Ian glances over at Mickey as they walk home together after school, hanging on to every word he says. They’ve been together for a few weeks now, and are now settled into a more comfortable routine of spending time together as more than friends. Of course, to the outside world, that’s what they continue to appear as.
Mickey’s laughing now, his perfect teeth flashing, as he tells Ian about someone in class today asking if Florida was part of Canada or not. He’d apparently been kicked out of class for saying “No, dumbass, it’s a part of Mexico”.
Ian laughs and shoves him gently, “You’re an asshole”. “Oh yeah?” Mickey bends down, his ears tinged pink from the cold winter air.
Ian continues to walk ahead without noticing that Mickey had fully stopped a few feet back, until he feels a cold and wet whap on his back. He whips around, his eyes flashing in a challenge as he sees Mickey already packing together another snowball.
“Ian, there’s something on your back” Mickey says, innocently. He tosses his next snowball upwards and then catches it in back in his hand, winking at Ian.
Ian quickly breaks into a run as Mickey aims and prepares to fire again, scraping up some snow by his feet on the go for return fire. He can hear Mickey chasing after him as his second snowball misses, and Ian turns while he knows he’s still out of ammo and aims his own, hitting the other boy in the arm, “Oh yeah, there something on my fuckin back Mick?”
Mickey laughs, and darts behind a car parked on the side of the road, for cover. Ian turns right around and jogs back towards him to hit him with another, faking a move and then diving behind the car to render Mickey’s cover useless. Mickey shakes his head like a dog as Ian’s snowball smashes into the back of it, but he’s still laughing, and runs up the sidewalk away from Ian, who’s already grabbing more snow.
The unfamiliar neighbors out on their on their driveways and yards watch them run past, laughing into the cold winter air like children as they chase each other. Adults are shoveling their driveways and the sidewalks, and kids are out dragging their sleds, making snow forts and snow families.
The boys’ cheeks are red, their exposed skin cold, but their hearts are warm as they play like nobody’s watching. It’s times like this Ian knows he has a best friend for life in Mickey, and its one of his favorite things about being with him.
To be honest, he’s mostly going easy on Mickey, aiming light snowballs in return at his back or his chest, until Mickey ups his game and fires three snowballs back in succession, the last one hitting him square in the face.
Ian sputters through the cold snow, and scrunches his face, “Oh, you’re going down, Milkovich”. Mickey is currently standing in front of a yard where most of the free snow has been taken up by the two kids building a snowman on it, and he’s totally vulnerable.
Ian grins as he rapidly gathers up a pile of snow into a massive snowball, pulling the snowball back to use his pitcher’s arm and aim as Mickey scrambles around uselessly looking for cover, yelling, “Bring it Gallagher!”, even as he does.
Ian fires, and the snowball shoots forward faster and harder than he had even expected it to, like a lethal weapon. He’s actually impressed by his own handiwork. It soars towards the other boy, pegging Mickey directly in the face, he stumbles and falls, the impact knocking him right off his feet.
Directly into the snowman the kids were making in their front yard.
Mickey falls through the fucking thing and blows it completely apart, snow spraying the two kids standing there in disbelief as Ian bursts out laughing. He jogs over, and sees Mickey laying there in the snow, his entire body shaking. The two kids are now looking down at him uncertainly.
He’s face down, and his back is covered in snow from the snowman casualty. Ian’s laugh falters slightly, “Mick?”
He leans down and brushes some snow off of Mickey’s back before grabbing him by the shoulder and turning him over. His face is red and wet, his eyes shut as he makes weird gasping noises. “Mick are you laughing or crying?” Ian demands, now worried and feeling guilty as fuck. The two kids take off running towards their front door and into their house, probably worried they’ll get in trouble for the dying teenager on their front lawn.
Mickey opens his blue eyes, and Ian sees they are filled with amusement, not pain. He’s laughing so fucking hard that he can’t even get a proper sounding laugh out, and his face is just wet from melted snow, “Ian- fuck- I can’t-”.
Ian breathes a sigh of relief, kicking more snow at Mickey as he does, he’d almost given him a fucking heart attack, “You fucker, I-“
Mickey reaches up and grabs the edge of his coat, pulling him down towards the pile of snow with him. Ian flails but lands partially on Mickey, and partially on the snowman’s remains, swearing the entire time.
Mickey’s giggles finally settle into a level that he can speak through, “Me fucker? You fucker, you long legged ginger b-“ Ian shoves snow into his mouth, cutting him off.
Mickey spits the snow out, rubbing more snow into Ian’s red hair in response.
They give up on using the snow as a weapon and instead wrestle each other in it for a few minutes, holding each other at arm’s length until Mickey finally manages to roll Ian and hold him down.
They are both still giggling, their faces scrunched from it, both cold and damp from the snow. Mickey stops giggling and closes his mouth, but his eyes are still creased at the edges as he looks down at Ian affectionately. He leans down and kisses him, Ian blinking in surprise.
Mickey is back up just as quickly as he went down, but his face is still lit with happiness. Ian shuffles his jacket slightly as Mickey lets him up, and he glances around the street. Nobody had seen. Nobody was watching over here anymore.
But Mickey hadn’t even looked, didn’t even check before he did that. And from the fucking smile on his face right now it looks like it didn’t even cross his mind that he should of, that someone could have seen. Ian doesn’t know how to feel about it, the gesture was sweet, but who knows what the consequences could have been…? But there weren’t any, and we’re fine, Ian reminds himself, smiling inwardly.
He turns to Mickey and tousles his dark hair, now wet from the melted snow. He glances up at the grey sky as the snow starts to fall harder, “C’mon. Let’s go home and get something hot to drink, before we both get fuckin pneumonia”.
Carl whines as Mickey and Ian come in the front door, taking in their appearances, “You had a snowball fight without me??”
Ian looks at him somewhat apologetically but mostly with amusement, “Sorry bud, wasn’t really planned. SOMEONE pegged me with a snowball and it just escalated from there”.
Mickey turns to him, eyebrows raised. “Well, SOMEONE pushed me into an innocent children’s snowman. Children, Ian. You’re a goddamn monster”.
Ian shoves him playfully, heading towards the kitchen, “Mess with the bull, you get the horns”, he teases. Mickey rolls his eyes and stands there in the kitchen beside him, dripping, as Ian hits the kettle.
Fiona comes out from the washroom off of the kitchen and purses her lips at them, “Ian, what the fuck! You two are dripping all over the floor, go upstairs and change!”
Ian glances at Mickey, who shrugs back in confusion. Fiona rolls her eyes, “Really Ian? It’s not rocket science, give Mickey some of your dry clothes”. Ian pretends that he doesn’t notice Mickey lift his head in interest at the suggestion. “C’mon”, he tips his head at the stairs and Mickey follows him up.
Ian is pleased to find his shared bedroom empty, Lip must be out. He closes the door behind himself and Mickey, and goes over to his drawer to start pulling stuff out. He grabs a pair of Lips’s sweatpants for himself first, and a t-shirt, and then he turns to Mickey, “What do you want to wear?”
Mickey shrugs, coming over to peer down into the drawer. Ian holds up a shirt, “This ok?” Mickey looks at it, “Is it yours?” Ian squints at it, “Nooo…Lip’s I think”.
He’s used to sharing clothes with his slightly older brother, as they are about the same size. Mickey shakes his head wordlessly, and Ian raises his eyebrows in surprise but doesn’t comment on it, as he pulls out one of his own t-shirts and a pair of sweats for Mickey to wear.
Ian turns slightly, not from shyness, but from habit of sharing a room with his brothers, as he struggles out of his wet jeans. He looks up slightly into the mirror, balancing against the wall somewhat across from him, and sees Mickey standing behind him, holding the t-shirt up to his nose, breathing in. His eyes are closed.
Ian gets a warm, weird feeling in his chest when he sees that, and he smiles to himself. Mickey is now pulling off his wet shirt, and he stands there for a moment, glancing at Ian with interest.
Ian takes off his own wet shirt as he turns around, and then his damp boxers, throwing everything into a soggy pile on the floor. He steps into his sweats, watching while Mickey starts to struggle out of his jeans, the material clearly sticking to his wet skin. Ian can’t help himself, he steps towards him, and Mickey stops struggling, he straightens up completely.
Ian reaches out and touches his stomach, Mickey tensing it slightly in response. His skin is cold and rubbery feeling, like Ian’s own. He kisses Mickey’s forehead, and rubs one hand up Mickey’s arm to get his blood flow moving faster from the friction to warm him, Mickey letting out of sigh of contentment in response. Ian moves in closer and presses his bare chest against Mickey’s, letting their body heat pass through to each other. “That feels pretty good” Mickey says into his neck, and Ian feels a light kiss on his collarbone.
The bedroom door starts to open, and Ian backs away from Mickey instantly, grabbing his t-shirt defensively in the same moment.
It’s just Debbie, “Fiona says hot chocolate is ready, and to bring your laundry downstairs. Mickey’s too” she adds, looking at Mickey, who is pulling on a dry t-shirt. “Thanks Debs, be down in a minute” Ian says, smiling awkwardly at her. She heads back downstairs and they finish getting dressed in warm, dry clothes before heading down into the kitchen.
Mickey joins the table full of Gallaghers, and sips at his hot chocolate, while all of them talk casually about Frank, their bills, and something that Carl got in trouble at school for that they all find hilarious. Stuff that leaves Mickey slightly out of the loop, not intentionally, but he doesn’t seem to mind anyways.
His gaze drifts from one Gallagher to the next as they chatter excitedly, and he looks very content. His phone starts to ring, and Ian watches him answer it.
It’s not on speakerphone, but they all quiet down so he can hear the person on the other line, and they end up hearing it all too, even though they pretend they don’t.
It’s his sister, Mandy. “Hey shithead, power’s out at home, company says for the next day or so. It’s fucking freezing. Dad and Iggy and them are staying at his friend Bill’s house, but they said there isn’t enough room for anyone else”.
Mickey frowns at this news, taking another drink of his hot chocolate, “Where are you staying?”
“Who the fuck is-“ Mickey glances over at Liam who is also sitting at the table, and he starts over, “Who is Devin?”
“Shut up assface. Anyways, find somewhere else to stay”.
She hangs up, and Mickey grimaces as he hears the dial tone, and then he hangs up too, putting the cell phone back into the pocket of his borrowed sweatpants.
Ian clears his throat, and pretending he doesn’t know, asks, “What was that about Mickey?” Mickey shrugs nonchalantly, “Nothin”. He doesn’t look up from the table. Ian raises one of his eyebrows and shoots Fiona a look, who tips her head back at him.
He stares at her, and she stares back for a good solid minute before she finally gives up, asking, “Mickey, would you like to stay here tonight?”