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The Box

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“Daddy! Papa!” Yev’s shrill voice cut through the blanket cocoon Ian and Mickey found themselves in on this early Tuesday morning.

 Mickey made a disgruntled noise and wormed his way further into Ian’s warm chest, grasping onto his last seconds of sleep.

Ian squeezed him tighter as they braced for the door to fly open any minute and a rowdy five year old to jump on them to get moving for the day.

Mickey mumbled, “3, 2, 1,” and on cue the blue eyed little boy burst into their bedroom and bounded up onto the bed, quickly making work to dismantle their cocoon with his tiny hands.

“Guess what?” Yev screamed far too loud for the time of day and far too close to their ears.

The dads slowly opened their eyes and shushed Yev. “What is it Yev?” Ian asked in a quiet voice, hoping Yev would catch on.

 Instead of answering, Yev just gave his dads his best smile, leaving the men confused.

 “You brushed your teeth by yourself?” Ian asked, taking the reins on this conversation as Mickey was not easy to talk to in the morning.

Yev looked disappointed for a split second but perked right back up as kids do and quickly shoved his smile even closer to his dads’ faces. “Seeeee.” He strained out through his smile.

Ian looked down to Mickey for some kind of information he was missing, only to see he was equally as confused.

“What are we lookin’ at kid?” Mickey finally granted, more awake now.

“My tooth is loose!” Yev explained, completely offended that his fathers’ couldn’t see that from his smile. To him, the slight tilt of his middle bottom tooth had him looking like a whole new kid.

“Ohhh,” both dads exclaimed, sitting up quickly to get a better look, knowing how important this was to Yevgeny. Yev didn’t care about not being the first in his Kindergarten class to lose a tooth, but he did care that Aaron Lifton, the meanest kid in the whole grade had lost one last week. Before Yevgeny. In the last seven days, Yevgeny had spent more time looking in the mirror than the Queen in Snow White did. His three parents tried to explain that everyone was different, but that didn’t help ease Yevgeny’s frustrations so his dads were more than happy to show enthusiasm at his loose tooth in hopes it would ease his anger at the situation.

“When did this happen?” Ian asked eagerly.

“I was just eating my cereal and I felted it!” Yev exclaimed, happy as a clam. “I’m going to show everyone at school! And then when it falls out, I’m gonna get so much money from the tooth fairy! Aaron got five dollars when his fell out. Jordan only got one dollar, but I’ve been a really good boy, so I know she will give me five dollars. At least!”

“Mmm,” Ian hummed, not wanting to tell his kid he would likely be in the Jordan range regardless of his behavior.

Fortunately, Svetlana broke through, “Yevgeny, come finish breakfast before school!”

Yevgeny gave his dads one last close up of the loose tooth before scrambling off the bed and back to the kitchen.

“Great,” Mickey grumbled as he detached himself from Ian and rolled out of bed to get ready for his job. “Now we have to give him five bucks for a freaking tooth just ‘cause Aaron’s prick of a parent did.”

“Nah, fuck that shit,” Ian offered, heading into the ensuite to brush his teeth. “We ain’t raising no spoiled brat.” Ian huffed through a mouth full of toothpaste, it was usually the other way around when it came to who was against spoiling Yev. He wiped his mouth and continued as he relieved his bladder, door wide open. “He’ll be fine with getting a dollar.”

‘But Ian, we don’t want him to think he’s a bad kid.”

“We’ll just tell him the fairy in this neighborhood is low on funds this month.”

Mickey joined Ian in the bathroom to do his own morning routine, “Just this once Ian, just for the first one. It’ll be worth it to see his smile, won’t it?”

“And you really call me the pushover?” Ian teased, hopping onto the counter to watch Mickey fix his hair, and play with the brunette’s waist band, not intending it to go anywhere, just enjoying holding onto him. “I only got a quarter from Fiona and you never got anything from the tooth fairy and we survived.”

Mickey spit and looked Ian in the eyes, “You really want Yev having the same kind of childhood you had.” Ian just rolled his eyes. “Exactly.”

“Fine. Five for the first one but one for the rest, end of discussion.” Ian gave in, chuckling to himself at the major role reversal going on. Usually it was Mickey who was about tough love.

“Sounds good, dad .” Mickey smirked and leaned in for a kiss before heading out to the kitchen for his own quick breakfast before heading off for work, Ian soon after him.

_______________________________________________________________________

Ian came home that night just in time for Yevgeny’s bedtime story and to hear about his day. Ian loved the excitement on his boy’s face as told his dads and mom how all the kids loved seeing his new loose tooth and how it was even wigglier than this morning.

Ian, Mickey and Svetlana all gave him a goodnight kiss and went their separate ways. Svetlana to the living room to watch TV, and the boys to their bedroom for the night. Ian hopped in the shower, but Mickey already had his for the night so relaxed on their bed to wait for Ian.

When Ian came back into the bedroom, Mickey was nowhere to be found. “Mick?”

“Huh?” Mickey startled, voice coming from the closet.

Ian walked over, “What are you doing in here?” Ian looked on as Mickey quickly tried to close the lid on an old shoe box filled with something white, Ian couldn’t make out.

“Nothing,” Mickey sniffed and tried to shove the box back into its apparent home in the back of a top shelf that Ian had never known about. Fortunately, for Ian, his height allowed him to block Mickey’s move and grab the box.

“Fucking giant ass ginger,” Mickey griped as Ian lifted the lid off the box, knowing it was a lost cause to try to hide it at this point.

“Mick…” Ian started, thoroughly confused and slightly concerned. Mickey’s face went red as Ian asked, “What is this?”

“The fucks it look like, man!” Mickey shot back in defensive mode, storming off to sit against the headboard of the bed, arms and legs crossed.

Ian slowly followed him out of the closet, holding the box, still confused, “Well, it looks you have a secret box of… teeth.” Ian answered reluctantly, not sure he was ready for this explanation.

“Well there ya go, Sherlock.” Mickey mouthed off, not making eye contact.

“And are you the real tooth fairy?” Ian tried to tease to lighten the mood before he asked his real question.

Mickey just gave him the finger and leaned forward to the grab the box out of Ian’s hand now that he had sat facing him on the bed.

When Mickey didn’t say anything, Ian figured getting his answer was going to be like pulling teeth - no pun intended. “Mickey, why do you have a box of people’s teeth hidden in our closet?” Ian breathed out finally.

“Fuck you, it ain’t a box of people’s teeth...It’s a box of mine and Mandy’s teeth.”

Ian was still just as confused, but slightly relieved that his husband didn’t have some strange teeth fetish. “Okay...why do you have a box of yours and Mandy’s teeth?”

“Jesus,” Mickey groaned wiping his hands down his face, feeling like he might as well just tell Ian. No secrets was their thing or something; Ian was always talking about the tips he read in his relationship books. “Remember this morning how you said I never got any money from the tooth fairy as a kid?”

“Yeah. You told me that when Yev first started bringing up this tooth stuff.”

“Well, when I was Yev’s age and lost my first tooth, the kids at school told me if I stuck it under my pillow, this tooth fairy person would come and take the tooth and leave me money.” Ian nodded along as Mickey told his story. “Of course, growing up in the house of terrors, this was all news to me. But that night I stuck the tooth under my pillow and went to sleep happier than I’d ever been, ready to see what she left me in the morning.” Ian grimaced, not liking where this story was going. He reached out to stroke Mickey’s calf, letting him know he was there.

“‘Course the tooth was still there when I woke up. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t tell anyone, just hid the tooth in my closet and told the kids I spent my dollar on candy.” Mickey didn’t seem overly bothered by rehashing the sad childhood story, but Ian rolled his lips in before popping them out, adding another reason he hated Terry to his list.

“But,” Mickey continued, “I somehow convinced myself it was just a mistake and she might not have heard I lost my tooth or that she got really busy that night, so the next tooth that came out I had pumped myself up again and stuck both of the teeth under my pillow, ready for my payout.” Ian tightly gripped Mickey’s ankle, not wanting to hear anymore but not wanting to interrupt one of the few times Mickey talked about his childhood. 

“Woke up, no money, both teeth still there. So now I thought it was me and I was a bad kid or some shit, so the tooth fairy wasn’t gonna give me any money. So I hid that tooth in this old shoe box I found, with the first one and vowed to be really good until my next one fell out. Even got my dad his beers, helped with Mandy and did shit for my brothers, but still no tooth fairy came for the third time. And yet I still kept doing the same thing over and over. For some reason it took until I was eight to get the fact that it was all fake and my parents just didn’t give a shit about some fake tooth fairy. By that time though, I had like twelve fucking teeth just sitting in this box in my closet so I just kept adding them until they all fell out, not sure what I was supposed to do with baby teeth.” Mickey sighed the last part, seemingly done with his story.

“Why do you have Mandy’s teeth though?”

Mickey perked up like he had forgotten that part. “Oh, well, right when I figured out the tooth fairy thing was bullshit, Mandy had her first loose tooth, and I didn’t...” Mickey’s voiced petered off and Ian sighed, put the box on the nightstand and snuggled up to his husband with the heart of gold.

“You didn’t want her to feel like shit like you did? 

“Yeah.” Mickey answered, turning his head to nuzzle his nose into the top of Ian’s hair. “So I told her all about the tooth fairy, and made sure to take her tooth and leave something under her pillow when she fell asleep. It was a quarter if she was lucky and I had one but mostly it was a nickel or dime, but at least it was something,” Mickey mused, voice drifting off at the memory.

“You’re a really good brother, Mickey.” He couldn’t see his husband, but he knew he was blushing at the compliment, Ian didn’t care, “A really good man, Mick.”

“Such a sap,” Mickey deflected as usual. “I guess I can go throw them out now, no use keeping them.”

But Ian grabbed the box before Mickey could, “Go get a ziplock,”

Mickey raised his eyebrows at Ian’s demand. 

“Just do it.”

Mickey huffed but obliged like he always did when it came to Ian.

Mickey returned and plopped back down next to Ian, and handed him the zip lock bag. He watched as the red head carefully poured the almost 40 baby teeth into the bag and zipped it up. Ian handed the bag to Mickey, “Put this under your pillow tonight.”

Mickey groaned, knowing where this was going, “Ian… you don’t--”

“Under your pillow, Mick.”

Mickey just rolled his eyes and shook his head, but still gently laid the bag under his pillow as he and Ian settled in to sleep. Ian turned off the light on the nightstand and his hand rubbing up and down Mickey’s arm had the grumpy man quickly sound asleep.

_______________________________________________________________________ 

Mickey woke up content as usual, with the feeling of Ian’s warm body against his. He grumbled as his alarm for the day went off, not sure whether he liked that or Yevgeny’s wake ups worse.

They had both rolled onto Mickey’s side of the bed sometime during the night, sharing one pillow, just how Mickey liked it. Mickey moved on top of Ian to wake him up with morning kisses. He went sweep his arms behind and under Ian’s head to hold him closer when his wrist brushed against something.

And that’s when he remembered the previous night’s events. Ian’s eyes opened at the loss of Mickey’s kisses and body heat and Mickey sat up on top of him straddle style. “Ian?” Mickey asked as he started to lift up his pillow.

“Yes, Mick?” Ian replied as he lifted his head for easier access. 

Mickey pulled out a white folded piece of paper, “What is this?” he continued rolling his eyes at his dork of a husband. 

“How should I know?” Ian asked with faux innocence, but his inability to contain his eye crinkle level smile easily gave him away anyways.

Mickey unfolded the white paper to find a crisp ten dollar bill staring up at him. He felt his lips involuntarily turning up and he wanted to kick himself for feeling like a kid on Christmas morning over a fake tooth fairy payout. But his husband was just too sweet, he couldn’t help it.

He could see Ian’s equally happy grin in his peripheral, but his own happiness quickly changed to a deep love when he read what was written on the white paper.

 

Dear Mickey,

I’m so sorry it took so long for me to find you. Thank you for believing in me and spreading my magic with your son.

Xoxo The Tooth Fairy

PS: Finding you was worth the wait. I love you.

 

The letter was complete with a hand drawn fairy in the form of a winged red headed boy with green eyes and a bright smile.

Mickey looked up with glassy eyes. He didn’t want to cry over this. He didn’t want to cry over a letter Ian wrote in the middle of night and a barely more than stick figure drawing but there he was, tears threatening to spill. Fuck Ian for making him feel like a five year old who actually had someone who cared about him.

Mickey didn’t dare talk in fear of a voice crack, he just laid back over Ian, burying his face in the neck crook to hide his sniffs. Ian held onto Mickey and rubbed his back, not saying anything about the two wet spots he felt forming on his neck.

“Hey Mick?” Ian asked after Mickey’s breathing had slowed and his eyes had dried up.

“Mmm?” Mickey mumbled into his neck. 

“Let’s give Yevvy fifteen dollars for the first one, okay?”

Mickey just nodded into his husband’s neck and held on tighter, thanking who ever it was out there that had given him his particular tooth fairy.

 

Mickey's Box