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Two Friends Like Us

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“Did you have a good birthday?” Mickey asks, wrapping his arms around Ian. Ian nods wordlessly, still too happy to speak. Mickey pulls away and presses his forehead against his, holding it there for a moment before he leans in and kisses him again, his lips softly opening again Ian’s.

Ian closes his eyes to accept the kiss, falling deeper into it until they hear an impatient voice from the other room.

“Mickey! Hurry up!”

Mandy.

Mickey reluctantly pulls away, and smiles at Ian once more before frowning in the direction of his sister, “Coming! Chill the fuck out”.

He gives Ian one last kiss who follows him to the door afterwards, where Mandy pulls him into a quick hug. “Thanks for coming” he says, smiling at her when she lets go.

“Thanks for having me. And happy birthday Ian, you’re a pretty good brother-in-law” she teases, her eyes flashing towards her older brother as she does.

Mickey and Ian both blush slightly, and Mickey rolls his eyes as they step out of the house, hurrying her along. “C’mon Mands. See you tomorrow Ian”.

“See you tomorrow” Ian answers, watching them leave from the doorway. He notices that Mickey waits until they are on the sidewalk before elbowing his sister just slightly while whispering something in annoyance. Whatever he says, she just laughs at it and puts her arm on his shoulder as they disappear down the road.

Ian closes the front door and heads back to the kitchen where Fiona is now cleaning up, and sits down at the table, picking up his new motorcycle helmet in his hands again.

He admires it some more and then smiles to himself as he thinks about what Mandy said. Brother-in-law. He wonders if Mickey has ever said something to her about…about maybe…

The doorbell rings and Ian looks up as Fiona goes to answer it, wondering if Mickey or Mandy had forgotten something and came back.

The voice that he hears at the door immediately makes his stomach turn, and his head jerks towards the sound.

“Where’s Ian?”

It’s his mom’s voice, and Ian immediately tenses. They hadn’t been in touch since last Christmas, regardless of her promise to call.

“F-frank, Monica…we talked about this. No surprise visits” he hears Fiona stammer in surprise. “It is our son’s seventeenth birthday” he hears Frank answer in annoyance, and then he hears them coming into the house, ignoring Fiona’s protests.

Ian sits there at the table and stares, his jaw set as his mother and father comes into the kitchen and act all excited to see him. Well, his mother more than his father.

“Happy birthday baby!” Monica coos at him, “What a cool helmet”.

Her heavy eye makeup is a little smeared, and it looks like maybe they got caught in the light rain that fell an hour or so ago.

“What are you doing here” he responds coldly, more of a statement than a question.

“It’s your birthday!” they both answer, as if it’s more than obvious. Ian stares at them with incredulity, did they really think he wanted to see them? Or were they just bent on pretending that they cared this time?

The rest of his siblings, also hearing the commotion and recognizing the voices, slowly trickle into the kitchen and stare at their parents as well, other than Liam, who is still upstairs sleeping.

But Ian’s recognized this look on his parents a million times before, and his older siblings have as well. They are definitely high, or drunk. Maybe both.

“I don’t want you here” he answers acidly.

Fiona bites her lip, “Really, you guys shouldn’t just show up. It’s Ian’s birthday, and I don’t think-“

“We are the reason you are even alive” Frank says, sneering and leaning in towards him. Ian smells the beer on his breath, and he’s vaguely aware of Monica stepping away from beside his dad and heading up the stairs quietly, but he’s too agitated by the man in front of him to really register it.

“Thanks for the fucking favor. Now do me another one and fuck off” Ian spits, trying to push Frank out of his way so he can leave the kitchen. Instead of moving, Frank punches him right in the jaw, sending him flying back into his chair.

Ian hadn’t been expecting the swing at all, and he hits the ground hard, spitting out the blood that  begins to gather around his teeth. His mouth tastes like copper.  Lip immediately grabs Frank by the front of his coat and backs him out of the kitchen even as he’s swearing and yelling, and Fiona quickly moves in front of Carl and Debbie protectively.  

“Get out!” she says angrily, “Every fucking time I swear…and where’s Monica? Monica it’s time for you to leave!” she yells, looking around the house in annoyance.

Ian holds his jaw and glares at his mother as she comes back down the stairs, “I just wanted to say to Liam” she whispers softly, pausing at the bottom step.

She looks so childlike, so lost, that Ian just shakes his head. “Please just go” he says, turning away.

“Ian…” she comes towards him and crouches beside him on the floor, reaching out to run her hand over his head tenderly. Ian wants to pull away at first, but he doesn’t, instead looking at her through eyes threatening to let tears form.  

“I love you” she says, her own eyes watery. Ian shakes his head, “If you did, you wouldn’t do this over and over again. Please leave”. He says it as calmly as he can, but there’s a storm brewing inside him as he tries to act like he doesn’t care.

Monica’s eyes drift over him once more before she gets up and looks at the rest of them, “I love you guys” she says, before heading to where Frank and Lip are still struggling by the front door. She nods at Frank and then grabs his t-shirt gently, and he immediately stops fighting Lip.

Lip follows them outside to make sure that they really leave, and the door slams behind the three of them.

As soon as it’s closed, Fiona turns to him, her brown eyes filled with apology.

“Ian…I had no idea-“

“I know you didn’t” he snaps in annoyance. Like he was stupid enough to think anyone would invite Frank and Monica over.

She sighs, turning away from him. “Kids…bedtime. I’m sorry this shit happened again”.

With a shaking hand, Ian rummages in his pocket for a cigarette while the rest of them head upstairs, but when Lip comes back and tries to follow him, he tells him he just wants to be alone.

Smoking does nothing to help Ian’s agitation though, and after his second useless light, he grinds the cigarette into the ground angrily, swearing as he heads back inside.

His head is starting to swim, and he feels the stress starting to spill over. When he comes inside, Fiona is sitting in the kitchen with her head in her hands, pulling at the roots of her hair gently in distress.

Her worried expression deepens as she looks at him, “Ian…you look sick”. “I’m…I’m not…” he struggles to get the words out of his dry mouth, sitting down at the table and shaking his head in annoyance.

“I’ll get you your Ativan” she immediately says, jogging up the stairs.

Ian bites his lip and waits, badly in need of the relief. He didn’t need them too often anymore, but when he did, he really did.

He hears Fiona call down a minute later, “Ian, did you forget to renew your prescription? The bottle’s empty”.

“No?” he calls out in confusion.

 “There’s nothing in it” she yells back, “I’ll look, maybe you have another bottle”.

“Never mind... I don’t have another” he answers slowly.

It dawns on Ian all at once as he sits there alone at the kitchen table.

Empty pill bottle. Frank starting a fight. Monica sneaking upstairs. Empty pill bottle.

Did they really come over under the guise of celebrating his birthday, just to steal from their kids?

Without thinking, Ian grabs his backpack and shoves some shirts from the laundry pile in the living room into it, pulling out his phone and texting Mickey at the same time. “I need you. Please, I need you”.

Without Mickey questioning it, he gets back, “On my way” within a minute, and Ian grabs his helmet and goes to sit on the front porch, his leg bouncing up and down against the wooden step.

Mickey comes tearing down the road on his motorcycle about ten minutes later, and he brakes in front of the Gallagher house, slowly taking off his helmet as Ian comes over to him, practically in tears.

“What the fuck happened Ian?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Can we just go?” he begs, looking at his boyfriend through desperate eyes.

Mickey looks up at him in concern, “Go? Go where? I don’t think-“ He glances up as Fiona comes out onto the front porch, looking at them and holding her hands like she doesn’t know what the fuck is going on.

“You said we could go anywhere. You said that. Did you mean it or not?” Ian demands, wiping the tear that falls without permission from his left eye.  

“Yeah, of course I did” Mickey answers more softly, nodding at Fiona, who just shakes her head and heads back into the house in exasperation.

Mickey bites his lip and then looks at him, lifting his shoulders slightly. “Where to?”

“Anywhere. Fucking far away from here”.

Mickey nods as Ian pulls the helmet down over his head. It fits perfectly, and Mickey pushes his own helmet back down over his head as Ian gets on the bike behind him, holding him so tightly he knows it’s probably uncomfortable for his boyfriend.

But he doesn’t complain, he just starts his motorcycle again and wheels the bike around before he takes off down the road.

To who knows where. Anywhere.

Ian can’t even see inside his helmet after a while, it steams up a bit and condenses over his visor. Mickey tries to pull over about an hour later, feeling Ian shaking slightly behind him, but Ian just chokes out, “Keep going”.

It’s muffled from behind his helmet, but Mickey nods from underneath his and then keeps going.

A few hours later, Mickey slows the bike again after they pass a sign for Iowa, and this time Ian doesn’t stop him right away.

He sits there on the bike until Mickey gets off and forces his helmet off after he removes his own. He wipes away some of the mess of tears and sweat of Ian’s hot cheeks and says firmly. “I’ll take you anywhere Ian. But I need to know you’re fucking okay first”.

“I’m okay…I just need to get away. They stole my pills” Ian says, staring at the ground.

“What? Who… Your fuckin anxiety pills?”

Ian nods, feeling it starting to rise in his chest again as he admits bitterly, “My mom and dad”.  

*Mickey’s POV*

Mickey shakes his head and spits onto the pavement angrily, he can’t believe what he’s hearing. He’d grown up around the same shit, sure, but the thought that someone could do that to Ian…

“Fucking assholes…no Ian, we need to go back. You need that shit”.

“No I don’t” Ian suddenly yells at him, “I need to not be there. That’s what I fucking need Mickey. Are you coming with me or not? Cause I’ll find a fucking bus if I need to”.

“Shut the fuck up” Mickey says, grabbing him. He gives Ian such a hard kiss, he has to catch his breath again when he pulls away. “You know I’m coming with you”.

“Then let’s go” Ian answers firmly, putting his helmet back on. Mickey doesn’t hesitate, and gets back on his bike, driving until he’s nearly out of gas.

He’s getting more and more tired, but he’s determined to be whatever Ian needs him to be, and right now it’s a getaway. When his gas gauge gets alarmingly low, he pulls into a gas station to fill up his bike. Ian doesn’t protest, and instead waits there quietly while Mickey fills up the tank.

Mickey checks his phone, seeing the screen lit up with notifications. It’s already five in the morning “Your sister called me a few times. Can I call her back?” He thought they had an understanding when she went back inside back at the Gallagher house, but now she was clearly worried.

He’s relieved when Ian nods, seeming much calmer now. Mickey holds the phone up to his ear and yawns until he hears Fiona’s strained voice on the other line, “Mickey?? What’s going on? Please tell me he’s still with you”.

Mickey glances back at Ian, who’s head is now drooping inside his helmet. “Hey Fiona. Yeah he’s with me. I think he just needs a break… he said something about Frank and Monica taking his shit”.

Fiona groans into the phone, “I didn’t realize…fuck. When are you coming back?” Mickey shrugs, looking around at the unfamiliar surroundings. “I don’t know…but I’ll take care of him. Promise”.

She sighs, clearly giving in to her exhaustion. “Fine…please keep in touch with me if he won’t. And Mickey? Please stay with him”.

“Don’t worry, where he goes, I go. Talk later Fiona” Mickey hangs up his phone and looks at Ian, who just looks lost. “I’m sorry” the redhead whispers quietly.

“Don’t be sorry” Mickey answers, “I’m here for you. Always. You and me together. Right?”

Ian eventually nods, “Right. Listen, it’s not safe if you drive while you’re tired. I have enough money for a motel for a night or two. Let’s try and find one”.

Mickey shrugs, thinking it over. “Ian, it’s still warm as hell out. Save the money, we can camp outside”. He’s not sure exactly what Ian’s thinking, or what he wants from this trip, but he’s in it.

“Okay” Ian yawns. It doesn’t take them too long to find a quiet and empty road where they can camp out a few yards away underneath the open sky.

The grass is soft enough, and Mickey lays down on his back, offering Ian his arm for a pillow, which Ian takes gratefully, resting his own arm across Mickey’s chest.

The two of them are exhausted after their long day, and pass out within minutes.