Work Header


Work Text:


It was getting late and Ian didn’t feel like making the trek home, not after going at it with Mickey three times already. No, Ian would rather crash in Mickey’s bed, if he allowed it, than to even try to walk home with how weak his legs were. If it was reversed and Mickey was on top, he could probably walk home but one gets tired after all that thrusting.

“Do you mind if I just crash here?” Ian asked tentatively as he and Mickey both started slipping into their own boxers. Mickey started to protest when he finished lighting the ‘after-sex’ cigarette and sucking in some warm, nicotine-filled smoke but Ian continued by saying, “I’ll sleep on the couch if it’ll make you feel better.”

“Um, no,” Mickey began. “Eventually Terry will get home and he’s more likely to crash there when he’s hammered.” Mickey was an aggressive when he was drunk but that didn’t vary from anytime when he was sober. He was always punching something because everything pissed him off. Terry however, was sloppy and aggressive. Mickey lost count of the number of black eyes and broken bones he got when he was a kid from when Terry had one too many. Just thinking about those times set him on edge and his response to Ian was more abrasive than he meant it to be.

“You can sleep in here but you stay on the edge of the bed and if you fuckin’ kick me, Gallagher—” Mickey started to say while he handed the cigarette over to Ian.

“I don’t kick when I sleep. Now would you quiet the fuck down or Mandy is going to come in here and wonder what’s going on. She thought I left three hours ago.” Ian put his lips around the cig and inhaled. The smoke filled his lungs and warmed him thoroughly. “Good thing you live on the first floor or sneaking in through your window would have been a bit more of a challenge.”


Three hours ago... 

It was around midnight when Mickey walked in to his house. Mandy and Ian were sitting on the couch, just watching whatever had less static on the television. The older Milkovich kicked his shoes off by the front door and pulled off his jacket and scarf only to throw it at his sister and her friend.

“Douchebags,” he snickered and started walking towards his room. Ian was a little bummed that Mickey didn’t come sit down but then he heard him belch and the redhead smiled to himself. When he heard the door close to Mickey’s room, he started to get up just so he could go back to Mickey’s room but he didn’t want tonight to be a ‘one and done’ kind of night. He wanted to take a bit more time for a change.

“Wait, where are you going?” Mandy asked, rising from the couch.

“I’m just gonna head home,” he lied. “I’ve got work in the morning.” Which was true but not until after ten. Ian hugged her goodbye, put on his sneakers and jacket, and headed out the door. He stood outside, smoking, waiting a couple of minutes for Mandy to go bed and then strolled over to Mickey’s window. The only light that came from his room was the light on the table near his bed and it shined yellow over the snow. He moved some of the white flakes around until he found a few pebbles on the ground and threw them one by one at the window until Mickey opened it.

“The fuck is your problem?” he yelled at Ian after shoving the window open.

“Hey, you wanted me, remember?” Ian told him when he started climbing up the pallets stacked against his house.

“I don’t have a problem, asshole!” Mandy shouted at Mickey when she came in to her brother’s room. Ian scrunched down and froze when she walked in, silently hoping that Mandy didn’t see his red hair. “Why is the window open? It’s fucking freezing in here!”

“Get the hell out, Mandy!”

Ian heard some shuffling and stomping and assumed they were fighting. Typical Milkovich’s, Ian thought to himself.

“Ow! Goddammit, would you stop pinching me there!”

“Would you let the fuck go of my hair?!”

A quick glance up and Ian could see that Mickey had his sister by the nipple and Mandy had a hold on her brother’s black hair.

“You two fight like such chicks,” Ian said under his breath.

“Now get out, bitch!” Mickey shouted at his sister. A grunt, a few more stomps and the door slammed.

A couple seconds later, “We don’t fight like chicks, Firecrotch.”

Ian couldn’t help the giggle that came from him. He finished climbing the pallets and put one leg at a time through the window and pushed it down when he was in all the way.

“You tell me how titty twisters and hair pulling doesn’t qualify as fighting like chicks?” Ian teased.

Mickey rolled his eyes and smirked, “You wanna keep talkin’ or you wanna get this goin’?”

Ian could already feel the blood rushing down.


“Oh, would you stop your bitching.” Mickey told him as the cigarette was handed back to him. “Why didn’t you just come back when I got in? You know instead of trying some Romeo and Juliet bullshit?”

“Because I would have had to tell Mandy I was going to the bathroom and after screwing you, I would’ve had to leave. Maybe I wanted to stick around a little longer.” Ian replied. “So I thought it was a better idea to just leave and come back. I didn’t think Mandy would come back around to show you whose boss in the house.”

“The boss is whoever is older so it’s always me.” Mickey countered and let the cigarette, only half gone, sit in the ashtray next to his bed.

“Really,” Ian questioned. “That's funny because somehow, you always seem to be playing the bitch.”

With that last tease, Mickey was grappling at Ian’s arms, and Ian at Mickey’s, until they both fell over on the bed, both trying to fight for the top spot. Legs were intertwining and trying to pin the others down, fingers were squeezing muscles causing the veins in either’s arm to protrude more. When Mickey was finally on top for more than five seconds, Ian tapped out. He knew that their grunting, laughter, and the squeaking of the bed were going to cause the other Milkovich to venture over to this side of the house again. Ian really didn’t want her to ask questions like “I’m trying to get some sleep. Why are you being so damn loud?”, “What are you still doing here, Ian?”, or more importantly “Why are you wrestling Ian half-naked at three in the morning, Mickey?” Some questions are better left unasked.

“You win this time, Mick.” Ian huffed out. Mickey rolled off of him and fell towards the wall. Ian shifted closer to the edge of the bed, not wanting to take any chance of Mickey wanting to throw him out. “Some of us have less energy than others because they just went three rounds doing all of the hard work.”

Mickey reached over Ian to where his cigarette sat burnt out on the nightstand. He tapped off the ash, re-lit it, and breathed in the fumes then resettled in next to Ian or so he thought. He noticed that the redhead moved away from him but wasn’t going to say anything.  

“It was worth the work, Gallagher, and you know it.” he said, smiling more to himself than to Ian, as he handed the cigarette over to Ian who sucked on it for a second and passed it back.

Both of them were replaying their favorite moments from the night in silence as they passed the stick back and forth. A few more inhales and exhales of nicotine and the cigarette was done, placed back in the ash tray. They both slid under the sheets and the comforter, Mickey told Ian to unplug the light because the switch didn’t work; that’s the product of finding stuff in the dumpster.

“Night, Mickey.” Ian sighed and yawned, sleep pulling his eyelids down. He pulled the covers up closer to his face and rolled over on to his shoulder, facing the room.

“Fuck you, Gallagher.” Both boys smiled.

Within a couple of minutes, Ian was out but Mickey was still up. He was laying on his back with his hands resting behind his head, staring at the off-white stained ceiling. He typically had trouble falling asleep, the neighborhood was to blame. When he was asleep, he felt just as slow as everyone else. There was no way to wear his badass, ‘terrorist of the Southside’ look when he was asleep. He would typically be sleeping with his back against the wall; holding the pillow, that Ian was sleeping on, with one hand and holding a knife in the other hand underneath the pillow his head was on. Tonight that was not an option.

Rolling onto his side, punching his pillow a bit, and Mickey settled in next to Ian without touching him. Within five minutes, he was out.


A couple hours later, Ian stirred and noticed there was an arm draped over him. He wasn’t sure how to feel about it. He doesn’t typically spoon with the guys he sleeps with. But that wasn’t the only thing that caught his attention. He heard Mickey talking, saying things he never thought he would hear from the guy with more firewalls and protection software than the Pentagon. For a second, Ian wondered if he was still sleeping and just dreaming that Mickey was saying these things.

“Don’t… Just, just stop… Don’t hurt him…” Mickey sighed. “Don’t hurt Ian… Get away. Get away from him..”

He nudged at Mickey but the boy didn’t stir. A few more nudges and nothing still. Ian sighed and did the thing he was instructed not to do: he kicked Mickey. He woke up, instictively pulled his arm in which caused Ian to be dragged into him.

“Gallagh-” he started to hiss out but when Ian hit his lower half, he grunted in pain and lost his breath. His back slapped against the wall when he pushed himself away from Ian. After a few seconds, he regained his breath and cleared his throat. “Uh, sorry,” he said as he used the bottom of his palm to dig the sleep out of his eyes.

Ian sat up and turned around only to notice the sweat around Mickey’s brows and forehead.   “It’s fine, Mick.” He placed his feet on the floor, hands on the edge of the bed, and hunched his back. His head was down while he contemplated whether or not to tell Mickey what he heard. He didn’t dare look back at the black haired boy until he got his answer.  

“H-hey, Mickey,” he stuttered out, still unsure what to say. Any wrong phrasing and his ass could be on the street walking home in negative degree temperatures. He heard the other boy shuffle and go still behind him, so he continued. “What- Um, what were you dreaming about?”

“What?” Mickey said, confused. Sleep could still be heard in his voice. It made his voice deeper, rougher.

“I think you were having a um,” Ian paused and finished quietly with “a nightmare.”

“What? Oh, yeah,” he said. It seemed more of a question than a statement. He thought about it for a second before telling the redhead not to worry about it.

“Mickey, if-” Ian started but he was cut off.

“I said don’t worry about it, dammit!”

He stormed out headed towards the bathroom but was stopped when he heard the drunken snores of the eldest Milkovich. Ian continued to the bathroom but did so while being much quieter. After having completed his business, he went to the mirror and looked at himself. He stared for awhile, thinking back to each night in his tent and remembering that every single night he wondered what Mickey was doing. The memories started to feel like knife wounds to his stomach so he splashed some water on his face, shoved the memories down and tip-toed back to Mickey’s room.

Ian closed the door behind him and when he came back in, Mickey was standing by his window, looking out. He turned around and looked at the other boy. Both of them stared at each other, not making a sound. Mickey looked away first but it was Ian who broke the silence.


He coughed into the side of his hand and told Ian that it wasn’t his fault.

“I shouldn’t have left.” Not refering to his bathroom trip, but to his four year tour.

“Yeah, but you did,” Mickey said to him and finally looked back at Ian. “Things were shitty here, Gallagher.”

“Your dad is outside on the couch.” Ian warned.

“You think I give a fuck about waking my old man?” Mickey asked, walking towards Ian.

“Yeah, kinda,” he countered, hoping to lighten the mood.  But it didn’t work.

“I don’t.” Mickey was in Ian’s face and carried on. “You think I give a fuck that you left for four goddamn years? D’you think I give a fuck that you left just so you could be some high and mighty asshole and feel good about yourself? Think I give a fuck about you probably screwing some other guy? Do you think I still, after four goddamn years, give a fuck about you?”

Ian built himself up a bit and boldly said “Yeah, Mickey, yeah I do.” Ian braced himself for the right cross that was coming. But it didn’t. Instead Mickey grabbed him by neck with one hand, spun him around, and pinned Ian down on the bed underneath him. One hand on Ian’s throat and the other white knuckling the headboard. One knee on Ian’s stomach, the other on the bed. Ian held Mickey’s wrist but he didn’t pull at his hand. His theory was that Mickey wouldn’t kill him.  He couldn’t, right?

“You left your family, you left Mandy,”  Mickey growled out, rattling Ian’s neck. “You left everyone who gives a shit about you so could you run away from your problems and join the goddamn army.” Mickey clenched his hand around Ian’s throat a little harder. The veins from the eyes, neck, arms, and hands in the boy who was left behind were becoming more pronounced. Mickey moved in closer to Ian’s face, just inches away, and finished by spitting out, “You. Left. Me!”

It was then that Ian started pulling at the hand around his throat, he could no longer ignore his instinct to fight off his attacker. Mickey let him go and fell against the wall. After a few minutes of heavy breathing, Ian choked out an apology.

“I am s-sorry,” he said as he coughed in between each word and clutched his throat. He knew he had done wrong by leaving, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that it was wrong. He screwed up MIT for Lip, by not chipping in he could have lost Fiona the house, by not staying here he could have permanently lost Mickey. There was no denying what he did was messed up. He knew he had hell to pay for.

“Yeah, me too.” Mickey told him as he cleared his throat. Mickey was sitting with his back to the wall, arms folded together across his chest and legs sprawled out, eyes looking up at the ceiling.

More silence but it wasn’t Ian who broke it this time.

“The nightmare that um–,” he started, clearing his throat again. A thing that Ian noticed Mickey only did when he was nervous. “–that I had, it was about you.”

“Yeah, I figured that much out myself.” Ian replied as he shifted to sitting near the edge of the bed again. He was resting against some pillows and the headboard with his right leg on the floor and left foot tucked underneath his other thigh.

“Shut up and let me talk.” Both of them quieted, Mickey replaying his nightmare and Ian waiting to be told what it was. “It was just about some punk ass guys beating you up because you’re a pussy,” Mickey laughed to himself. “They had the impression that you thought you were better than them, thought they’d knock you down a few pegs.”

“Yeah?” Ian asked, a hesitant smile on his face. “And  uh, where were you?”

It took awhile for Mickey to respond, whether he was finding the right words or didn’t know whether or not to drop the subject all together but eventually he did answer.

“Being forced to watch, pinned down by my old man.”  Mickey told him. “The guys were my brothers.”

Ian chanced a look over at him, his eyes were still preoccupied with the ceiling. Ian imagined that when Mickey was little he stole some of those crappy plastic glow-in-the-dark stars and stuck them up there. No real constelations, just pinned up there because they were cool. Ian figured that one day he took them all down because of something his dad said one day while on a bender with his friends Jim, Jack, and Jose. Then maybe he spent the rest of the day pretending they were shuriken and started throwing them at Mandy for kicks.

“It was just a dream, Mick.” Ian said, his voice was small.

“Yeah, well it wasn’t for you.”

They both started replaying that day in their heads. Both from a different prespective, both feeling a different kind of pain, but it still hurt them both. Who knew when it would ever stop hurting.

“Lay down, Mickey.”

He looked down from the ceiling and met Ian’s eyes. He could tell that Mickey wanted to protest but Ian shushed him by continuing.

“When you wake up, I’ll be here. I’ll be just fine.” He paused for a second and then said, “And so will you.”

A sober, awake, typical Mickey Milkovich would have said no, would have told Ian to go fuck off. This Mickey though… This Mickey was sleep-deprived. This Mickey had some alcohol in him and just had to, at least in his mind, relive that day and a reverse version of it. This Mickey was broken. After four years of hating himself for letting Ian go; of being in and out of juvie for too many intoxicated displays in public, assaults, and a few overnighters simply because he was trying to deal with his shit. After four years of wasting hundreds of bullets trying to shoot at inanimate targets over at the old building where he and Ian used to hang out. After four years of screaming himself hoarse just trying to feel something, Mickey was tired. He hadn’t realized how tired he was.

When he finally laid down, he wrapped an arm around Ian’s stomach and pulled him flush against his body while putting the other arm under his pillow. Ian reached down to hold the other’s hand but Mickey’s reply told him to do otherwise.

“Hold my hand and I’ll break your fingers,” he mumbled against the polyester pillowcase. Even tired Mickey can still throw out some threats, harmless as they may be, but still a better idea to not take the chance. Mickey wanted sleep, needed sleep to take him now, but there was one thing he wanted to do still. It was something that Ian would do occasionally and, he wouldn’t admit it to Ian, but it sent Mickey over the edge a time or two. He wasn’t trying to get Ian started again, Mickey just wanted a little more contact.

Mickey got in a little closer to Ian, if that was possible, and lightly bit down on the crook where Ian’s neck fades into his shoulder. He closed his lips then, let his tongue taste Ian’s skin and started pulling away until he wasn’t latched on anymore. He wasn’t trying hurt Ian, he just wanted a taste. When he pulled away, he noticed how nice Ian’s skin really was, how many freckles were scattered about, how taut it was over muscles that took numerous hours to build, how sweet it was. Mickey continued moving his lips over the redhead’s neck, shoulder, shoulder blade; anything he could get his mouth on.

Ian, on the other hand was as rigid and quiet as could possibly be. Not daring to move an inch or make a sound because if he did, he could risk those lips halting. He was, without question, enjoying every second. He figured he should just let Mickey work through whatever he needed to.

Ian wanted to keep still, he really did. But when Mickey refused to pause his lips from gliding over the younger boy’s skin or pressed his fingertips into Ian’s stomach trying to clutch even harder onto him, the redhead let out a gasp. Mickey started to back away but Ian wasn’t having that. He reached back and grabbed black hair making sure the space they were sharing didn’t widen.

“Please don’t stop,” Ian moaned. And with that, something snapped in Mickey.

His top leg lifted and was pushed in between Ian’s two, his hand gripped tighter onto Ian’s stomach, and then Mickey rolled Ian on top of him and back down until their typical roles were opposite: Ian on bottom and Mickey dominating for the first time.

Mickey pulled back so he was on his knees, one hand steadying himself and the other still holding Ian to him, making sure their bodies were always touching in some way. He let Ian go before, he won’t do it again. He bent down, started kissing, sliding his tongue, and nibbling along the redhead’s spine and moving back up to his neck. Ian found those darkly colored strands again and held on as the nibbling became more like biting. He started pushing back against Mickey, trying to provoke him. It was all he could do. Typically Mickey would tease him and that would cause the blood to rush south, but no words came to Ian. Only moans, half of which he couldn’t keep in. Mickey heard every single one of them, actually could feel them leaving Ian. The black-haired boy’s blue eyes were turning more and more navy-colored with each one.

But there was fabric, too much fabric in the way. It may have just been the thin cotton of boxers but it was stopping them from being completely up against each other. Mickey pulled Ian into him, sat up, and clumsily tried pulling down both of their boxers but it was Ian who successfully pulled both of theirs down a satisfactory amount. He fell down to his elbows, pushed himself back up against Mickey, and waited for the pressure. It came, just not in the form that he expected.

One finger, slick with spit, was pressed inside of Ian but it only made him sigh. “That all you got,” Ian asked. “Remember I was gay before you, Mick.”

Mickey put in another one, emitting a moan from Ian. He started pushing and pulling his fingers in and out of Ian, making sure the ‘seasoned veteran’ was ready. Slowly he slipped in another finger with the other two and Ian surged back into him.

“There we go..” Ian groaned out and forced his body back into Mickey’s slow thrusting. Ian’s face contorted, only showing pleasure. Eyes stitched shut, lips wet after he slid his tongue over them, bottom lip bit.

Each time Mickey would push his fingers in he would get a little deeper with the intention of hitting he hit Ian’s prostate.  When he felt Ian tighten around his fingers, buck back into him, and let out a strained moan, he knew he found what he was looking for. A few more thrusts in and he was still getting the same reaction from Ian. He noticed that Ian was reaching back to help himself along and Mickey wasn’t having that.

“Not just yet, Gallagher,” he said as he yanked at Ian’s hand.

Mickey wanted to feel Ian wrap around him and get tighter around him, not just his fingers. He pulled his fingers out, leaving Ian feeling extremely empty. He reached over to his nightstand and grabbed a condom from the drawer and slipped it on. He was bent back over Ian when he finally lined himself up and slowly, achingly so, pushed inside of the redhead and shoved his face down onto Ian’s shoulder to muffle the sounds that wanted to escape him. Words couldn’t describe how Ian felt around him, no girl could make him feel like this. He gave Ian a second to readjust, to get used to the intrusion before he started moving his hips. His right hand was holding him up and his other one was grasping at Ian’s waist, pulling him back into each thrust so he went in as deep as he could.

With Mickey’s face buried into Ian’s shoulder, Ian took the opportunity to run his fingers through those black strands and pulled harder than he meant to when he felt Mickey hit his prostate the first few times.

That bundle of nerves never went untouched for long after Mickey found it. That spot inside of the redhead was never left alone because this time it would be Mickey who pushed Ian over the edge. It’s always been the other way around and it’s about time that he got to feel someone let themselves go.

This time Ian didn’t want to stroke himself, he wanted Mickey to be the one that got him to release. It’s always been Ian on top getting Mickey off, always relieving him of his tension. This time was far different from the rest and not because Mickey was dominating. It was him on top because Mickey needed to release his tension and his frustration with Ian for leaving. Just thinking about his four year absence made Mickey drive harder into Ian, even bite a bit harder on him.

Ian kept his head low and buried in the cotton covering Mickey’s bed, trying his best to keep himself quiet, even bit his lip so hard and drew a little blood but Mickey’s relentless determination forced those strained noises out. He was so close and they both knew it.

Mickey could feel Ian starting to tense up so he pulled his chest off of Ian and pushed his hips a little harder making him to go a little deeper, knowing that feeling and seeing Ian’s release would cause a chain reaction.

A few seconds after Mickey lifted up, Ian felt cold but that was soon replaced by the feeling of ecstasy. Little black and white splotches started blurring his eyesight when he felt Mickey slamming harder into him. It wasn’t much longer after that when Ian came with white, warm spurts hitting the sheets.

Mickey wasn’t done yet though. He kept pushing into Ian a few more times, reveling in how he started contracting around him and that feeling is what made him lose it. His eyes were scrunched shut and he bit his bottom lip trying to keep a groan in. He kept rocking into Ian until both of their orgasms settled and their lungs finally filled with a sufficent amount of air. Slowly, he pulled himself out, tied off the condom, and threw it out.

Mickey fell sideways and pushed his back against the wall, hoping it would cool him down. Ian didn’t move though. His forehead still in the sheets, resting on his elbows and his forearms wrapped around the side of his face, and his butt in the air.

“Gallagher,” he said, no real urgency in his voice. “Dude, move.” Mickey waited awhile for Ian to come out with a response. In the meanwhile, he decided to light up and had alreay had his boxers up around his waist when Ian started to respond. His chest was moving up and down so he was still breathing.

“I–” the redhead inhaled. “–can’t,” then exhaled.

“Well, keep sticking your pasty ass up like that and I’ll find something else to stick in there.” Mickey said and blew out some smoke.

That got him to move. It was more like he fell over, actually. Landed on his butt on Mickey’s bedroom floor and when it hit, he tensed up and scrunched his face. His shoulder felt slightly bruised, along with his neck and the top part of his spine. It was painful at first because he wasn’t used to that much biting but after awhile, it subsided slightly and just became a reminder.

“What happened to ‘I was gay before you’?” Mickey asked, laughing around the cig.

“Never had anyone that–” he started to say as he was standing up and pulling his boxers back up from around his ankles, “–big before.”

He just laughed, ran his fingers through his hair, and told Ian that you get used to it after awhile. Ian gave him a strained coy look and looked for something to clean up or put over the mess he made. He turned his back to the other boy, still looking for some sort of blanket or towel, and Mickey could already see in the dim light that shined in from the street lamp, the teeth marks and spots where the blood rushed to the surface and turned Ian’s freckled skin black and blue.

A slight tinge of regret came to Mickey then. “You gonna want some ice for that?”

“You don’t have enough ice in the house to help numb me, Mick,” he said when he found a towel that didn’t smell too bad, wiped up the mess then threw it back where he found it. “I’ll be fine, though.” Ian sat down with his back to the headboard and reached for the cigarette. He put it to his lips and inhaled the nicotene, already feeling a little better.

Mickey looked over at the clock on the wall: 7:43 A.M.

Ian saw him gaze over and noted the time. “Looks like we’ll get about two hours of sleep before we have to get to work. Fantastic.”

“Stop your bitchin’, Gallagher.” They both glanced over at each other, Mickey smirked and Ian just rolled his eyes.

They sat there for a few more minutes in silence while they passed the cigarette back and forth, Ian would occasionally twist back, causing a tinge of pain crawl up his spine, and tap off the ash.

Mickey saw it each time, that hitch when Ian turned around. He was hesitant to ask whether or not Ian wanted an ice pack again. He was never one to baby a person but he did that to Ian when they were screwing. Ian had never hurt him in that sense. Finally he did ask again after the third flinch.

“ ‘m fine, Mick,” he said around the cigarette in his mouth, trying to be as reassuring as necessary.

“Fine then,” Mickey told him as he was crawling back under the sheets, putting his back to the wall and looking up and Ian one last time and saying, “I don’t want to hear anything about it when you’re stocking shelves.”

“You won’t.”

Ian stomped the bottom of the cigarette out in the ash try and found his way under the covers. Within a few minutes, they were out. Mickey’s arm curled protectively around his favorite Firecrotch.


The boys barely woke up on time to get to work. They threw on their clothes, Ian climbed out the window and bolted over to Kash ‘n’ Grab to open up shop. Ian was already doing inventory and stocking shelves when Mickey walked in wearing his Security jacket. A simple head nod from both of them was the extent of the conversation.

About an hour later, Lip stopped by the store and when he walked in, he noticed Mickey standing  by the counter.



Ian had his back to the door, a knee holding up a box of cans while he was stocking the shelves, and couldn’t help turning around and looking for where Mickey was and then he saw the Gallagher in question.

“Hey Lip.”

“It’s good to have you back, bro,” Lip said as he clapped a hand over his left shoulder and ruffled his brother’s buzz cut. It took all of Ian not to flinch away from his older brother’s hand. Lip grabbed a Gatorade and a pack of smokes, tossed a ten on the counter, and left the store.

Ian started walking over to the counter to put the money in the cash drawer but stopped in the aisle to glare at Mickey.

“Nope, no bitchin’,” he told Ian. Mickey started walking back to the coolers to get something to drink and Ian took the opportunity to lift his leg behind him and kick Mickey in the ass as he walked away. In retrospect, that was a stupid move because it made Mickey want to retaliate. He turned around to smack Ian’s ass and that caused a shot a pain from his lower back to spread up through his spine like wild fire. It worked its way up to either shoulder and his neck, hitting his nervous system which caused him to white knuckle it around the cardboard box he was holding.

“Should’ve taken that ice pack, Gallagher!” Mickey called back.