Mickey lays on Ian’s bed with his legs spread and watches as Ian irons his ROTC uniform. It’s a lazy Saturday, the very last one of summer, and they’ve been enjoying their time together as a couple at home immensely before they have to go back to school and the best friends act.
Not that either of them has a huge problem with that, because they are best friends as much as they are a couple, but the freedom that summer had afforded them had been nice.
Ian carefully irons over the “GALLAGHER” printed on his uniform, noticing Mickey eyeing him. “You think maybe next time we can switch things up?” he asks without turning his head.
Mickey raises his eyebrow sharply, “Like I put on your uniform?” Ian laughs, “Well, maybe. I was more thinking I wear it and you fuck me”.
Mickey’s expression immediately changes, “Let’s do it”.
“Not now, I just fucking cleaned and ironed it. You know how long it took me to get your jizz stain out? Fuck Mickey”.
“In my defense, you fucked me real good” Mickey grins, closing his eyes and putting his hands behind his head.
“Yeah well I had to tell some little kid in my class it was from yogurt” Ian complains as he turns back around, missing the resulting smirk on his boyfriend’s face.
Propping the iron back up once he’s finished, Ian unplugs it and then heads over towards Mickey on the bed. “You can still fuck me without the uniform you know”.
“Oh, you don’t say?” Mickey laughs, grabbing him and wrestling him on the bed for a minute or two until he gets him laughing too.
“You know Ian, I wanted to ask you something though”.
Ian’s laughter slows and he raises his eyebrow at Mickey playfully, “Yeah?”
“Yeah. So, what’s like…your plan, with the ROTC thing. You actually planning on joining the army or what?” Mickey asks quickly, casually, but his eyes aren’t on Ian.
Even though he’d been enjoying the last week or so of his new job, the question catches Ian off guard, and he frowns as he leans back against his wall, stretching his legs out over Mickey.
Truthfully, in the back of his mind, he had somewhat always planned on joining the army. But he hadn’t thought about it seriously in a very long time now. What that would actually be like.
He still liked ROTC, but he wasn’t sure if the idea of actually joining the army was all that appealing anymore.
“I don’t know” he answers honestly.
Mickey nods, but his expression is still guarded.
“It’s what I always planned” Ian continues, “But now I’m not sure”.
“Well it’s not cause of me, is it?” Mickey asks, suddenly looking annoyed, “Cause I’m not gonna let you give up your dream for my ass”.
“Your ass is my dream” Ian teases, trying to give him a kiss, but Mickey’s lips are firm and ungiving as he does.
“What?” he sighs, pulling away.
“I’m trying to be serious here Ian. If you plan on joining the army, that’s next year”.
Mickey’s blue eyes look dark, and as much as he’s trying to keep his expression neutral, Ian sees worry in them.
“I don’t think I want to join the army anymore Mickey. That’s the truth. I just don’t know what else I would do” Ian says, his own green eyes sincere.
Mickey nods, but he doesn’t look too reassured. “Okay. Well, whatever you want to fuckin do, just do it, okay?”
The words he leaves out are, if you want to leave, I’ll understand. And maybe even, but I don’t want you to.
“Okay” Ian answers softly. He knows Mickey would probably wait for him, that’s not why he’s changing his mind. He’s just not who he used to be anymore, not the Ian he was when he signed up for ROTC eventually planning to join the army.
He doesn’t want that solo life anymore, far away and on his own. He wants a life with Mickey, them together, no matter where they end up.
This is a conversation he isn’t really ready to have either way, and he’s pretty sure Mickey isn’t either.
Every pair of highschool sweethearts eventually has to face the facts by the end of grade 12, and decide if they are going out into the world together, or if they are going apart.
Most couples don’t make it. Ian knows that. Mickey probably knows that. But neither one of them wants to think of a life without the other anymore.
Fiona suddenly walks into the boy’s room and seeing them sort of sprawled over each other on the bed, immediately turns back around, covering her eyes.
“Did I interrupt something?”
“No” Mickey answers, gently shoving Ian off of him, “What’s up?”
She turns around, and seeing them fully clothed and not in the act of messing around, relaxes.
“Debbie and Carl were talking about this fair that’s about an hour and a half away, they’d really like to go, and I was thinking it might be nice to celebrate before everyone goes back to school”.
His mind immediately leaving their previous conversation, Ian hesitates. “Well… what if someone from our school is there?”
Without looking at Mickey, he can tell he is probably considering the same thing.
“It’s pretty far Ian, and even if there is, it’s a big place. Plus, you could just be two friends going to the fair, that happens”.
Fiona looks so sure of herself that Ian turns to Mickey, hoping he’ll agree to go. He absolutely loves rides and everything else about fairs, but he knows Mickey doesn’t.
“Uh, it’s not really my thing. Why don’t you just go?” he says, looking around himself for a lighter.
“No smoking in the house Mickey, or lean out the window” Fiona says, “Ian?”
“Well I really want to go but I want Mickey to come too. C’mon Mick there’ll be ribs, and cotton candy, ice cream… all that sweet shit you love”.
Mickey blinks over at him, his stomach clearly doing some thinking for him. Mickey’s not chubby, not even close, but he’s definitely softer and thicker than him, something that Ian fucking loves about his boyfriend.
Ian pokes at his soft belly teasingly, “Come on, do it”.
“Fuck off. Alright, I’ll go” Mickey grumbles, smacking Ian’s hand away from his stomach.
Kev and V come by that evening, all of them carpooling in the same van to head to the fair, and needless to say, it’s jam-packed with people.
Being one seat short, Liam ends up in Ian’s lap, but stretches and pulls away until Ian gives up and passes him over to Mickey. He curls one arm around Liam protectively, holding him like he’s a human car seat, but Liam doesn’t complain.
“Give me the aux” Ian says after he passes Liam over, leaning forward to take the cord from Veronica as she offers it.
After putting on some upbeat track by Imagine Dragons while Fiona carefully pulls onto the street and drives off down the road, Ian turns to smile at Mickey.
“What?” Mickey asks, frowning slightly. He always starts out this way when he agrees to do something solely because his boyfriend wants to, but he’s yet to not come around.
“Nothing. I’m just happy you’re here” Ian answers, leaning in over Liam’s head to give him a kiss.
“Awwww” Veronica calls out, clapping her hands as she looks back at them through the mirror.
Mickey blushes and rolls his eyes like he’s annoyed, but Liam looks back at him with a big smile, and Ian triumphantly notices Mickey can’t cover his own all too well.
As they pull into the fairground parking lot about an hour and a half later, Fiona tries to organize everyone before they all take off.
“Lip, do you mind keeping an eye on Carl and Debbie?”
“Nope” he answers, around his freshly lit cigarette.
“Okay, and obviously Ian and Mickey you’ll do your own thing…but, hey, Mickey would you mind taking Liam too? If you don’t want to go on any rides anyways…”
Fiona looks at him hopefully, and then over at Kev and V, who are holding hands a few feet ahead and waiting for her to come with them.
“Sure, whatever” Mickey answers, taking Liam back from her.
“Sweet, thank you! I owe you one” she says, quickly running after her friends before he could possibly change his mind.
“You didn’t have to say yes” Ian tells him, as they start walking towards the fairgrounds after everyone else.
“I don’t really care, she needs a break anyways. You can do your rides and shit, me and Liam will get some deep fried snickers bars or something like that, won’t we Liam?”
Sure enough, by the time Ian gets on the travelling Mighty Mountain rollercoaster and whizzes past where all the spectators are waiting, he sees through the blur Mickey and Liam holding cotton candy, and a bunch of other junk food.
They both wave at him the second time around, and when Ian gets off he feels exhilarated and dizzy, but happy.
He goes from ride to ride for the next hour or so until he gets off his second round on the Spinner and sees Liam fussing and giving Mickey a hard time.
“What’s wrong?” Ian asks, reaching out to Liam as he rejoins them and receiving a sticky hand to the face, “No hitting, Liam”.
“He’s bored” Mickey answers, looking flustered. “Don’t fuckin blame him”.
“Well, there’s rides we can take him on too. What do you think Liam? Merry Go Round?”
Liam nods his head happily, until Mickey tries to hand him over. “No Ian” Liam says, frowning.
“Ouch” Ian laughs, “That means you’re up Mick”.
Mickey gives him a look, “I’m not going on the fucking Merry Go Round. No. Sorry Liam, not happening”.
Normally Liam’s the type of kid to quietly accept a no, but he immediately starts to scream, which surprises the hell out of Mickey.
“What the fuck” he says, uncertainly.
“You got him all hopped up on sugar, how much crap did you give him?” Ian answers, trying to hide his smirk as Mickey starts to redden in embarrassment while Liam keeps going, throwing his head back against Mickey.
“Alright alright, I’ll go with you. Shush, everybody’s looking at us” he says to Liam sternly, his brow furrowed.
The toddler immediately quiets and smiles, and Mickey rolls his eyes as they go over to the Merry Go Round, forking over what he clearly feels is a ridiculous amount of cash for the ride.
Now that it’s Ian’s turn to watch, he’s not sure what he enjoys more. Seeing Mickey in dad mode certainly catches his interest, and he makes sure to take a picture almost every time they go around, Mickey flipping him off in more than half of them.
Ian turns to see Lip, Carl and Debbie standing behind him.
“Hey guys, what’s up?”
Lip shrugs, and then looks over towards the ride in interest. “We’re gonna start heading back soon, ran into Fiona like five minutes ago. Jesus, never thought I’d see Mickey Milkovich on a Merry Go Round”.
“Neither did I” Ian grins, “Liam’s got him wrapped around his finger though”.
“Want me to take him?” Lip asks Mickey as they get off the ride a minute or two later and head back over to rejoin the group.
Mickey shrugs and doesn’t seem to care either way, but Ian nods. “Yeah. Would like to get Mick on at least one ride with me tonight”.
Mickey gives him a look, “Ian, give me a fuckin break. I just went on a fucking Merry Go Round”.
“We were just discussing that actually” Lip teases, giving him a playful slug on the shoulder, “The Ferris Wheel is pretty romantic though, whatcha think Ian?”
Ian looks over at the gigantic Ferris wheel that’s several feet away from them, mostly empty, but with a few cars occupied by couples.
Against the night sky, with all the lights below, it does look pretty romantic.
“Please?” he asks, looking around out of habit before he takes Mickey’s hand. Mickey presses his fingers to his temple for a moment before he sighs, “No point in arguing with you is there?”
“No” Ian answers, as they walk over to the ride operator. He glances down at their joined hands, and Mickey immediately gives him such an aggressive look that he looks up and away, like he hadn’t noticed anything at all.
Mickey slaps Ian’s hand away when he tries to hand over some of his cash in payment, “If I’m doing this, I’m doing it right”.
He hands over the money for both of them and Ian raises his eyebrow in amusement, but doesn’t say anything as he gets in the car beside his boyfriend, letting him rest his arm around his shoulders.
As their car makes its slow rounds through the sky, Ian looks out over the widespread fairgrounds, enjoying the view while spotting his siblings below, and his older sister and her friends waiting by the van in the parking lot too.
He points out various things to Mickey, who mostly just nods, until their car stops at the very top of the Ferris Wheel.
“Was waiting for our turn” Mickey says, turning to him with a grin.
Ian closes his eyes as he feels Mickey’s lips press against him slowly, and he reaches his hand up to stroke the side of Mickey’s face, conveying his affection wordlessly.
He’s thinking about a lot of things as they kiss up there, suspended high above it all.
How summer is ending.
How he felt when it started out, and how low he had been, only to feel high again when Mickey came back, like he was aching after a drug and going through withdrawal.
How worried he knew Mickey probably was deep down that he would be the one to leave this time, moving away by choice for a job.
How he didn’t want to make any promises yet, but was now determined to find something he liked better than the army.
More than anything, as their Ferris wheel car jerks just slightly as it starts to descend again, Mickey slowly pulling away from the kiss to look him in the eyes and smile, he thinks about how in love he is with Mickey Milkovich.