"Hey, Ian?" Mickey called softly from his doorway to where Ian had fallen asleep on his bed. He heard a small grunt of acknowledgement. "Did you take your meds today?"
“No…” Ian groaned and pulled the covers closer to him.
“Babe, the doctor- do you want me to help you?”
“No.” He answered firmly, voice rising in volume.
Mickey sat down carefully facing Ian’s back. “Can you please take them?”
There was no reply.
“Please?” Mickey’s voice tinged with desperation as he continued, “What if I give you something if you do? Like chocolate?”
“Don’t want chocolate.”
“Strawberries? Anything?” He tried, looking at the glass of water and pills on the bedside table from that morning.
Ian considered for a moment, “Just a few strawberries.”
“Okay, I’ll-I’ll get ‘em. You just gotta take your meds, ‘kay?”
Ian didn’t say anything, but Mickey hoped that meant yes.
He took his time getting the fruit. He needed time before going back to him. When Ian was like this, it was like Mickey was talking to an entirely different person. He just wanted his boyfriend back. He wanted him back so badly. Seeing him hit these lows was killing him; the medication helped, but only if he could get Ian to take it.
He took a deep breath and entered the room for the second time, strawberries in hand. “Did you take ‘em?”
“Do you have my strawberries?”
Mickey chuckled mirthlessly. “Here,” he placed them in Ian’s lap after he’d sat up. He stood next to the bed and wondered if it would be okay for him to sit with Ian. He decided it would have to be and sat gingerly on the edge. They were silent for a long time as Mickey watched Ian eat contentedly.
Then, Mickey murmured, “You haven’t taken a shower or anything in a while.”
Ian hummed, clearly not paying attention.
“Can you take a shower or do you want me to help you in the bath?”
Ian glared at him now. “I don’t want Mandy there again.”
“Okay,” Mickey agreed. “Just me. Is that good?” Ian shrugged. “You done?” He gestured to the empty plate on Ian’s lap. Ian shrugged again, and Mickey took the plate to the kitchen.
He held on the sides of the sink for a minute, collecting himself. Getting Ian in the bath was always either impossible or frightfully easy. Sometimes he would just go limp, like he was dead and it was all becoming too much.
He walked to the bathroom, not sure if he was happy that the house was empty. He didn’t know yet if he needed to call Fiona. Sometimes she came over and helped with Ian’s baths when he wouldn’t get in. She was better at muscling him than Mickey was. Mickey didn’t have the heart to do it. He was too afraid of hurting him.
He drew the water and made sure the temperature wasn’t too hot. He got towels and put them on the toilet seat. Now came the hard part.
Ian was still sitting up when he walked in, and that was a good sign. He was more alert and awake. “You ready, Firecrotch?”
Mickey tried to use his normal nicknames occasionally to pretend like everything was okay, like it was another ordinary day. He walked over to him, “Gotta get up.”
“No,” he whimpered.
“Yeah, I’m sorry. You have to take a bath.”
“Babe…” He pleaded. Ian cast him a harsh glance that stung. Mickey bit his lip, and in one swift motion, he bent and scooped him onto his shoulder.
“No!” Ian protested, but thankfully didn’t strike out like usual. He sobbed feebly, repeating no over and over again. Mickey’s heart ached, and he marched resolutely to the bathroom.
He set Ian’s feet carefully on the ground; he proceeded to crumple to the floor and pull his knees to his chest. “I don’t wanna get in, Mick.”
“Ian, please.” He crouched to be level with his boyfriend and his slightly shaking body.
Ian hugged his knees tighter and buried his face between them. “No,” he said, “Mickey, please. No.”
Mickey moved forward across the floor slowly so he wouldn’t startle Ian. He shuffled until he was sitting side-to-side with Ian and ran his hand across his shoulders in an attempt to soothe him. “I love you, Ian.” He looked at the floor, “You have to know that I love you. I love you and that’s- that’s why I do all of this to you. You need to get better, so you can be yourself again. And just ‘cause.” He kissed his temple. “We’ll just try again later. No big deal.”
He walked him back to bed and went to the kitchen because everything hurt less with a bottle of whiskey in his veins.