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Mickey didn't have the money for a new tattoo, but he was going to get one anyway. It was going to be a good one too, not like the prison tattoos his brother had carved onto his knuckles with a modified rig made out of a mechanical pencil, some paper clips, and who knew what else. Letting his brother at him with that thing had seemed like a good idea when he was a stupid fifteen year old, but this tattoo meant so much more than that.

It had been a while since he'd robbed anybody. Not that he'd gone clean, he was still a fucking pimp for fuck's sake, but he'd stopped taking so many stupid risks that could get him locked up. The last thing he needed was to get pinched shoplifting or mugging some rich guy and going to prison. A short stint in juvie wasn't an option anymore and he couldn't risk leaving Ian alone over something stupid like that. Besides, it would be just his luck that he'd end up sharing a cell with dear old dad.

Still, he really wanted the damn tattoo and between the kid and Ian's doctors appointments money was tight. He was glad Ian was back at the Kash and Grab instead of getting molested every night at the club, but he did miss the money Ian used to make.

Shoplifting was the least dangerous option, especially now that his brothers weren't around to back him up. Mickey was trying really hard not to dwell on that. It wasn't that he was close to his brothers—they weren't the fucking Gallaghers—but he'd grown up always knowing that he wasn't alone. It had always been the Milkoviches versus the world and now that he'd come out he hadn't heard a word from any of them. Silence was better than the alternative though. The last thing he needed was another beating.

So, Mickey decided to take up shoplifting again. Never at the Kash and Grab of course, but he made his rounds of the other stores and got food and diapers the old fashioned way—with threats and glares. Diapers were expensive as fuck so it only took him a couple of weeks before he'd saved enough money by not paying for them to get the tattoo.

He didn't tell Ian what he was doing, wanting it to be a surprise, and made an appointment for an afternoon when Ian would be tied up at the Kash and Grab. After their fight a few weeks ago about marriage, he figured that he owed Ian a gesture of some sort and this tattoo would say everything he couldn't put into words. And it would say it permanently which he figured would mollify Ian. Mickey was looking forward to seeing the look on Ian's face when he saw it.

"You know what you want?" Chris, the artist, asked when Mickey came in.

"Yeah." Mickey handed him the paper he'd printed out at the library. He was starting to like the library. A few months ago the librarian had helped him and Fiona figure out the health insurance website to get Ian his coverage and this time she'd helped him find tattoo pictures. She hadn't even flinched when he'd shown her the tats on his knuckles, which was more than he could say for most people.

The tattooing itself hurt like a bitch, but Mickey was used to pain and at least this time the rig didn't tear his skin to shreds.

"Any particular meaning behind this?" Chris asked. "Or are you just patriotic?"

Mickey snorted. That was the beauty of the design he'd chosen—it was easily mistaken for something else, but Ian would immediately recognize the truth of it. "It has a meaning that isn't any of your fucking business. This isn't Miami Ink and I don't need to share my life story with you."

"Whatever man," Chris said, pushing down a little harder than necessary on the next line. Maybe antagonizing the tattoo artist wasn't in his best interest.

Thankfully the guy didn't try to talk again and the tattoo was finished in blessed silence. Living in a house with his sister, his wife, her girlfriend, his boyfriend, and a baby meant there was never any quiet time. It was more than worth the money and pain for that alone.

As soon as he got home, Mickey took off his shirt and the plastic wrap bandage. The air would do the tattoo good and the last thing he needed was a shirt to rub up against the burning, itching skin. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he wanted Ian to see it first thing because that would be way too girly.

"You got a tattoo?" Mandy asked in surprise as she walked past him and into the kitchen. She came back a minute later with two beers and handed him one. She leaned in to look closer at his chest and then burst into laughter. "You're a fucking romantic. Who would've thought?"

"What the fuck are you on about?" Mickey asked defensively.

"Come on, Mick," Mandy said, rolling her eyes. She sat down on the opposite end of the couch and pointed at his chest. "'Freedom' over your heart? And that eagle is to match his right?"

Mickey shrugged. He wasn't going to deny it; the whole point of the tattoo was that he wasn't ever going to deny it again. He might not shout it from the rooftops but he would never deny what he and Ian had together. "Ian's always wanting big gestures and I figure this is better than getting fucking married."

"More permanent too," Mandy commented. "Speaking of, how's the divorce coming?"

"Even if Svetlana agrees to it we have to be separated for six months first," Mickey said. "And she won't move out which makes it fucking hard."

"You can just lie," Mandy suggested. "Give the court the Gallagher address."

"Maybe." Mickey finished the beer and patted his pockets looking for a cigarette. Talking about this shit always made him want to smoke, but he didn't have any on him. "We're still trying to come to an agreement so that nothing about our income or her legal status comes out in court and she's being a fucking bitch about money."

"Do you even want to be a pimp?" Mandy asked. "You're always bitching about it. Why not just give her the business and let her make her own money."

Mickey chewed on his lip. He hadn't considered that, but it made sense. She could deal with all the hassle and he could find something else to do. He'd have to find something first, though; there was no way they could get by on Ian's income alone. And fuck, it was weird that his life plans involved two people these days—three if you counted Yevgeny and he was starting to. He'd been married to Svetlana for almost a year now and he'd never really thought in terms of "we" with her, but he always did with Ian.

"I'll think about it," Mickey said.

"You mean you'll talk to Ian about it," Mandy said, smirking at him. "You are so fucking whipped."

"Shut the fuck up." Mickey threw a pillow at her, and not gently either.

Mandy caught the pillow and smiled at him. "I'm just teasing, Mick. I'm glad you finally got off your ass and figured things out with him. After all, if you can get a guy like Ian then there's still hope for me."

Mickey flipped her off, but returned her smile. He might not ever speak to his brothers again, but he had Mandy and if anything they were closer than they'd ever been before. It was still sort of weird talking to her about his relationship with Ian. He wasn't good at talking about emotional shit, but it seemed to make Mandy happy that he trusted her. With everything that she'd been through with Kenyatta, he'd tell her all about his fucking feelings if it made her smile.

"Hey." Ian came in weighed down with bags from the Kash and Grab. "I got some stuff to make dinner."

Mandy jumped up and grabbed the bags from him. "I'll do it. Mickey has something to show you."

"What?" Ian looked at him and his jaw dropped when he saw the tattoo. "You got a tattoo."

Mickey nodded. He stood up so that Ian could get a better look. "Permanent enough for you?"

A slow smile spread across Ian's face as he studied the tattoo. "It's over your heart."

Mickey punched his arm. "Fuck off. It's a chest tattoo. Kinda hard to avoid the heart."

"Uh huh," Ian agreed, not sounding at all convinced. "I like it."

"Good."

Ian traced his fingers around the edges of the tattoo just avoiding the red, inflamed area. His eyes were smoldering when they met Mickey's. "I like it a lot."

"Mandy!" Mickey yelled. "Hold dinner for half an hour. We've got something to do."

He grabbed Ian's arm and dragged him in the direction of their bedroom.

"Gross," Mandy yelled back. "I don't need to know when you're fucking."

"Sorry," Ian called before closing the bedroom door behind them.

Dinner was cold by the time they made it out of their room, but Mickey didn't care.


Mickey's new tattoo which is on the left side of his chest.