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He's married?

Chapter Text

Ian Gallagher stared at the arm attached to his body and wondered how it had gotten covered in a dark grey wool suit jacket and light blue dress shirt he didn’t recognize. Was that a fucking cuff link, he wondered, looking closer at the sapphire sparkling in the overhead light? The arm in question was currently holding him up. It seemed that the earth had shifted on its side cause he was sure the floor was coming up to meet him.

Maybe he should find a chair and sit down. He reached out his other arm, similarly adorned in fancy clothes, toward the folding metal chair, which was deceptively closer than it first appeared as the beer bottle he was clutching made a horrible clanging noise when it collided with the back of the chair.

Oops, he thought, pretty sure I’m not supposed to be drinking. He remembered getting shit for that. But who’d give him shit? Gallaghers were proud drinkers. He closed his eyes in concentration, but immediately popped them open when the earth made another rotation. So that’s not a good idea. Keep eyes open, he made a mental note of that and gestured with his index finger for good measure.

Another fancy suit jacket came into view and he reached his already lifted index finger toward it, poking the owner of the suit in the chest. “Nish shoot, er, suit. Yeah.”

“You mentioned that. Like a thousand times.” The suit sat down on the chair beside him.

“I did? Why’d I do that?”

“Cause you're Bridezilla.”

“I am? Tha’ makes no sense. Ha’ you been drinking?” Ian finally looked up into Lip’s amused face, but had to pull back as his eyes crossed unable to focus. He turned back to the room, blinking several times then zeroing in on something that caught his eye. Sitting forward until his elbows rested on his knees, he closed one eye to get a better focus and his heart squeezed a little. Another suit, one that matched his own. Dark hair cut short. He watched closely as a hand came up to cover a laugh.

Then Ian sat back suddenly, the beer bottle still miraculously clutched in his hand made a grand sweep of the room until it was aimed at the dark-haired man in the suit. “Lip,” Ian stage whispered. “I’ve’a confession t’ make.”

“Can’t wait, little brother.”

Ian’s nose collided with Lip’s ear. “I’ve gotta a crush.”

“No? On who? Wait, lemme guess.” He scanned the room. “Um, is it Kev?”

“No!”

“Iggy?”

“What? Yer a dumb dumb. It’s h’ brother, silly.”

“No shit? Mickey? He’s gay?”

“Ssshh,” Ian pushed his finger into Lip’s bottom lip. “He wouldn’a want the whole bar t’know that shit.”

“Right, he sure wouldn’t.”

“Yeah, he’s kinna in a closet. Imma tryna r’spect that.”

“That’s good, Ian. He definitely has everyone fooled. Keeping a tight lid on that and all.”

“I’s a shecret. But I know.” Ian was thinking about how much he’d like to go over to Mickey and hold his hand, but they were in public and Mickey would get mad. “I love him.”

Lip patted his knee. “That’s good, Ian. Cause it’d be kinda awkward if you didn’t.”

“Like a lot. Like this.” He opened his arms wide and Lip pushed one of them out of his face. “H’much is that, Lip?”

“A lot.”

“But, like, in num’ers or somethin’? Yer smart at num’ers, right?”

“Six?”

“Pfft,” Ian spat in his face. “Mickey’s perfec’ Lip. Wha’s a perfec’ number for perfec’ Mickey?”

“Well, in number theory, a perfect number is a positive integer that is equal to the sum of its—”

“Pi! He’s like pi!”

“Oh, good god,” Lip lit a cigarette.

Ian released a deep sigh and leaned into Lip’s shoulder. “Maybe one day, Imma tell him how I feel.”

“I’m sure he’d love that. You could write him a poem.”

After nodding vigorously for a moment, Ian added another item to his list of movements to avoid tonight. “A poem, yeah, or a shon-snonet—”

“A sonnet?”

“Mmm, what’s that?”

“A 14-line poem.”

“14 things I love about Mickey Milkovich. Tha’ should be a shnap.” He lifted his hand to snap his fingers but got distracted by the tinkling light reflecting off his cuff link. “I could tell him ‘is eyes ‘r as blue as a summer sky.”

“Gimme that fuckin’ beer, man,” Lip responded yanking the bottle out of his hand. Then guzzling the remainder.

“’K so tha’s one. Umm, two,” Ian raised two fingers into Lip’s face. “His lips. They’re real soft, soft like, umm, wuz somethin’ soft?”

“My dick, right now.”

“Oh, 'is dick is as—”

“Ian!”

“Mm, what?”

They both watched as Mickey bent over to pick up the napkin Vee dropped on the floor. As Ian opened his mouth to continue expounding on Mickey’s attributes, Lip let out a sigh of resignation. But instead Ian turned to him with a frown, “Lip?”

“What?”

“Why’s Mickey dressed like that?”

“It’s his wedding day, Ian.”

And Ian started to cry, big fat sad tears. “He’s married?”

 

Chapter Text

“He’s married?” Ian repeated between sobs. “B-but he’s mine.”

“Ian,” Lip said slowly and clearly. “He’s married to—”

Without warning, Ian stood up sending the metal chair clattering backwards. “I object!” he shouted. “Is’re still time f’ me to object, Lip?”

“Yeah, I think you should be good,” Lip laughed. “You should definitely object and maybe do it a little louder so Mickey can hear you.”

“But I was tryna be a good shecret boyfriend. D’you think he’ll be mad?” Ian was waving his hand in Mickey’s direction. “I got ‘nother shecret. Mickey has a temper.”

“That secret ain’t a secret,” Lip mumbled, then tapped Ian on his arm to get his full attention. “You know, I really think it’s time for you to let Mickey know how you feel. In fact, I think everyone here should know. Make your love public, man.”

“Really?” Ian turned his attention back to Mickey and he knew he was gonna do it. If he didn’t let Mickey know, he could lose him forever. At this thought, some vague memories tried to creep into his brain, but he pushed them aside. He would not be distracted. “Imma do it. Wish m’ luck, Lip!” And with that he planted a sloppy kiss on Lip’s lips.

“Pillows!” Ian shouted. “Tha’s what Mickey’s lips feel like.”

After one false start, Ian was on his way toward the centre of the bar where he stopped abruptly but was surprised that no one seemed to notice. He looked around for some way to get their attention.

“Can I get attention’s of everyone? I jus’ want everyone here t’—”

“Ian,” Mickey stepped forward but Ian waved him off.

“S’okay, Mickey. Trust me.” He looked into Mickey’s eyes and forgot what he was saying. “Ummm…jus’ like a summer day, Mick. Pretty.”

“What the hell is the matter with you, Ian? Did you get your hands on a second fuckin’ beer?”

Now Ian was watching those yummy lips move but they were turning down not up like before. Mickey has a temper. Oh shit, he thought maybe he told someone about that. “Oh, Mick, why d’yer pillows look all frowny?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Ian lifted his finger to try to re-arrange Mickey’s face back to its happy arrangement, but only managed to poke Mickey in the chin.

“My sonnet.”

“Holy shit. You’ve lost your goddamn mind or something?” he asked swatting Ian’s hand away.

“What? No ‘is 14 things I love. Tha’s only 2. Why d’I always get stuck at 2?” He paused to reflect. “Oh yeah, yer dick is 3.”

“My --?” Mickey glanced around like he was worried about people hearing about his dick, but Ian saw those pillows smile a little. Ian smiled too until he remembered what his original mission was.

“I object!” He hollered.

“What the fuck are you yelling about now? Object to what?”

“Lip thinks I sh’ object to the public.”

Now Mickey’s summer sky eyes were looking kinda stormy. “Oh, Lip had something to do with this?”

Ian glanced over his shoulder at his brother but remembered, a little too late, that turning was a no-no. Once he had righted himself, he noticed Mickey’s fingers on his elbow and the “F” finger made him smile again. “No, silly, ’s not Lip you’re marrying. Wait, who ‘r y’ marrying anyway?”

“I think it’s time to get you home.”

“Wait! NO,” Ian was in a panic now. “But I-I love you.”

“Ian,” Mickey began.

“Please hear m’ out!” Ian watched as Mickey licked his favorite pillow and he wanted to lick it too. “I love yer pillows.”

Ian could hear howling going on behind him, but remembered in time not to turn around. “Will you marry me instead, Mickey?”

“I am married to you, you numbskull.”

“Oh! Is tha’ who y’ married today?”

“Gimme strength.”

“So if w’ married, does ever one know yer,” he lowers his voice, “gay?”

“Yes, Ian, everyone knows that shit.”

Ian’s smile lit up the room. “No more shecrets.”

Mickey’s pillows turned up. “No more shecrets.”

Chapter Text

“Let’s go home, Ian.”

“But i’s yer wedding, Mickey. Rem’ber?”

“It’s your wedding, too,” Mickey replied adding “asshole” under his breath.

Ian’s eyes got big at that. “Tha’s right. But I don’t rem’ber?” And he was off again, big fat sad tears. How could he forget his wedding day!

“Hey,” Mickey rubbed Ian’s arms and grabbed his attention. “Hey, you were sober when we got married, so I’m sure you’ll remember it all tomorrow.”

“’m I drunk now?” He also couldn’t remember drinking.

“I sure as hell hope so.”

Mickey looked so concerned that Ian wanted to cheer him up. “Ya wanna dance?”

“No, I wanna go home.”

So dancing wasn’t going to cheer Mickey up. Oh, right, Ian thought, he had the perfect thing. “C’ I tell you m’ poem about 14 parts of Milky Mickeyvich?”

“I’ll make you a deal,” Mickey began. Ian peered closely into Mickey’s face and he looked happier cause the lines around his mouth disappeared.

“I’s a deal.”

“What’s a deal?”

“I don’ know.” The lines were back and Ian tried pressing his lips together to mimic them.

“Listen to me, Ian. Up here,” Mickey pointed to his eyes and Ian followed with his own. “Each time you do something I ask, you can tell me one of your poem things you love about me.”

“Oh,” Ian lifted his eyebrows and tried to waggle them. “You gon’ be my boss daddy?”

“Your what?”

“’r these dirty things yer gon’ tell me to do?”

“No.”

Ian’s lower lip slipped out and he crossed his arms because that just sounded like he was gonna get bossed around.

Kev slid a tall glass of lukewarm water toward Mickey who placed it in Ian’s hand. Mickey looked so hopeful that Ian decided to play the boss daddy game even if there were no dirty bits. He drank the whole glass of water, only spilling a few drops on his new suit.

“Tell me your first thing you love.”

“Mm, I love you.”

“Yes, we’ve established that shit already. You were gonna tell me something you love about me.”

“Oh ya! The summer sky!” Ian beamed at Mickey expecting to see an equally bright reaction but Mickey seemed to be frowny again. “My summer sky ‘s gone.” He grabbed Mickey’s tie and yanked him forward. “Show m’ the sky,” he demanded. His lips caressed Mickey’s and when he pulled back Mickey was looking at him. “There it ‘s. Pretty.”

Ian watched Mickey’s smile return. “Oh ‘n tha’s the other one! Soft as pillows.” And he rubbed his thumb over Mickey’s bottom lip, while sloppily licking his own lip in response.

Mickey pulled his tie out of Ian’s death grip. “You’re cheatin’ Ian. Now you owe me one.”

“Yessir,” Ian replied with an army salute.

“Turn around to face the room and thank everyone for coming.” As Ian began, Mickey added, “Slowly, idiot.”

Ian scanned the faces in the crowd, smiling hugely. “Thank you all for comin’ to Mickey’s wedding.” And he bowed before remembering that all unnecessary movements should be avoided. After the room settled, he waved a proper good-bye.

“Oh Mickey, w’ both know wha’ num’er 3 is,” Ian snickered looking around for Mickey who was standing behind him holding is coat. They turned in a circle for moment until Mickey stopped and let Ian catch up.

“Put your arm in here, jackass,” Mickey was trying to marry up Ian’s hand with the jacket hole when Fiona arrived and steadied Ian’s arm herself. “Thanks.”

“You gonna be okay to drive, Mickey?” She was smoothing Ian’s jacket lapels and looking worriedly into his eyes. Why was Fiona here, Ian wondered. She looked all frowny too. Was she worried about him going out with Mickey?

“Mickey has h’ driver’s license, Mom,” Ian snarked rolling his eyes. “He got it, jus’ not on a first time.”

“Ian, man, come on.”

“’S’okay, Mickey. No more shecrets, ‘mem’er?” He smiled at Mickey and whispered, “Num’er 3 is your dick.” Then he turned back to Fiona. “S’Mickey told the driver test lady to kiss his fuckin’—”

“Ian, I’m ordering you to walk out the door.”

“Okay! I got’a go. Happy birthday, Fiona. You’re the best big sister ever i’a whole wide world.” He would have continued rambling but Fiona pressed a kiss to his face and turned him toward Mickey. “Now, I get t’ tell you stuff. Num’er 4…’n 5 ‘n 6 are all yer ass ‘cuz there so many parts ‘t like ‘bout it. There’s…”

“BYE EVERYONE!” Mickey shouted startling Ian.

Once they were out on the sidewalk, Ian blinked several times trying to see in the darkness. “’r you scared a the dark, Mickey?” He stopped abruptly. “’r you scared a anythin’, Mickey?”

“Keep walking, tough guy. I’m scared of what you’re gonna be like in the morning.” Ian could feel Mickey’s hands through his jacket pushing him forward so he started walking again.

“Tha’s num’er 7. Fuck u-up, fuckers. Yer mouth’s a potty, but I like it. ‘m safe with Mickey.”

Ian felt Mickey’s warm fingers slide between his. By the time his butt was safely belted into the front seat of the car, he’d told Mickey numbers 8 (his legs), 9 (his swagger) and 10 (his cigarettes). As they passed the smoke between them, Ian sighed. “I should drink more of’n. I feel great!”

“Let’s revisit this conversation tomorrow.”

“Oh, tha’s num’er 11,” Ian smirked at Mickey.

“Oh yeah. What’s number 11?”

“Yer sunny disposition.”

“Fuck you.”

“I rest m’ case officer.” Suddenly Ian shot out of his seat. “Oh m’ god, can w’ stop at Sizzler? ‘m so hungry.”

“It’s getting late, Ian.”

“You us’d ta be fun, not a party pooper.” Memories were crowding into Ian’s brain now. “Mem’er when we went to Sizzler on a date?”

“Course I do.” Mickey gave him the side eye. “Do you?”

“You‘re fun back then. ‘mem’er when you were fun? Imma gonna take one a your num’ers away.”

Ian watched Mickey shake his head but also smirk a little. “How about Mcdonald’s?” he asked Ian. The car turned into a parking lot and Ian saw the golden arches as they pulled into the drive-thru.

“Okay, you c’ keep yer num’ers. You like yer num’ers, don’ you Mickey?”

“Yeah, Ian, I do. What do you want? Nuggets?”

It took longer to order than was completely necessary because Ian kept badgering the faceless voice for “one a those sparkly unicorn drinks” which the bored, tired employee felt was beyond his job description to provide. They compromised on a chocolate shake.

When they received their food, Ian jammed his hand in the bag pulling out a nugget. “Les’ park ‘n eat. Like w’re on a date.”

“What the hell? Why not?”

“Tha’s num’er 12.” Ian tried to stuff a third nugget into his mouth. “Yer nice t’ me. A’ways.” Bringing the straw up to his lips he paused and leaned closer to Mickey. “S’metimes yer mean ta oth’r people. ‘mem’er the driver test lady af’er you told her to kiss yer fuckin’ ass? She w’ ticking all the boxes on her clipboard. I saw y’ grab it ‘n write stuff on it. Whad’ya write Mickey?”

Mickey smiled at Ian. “Have a nice day…” Ian narrowed his eyes waiting. “…in hell…” Ian tilted his head expectantly. “…burning for eternity.” Ian finally slurped his milkshake, his eyes crinkling in amusement. “In hindsight, that last part was probably unnecessary. It’s implied.”

While Mickey puffed on his smoke, flicking ashes out the window, Ian finished eating and eventually laid his head back against the headrest with a sigh. “I’m sorry, Mickey.”

Flicking his butt out the window, Mickey shifted in his seat to face Ian, mirroring his position. “Sobering up?”

Ian nodded slowly. “Did I ruin the wedding?”

“Nah, wedding’s ain’t really my thing. But we did manage to do all the shit you wanted to do before you got wasted.”

“Like what? Tell me what we did.”

“There were about a million toasts, which I now realize was a bad fuckin’ idea. You shoulda had water.” But his pillows and his summer sky weren’t frowny at all. “And, you made me stand around while people took pictures of us cutting a fuckin’ cake like we’re toddlers just learning to use a fuckin’ knife. I even let you put a chunk of cake on my goddamn nose. Never live that shit down.”

Ian nodded happily. “And we had our dance?”

“I guess you could call what we did dancing. No one else is gonna call it that though.”

“Was there music?”

“Yes.”

“Were we touching?”

“Yes.”

“We were dancing.”

“Dumbass.”

“What about our wedding night?”

“We’ll do that another night.” He held up his hand when Ian started to tear up. “We banged twice this morning. Had to keep getting fuckin’ dressed.”

“Oh, so number 6 could use a rest anyway, huh?”

“Yeah, your number 1 put it through the ringer this morning.”

Ian’s eyes were closed more than open now. Mickey leaned in to kiss him and Ian inhaled deeply in contentment.

“Mmm, number 13.”

“I wondered when you’d get to that one.”

“More please.” They did some nuzzling and pecking for a few minutes. “Oh, number 3 is saying hello.”

“Don’t go gettin’ your ass all horny. You’re goin’ to sleep when we get home.”

“I love you, Mickey.” Ian rubbed his hand over his husband’s cheek. “That’s number 14.”

“What’s number 14?”

“You.”

Chapter Text

Ian cracked his eyes open, wondering immediately when the end of the world had arrived and why he had no memory of it. Pressing his fingers into his eye sockets to relieve some of the pain caused by looking directly into the slice of sunlight coming in through a crack in the bedroom curtains, he scanned his body. It was under a pile of blankets, sweaty and achy, but from the brief encounter with alertness, he knew he was in his bed. 

“Mickey?” he croaked but got no response other than a swirling in his gut that wasn’t going to end well. Probably end as well as the world. God, he hoped the end was close. He rolled tentatively to his side and felt the swirling travel up his body and threaten to exit. “Shit.”

This made no sense. Did he have the flu? Or maybe food poisoning? 

Cracking open his eyes again, he blanched at the unnatural brightness. “Turn it off,” he whined.

A familiar chuckle met this request, but the sun continued to torture his soul, so he pulled Mickey’s pillow over his face hoping to bury himself in the softness and ignore how every individual throb ripped its way through his skull. 

“Why?” he said from under the pillow.

Mickey’s pillows.

“Because booze is a bitch that way,” Mickey was still chuckling, “if she wasn’t, we’d all spend our lives floor lickin' drunk.”

“Booze?” That couldn’t be right. “I don’t drink. I think it’s the flu.”

The chuckle turned into a snort. “If you say so, man.”

“Or brain damage.”

“I won’t argue with that.”

“My head,” he continued to whine. “I feel sick.” He pushed up to his elbow ignoring how the world listed to the side taking the contents of his stomach with it. “God, my mouth feels like something crawled inside and—”

“Charming, but I just came to check in on your lazy ass. Practically fucking noon.” Ian squinted in the direction of Mickey’s voice, but his eyes were having trouble focusing. “Making breakfast.”

Ian’s stomach reacted to that bit of news predictably. Fuck, he needed water and pain reliever. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he spotted both items, and his daily pills, sitting on his night stand. He glanced toward the doorway, but Mickey was gone. That didn’t stop the small smile from forming on Ian’s lips.

“Best boyfriend in the world,” he muttered as the pills and water hit his tongue along with a prayer for his salvation. Next up, the bathroom. On weak legs, he shuffled his way to the toilet, bracing a hand on the wall to stop the spinning and keep his stomach under control. With one more bodily function taken care of, he stuffed himself back in his boxers and turned on both sink taps fully, splashing water everywhere including on his face. 

“Shit,” he groaned as his skull once again tried to bring him to his knees. He leaned heavily on the sink and opened his eyes but avoided the mirror. No need to know what this shit looked like. It wouldn't be pretty. Instead, he stared at his toothbrush, leaning against Mickey’s, the bristles of both brushes intertwined.

“That seems unhygienic,” he mumbled before remembering that their tongues spent a good chunk of each day together. While he brushed his teeth and suppressed his gag reflex, a blue twinkle caught his eye from just behind the soap dish.

A cufflink.

“What the fuck?” he said with more conviction than he’d managed since waking up. Dropping his toothbrush into the cup where it could nuzzle up to Mickey’s again, he palmed the sterling silver cufflink as thoughts tried to come to the forefront of his brain, but that only caused a searing pain and accompanying wave of dizziness. His fingers closed around the obviously male piece of jewelry, and he stepped away from the sink. 

Mickey’s back was to the kitchen doorway when Ian entered the room, but he glanced over his shoulder giving Ian a once over, lingering briefly on Ian’s bare chest and not on his hair which he could feel poking up at odd angles. Then he returned his attention to the blender, that goddamn “K” finger hitting one of the buttons and nearly sending Ian to an early grave as the whir of the blades sliced through his brain.

“Noooo,” he whined ineffectually. Thirty seconds later, the racket stopped and Ian dropped into the closest kitchen chair. “Fuck.”

“Oh sorry, was that loud?”

“Fuck you.”

Another chuckle. Dick. Boyfriends were supposed to feel sorry for you when you were dying not help you into the grave. He watched Mickey moving around the kitchen for a moment until the edges of the cufflink dug into his palm from the way he was clutching it. He dropped it onto the table between Mickey’s plate and a plate of scrambled eggs. The sight turned his stomach, and he briefly wondered if it was the eggs or the cufflink.

He’d probably never eat again, feeling certain that he was never going to feel well, that this was his purgatory for some unforgivable act.

“Am I being punished?”

A thick green smoothie plunked down on the table in front of him. “Yup.”

“What’d I do?” Staring in horror at the drink, he made sure to embed each syllable with self-pity so his damn boyfriend would soothe him with kisses or hugs or something sympathetic.

“Drink your sludge. According to you, this shit will cure anything.”

Ian couldn't contain the revulsion that traveled along his spine. 

"You object, Ian?"

Object?

He glanced up at Mickey, but his attention was on the table. Ian followed the path of his gaze, landing on the sparkling blue cufflink. Mickey’s eyes tracked back to Ian’s, and they narrowed as they studied him. Ian couldn’t hold the gaze, shifting away momentarily as he chewed his lip in concentration. Something was going on and he was out of the loop, but every time he tried to focus, a metal clamp with piercing claws clenched around his head.

“Jesus,” he moaned and closed his eyes.

Mickey was back at the counter when he opened them, pouring himself a cup of coffee. Ian was suddenly terrified to know what he was missing. Mickey hadn’t looked guilty or confused when he saw the cufflink.

He’d looked disappointed.

Shit, what had Ian done? Had he actually gotten drunk and misbehaved? Years of guilt that he’d thought he’d worked through came rushing back, like a freight train through his head, in fact. He grabbed the cufflink just as Mickey turned toward the table, blowing lightly into his coffee cup.

Ian squeezed the metal into his palm, hoping the pain would break through the fog. Mickey sat down across from him. “Gonna eat any of these eggs?” He wasn’t looking at Ian and that caused a wave of desperation to compete with the wave of nausea.

“No,” Ian whispered pathetically. Then he lifted the smoothie, bringing the straw to his lips and slurping down about a third of it, eventually gagging as it hit his empty stomach. “Mmm.”

A smirk touched the corners of Mickey’s lips and Ian relaxed a little. Whatever he’d done, Mickey was still able to smile. That smile was Ian’s link to reality. It’s what he looked for when he was feeling lost, soft lips and shiny blue eyes. 

Then the smile was gone, and Ian wanted to reach across the table, so he could rearrange those features back to happiness. A flash of something skittered across his mind, but he couldn’t grab it before it was gone.

Mickey shifted in his chair, pushing back and crossing his arms over his chest. “Do you love me, Ian?”

“What?” Ian choked, desperate now. “Of course! Mickey, yes, of course.”

Oh god, why would ask that? What happened to make him doubt the one thing that Ian was always certain of?

“Yes,” he whispered.

Mickey nodded slightly, looking thoughtful like he was weighing that information before continuing, then he uncrossed his arms, leaning heavily on the table between them. “How much?”

How much? Ian was confused, and sudden panic was making him stupid. “A…lot?”

Mickey shook his head, disappointed again. Ian’s arms lifted without preplanned thought and spread wide, his left hand remained clenched around the cufflink. Mickey’s eyebrows lifted in disbelief.

“How much is that, Ian?”

At a loss, Ian just opened and closed his mouth. He didn’t know what to say, other than lots, but Mickey continued to wait, looking more and more disappointed.

“Um, I don’t know how to explain it,” Ian tried. “Like, I have nothing else to compare to it.”

Running a knuckle over his nose, Mickey picked up his coffee and sipped it. “So there are probably some things you love about me then, huh?”

“Yes,” Ian paused then added, “lots.” He cringed hearing that. 

“Not exactly a poet, are you?”

Ian felt a blush travel over his neck and cheeks. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt sort of exposed without any idea what specifically was exposed, so he couldn’t cover it, couldn’t protect himself. This thought was quickly followed by the reminder that he didn’t need to protect himself from Mickey. He knew that now.

Dropping the cufflink on the table beside his smoothie, he looked at Mickey, letting all his self doubt go. Whatever had happened, he knew one thing for sure. Mickey would never hurt him. 

As the pain reliever began to numb the throbbing in his head, he thought about why he loved Mickey, the list forming easily in his mind.

“I love that you still watch me like I’m the most important thing in the world.”

Mickey glanced away, surprise taking over his features, obviously not expecting Ian to lead with that, but at the moment, Ian felt like he needed to admit to both of them that he needed attention, and no attention felt like Mickey’s attention.

Releasing a breath through his nose, Mickey returned that attention to Ian, who tried to smile but faltered when Mickey remained quiet, just waited. He must really want to know, so Ian decided to make his responses count, nothing frivolous.

“I love,” he scanned their eight years together, the good and the bad, “that you came out for me.”

Mickey shrugged slightly at that one, and Ian felt the prick of shame for forcing the issue in the way he had, for feeling so sure he knew what was best. For both of them. 

“I love that you forgave me.” He stared into Mickey’s eyes. “For everything. Every single time.”

Ian was on a roll now, ideas crashing over each other faster than he could formulate sentences. “I love that you took my threat to suck my dick on command seriously. Even though I was just challenging you to chicken out. You never chicken out. Ever.”

That little smile played around Mickey’s lips now, making Ian sag slightly in relief. There were a lot of events in their relationship that they’d left to die in their memories rather than relive through discussion. Not this one though. Ian had cleaned up that mess not long after issuing the threat.

Mickey reached one hand across the table to pry the cufflink out of Ian’s clenched fist. He looked at it but said nothing, so Ian continued.

“I love that you joined a mental health support group because you listened to me.” Now it was Ian’s turn to smirk. “And haven’t killed anyone yet.”

Some humor moved across Mickey’s features, and Ian was smitten like usual. 

“I love how hot you are.” He leaned forward, pushing the plate of eggs out of his way as his hands landed on top of Mickey’s and tightened their hold.

“God, I love watching you swagger into a room. You need to swagger more.” 

Ian pushed away from his chair, leaning across the table, arms resting in the center.

“I love that you’re a trash talking badass.” He stopped inches from Mickey’s face, as their fingers closed around each other. “I really, really love that one.”

He really, really did.

“I love that you say it like it is, and when you don’t, I can still read you like a book.”

“No shecrets?” Mickey slurred making Ian smile as the warmth of his breath caressed Ian’s cheek.

“Yeah, I love that you don’t keep…shecrets…from me.”

They were so close that Ian could make out each fleck of color in Mickey’s eyes and still they just watched each other.

 “I love that you know exactly how to touch me.”

Mickey nodded, lips parted now. Ian hoped he was imagining touching Ian because Ian was imagining touching Mickey.

“I love how you feel. Every inch of you. Inside and out,” Ian whispered. “All of you.”

Ian was one comment away from clearing the table with his arm, sending those eggs to the floor so he could crawl across the table, and Mickey looked like he would meet Ian halfway.

But that’s not what Ian had wanted. He’d wanted Mickey to know why he loved him not why he wanted to fuck him. Sex had always been easy for them, but it wasn’t the only thing that had always been easy.

“I love that you’re my best friend.”

Letting his shoulders relax, Ian looked down at their hands, his thumb caressing Mickey’s knuckles.

FUCK U-UP.

“One more,” Mickey demanded softly.

“Just one?” Ian smiled up through his lashes, getting back to the flirting.

“Yes, just one.”

Frowning slightly, Ian felt the fog begin to lift from his mind. “I love that you want to spend your life with me.”

Mickey nodded, pressing a quick kiss to Ian’s lips. “Fourteen things you love about me.”

Fourteen things I love about Mickey.

“Ian, will you marry me?”

He’s married.

“What? Yes! I--”

Mickey dragging him to the dugout on a freezing winter day, shoving a ring onto his finger, daring Ian with one long look to defy him.

Blue and green cufflinks.

Matching suits.

I do. I do.

Snickers cheesecake.

Swaying to music.

Kiss! Kiss!

He's Pi, Lip.

Chicken nuggets.

Wedding bands on Mickey’s nightstand because Ian was drunkenly afraid they’d lose them.

“We’re married,” Ian whispered in amazement.