Mickey pushed open the bedroom door to see Ian sitting there, crumpled in the floor. Back leaned against their unmade bed, the love they shared there no longer even the ghost of shadows dancing along the wall. Tears fell silently down his cheeks. Even in this time of utter defeat, he dared not cry out. Lest he wake the sleeping infant in the blanket on his lap. And so quietly he died on the inside. So hopelessly in love with the man standing in front of him, yet so resolved in the knowledge that his heart is no longer his.
Mickey let out a breath, confusion distorting the beautiful features of his face. He sees the scene unfolded in front of him, yet he could not seem to comprehend it in the slightest. His beautiful husband a complex shell of the person he fell in love with. Where had he gone? Why did he leave? When is he coming back?
"Do you love them?" Although Ian spoke quietly, the silence was shattered with the thundering of those words.
"Who?" Mickey says, wrinkling his forehead. Ian's focus breaks away from the sleeping form below him to look at Mickey for the first time in days.
"Whomever it is that has your affections now." Ian says.
The frankness of the statement hit Mickey harder than if Ian had stood and slapped him across the face. It was Mickey's turn to be at a loss for something to say.
"I don't.. I.. What are you talking about?" Mickey stammers. A smile played across Ian's lips but did not quit reach his eyes.
"Do you love them? The person who took the sparkle from your eye when you look at me. The person who stole your laughter from our home. The person who made you fall out of love with me? Do. You. Love. Them?"
Mickey stood there in front of him, his hands by his side but turned out. In surrender or apology Ian wasnt sure. Then again at this point it wouldn't make much difference.
"I'm sorry." It was all Mickey could manage at that point. Whatever it was he intended to convey with those words was obviously misconstrued because Ian sighed heavily. Not in a joking way as he once would have, but in a way that made Mickey's heart clinch in his chest.
Ian stood, not jostling the baby now in his arms. Turning, he laid her down in the crib against the wall, keeping his back to Mickey. Although he could no longer see his face, Mickey hears the tears falling just in the sound of his voice as Ian spoke again.
"I just want you to be happy."
"Then where is all this coming from?" Mickey was still confused. Sure they had some distance between the two of them, but he thought they were okay. The foundation was still strong, even if the structure was blowing in the breeze.
"It has been a long time coming. I don't care what it is you have to do to be that I just want you to be happy. You want to work together to make this right? Awesome. Let's buckle down and do it. You want to swing with a couple? Let's go find one. You want to swing on your own? Alrighty then. You want to stay married to me but see other people? Okay. You want to stay together for the baby but you don't want to be committed to me anymore. That really sucks but I'll deal with it. You don't want sex with me anymore at all? Just tell me that. You don't want to be married anymore? Again that really sucks. But I'll deal. As long as I know she and I are taken care of I don't care what you need to do to be happy. All I ask is you are up front and honest with me. Talk to me. You will always be my best friend and I will always love you. But if you aren't in love with me anymore, let's fix it. And if you don't want to do that let's figure out a way for you to be happy again. Because it's pretty obvious you aren't happy. And that's all I want for you in this life. What can I do to make you happy?"
While the tears had dried from Ian's face as he turned to look at him, tears of their own had decided at that moment to well in Mickey's eyes and begin streaming down his face.
What did he do so right in his life to deserve this man standing before him? Someone so selfless in the pursuit of love that they are willing to sacrifice everything they have to make sure another's happiness. How was he the one to be looked upon with such favor?
Mickey squared his shoulders and tried to convey the thoughts in his mind with the words from his mouth.
"What I want is for us to not have to rely on anybody but ourselves. I do love you and nothing is going to stop ME from loving you and wanting to be with you. Yeah, I would like to play around with others but we are not healthy enough to add in. We just have to make time for us. It is hard with me working all the time and you taking care of the little one all the time. And the weekends; it's always been something. I'm gonna do what it takes to win you back over and I know you will do the same."
Ian lowered his head, but not before Mickey saw the smile play across his lips once more. But this time it did reach his eyes.
"I want nothing more than to fall back into the honeymoon phase with you again. Where every passing touch from you sends fire through my body. I miss the intimacy between us so much it hurts. I don't want to go back to the way we used to be because I want to be better than that. I want to take this weekend and every opportunity after that to start the fire with my husband again." Ian said.
Following the unusual suit, Mickey lowered his head and smiled at the carpet. How could such a potentially catastrophic situation be diffused with so little words? The end of the world as they know it was staring at them down the barrel of a loaded gun. But they sized up the beast before them and never wavered in their resolve. The fates had looked favorably upon them once again. And although they didn't emerge unscathed, on the other side of the fire they emerged together and victorious.