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Hey, Lover

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It’s Saturday morning, and Ian is still asleep. That’s not completely out of the ordinary- Mickey is usually the first to get up, then Svetlana. Ian doesn’t take long to follow, he and Svetlana often coming out around the same time. He’s still asleep though, and it takes until they’re sat down at the table for breakfast for Mickey to notice he didn’t get his routine morning kiss from his favorite person.

“Did Ian not get up yet?” Mickey asks, glancing towards their room.

Svetlana frowns, looking away from Yevgeny. “I did not see him. Should we wake?”

Mickey isn’t too concerned, waving his hand. “It’s the weekend, and he has off. Let him sleep in. I need to go to the store anyway, if he’s not up by then I’ll worry.”

Svetlana nods, and the two of them return to breakfast like normal. Between feeding Yevgeny and light gossiping between the two adults, time goes by fast, and they’re washing their dishes soon enough. The grocery list is in Mickey’s hands in no time, and he can’t help but grin at everyone’s individual handwritten requests. He sees in Svetlana’s neat cursive that they need tea bags, boxed mac and cheese in his own sloppy writing, and in Ian’s chicken scratch, strawberry yogurt, among other things.

“Take baby?” Svetlana asks, passing Yevgeny to Mickey. “Is beautiful day outside.”

“Yeah, sure. Let’s do this, little man,” Mickey tells the baby, leaving shortly after that.

Svetlana tidies the rest of the kitchen and living room, making her bed once she’s finished. She pauses in the hallway, looking at Ian and Mickey’s closed door. With only a bit of hesitation, she opens the door, Ian still asleep.

“Is time to wake up, moy dorogoy,” Svetlana chirps, opening the blinds to let in the sunlight. “You missed breakfast.”

She pauses, turning around to see Ian with the covers pulled up to his chin, his eyes so heavy they’re barely open. Her heart drops a little, and for once, she wants to be wrong. Slowly, Svetlana sits on the edge of the bed, feeling Ian’s cheek with the back of her hand.

“Ian? Are you feeling sick?” She tries, not surprised when she gets no answer. “Can I get you anything?”

Again, she is returned with silence. Ian’s bipolar disorder is something he has managed for awhile now. It was shortly after Yevgeny was born that he was diagnosed, quickly going on meds to make things more bearable. Svetlana and Mickey were both proud of how quickly he took action, not wanting to do to them what Monica did to him and the Gallaghers. Once the pills evened out, Ian started doing so much better. He was himself again, more color in his face and not so skinny that it was scary. Every now and then he had a bad day, but not often. Today though, Svetlana feels like she should’ve seen it coming. He hadn’t been doing well within the past week. Ian would go to sleep early and seemingly had no appetite, denying food when offered. He quietly complained of nausea and headaches only to her, not wanting Mickey to worry. Now, Svetlana thinks Mickey has every right to be worried. She sighs softly, kissing the top of Ian’s head before closing the blinds again, and leaving the room.

Mickey and Yevgeny are back within the hour, grocery bags in hand. Svetlana meets them at the door, and Mickey immediately frowns, not liking the look on her face. She tries to smile as she takes Yevgeny, but it doesn’t meet her eyes.

“What’s the matter?” Mickey questions, putting the bags on the table.

Svetlana puts her hand on his shoulder, talking to him in one of her most gentle tones. She knows this is hard on Mickey too. “Ian is having bad day,” she explains softly, and by the look in his eyes, she knows he understands. “Go.”

With the one word assurance, Mickey takes off to their room, slowly opening the door. His heart aches when he sees Ian in the same position he had found him in when this happened for the very first time this happened, curled up tight, and still wide awake. He takes his shoes off, not saying anything yet, just carefully crawling in bed. Mickey spoons Ian from behind, gently pressing his lips against his shoulder.

“I’m here now,” Mickey whispers, nuzzling against his back. “You don’t have to say anything. I’ve got you.”

Mickey thinks he might hear the smallest sound in the back of Ian’s throat, but easily could have imagined it. Still, he accepts it as acknowledgment, and snuggles impossibly closer. He wraps his arms around Ian firmly, knowing it’s grounding for the younger boy. It makes him upset to see Ian like this, hating how much hurt he’s feeling. It feels like they’ve been laying there forever when Ian finally breaks the silence. Mickey doesn’t know how long it’s actually been, but it seems like a long time.

“Mickey,” Ian croaks, sounding weak from talking for the first time that day.

Mickey sits up a little bit so he can see Ian better, stroking his hair. “Yeah? I’m right here, Ian.”

“I don’t feel good,” Ian whispers, his voice breaking. “I don’t like this.”

Mickey’s heart absolutely breaks, and he pulls Ian closer. “I know... I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. But you’re doing great, I promise. Can you turn over for me? That’s all. I just want to see your pretty little face.”

Ian sighs quietly, the thought of moving feeling like far too much to handle. But it’s Mickey. He’ll try for Mickey. Slowly, he turns himself over to face the other way. His joints are stiff and aching from staying still for so long, but looking at Mickey makes things seem just a little bit better.

“Hey, lover,” Mickey whispers, stroking Ian’s cheek with his thumb. “There you are. You’re doing so good.”

Ian nods slowly, letting his head fall against Mickey’s chest. “Can I have water?” He asks warily, the words feeling heavy in his mouth.

“Of course. I’m gonna text Svet so I don’t have to leave you. She’ll probably want to talk to you, make sure you’re alright. You don’t have to talk, just listen. Is that okay? I can tell her not to if you want me to,” Mickey says quietly, making sure to give him the option.

Ian just nods again, knowing he can handle it. Today at least. Some days, he can’t. He knows that they mean well, but sensory overload gets the best of him sometimes. Mickey’s hands on his waist or Svetlana ruffling his hair sends shivers down his spine, the touches almost feeling like they burn. He’d nearly burst into tears when Mickey squeezed his shoulders one time. That time led to Ian finally explaining how he felt, and the rule was set from there. Whenever Ian’s feeling down, permission to touch is asked before doing it. But today, Ian takes comfort in it. Mickey moves just enough to get his phone, texting Svetlana and requesting water. He makes sure she knows that Ian said she could stay for a minute, not wanting her to worry too much. She must have been waiting around, because she comes not a minute later, a glass of water with a straw in hand.

“Hi,” Svetlana whispers, sitting on the other end of the bed and handing the glass to Mickey. “Yevgeny is asleep. Is good you want water, important for body.”

The two of them help Ian up into a position just up enough for him to drink, Mickey holding the water up for him. Ian gets about half of it down before curling up again, his face pressed against Mickey’s hip. Svetlana gently rubs his back, sending Mickey a sympathetic look.

“Good, Ian,” Mickey murmurs, running his hands through his hair. “You did so good. Close your eyes for me, okay? You need rest.”

Ian does, the gentle touches allowing him to feel sleepy and drift off. Sometimes, it’s hard for sleep to come. Right now, he couldn’t fight it if he tried. Focusing on the sound of Mickey’s steady breathing, Ian lets the darkness overcome, and sleep takes over.
*
It’s a few hours later when Ian wakes up, and he realizes that he must’ve slept the day away. It’s a bit disorienting for a moment- it was light out when he fell asleep, now he can see that the sun has gone down. Sometimes sleeping the whole day makes him feel worse, guilty for not doing much. But today, he feels a little bit better when he rises. Ian stares blankly at the ceiling, contemplating whether or not he wants to get up, and if he’ll even be able to. He decides that he’ll try, knowing it will make Mickey happy. Carefully, Ian pulls himself out of bed, needing to give his legs a minute to stretch. Mickey and Svetlana are on the couch with Yevgeny, and Mickey’s head snaps up as soon as he hears movement in the hallway. Seeing Ian, he gets up to meet him halfway, wrapping an arm around his waist.

“Hey, I’ve got you. Need the bathroom?” Mickey asks.

Ian shakes his head, sighing heavily. “Just you,” he whispers, leaning into Mickey.

The older man smiles, helping him over to the couch. Svetlana smiles at him, and Yevgeny squeals. The baby loves Ian, and it does make him feel a little happier to see Yev. Ian sits down in between them, leaning back against the couch. He curls is arms around himself and sighs shakily, closing his eyes.

“I missed my morning and afternoon doses,” Ian whispers forlornly, upset with himself over it.

“That’s alright,” Mickey assures, holding his hand. “We’ll get you something to eat so you can have the night ones, and get back on track tomorrow.”

Ian shakes his head, biting his lip. “I don’t like the way they make me feel,” he mumbles groggily, and it makes Mickey sad how exhausted he sounds. “I felt bad for a few days before today.”

“Is true,” Svetlana admits softly. “He did not eat, go to sleep early, and has headaches. Didn’t want you to worry.”

Mickey holds his tongue, knowing he hides things too sometimes. “I’m always gonna worry, Ian. I want you to tell me what’s going on so I can help make it better, okay? Do you think we should talk to your doctor about adjusting your meds?”

“I don’t know,” Ian whispers, but it comes out more like a whimper. “I just want to be normal. I hate this.”

Mickey frowns guiltily, not realizing how overwhelming all the medication talk must be while he’s feeling this way. He pulls Ian close to his chest, not saying anything else, just holding him there. He kisses the top of Ian’s head, one hand resting on the back of his neck. He must look as distraught as he feels, because Svetlana puts a hand on his shoulder, and Mickey takes comfort in the touch. She smiles gently at him, wordlessly reminding him that things will be okay.

“I love you, Ian. All three of us do. Svetlana loves you, Yev loves you. Your brothers and sisters love you. We’re all gonna make sure you’re okay,” Mickey promises, rubbing Ian’s back.

“I love you all,” Ian mumbles against his chest. “Thank you.”

Mickey squeezes him gently, not wanting to ever let go.
*
Ian realizes he must’ve dozed off again, but not for long. This time, he doesn’t wake up alone, still pressed to Mickey’s chest. His boyfriend loyally stayed underneath him while he slept, and it made Ian smile. He could hear Svetlana bustling around in the kitchen, Yevgeny’s sweet baby babble audible too. Ian shifts and squeezes Mickey’s hips, alerting him that he’s up.

“Hey, sleepyhead,” Mickey smiles. “How’re you feeling now?”

“A lot better,” Ian nods, giving him a tired smile. “How long did I sleep for?”

“Not long, maybe a half hour. It’s just after six,” Mickey reports. “Svet’s making dinner, and you need to take your meds after. Sound like a plan?”

Ian nods, more agreeable now that he’s feeling better. “And I think you were right earlier. We should ask about adjusting my medicine. The bad days have been more frequent, and I don’t like that. Let’s try and fix it.”

Mickey just pulls Ian into a hug, nuzzling against his neck. “I’m proud of you,” he murmurs. “We’ll figure it out together.”

“Yeah,” Ian smiles softly, squeezing Mickey’s arm.

The two of them get up, going into their small kitchen. Svetlana doesn’t say anything to them, but smiles, happy that Ian’s doing okay. Yevgeny toddles over to Ian’s legs, who picks him up and holds him close to his chest.

“Hey, Yev,” Ian murmurs, kissing his cheek.

He holds Yevgeny close, sighing softly. He watches Mickey pester Svetlana as she cooks, moving her ingredients as she goes to grab them. Ian kisses the baby’s cheek again, and lets himself smile. Maybe things will be alright.