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Throw a Girl Around

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It’s the week after New Years, cold and snowy and slow, when the urge to start something new clashes with the desire to keep living in the timelessness of the holidays. They’ve given in enough to roust themselves from beds and blankets, packed their pajama-clad bodies into weather-resistant parkas to keep the cold at bay, and headed out from the colored lights still ringing their homes to embrace the new world that awaits them.

In other words, Vee and Kev are in town, and no one can keep sleeping through that.

Mickey tried, to be fair. Rolled right over and shoved his head under the pillow when Ian answered his phone, held it tight over his ears when his husband’s excited voice got too loud. Did his best to keep Ian there with him, pulling out all the stops, only to have the blankets thrown to the floor and his body tossed out of bed to follow.

And now he’s freezing his ass off in the middle of the fucking park, even in the three layers Ian insisted on putting him in, watching with the other significant others as his oaf of a husband runs around in the snow with a handful of kids, his siblings, and a giant fucking baby.

“Hey, no fair!” the big baby cries when Ian holds one of the Ball kids up to stuff a snowball down his coat. “We’re on the same team!”

“Not anymore,” Ian quips, dancing away once the girl is down safely. “She switched to the winning side.”

He cackles when the other Ball girl lands her own missile directly in her father’s betrayed face. Laughs harder at the way Kev blinks the snow away, half of it falling into his open mouth instead.

“My own flesh and blood,” Kev says, clutching at his chest as if it pains him. “So cruel, so unfeeling…”

His daughters only giggle, running to Ian for more ammunition, and Kev’s hand stretches out after them in a failed plea for mercy.

With Kev distracted, there’s a movement behind him. Lip, sneaking forward, the clump of snow in his hands bigger than Kev’s entire head.

He looks over the sidelines, probably trying to catch eyes with Tami, but his gaze settles on Mickey instead. He brings a finger to his lips, and Mickey nods, and then—

“Yo Kev!” he hollers, cupping a hand over his mouth to make it carry. “Behind you!”

And Kev is swinging around in time to knock the snow from Lip’s hands, chasing the other man down as Lip curses and shouts Not cool Mickey, not cool , and somehow scooping Lip up into a bridal carry without even stopping.

“Kev, put me down!” Lip yells, struggling. “It’s just a game man, come on!”

But Kev is a man on a mission, headed toward the giant mound of snow at the side of the road where the plows had gone by.

“Come on guys, help me out!” Lip tries, appealing to his audience in an act of desperation. He gets a few attempts at aid—Franny latching onto Kev’s leg, Liam jumping onto his back and clinging—but it barely slows Kev down. The rest of them are just watching, laughing and waiting for the punchline, which comes with a soft thwump as Kev tosses Lip into the snow.

Mickey huffs out a laugh at the sight of his brother-in-law flinging off snow to come up for air. He leans over toward Tami, gets ready to make fun of him—

But Tami’s eyes are still on Kev.

“Damn,” Tami mutters, eyebrows raised high enough to brush the bottom of her knit hat. “Bet he could throw a girl around.”

“The fuck…” Mickey starts, but Vee interrupts.

“He sure as hell can,” she says smugly, then thinks for a second. “Did have to walk him through it the first time, though,” she added. “Poor baby was terrified he was gonna hurt me.”

“Worth it I bet,” Tami sighs, and Vee confirms with a low, sultry chuckle.

“Definitely,” she whispers like a secret. “He goes all dumb and sweet again after, it’s cute.”

“Fucking disgusting, both of you,” Mickey interjects, only to blink when two pairs of eyes suddenly fix on his.

“What?” he asks, confused. “I got somethin’ on my face?”

“Just a little jealousy, hun,” Vee drawls. “Please, you tryin’ to tell me you never wanted to get on my husband?”

“Yeah Mickey,” Tami jumps in, “Surprised you’re not all over that.” She smirks. “Tall and strong and dumb is kind of your type, and I know how you like to be manhandled.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Mickey hisses, leaning in. His face is too warm—he shouldn’t have let Ian put that scarf around his neck.

“No, I never wanted to jump that box of rocks,” he says lowly. “I’m not the one whose man just got tossed like a sack of potatoes, Tamietti, Ian handles me just fine.”

“More than fine, I hope,” Ian’s voice comes from behind him, and he whirls to face his grinning husband.

“What’re we up to over here?” Ian asks, spinning Mickey back around so he can plaster himself to his back. He tucks freezing hands under Mickey’s shirt, ignores the sharp elbow it earns him.

“Nothin’ much,” Tami answers, grin too wide for Mickey’s liking. “Just how Mickey—”

“I will kill you, bitch,” Mickey says over her, but Vee picks up right where she left off.

“Your husband here,” she says pointedly with a nod to Mickey’s steaming face, “is lying to us.”

“Oh,” Ian asks, not concerned at all. “About what?”

“None of your fucking—”

“Having a little crush on strong man Kev,” Tami tells him, and if it weren’t for Ian’s arms around his middle, Mickey would strangle her.

“I do not,” he grits out, tense despite the patterns Ian is tracing on his stomach, “nor have I ever —”

“Oh yeah,” Ian talks right over him, directed at the women. “It was kind of ridiculous at one point.”

And Mickey stills.

“The fuck are you talkin’ about?” he asks lowly, and Ian just laughs, chest moving against his back.

“What, you don’t remember?” Ian says. “Back when you were doing business together, and Kev robbed you with your own gun?”

“Remember that,” Mickey acknowledges darkly. “But what the fuck does that have to do with—”

“He was so worked up,” Ian tells their company, “he couldn’t get over it. Said he wanted to go back there with a shotgun, but I’m pretty sure he wanted to—”

“I did not!” Mickey yells, and it’s definitely not a shriek. “That fucker stole from us, I was going to fucking kill him!”

“Uh huh,” Ian says knowingly as Tami and Vee look on with something stuck between amusement and shock. “That was definitely it. And that’s why once we got home, you practically begged me to—”

Mickey stomps on his foot, and in the aftermath, runs for the hills. He risks one look back, just catching sight of Ian’s laughing face next to Tami’s and Vee’s, before something else catches him.

“I’ve found my next victim!” Kev howls as he swings Mickey into the air. “C’mon kids, time to bury him!”

And damn, Mickey thinks as he's carried to his doom.

That guy can throw a girl around.