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If You Lose Your Way Just Follow Mine

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"You ever wonder what you would be like if you didn't grow up here?"

Mickey turned his head, blowing smoke towards the freckled boys face. "Huh?"

Ian plucked the cigarette from his fingers, inhaling before he spoke. "Like," he exhaled. "If you didn't grow up Southside."

"You mean if I was a Northside prick?"

Ian rolled his eyes, handing the cigarette back over to him. "No, like another state, in a decent neighborhood. Maybe with a decent family?"

Mickey scoffed. "I already have a decent family, man."

Ian turned his head, eyebrows furrowed, making him look like a damn puppy. "Please tell me you're joking."

Mickey just grinned.

"Yeah."

They were lying side by side on an old mattress underneath the El. They were far enough away from the road to where they couldn't be seen through the uncut grass and junk lying around. Mickey normally wouldn't have even thought about doing something like this, but it's fucking hot, and it was either hang out with Gallagher in the shade or laze around his house with Terry in the kitchen. No fucking thank you.

"You didn't answer my question."

"Fuck off, Gingerbread. It was a stupid fucking question anyway."

"You're such an asshole."

"Mmm."

Mickey sat up to tug his shirt off. Even in the shade, it was miserably humid. He laid back down, shifting around to get comfortable.

It was peaceful for a moment, before Ian leaned over to grab Mickey's shirt. "The hell is this?"

"The fuck does that mean?"

"This is your shirt."

"...alright?"

Ian gave him a disbelieving look.

"This is an elephant."

"I think I'm missing something Gallagher."

"Mick, your shirt has a fucking elephant on it."

"So what?"

Ian sighed. "That's so lame."

Mickey punched him as hard as he could from his position. "Elephants are badass."

"Yeah, okay."

Mickey huffed, and they fell into a comfortable silence again.

Ian shifted so he was looking at the boy beside him, drinking in his features. Luckily Mickey didn't seem to notice, too busy staring into space. Ian loved everything about this dork. There was sweat around his forehead, and his hair was sticking up in random directions. His eyes looked almost translucent in the sun, with long eyelashes occasionally fanning his cheeks.

Mickey must have noticed him staring, his tics were beginning to set in. After watching his features spasm for a moment, Ian finally turned away as Mickey brought a finger to his mouth.

Mickey calmed down a little and began to examine his fingernails. Ian glanced over, doing a double take when his eyes landed on the nails a few inches from his face. "They're clean." Ian said, trying but failing to let the surprise creep into his voice. Mickey didn't say anything for a minute. He finally sighed and dropped his hands back down to his stomach. "I'm hungry."

Ian tossed the his shirt back to him. "Wanna go get McDonald's? They have milkshakes." Mickey shook his head. "No money."

Ian eyed his muscles as he stretched his shirt over his head. "It's cool. I'll buy."

Mickey scoffed, "We work at the same place, Gallagher. You make as much as I do. Where the hell you getting money from?"

"Ned."

Mickey made a face. "Who the fuck?"

"The guy I'm seeing, remember?"

Mickey laughed at that, trying to make it sound as least forced as possible. "Ah. Gramps."

"C'mon Mick, I like him. He gives me things for no reason. It's awesome."

"That easy, huh?"

Ian laughed and muttered, "Yeah, I'm like eighty-nine percent sure I could get him to buy me a car in exchange for a half-assed handy."

"Gross." He stood up and stretched. "C'mon, buy me a milkshake and I'll give you a half-assed handy under the table."

Ian smirked. "Deal."