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The Third Wheel

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“I still don’t know why he has to come with us. I thought you were trying to get away from all the bullshit your family revel in?” Ian stated as he shoved the last of his clothes into his green duffel bag. They had been planning this for a week or so and never once had Mandy mentioned bringing her brother along, “And don’t you think he will become a little bit suspicious about your ‘boyfriend’ after a while?” He framed the word boyfriend with finger quotation marks

“Well if my ‘boyfriend’,” Mandy spouted, imitating Ian’s previous actions, “had been a bit fucking quieter, he would have been none the wiser to the plan and we could have slipped off into the sunset. For some reason, he wants to come and to be honest, he could come in handy. He can hotwire a car faster than anyone I know and you know that he gets five finger discounts at every store.” Ian quirked his eyebrow, unconvinced by her argument. Having to maintain the heterosexual front for the purposes of Mandy’s homophobic brother was going to be hard enough. Having to do that when he was inexplicably attracted to said person was going to be nigh on impossible. “Look, knowing Mickey, he’ll probably split on us somewhere before we reach Cali. It will be fine.”

He hauled the bag onto his shoulder and glanced around his room. It wasn’t that he had major issues with his family, he just saw an opportunity and was running with it. He was the stereotypical middle child, seen but never heard unless he had really fucked up. His parents weren’t there, raised by his not much older sister who had bigger fish to fry with his younger siblings. He wasn’t as clever as his older brother. The only thing that made him stand out was the fact that he was gay, but only a few were privy to that information. You don’t come out when you live in South Side Chicago. When Mandy had suggested that they leave Chi-Town for a while, maybe a while longer, it hadn’t taken much to be convinced by her. Gathering up the final pieces that he needed, he sighed before gently pushing Mandy out of the room.

“You can still back out?” She uttered, trying to make it sound convincing though desperately hoping he hadn’t changed his mind. She knew she would go without him, she would quite happily go alone, but it would be so much easier if he came along.

“What, and leave my girlfriend to fend for herself?”

“I’ll have Mickey.”

“We’re in this together, Mands.” He smiled before kissing the top of her head. A sense of calm filtered through her body. They left the Gallagher house and wandered over towards South Trumbull.

Mickey was waiting in the car, impatiently tapping his watch; the one he had lifted from some random guy the other night. To be honest, it was a bit bigger than he liked but it worked and it was free so he wasn’t about to complain. He held a cigarette between his fingers as he watched his sister and her boyfriend stroll to the car. As far as boyfriends went, Ian wasn’t so bad. After the whole debacle with Mandy had been sorted out, her claiming that it had all been a silly misunderstanding, he had still wanted to hate Ian. However, they had been together for a few years now. He never laid a hand on her and never made her cry as far as Mickey was aware. He would have been perfect if it were not for the lingering doubt that maybe he wasn’t her type. Or rather, she wasn’t his type. It wasn’t like Mickey had anything to go off but when you spend your life subtly making sure that someone is gay before you approach them for a hook up, Ian was definitely someone that he would maybe possibly approach for a hook up. He watched as Ian opened the door for Mandy and she slipped into the passenger seat next to him before proceeding to take the seat behind her.

“Ever the gentleman, Gallagher.” Mickey snarked from the driver’s seat, carding his hand through his jet black hair, “You ready to get this show on the road?” Both his passengers nodded and he brought the car to life. Within a few seconds, they were leaving behind the Milkovich house of horrors and heading out of Chicago.

 

They had been driving for about three hours when Mickey realised he needed a break and a piss. Beside him, his sister had fallen asleep as she was known to do when in a car. Something about the motion of it all sent her into a deep slumber, which she accompanied with an array of snores and grumbles. Ian was in the back flicking through a magazine. Conversation between the two had always been stifled. When Mandy was awake it was different, but now in the small confines of the station wagon, things were a little awkward. He’d had to stop himself from staring at the ginger in the back a few times. Lord knows that had the potential to get him into a lot of trouble. He knew that he had included himself in the plans to leave Chicago to escape their father, but knowing Ian was in this as well had definitely sweetened the deal. He wearily ran his hand over his face. Fuck, this could be a disaster. Mickey then tapped Mandy on the shoulder in an attempt to wake her up.

“Ay, douchebags, I need to piss. We’ll stop at the next gas station. You two go grab some supplies.” Ian looked up from his magazine and nodded.

“Assface, where we sleeping tonight?” Mandy questioned, pissed off that he had woken her up even though they weren’t yet at their destination, “I ain’t sleeping in this heap of shit. My neck’s killing me already.” Mickey rolled his eyes but internally agreed with her. There was no way the car would comfortably sleep three of them. Maybe if money ever got tight and they couldn’t afford a motel for the night it would suffice, but whilst they had cash in their pockets they would be using it to make sure they didn’t need a chiropractor before they all turned 20.

“Look, let me just empty my tank, fill this tank and then we can come up with a plan on where we can sleep tonight.” Mickey stated as he pulled into the gas station. He let the other two go grab the supplies as he filled up the tank of the car. Paying scant regard to the warning signs, he lit another cigarette, his 15th of the road trip so far. As he was finishing off, Ian wandered up behind him and lifted the smoke from his mouth,

“You shouldn’t do that. Blow yourself up, that’s fine, but I actually quite like my life.” Ian stubbed out the end carefully so as to not waste it before pocketing it in his jacket. The way Ian was looking at him sent an involuntary shudder through Mickey’s body, which he covered by shaking off the gas pump and placing it back in its holder.

“Be right back. Don’t fucking leave without me.”

As he slammed the bathroom door behind him, he let out a pained sigh. Fuck, this was a bad idea. A few moments alone with Ian and he was an absolute wreck. He was desperately trying to ignore the effect that it had had on his dick. Mickey locked the door and went to pee, which was easier said than done when his dick was wanting to be elsewhere. As he washed his hands, he stared at himself in the grotty looking mirror and despaired at the reflection in front of him. Pull yourself together, Milkovich. He returned to the car and noticed that the passengers had switched. Mandy was already curled up in the back, her hand wedged inside a bag of chips; Ian was sitting shotgun. Mickey grimaced at the turn of events. This was absolutely not the scenario he wanted to find himself in.


A few hours later Mickey was pulling into the parking lot of a small motel. It didn’t look as seedy as the three they had passed previously, though appearances could be deceiving. He told Ian to sit tight while he checked that they had two rooms free.

“Two?” Ian questioned, quirking his brow, “Surely we should be saving money?”

“I ain’t sharing a room with you and my nympho sister. We’re getting two and preferably as far apart as possible.” It struck him as he said it that he’d never actually heard the two of them have sex. Sure Ian would sleep over every now and then, and Mandy would go to the Gallagher household, but he’d never heard them fucking. He shook his head before thanking the Gods for that. The last thing he wanted to hear was the red head moaning in pleasure. Except, that wasn’t quite true. Straightening up, he darted to the reception before those thoughts manifested.               

Once he was out of earshot, Ian woke Mandy. She grumbled at the intrusion on her sleep before realising the chips had fallen off her lap and were now scattered haphazardly on to the floor. She grumbled again at the mess.

“So I don’t think we need to worry about your brother figuring out you’re my beard. Boy is woefully ignorant.”

“Told ya. Fuck me, this car is horrible. Seriously, Mickey needs to hook us up with something decent.” She moaned, scrunching up her face as she slowly sat up on the back seat. She tried to stretch but her hands quickly hit the roof.

“Incognito Mandy, don’t want to alert suspicions. It’s a good choice to be honest. Blends in perfectly.” He could tell by her face that she wasn’t convinced in the slightest. She pushed the door open and stood, stretching upwards with more success, her stomach becoming exposed to the elements. Ian climbed out as well before wrapping his arms around her, “Just maintaining the tangled web we have weaved. Just saying though, sex is off the table.”

“What if I use a strap on?” Mandy questioned, her eyes lighting up, suddenly seeing a solution to their problem. Ian was less convinced.

“How is that fun for me? I mean for one,” He pointed to her boobs that were struggling to stay contained under her shirt, “and two, I do the fucking. Mandy, if I were wired that way, you would be the first person I’d call, you know that.”

“Your loss, Ian, your loss.” They were lost in their conversation, not noticing Mickey had strolled back to them carrying one set of keys and a pissed off expression.

“So, they had one fucking room left. I did consider driving a bit further but m’fucking tired. So you two enjoy the room, I’ll sleep in the car.” He declared, holding the keys up in front of Ian’s face. When he didn’t take them right away, Mickey jangled them obnoxiously in front of him. Ian batted them away, “I ain’t sharing.”

“Just come look at the room. The bed might be bigger than you expect. There could be a couch. You don’t know. You can’t sleep in the car, Mick.” The name jarred against him. It was somehow too familiar. Reluctantly, he followed the other two towards the motel rooms, quietly hoping that he wouldn’t have to sleep in the car.

Ian and Mandy marvelled at the swimming pool in the courtyard, to which Mickey rolled his eyes to the heavens before making a snarky comment about them and pool sex. It was Ian’s turn to roll his eyes, knowing that Mickey wouldn’t be able to see him as he reluctantly trudged behind them. As they ascended the stairs, Mickey was struck by how quiet it was. Chicago had always been a cacophony of various sounds of trouble; barking dogs, raging neighbours, gun shots. Admittedly the latter was usually due to some member of his family. This quietness was slightly unnerving though. To quell any worries, it was soon broken by Mandy’s dulcet tones.

“No fucking way! Fuck Mickey, you came up good with this one.” The room was big, bigger than any of them could have anticipated. There were two double beds in the room, a bathroom to the rear. There was even a microwave on the cabinet next to the TV. Sure the TV looked like it had been bought in the 50s, but for the length of time they would be here, it would do. Mandy dived on to the bed before jumping up and down gleefully. She fell down with a thump before darting to the bathroom, “It has a fucking tub as well! I call dibs on the bath tonight.”

“So I guess you’ll be sleeping here tonight,” Ian remarked with a grin. Mickey could have sworn there was something behind the way he was staring at him. He really needed to get his head on straight. Constantly inventing scenarios where every word Ian spoke was some hidden come on was not good for anyone or anything, “Help me grab the bags.”


The night was still young once they had eaten but it was clear that Mandy was ready to just sleep. She had ordered them to go out and get to know each other better, given that they would be spending a lot of time together now. Ian was initially reluctant, not really savouring the prospect of spending time with Mickey alone. He knew that his attraction to Mickey was a dead end. However, any slight inclination that he got that Ian was even remotely interested, and Ian could kiss his dick goodbye, quite possibly his life as well. Mandy had tried to reassure him that Mickey wasn’t nearly as bad as her dad and because he knew Ian, and who he was to Mandy, he wouldn’t come to any kind of gay conclusion. Finally, after Mandy had practically thrown them both out of the room so she could have some Mandy time, the two men stood outside the door and stared at each other. Without really saying anything, they began to amble to the bar they had seen a short way from the motel.

“You are out of your goddamn mind. Have you seen that fucking pony tail? S’a powerful ponytail man, that’s bullshit. Seagal could totally kick Van Damme’s ass.”

“Oh oh, unless it’s Double Impact Van Damme, cos that’s some Van double Damme!” Ian retorted, accompanying his last words with some body movement that made Mickey’s dick twitch. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Between the movement and Ian’s laugh, he knew he would have to sort himself out before he shared the room with Ian and his sister later on.

“Fuck Van Damme.” He said as he took a swig of his beer. He failed to notice the full body examination Ian was giving him. Ian was internally chastising himself. It was only day one and he was seriously struggling to keep his body and feelings in check. There was no way he could let Mickey know that he was into guys, much less that he was into him. However, just watching the bottle sit on Mickey’s lips as he drank had Ian feeling some ridiculous pang of jealousy that it wasn’t him in that position. Their laughter subsided a little and Ian took it as an opportunity to order another round.
               

They had fallen into conversation surprisingly easy, comparing war stories from their childhoods, doing a tally of whose parents were the more fucked up. Mickey’s had won thanks to the joys that Terry brought into his life. Ian was absentmindedly pulling at the label on his beer bottle, listening to Mickey talk but getting distracted on the thoughts of what they were doing out here.

“You know apparently that’s a sign of sexual frustration.” Mickey quipped as he took another swig from his glass, his eyes focussing on Ian, watching as his face blanched, “What, my sister not doing it for you?”

“I haven’t fucked your sister!” Ian blurted out, not realising his mistake until it was too late. He tried desperately to back track, “I mean, for a while. She’s on the rag.”

“Cut the bullshit, Gallagher.” Ian was panic stricken. Did Mickey know? How could he? He wanted to run out of the bar as fast as his legs could carry him. ROTC had seen him build up some stamina, he could get quite far. His legs were longer than Mickey’s too, “What’s going on with you and my sister?”

“I…I don’t know what you mean?” Mickey stared at him, his eyebrows raised to the point that they were almost part of his hairline. Christ, did he have to look so goddamn hot right now?, Ian lamented knowing now wasn’t the time to be getting all hot and bothered about this particular Milkovich sibling.

“Gallagher, come on. What is it? You can talk to me. You got some issues downstairs? Your Johnson not working properly?”

“Fuck you, my dick works just fine.” Ian snapped, again not letting his brain compute what Mickey was saying.

“Well, what the fuck is wrong with my sister then that you can’t shove it in her?” Ian got up and pushed back on the chair, causing it to fall to the floor. He stormed off to the men’s room and fumed the entire way. Mickey just laughed at how easy it was to wind him up. However, those doubts that he’d had about Ian previously, were slowly beginning to manifest.
               
Ian was pacing the bathroom floor, walking a trench down the centre of the room. He didn’t know how to answer Mickey with anything but the truth, but the truth would likely get him killed. He knew that the Milkovich’s weren’t the most hospitable crowd. Mandy has seemingly managed to escape the indoctrination from their father but she had already warned Ian about her brother’s. He failed to notice when the door opened until he was face to face with one such brother.

“What’s your problem?” Mickey questioned, noticing the fear and frustration lining Ian’s face.

“You! You’re my problem.” Ian spat back, a little too forcefully as Mickey wiped his face with the back of his hand. “You think that I have a problem because I HAVEN’T fucked your sister.” Fuck, Gallagher, Ian chastised himself. “In a while. I haven’t fucked your sister, in a while. I’m sorry if I actually care enough to not just ‘shove it in her’.”

“Two years, not heard you once.” Mickey stated, staring Ian straight in his eyes. He knew it was risky, staring intently at the man who was getting increasingly sexier by the moment. Pissed off Gallagher was a wonder to behold.

“Fucking perve. I’m quiet.”

“My sister isn’t. She’s like a fucking banshee. So, you’re not making her come? She would have got rid of you by now. Why is she keeping you close when you are obviously not a couple?” Ian was struggling for words. He felt like he was 5 years old, in the deep end of the pool, unable to swim and someone had just taken a pin to his armbands. He was desperately trying to keep his head above water. He could feel himself being walked backwards toward the wall. The shorter guy in front of him was no longer looking up at him but rather looking down. He was staring at his belt, fuck he was staring at his dick.

“Because you want to shove it in me, eh Gallagher?” Mickey mumbled, his voice heavy but tinged with nerves. Ian let a moan escape as his back finally hit the wall. If he did nothing, he was going to get a knee to the groin. If he pushed back, he would probably end up brushing up against Mickey and that would only make things worse. He closed his eyes and waited for his fate. A moment later, he opened his left eyelid. Standing in front of him, he watched as Mickey held his bottom lip between his teeth, his eyes flicking over his face before lingering on his mouth. The door opened once more and an older guy wandered in. He studied the scene for a moment before making his way to the urinal. Mickey glanced back at him before taking it as a cue to leave. Ian exhaled heavily as he watched the retreating Milkovich leave the bathroom. He adjusted himself and followed a few moments later. When he walked back into the bar, he couldn’t see Mickey anywhere.

Chapter Text

Mandy slipped further down into the hot water. With the boys out at the bar, it was the first opportunity she’d had in a while to just take time for herself. She knew it wouldn’t be too long until this time was non-existent. The house they had left was never quiet, either one of her brothers causing chaos or her dad making his presence uncomfortably known. The time he was in their lives was heavily outweighed by the amount of time he was locked up. However, he certainly made up for it when he was around. She’d grabbed a gatorade from the gas station and was proceeding to drink it down at a considerable pace. It wasn’t the alcohol she would have preferred but now was not the time to be indulging. Mandy couldn’t believe that they had managed to get this far without one of them bailing, being arrested or killing each other. Admittedly, it had only been a day but she had low expectations for her motley crew. Taking another large swig from the bottle, she ruminated on the thought of having her gay boyfriend sharing the same space as her homophobic brother. However, as long as Ian could keep up the act, there would be no problems. She lit her cigarette, having managed to cut down to just 3 a day, and went over the plan in her head. The sound of the door opening resonated in the smallish space and instinctively Mandy grabbed her baton that was waiting on the edge of the tub, ever on guard.

“Eh, bitch tits, where you at?” Mickey yelled unceremoniously from the main room. She reluctantly climbed out of the tub and wrapped a towel around her body, rolling her eyes so much she nearly made herself dizzy. Clutching her baton against her chest, she wandered into the main room.

“What the fuck have you done with Ian?” She questioned, noticing that he had returned alone. A slight sense of trepidation crept through her body until she noticed the tall, gangly ginger stroll in behind him. Her shoulders dropped in relief upon seeing him and a smile crossed her face. She walked over to Ian and kissed him on the lips. She wouldn’t have known it but it was the best thing she could have done in light of the earlier events. He reluctantly placed his hand on her ass, assuming the role of devoted boyfriend. Mickey simply rolled his eyes and walked into the bathroom.

As he closed the door, the tub slowly draining of the water his sister had been bathing in, he wearily ran his hand over his head. Mickey couldn’t put his finger on what it was about Gallagher that was making him act so impulsively. Fuck, he knew he was an attractive guy, but he had seen many attractive guys and none had made him react in such a way. React in such a truthful way. He was searching for answers, he’d wanted Ian to say yes to his question, he’d wanted to feel Ian shove his dick inside him. Everything that was absolutely never going to happen. Mickey wondered if he was just projecting. Wanting so badly for Ian to be gay, much like he was, that he was seeing signs that just weren’t there. Though there was no denying the fact that Ian was fucking rock hard in the bathroom and Mickey was mere seconds from trying to relieve the tension in his straining jeans. He shook his head, splashed his face with cold water before joining Mandy and Ian once more. Coming out of the bathroom, he was greeted with the pair lying on one of the beds, closer than he had ever seen them before. Their faces looked genuine but Mickey could see something missing in the way Ian looked at his sister. He decided to dismiss the thought for the night and proceeded to bounce onto his bed.

“Night fuckheads.” He uttered, not bothering to crawl under the duvet before letting sleep take over his body.

 

Ian was woken by a sharp prod to his ribs. He tried to groan out a protest but there was a hand covering his mouth. He opened his eyes and caught sight of Mandy straddling him. Leaning down towards his ear, her warm breath fanned across his skin as she whispered,

“Time to fake being straight, boyo. Make it convincing.” She had strategically placed the sheets around their bodies, hiding the fact that both of them still had their underwear on. She may have been topless but the thong was staying on. It was dark enough in the room that a little movement and a lot of noise would be enough to mask the non-sex. Especially as Mickey was probably fast asleep, but on the off chance that he did wake up.

“Mandy, Mickey is right there.” Ian hissed out, uncomfortable with her plan even though he knew it would get her brother off his back for a while. The timing would be a little too convenient but he needed him to think he was straight, giving it to his sister good and proper, even if she was currently ready to ride him like she was in a rodeo contest. “Babe,” He uttered, the word sounding foreign on his tongue, “We’ll send Mickey out for breakfast in the morning. I’ll make it up to you then.” They both noticed when Mickey turned over in a huff, his back creating a barrier. Mandy readjusted herself, pushing her whole body against Ian’s, her nearly naked, light frame feeling peculiar against his skin.

“You better.” She said before falling asleep on him. He wrapped an arm around her, moving her slightly so she was beside him as opposed to directly on him.

 

The morning dawned with a small beam of light filtering under the curtains. Mickey woke first to see Mandy and Ian tangled up together, his arm still holding her close. Mickey couldn’t help but notice the rather impressive morning wood that Ian was sporting. Thoughts of him being railed by that permeated his brain and made their way to his dick. He darted to the bathroom and hopped in the shower, hoping the cold water would lessen the effect that Ian was having on him. Day two and he was falling apart. Walking out, he dressed quickly before hitting Mandy’s foot to wake her up.

“I’m going to the 7/11 to grab some breakfast. Any special requests? Or are you gonna have a morning helping of dick?” He goaded. Ian’s eye flew open, suddenly very aware of his predicament and placed a pillow over himself, “Relax, I’ll let her sort you out.” The door closed behind Mickey and Mandy waited for a moment.

“Ew dude, sort yourself out.” She said as she threw a pillow at him, “I’m going for a shower.” Ian flopped back on the bed, willing his erection to subside. He exhaled heavily as he stared at the ceiling, noting how the light shade was dusty as fuck. Even thinking mundane thoughts like that couldn’t erase the thoughts of the dream he had just woken from. The one where he had Mickey tied to the bed as he went to town on his ass, railing him until they both came hard and heavy. “Fuck it,” he uttered as he slipped his hand into his boxers, bringing himself to a quick but ultimately disappointing climax. Thoughts of Mickey weren’t enough; he needed to know how he felt, how he sounded, how he tasted as he came down Ian’s throat. This road trip had just gone from awkward to fucking suffocating.

 

After a somewhat awkward breakfast, eating Pop-Tarts and drinking orange juice, the three of them headed to the car and decided to drive further west. Mandy had chosen to sit in the back seat again, though she was more awake on this occasion. She would glance at Ian, who was driving now, and notice that he was throwing subtle looks at her brother. What unnerved her though was when he was concentrating on the road, Mickey was doing the exact same thing. Stolen glances that were lined with something more than just being friendly. She could reason in her head, just about, if Ian had a thing for her brother. He could have set the bar a lot fucking higher for himself, but it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. As far as she was aware though, Mickey was straight and not even a little straight. He was one of those 100%, dyed in the wool, straight guys. She’d heard him banging girls in the room next to hers. Though curiously only when their dad was around. Anyway, he beat up guys like Ian, would beat up Ian if he knew. Unless…

“Oh shit!” Mandy exclaimed, not realising she had said it out loud and with gusto. She clapped her hand over her mouth trying to conceal the smirk on her face. To paraphrase Shakespeare, Mickey doth protest too much, she thought, being taken back to the boring lit lesson where they attempted to study Hamlet.

“Christ Mandy, you trying to give us a goddamn heart attack. What’s wrong?” Mickey yelped, clutching at his chest like he was about to keel over,

“Sorry, nothing. Doesn’t matter.” Ian glanced back at her through the rear view mirror, quirking his brow trying to understand the cause of her outburst, “Watch the road.” She uttered, before slumping down in her seat, quietly laughing to herself.

It suddenly made sense. In a home where she knew their dad would rather have a dead son than a gay son, fucking girls in front of his face was an excellent cover but would explain why he was practically celibate whilst Terry was in the slammer. The more she thought about it, the more she began to feel for Mickey. Sure, she got shit from Terry, she had become a passive participant on those nights when he was wasted and she was looking a little too much like their mom. But her brother got it worse, always. Maybe their dad could smell the betrayal, forcing it down inside Mickey through his fists. She wondered what the most recent attack had been about. Coming home one day after school, Mickey absolutely wasted in his room, his face covered in bruises. She hadn’t seen him in a week; it had been a week and three days since their Dad had been released. She’d gone to ask him what the deal was and he’d merely flipped her off and slammed his door. Mandy glanced at her brother as he stared out into the distance. The faintest trace of a bruise still lingered around his right eye. For all the shit he gave her in the past, him coming along with them on what was seemingly a whim, suddenly made a lot more sense.

 

Ian pulled into a space in the parking lot. It was conveniently near the exit at the rear of the store. They knew the roles that they had to play. Mickey was to go in, creating a diversion. Mandy would empty the cash register of its contents, hoping that it hadn’t recently been changed, and Ian would be the knight in shining armour. Mandy lingered at the magazine rack whilst Ian and Mickey canvassed the store for the most opportune moment and location. Catching his sister’s eye, Mickey suddenly started convulsing, falling to the ground as though he was suffering from an epileptic fit. Ian rushed to his side, cradled his head between his hands and asked for people to stand back. He explained to the growing crowd that this was common, completely throwing himself into the role of care giver. Mickey slowly regained control of his body, with Ian putting him in the recovery position. He reassured the store owner that they didn’t need an ambulance. Mickey was aware that he had been on the ground longer than he had initially intended. He moved to stand up, Ian helping him on to his feet, further reassuring the crowd. They wandered outside slowly, headed for the car with Mandy impatiently waiting in the driver’s seat.

“For fuck’s sake, you took your fucking time.” She whined as she put the car into drive. As they left the lot, they could see the owner standing at the door, almost squinting to read the licence plate on the receding car. It didn’t matter though, they would be ditching it soon enough.

“How much?” Mickey questioned, glancing back at Ian who was counting the haul.

“$678. Think we hit it just at the right time.” Working in the Kash & Grab had taught him to keep the register as low as possible for exactly this reason, “Let’s ditch the car, find somewhere to sleep and hide out for a while.”

“Oh, and I got this too.” Mandy smirked, holding up the bottle of Jack. Mickey leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, much to her surprise. It beat a titty twister any day of the week, but it was still a little strange.

 

Their latest motel room wasn’t as fancy as the previous one, nor did it have two beds. Mickey conceded to sleeping in the chair by the door. Ian suggested they just get a second room but Mickey was less concerned about sharing the room with them this time. Mandy had been watching their interactions throughout the day. They were clearly getting on, having shared most of the bottle of Jack between them, which was a relief but she couldn’t keep the voice in the back of her head silent. Did either of them know about the other? She pondered. Making her excuses, Mandy left the room, feigning the need to buy some tampons, an item she knew neither of them would willingly want to pick up on her behalf. Equally, if she was buying tampons, she could sell the lie a little longer.

“So where did you learn that trick?” Ian questioned, remarking on Mickey’s acting skills in the store.

“Juvie. Used to use it to freak my cellmate out. Comes in handy, as you saw.” Ian nodded approvingly. He threw a can of beer in Mickey’s direction before heading to the bathroom, “Look, I was an asshole last night. Clearly your dick does work. And you’re not jerking Mandy around so that should be enough.” Ian huffed out a laugh. He scratched the back of his neck as the nerves coursed their way through his body. Having Mickey talk about his dick was the worst possible scenario he could find himself in and he was thankful he was already on route to take a leak, “Except you let her go out on her own tonight.”

“What?” Ian questioned, turning back to face the room. Mickey was playing with his butterfly knife, flipping it back and forth in his hand. The motion of the blades was both captivating and slightly nauseating. He closed the knife and stabbed it into the wooden top of the bedside cabinet.

“She’s your woman, but you let her go out on her own, strange town. Now, I know my sister can look after herself but…”

“She’s gone to get tampons.” Ian snapped back, before he felt the box hit his head. Mickey had launched an unopened packet in his direction and it had clipped his red mop perfectly.

“I’m no expert but those are what she’s after, right?” Mickey said as he stood from the chair and stalked his way towards Ian. Pushing his back against the wall, Ian looked down as he approached, completely lost at to what to say next, “She picked these up yesterday when you stopped at the gas station. Now either Mandy is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s or your little web of lies is unravelling. A more caring boyfriend would have gone with her. Made sure she was safe. Where’s she gone, Gallagher?” He could feel Mickey’s breath against his skin and Christ, it was making an impression on him.

“You have met your sister, right? She can hold her own.” The heat was radiating off Mickey’s body, inching closer and closer. Surely he is doing this on purpose now, Ian thought. His next move was either going to be a revelation or a death sentence. “Second time you’ve had me in this position, Mick.” He uttered, knowing that was he was saying was so fucking risky but he was tired ofbeating around the bush. The last 48 hours had seen his attraction to the other Milkovich increase to a ridiculous level. To the point where he had dreamt of him the previous night, where he had been disappointed by the interruption caused by the wrong Milkovich the previous night. After staring him down for what felt like an eternity, his eyes flew wide open at the sensation of Mickey’s hand stroking his crotch. He moaned at the sensation allowing the tension in his body to subside. Ian reached out his hand to touch Mickey’s face but stopped as he saw Mandy walk past the window. Turning his hand, he pushed Mickey away forcefully and turned into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. Mickey stared at the divide between them in utter bewilderment until he heard his sister coughing behind him.

“What you doing?” She queried, uncertain as to why he was staring at a closed door. He sighed before turning to look at her, “I got you some more OJ, another bottle of Jack, some smokes and BBQ pringles. Where’s Ian?”

“Bathroom.” He replied, his tone curt and his mood having soured. He had managed to go through 19 years of his life successfully hiding who he feared to be and two days around Gallagher, he was letting things slip, “I’m going out. I’ll be back before we head off tomorrow.” Mickey grabbed his jacket and walked out of the room, leaving his sister in stunned silence and Ian doing whatever in the bathroom.

 

Wandering down the street, he had no destination in mind. They’d managed to knock back most of the bottle of Jack between them earlier but it had only given him a slight buzz. He spotted a bar a little way up and reasoned it would be a good place to kill a few hours. After that, he would slip back into the motel room, Ian and Mandy would be in bed and they could return to the normal schedule tomorrow. They had decided to head towards Los Angeles. Mickey knew of a guy from Juvie who had moved there and who had a few connections. They would stay there for a while, but right at this minute, Mickey’s plan was to get a new ID and head south. The irony of so many wanting to come into the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave and he wanted to get out of it as soon as possible.

The bar was typical, middle of nowhere standard fare. Mother’s Ruin was emblazoned in bold letters above the entrance and as a couple of guys left the place, Mickey’s ears was assaulted with the ear splitting volume of rock music. It was fucking perfect. He strolled in and ordered a beer from the bar, handing over a bill before drinking it back easily. There was a band playing on the tiny stage in the back corner of the room. They weren’t brilliant, there would be no awards in their future, but it was loud and that made it good in his book. He scanned the room to assess the clientele. If this was in Chicago, it would be rammed to the hilt but, as it was, there were very few people in. A couple of guys playing pool in the corner, some not too far from the door talking animatedly. It was a welcome relief from the tension in the motel room. His thoughts were taken back to the alien looking ginger that was sharing his space. Twice now he had been explicitly aware that he was having some effect on him. However, despite his suspicions, there was no way that Mandy could be so oblivious to the fact that her boyfriend was gay. Except, maybe she wasn’t.

“What the fuck is your problem?” The voice broke through the noise that surrounded him like a cosy aural blanket. He looked to his left to be confronted by an angry ginger,

“You’re gay.” Mickey shouted, hoping that Ian wouldn’t ask him to repeat himself. He was acutely aware that they were not in Chicago anymore and this wasn’t the most liberal part of the country.

“Fuck you.” Ian spat before storming out of the bar. Mickey downed the rest of his beer before following after Ian until they were both standing outside in the balmy summer night’s air. Ian began pacing once more, seemingly trying to figure out his next move. He looked up to the sky, rubbing his hand over his face before letting it sit in his hair. Mickey was staring at him in confusion. So far he had neither confirmation nor denial. He was hoping for the former.

“Look, I don’t give a shit who you bang.” Mickey stated, trying to break the tension. His words made Ian stop dead in his tracks. He turned to face Mickey before breaking out into hysterical laughter,
“What the fuck, Gallagher?”

“You’re so full of shit. No matter what I say, you’ll use it against me. For your information, I am fucking…I mean I’m not…” Christ, he couldn’t even lie around Mickey. So in the absence of saying anything at all, he stormed off down the road and back towards the motel. Rolling his eyes, Mickey jogged after him.

The route he was taking wasn’t the most direct but Mickey guessed he was walking off any anger he had before going back to Mandy. They’d ended up in a service alley.

“Gallagher, will you just fucking stop for a goddamn second?” Mickey hollered, before placing his hand on his shoulder and spinning him around. The determination on Ian’s face was slightly overwhelming as he walked Mickey back towards the wall, caging his body in with both of his arms and staring him down.

“What do you want to hear, Mickey? You want to hear that I am gay? Because I am. You want to hear that I have never fucked your sister? Because that’s true as well. But she knows and unlike you she doesn’t fucking care. So yeah, you can hit me now. Get any bullshit problem you have against me out of your system.” He took a step back, spreading his arms in invitation for the impending fist against his face. Mickey reached out and grabbed the waistband of his jeans.

“Are you always this fucking dramatic?” He commented before pulling Ian closer and changing their position. He didn’t know where this confidence had come from, this blatant disregard for their surroundings, but he was going with it. He quickly undid the belt and unzipped Ian’s jeans. Sliding his hand inside, he slowly stroked Ian’s hardening dick. Fuck, it had been a while since he’d been able to do this. His last couple of times were nothing more than a hasty fuck in some seedy back alley or men’s bathroom in Boystown, quick and to the point, no time or desire for any kind of preamble.

Ian moaned against his ear, the vibration driving him insane with lust. His mouth fell against Mickey’s neck and he slowly began to kiss and suck the soft skin below his jawline, eliciting hungry whimpers from him. Ian’s hands slipped over his ass and gripped tightly. Mickey wanted more, craved more. He wanted those hands against his skin. He needed to feel his fingers penetrate him, opening him up, getting him ready. Fuck, just the thought of having Ian inside him was causing his dick to press uncomfortably against his fastened jeans. It didn’t take long before Ian could feel his orgasm build and he came hard against Mickey’s hand. He rested his forehead against Mickey’s while he tried to recover.

“Holy fuck.”

Chapter Text

They entered the motel room to the television playing to a sleeping Mandy. She was cuddled at the top of the bed, her small frame taking up a miniscule amount of space. The walk back to the room had been slightly awkward. Neither man had mentioned what had happened, though Ian could sense that there was no remorse as far as Mickey was concerned. He hadn’t stood around waiting for any kind of reciprocation, but neither was he wanting to get as far away from Ian as humanly possible. A million questions flooded Ian’s brain, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Was it possible that Mickey had been hiding all this time? He walked over to the bathroom, leaving Mickey with his sleeping sister. Mickey perched down on the end of the bed as Ian closed the door.

Once in the bathroom, he slipped off his jeans and his stained boxers, regretting that he had not picked up a clean pair prior to walking into the room. He popped his head around the door to ask Mickey to throw him a pair from his duffel bag. He wasn’t expecting to come face to face with the guy, his face a curious mixture of lust and indecision. As Mickey walked him back into the bathroom, the back of Ian’s legs came into contact with the tub and he fell backwards barely able to brace himself on the wall. Grabbing his arm, Mickey pulled him up and muttered a hasty apology. There was a deep sense of hesitation even though his actions seemed deliberate, almost forcing the courage to make his next move. After a few more moments of contemplation, Mickey unzipped his own jeans and let them pool on the floor. His dick was hard, the tip wet from arousal. Without thinking, Ian knelt down in front of him and took him into his mouth. Mickey moaned loudly, louder than he probably should have. Tearing himself away from his cock, Ian stood to face Mickey.

“You need to shut the fuck up. I don’t think Mandy wants to hear her goddamn brother moaning like he’s got bills to pay.” The mention of his sister had Mickey suddenly jerking back to reality. He bent down, nearly cracking his head against Ian’s and yanked his jeans up.

“Fuck, I can’t do this.” He said as he wandered back out of the small bathroom, leaving Ian naked from the waist down and thoroughly confused.

Neither of the two boys slept well that night. Ian lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling. The fan rotated, providing absolutely nothing in the way of air conditioning. The switch hung loosely, gently swaying under the motion. He could tell there had been a bad paint job at one stage as one area of the ceiling was a decidedly lighter shade of white than the rest. Jesus, he was beginning to annoy himself. He glanced over at Mickey who was folded in a foetal position on the small chair. There was no way in hell he was comfortable and they would hear about it all tomorrow. A light from outside filtered into the room, highlighting his face, revealing that he was wide awake and staring at Ian. He quickly averted his gaze before uncurling himself from the chair, grabbing his smokes and exiting the room. Ian, briefly checking that Mandy was still asleep, followed him soon after.

Mickey was leaning against the fence next to a small play area. There was a dilapidated swing, a slide which looked like it had last been functional in the 1970s and a gap where something else had been but which had been forcibly removed. Quite likely to be used as some sort of battering ram. Mickey flicked the cigarette, depositing the ash on the ground before staring at the sky. It was astonishing how many stars were visible when you were in the middle of nowhere. He wished he could be on some distant star or planet as opposed to standing here with the head fuck that was Ian Gallagher.

“You got another?” He questioned, motioning to bum a cigarette off Mickey. He handed one over along with his trusty Zippo. Ian inhaled deeply, savouring the feeling of the toxic smoke infiltrating his lungs. They fell into a somewhat comfortable silence. Ian could tell that Mickey was still on edge and was letting him break the quietness. After about 10 minutes it was fair to say he was becoming a little antsy.

“I cant.” Mickey finally said with a long sigh. Ian slowly moved his hand up towards Mickey’s face, hesitating slightly before he came in to contact with his soft skin. There was the slightest hint of stubble rubbing against his fingers before he traced his thumb over Mickey’s bottom lip. Sensing no fight, Ian stepped forward and lowered his lips against those of the man in front. It was chaste and unrushed. As he pulled away, Ian smiled before wandering back into the room. Mickey might not know it yet but Ian was a determined fucker. He knew what Mickey wanted and he would wait because they were both desperate for the same thing. He flopped down onto the bed, shimmied up closer to Mandy and finally sleep took over his body.

 

Mickey was quiet the following morning. He had managed to get some sleep the previous night but not enough where he felt comfortable driving. Those duties fell to his sister. He sat in the back of the new car that he had hotwired for them, his earbuds firmly planted in his ear, cranking the rock music to eleven to drone out the asinine conversation Mandy and her boyfriend were having. He knew he had monumentally fucked up the previous night. He didn’t know what had possessed him to come on to Ian, to jerk him off in a back alley, to get pleasure out of his moaning. As his mind flitted back to the events of less than 12 hours ago, he felt his dick wake up so he hastily threw his coat over himself.

He must have fallen asleep somewhere along the way because he was suddenly alone in the car, parked in the lot of a McDonalds. He stared around outside to try and spot Mandy and Ian, finally seeing them laughing inside the fast food joint. Rolling his eyes, Mickey got out of the car and ambled over to join them.

“Afternoon Sleeping Beauty. Enjoy your catnap?” Mandy hollered as she saw her brother walk through the door. He glanced at Ian who was his usual bouncy self. It was almost as if last night hadn’t happened. Mickey grabbed some food from the counter, a large Big Mac, with extra fries and a chocolate shake, before joining them. They talked about how long there were going to drive for today. Mandy had already done 5 hours but they all knew that this was taking them far longer than it should or that they wanted. They’d been on the road for three days but were still only just in Colorado, not too far from Denver.

“We have two options; we either stay in Denver for a while or we plough on and start doing longer days. This five hours a day shit isn’t working. It’s going to take us an entire week to get there.” Ian said, staring at the map on his phone. They’d covered about 1000 miles of their journey but still had at least the same distance to go.

“But what’s the rush?” Mandy questioned, sucking noisily on her drink.

“The quicker we get to LA, the quicker I can get rid of you assholes.”

“Oh fuck you Mickey. You love us. You need us.” Standing from the table, Mandy wandered over to the bathroom leaving the two men alone. Mickey picked up a few fries, dipped them several times in the ketchup before unceremoniously shoving them in his mouth. He could feel Ian’s eyes on him but chose to ignore it.

“You see that elephant over there, Mick? He’s called denial.” Ian muttered staring down the guy in front of him. His mood had shifted as soon as Mandy was out of sight.

“One time thing, Gallagher. You’re with my sister…”

“You know that’s not the case. What is your problem?” Their voices barely registered above a whisper, “So you’re gay? Big fucking deal.” Mickey was getting frustrated with the conversation and it had barely started.

“Big fucking deal yet you’ve be using my sister as your beard for the last two years? Yeah, whatever tough guy.”

“Oh come the fuck on, Mickey. We live in Southside. Slightly different. Look, I’m not saying you need to be standing on some float in nothing but short shorts and a smile, but you cannot deny that you’re attracted to me.” There was a pause as Ian glanced up at Mickey, his voice now thick with lust. “I came so hard last night. Your hand stroking my cock like a fucking pro.” Mickey pushed out from the table and stormed out of the restaurant, leaving half of his fries on the table; he’d remembered to grab his shake. Ian darted after him, hastily picking up Mandy’s coat so it wasn’t left alone. He caught up with Mickey as he got back into the car. Ian joined him in the back seat.

“So that’s it, eh? One hand job and you’re done.” Finally Mickey turned to look at him. He grabbed Ian’s hand and pressed it down roughly against his dick, allowing him to feel the effect he was having on him, “Fuck.” Ian was desperate to return the favour. He went to unzip Mickey’s jeans before he felt a hand gripping his wrist.

“My terms, not yours. Especially not right now with Mandy around.” He batted Ian’s hand away before telling him to move his ass back to the front seat and pick up driving duties. A few moments after, Mandy came ambling out, ranting about being left alone. She hopped into the passenger seat and began randomly flicking through the radio stations trying to find something decent to listen to.

 

It had been an unspoken decision to just keep on going. Mickey had used the time whilst Ian and Mandy had been driving to sleep in the back of the car. He’d been given the night shift. When it came his turn to take the wheel, he was looking forward to an easy ride of open roads and two sleeping passengers. Even though he had slept, he was still sipping on his third can of Red Bull. The music was low so as to not disturb Ian or Mandy. They had made it to the far side of Utah and he was hoping that he could get as close to California before he needed to swap with one of them. It was only gonna be about 6 hours, totally possible for them to get to Los Angeles before needing to find a motel again.

He had just passed through Mesquite, Nevada when Ian stirred beside him. He pushed the make shift cover of his coat off him, allowing it to fall into the foot well. Looking around, he was presented with a whole load of nothingness. Ian looked over at Mickey.

“Can we stop?” Ian asked, his voice croaky from the effects of sleep.

“Why, man? We’ve barely even started this last leg. And I am hoping it is the last leg. The quicker I can leave you both in LA, the better.” Ian deflated inside. He had wondered why Mickey had joined them but this seemed like he was just using them to car share.

“Come on, just for a few minutes. It’s pitch black out there, the sky is so fucking clear. Let me just look at the stars for a little while. You don’t even have to get your ass out of the car.” Mickey sighed heavily before finding the easiest place to pull over. He’d moved off the highway and taken a turn on to an adjoining road. Ian quickly vacated the car and wandered a little from the road, up the embankment, standing proudly atop of the mound. Sighing even heavier, Mickey unclipped his seat belt, threw a blanket over his sister and followed Ian.

The night air was warm, enough that he felt comfortable in just his t-shirt and jeans, his arms exposed after hacking the sleeves off mere moments after acquiring it. He caught Ian up quickly, offering him a smoke before lighting them both. The two teenagers gazed up into the night sky and were awed by the expansiveness of it all. Mickey had never seen as many stars. The sight was making him feel increasingly insignificant. Suddenly all the shit from back in Chicago meant nothing. He realised that this could actually be his escape. Blowing the smoke into the air, Ian turned towards Mickey and watched as he inhaled his own cigarette. The end burnt bright for a brief few seconds before Mickey expelled the smoke,

“You’re being a bit fucking creepy there, Gallagher?” He stepped closer, placing his hand on the back of Mickey’s neck. Holding it there briefly, he slowly allowed it to slip away until just one finger lingered on his skin. Ian watched as Mickey’s breath shuddered at the touch. He stepped closer still. Leaning forward he slowly placed his lips against Mickeys, held them for a few seconds before he began to pull away. However, the hand that had suddenly clamped down onto his neck, that was now holding him fast against Mickey’s lips, prevented any further movement other than to deepen the kiss. Within moments, Ian’s hands were roaming frantically over Mickey’s body, pushing his top up and allowing his hand to stroke the soft skin underneath. Mickey moaned against his mouth. Ian could feel himself getting harder each time their tongues met.

“I fucking need you.” He gasped, as Mickey slipped his hand over his clothed ass.

“Not here.” To which Ian agreed. The ground was desert, he had no lube or a condom and they were still incredibly close to the road. Mickey reluctantly pulled away from him, adjusting his jeans as he moved away. He threw a look over his shoulder as he wandered back towards to car, “And not while my sister is around. She can’t fucking know about this.” In their haste, Ian had completely forgotten about his best friend, who lay sleeping on the back seat. He exhaled heavily.

Mandy slipped back down onto the seat, pulling the blanket over her body, trying not to move too much and cause any unnecessary movement from the car. She’d known Ian was gay early on. After the disastrous date at his house, he’d practically been forced to come out just so that she would stop the witch hunt she had incited on him. The last couple of days had made her aware that her brother may not be full blown hetero, but it still left her shook seeing the evidence in front of her. She had no idea where to take this. Hearing Mickey basically shutting Ian down meant that whatever he was feeling was not something that was ready to be shared with anyone else. Mickey lingered by the side of the car for a few minutes, before yanking the driver’s door open.

“Yo, assface, trying to sleep here.” Mandy grumbled from under the blanket. She wasn’t about to let on that she had been awake pretty much since both had left the car.

“We’re getting a motel. I’m done with driving you two. We’ll start early tomorrow but I need to sleep.” Sleep? Uh huh, Mandy had to stop herself from chuckling from the absurdity of it all. She figured she would have to come up with a legitimate reason for suddenly wanting a room to herself. Ian slipped into the passenger seat and stared over toward Mandy. She was surprisingly alert for someone who had just woken up, “I’m stopping for tonight. Unless either of you want to drive in my place?” Both shook their heads and Mickey proceeded to the next motel they could see from the highway.

Their latest motel was definitely the best of the ones they had encountered in terms of décor and hygiene, but was a bit on the small side. One solitary double bed in the middle of the room, a small fridge by the door and a TV so small it probably cut people on the screen in half. Mandy scrunched her nose up at the tiny bed, stared at the two boys beside her and quickly declared that Mickey should get his own room. Suspiciously too quick, Ian came to his defence, stating that it didn’t make sense to get two rooms when they were leaving so early and would only be sleeping for about 6 hours. Mandy reluctantly agreed but made Ian agree to be between her and her brother. She could see Ian’s face blanch at the prospect. Playing along with their supposed relationship, she muttered words little and spoon at him and he slowly understood her reasoning. Still, it didn’t make him feel any better knowing that Mickey would be behind him. His only hope was that he slept as far away from him as possible.

Mickey and Ian got ready pretty quickly and reluctantly shuffled into the bed. Mandy had taken her sweet time in the bathroom, causing a tense atmosphere in the bedroom to materialise. Mickey kept as close to the edge as possible, his back away from Ian and Mandy. Ian shuffled as close to Mandy as possible on the other side without accidentally pushing her over the edge. She wiggled up against him and held him tighter than she had done previously. All three slowly drifted off, none of them realising just how tired they were becoming.

As the day dawned in their small motel room, Mandy became acutely aware that she was bereft of the radiator heat of Ian’s body. She peered over her shoulder to see him far closer to her brother. He was lying on his back, head titled in her direction but Mickey’s hand lay possessively on his upper arm. Both seemed perfectly content with the unconscious placement. Standing from the bed, Mandy wandered into the bathroom and quietly closed the door behind her. She closed the lid of the toilet and sat down on it, exhaling heavily. This wasn’t what she had in mind when they had decided to leave. She was fully aware that the thing between her and Ian was merely a cover, designed to protect them both in different ways. However, she reasoned that he would make it all the way to LA with her, they would find jobs and start a new life together. Of course, partners for both of them would probably feature in their future, but she would be away from her father and the threat he posed, and he would be able to be who he was without having to have clandestine relations in seedy places. She imagined them being a little family unit. Mickey coming along was a minor inconvenience to start with. Her brother was normally drama free. He existed, he was her father’s right hand man. His decision to come with them had seemed unusual until this situation presented itself. Knowing now, after seeing him with Ian, that he was interested in men, his departure with them made more sense. Whatever had triggered the decision, she knew that he wouldn’t be going back to Chicago. She cracked the door open and stared at the two sleeping men. They looked more peaceful than she had ever encountered from either of them. She sighed heavily before wandering back into the bathroom, taking some time before she had to face the new day properly. Mandy perched on the side of the tub and looked to the ceiling. Time was ticking by and she knew that she would have to tell them both eventually, but everything had just got more complicated. She sighed heavily one more, resting her hand on her stomach

Mickey jerked his eyes open and pulled his arm back sharply from where it lay on Ian. He suddenly understood why they needed to keep their distance. Even in sleep he was being drawn to the damn red headed giraffe of a boy. He’d known he was into men for a few years. It was an itch that he needed to scratch every now and then. Just enough to take the edge off the desire. He would have sex with women to get his dad off his back, but when Terry was inside, Mickey didn’t go near any of them. Now he was free of his Dad’s oppressive presence but it still felt so intrinsically wrong. Except, did it? He flopped down on his back and rubbed his face. The motion caused Ian to stir from his sleep and look over at him.

“Morning,” He uttered, his voice heavy with sleep but it was like a symphony to Mickey’s ear. Holy shit, Mickey thought to himself, where the fuck did that thought come from?

“I need to piss.” Mickey replied, scuttling off the bed and walking to the bathroom. He pushed the door open to witness his sister sitting on the edge of the bath. Mickey quirked his brow before telling her to leave before she got an eyeful of his dick. She didn’t respond, merely stood and left the room and Mickey to do his business.

“Breakfast?” Ian questioned as he pulled a shirt on over his head. He yanked up his jeans and hitched his belt together. Mandy turned around, checking the bathroom door was closed before taking Ian’s hand and dragging him outside. The warm morning air felt good against their skin. They knew it wouldn’t be long before it became stifling hot.

“Look, I don’t know how to say this.” Mandy started before being interrupted by her brother belching behind them. She glanced at him before sighing heavily, “Doesn’t matter. Breakfast? My treat.”

“Bitch please, we’re fucking sharing the money here. And most of it is my fucking contribution.” Mickey grumbled before leading the way from their motel room.

Their breakfast was a leisurely affair, neither one of them in any particular rush to move things along despite their conversation the previous day. Mandy watched the interactions between Ian and her brother. They had slipped into this familiarity that she had never really associated with Mickey. He had acquaintances, not friends. He would rather spend time on his own than make an effort to engage with someone else. They had only been travelling a few days, but she could see the effect that Ian was having on him, even if he wasn’t conscious of it. Mandy knew of the charisma Ian possessed. She’d been charmed by him when they first met, his White Knight act against Mr Bancroft only adding to his appeal. She could have so easily turned on him when he had come out to her but she cherished his presence in her life. Away from the chaos of the Milkovich house of horrors, Ian was someone she could trust and depend on. Part of her felt conflicted though. She didn’t want to share him. He was the one thing that had kept her from going off the edge when things occurred with her dad. Ian deciding to come along with her, now that she had finally decided to put as much distance as possible between her and Terry, had made this so much easier. She never knew that saying Mickey could come along for the ride would lead to this. Mandy glanced up just at the moment when Mickey decided to go to the bathroom. She watched as Ian blatantly stared at his ass as he walked away.

“So, you and my brother. Since when?” Ian’s head spun to look at her so quickly he nearly gave himself whiplash, “Save it Casanova. Between you two eye-fucking each other over the last few days and the kissing last night,”

“You saw?” Ian gulped

“Yeah, I saw. So?” Mandy questioned as she bit down on a piece of bacon, staring him down until he cracked.

“We haven’t done any…” He paused as his mind flashed back to the previous night, “I mean, I…”

“So, my brother’s gay?”

“Well, I dunno, I mean maybe, we’ve not really…I mean,” Mandy rolled her eyes at the blabbering mess in front of her, “Shit Mands, don’t let on. We really haven’t done anything more than a drunk dude might if he was a bit horny and he only had his friend around.” Ian dropped his voice as he noticed Mickey swaggering back towards them. “Seriously, don’t say a word.” He purposefully had to stop himself from biting his bottom lip as he took in the sight before him. Mickey plonked himself down beside Ian before grabbing his utensils and diving into the pancakes. He grabbed the syrup bottle from the other end of the table, causing him to lean across the red-head. Again, Ian had to forcibly stop himself from acting on instinct. He caught a glimpse of Mandy scrunching her nose up and standing from the booth, instructing them not to leave without her.

“What’s wrong with her?” Mickey questioned as he shovelled a heaped pile of pancakes into his mouth. In all honesty, he didn’t care for an answer.

Mandy paced back and forth in the bathroom. She didn’t know what to do about this turn of events. Sure, the blatant make out session the previous night had been a pretty strong confirmation, but now Ian had pretty much admitted that they were the Facebook equivalent of ‘It’s complicated’. She bent over the sink and stared at herself in the mirror. Inhaling deeply, she knew that the plans that she had were now shot to shit. That vision of her, Ian and the baby being a happy, if slightly bizarre family unit was unlikely to look the same with her brother lingering around. What she had seen was definitely more than just a casual attraction. Even in her fucked up understanding of what love and affection was, she could see something in her brother that she had never witnessed before.
She hadn’t intended on crying, but as she stood there in the dimly lit room, the faint smell of stale piss filling her senses, Mandy let her emotions seep through. She hadn’t cried for a long while. The last time was a few weeks ago when she had finally found out. She’d known, of course she had. It had happened once before when she was 16, just over 12 months ago, but she had managed to get out of that situation quite easily. Well, once her father had threatened Ian and his siblings had found unscrupulous ways to raise the funds. This time it was different. She wasn’t certain on who the father was, a particularly messy week when she had been mistaken for her mother once again, and sought comfort in the arms of any man who was willing. Her shortlist was narrowed down to three, of which, one person she couldn’t even remember the name of. She knew who she wanted to be the father, and so her plan to run away with Ian was set in motion. Might not be the right Gallagher brother, but at least her child would be related to their father figure. Well, hopefully. Splashing her face with cold water, she grabbed a paper towel, patted her damp skin dry and carefully tidied up her eyes.

Mickey looked up as his sister returned and pushed his last pancake in her direction. The move shocked both her and Ian, but she gratefully received it. Mandy shoved it down her throat and sipped at the ice water in front of her. There was a comfortable silence at the table. Maybe their rag tag friendship would work out in the end. She could only hope.

Chapter Text

For some reason, they didn’t leave Mesquite that day, choosing to spend the rest of the afternoon lazily wandering around the town. Mandy’s mood hadn’t improved much, so the boys simply allowed her to trail behind them. She’d rebuffed Ian’s attempt to comfort her and Mickey put it down to hormones. If only he knew, Mandy thought bitterly. Finding the courage and the time to tell them was a complete struggle. Plus, she had wanted to tell Ian alone first, and they now seemed to be glued to each other’s side. After a long day of traipsing around, they headed back to the motel.

“Right, there is a casino down the road and I reckon we could at least double our money before we head off tomorrow.” Mickey stated, rifling through his bag to find something semi decent to wear. He figured walking into the casino in his usual attire might make him stand out for all the wrong reasons.

“You’re that confident in your abilities eh, Mick?” Ian wasn’t expecting the full on eye fucking that Mickey then threw his way in response. The look he was getting made him groan quietly.

“Oh yeah.” Mickey pulled out a pair of dark trousers and a navy blue shirt. It was a little rumpled but nothing too noticeable. Ian eagerly jumped up and did the same, having packed a shirt suitable for any interview he may need to attend. His one and only decent shirt. Mandy looked at the both of them and shook her head, pulling her knees up to her chest as she got comfy on the bed.

“You two go have fun, bond, win money. I’m staying here.” Ian quirked his brow before shuffling to where she was sitting.

“You good?” He questioned tenderly, rubbing his hand over her back. She nodded with as much enthusiasm as she could muster.

“Just tired. Plus, I don’t want to be the third wheel.” Mandy uttered softly, though her brother was far more concerned with making himself look respectable than listening to whatever they were talking about. Mandy grabbed hold of Ian’s hand and pulled him closer. She kissed him softly on his cheek before gently caressing the same spot.

“Have you two finished?” Ian stood and wandered to the door, as Mickey barked at them.

 

They wandered out of the room and Mickey shoved a fake ID in Ian’s direction.

“Curtis Brown?” Ian questioned, his eyebrow quirked. He played with the license in his hand as he mulled over the pseudonym. It was a little non-descript, definitely not a name he would have chosen for himself.

“Well, you know, just in case. Look I don’t think we’ll get carded but I’m not fucking up our chances. We all need more money than what we’ve got.” Mickey offered as they wandered towards the casino. It was only a short distance from the motel.

“So what should I call you?” Mickey held up the card whilst Ian examined it, his face morphing from intrigue to annoyance. “I get Curtis Brown and you get to keep your surname and some weird Russki version of your first name.”

“Not Russian, Ukrainian.”

“What’s the difference?” Ian asked, failing to notice the death stare crossing Mickey’s face. “Oh shit.” Ian’s eyes widened in realisation, “Fuck, that’s actually you. You’re Mikhailo Milkovich.” He let out a throaty laugh which, even in his pissed off state, managed to have an effect on Mickey.

“Shut the fuck up, Curtis.” He retorted, though with little menace. Ian shoulder bumped him as they continued down the short stretch of road.

 

The evening progressed with no need to show their IDs. Ian was slightly disappointed that he couldn’t fully embody his Curtis Brown persona; a whole back story had been worked out for him in Ian’s mind. He was a dancer in a seedy nightclub, performing for Viagra fuelled older men. He was on a break from the daily grind with his on/off boyfriend of Ukrainian descent. They were currently very much on, though only behind closed doors. Ian could imagine that there wasn’t a third person in the Curtis/Mikhailo version. As much as he loved Mandy, she wouldn’t be making a cameo in this story. Ian was deep imagining the inner workings of this fantasy when he felt a dig in his ribs.

“So I managed to double the 2 large we brought, however I think it’s time for us to head back.”

“Why? We’re obviously on a roll.” Ian stated, noticing there was a confidence emitting from Mickey that was incredibly sexy. Mickey arched his brow, allowing his expression to convey that they weren’t on a roll, he was. The look, however, was doing all kinds of things to Ian’s already fuzzy head.

“We are, which is why we need to stop. If Mandy wants to stop another night, then we’ll come back tomorrow, but for tonight, time is up.” Ian stood up, not realising how much whiskey he had been drinking. He wasn’t the gambler in this equation, so had left Mickey to the business side of proceedings whilst he indulged a little. It had left him a bit tipsy, and very forward.

“Wanna go celebrate?” He uttered into Mickey’s ear. It came out exactly as he had hoped. Deep, lust filled and with his intentions crystal clear. He could feel Mickey inhale deeply at his voice.

“Mandy?”

“She won’t notice if we’re a little late back.” Ian slipped his hand into Mickey’s pocket and pulled out some notes. “Why don’t we use some of these on a room where we don’t have to worry about who is going to see us?” Mickey couldn’t deny that he was tempted. Ian had put his hand on his waist and he could feel his fingers dancing over his shirt. Even through the fabric, his skin began to burn. Ian leaned forward so his mouth was against his ear once more, “I wanna feel…” Ian was cut off by the sound of Mickey’s cell ringing in his pants. His eyes were focused on Ian’s, but his hand moved to his pocket and he retrieved the old iPhone.

“Yeah?” He answered, not bothering to check the caller ID.

Yo Mick, where are ya? Dad’s losing his shit.” Mickey rolled his eyes at his brother’s words, moving away from Ian before he responded. “When you back? ” He rubbed his hand over his hair.

“Just taking care of some shit, Igs.”

Not answered either question there shitface.” He had hoped that they would have been further away when this inevitable call was placed. “You still there? Look I don’t know what’s up with him, but wherever you are, you better hope that by the time you come back, he’s got himself locked up again. He is fucking pissed off.

“Yeah, yeah alright. I’ll be in touch.” Mickey responded, his mood having darkened considerably. Even though he was literally 1000s of miles away from that place, he couldn’t escape the ominous presence of Terry Milkovich. He could sense Ian standing behind him but he was now the last person he wanted to face. “Look Gallagher, go back to your woman.”

 

Mickey walked away from the younger boy and out towards the exit of the casino, not caring to glance back. The warm night air hit his face on leaving the building. He wandered across the street and into a half empty parking lot, taking the opportunity to perch on a curb. Pulling out a cigarette from his pocket, he thumbed through his phone, weighing up whether he should just cut his losses, call his dad and then find a way to make it back to Chicago. Maybe running away from the problem hadn’t been the right answer. He pushed up his sleeve, his finger tracing over the scar that was forming on his skin, the scab slowly peeling away. He had been playing the game of cat and mouse with his father for years. Daddy in prison, Mickey enjoyed his freedom. When he was back home, for how many months, weeks, days it may be, Mickey was the dutiful son. The undisclosed arrangement had worked well, ever since his first experience with a guy at the age of 14. Had he become complacent? Probably. As Terry brought the smashed bottle down against Mickey’s arm, which he held aloft to protect his face, he had little time to understand at what point his fuck up had been placed into motion. All he knew was that he was being beaten to within an inch of his life, the guy who had been sucking him off had ran out of the house as quick as humanly possible and Mickey was simply waiting for the fatal blow. It never happened. He wasn’t sure whether that was a relief or a not.

It was Iggy who had found him. Blood covered, concussed and looking like death would have been a saving grace. His brother patched him up, supplying him with a steady stream of Oxy of dubious acquisition. Mickey didn’t care. He just needed the pain to stop. Worse thing was, the guy hadn’t been worth it. The head was mediocre at best and certainly not worth getting seven shades of shit beaten out of him. He’d kept a low profile for a week, thankful that his sister had been away from the absolute shithole that was their home. No, not home. The house. Home would imply that there was some kind of affection for the place, that there was some reason for any of them to feel comfortable within its walls. It was a place where they could stay. Mickey was mixing the Oxy with a healthy supply of booze. He was quite happy to let his days pass until he found the courage to take some decisive action. When Mandy had knocked on his door about a week after it, he had nothing to offer other than his middle finger and the door slamming in her face. When he had overheard her plans with Gallagher, he decided to jump on their merry bandwagon. Mickey needed to leave. He knew he was fucked for life, but equally, he actually wanted to live. Staying with Terry around was no longer an option. Every step he took would be scrutinised.

And yet, even though he knew he needed to get away from Chicago, Iggy’s call had him rattled. He couldn’t drag Ian into this head fuck. He couldn’t willingly do anything more with Ian, even if his body ached to experience him. Mickey was overwhelmed with an entirely new set of feelings, feelings that he had never come close to experiencing before. He couldn’t explain why suddenly his brain was so wired to constantly think of the damn ginger but he knew that it could only lead to heartbreak, even if he thought he personally didn’t have a heart worth breaking.

He was approaching the motel again, having walked round aimlessly for a long while. His decision had been made. He would go back to Chicago. He would face his father again, he would wait until he was back inside and if that didn’t happen, then he would be the dutiful son once more. Find some chick who wasn’t repulsive. Maybe pop out a few kids. Toe the line.

Ian hadn’t followed him, thankfully, during his wanderings but approaching the motel he could see the guy leaning against the door to their room. Mickey rolled his eyes and cursed in frustration.

“Come with me.” Ian stated as Mickey got within hearing distance. He’d cracked the door open to check on Mandy and had found her fast asleep. The girl was sleeping like a narcoleptic lately.

“Gallagher, I told you to go back to your woman. I’m not doing this shit with you.”

“Come with me.” He repeated, reaching out to touch him but pausing at the last minute. He ambled down the front of the adjacent rooms before stopping outside the second to last one in the row. He pulled out a new key, slipped it into the lock and wandered in. Mickey looked round hesitantly before following. “Look, I don’t know what happened in Chicago, I don’t know exactly why you’re here. But if you need space, this room is yours tonight.” Ian placed the key down onto the cupboard closest to the door. His body inadvertently brushed against Mickey who couldn’t hide the hitch in his breath, “We’ll leave in the morning. Should be in LA before tomorrow night.”

Mickey stared around the room as he felt Ian leave. The door closed gently behind him and he exhaled, frustration and sadness laced within his breath. He wasn’t going to LA. Tomorrow, once Ian and his sister got into the car, he would walk over to the nearest bus station, buy a ticket for Chicago and go back to the life that he was destined for. Exhaling heavily, Mickey turned round and opened the door to reveal Ian leaning against the door jamb, his eyebrow quirked and a smug grin on his face.

“You’re a cocky shit,” Mickey stated, as he grabbed Ian’s shirt and pulled him back inside.

They were kissing within seconds, Ian’s hands running underneath Mickey’s shirt, trying desperately to get it off his body. Both were frantically kicking off their shoes, trying not to break away from each other. He’d used the time that Mickey had been away to get the room in order. It wasn’t that he would have forced Mickey to be there, but he was just preparing should it happen. Ian threw the shirt to the ground, noticing the healing wound on his arm. He instinctively ran his finger down the injury before Mickey distracted him with his mouth. Ian managed to work off his shirt and watched as Mickey stared at his bare chest, pulling his bottom lip in between his teeth. He began walking Ian back towards the bed and pushed him down. A moment of uncertainty crossed Ian’s mind. He hadn’t planned on this. Why hadn’t he planned on this? Mickey undid his jeans and let them fall to the floor, before straddling Ian on the bed. His mouth moved to the side of Ian’s neck and he slipped his hand into his boxers. Slowly stroking Ian’s hardening dick with one hand, he took two of his fingers on the other and coaxed Ian’s mouth open. He slid them in and allowed Ian to coat them until they were dripping wet. Leaning back, he slowly slipped one inside himself, causing Ian to inhale sharply,

“Fuck,” he uttered, as he watched in rapt awe as Mickey opened himself up. It took him a moment to remember the lube he had stashed near the bed but he knew it would be necessary. He rotated his body enough to grab the bottle without letting his eyes drop from the man above him.

“So fucking cocky.” Mickey moaned as he let his hands frame Ian’s head. He moved his body so he was grinding against Ian’s, the required prep taking a back seat for the moment. Ian rolled him on to his back, allowing Mickey’s leg to splay out wide on either side of him. Ian took the bottle and poured some of the liquid on his fingers before he slowly eased two inside Mickey. The moan that escaped his mouth was intoxicating. Who would have guessed that Mickey Milkovich would have it in him to make that kind of lust driven noise? Ian growled against his skin as he worked him open, not knowing when Mickey had last taken it. The ‘if’ had been answered a short while ago when Mickey had been so forthcoming with his actions.

“Some time this century, Gallagher.” Mickey huffed out, trying to cover his arousal with a hint of annoyance. It was completely lost. Ian slipped on the condom and slicked up his cock. Pushing into Mickey slowly, he reveled in the feeling of the guy tight around him. This was better than any fantasy that he’d previously had. Mickey wrapped his legs around him, causing Ian to slip in deeper. He paused for a moment, savouring the sensation.

“Move Gallagher. Jesus Christ, glaciers move….fuck” Mickey bit out before feeling the force of Ian Gallagher beginning to rock inside him. This was already the best he’d had it. Comfiest too. Something to be said about having sex in an actual bed. He knew he wouldn’t last that long, no matter how much he wanted to. Fuck, if this was going to be the last time before he returned to his life of faking it, then it wasn’t a bad way to go. He found the most opportune moment to push Ian on to his back, stunning the red head for a second before he realised what Mickey was about to do. Ian gripped his thighs and fucked up into Mickey as hard as possible, taking pleasure in watching every single facial expression on his face. He wasn’t blind to the fact that Mickey was hot, but right now the only word that came to his sex addled mind was beautiful. Mickey was beautiful. Mickey leaned forward, changing his position slightly, his mouth ghosting against Ian’s ear. His hand went to the one Ian had on his left thigh and pushed it between their bodies,

“Make me cum.” He whispered, prompting Ian to groan loudly before starting to jack Mickey off.

It was over all too soon for both of them. Ian coming first which quickly had an effect on Mickey, his cum laying to waste across Ian’s chest. Both of their breaths were ragged, completely spent after the exertion. Mickey flopped down beside Ian and exhaled heavily. Ian glanced over to him, a smile blossoming on his face as he watched him compose himself. Mickey rolled to the side and retrieved his discarded boxers from the floor, giving Ian a nice view of his ass. He moaned as lurid thoughts streamed through his head. There was no way in hell that he was letting Mickey go now. He knew he had to have him again. The virility of youth meant that as long as he didn’t spontaneously conk out, that again would be within the next half an hour or so.

Mickey had slipped on his boxers and was padding over to the bathroom. He grabbed a towel from the rail and drenched it in warm water before idling back to Ian. Passing it to him, Ian gently wiped away at his skin, cleaning himself of Mickey’s cum. He dropped it down at the side of the bed. Ready for round two. He went to grab Mickey’s hand and he came willingly, allowing himself to be pulled closer to the bed. Ian began laying kisses along his torso, his hands slipping under the fabric at the bottom of Mickey’s boxers, softly beginning to stroke his ass cheeks. Mickey whimpered above him. Grabbing the hem of each leg, Ian pulled the boxers back down.

“You gonna kick me out?” He asked as his hands slid back up Mickey’s thighs and towards his ass once more. Mickey’s head fell back as he brought his hands into Ian’s hair, willing him to move his mouth, which was currently trailing along the skin above his pubes, down a little further.

“Fucker. Just stay.”

Chapter Text

Ian woke to find himself cocooning Mickey. It was incredible how right this felt to him. He’d never woken up with a guy before. His relationship with Kash, if it could be called a relationship, was merely hook ups in the store when Linda was away. In some ways, he was glad when Linda finally caught them. Here with Mickey though, he felt good, right. They slotted together perfectly, freakishly so. Ian realised it must still be early as the day had yet to dawn, the darkness of the night still lingering outside their room. He could feel Mickey stirring against him, his ass unconsciously rubbing against Ian’s groin. With added pressure. Each time.

“You awake?” he mumbled against Mickey’s ear, his hand slipping down the guy’s front. Mickey murmured some kind of agreement to the question as he pushed his body back against Ian’s again, feeling his hand stroke his hardening cock. His head fell back towards Ian’s shoulder and he moaned as Ian began kissing his neck. Mickey pulled his bottom lip into his mouth as the pace of Ian’s hand quickened. He could still feel the dull ache in his ass. Such a welcome feeling.

“Fuck, Gallagher.”

“Yeah? You like that?” Ian said, as his efforts increased. It wasn’t long before Mickey was coming hard in his hand, his cum leaking over Ian’s skin. Mickey grabbed the cover and wiped Ian’s hand against it, cleaning him of the mess. A few moments later, he felt Mickey fall back to sleep, leaving him with a bit of a problem but one that he could remedy in the morning. Ian snuggled closer and allowed sleep to overtake his body.

 

When he woke again, he could sense that Mickey was awake. He kissed his shoulder delicately before allowing the other man to rotate his body round to face Ian’s. Mickey pulled back, and in that moment Ian could see the walls had gone up around him again. My terms, not yours.  He withdrew from the bed and gracelessly wandered over to the bathroom without a stitch of clothing covering his body. Ian followed him and stood in the doorframe, watching Mickey as he took a piss.

“You mind?” He uttered, feeling Ian’s presence behind him.

“You’re not doing this. You can’t spend the night with me and then pretend I don’t exist.” Mickey finished off before washing his hands in the sink. He fumbled with the small, sealed packet containing cheap motel soap. Finally able to use it, he rinsed his hands off and dried them roughly on the towel. Mickey wandered back into the room and reclaimed his clothes from the floor. Dragging them back on, he headed for the door. Ian frantically redressed and followed him back to their original room.

The sun was beating down despite the early hour. He would jack another car, drive as far as he could, fuelling himself on energy drinks and sugar. Might be able to score some coke to help him along too. He could be back in Chicago by tomorrow night. Mickey retrieved their original key and opened the door. Mandy was sitting on the bed. She glanced up as he wandered in but said nothing. Mickey grabbed his bag and began shoving his possessions inside it. He divvied up the money three ways and threw Ian and Mandy’s share on the bed.

“I’m going back to Chicago. You and Ian have enough there to see you through a couple of weeks or so.” Mandy’s face blanched at his words. He handed over a scrap of paper, “When you get to LA, look up this guy. He will help you out. New IDs, social security number, whatever. Tell him I sent you. He knew I was on the way so it won’t be a surprise.”

“You’re going back?” Her tone was panicked, unable to hide the fear that crossed her face.

“Yeah, Iggy called. Dad’s losing his shit. Need to sort it out.” Ian entered the room, his eyes downcast as he sensed the tension between the siblings.

“You can’t.”

“Why the fuck not? Free country last I checked. Look, this has been a great and all but you and your boyfriend don’t need me acting like the third wheel.” Ian rolled his eyes at the assertion, remembering all too vividly the feel of Mickey’s ass around his cock. Even if he had been Mandy’s boyfriend before, he sure as shit would be dumping her now. Through no fault of her own, of course.   
“He’s going to fucking kill you.” Mandy exclaimed, her voice laden with genuine fear. Ian looked up as the shock of her words crept through him. Mickey stopped his actions too.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” However, his words were less confident than before. Mickey wearily ran his hand over his face. He watched as Mandy stood up from the bed and came closer to him.

“Mick, I know. Alright. I know.” She reached out her hand to touch him but he jerked back at the intrusion. “You go back and he’ll kill you. Maybe not right away, but he will. You know he will. Or you will kill yourself.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Mickey bit out, reiterating his earlier statement.

“So you didn’t just spend the night with Ian?” She questioned, trying to be as light as possible in her tone. She knew Mickey would be like a nervous cat, easily spooked at the thought of someone knowing his personal business, regardless if that person was his sister, “Seriously, of all the men in the world, you had to go and fuck my boyfriend.” She added with a laugh. Mandy caught sight of Ian grinning behind her brother, nonchalantly scratching at his nose. Mickey shifted uncomfortably in his spot. He hadn’t wanted to come out to her, to anyone. Bury it deep and just scratch the itch every now and then. He wasn’t ashamed of his inclinations, just life was easier when fewer people knew his business. He slumped down on the bed. “You go back to Chicago, back to dad and he will do worse to you than that last time.” Mickey’s head shot up so fast he almost passed out, “Contrary to popular belief, I’m not some dumb slut. I spoke to Iggy last night, he told me how Dad almost killed you. With what I’ve seen between you and Ian, I put two and two together.” Mandy exhaled heavily and wandered towards the bedside table, retrieving her cigarettes. She had cut down to two a day, usually in the evening, but this situation warranted the first of those to be early.

“Nearly 20 years old, only been caught once. I’ll be more careful.” Mickey uttered, confirming in not so many words what she already knew. She inhaled deeply before offering it to her brother. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room. Ian was still leaning against the wall, knowing that this wasn’t his conversation to be having. Mickey’s eye were down on the floor as he took a drag of the cigarette. As Mandy wandered, she could feel the wave of nausea coming over her. Foolishly, she had believed that this sickness stuff would stop eventually. Today was not that day. As her mouth watered, she dashed into the bathroom, barely able to get the toilet lid up before emptying her stomach. Ian was quick to rush by her side.

“You good?” He asked, concern in his eyes as he rubbed her back. Mickey had shuffled over to stand near them.

“Just perfect.” There was something in the look she gave Ian that made his own stomach curdle.

“Again?”

“Again what?” Mickey piped up, as he crushed the butt of the cigarette against the sink basin, extinguishing it before dropping it into the bin. Mandy readjusted herself so she was sitting on the bathroom floor. She haphazardly wiped her mouth with some tissue before flushing the toilet.

“I’m pregnant.”

“What the fuck, Mandy? Thought you just said you weren’t…”

“Mickey!”

“…some dumb slut. The fuck makes you think…”

“Mickey!?! Shut the fuck up!” Ian yelled, before going back to comforting Mandy. She allowed a small pitiful smile to cross her face before slowly hauling herself up off the floor. Mickey was pacing around the room now.

“Who’s the father?” He spoke, not heeding Ian’s warning.

“I don’t know. For certain.” Mickey’s eyebrows raised to his hairline and it was taking all of his strength not to say anything further.

“Again?” Ian questioned

“What do you mean again? This isn’t the first time?”

“Stay out of juvie long enough and you might know.” Mandy retorted. In the back of her mind, she knew that had Mickey not been in Juvie, she probably wouldn’t have ended up in this situation. The abuse only seemed to happen when he was away. Weirdly, it was almost as if he acted as a barrier between her and their dad, “It could be. I’ve narrowed it down to three.” She responded, addressing Ian’s question.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Mickey bellowed, anger crossing his face. Mandy sleeping around wasn’t an issue but not knowing who the father could be was. “You just whoring yourself out to everyone now, eh?” And she snapped. Striding over to him, she hit him with a right hook that connected squarely with his jaw, knocking him completely off balance and watching as he hit the floor.

 

Ian watched as Mandy stared down at her prone brother. She hadn’t meant to knock him out, which had only happened once before. She guessed the ferocity of her anger had meant there was some serious weight behind her punch.

“So, you have any ideas who?” Ian questioned as delicately as possible. He didn’t want to incur her wrath, having seen what it could result in. Mandy sighed heavily, pain laced in her breath, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

“It’s one of three. The same as before, some guy that I hooked up with and,” She paused for a moment. Since Ian had come out to her they had always been honest with each other. Saying that, she wasn’t looking forward to revealing the third possibility, “erm, your brother.” Ian stared at her for a moment, trying to process the reality of Lip having slept with Mandy.

“Is this why you wanted to leave? We could have raised the money. Shit, we have the money. I will come with you again.”

“It’s different.”

“How?”

“Because there could be a chance it isn’t his. Last time, there was no doubt,” She looked down at the ground as she remembered the whole sordid event. Running into the house, gun in hand to stop her dad killing Ian. Having to admit the truth in front of him and Lip. “I want the chance to have someone who I can love unconditionally. I want to give it a chance. That couldn’t have happened if I had stayed. Look, if you don’t wanna stay, that’s fine. I can raise it on my own.” Mandy seemed resigned to Ian backing out on her. She hoped it wouldn’t be a possibility but as she explained her reasoning to him, she realised that she hadn’t factored that scenario into her planning. He pulled her close to him and hugged her tightly. “Regardless of who the father is, I want you to be in our lives. We can be some bizarre modern family.” His grip on her tightened as he tried to comprehend everything that had happened.

 

Mickey didn’t know how long he was out but when he came to, Ian was sitting on the chair by the door and Mandy was on the floor, her back leaning against the wall.

“Fucking bitch.” He uttered, rubbing his face. He knew it would bruise like a motherfucker. A surprise attack from his little sister was never a welcome thing. It didn’t happen that often, which is probably why it caught him so off-guard. He adjusted his position on the floor, leaning against the bed.

“Welcome back, Mick.”

“You need to sit there and just fucking listen.” He nodded his head dumbly, rubbing his face once more. “I’m pregnant, no I don’t know who the father is but I know it’s one of three. I’m keeping it. Me and Ian are going to raise it. If you want to be involved that is fine, but at least come to LA with us to start with, because if you go back to Chicago, he will kill you.”

“Who are the three?” Mickey asked, though he hadn’t meant for that to be the first question out of his mouth.

“Does it matter?” He stared at her, trying to understand why she was so reluctant to answer him.

“Yeah, it does. Is it three random people, someone I know,” It was subtle but he noticed the way she flinched as he said that, “Mandy?”

“It’s stupid, alright. It means nothing. It just happens sometimes.” Concern was growing in his stomach at a rapid rate. He moved to stand from the floor and sit down on to the bed, appreciating the comfort of the mattress under his ass. He threw a genuinely concerned look in his sister’s direction, willing her to carry on speaking, “He gets drunk. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. When it’s over, he blacks out and doesn’t remember.”

“Who?” Mickey had a gut wrenching suspicion on who it could be, but he didn’t want to be proven right, “Dad?” She didn’t need to answer, the look on her face was all the confirmation he needed. The anger grew inside him at an exponential rate. He grabbed his coat and headed for the door. Both Ian and Mandy stood as fast as possible and rushed after him.

“Mickey!” Mandy shouted, chasing him down as he ran across the parking lot. He was quickly scoping out the best car to jack. It was still relatively early, but he needed an easy target. “Mickey, just fucking stop.” Ian caught up to him first and pushed him up against the car, holding him there with one hand. Mandy was quickly by their side.

“I’m gonna fucking kill him.” Mickey spat, the anger he was feeling inside coming out in his voice. Ian hadn’t seen this side of Mickey up close before and it genuinely scared him.

“No, no you’re not. You know why? Because I am not having you go to prison for what he’s done. Look Mick, I’m not going back. He’s never going to know. And it might not be his.” Mickey deflated at her words. He was still shaking with anger, but slowly his body was being consumed by a new feeling – hurt.

“Mandy, he raped you. I’m your brother, I should have protected you. I should have been there to protect you.”

“And he abuses you too. He might be our dad but that’s not normal. We’ve escaped Mickey. We’re not going back. You’re not going back. Whether you stay with us or you go somewhere on your own, promise me that you are not going back to him.” Ian was still restraining Mickey with one hand, though he felt increasingly uncomfortable on seemingly intruding on this very private of conversation.

His mind was taken back to the beating he received at the hands of Terry Milkovich the last time Mandy was pregnant. His mum having to pull him off whilst Frank just sat there, congratulating him. At the time, he didn’t think too much of Terry referring to Mandy as his little princess, a few days later that assertion made him feel sick. To know that it happened again, and probably happened more times than Mandy had let on, makes Ian want to take a gun to Terry’s head. He certainly understands where Mickey is coming from.

“Mandy, I can’t just let him get away with it.”  

“You can and you will.” She said with a tone of finality to her voice. She wandered back towards the room and began to gather her things. Ian glanced at Mickey, having let go of him now he seemed less of a flight risk. He looked truly broken.

“You knew?”

“Yeah,” Ian said as he hung his head. He kicked at the gravel on the parking lot, causing a dust plume to blow up, “She told me and Lip not to say anything. I didn’t know it happened again.” Mickey just nodded before walking off in the direction of the store.

Chapter Text

Mickey wandered towards the store. He didn’t really have an aim in mind. He was so utterly overwhelmed by the revelations that he couldn’t bear to stay with Mandy or Ian, needing to clear his head as best as he could. He could always deal with being beaten on. Sure it hurt like a motherfucker, and he had to hide away for a while whilst he recovered, but more often than not he knew that he deserved it, for one reason or another. Punishment for the crime. He was old enough to know how not to piss his dad off, so if he still managed to, then the punishment would fit. He recalled the first time that it happened properly. Sure, he’d received the occasional clip round the ear when he was a kid, he knew he was a handful, so it was to be expected.

No, the first proper time was when he was 9 years old. He had been out with his older brothers and they’d left Mandy on her own. Shit, she was 7, so it wasn’t like she was a baby. When they’d come back, Mandy was crying because she had broken a glass and trying to clear it up had resulted in her cutting her hand. Their dad came back just as Mickey was trying to hide the evidence of the incident, but how do you hide a 3 inch cut on your sister’s hand? His brothers had disappeared but Mickey knew not to leave his sister to deal with their Dad. Terry rolled in and went off when he saw the mess. The first hit was the most painful, right across his face. Closed fist to his left cheek. He’d tried to apologise, tried to make amends and calm Terry down but it was to no avail. When he woke up, Mandy was sitting in the corner of the room, curled in on herself but staring at her older brother. She only had the cut on her hand, which was still wrapped in a towel stained with her blood. Mickey was glad that he’d received all of the punishment. He gingerly rose from the floor and stumbled to the bathroom. A black eye was forming, there was a cut near his nose, he had definitely done some damage to his ribs as it hurt to breathe deeply. He asked where Terry was and Mandy just said out. So he cleaned himself and Mandy up, wrapping a bandage around her hand. They then cooked two cheese pizzas in the microwave and waited for someone to return.

It was the first time of many. Even when he did everything to stay in his Dad’s good graces, he still couldn’t escape the beatings. He would wonder why his Dad seemingly targeted him more than his other brothers. He always questioned whether it was because he had been a lot closer to his mom than the others. Something about that bond infuriated Terry. Sometimes, he would think of his mom, knowing that she suffered at the hands of her husband before her death. On those dark evenings, when his eye was swollen shut from the latest beating and his body hurt, Mickey would often think back to the times when he’d find his mum in a similar setting. That time when he was 7 years old and he had just come home from school. They’d had a math test and he had scored top marks. He was so excited to show his mom the result that he had run all the way home. Mickey rushed into the house, waving the piece of paper, only to find her crouched in the bathroom, grasping at her stomach. He walked up to her gingerly and sat next to her trembling body. Her frail body was wrapped in a threadbare towel, her hair wet and hanging limply over her shoulders. She very carefully reached out her hand and stroked his dark hair, whispering to him that everything would be alright, that everything would be fine. He couldn’t fail to notice the blood on the ground but he didn’t want to mention it. His mom said everything would be alright, he had to believe that. When she died a year later, he started to bury his feelings deep. He would protect Mandy when she needed it, but he taught her to fight back, he taught her to be strong, because there was no way he was letting her die the way their mom did.

When Mickey realised he was gay, he knew that he would have to try increasingly harder to avoid Terry getting a sniff of it. Going to Juvie was one way of doing that. He was fucked for life since the day he was born, so what difference did a criminal record make? Had he known the transfer of abuse that happened when he was away though, he might have thought twice about getting his ass thrown in so often. Knowing that his father had been raping his sister made his skin crawl and the desire to kill rise inside him. He wouldn’t because Mandy had said not to. Her words about him paying for Terry’s crime struck him deep. Nevertheless, it was only now that he knew what true, unadulterated anger felt like as it coursed its way through his body. If he knew with all certainty that no one would find out, he would go back to Chicago and gut his father like a proverbial fish. Taking his time to allow Terry to feel every agonising second, to make him feel all the pain he’d caused Mandy, their mom and his brothers.

Mickey reached the store and actually spent some money on buying some smokes and a bottle of Jim Beam. He wandered a little further to a small park and sat down on the bench, clutching the bottle in its brown paper bag and supping it down like it was juice. He’d wanted to get away from Chicago to leave that life behind. Now his sister was pregnant, there was a chance the baby was his father’s, they were running away with no real plan that he knew of, and he had fucked Gallagher. Several times. He took another long swig from the bottle.  

 

By the time Ian got back to the room, Mandy was busy packing her things up. He walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her back, waiting for her to slump down against him. She exhaled heavily as she let her head lean against his shoulder.

“How far along are you?”

“Just over 12 weeks, I think. 12 or 13, I’m not quite sure.” He nodded against her head before turning her round to face him.

“Three guys, Mandy?” Mandy glanced at the floor. Sure, it wasn’t her finest moment but she couldn’t lie about it. She knew what the best outcome would be, but she had to be realistic.

“Well, if it helps, one of them won’t require a paternity test.” Ian quirked his brow at her, prompting her to continue, “Was some black guy that I met one night. We partied, we fucked, will be really obvious if the kid is his.”

“And if it’s Lip’s? How will you know?” He knew that he would probably come into play if they needed to find out if it was Lips. The paternity test that told Ian he was likely to be Clayton’s, could also be used to see if the kid had any familial bond to Ian. If it did, then Lip would be the father. She glanced at him, indicating that she knew he knew how they would find out.

“Yeah, and if the kid is white and it’s not linked to you then…” Mandy trailed off, knowing that both knew then end of that sentence. “I’m sorry I fucked your brother.” She uttered, trying to break the tension caused by the third outcome. A small grin tugged at Ian’s lips,

“Erm, yeah. I’m not sorry I fucked yours.” Mandy groaned at the mental image before slapping Ian away.

“Wait, did you fuck him?” She questioned, as she continued to gather her things. Ian hummed his response. Mandy grabbed the shampoo bottle for the bathroom and picked up her toothbrush, “Huh, my brother’s a bottom. Didn’t think that would ever be a sentence to come out of my mouth.” Neither did Ian. Once both of them had packed, they sat back on the bed and waited for Mickey to return.

“He’s going to be ok, right? We’re going to be ok?” Mandy asked, as they lay there, neither wanting to move.

“We’ll make this work, Mandy. You got me.”

 

With the bottle completely empty, Mickey began making his way back to the motel. He wasn’t about to go back to Chicago. Although, he couldn’t in the state he was currently in. He unsteadily crossed over the motel parking lot and towards the room. As he looked through the window, he could see Mandy and Ian lying on the bed next to each other, talking about something or other, but looking fairly relaxed. He noticed that the bags were nearby, ready to go. He pushed open the door and drunkenly wandered in, straight to the bathroom. Neither Mandy nor Ian said a word, just stared as he crossed the floor. Staring into the mirror, he rubbed his face before realising that closing his eyes wasn’t the best idea.

“I’m just gonna go to the reception desk and see if we can get another night here.” Ian offered, realising that Mickey was not going anywhere tonight.

“Ay, dick breath, you ok?” Mandy called out as she watched Mickey swaying in the bathroom. It took a lot to get him wasted. She walked over to the room and stopped in the doorway. When she looked at him, she realised that it wasn’t just the alcohol that was making him look less than perfect, “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to get you involved.”

“It’s whatever.”

“I mean, I am keeping the baby but you have an out. If you don’t wanna stay with us, that’s fine.”

“For fucks sake, Mandy. Just shut the fuck up.” Mickey shouted, paying little regard to his throbbing head and his nauseous stomach. She stared at him, shock registering on her face.

“Fuck you, you dick.” Ian walked in just as Mandy was storming away from her brother, “You deal with him tonight. Give me the key to the other room.” He handed it over with little protest and watched as she walked out of the room. He assumed her previous position in the doorway, trying to assess what to do or say next.

He’d known Mickey in passing for years. When the guy had managed to keep himself out of Juvie, Ian had spent many an hour thinking about him or watching him move around the Milkovich home. They never really talked other than an occasional confirmation of Mandy’s whereabouts. The one time when it wasn’t about Mandy was the morning that Ian came over and found Mickey home alone. He was modelling a split lip and the beginnings of a shiner. Ian naturally assumed it was from a fight between Mickey and some lowlife. He wondered now if that was Terry’s handiwork. Now, Ian watched as Mickey moved to the side of the tub and gingerly sat down. Again, Mickey was sporting a bruise on his face, but this time he knew exactly where it had come from.

“She tell you who else?” Mickey asked, finally breaking the silence.

“Yeah, some random black guy and erm, Lip.”

“Your brother?” Mickey snorted, thinking to himself that this day was getting better and better, “Fuck’s sake, Mandy.” The quiet quickly descended on the room again. Ian walked back to the bed and sat down, waiting for Mickey to do something other than linger in the bathroom. He had mentioned that he would be there when Mickey was ready to talk, only for Mickey to shoot him down and snarl that talking does fuck all to help anyone in this world.

 

Ian wondered whether he should check on Mandy and was about to stand up from the bed when he felt Mickey stalk over to him. Mickey towered above him for the first time in his life. He looked down at Ian before sinking to his knees, unzipping his jeans and moving to pull them down. Ian rested his hand on Mickey’s shoulder and stared at him. He knew Mickey was the wrong side of sober, knew that this wasn’t the best idea, even though he wouldn’t normally say no. Shit, if Mickey sucked cock the way he jerked it, he would be coming so fast.

“Mickey,” he uttered, his voice already coming across a little raspier than usual,

“Shut up and let me blow you.” Mickey demanded, pushing Ian to lean back enough that he could drag his jeans down his legs, “I’m the drunk one not you.” Ian was struggling to put up an argument. He wanted it, he was damn certain Mickey did too. His cock certainly wasn’t shying away from the attention being lavished on it by Mickey’s hand as he stroked it to hardness. Before Ian could protest anymore, he felt Mickey’s tongue licking at the tip, the warmth of it spreading quickly through his body prompting a deep groan to escape his mouth. His head fell backwards as he steadied himself on the bed. Mickey’s mouth bobbed up and down on the shaft, taking Ian deeper each time. This was infinitely better than the hand job, Ian mused as his right hand came to rest in Mickey’s hair and he let out another guttural moan. He could feel himself getting closer and motioned for Mickey to pull off, but there was no let-up in the ministrations of his mouth. Ian’s hand tightened around Mickey’s hair as he felt his orgasm build before releasing hard and fast in his mouth. He mumbled unintelligently as his senses slowly returned back to earth and Mickey cleaned him off.

Looking up from his position, still kneeling on the carpet, Mickey licked the corner of his mouth with the tip of his tongue and Ian almost came again. There was something about the unashamedly sexy Mickey Milkovich, the one that he never knew existed until a few days previously. Sure, he was aware of how hot he was, but this side of him was something he reckoned only a few people had been witness to. Ian knew he was fucked, already getting addicted to the man in front of him. He reached out his hand to pull him up from the floor and drag him on to the bed. Knowing Mandy was unlikely to return to their room, having taken the key to the other one, Ian began to relax, taking his time to undress Mickey and himself. His hand rubbed over Mickey’s cock through the fabric of his pants, before he unzipped his jeans and slipped it inside. Mickey moaned at the sensation before quickly moving to remove his clothes. He needed Ian. Mickey moved himself so that he was lying on his back. He stared up at Ian and couldn’t help but let a small smile filter across his face. For all the shit that was going on around him, all the uncertainty about what was to come, he couldn’t believe how contented he felt just being here. Ian kissed his chest and worked his way down. Mickey’s soft whimpers were driving him insane and he could feel himself getting hard once again. Ian’s tongue traced lightly over Mickey’s cock, causing him to arch into the touch and moan louder.

Whilst his mouth was occupied, he slicked his fingers with some lube and slowly slipped one inside Mickey. His reaction made Ian groan in pleasure. He added a second then a third, stretching him enough so that this wouldn’t be too painful. By the time Ian slipped inside him, it was taking all his restraint not to come too quickly. He wanted to savour this, savour having Mickey beneath him, absolutely fucked up and loving every minute. Mickey’s legs were wrapped tightly around his waist. His face was glistening with sweat. His body moving so in sync with Ian’s. Suddenly Ian was realising what it could be like to love someone. He thought he had experienced it before, but looking down at Mickey, he knew that this was something more. Although he wasn’t bold enough to call it love, it was almost as if they were laying the foundations. He didn’t know what would happen to them in the future. Whether he would stay or go, he hoped he would stay. But right here, in that moment, Ian could seriously see himself falling in love. Mickey stared straight at Ian, causing him to smirk before initiating a kiss. Mickey came first, but Ian wasn’t far behind.

They lay on the bed, both staring at the ceiling, passing a cigarette between them. They were still naked and basking in the afterglow of their orgasms. Neither had bothered to worry about cleaning up yet.

“She serious about keeping it?” Mickey asked, his gaze not diverting from the spot on the roof.

“Yeah. I’m going to help her.”

“Alright then. Guess we need to start getting shit sorted.”

Chapter Text

Mickey woke with Ian’s arm around him. He flung it off and rolled his eyes. The boy was clingy as fuck during sleep and hotter than a furnace. He sat up on the motel bed, rubbing his hand over his eyes. He lifted his pack of smokes off the bedside table and lit one, smoking it quickly to get his nicotine fix. Reaching out to grab his boxers, he stood from the bed and pulled them on before strolling to the bathroom. After emptying his bladder, he stared in the mirror and laughed to himself. Never in a million years did he ever expect to be here, in this motel room, with Ian fucking Gallagher.

Ian was still sleeping as he walked back through the room, so he dragged on some clothes, grabbed his phone and wandered outside. The morning air pleasantly hit him. It wasn’t often that he could bask in the sunrise after a good night’s sleep. Normally if he was up at this hour, it was because he hadn’t been to sleep yet, or they were up and about to earn some money the Milkovich way. Easier to target people at dawn; a certain element of surprise. He searched his contacts for Iggy’s number and waited for it to dial.

Yeah?” Iggy croaked down the phone.

“Yo Iggs, where’s Dad?” Mickey questioned as he lit another cigarette.  

Fuck should I know? Was out with Uncle Ronnie last night. Why?

“I need you to do something for me.”

Ian cautiously opened one eye, quickly realising he was on his own. All their bags were still in the room so he figured, hoped, Mickey had just popped out. He sat up in the bed before being blinded by the sun as Mickey wandered back in through the door. There was no way he could keep the smile from blooming on his face. Patting the sheets beside him, Ian beckoned Mickey back towards the bed. He quickly slipped off his top and re-joined Ian in bed.

“So we move on today?” Ian asked as Mickey lay his head on his chest, lying horizontally against his body.

“Yeah, I’ve just been in contact with San, that guy I was telling you about in LA. Told him about Mandy. Gonna hook us up.”

“Just like that? What’s in it for him?”

“I go work for him. Look it’ll be cool. He’s got this construction company, said I can get some work on one of their sites.” Ian quirked his eyebrow after hearing the fact that this guy ran his own construction company.

“His company?”

“What’s so hard to believe?” Mickey questioned, looking up at Ian, getting a full view of his nostrils.

“You said you were in Juvie together. I just thought…you know…like...doesn’t matter.” Mickey chuckled at Ian’s fumbling. He shook his head before rolling off the bed and wandering to grab the bottle of Gatorade from the cupboard on the opposite side of the room. Taking a swig of it, he could feel Ian’s eyes on him.

“It was his old man’s company. He died, so San inherited it with his brother. Turned his life around. Left Chicago, moved to LA to be with his family again, and him and his brother run the business together.” Ian nodded contemplatively. Mickey omitted the bit where he would still do some drug running from time to time. Ian soon stood from the bed and walked towards the bathroom. He motioned with his head an invitation. Mickey declined. As Ian washed, Mickey collected his things together and tried to work out how they could make this work. He knew that with Mandy pregnant, her getting a job would be hard but she wasn’t showing yet, so she could maybe just not say anything. Ian would easily find work. As far as Mickey knew, he’d been working since he was a foetus. He knew he’d had a job at the Kash and Grab for a few years. They could make it work, would have to make it work. He reasoned though, that if they could all make it this far in life with their parents, this kid was sure to be fine too.

He was standing outside again when Ian walked up behind him. They stood side by side, sharing a smoke for a while. It was weird to Mickey how they had managed to find this contentment between them in just a few short days. Sure they had known each other longer, but they had never really communicated. He’d always thought it taboo to be perving on his sister’s boyfriend so he tried not to look. He wasn’t blind though. Mickey had always had a thing for red heads. Especially ones who seemed to undergo some strange metamorphosis that last time he was in juvie. He’d been locked up following a robbery charge and had spent 13 months inside. When he’d gone in, Ian was a slightly above average looking 15 year old. A little too pretty, whose looks could go one way or another when puberty really hit him. They had gone one way that was for sure.

After his welcome home party, where Mandy had been there for a second and then disappeared, Mickey wandered out into the living room. The house was trashed, beer cans littering the floor, his Dad fast asleep on the sofa. Iggy was curled up with some blonde on the chair in the corner, their Uncle Ronnie comatose with his head on the table. He’d grabbed his jacket and headed to the store, hoping some hair of the dog would cure his ills. A year without alcohol and he was feeling the weight of it like a son of a bitch. He strolled in to the Kash and Grab like he owned the joint, making his way to the fridges to pick up some beers and his usual fare of junk food. He looked to the counter, expecting to see Kash, but being faced with someone who vaguely resembled his sister’s boyfriend.

“Hey Mick, they let you out I see?” Ian said, feigning some kind of interest

“Nah, I’m a fucking hologram.” Ian rolled his eyes at the snarky comment. He started ringing up the items. Mickey cautiously looked at him, trying to gauge what was so different about him, trying to make sense of the feeling that was building in his stomach and that part further down.

“$22.19.” Ian remarked, knowing full well that he was about to get some useless remark and be forced to cough up the money himself, lest Linda take his head off because the inventory was wrong. Mickey was still contemplating the thoughts that were hurtling through his brain so didn’t realise that he had pulled a $20 out of his pocket and threw some change down with it.

“Cover what isn’t there.” He uttered, before grabbing his stuff and walking out. As Ian went to count, he realised he had overpaid by $4. He pocketed it for services rendered.

Mickey sat on the front steps of his house as he drank back the bottle of Jack. He’d known he was gay for a long while. Acted on it when his dad was in prison, would do again once he was back there, which shouldn’t take too long. But in the meantime, he would have to push it down. However, the feelings that had been created by seeing Ian were unnerving. There was no way that he would ever be able to act on it. Having him around now would be bad enough. For many reasons, this wouldn’t, couldn’t happen. He screwed the cap back on the bottle and wandered back into the house. The number one reason why he would never have anything to do with Ian was still lying, face down on the couch, snoring obnoxiously and letting the occasional fart let rip.   

Now, standing in the morning air with Ian beside him, having spent the night together, he couldn’t believe that he was in this position. He never expected Ian to be in a position to reciprocate his actions. Never thought Ian would be interested in him in any way. It was a nice, albeit worrying, feeling to have. Their hands were placed next to each other on the low fence, close enough for Ian to stroke his little finger against Mickey’s.

“Well, at least it’s more age appropriate,” Mandy boomed, breaking the moment between the two men, “Seriously though, my brother?”

“Bitch, shut up.” Mickey snapped as his hand moved away from Ian’s. Mandy threw a pack of smokes at him before handing him a bottle of Jim Beam.

“I swiped this from the 7/11 down the way. Happy birthday, assface. You’re officially no longer a teenager. Now you can only blame your mood swings on your sparkling personality.”

“It’s your birthday?” Ian questioned, surprised. Mickey waved him off. He’d never been one to celebrate his birthday. It reminded him too much of the fact that it usually involved him getting drunk and his dad making him sleep with some random whore, or when he was younger, simply staying out of his way entirely. Even when their mom was alive, birthdays were just another day with the possibility of a piece of cake, if they were lucky. However, he enjoyed the gesture from Mandy and would enjoy drinking it later on when this bitch of a road trip was finally over.

“You should have told me it was your birthday. I need to get you cake. Oooh, and maybe a balloon. Shit, you’re old now Mickey.”

“That’s your MO though, isn’t it, Ian?” Mandy laughed before wandering into the room and grabbing her bags.

They’d finally decided to leave Mesquite behind and drive the final route to Los Angeles. Mickey had deftly hotwired a new car, one that would be non-descript but slightly more comfortable than the last. Ian had taken control of the wheel, leaving Mickey to chill by his side and Mandy relegated to the back. She was glad that Ian hadn’t bailed on her, knowing that he so easily could have. However, it didn’t stop that small frisson of pain inside as she felt him drawing closer to her brother, and therefore further from her. She slumped down in the back seat and watched as the landscape moved past them. They contemplated stopping in Las Vegas for a short while before deciding that it was just easier to carry on to their final destination. As they passed by random towns, Mandy started to wonder whether they should just stop there and set up shop. It was far enough from Chicago to be away from their shit, and it would allow them to forge their own future. Mickey had mentioned something about a job and some help from a kid he met Juvie. She wasn’t sure whether that was a good thing or not, but it would be a start she guessed. The towns slowly morphed into the suburbs of the greater Los Angeles area.

“Yo San, yeah, about half an hour out. You got an address?” The guy on the other end of the line relayed an address which Mickey recited to Ian. Using his crappy phone, he google mapped it for the last bit. Mickey signed off the call and inhaled deeply. 20 years of living under his father and he was so close to breaking free entirely. It was a strange, yet unnerving, feeling for him.

They pulled onto a quiet street and looked around. Mickey’s knowledge of other cities existed entirely of things he had seen on TV or some quick turnaround on a run with his father. As he exited his car and took in his surroundings, he realised there was a big fucking world out there that he never knew he had a desire to see. This felt right. He exhaled contentedly and rang the number on his phone.

“Yeah, we’re here.”

 

Once they had all been introduced to Santiago’s family, including his mom, brother, sisters, baby mama, baby and his baby mama’s mom, Mickey realised there would be a slight homing issue. The house was packed from basement to the rafters and he alone would struggle to find a spare chair to curl up on. He was also acutely aware of Ian giving San the stink eye, though his friend seemed oblivious. As Santiago’s mom plated up some food for them all, he grabbed Ian by the arm and pulled him out on to the porch.

“Why you looking at San like you want to kill him?” Mickey asked, retrieving a smoke from his jeans pocket. He lit it and inhaled deeply, waiting on Ian to provide an answer.

“I’m not.”

“Yeah, you are. And I think he’s beginning to notice.”

“Are the rumours true about Juvie?” Mickey looked at him exasperated and confused, “The hooking up ones?” A smile grew on Mickey’s face as it suddenly dawned on him what Ian was alluding to.

“You jealous shit.” He laughed, before taking another drag, “Yeah, shit happens. But me and him, fuck no. Not with anyone else either. He’s been loyal to Daya for years now.” Ian suddenly remembered the young Latino girl in the room, holding baby Mateo and smiling at Santiago like he had lassoed the moon for her. He was a fucking idiot.

“Oh.”

“San was probably one of a few people who I could trust in there. He’s more of a brother to me than some of my own. You have nothing to worry about.” The back door pushed open and Santiago wandered out on to the porch. He held out a beer each for Mickey and Ian before taking a seat on the steps that lead to the yard. After a short discussion about where they would be sleeping that night, namely at his abuelita’s which was just a short drive away, they walked back in to carry on with their feast.

The night progressed with everyone joining in the celebration, Mandy letting slip about Mickey’s birthday and Mickey not being able to protest fast enough before being surrounded by the many relations of his newly adopted family. Santiago laughed from the other end of the table before pulling his son on to his lap, earning a wistful look from Mandy who was sitting one seat down from him.

“Mick says you’re pregnant. The ginger one the father?” Santiago asked as he bounced the small boy on his knee.

“No, I’m the third wheel to that whole thing.” She uttered before remembering that Mickey probably hadn’t told anyone else about them. Santiago sensed the regret and smiled again.

“I’d figured. Just wanted confirmation without risking a blow to the head. We talked a lot in Juvie, some things you just need to see it to confirm your suspicions. You wanna hold him?” Santiago offered, holding his son towards Mandy. She cautiously took the child before settling him on her knee. As she looked at the young boy, it suddenly dawned on her that she would have one of these soon enough.

As the night proceeded into the early hours of the next day, Santiago drove the three Chicagoans to his Abuelita’s house, taking a feast with him and introduced them all. She began by apologising for missing the evening, her health wasn’t brilliant that day and she didn’t want to pass on anything to the young ones, especially not her gorgeous Mateo. The overwhelming profusion of kindness and genuine welcoming spirit of the older woman left the three of them a little shell shocked, but they soon eased into her warmth.

After settling in to San’s grandma’s place, all three of them shuffled into their respective bedrooms. Mickey and Ian were sharing a room, two twin beds on opposite sides, whilst Mandy was in her own with a queen sized bed. They figured it would be disrespectful to share a bed when she was giving them her home to use. It had been barely a week since they were first together, they could survive one night.

“How many?” Ian uttered, breaking the silence in the room. Mickey grunted from his half asleep state, “Sorry, doesn’t matter.”

“How many what?” Mickey finally answered, though his tone was snappy, like someone who had been on the edge of sleep and had been rudely disturbed by random questions.

“What’s your number? You know, who’ve you fucked.”

“Really? You want to know?”

“I’ll start. 3 guys. Well, I’ve fucked 3 guys frequently. There were a few more. You know, horny, whatever. Always fucked them.” Ian responded, garbling his words, before moving to sit up on the bed. He didn’t know why he was curious. He knew that Mickey would have a history. The man was 20 and had been in Juvie. He also knew he had slept with women too, “Just the guys. I don’t give a shit about the women.”

“Ian,” Mickey sighed heavily. One week in was fucking early to be doing this but the boy seemed to want to confess, “Do I know any of the three?”

“Roger Spikey, Kash, this guy named Ned. Now you.” The second name caught Mickey’s attention.

“Kash and Grab? You fucked that towel-head?” He was now pacing towards Ian’s bed and placing himself down on the edge. “For real?” Ian squirmed at the interrogation, knowing that the beer from the night was making him a little too loose-lipped.

“Yeah. For a while. Until his wife caught us, and he got scared and then he bailed on her. So, anyway, your turn?” Mickey let his head fall back and shook his head as he stared at the ceiling.

“Fucked or been fucked by?”

“You top?” Ian blurted out, a little louder than intended.

“Jesus, say it louder, motor mouth. I don’t think they heard you on fucking Pluto. Yeah, in Juvie. What? It was either that or end up as someone’s bitch.” Ian leaned over and switched on the bedside light. It immediately saw Mickey recoiling as though he was now under more scrutiny.

“Who did you bottom for then?” Ian questioned, knowing that it would give some indication of how many guys out of Juvie he’d been with.

“Come on man, it’s not important.” Mickey uttered, suddenly bashful as he watched Ian stare at him. If they were back in the motel room, he’d probably distract Ian at this point by getting on his knees but this wasn’t the time nor the place. Ian scooted closer and gave him that look. That look that said, I’ll get it out of you one way or another, so just make this easy on yourself.

“Fuck, just you and this one other guy, alright?” Ian was shocked by the response. He didn’t know whether to take it as a badge of honour, the fact that Mickey had trusted him from the start to let him top. He did wonder who the other guy was, the one who had been there first. “And before you ask, cos I can see it on your face, you are better and you are bigger. Now can I go to sleep?” Ian let out a hearty laugh, which caused Mickey to smile in response. Ian nudged him with his shoulder before resting his head against Mickey’s, “Come on, let’s sleep.” Mickey stood from the bed and began to walk back to his own when his phone started ringing. He dived for it on the table, lest the noise wake anyone else in the house.

“Fuck’s sake Iggy, it’s 3:30am.” Mickey uttered, scratching the back of his head.

The fuck are you? It’s 5:30.

“Whatever. What you want?”

Yeah that, fuck,” There was a pause at the end of the line as Iggy seemingly tried to compose himself, “Dad’s dead, Mick.