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Two Friends Like Us

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You are now leaving Chicago’

The road sign feels like a slap in the face to Mickey, and he grits his teeth as they drive past it, trying desperately to keep his surface appearance cold and uncaring.

In reality, he’s filled with a tornado of both anger and misery, and each emotion fights the other for dominance in his troubled mind.

He is sullen and silent during the day long drive from Chicago to Memphis, sharing the backseat of the Volvo with his equally subdued sister.

She had started out glancing over at him every few minutes after he had yelled out to Ian as they drove away, but he kept his eyes trained on the back of the seat in front of him, refusing to acknowledge her curiosity lest she read in to it.

Finally, she had looked away.

Their social worker insists on making pit stops to use the washroom every couple of hours, but Mickey never gets out of the Volvo with her and Mandy, and he doesn’t eat any of the food Mrs. Pennington brings back for him either.

The only thing he can stomach to consume right now is cigarette smoke, and he doesn’t get out of the car because he doesn’t trust himself not to start running as soon as his feet hit the pavement.

Their social worker tries telling them about half-way through their trip how lucky they are to have found a couple who would take them both in.

Mickey sits there in an aggressive silence, unable to form a sentence scathing enough to get his sentiment across, and Mandy responds in kind for both of them.

“Shut the fuck up”.

When the car finally slows that night in a fairly wealthy suburban neighborhood of Memphis, both of them look out the window with… not interest, not curiosity, but more so a simple and bitter acceptance.

The house they pull up to is nice, Mickey begrudgingly admits to himself, but any idiot could see that. Very nice in comparison to what they had come from.

It’s painted a pleasant green color, and it’s spread out across a large property, accompanied by a double wide garage with ivy arching over both of it’s doors. There’s a massive tree in the front yard too, planted in the middle of a healthy green lawn.

Mo would have loved it here. Mickey feels an ache in his gut as he thinks about the dog he had to leave back home.

But what hadn’t he left behind?

He feels like an intruder on the property as soon as the social worker prods him and Mandy out of the car, and he’s embarrassed as hell carrying his things to the front door like he’s some fucking beggar looking for a home, when this is the type of place he would have robbed before.

In the past of course. Before Ian.

He dumps his shit on the front steps and lights a cigarette while the social worker knocks on the front door, Mandy shoving his shoulder until he gives her one too.

A woman answers the door, a fairly pretty brunette. She’s younger than Mickey would have expected, maybe in her mid thirties.

Foster people were usually old as fuck, in his experience.

She smiles at them, seeming genuine enough. “Hey guys. Welcome…home? I guess that’s sort of a fucked-up thing to say, isn’t it? Call it what you want, but what’s ours is yours”.

Mickey, Mandy, and the social worker all stare as she turns and moves over in the doorway, so the man that appears behind her can join her there too. He’s taller than she is, but has the same color of hair she does, with a confident smile and a stubborn chin.

She jerks her chin towards him, “This is my brother. Rob. And I’m Camille. Probably should have started with that”.

Mickey raises his eyebrows at Mandy, who shrugs back, and their social worker addresses the confusing situation for them.

“Excuse us for our… reactions, but we were expecting a couple… Mr. and Mrs. Connolly? Is that you two?”

They nod together.

“Jesus Christ, they loaded us on some incest twins?” Mickey grumbles, tossing his cigarette butt onto their lawn and grinding it down with his foot.

Rob laughs, “Not incest and not twins. Brother and sister, which was understood by the fostering agency. There must be a typo somewhere in your paperwork”.

Mrs. Pennington nods, scanning over her clipboard again.

“I, yes. My apologies. Well, here are Mikhailo and Miranda Milkovich, your two foster children”.

Mandy snaps, “Mickey and Mandy. And we’re not children either”.

“Mickey and Mandy, got it. Why don’t you all come inside?” Camille offers coolly, holding open the door for them to come in.

“That would be lovely, but I have to get back to Chicago to finish the paperwork on their file before they are legally passed over a new social worker here in Memphis, first thing tomorrow morning” Mrs. Pennington says, stepping away from them and patting both of their shoulders before she heads back to her car, “In the mean time, please call if you need anything. Good luck!”

Mickey yanks away from her touch like it’s poisonous, but Mandy just starts to follow Camille inside. Mickey tries to follow her too, but Rob stops him in the doorway.

“You look like you want to punch something kid. Here, have another smoke before you come in”.

Rob takes a packet of cigarettes out of the breast pocket of his plaid shirt and offers Mickey one.

“Viceroys are shit” Mickey says, taking out one of his own Marlboros.

They stand there and silently smoke together, Mickey unsure of what to think or even say.

He’d never been dumped on anyone for more than two weeks before. And none of them seemed this chill about having a known juvenile delinquent and his questionably dressed sister show up at their doorstep.

Rob butts out his cigarette and waits for Mickey to finish his.

“Alright, come on. Camille’s probably waiting for us” he finally says, waving him inside.

Mickey steps inside the house after Rob, and is greeted by cool AC, the pleasant smell of dinner cooking in the oven, and a friendly but slightly overweight tortoiseshell cat that tries to wind around his legs.

He subtly shoves the cat away with his foot before he follows Rob into the living room, where Mandy is already sitting on the couch with a Coke, looking just as uncertain as Mickey is feeling.  

He quickly goes over to his sister, the only familiar thing in this entire fucked up situation. He’d never felt so comforted by her presence before.

“Did we interrupt you girls?” Rob asks, sinking down in one of the empty armchairs beside his sister.

“No” Camille laughs, “Mostly waiting for you guys. Mandy filled me in on a few things, but I guess it’s our turn to talk now, right? Because we already know about you two” she says, now addressing Mickey and Mandy.

Mickey exchanges a look with his sister.

“Right. So you know I’ve been arrested a shit ton, and that Mandy’s a bit of a slut. Why exactly did you want us again?”

He ignores the eye roll Mandy gives him, and the following shove. She’d never been in denial of it before. In fact, she took some pride in sleeping around, which always annoyed the hell out of him.

Trying to defend her ass to dudes that she too easily gave it to in the first place. Like he didn’t have enough shit to deal with already.

“It’s a long story I guess, but we’ve been in your place. We saw your file and it felt right to have you two here” Camille answers, her brother nodding in agreement.

“You’ve been in our place” Mickey says, looking around the pleasant house. “Hi-larious”.

Camille frowns slightly, “We’ve worked hard to get where we are. Rob and I spent years in the system before we were old enough to be out on our own and take charge of our own lives, to turn them around. It wasn’t easy, but that’s sort of the point of why you’re here, with us. Why we were approved to foster you two in particular”.

“Fuckups fostering fuckups” Mandy says sarcastically.

“Pretty much, but we stuck together and we redeemed ourselves” Rob says, shrugging. “Listen, we don’t expect you two to be fine with all of this right away. We’d be weirded the fuck out if you were. But you don’t need to be on your guard here, alright? We’ll leave you alone at first if you want, until you feel more comfortable. Just don’t fight it tooth and nail, ok guys? We all have to get along for the next three years”.

Mickey closes his eyes for a second, it was true. And he had promised Ian that he’d stay on the straight and narrow, not get himself in any trouble while he was here, so he could come home as soon as possible.

He nods just slightly in agreement.

Camille clears her throat. “Your rooms are upstairs…Mandy you’re on the left, Mickey, you’re at the end of the hallway. Would it be too much to ask if you’d have dinner with us tonight?” She looks at their faces and then nods understandingly.

“Totally fine. I’ll bring up some plates”.

Without another word, Mandy and Mickey grab their bags and trudge up the stairs Camille had pointed out.

Mickey pauses at Mandy’s doorway as she does, peering inside.

A vanity set, a solid oak dresser, a queen bed, and a window with flowing curtains that looks out over the backyard greet his eyes. It’s painted in various shades of light feminine blues and pastel lavenders.

Total chick’s room.

“Out” Mandy says gruffly, pushing him out of the doorway so she can close the door to her room without sealing him in with her.

He’d flip her off if he had the energy to, but instead he continues on to the end of the hallway, reluctantly pushing open his own new bedroom’s door.

Mickey sinks against the doorframe weakly as soon as he looks inside, his eyes filling with tears as they scan over the room.

All of the walls are painted the same rich, comforting and warm, familiar orange.

The wall he’d been building brick by brick since he got in that Volvo back in Chicago, crumbles in an instant.

Mickey drops all his shit and yanks the door closed, immediately running back down the stairs and right out the front door.

He runs down the street until he’s breathless, with no idea what’s he doing until he hears a car pulling up next to him, what feels like over an hour later.

He looks over at the car with wide and confused red eyes.

Rob looks at him and sighs, resting his arm on the steering wheel. “I’m sorry you’re hurting man. I really am. But you can’t run from this”.

Mickey wants to swear at him, kick a dent in his car, but instead he just ends up choking out, “I know”.

Rob drives him back home, and Mickey immediately goes back upstairs without a single word to Camille, going right past Mandy’s still closed door and into his own bedroom.

The color of the walls make him ache, surrounded by something he wants to be held by. All of the pristine furniture in the room, without a single scratch, is everything he’s not. He doesn’t belong here, with all this nice shit. He doesn’t even want it.

Mickey sinks onto his large bed, burying his aching head in his hands. Part of him wants to cry, but he feels empty at the same time.

Hollow.

Exhaustion that he hadn’t known he was carrying washes over him, and even though he thinks he’s going to lay down for just a moment and close his eyes, he doesn’t open them again until morning.

He jumps as soon as he sees the Memphis daylight flooding his orange bedroom, and he immediately checks his phone.

There’s a text from Ian telling him it’s okay to call now if he wants to, asking if he’s settled in.

Mickey’s heart is thudding, and he pauses before he hits the call button, listening.

He opens his bedroom door and peeks around, to make sure nobody is nearby before he goes back into his room and steadies himself, pressing the call icon on the screen.

He has to be calm, and cool. Otherwise he’ll just set Ian off too.

The second Ian answers the phone he says “Hey you”.

“Hey” Ian answers, “What’s the new place like?”

Fuck… he sounds so far away.

Mandy suddenly opens his bedroom door without knocking, and he glares at her, jabbing a tattooed finger at his phone.

Mickey clears his throat, trying to remember what the streets he had taken off on last night looked like. “Different, live right in the city pretty much”.

His boyfriend sounds painfully casual as he attempts to make normal conversation. “What are your foster people like?”

“I don’t fuckin know, nice I guess? I’m not gonna start any shit though, promise. Gonna get out of here as soon as I can”.

He hears Ian laugh softly, “Yeah. Wonder how long that will last”.

The sound makes him smile, for the first time since he’s gotten here. He looks around at the orange walls of his room and waves his hand for Mandy to go away.

As soon as she does, he clears his throat, trying to keep his voice steady.

“I miss you Ian”.

There’s a slight pause before he hears Ian’s weak response, “It’s only been a day”.

Mickey shakes his head, even thought Ian can’t see it.

“Doesn’t matter. I already fuckin miss you, not gonna lie and say I don’t”.

The next thing Ian says catches him off guard, causing a deep and almost unbearable ache in his stomach, because he feels so fucking powerless, so guilty.

“Please come home”. He sounds desperate, scared even.

Mickey lets out a shaky sigh after a moment of silence, squeezing the bridge of his nose between his fingers. “Don’t do that Ian, that’s not fuckin fair”.

“I know… I just… I don’t know what to fucking do Mick”.

Mickey quickly searches his brain for some type of instant solution for Ian, seeing Mandy at his bedroom door again.

She mouths, “Social worker. Let’s go”.

“Just, pretend I’m away for a couple days. On a run again, you know?” Mickey tells Ian, trying to sound confident as Mandy disappears again.

Ian sniffs, “I’ll try, I don’t see that fucking working too well”.

Mickey laughs, picturing Ian’s probable look of annoyance right now.

What he wouldn’t give to see it in person.

“Yeah, I know. I gotta go though, got a new fuckin social worker to meet. Mandy’s waitin for me outside” he says reluctantly, “Talk to you later...love you”.

“I love you too…”

Mickey feels a little better after that phone call. It didn’t matter how far away from Ian he was, his love for that man was stronger than ever.

They could make it through this. He knew they could.

 

*One Week Later*

Mickey was kept busy as hell at first under the new social worker’s nagging, him and Mandy had to go back to school right away to complete their grades, as well as check in with her daily until she was satisfied they were readjusting.

Readjustment.

That wasn’t what it was at all though.

It was acceptance, and waiting. For Mickey and his sister. They knew that someday they would be able to go back home, and that was the light at the end of this tunnel. In the mean time, Mandy had adopted an attitude similar to Mickey’s.

Put up walls, act as if everything is fine, and do what you have to do.   

Going back to school is rough. It’s an unfamiliar space to Mickey, and he can’t find any of his classes at first. But he keeps going, remembering his promise to Ian whenever he wants to fuck off and look for a dealer to get high from instead.

He texts him all the time too, hoping it will help Ian remember that he’s always thinking about him. That he’d rather be there, or anywhere, as long as he was there too…

Mickey notices about a week into his time in Memphis, but tries to deny it to himself, that Ian’s not answering him all that often anymore.

He’s busy, he tells himself, stop fucking bothering him.

But he jumps like a fucking teenage girl whenever his phone buzzes, snatching it immediately to see if it’s a message from Ian.

Hearing from him is like eating when you’re fucking starving, and that’s what being in Memphis is like. His entire body immediately relaxes and sinks into relief as soon as he does.

But when he doesn’t hear from him, he’s on edge, and it’s all that’s on his mind.

Camille and Rob try to talk to him about his rapidly upcoming 18th birthday, but he shrugs every time they ask him what he would like to do, feeling more and more distant from Ian.

He can’t do what he’d like to do, and that’s pretty fucking obvious. He wants to go home.

Eventually he just grunts, “Cake”, so they’ll shut the fuck up already.

It doesn’t hit him what he really wants until he’s walking home from school one day, and he sees a gangly teenager get out of a car parked on the street ahead of him.

All he sees is the back of a red head, and he feels himself yelling out, “IAN!” Before he can stop himself.The boy turns around, an unfamiliar face, and Mickey reddens.

Of course it wasn’t him. Fucking idiot. Ian being here would be too good to be true.

Ian being here…

Mickey tries getting a hold of him multiple times that night with his idea, but he never texts back, or even picks up his phone.

Mickey’s heart sinks as he leaves message after message, starting to think the worst.

Ian had been harder to get a hold of lately…. But what if something had happened? What if he was hurt?

Mickey watches as the digital clock in his bedroom flashes 12:00 a.m. that night, and glances over at his phone again.

Still nothing.

He was 18 now. He thought he’d feel something when he reached that age, happy, excited, at least more free…but he still feels empty aside from the worry gnawing at his stomach.

He bites his nails and chain-smokes viciously until he finally falls asleep around 4 in the morning.

The sound of his purposely left on full volume ringer makes him jump in the morning because it’s so harsh, and he grabs his phone as soon as he’s aware of what’s going on, fumbling with it for a second before he answers.

“Ian? What the hell is going on? I’ve been fucking worried all goddamn night”.

He sounds like shit as he answers, “I’m so sorry Mick, I crashed last night. Happy Birthday!”

Ian’s tone at the end is a little more enthused, a little lighter, and Mickey feels himself soften, relief flooding through him that at least Ian’s okay. And now he can he tell him about his idea.

Mickey can’t remember the last time he asked for something for his birthday. Maybe because he knew he’d never get it, whatever he asked for. But this year was a little different.

This year Ian Gallagher was in love with him, and all he wanted was him.

“Thanks… and about that, I know it’s hard for you to get time off from work and school, but do you think you could maybe take a bus up for a visit or something? I’m not allowed to travel from Memphis, it’s part of my restrictions for now. But fuck Ian, I’d kill to see you just for an hour even”.

There’s a very long silence, and Mickey waits with his mouth slightly open for a response.

Say something…anything, he thinks, a bitter taste rising in his mouth as the seconds of silence tick by.

“Okay…how about next Sunday? I have it off. It will literally be a couple hours though, it’s like 11 hours each way…”

Mickey lets out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding in in relief. Thank God.

“Yeah, yeah that’d be great! Fuck, I can’t wait to see you”.

Ian answers quietly, “Yeah”.

Mickey feels a little less enthusiastic, and maybe a little bitter as he asks, “You alright Ian? I feel like you’re just sitting there waiting for me to talk lately…phone works two fuckin ways you know. You can call me up anytime”.

He wished Ian would call him first sometimes. Or at least send a text.

It seemed like he was always the one reaching out lately, and honestly it sort of made him feel like shit, like he was bothering Ian or something. Like maybe Ian didn’t miss him all that much.

“Uh, yeah. I’m fine, sorry Mick. Um… Mo’s good” Ian says, sounding more reassuring.

Mickey relaxes again, picturing the large black and white dog. “Yeah? I miss him too. Glad you guys can take care of each other while I can’t”.

He laughs somewhat bitterly, but it’s sort of nice, thinking of them together. He misses his dog a lot too.

The fucking cat here was named Frank, if you can believe it. Mickey never told Ian that of course, just referred to the cat as “that fat fuck” whenever it came up in conversation.

It was no substitute for his loyal canine.

“He misses you too” Ian answers.

They keep talking for a while, and Mickey gets more and more excited thinking about Ian’s visit.

After he hangs up the phone, he pumps his first into the air, and that night he eats two slices of the chocolate cake Camille makes for his birthday.

He events compliments her on it.

 

That night is the first time he’s been horny since he’s been here. He doesn’t bug Ian about it, but he scrolls through his phone until he finds a particularly hot photo of him to jerk off to.

It’s good, it’s really good, but it makes him feel lonely.

It’s confusing, being half turned on and half sad. He scrolls through his photos some more until he finds one of Ian kissing him on the lips. Ian had taken the picture.

He bites his lip and keeps going to that picture instead, and he gets close, but he ends up feeling tears pricking the corner of his eyes, so he stops.

God… he can’t wait to see Ian again.

 

*The Day of Ian’s Visit~ Over 2 ½ weeks since Mickey left for Memphis*

Mickey paces around the bus station, rocking on his feet and stretching to look over the heads of some taller fuckers standing annoyingly in front of him.

He checks his phone again for a new update from Ian, but there was still only the last one, “One hour away”.

That was an hour ago.

A new bus pulls into the Greyhound lot after several others, and Mickey glances up at the flashing destination board on it.

‘Chicago’

Fucking finally! Mickey strides over to the opening doors, and the second he sees Ian pass through them, a relief floods through him like no other, and he grabs with him everything he’s fucking got.

He pulls away to look at his face, and an uncontrollable smile forms on his own.

“Fuck man, I missed you so much”.

It feels like an understatement to him, with Ian in front of him, everything else sort of just melts away.

Ian smiles at him, “I missed you too”.

Mickey tips his head as he really takes in his boyfriend’s face after his initial excitement. He looks…not so hot. Not as in he’s not attractive, he always is, but there’s dark circles under his eyes, he looks especially pale, and he’s maybe a little thinner than he was a couple weeks ago.

“You feeling okay?”

Ian smiles again, stretching out his long arms playfully. “Um, yeah, think I just need to walk around for a while. Stiff, been on a fuckin bus for eleven hours, y’know?”

Of course. “Yeah, sure. Come on”.

Mickey leads Ian out of the bus station and down the street, eventually stopping in front of the motel he rented a room in to surprise Ian with. He turns to lift his eyebrows at him suggestively.

Ian looks at him uncertainly, “You wanna get a room? Can’t we just go to your house?”

Mickey shakes his head. “No fuckin privacy. Wouldn’t even be able to hold your hand, and I wanna do more than that. Sides, I already rented a room. Belated birthday present to myself”.

He doesn’t mention that his foster parents don’t know that he’s gay, and there’s still the problem of Mandy being around too. He did tell her Ian was visiting to check out Memphis for a few hours, but he had acted very nonchalant about it.

Mickey shows Ian the key card and grins, and Ian suddenly looks a whole lot lighter. Whatever else was going on, sex would always be an escape for them.

Mickey goes into the room first, and inspects the questionable motel bed while Ian heads into the bathroom to take a piss.

“Would have liked to show you around Memphis a bit, but since you’ve only got like four hours I figured this might be better” Mickey calls out to him, hoping he’s not disappointed.

Ian comes up behind him once he’s done in the bathroom, wrapping his arms around Mickey, who sighs and softens underneath him.

“It’s perfect” he hears Ian say. Mickey pulls away from him to lay on the bed, holding out his arms and saying softly, “C’mere, I just wanna hold you for a while”.

Ian crawls onto the bed next to him and they curl up together, warmth and comfort radiating between them.

Mickey closes his eyes for a moment, pretending they are back in his old bedroom. The musty smell of cigarettes in the motel helps a bit.

Ian says out of the blue, “So, you’re 18 now. How’s it feel?”

“Terrible” Mickey answers truthfully, looking up at the stained ceiling, “Until now”. He looks down at Ian, and presses his lips to him, his eyes closing at the precious touch.

“Tell me about it?” Ian says gently.

Mickey shakes his head through the kiss, mumbling, “I’m not in Memphis right now Ian. I’m in Chicago with you, alright?”

He hopes Ian gets it, before he has to lose the image in his mind by explaining it.

“Okay...we're home" Ian whispers back into his lips.

He gets it.

Mickey deepens the kiss, and then flickers his tongue in against Ian’s, each movement laced with need.

“I missed you so fucking much” he breaths into Ian’s neck, nipping and kissing it as he reaches a hand down to palm at Ian’s dick.

He hasn’t gotten off since he’s arrived in Memphis, well over two weeks ago now, and his body is practically buzzing with a need for release.

Ian responds instantly to his touch, like he’d flicked on a light switch. Electricity burns between them as they both start to struggle to get each other’s clothes off.

“I need you” Ian whispers into his mouth, messily kissing him even as he backs away from him off the bed.

“Where you goin?” Mickey pants back, his body already aching from the loss.

“Shower” Ian answers, pulling away to head towards the bathroom again.

Mickey nods and quickly follows him in, drawn towards the redhead like a magnet.

Both of them jump into the shower before the water’s even hot, so they don't have to wait to come together again.

The water runs like icy rain down their backs as they pant and push against each other, not able to get their hands and mouths on each other enough.

The water turns, and the bathroom fills with steam.

“I fuckin love you” Mickey pants, turning around to give Ian access to his ass. Ian grabs his shoulders, kissing between the blades as he lines himself up, pressing his fingers into Mickey first to hastily stretch him.

Mickey shivers at both that sensation and the whispered feeling of his lips against his back, practically shifting in place as he waits for more from Ian.

Mickey involuntarily lets out a low moan as Ian’s fingers retract, and he hears Ian murmur “I love you too”, right as he pushes back inside of him with his hard cock instead.

All of the nerve endings in Mickey’s entire body spark at the welcome and sorely missed stretch.

Fuck…yes.

So fucking good.

Mickey’s hands reach back and try to pull Ian impossibly closer as he fucks him just right, the sounds he hears coming out of himself unreal. His skin jumps at every touch from Ian, and he moans with abandon at each pleasurable thrust.

There’s no buildup for him, the entire experience is orgasmic.

He thinks this is how addicts must feel, getting a hit after they’ve been itching for it.

Mickey had ached for this more than he had known, his entire mind pretty much preoccupied with missing everything else about Ian until now.

After they both finish, they stay in the shower for a while, warm water pouring down over them comfortingly as they press their foreheads together in silence.

The fears Mickey had had about annoying Ian, about Ian wanting space, not wanting him, all of that stupid shit, was gone now.

This, exactly this, was all he would ever need. And he could wait for that, some people would wait a lifetime for something like this.

And he had it right now. So he would enjoy every second of it until he could have it again.

 

*A Few Hours Later* 

“I wish you could stay longer” Mickey says, studying the bus schedule flashing across the electronic board.

He hears what sounds like a pill bottle snap shut and he glances back at Ian, but he’s just standing there, his eyes looking unbelievably sad as he nods back.

The tortured look makes Mickey uncomfortable, guilty almost, for making him say goodbye again, and he tries to shove it from his mind.

He checks the time on his phone, “You better board Ian. Unless you want to stay here of course, which I’m totally fuckin cool with by the way. Fuck school, and work”.

He’s maybe only half joking. If Ian could stay, he’d willingly stay in Memphis forever.

Ian just shakes his head, “I’ll board. I just want you to know that…I love you. Ok? Don’t forget that”

Mickey smiles at him, pulling him into one last hug goodbye. “I love you too, so much. Thanks for comin out Ian. I know it wasn’t cheap, and it was probably a major pain in the ass, but it means a lot to me”.

It did. It meant everything to him, having this reminder of what he had to hold onto while he was stuck out here, of what he’d eventually have to come back home to.

Ian gives him one last weak smile goodbye before he gets on the bus heading back to Chicago, and he stares through the window at him as he sits down.

Mickey smiles back at him, a warm feeling in his chest.

As sad as he was Ian was leaving, he couldn’t help but feel like everything was going to be alright as long as he could still see him once and a while.

It looks like Ian is about to get up and maybe move seats, but the bus driver closes the doors and Ian sits back down, immediately pulling out his phone.

Mickey watches, still smiling softly to himself as he feels his phone buzz.

Ian’s name flashes across his screen. He grins, expecting some cheesy message about missing him already.

It takes him half a second to absorb what he reads.

I’m really sorry. I can’t do this anymore”.

As soon as he does, he looks up at the bus in shock, feeling his mouth fall open as he searches for Ian’s face in the window again.

He sees him, and starts swearing uncontrollably, looking down at his phone in panic as the bus starts to move away from him.

With Ian in it.

What the fuck? What the fuck! What did he mean he couldn’t do this anymore?

After all that, he was a fuck and chuck?

Mickey wishes he could be strong, and take the blow with dignity, but he can’t. He can’t let himself be dumped like this.

He immediately calls Ian, trying not to cry into the phone like some bitch as he stares at the back of the Greyhound bus.

 “Don’t do this” Mickey begs as soon as Ian answers. He can barely see him anymore, as the bus gets farther and farther away.

“I have to Mick. I’m so fucking sorry”.

He has to? He has to say goodbye?

Mickey huffs into the phone. “That’s it huh? You really gonna fucking do this?” His voice cracks and he hates himself for it.

He hates the way he presses his ear to his phone, praying to hear, “No…I changed my mind. I didn’t mean it”.

Please say no. Please say no.

“Yeah”.

Mickey doesn’t know what to think. He wants to argue, but all he can picture is the tortured look on Ian’s face as he said goodbye.

“So what, you want me to just fuck off?”

Ian practically stutters out his excuses “I…think it will be better if… look, this isn’t how I wanted to do this, and it wasn’t really planned... but isn’t it better at least that I came to say goodbye in person?"

Mickey can’t take anymore.

“Fuck you Ian”.

He hangs up the phone and smashes it into the cement at his feet. But then he stands there and waits, for hours, for what he doesn’t know.

For that bus to turn around maybe.

When he finally goes back to Rob and Camille’s house, Mandy and them are in the living room, and Mandy has this strange grin on her face until she sees the look on his, and he hurries up to his room, slamming the door shut.

He paces angrily for a moment, before slamming his fist through the wall a few seconds later.

He watches the orange crumble around his fist until his eyes blur, and he hears someone yank the bedroom door open and approach him.

“Mickey, what happened?”

Rob’s voice.

Mickey doesn’t answer, breathing out so heavily his lungs shake.

“Listen, I don’t know what happened, but you need to calm down, okay? Remember your probation rules”.

Probation rules? How could they matter anymore? He didn’t have anything to go home to anymore.

Mickey heaves a sob, smashing his head into the wall next.

He feels Rob grabbing him by the shoulders roughly a second later, and pulling him back, constricting him in a half hug, half restraint.

“Mandy told us you went to see your friend from Chicago, that someone was visiting today. Was it your girlfriend? Did you get some bad news from back home?” he asks, as Mickey struggles against him.

He was about to smash his head back into Rob’s face to get him to let go, but he stops when he hears that.

He wrenches himself free to turn around and stare the man down, his eyes flaming as he whispers harshly, “I’m fucking gay. Okay?! I’m gay. Kick me out, fuck me up, I don’t give a shit anymore”. He throws his arms up to emphasize his point.

Rob looks at him in surprise, lowering his tone to match Mickey’s.

 “Your file didn’t say…but, it doesn’t matter to us. Hell, our next-door neighbors are gay. Why would you say that?”

Mickey stares at him, his nostrils flaring as he breathes out heavily. There’s a lot he could say, a lot he could explain.

But he doesn’t want to explain any of it.

“Nobody can know” he hears himself saying, numbly. His lack of control over his emotions drives him crazy, and he’s tempted to punch the wall again, but Rob stops his pending strike by grabbing his wrist.

“Stop”.

“He fucking… he left me” Mickey whispers, looking down at his shaking hands in disbelief.

It was over.

Him and Ian were over.

 

Memphis House

(The Connolly's House- Mickey's room is the one with the large window over the attached garage)