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Two Friends Like Us

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Mickey looks at the two of them, wide eyed, and immediately shoves the turkey into one of Fiona’s mostly empty grocery bags.

Before anyone has a chance to say anything about this bizarre scenario, two security guards come running out of the store and head straight for Mickey, who tries to throw them off by dodging around one of the parked cars.

Unfortunately, with two guards, he still ends up somewhat cornered between the vehicles.

“You know this kid?” one of the guards demands, as he paces around Mickey, glaring at Fiona and Ian who are still standing there, absolutely bewildered as they watch this shitshow unfold.

“NEVER SEEN EM BEFORE IN MY FUCKIN LIFE!” Mickey quickly hollers, flipping off the guard as he does.

You little shit… well then why the fuck is there a turkey right there, hmm ?” He points at Fiona’s bag accusingly, where the large turkey is still partially sticking out and clearly visible.

Fiona shoves the turkey farther into her bag. “Excuse me? This is my fucking turkey, I paid for it” she says, sounding utterly offended.  

It’s a South Side rule, you don’t fucking snitch.

“Well then where the fuck is his?” the guard turns and yells back, and Mickey takes advantage of this momentary distraction to leap over the dented hood of the car blocking his escape, and continue running.

“Fuck you!” he yells behind himself, as the two guards abandon Fiona and Ian to pursue him. He doesn’t get halfway through the parking lot, before a police car shows up, and between two police officers and the original two security guards, Mickey is caught.

Ian can still hear him swearing, and watches him struggle as he is thrown into the backseat of the police car roughly before they drive away with him it.

Fiona turns to him slowly, “What…the fuck…just happened?” Ian is still baffled, “Fuck if I know”.

After a long moment of silence Fiona speaks again, “Well I’m keeping this turkey, we couldn’t have afforded one any other way” she says firmly.

Ian doesn’t argue, and finally comes back into his senses. He has to go see Mickey. “Fine, look, I’m gonna go to the police station, you go get your purse ok?” He tries to hand her his bags but she argues with him, “No, I can’t carry all this stuff by myself! You want to eat, you help carry the groceries”.

Ian groans, pulling his wallet out of his pocket, “Here” he hands her a ten-dollar bill. “Take a cab, then you don’t have to carry anything”. She accepts the preferable deal happily, “Alright!

Ian watches for a moment, as his sister dumps the heavy bags into a grocery cart and heads back into the grocery store to get her purse, and then he breaks into a steady jog towards the police station. He’s well acquainted with it’s location, due to several less than legal Gallagher family habits.

It takes him about twenty-five minutes to get there, and regardless of his good physical fitness, he’s huffing slightly when he arrives at the front counter.

“Mickey Milkovich?” he asks breathlessly, as soon as the police officer looks up at him from behind his computer.

“Turkey kid?” he asks. Ian nods.

The officer, who’s badge says Officer Rawlins, shrugs, “He’s in holding”.  Ian pants, “He’s seventeen, you have to either charge him or let him go”.

The police officer smirks, “You his lawyer? Listen, he’s on camera stealing it and he won’t admit to it, so we’re gonna keep him”. Ian tries to keep calm, “You’re gonna arrest a poor kid, for stealing a turkey, at Christmas. Are you fucking serious?”

Rawlins sighs, “Listen kid, I don’t want to be sitting here filling out paperwork for another petty theft either. But the grocery store says he’s a repeat offender, and from our other files on him here, that’s very likely true”.

Ian wracks his brain, “What…what if I pay for it? I’ll pay for it, you can give the cash to the manager, and then you can let him go. It won’t be stolen anymore”.

The officer purses his lips thoughtfully, “Well… I suppose that would be fine. As long as they are compensated for it. It’s 27 dollars though”. Ian just about drops his wallet, “For a goddamn bird? Fuck…”

He flips through his wallet and practically empties it, and he’s only got a few dollars left when he’s done, between that and the money he gave Fiona for a cab. The officer counts the cash out carefully and puts it in an envelope that he scribbles something onto, “Alright, wait here”.

Ian bites his lip as he waits, and Mickey is led out from the holding area about five minutes later, looking extremely pissed off. He doesn’t say a word to Ian as they leave, who waves his appreciation to Officer Rawlins as he hurries out the door after Mickey.

As soon as they are outside, Ian puts a hand out in front of Mickey’s chest to stop him from going any further, completely expecting him to just shove through and keep going, but he doesn’t. He stops.

He doesn’t look up, but Ian sees his face is more scratched than he remembered it being this morning, and he’s dirtier than usual too. 

“What the fuck is going on with you?” Ian demands, “Why have you been acting, for the past few fucking days, like I don’t fucking exist?”

His voice almost breaks at the last word, and as Mickey finally looks up directly into his eyes, the look in them is cold enough to make Ian shiver. “Who’s Josh? ” he spits, shaking with anger.

Ian takes a step back, absolutely surprised by the question, “What… how did you…?”

Mickey clenches his jaw, “I fucking knew it! FUCK!” He balls his hand into a fist, and Ian flinches as his hand comes flying past him and smashes into the metal parking sign beside him, Mickey apparently choosing at the last second to hit the metal sign instead of him, his hand begins to bleed from the impact.

Ian waves his own hands uselessly to try and get Mickey to calm down as he tries to figure out what to say, but he’s just so fucking confused, “I don’t know how or what you think you fucking know, but-“

Mickey lowers his voice, his face creasing into harsh lines as he splutters, “You- you- fuck you Ian! Make me think I’m your fucking boyfriend or something while you go out and fuck other guys!” Mickey stalks away from him angrily, and reaches the sidewalk before Ian snaps out of his shock, and runs after him, grabbing Mickey’s arm to stop him.

Mickey looks close to tears now, like he’s in shock himself after his outburst, and Ian quickly takes advantage of his stupor to pull him into the bus stop beside of them for some more privacy, as he tries to explain.

Mickey blinks quickly as he looks around himself and realizes he is no longer on the sidewalk in front of the police station. Ian looks directly into his eyes, trying to show how earnest he is, even through his distress, “Mick I didn’t…I haven’t fucked anyone, since I’ve been with you. Not since that day at Oak Forest”.

“ Fucking liar” Mickey immediately hisses back, Ian taking a few steps away from his harshness.

“You got a nice fucking message from Josh while you had me on your phone uploading a picture of US to your fucking Facebook so everyone can see that Mickey Milkovich is a fucking bitch for you! You show that pic to everyone on your fucking hookup app too, have a nice laugh?”

He laughs bitterly at his ugly joke. Ian’s face pales as he realizes that he thinks he knows what the fuck Mickey is actually upset about, and rightfully so, even though it’s just a big fucking misunderstanding.

“Mickey, you have this all wrong ”, he pleads, “I haven’t used that app to hook up with anyone since the summer. I should have deleted it, but I didn’t, I didn’t even think of it”.

“Give me your fucking phone” Mickey snarls, and Ian hesitates as he hands it over, feeling like Mickey is going to smash it into the ground. Instead, he swipes quickly through the folders on Ian’s phone and pulls up the Grindr app, and then his conversation with Josh, and shows it to him. 

Ian looks back up from the screen without reading it, remembering that day very clearly, he doesn’t need a reminder, “I didn’t go through with it! I was upset, I was being fucking stupid and I was upset after you turned me down, but we weren’t even together then!” Ian says, his voice strangled.

The look Mickey gives him next is so venomous that he feels angry himself again, repeating, “We weren’t together then…you’re being ridiculous”.

“Keep lying to me Ian, see what happens. I broke all my fucking rules for you, asshole. And if you didn’t fucking go through with it, then why did he send this to you a few days ago?” Mickey says, his voice like stone as he turns the phone screen back towards Ian.

Ian scans the screen with his eyes quickly, seeing a message on ‘read’ that he had never opened, because Mickey would have had his phone when the notification was delivered.

From: Josh, 18.

Hey you, how bout we go for round 2? ;) I think we can do a lot better this time lol

 

Mickey had apparently replied with, “Kill yourself” to which Josh had never answered.

Ian slaps his hand to his forehead, “Oh… God, no. No. Mickey, I honestly think that he was drunk when he sent that to me, and I obviously never saw it. Just… just listen to me. That night at the dugout, after you ran away from me, I was fucking upset, and angry. I opened this stupid app, that I’m deleting right now ”, he tips the phone towards Mickey to show him, who sniffs slightly as he watches the app disappear from Ian’s screen.

“And looked for someone to help me forget about you. And yes, I went to his house”, he admits, regretfully.

Mickey suddenly looks up to the sky, and Ian can’t see his eyes anymore.

He quickly continues, “But I didn’t go through with it. I didn’t even kiss him, I swear to fucking God, Mickey. That’s why he said we could do a lot better. It wouldn’t be hard to, because I didn’t do anything the first time. When I was there with him, I realized that all I wanted was you”.

Mickey finally pulls his eyes away from the grey sky and back onto him, his guard now obviously lowered. He searches Ian’s face to see if he can find any hint of a lie as Ian stands there somberly, letting him look.

“All I want is you” Ian adds sadly.

Mickey rubs one hand down his face, blinking rapidly, “That was before we were together? And you didn’t fuck him? You aren’t using that app to fuck other guys now?”

No ” he answers weakly, his voice breaking.

Mickey pinches the bridge of his nose, and Ian feels himself fighting tears just as hard as the other boy clearly is.

“FUCK!” Mickey suddenly yells out, jamming his bleeding hand over his eyes to cover them, “I’m sorry” he chokes out. “I’m so fucking sorry, I hit you… I fucking ignored you, I thought…”

Ian swallows hard, shaking his head vigorously as he interrupts him, his voice is thick “I’M sorry! I’m sorry I hit you first, if I had any fucking idea what was going on in your head… fuck, I’m-”

Mickey yanks his battered hand away from his eyes, and quickly covers Ian’s lips with his fingers, “Shut up, shut the fuck up”.

His blue eyes are still glazed with tears, but he looks like he’s fighting something other than his previous emotions now, and as his voice grows quiet, Ian begins to worry.

“I need to tell you something Ian”.