Ian grins as he comes downstairs in the morning to find all of his brothers and sisters, already sitting at the kitchen table, enthusiastically shouting “Happy Birthday!” at him.
“Thanks” he says, taking a seat as Fiona slides a plate of pancakes in front of him and gives him a kiss on top of his head. She ruffles his hair as she pulls away, “How’s it feel, being seventeen?”
“Even better than sixteen” Ian answers, checking the time. “You let me sleep in”. “It’s your birthday” she snorts, looking at him like he’s being ridiculous.
“Mickey here yet?” he asks, even as he glances around the table and confirms the answer for himself.
“Nope, but I’m sure he’ll be by soon” Fiona answers, taking his plate once he’s finished. “Hurry up guys, you’re gonna be late for school!”
Ian grabs his backpack and slings it over his shoulder as his younger siblings race upstairs. Fiona looks up at him as he heads for the front door, “Hurry home after work alright? Barbequing starts at seven, with or without you, birthday boy”.
Ian laughs as she winks at him and bounds up the stairs after his younger siblings.
As he opens the front door and steps out into the September sunshine, he sees Mickey outside waiting for him, holding a rather large and beat up looking box. Just the sight of him causes a warm glow in his chest.
“Turn around, and go right back inside” Mickey immediately says, walking up to and then backing Ian right back into the house. “…Why?” Ian asks in confusion, looking behind himself so he doesn’t trip over anything as Mickey quickly closes the front door.
“So I can do this”.
Mickey puts the box down on the ground and then reaches for Ian’s face, holding it with both his hands as he pulls him into an incredibly soft and tender kiss, that ends with a little more urgency. Ian feels breathless as he pulls away, and his eyes flutter back open to look into Mickey’s blue ones, who’s smiling so big his eyes are crinkled in the corners.
“Happy birthday”. Ian grins, “Thanks”.
Really, this right here would have been enough for him. If only he could have known last year that just a few days after his sixteenth birthday, Mickey would take him by surprise on a school field trip, and that they would fall ridiculously hard for each other no matter how hard they both tried to fight it.
“That’s your gift, but save it for tonight eh?” Mickey says, pointing at the box and dragging Ian from his thoughts.
He nods at the box, “Okay…we have to get going for school anyways. Come on”.
Ian gives Mickey one more kiss before they head out the front door again together, the last thing Ian wanting is for either of them to get a detention for being late on his birthday. If he didn’t show up for his own party, Fiona would probably kill him.
His school day is fairly typical, although Fiona had given him some money to go out for lunch with Mickey instead of bringing something from home, so they get burgers and cokes together after Chemistry class.
“You should have booked the day off” Mickey says pointedly, taking a long pull from his drink as he finishes up his food.
Ian shrugs, “Party’s not til later anyways, and we can always use the money at home”. Celebrating any birthday always put a dent in their funds. His boyfriend nods, “Yeah, I get that. I’d pick you up after but Fiona asked me to come help set everything up”.
“Best not to piss off my sister” Ian laughs, “Mandy coming?” “Do Milkoviches ever turn down free food and booze?” Mickey answers, wiping his mouth and clearing up the wrappers from their food as Ian stands up to leave.
They walk back to school together, and Ian says goodbye to him happily at his locker before he heads to his next class. Planning to carpool to ROTC, he won’t see him again until that evening, and he already can’t wait to get off work.
*Mickey’s POV- That evening*
“Tape, Liam” Mickey directs. The little boy grabs the tape in his small hand and hands it towards Mickey, who mutters thanks as he tries to hold all the newspaper in place before he tapes it down.
They didn’t have any fucking wrapping paper at home, but he’d been banking on the Gallagher’s having some. Now he’s stuck with fucking newspaper.
It didn’t really matter what it was wrapped in anyways, but to be honest he’s little nervous now for Ian to open his gift. He had felt it was a really good idea before, but had started having doubts the past hour or so. It was his bike, not Ian’s, and Ian didn’t even have a license….so what use did he have for a helmet unless he was being driven around by Mickey?
Maybe he should have gotten something more practical… He finally tells himself to shut the fuck up silently, because Ian will probably fucking love it, and he’s likely getting worked up for nothing.
He just wanted Ian’s birthday to be perfect, that was all. He’d spent almost forty minutes just deciding what to wear for his party, before finally settling on a black dress shirt that Ian had always liked and some semi-casual dress shoes.
“Mickey honey, can you take this?” V asks, shoving a bowl of potato salad at him as her and Kev come in the front door.
“Sure” he grunts, ignoring Mandy’s amused look at him being helpful, he takes it and slides it onto the kitchen table. Fiona looks up and then makes her typical girly shriek at the sight of her best friend, running over to give her a hug while Kev just goes straight for the beers. Which isn’t a bad idea, Mickey thinks.
Ian walks in the front door just a few minutes later, and Mickey feels himself finally relax at the sight of him. He looks a little worn out, and his uniform is a bit dirty, but he seems happy at the sight of the full house and the decorations.
Ian crouches down to pet Mo as the dog heads right for him, wiggling his backside against Ian’s legs until he gets some attention and scratches. “How was work?” Mickey asks, coming over to touch him on the arm too. “Tiring” Ian admits as he stands up again, “I’m starving”.
“We’re doing burgers” Debbie informs her older brother as she joins them in the living room, followed by Carl. “Barbeque! Hell yeah!” Carl exclaims, turning to run for the backyard and the grill. Mickey immediately strides after him, “Hands off the fuckin grill, I’m cooking tonight”.
Knowing Carl, he’d probably blow them all to pieces if he touched that thing.
Mickey’s focusing on the sizzling burgers in front of him not long after and absentmindedly listening to the conversations of everyone behind him, all sitting in lawn chairs and across the deck, when he feels someone come up behind him.
He smiles to himself even before the long arms wrap around his stomach, giving him a squeeze around his middle. “Do I gotta wear a fucking kiss the cook apron or are you gonna take a hint?” Mickey says, raising his eyebrows and turning to look at his grinning ginger boyfriend.
“I would pay to see you in that apron” Ian answers, but he leans in and gives him a kiss that deepens as Mickey turns away from the grill and towards him, holding on to Ian’s arm as he kisses him more passionately.
“They’re gonna burn!” he hears Debbie yell beside him a few moments later, causing everyone to look over at them. Mickey blushes as he pulls away and flips the burgers, not realizing how long he’d kept the kiss going.
*Ian’s POV- A little while later*
Ian grins as he squeezes a ketchup heart over a burger and slides it over to Mickey with the top bun on the side, who shakes his head at the sight of it. “Shouldn’t I be making yours?”
Ian licks a smear of ketchup off his hand, pleased with his cheesy gesture. “It’s not too late”.
He sits down beside his boyfriend a few minutes later and contentedly eats the similarly decorated burger Mickey hands him while his family and their friends all chatter happily in the backyard.
There’s a gentle gust of wind that dances through the backyard while they are sitting there after dinner, and it rustles the trees softly, catching his attention. Ian looks up and notices the sun going down, and he takes in a deep and happy breath, leaning his head against Mickey’s, who reaches over and takes his hand, gently grazing it with his thumb.
“I love you” Ian says thoughtfully, and he feels Mickey squeeze his hand.
“I love you too Gallagher”. He hears Mo start to bark from inside the house, and Mickey stands up, “Gotta be your cake”.
Ian looks after him, baffled, as he heads inside.
“He ordered me a cake?” he asks Fiona, frowning.
“Yeah he insisted on it” she says, laughing until they hear Mickey swearing inside, “What the fuck is this?” And then what must be the delivery guy, “T-that’s the cake you ordered sir”.
“No it’s fucking not! I said happy birthday Ian, are your bakers fucking dyslexic or something?”
Ian quickly gets up and heads inside, sensing an argument about to break out. “What’s going on?” he calls ahead of himself, before he joins a very annoyed looking Mickey and a very flustered looking delivery guy at the front door.
“Don’t fucking look” Mickey says, “We’re not taking this one”. Ian glances at the cake anyways. “Happy Birthday Ann” is delicately handwritten across it in chocolate icing.
Ian bursts out laughing, “Oh my god I love it”.
The delivery guy practically lets out a sigh of relief, glancing just one more at Mickey’s FUCK U UP tattoos before he takes the opportunity to back out of the house and make a beeline for his van while Mickey is still distracted.
Mickey looks at Ian uncertainly, “It’s not what I asked for”. “It’s fine!” Ian exclaims, sticking his finger in the icing beside the A and dragging a line to make an I. He adds a couple more n’s at the end too.
“Happy Birthday IAnnnn”
He pops his finger inside his mouth, “Mmm”. That’s damn good icing.
He takes another swipe of it with his finger from the edge of the cake and sticks it out for Mickey to try, who rolls his eyes but tries it anyways. “Jesus” Mickey says, shaking his head, “At least it’s fucking good”.
He carries the cake into the kitchen where the rest of his family laughs at the misspelling too, and Debbie carefully places in his seventeen candles, Mickey pulling his lighter out of his pocket to light them all.
“Make a wish!” Fiona reminds Ian as he leans in in front of the cake and they all watch him prepare to blow out his candles.
Ian stops and smiles, looking at his cake for another moment before he looks back up across from it at Mickey’s handsome face, illuminated by the delicate candlelight.
His blue eyes flicker back up into Ian’s, and he smiles too, nodding his head just slightly as if to tell him to go for it.
Ian closes his eyes for a moment and makes his wish, blowing out his candles all at once with one huge gust of air.
After his cake, which Mickey claims was worth the damn money, and it was a pretty delicious chocolate and caramel cake with a vanilla bean buttercream frosting, Ian starts to open his presents from his family, Mandy, and then Kev and V.
All in all, he rakes in sixty dollars, new work boots, and a new pair of decent headphones. And then Mickey hands him the box he’d seen that morning, except now it’s wrapped in newspaper.
“Um?” Ian asks, laughing as he takes it in his hands.
“What? I didn’t have any fuckin wrapping paper” Mickey says, grinning.
He leans in behind Ian’s chair and rests his hands on his shoulders as he tears off the wrapping paper, and then cuts open the box with his pocket knife, still in the pocket of his work pants.
“Jesus Mickey” he hears Lip say, who’s standing beside him and can see into the box the second he opens it.
Ian pulls out the brand new, sleek motorcycle helmet, and turns it in his hands. He breathes out as he looks at it, recognizing the helmet. He’d gone looking for one himself once so Mickey wouldn’t always need to loan him his, but he’d had to turn around at the $400 price tag.
It’s the same helmet, one of the safest in the line, an AGV dual sport. And printed in small custom lettering on the left side, right where his jaw would be, is ‘Gallagher’.
He doesn’t know what to say, and as the rest of his family whistles or makes impressed comments, Ian just looks at it, running his finger over the engraving until he hears Mickey’s slightly worried voice behind him.
“If, um, if you don’t like it-“
Ian turns around and swallows the lump in his throat, “I love it”.
The rest of his family starts talking again, filling the kitchen with volume, and Mickey leans in beside Ian’s head, whispering happily into his ear.
“Now we can go anywhere”.