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We Can Handle This

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The house had gone quiet long before Lip got home.

Gingerly he made his way upstairs and to the room he Ian and Carl shared. He was as quiet as could be, Ian and Carl slept like the dead but Mickey often stayed the night and he slept lighter then a sick baby. The slightest sounds woke him up and made him cranky and left him pissy through out the morning.

As quietly as he could he stripped out of his hoody and shirt, using it as a napkin to wipe away some of the blood on his face before he towed off his shoes and climbed onto his bunk. Carl sleeping peacefully below, Ian and Mickey cuddled together on Ian's bed, his head resting on Mickey's chest.

He fell asleep quickly. Bare chest, jeans, and socks. Dried blood still smeared under his nose and down his chin but he was to tired to care about that.


As usual Fiona was the first to wake up and she immediately started breakfast calling and shouting for the others to wake up. Mickey and Ian were the first to respond to the yelling and they went about their business of getting ready and waking up Carl who automatically grabbed two of his action figures and rush downstairs to try to melt his action figures together....again.

The house was loud and boisterous, Debbie was going on and on about something at the counter across from Fiona while Steve stood next to her with his phone pressed between his shoulder and his ear as he did the dishes. Talking rather heatedly into his phone as he scrubbed away at the plate in his hands Frank was passed out on the floor (nothing new there) and Carl was as predicted was standing in front of the microwave, eyes fixed on his toys inside. The only one missing was Lip.

"Alright everyone got something to eat? Carl get those out of the microwave and sit down at the table" Ian laughed slightly Fiona seemed to be losing her head.

She had to leave for work in 10 minutes.

"Alright i have to go. Veronica will be here at 1 to watch you guys. Debbie, Carl its your turn for chores, Mickey please do a load of laundry, don't look at me like that, you practically live here you can do a little bit of laundry, hey has Lip gotten up yet"

"No he was still asleep when we came down" Ian said as he showed Mickey how to work the washing machine and the dryer

"Go wake him up he needs to eat and get dressed he has to go tutor some kid at 10"

"Go wake who up" Lip whispered as he rubbed at his unbruised eye.

"Damn what happened to you" Steve cast his eyes over the younger teen "You look like shit"

Lip rolled his eyes "Oh really i hadn't noticed"

His face was bruised from temple to jaw on the right side of his face, painted in dark purple, uneven splotches. The worst of the bruising surrounded his right eye tht looked a little swollen

"Alright we'll talk about this when i get back, here pass that around its for the electric bill" She handed Debbie the shoe box.

Debbie pulled out 25 that she got from doing her paper route and no one really knew where Carl got 10 dollars from but he added it to the box none the less. Ian added 30 dollars because he hadn't gotten his pay check from Kash and Grab yet and he had spent his last paycheck on food. Fiona added 45 dollars and 13 cents before she did a count. They need 167 dollars and some change. They had 90 dollars and 13 cents and still needed 72 dollars and 87 cents. No one had any cash and the bill was already 2 days past due.

"Don't worry i got it covered" Lip, still in his jeans from the night before and with a clean long sleeved shirt, dug into his back pocket and pulled out 40 dollars in 20s, 30 dollars in 10s, and 15 dollars in fives.

"Where the hell did you get all that Lip" Fiona said, arms crossed over her chest.

None of them ever really had much money on hand and for Lip to have that much on them at one time was rare and often involved something illegal.

"What i have a job too you know, kids will pay anything for a well written paper"

"Bullshit theirs no way in hell that you made that much. You just shoveled out 40 dollars on Thursday. I wanna know where the hell your getting all this money and why you've been coming home so late, always smelling like booze and covered in bruises, and don't think i haven't noticed all the blood on your clothes when i do the laundry"

"Im not doing anything illegal and its none of your damn business how i make my money"

"It is my damn business if your coming home looking worse then a pile of zshit"

Lip just huffed and looked at the busted clock on the wall before he pulled out the phone they all shared and placed it on the table.

"I payed the bill it has 60 minutes on it, and im not gonna be home when you are, your gonna be late"

He turned on his heal and made his way back upstairs and slammed the bedroom door behind him and locked it. Ian followed after him when they heard several loud and muffled thuds and cursing. They could hear the thuds against the door as Ian demanded to be let in while Fiona pulled on her jacket as she said goodbye and left, her brow creased in anger and confusion.

They looked at the steps as they heard things slamming and Ian yelling while Lip ignored him. Lip was now wearing a pair of tight jeans and a tight fitting long sleeved shirt and a lightweight brown jacket.

"Lip come one, you just woke up at least get something to eat for fucks sake"

"Leave me alone Ian I'll be back later,. Debbie go check on Liam. I'll try to be back by lunch time, Steve your burning your eggs"

He walked out the front door the same way Fiona did.

Agitated and looking rather pissed


He didn't get back till late but he wasn't the only one awake Frank sat on the ratty old couch, beer in hand.

"-ere the 'ell 'ave you been" He slurred

Lip didn't answer just tugged off his jacket and walked toward the kitchen. He had a hand on things by now, Frank would be to drunk to do anything besides shift his weight on the couch and fall on his ass. He was to drunk to be able to get up and slap him around like other times of drunkenness so he didn't care if his father was pissed at him or not. Well if you could call Frank a Father

Grabbing a beer from the fridge and a cigarette from his pocket he popped open the beer and made his way upstairs.

Frank was already passed out on the couch.


"Hey keep it in your pants" he laughed as he chucked a pillow at the back of Mickey's head as he and Ian where about to start a furious make out session

"Fuck off" Ian laughed as Mickey nipped at the side of his neck.

Lip laughed quietly before he hefted himself off the bed and made to leave. Carl was in the living room bickering with Debbie about what they wanted to watch on tv. Fiona was in the kitchen with Liam on her hip and V was helping clean the table from lunch. Steve had just arrived judging from the almost full box of donuts on the counter, Steve himself was leaning against the fridge with a mug off coffee in his hands as he Fiona teased each other back and forth.

"Hey im headed out" he shouted

"Be back by dinner" Fiona said as she walked towards him while he waited by the door, knowing she had something to say "where are you heading its almost lunch time"

"Just to go tutor a kid from school" he rubbed at his bottom lip with his thumb before he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his pack of cigarettes

"Oh yeah then why are you doing that nervous lip thing you always do when your lying" she sassed.

Lip rolled his eyes and smiled "no i do that when im high now i gotta go i'll see you at dinner" he smiled and kissed her cheek before he grabbed his jacket and left with a shouted 'see ya'


He wondered around the south side for hours. He ran into some local kids from the high school and managed to sell 2 papers and a book report and got a good 35 dollars from the deal. He walked around for another hour before he saw Jacob Clark. Jacob was the neighborhood pimp. Everyone new what he sold, you name it he would sell it to you. Weed, crack, clean urine, girls, guys, you name it he'd sell it and if he didn't have it then he would get it for you in 2 hours tops. Fiona had always told them to stay away from the guy but he was one of Ian's best customers at the store and his younger brother often bought papers from Lip himself and when money was especially tight and when Lip had no other choice then Jacob helped him out, claimed that Lip was one of his boys and let him keep the money he made and protected him from the sick fucks when they got to rough for Jacob's liking. Jacob took care of his boys.

God if Fiona ever found out she would kill him.

"Yo Jacob" He call as he rushed across the street quickly and pulled out his pack of cigarettes and lit it and met Jacob with a handshake "Hey man"

Jacob smiled "hows baby boy Lip today"

"The usual gotta get some cash quick, Fiona's losing her head as usual and im pretty sure she thinks im sell drugs again"

"You know you're gonna have ta tell 'er eventually don't you" a pointed look was directed at the side of his head "Now are you gonna stop beatin' 'round the bush and tell me who the fucks been beatin' on ya"

He stopped walking and turned Lip to face him and gently grabbed a hold of his chin and turning his face this way and that, trying to access the damage done by his last john, he may not have officially been one of Jacob's boys but Jacob had always had a soft spot for the Gallagher kids, especially since Lip had made an impression on him when he was younger. Fiona had never quiet warmed up to him but he had no problem protecting her and her tiny army of feisty little assholes.

"Its nothing Jake just a John who liked it a little rough" He light another cigarette.

"From now on you stop at my place before you go work and you go with Israel or Immanuel or someone thats there. No more wandering around and taking Johns that don't know how to take care of other peoples property" Jacob had always been protective even if he came off a tad bit possessive.

"Oh come oh Jake i'll be fine its just one guy. Its not like i'll ever see him again anyway"

Jacob just gave him a stern look

"Alright fine, next time i'll take someone with me to work" he passed Jacob the cigarette "happy now"

"Very" he smiled teasingly "Are you gonna head to work or do ya got places ta be"

Lip grinned "nah i got nothing but time"


Lip grunted as was thrown to the ground by his John from the other night and a group of two of his friends. He and Jacob had hung out for a while before he had left and Lip had made his way towards the L train overpass. He had entertained the thought of stopping in at Karen's place before he decided that keeping his distance was in his best interest, he wasn't sure what he felt for Karen but he knew that he needed to stay away. Ian was right when he said that Karen didn't give a fuck about him. He had been relaxing, smoking a cigarette when his past John and two of his other friends stumbled through the underpass, drunk off their asses.

He should have listened to Jake, should have brought Israel or Immanuel with him

They didn't seem to care that it was only 1:30 in the afternoon.

"H'y there cutie, 'member me" the guy slurred, he wasn't close but Lip could smell the alcohol on him and his friends that didn't look much better. He was in for it "how 'bout you sh-show me an' my fri'nds a good time"

"Fuck off I'm off the clock" he had made to stand when one of the guys had shoved him back down and kicked him hard enough to knock the breath out of the younger man.

It hadn't taken long for them to go from taunting to beating, ever time Lip managed to get up he was knocked right back down.

A nasty kick to the ribs.

A punch to the jaw.

He barely managed to stumble to his feet when the back of a hand met his cheek and a kick to the back of his knee sent him back to the ground, he could feel something sluggishly sliding down the back of his throat and the tell tale taste of blood on his tongue. A kick to the back of the head sent his vision into chaos, black splotches appearing in his vision here and there every time he was struck.

Another kick to to the stomach

At this point they were a little to drunk and tired to be as forceful with the blows they delt but they were all still strong and damaging and Lip could feel the gravel bitting into his skin every time one of the assholes hit him. He lashed out as best he could in his dazed state and managed to catch someone in the knee and after a little cursing the person went back to kicking him much harder then before. Another kick to the head sent the blackspots in his vision spreading like mad sending his world into a darkness, midnight colored skies and oil colored grounds giving him the illusion of floating aimlessly.

A punch to the gut.

A kick to the shoulder.

He was grateful when he finally passed out.


The house was in its general state of chaos, Carl sat with Liam in the living room coloring on the wood coffee table with black sharpies they had found at the bottom of Ian's backpack pieces of paper no where in sight, V and Debbie where setting the table and Kev was out on a beer run. Ian was sitting on the washing machine with Mickey standing between his legs as the sorted out everyone's landry. Steve was staring into a pot on the stove, looking unsure if he had made the Mac&cheese correctly and Fiona was standing next to him making instant mash potatoes.

The only on missing was Lip and Fiona wasn't happy with her little brother

"Has anyone seen Lip he should have been hone by now"

"I saw him talking to Jacob Clark earlier" Debbie spoke up as she set out forks and knives.

"You mean the pimp that lives two blocks over, you know black, short hair, has a sleeve tattoo on his arm"

"Yup he didn't look happy, i think they were talking about what happened to Lip's face" She shrugged

"If he isn't back by 12 then were gonna go look for him, he knows he has to call if he's staying at someones place for dinner or if he's not coming home at all" she shook her head "I swear that kid is a genius but he cant remember the simplest freakin' things"

"I got Beer" Kev smiled as he got back with a full box of beer not noticing the tense atmosphere.

"Relax Fiona, Lip is a big boy im sure he can handle himself just fine, he's probably just running a little late is all" Steve said, his face falling when everyone stopped what they were doing, looking at him as if he was the most idiotic man to ever be born."What"

"The last time Lip was home late he ended up drunk off his ass, drugged, and nearly got sold on the black market because he accepted a drink from a girl at a North Side frat party" Ian stated from where he sat on the washing machine, Mickey's back to his chest, his head on Mickey's shoulder as he slouched.

"I had to save him from a serial killer once, psycho bitch was trying to get him in her car. He was so high he didn't even realize what the fuck he was doing, iggy had to pull of fuckin' gun on the bitch before me and him could carry the kid home"

"Ohh man, the shit he's on sounds good, think he'd share" He laughed at the light smack the the back of the head Fiona gave him.

"So is getting in trouble a constant thing for him or is it just like really really bad luck"

"A little bit of both when it comes to Lip"

"Alright lets just eat im sure he'll be here soon and well save him some food, problem solved" V said as she put down the last plate

Dinner was loud and messy and boisterous as always but something wasn't quiet right. Carl was eating and talking about a new gun he wanted but the light in his eyes that he always had when he talked about killing or maiming something wasn't there, the happy dancing light was dimmed. Fiona would glance at the door frequently and even Mickey wasn't as animated as he usually was and Ian could tell, leaving the read head slightly off kilter, Mickey was always bright in these kind of situations and the fact that he wasn't meant that it didn't settle well with him and that usually made Ian uncomfortable as well.

When dinner was over it was a little past 7 and everyone helped clean up before they all moved to the living room. No one was really talking anymore just sitting quietly, staring absently at the tv or twiddling their fingers. Liam stood at the coffee table coloring a lion from a childs coloring book and Debbie and Carl sat on the floor, messing around with the remote, to restless to actually find something to watch.

Fiona sat next to Steve with Mickey on the other side if the couch flicking his pocket knife open and closed. Veronica sat on the arm chair with Kev sitting on the arm both talking quietly about the bar and stan and basically this and that quietly and Ian stood by the window, looking out the blinds every once in a while, trying to catch a glimpse of his older brother coming home.

They sat there for hours. Eventually Fiona sent Carl and Debbie to bed and Liam had long since stopped coloring. He had rubbed his eyes and stood up with a picture in hand. He had waddled over to Mickey and shocked the older boy by climbing into his lap and laying his head on the boys chest. Ian smiled brightly at his shocked boyfriend. A lost look plastering the older boys face.

"What the fuck is this shit" He looked back and forth between everyone in the room "what the hell do i do now, I don't even like kids"

Ian laughed "just relax, he'll fall asleep soon and i'll take him upstairs, till then your a pillow"

"Oh so you think this is funny, yeah well fuck you" He said and took a swig of his beer and accepted the picture a half asleep Liam handed him.

He looked at the piece of paper and suppressed a smile before he handed the picture to Ian "Here fold this and put it in my jacket pocket will ya"

Ian took the picture and smiled a bright wide smiled, the Picture was of Ian and Mickey in stick figure form holding hands, Ian's hair was in bright red crayon and was standing up in scribbles that looked more like flames then hair and Mickey was missing an arm but it was cute and he was happy that Mickey was taking a liking to his family. He folded the paper and stuck it in Mickeys coat pocket. When Liam finally fell asleep Fiona was the one who took him upstairs. As time passed everyone felt more and more grime.

If Lip was late then things were serious especially if he didn't call and at least tell them he was okay

The tv chimed quietly, it was 12:30

Fiona stood up looking determined. She grabbed her jacket. "Im going to look for Lip, its not like him to be this late and no call, you guys can stay if you want but i need to go find him"

"Me and Mickey will go with, we'll take Spaulding Ave, maybe he went to see Karen" Ian spoke up, he and Mickey easily falling into step standing by the door.

"Kev and I will check the Alibi maybe someone there has seen Lip"

"I'll go with Fiona" Steve said simply

"We'll stay incase he gets back" everyone looked surprised to find Debbie and Carl sitting on the steps in their pajamas "what someone has to watch Liam if your all leaving, why not us"

"Alright let's go. I'll stop by Jacob's and see if maybe Lip is still with him"


They searched for over an hour. Fiona and Steve were the first ones back feeling disdisheared they weren't able to find Lip. Liam had woken up while they were gone and he sat sleepily in Steve's lap. Debbie curled up on the couch, snuggled into Fiona's side while Carl sat on the floor, leaning against Steve's right leg and Fiona's Left, head resting on Fiona's thigh.

Kev and Veronica where the next ones back with just as little luck as Fiona and Steve, no one had seen hide nor hair of Lip. All they could do was sit, wait, and hope that Ian and Mickey had more luck....well they could also drink, yeah drinking sounded good too.

Anyone who was old enough had a beer in hand, the night could still be considered young, they would need the extra boost that alcohol had to offer.

According to the tv it was 15 minutes till 2am.

Yeah the night was still young.


"LIP" Ian shouted as he and Mickey walked under the L train track "Phillip Gallagher where the hell are you"

"Where the fuck are you Gallagher, I swear i'll hunt down." Mickey shouted as he ran a hand through his hair, it was late and chilly and he was generally concerned. He knew that Ian and Lip were close, if Ian ever needed anything that then Lip was his go to person and Ian always gave it to Lip straight, he knew that Lip appreciated it when his brother didn't bullshit him.

Ian sighed "maybe....maybe we should head back, maybe one of the others already found him"

Mickey shook his head "where almost at whats her faces house, might as well see if he's there"

Ian sighed "I doubt it, he and Karen haven't talked in a while and Frank has been staying there, putting him and Lip together is like putting a lighter next to a leaking gas tank at a gas station"

Mickey huffed before he cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled "Phillip Fucking Gallagher where the fuck are you"

They waited a beat and Mickey went to yell again but Ian stopped him and made a classic listen gesture.

A low groan echoed softly.

"Lip!" Ian's yell was panicked, bordering hysterical

A round of a wet cough and a groan lead them 10 feet to their left where sure enough Lip was, he was laying on his side covered in blood and bruises. Cuts and blood smeared his face and his eye was swollen, lip split and bloody. A nasty gash on his forehead covered most of the left side of his face in blood, Lip was pale and covered in a sheen of sweat making him sickly and ghost like in the harsh dim lighting under the tracks.

Mickey kneeled behind the teen and as carefully as he could pulled him up and turned him so the he was no longer choking on his own blood instead, leaning with his back flush to Mickey's chest as the Raven haired teen supported his weight. Ian kneeled in front of his older brother a little bit panicked.

"Hey Lip can you hear me, Lip"

"I-ian" Blue Grey eyes finally focused on Ian and Lip groaned, giving a harsh wet cough leaving him spitting up a little blood with it

"Yeah big brother its me were gonna get you home okay" Ian tried to sound reassuring.

Lip couldn't hear him though, he was already pulled under the blackness by the concussion he had.


Ian could see the moment that he lost Lip, watched as the older teens blue grey eyes rolled into the back of his head and his eyes shut as he slumped to the right, he gave Mickey a look.

"I'll carry him, you think V will be able to fix all this" He gestured to where Lips shirt had rode up his right side, exposing Lip's severely bruised and cut up side and the right side of his abdomen, bits of glass and gravel still gracing the boys cuts.

"If its serious enough then we'll take him to the hospital but only if we need to...Lip hates hospitals" he half whispered the last part, more to himself then to Mickey.

Mickey only nodded and shifted so that he could get his arms under Lip's knee's, it was easy enough because it was obvious Lip had been skipping meals, he weighed as much as Ian did and given that Ian was a skinny twig and a year younger then Lip it was a tad bit concerning. Mickey was as gentle as he could be and even winced in sympathy when Lip gave a pain filled groan, deep and rumbling from the bottom of his chest, and then a hacking cough that sounded even more painful.

They started walking silently and as quickly as they could manage,they had to move fast but Mickey didn't want to cause the unconscious boy more pain, he like Lip, he had a lot of sass and was always good for advice and or a fight if it came down to it. It took them a little more then half an hour before their street came into view and Ian walked a few paces ahead so that he could open the front gate, he rushed up the steps and opened the front door as well as the mud room door looking a little panicked with Mickey hot on his tail

The others looked startled at there sudden entry and they were quick to move away from the couch so that Mickey could set Lip down. Veronica slipped into nurse mode, telling Debbie to get as many clean rages and towels as she could find and for Fiona to get the first aid kit and a bowl of water, sending Kev home to get the bag of supplies they kept at there place for things like this. She told Carl to get a pair of scissors and as soon as she had what she needed she got to work. She cut off Lip's shirt and cursed under her breath at all the bruising and cut. Fiona took over the job of cleaning up Lip's face while Veronica did her best to help her friend.

For the most part Lip just laid there but he hissed and groaned every once in a while when Veronica pressed a little to hard on a forming bruise or when Fiona dabbed at one of the deep cuts littering his face. It took a while but they were able to get it done and Lip finally looked more like himself. Most of his face was bruised and there were several nasty cuts that V was sure would leave scars, the worst of the cuts on his face being a deep jagged cut that went from the bottom of his temple to the top of his cheekbone and his right eye was swollen pretty badly, V suspected that something might have been fractured if not severely bruised.

When everything was done V and Kev went home and Fiona and Steve went upstairs to Fiona's room. Carl went up to the room they all shared but Debbie stubbornly stayed down stairs to watch over Lip over night. Ian decided to stay as well and where Ian was Micky was never far behind. Debbie took the recliner and Ian laid out blankets and pillows and made a spot on the floor for him and Mickey, he didn't think it was best to leave an injured Lip on the couch with only Debbie as his nurse

They all fell asleep quickly, easily, it was 4am after all