ian's shoulders, bouncing in his lap. "Jesus, Ian, I'm close already."

"Yeah?" Ian gasped, his body jerking. "Good. Cuz I'm about to fucking blow."

Mickey chuckled, closing the distance between their mouths. The kiss was sloppy, all tongue. Mickey writhed in Ian's lap, gasping when Ian's fingers closed around his hard on. His rhythm didn't falter, though. He rode Ian hard, licking into his mouth hungrily. He threw his hips down on Ian's dick before surging up into his hand.

"Fuck, you feel so good." Ian moaned, his hand moving faster, desperate to get Mickey off first. "Take me so good. Riding me so good. Jesus, Mick."

"I'm gonna come." Mickey choked out, pulling away from Ian's mouth and throwing his head back in pleasure. He worked his body on Ian's dick, the fire rippling its way through his body until he shot his load all over Ian's chest. He moaned loud, his whole body quivering with wave after wave of pleasure.

"Oh, shit. Fuck. Fuck." Ian’s legs jerked, his fingers digging into Mickey's ass as he shot his load deep inside him. It felt like he couldn't breathe, it hit him so hard. His vision cut out and his body tingled. He felt like he might pass out.

Mickey went limp on top of Ian, resting his head against his shoulder as he caught his breath.

"Jesus." Ian wheezed. Mickey chuckled, finally climbing off his lap. He wandered into the kitchen, wetting some paper towels and cleaning himself up as best he could. He tossed the soiled paper into a small trash bin he saw by the fridge before wetting another towel and wandering back to Ian.

The other man was still sitting on the couch, chest heaving, eyes closed. He had this goofy smile on his face, and Mickey couldn't help but smile back.

"What are you so happy about?" Mickey asked, dropping the wet towel on Ian's junk. Ian yelped, jumping in surprise.

"Clean yourself up." Mickey laughed.

Ian took the towel and wiped his junk off. "I'm happy cuz you're here. I thought that would be obvious." he stood from the couch, dropping his towel in the trash with Mickey's before turning to face the other man.

Mickey was standing in the living room, gathering his clothes.

"Where do you think you're going?"

"Um, home?" Mickey replied, confused. "Mandy's at the house with Yev."

"I already talked to Mandy. She said she'd stay with Yevgeny if you felt like, you know, spending the night."

"Oh, I get it. You and my nosy ass sister set me up. This was your plan all along." Mickey couldn't help but laugh. He's not sure if he should be pissed, but he knows he's not. "You know, I take these weekends with my son pretty seriously. I should be home with him right now."

"I'm sorry, Mick." Ian replied, his face sad.

"Hey, hey." Mickey replied quietly, realizing his error. "It's all good. He's just sleeping anyway. I can get home in time to make him breakfast. Who knows, if things keep going good, maybe you could spend the night at my place sometime. Y'know, meet him, if you want to." Mickey can't believe he just said that. Never once has he even entertained the idea of anyone meeting his son.

But Ian's different. He's always been different.

"Yeah?" Ian asked, eyes wide and hopeful.

"I said maybe." Mickey reminded him, but he was smiling.

"Okay. Yeah." Ian nodded, clearly excited. "I'd like that a lot."

"Me too." Mickey said, closing the small distance between them and pulling Ian into a passionate kiss.

Ian wrapped his arms around Mickey's waist, pulling him close. Mickey's fingers found their way into Ian's hair, kissing him hard.

"Come to bed." Ian whispered against Mickey's lips. "Please. Come to bed with me."

Mickey smiled against Ian's lips, nodding. "Lead the way."

Ian kissed him once more before taking his hand and leading him toward the bedroom.

As Mickey followed Ian through the house, his eyes stayed locked on their intertwined fingers. He's overcome with emotion in that moment.

Since Ian cannon balled back into his life, Mickey's been a mess of feelings. Some really fucking good, some pretty god damn shitty. He's been torn between the Ian he remembers, and the Ian now, that he doesn't know.

But as he lets Ian curl around him in the bed, resting his head on Mickey's chest, Mickey realizes something.

He doesn't want to lose this again. He doesn't want to lose Ian. He doesn't want it to be just memories and regrets between them. He wants Ian in his life, present tense. He wants it all. Moments like this, and more. He wants Ian. Always has, always will.

Ian turns off the bedside lamp, plunging them both into darkness. The room is silent for a long time, just the sound of their shared breathing filling the space.

Mickey's about to fall asleep when Ian's voice pulls him back from the precipice.

"I'm really glad you're here, Mick. I missed you." he can feel Ian's lips pressed to his neck. He curls into the touch, his skin breaking out in goosebumps at the simple contact.

"Me too, Ian. I wouldn't want to be with anyone else." Mickey means it too. No matter what, he's gonna do whatever he can do keep Ian this time. He's learned a lot in the past six years, changed a lot. He knows who he is now, what he wants. He's not going to let Ian fade out of his life without a fight.

Ian won't be just somebody that he used to know, ever again.