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In a Haze of Smoke & Fire

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There’s something about summertime; like warm, sunny days and impulsive, starry nights. Like smoking joints down by the river and drinking beer in the dugout late into the night, once the rest of the world has fallen fast asleep.

There’s a lot of time to waste—and a lot of time to spend with someone who Mickey really likes wasting it with.

Not that he’d ever tell him that.

There’s something about summertime, and it’s mostly a whole lot of shit that Mickey never really experienced before now. 

Because it’s always been the same shit, really. 

Year after year, bullshit after bullshit. 

Runs with his dad, arguments, fist fights.

Boring, hot, sticky days and nights. 

Too hot to fuck, too hot to work out, too hot to do fuck all of anything. 

This summer feels different, though.

Mickey gets released from juvie just as summer begins to bloom over Chicago, and so far, it’s nothing at all like his previous years. Because when Mickey gets out of juvie, fully expecting to see Mandy, he’s fully not expecting Ian fucking Gallagher to be standing at her side. 

And he’s not fucking prepared for it.

At all.

Because there’s something about Ian. Just fucking something. Something that quickens Mickey’s pulse and clenches Mickey’s stomach. Something that forces Mickey to avoid Ian’s gaze, as a heated blush threatens to give him away. 

This isn’t Mickey. Fumbling head over fucking heels like some dickwhipped girl? Fuck no, this isn’t Mickey. He’s not fucking dickwhipped, period. 

Ian had paid Mickey a handful of visits since his juvie sentence began, but it’s been at least two months since he saw him last. It’s not like Mickey missed him—he fucking didn’t—it’s just that it was nice to have a visitor besides his bitch sister, for a change. 

But now Mickey’s out, and Ian’s here, acting like they’re best fucking friends or something. Ian is sandwiched in between Mickey and Mandy, his arms draped across their shoulders as they walk together.

Mickey pushes him the fuck off on principle. 

And because maybe, maybe, he can’t handle the feeling of Ian’s hands on him right now.


There’s something about summertime, as Mickey kicks a cluster of rocks beneath his feet. 

He approaches the playground, offering a small, tight-lipped smile when he spots Ian sitting on a nearby swing set.

“You get lost?” Ian asks, teasing. He rolls something between his fingers as Mickey gets closer, and Mickey thinks—hopes—that maybe it’s a joint. 

“Fuck off,” Mickey snaps back. “Had shit to do. That okay with you?”

Ian shrugs. “What kinda shit?”

“Shit,” Mickey repeats. “You know, errands. Kid owed me money.”

It’s not like it’s any of Ian’s fucking business, anyway. Mickey showed up, didn't he? Makes no fucking difference where he was or what he was doing, before.

“Got it,” Ian says. 

Neither of them say anything for a moment, but then Ian holds up what is absolutely a joint, and he raises his eyebrows with a small smirk on his face. 

“Want a hit, Mick?”

Obviously. Mickey brought beer but he’d much rather get high. Or, better yet, maybe both.

“Hand it over,” Mickey says, snatching it from where it’s resting between Ian’s thumb and index finger.

He sits down on the swing beside Ian, puffing on the joint as the smoke seeps into his lungs. He closes his eyes, exhaling slowly. It feels good.

He’s not exactly sure where Ian got this from, but it’s definitely some good quality shit. 

Ian swats at his shoulder a moment later, after Mickey takes another hit for himself. He hands it back to Ian, their fingers brushing together maybe a second longer than necessary.

Mickey grabs onto each side of the swing’s chains as he takes a few steps back, kicking off from the ground to swing back and forth once. Ian laughs, for no reason in particular, and it turns into a cough as he huffs out a cloud of smoke.

“Aye’, don’t be wastin’ that shit,” Mickey tells him.  

And then Mickey finds himself laughing, too. 

They pass the joint back and forth several more times, until Ian starts to get fucking giggly, and then he’s hopping off the swing in a swift jump before tossing himself onto the grass. 

He lies on his back, staring up at the sky with a lazy smile on his face. 

And he looks good. 

In the moonlight, stoned and smiling and staring up at the sky, Ian looks fucking good.

Which is more than enough reason for Mickey to decide that he needs a fucking drink. 

He leaps off of the swing, joining Ian in the grass. 

And like, yeah, he’s definitely high. He’s not about to be held responsible for the shit going through his head right now. 

“Missed you, Mick,” Ian says in the same second that Mickey hands him a beer. “When you were in juvie, I mean.”

Mickey swallows when their eyes meet, feeling flustered as his cheeks begin to heat up. He knows what Ian means, because he’s already seen Ian like six fucking times since he’s been out.

But it took six fucking times, apparently, for Ian to say that shit out loud.

“Fuck off, Gallagher,” he finally says, after a moment of hesitation. “Keep that girly shit to yourself.”

Ian laughs again. He fucking laughs, and if Mickey wasn’t fucking high he’d be annoyed as fuck right now.

Instead, though, he is high. And Ian missed him. Ian missed him, and Mickey fucking likes that he missed him. 

It stirs something within him, and leaves a goddamn fluttery feeling in his stomach.

And maybe, possibly, Mickey missed Ian, too. 

As Mickey’s head swirls in a cloud of smoke and feelings, he downs his first beer with a fair amount of urgency. All the while, he pretends not to notice Ian’s lingering eyes.

“Almost thought you weren’t gonna show up tonight,” Ian says conversationally. And maybe also like he’s fishing for a specific answer; trying to dig up a response that Mickey isn’t willing to give.

“Ain’t got anywhere better to be, right?”

“Guess not,” Ian says, pauses, and then asks, “You been having fun this week?”

There’s an implication behind it, dancing in the air between them. Not just about Mickey having fun, but rather, Mickey having fun with Ian.

Mickey belches around his can of beer before tossing it to the ground, continuing to avoid Ian’s gaze. He digs through his backpack and pulls out two more, tossing one across the grass. 

It rolls into Ian’s foot, and Mickey can’t help it when he finally meets Ian’s eyes again.

“Been a good first week home,” Mickey answers, finally.

He smiles, just a little, and Ian smiles back. 

“So,” Ian begins. “Took me up on the Kash and Grab job, huh?”

Mickey sniffs. “Yeah, man. Fuck else is really gonna hire me ‘round here? Easy job, right?”

“Linda still kinda hates you,” Ian says with a shrug. “But, like I told you—she feels guilty.”

No shit. Mickey knows that already.

“She fuckin’ should,” Mickey grumbles. “Ain’t my problem. Towel Head shouldn’t have fuckin’ shot me in the first place. She owes me.”

Mickey was obviously never going to press charges, but it’s not a bad thing to have something over their fucked up family. It’s not Mickey’s fault or problem that they always, always, allowed him to get away with shoplifting.

It still wasn’t worth fucking shooting him over.

“You start next week?” Ian says it like a question, although Mickey knows that he already heard it from Linda. 

“Sure do,” Mickey says as he cracks open his second beer. “Consider yourself lucky, Gallagher. Maybe I’ll be the one keepin’ your scrawny ass from gettin’ shot.”

“Speak for yourself,” Ian raises an eyebrow. “I’m not the one who got shot there in the first place.”

Mickey pulls a face. Rolls his eyes.

“Whatever,” he says, watching as Ian sits up to take a long pull of his beer.

As Ian swallows gulp after gulp, Mickey finds himself staring. And it’s annoying, kind of, the way Mickey can’t take his eyes off of him. Even in the dark, Ian’s freckles fucking stand out and his eyes get etched into Mickey’s mind like a tattoo. 

It’s like every time Mickey thinks he has this shit under control, Ian suddenly has him feeling considerably conflicted.

Again.

Mickey doesn’t fucking like him. 

Not like that. 

Mickey doesn’t fucking like anyone, and he doesn’t think he ever has. 

Girls are annoying, and Mickey doesn’t like sex with girls nearly enough to entertain the idea of having feelings for them. And quite fucking frankly, he’s not attracted to girls. Not in the way he should be, anyway. 

He doesn’t really know if he’s attracted to guys.

Maybe. Fucking maybe.

But probably not, because he’s not fucking gay, and just because he’s comfortable with Ian doesn’t make him fucking gay, either. 

Sex with Ian is just—good. Like, really fucking good. Good in ways that Mickey didn’t know sex could be. It’s whatever, really. 

Sex is sex, right? 

Does it really fucking matter if it’s with Ian or some random chick at the corner of his street?

Not really. 

Except, Mickey doesn’t think he wants to bang girls anymore. He hasn’t thought about it in a while. When he wants to fuck, he texts Ian first.

And when Ian wants to fuck, presumably, he’s texting Mickey first, too.

It was like that right before Mickey went to juvie, and since Mickey’s been out—for the last four days—it’s been like that, again. 

So, they’ve been meeting up. Late into the night, when the rest of the world goes silent, they’ve been meeting up. 

The first night was in the dugouts, the day that Mickey got home. They went there to fuck, and they did, but they talked a lot, too. Ian suggested talking to Linda about getting a job, and Mickey did, in fact, take him up on the offer. 

And now, Mickey’s got himself a job. He’s going to be working at Ian’s side all fucking summer, dealing with his stupid jokes and ignoring it when Ian stares at him from across the room. 

Maybe, honestly, Mickey can’t fucking wait.

The night after that, Ian snuck Mickey into the broken-down van in his backyard. They fooled around behind locked doors and foggy windows, eventually ordering a pizza—eating and drinking themselves into a pleasant sleep. 

Mickey woke up with Ian beside him; hands touching, a little too close, a little too much. He jumped out of the van that morning at nearly six o’clock, sprinting home as fast as his legs would carry. 

He didn’t say goodbye, and he didn’t look back. 

And he ignored Ian all fucking day, too. 

Except, he texted Ian later that night, around eight o’clock, finally. Fourteen fucking hours later. 

Fourteen hours of Mickey stuck in his own head, adamantly deciding that he would never fucking talk to Ian again. Because that van shit felt too much like something and he’s not trying to give Ian the wrong fucking idea here, either. 

But then, Mickey texted Ian. Casually. As if he didn’t just spend the entire day panicking and ignoring him.

Which is how they ended up down by the riverside, well after midnight, smoking a joint—although less potent than tonight’s—before sufficiently ending the night with mutual blowjobs. 

And last night, of course, it was beneath the high school bleachers. Ian fought Mickey to the ground in a playful, hormone-fueled wrestling match, until the heat became a little too much, until Mickey’s skin began to itch for a different kind of contact.

Every night since Mickey’s been home, the hours have rolled on with Ian by his side. And it’s not even just for sex, either. They’re banging, sure. But most of the time, even after they finish, Mickey finds that he really doesn’t want to leave.

Because they’re having fun together. 

And that’s exactly it; the fact that Mickey isn’t just doing this for sex. He’s doing it because he likes Ian. Not like that, but because it’s fucking nice to have a friend. 

That’s what they are now. They’re really good friends, and Mickey doesn’t know when the hell that happened. But he knows enough to know that he doesn’t hate it.

At the same time, though, being good friends with Ian doesn’t make Mickey fucking gay, either. 

And it’s whatever—the fact that Ian fuels something in Mickey is just fucking whatever

Because Mickey can’t explain it, and he doesn’t like thinking about it. Ian is like an itch that Mickey can’t scratch, no matter how hard he fucking tries. 

And he’s going to keep fucking trying.

All of that shit—all of that is because they’re friends, now. And being friends has fuck all to do with Mickey maybe having a thing for Ian.

Which he fucking doesn’t. 

Ian is gay. Like, actually gay. Mickey knows that. 

And it’s not like Mickey is going to fucking fault him for that, because he gets it. 

You can’t help that shit, right? 

But Ian is so okay with it. His siblings know. Mandy knows. Mickey, obviously, knows. 

He’s not sure who else knows, but the point is, Ian is comfortable with being gay.

Like, he’s just fucking fine with it. 

South Side and all, he’s fucking fine with it.

And that’s kind of bold, Mickey thinks.

Which is kind of sexy, Mickey thinks.

What the fuck ever, though.

There are obviously things about Ian that Mickey finds fucking attractive. Like, if you’re fucking someone on the regular you have to at least be attracted to them, right?

And Ian is fucking attractive, period.

Mickey likes his red hair, and he likes his green eyes. He likes the freckles sprinkled along his neck, over his shoulders, and down his back. He likes his body; strong arms and hard muscle and defined hip bones.

He likes the way Ian’s body feels when he’s pressed up behind him, and the way it feels when Ian’s rocking back and forth against his back. 

Mickey likes Ian’s hands, too—considerably larger than his own. He loves the way Ian threads their fingers together, the way he squeezes around Mickey’s hand when it all becomes too much. That squeeze; Ian’s fingers wrapped around Mickey’s knuckles, clenching into a fist as Mickey’s vision goes blurry.

They’re lying side by side in the grass when Mickey realizes that he’s watching Ian’s fingers, his mind hazy from weed and alcohol. 

Ian catches him staring. He cracks his knuckles, wiggles his fingers. There’s a lusty sort of expression on his face, and he sits up again as he pulls out a second joint from the pocket of his jeans.

“Kinda diggin’ this tonight,” Ian says as he lights it, rotating it slowly. He inhales, closing his eyes as he lies back down, head lolling back into the grass.

He exhales slowly, humming like he’s satisfied, looking like he does when he’s coming down from a very different kind of high. 

“Gonna share, or what?” Mickey asks, voice cracking slightly.

He feels it—that familiar itch beneath his skin. 

Ian hums again, turning on his side to face Mickey, and Mickey wonders how long their legs have been pressed together. 

“Could give it to you,” Ian whispers. He sucks his bottom lip into his mouth. “Or—could make you work for it.”

Mickey doesn’t know why, but he bites.

He takes the bait, hanging heavily onto Ian’s whispered words. 

It’s the weed. It’s the alcohol. 

And maybe, just a little bit, it’s Ian, too. 

“Make me work for it how?” Mickey asks, raising an eyebrow.

Ian smiles, then. He moves back into a sitting position.

“Shotgun,” Ian says simply, climbing on top of Mickey’s body without warning.

Mickey punches out a sigh from the added weight, staring up at him curiously.

When Mickey hears shotgun, his mind immediately conjures up an image of stabbing a can of beer and draining it dry. It dawns on Mickey that, right now, Ian is absolutely not talking about that.

They stare at each other, one of Ian’s palms pressed flat into the grass beside Mickey’s head while the other holds onto the joint.

He lifts it to his lips, eyes still locked on Mickey’s.

Inhale, hold, exhale. 

The smoke hits Mickey’s face when Ian breathes it out, and Mickey’s skin itches.

Ian smiles. He’s high as fuck, and Mickey likes it. It’s making him push, just a little, past a boundary that Mickey doesn’t think they’ve really crossed before.

It’s intimate, somehow, because Ian is dazed and into him and his hips are pressing down into Mickey’s while Mickey thinks about kissing him.

Ian brings the joint to Mickey’s mouth, slipping it in between his lips. It’s such a move. Such a hot, teasing fucking move. 

Inhale, hold, exhale—breath and smoke blowing out and hitting Ian’s face, this time. Ian leans down closer, and Mickey’s body feels like it’s tingling.

Ian wets his lips once, brings the joint back up to his mouth to inhale another hit. Mickey watches as Ian breathes in the smoke, and he parts his lips automatically as Ian drops down closer to his face.

With Mickey’s lips parted, Ian hovers, tilting his head down just enough to lightly brush their mouths together. It’s not a kiss, not fucking really, but it’s something. Ian presses his lips into Mickey’s to form a better seal, blowing the smoke into Mickey’s mouth as Mickey sucks it into his lungs.

Ian pulls back quickly, but he’s got his lips on Mickey’s neck in the same move, trailing open-mouthed kisses across his skin. Like if he thought Mickey would fucking let him, he’d be kissing his mouth in the same exact way. And it feels like Ian can’t fucking help himself, as he kisses Mickey’s neck the way he very obviously wants to kiss Mickey’s lips.

And Mickey—fucking dickwhipped Mickey—just lets him. He lets Ian kiss at his neck, lets Ian suck and bite and lick, until Ian’s hands are undoing the buckle of Mickey’s jeans, until Ian is making Mickey come undone beneath the summer sky.


There’s something about summertime.

Mickey has a job now—his first real job, ever—and he’s pretty fucking good at it. 

Security sort of suits him, and that’s no surprise, really. The Kash and Grab is a piece of shit store in the heart of the piece of shit South Side, and Mickey is well known enough that people know better than to mess with him.

And, of course, Mickey works with Ian. Every day, from start to finish, they’re creating this weird sort of familiarity and rhythm with one another. 

Mickey decides pretty quickly that Ian has become his favorite person to spend time with, period. 

He’ll never fucking tell him that—not in a million fucking years—but sometimes, Mickey can’t help but wonder if Ian maybe already knows. 

And Mickey wonders if maybe, fucking maybe, he’s become Ian’s favorite person to spend time with, too. 

Sometimes, Ian brings Mickey coffee and a bagel, on their extra early mornings. 

Sometimes, they close up early, as their long days flow into even longer nights. And it’s no real surprise when those nights turn back into mornings, as they trudge back into work, sleepy and hungover. 

Sometimes, they lock the doors in the afternoon, pushing and pulling at each other playfully until they end up in the cooler. 

And one time, on fucking accident, Ian shoved Mickey too hard into one of the shelves, sending several cases of beer tumbling to the floor behind them—at least a hundred fucking dollars worth of beer, smashed on the floor and pooling at their feet. 

But they laughed about it, with Mickey still pinned to the shelf by Ian’s hands. And Ian, pressed against his back, tipped his head forward to laugh into the crook of Mickey’s neck. Happy and carefree. 

Mickey likes—really fucking likes—that he can make Ian feel that way. Because, whether Mickey admits it or not, Ian has been making Mickey feel happy and carefree a lot lately, too.


There’s something about summertime, and the fact that it goes by way too fucking fast for Mickey’s liking.

Mickey meets Ian at the basketball court on a cloudy Saturday night, leans back against the fence as he waits for Ian to notice him. 

His heart starts to beat a little harder within his chest—and it’s stupid.

It’s stupid because Mickey has spent weeks with him. Almost every day, nearly every night, Mickey has spent weeks with him. 

Talking, laughing, touching, fucking.

Just being together. 

And Mickey doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing, anymore. Because they’re friends, really good friends, and because Mickey likes him, but not like that.

Except. Maybe he fucking does.

They’re playing a dangerous game; teetering on the edge of something that Mickey can’t do. 

Mickey can’t do this, or be this. 

He’s not gay because he can’t be gay. 

Can’t fathom it. Can’t accept it. Just fucking can’t.

Ian shoots the ball through the hoop easily, dribbling it twice before Mickey catches his eye. He tosses the ball to Mickey, and Mickey catches it without missing a beat. 

“Nice catch,” Ian smirks, walking across the court to stand beside him.

“It’s a raw talent,” Mickey says.

Ian nods slowly, his eyebrows slightly narrowed. 

He looks good, in just a gray tank and gym shorts, and Mickey feels it all over. That itch beneath his skin, the one that comes from Ian, whenever he’s in his fucking proximity. 

Mickey’s heart beats a little faster as Ian takes a step closer, leaning in, mouth brushing against the edge of his ear. 

“Been thinking about you today,” Ian whispers. He lets his hand brush down Mickey’s side, and Mickey feels goosebumps rising across his skin.

And it’s—something. It’s something, because Mickey feels electricity sparking between them. It’s something, because Mickey is feverishly fucking attracted to him. It’s something, because Mickey thinks about him when he’s falling asleep at night. It’s something, because Ian makes his stomach twisty and makes his heart beat out of fucking control. 

It’s something, because Mickey likes him.

Mickey likes him, so fucking much, and he can’t even fucking tell him. 

And then Ian is kissing at his neck, just below his ear, and Mickey feels his knees go weak, as he turns to grab onto the fence. Ian kisses his neck, over and over, because Mickey won’t fucking let Ian kiss him on the mouth but Ian always gets so fucking mouthy, and so Mickey lets him do this.

It’s working, for now. 

They’re being careful, and they’re good at sneaking around. And Mickey doesn’t know what the fuck to do about liking him, but he can at least do this. 

In the darkness, hidden from the daylight with Ian’s lips pressed against his neck, Mickey can keep fucking doing this. 

And Mickey tows a line, suddenly, when he pulls a joint from the depths of his pocket. He swipes his hand back against Ian’s chest to get his attention. 

Ian removes his lips from Mickey’s skin, opens his eyes, and smiles when he sees the joint in Mickey’s hand.

Mickey smirks, because he’s feeling pretty damn bold as he tongues at the inner corner of his mouth, staring at Ian.

Making his need fucking known.

He won’t kiss him. Can’t fucking kiss him. 

But, Mickey lights the end of the joint, his eyes locked on Ian’s when he says, “Shotgun.

And there’s just something about summertime.

Like shared secrets and whispered words. Like soft lips on Mickey’s neck and hard hips on Mickey’s back. Like the light touch of lips, inhaling the same smoke, exhaling the same air. 

There’s something about summertime; like warm, sunny days and impulsive, starry nights. Like Ian and Mickey, burning together in a haze of smoke and fire.