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Bad Reputation

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Bad Reputation
Chapter 1- The Bleachers

There was no telling how many times Ian had seen it. Just five seconds of the day, multiple times a day, everyday for as long as he could remember. It had been going on for at least two years, during every class change, during lunch was the busiest, then after school as he went home.

Anyone knew what it was, or everyone knew. There was no reason for anyone to explain it. But Ian wanted someone to explain it to him, in the simplest words possible because the things he imagined had to be worse than the real thing.

“Hey babe.”

Ian drew his attention away from the bleachers, to Mandy as she stepped up beside him. His focus was on the current problem and there was no one better to ask than Mandy, his best friend.

“Hey Mands,” Ian forced a smile at her and knew she noticed. “Sorry, just distracted is all.”

“Graduation, or your boyfriend?” Mandy asked as she rested her head against him.

If only it was as simple as those two options.

Ian was a senior, about to graduate in three months or so. All the hard work was over, making the rest of the year a breeze. All he had to do was keep out of trouble, go to hockey practice and make it to graduation.

Mandy was a sophomore and the meanest sweetest person he had ever met. She was as mean as a snake, and as soft as a teddy bear, all at the same time. Ian met her last year when she was a freshman, messy blonde hair and a shitty attitude. No friends, wore deep awful black make up and smoked like a chimney. Somehow, they became friends instantly and he had a good influence on her while she had a bad influence on him.

Ian got her to drop the fake blonde hair, toss half her black make up and switch to smoking weed instead of cigarettes. In return, she finally got him to skip class, encouraged him to fuck his boyfriend on campus and nearly got him arrested for indecent exposure.

Their relationship was never perfect, but it worked.

“Neither,” Ian said after while. His attention was drawn back to the bleachers and this time, he wouldn’t be able to keep his questions to himself.

“Please don’t ask me Ian.” Mandy sighed and lit a cigarette.

He’d been really careful not to ask Mandy about Mickey; her twin brother. But every time that he saw him go under those bleachers, it became harder not to ask. Soon, there wouldn’t be anymore time. He was leaving, and he wouldn’t never understand.

He’s got a bad reputation…

“You’re really not going to tell me?” Ian asked, a little hurt because they were best friends and they were supposed to share everything.

“I don’t know what to tell you.” Mandy replied and offered the smoke to Ian.

Smoke in hand, he watched Mickey disappear under the bleachers with a new face. One of many.

“The truth Mandy,” Ian blew smoke up to the sky. “Just the truth, you know I won’t say anything.”

Being on the hockey team, his circle of friends was big. Like out of control big, but Mandy and maybe like two other people made up his inner circle and if Mandy told him about Mickey, there is no way he would tell anyone. But that’s what she was afraid of, the whole school actually knowing what they already knew.

Everyone knew, just nobody talked about it.

“I know you won’t Ian, and that’s not the reason I don’t want to tell you.”

With nothing more to stare at, Ian turned around and looked at her. “You don’t want him to know that I know.” It wasn’t a question, but she nodded all the same. “You realize that the whole school knows, right?” Mandy nodded again. “Whenever I hear about it, I walk away.”

Mandy smiled sadly. “So you know my brother is a ho, right?”

She was joking of course, to hide the fact that this thing with Mickey took it’s toll on her somehow.

“You don’t gotta front like that with me Mandy,” he held up his hand and waited for her to link her fingers with his before he squeezed. “There has to be more than that.”

Mandy nodded, but didn’t speak up right away.

“He takes the long way home.” Ian kept his voice low, unsure of why he was saying this at all. “I know it’s so he doesn’t run into everyone.”

“Mickey doesn’t have any friends for a reason.” Mandy sighed tiredly. “He takes the long way to avoid everyone.”

Mandy never got emotional like this about anything other than her brother. Even when they hung out at her house, Mickey was either gone, or holed up in his room. Ian had never even seen him up close. Not once in two years. Mickey never went to school games or dances, or any sort of school related activities. Ian didn’t even know if Mickey went to class at all.

He was a mystery.

“Mickey goes under those bleachers to handle his business Ian.” Mandy stomped out the cigarette. “The only way he can.”

Ian cringed. Both at what she said and how she said it, like it was decided there was no way to help him. Like she had given up a long time ago.

“What way?” He asked, knowing damn well what way. Maybe he just needed her to say it.

Mandy met his eyes, feeling hers water a little. “He sells the only thing he has,” she glanced away, to the bleachers. “He sells himself.”

And there it was. The truth. Mickey was putting a price on his body, collecting the amount of money he needed, the only way he could. Ian cringed, biting the inside of his lip so he didn’t ask more. By the time he turned back to her, she was already trying to leave.

“All of my friends have seen him naked,” Ian shook his head in mild disgust, because it was true. “Or so the story goes.”

The story was true. Mickey sold himself to whoever was willing, whenever he could, and it was always under those bleachers. The story was, Mickey never said no. Not to anyone. You could be a guy, or a girl and it didn’t matter which Mickey preferred. He never said no.

“Why do you want to know?” Mandy asked, halfway down the hill.

Ian sighed and sat down on the grass against the fence. “I don’t know Mandy, I really don’t.”

After she left, Ian stayed for longer than he should have. He missed practice at Fifth Third Arena, home of the Blackhawks. He had too much on his mind to go, he had Mickey on his mind.

What would cause Mickey to do this? To sell himself to anyone, to everyone. Why didn’t he just get a job if he needed money? There were so many questions and he wanted answers to them all. He wanted to hear it from Mickey.

Ian didn’t know much about Mickey, only what others told him. The school, and Mandy on that rare occasion. Recently, he’d seen Mickey every time he turned around. With yet another person, slinking under the bleachers. More than once, Ian found himself on the field looking for him and he had no idea why.

Mistakes, we all make them.

What mistake did Mickey make? What bad shit lead him to this?

After another ten minutes of around the clock questions, the guy who followed Mickey under the bleachers stepped out, zipping up his jeans and not looking back. Ian stood, grabbed his bag and slowly moved down the hill and closer to the bleachers.

This was probably a bad idea. Either Mickey would think he was after what he was selling, or Mickey would think he came to judge him, and Ian would end up with a black eye. Both were wrong. He didn’t want what Mickey was offering, or to judge, just to understand.

The sun disappeared as he got closer, making the almost chilly day seem colder. In the beginning of spring, there was still patches of snow around.

Ian stood at the entrance, afraid to go in, afraid to turn around. He didn’t know what to say to Mickey. There was no way Mickey just offer up the information to him, a stranger.

Mandy was his best friend and even she had been barely helpful. But, if he wanted to know, he would have to be persistent. So, Ian stepped inside.

It was colder underneath and he hugged his letterman’s jacket closer to his body. He expected it to be trashy underneath. Filled with all things related to high school youth. Beer bottles, cigarette butts, used condoms, other drug paraphernalia. But it was surprisingly clean. Just one of those industrial sized trashcans in the corner and a few makeshift benches.

Mickey was nearly in the middle, standing alone and fixing his jeans. Ian caught the movement of him rebuckling his belt and that only confirmed what Mandy said, what they all said. Ian kept moving forward slowly, not wanting to rush him if Mickey didn’t realize he was there yet. The only thing he was banking on, was Mickey never saying no. If money was involved, even if he didn’t pay for the services, Mickey probably wouldn’t say no.

It was clear when he finally got Mickey’s attention. Ian hadn’t even made it halfway to him when Mickey turned to leave, seeing him walking towards him. Ian didn’t take offense to the pissed off look that crossed his face, he was too busy marveling at how attractive he was. Like Mandy, who was beautiful, Mickey was too. Almost shockingly so.

Dark hair, buzzed on the sides, his eyebrows expressive enough to say what he needed without uttering a word. His skin was tan free, rather pale and soft looking, but his eyes were hard. Stormy blue, but there was a story in them, a painful one. Mickey was shorter than him, his arms bigger too, and not from sports. He was almost stocky looking, but his body fit his height perfectly and made him stunning.

“The fuck you want?” Mickey snapped; eyes hard.

Ian almost flinched at the heat that came with those words. Mandy had that same tough way about her. He was used to it by now.

“Heard you were down here.” Ian said simply, not willing to back down.

Mickey looked at him and Ian could see when he realized what he was after, not a fight but his ‘services.' Even when that was never his actual intention, but he had to play the part for now. Mickey looked at him from head to toe, trying to get a look at what he would be dealing with.

That gaze felt like pure fire.

Blue eyes softened a little and he nodded. “Hand job 15, oral 20, ass play 30 and sex 40.”

Ian was a little surprised that Mickey just rattled off sexual services like a grocery list. Down to the order, from the cheapest price, to the highest and with no hint of emotion in his voice, or on his face. It was all business and he hadn’t expected that.

“Don’t have all day here man, tell me what you want or fuck off.”

Ian got over the initial shock of it all and licked his lips. “Ass play is what exactly?” he asked what he really wanted to know in that moment.

Mickey snorted. “This your first time?”

Ian frowned and shook his head.

“Okay, so not a virgin but you don’t know what ass play is?” Mickey arched his eyebrows, amused.

Ian snorted and adjusted his bag on his shoulder. “I know what the fuck ass play is, I just wasn’t sure if you gave it or recieved it.”

Dark eyebrows shot way up and Ian almost laughed. Okay, so maybe the people that came down here already knew what they wanted and didn’t have ask, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a good question.

“I do both,” Mickey answered in a huff. “I do hand jobs both ways, ass play both ways, oral both ways and fucking both ways. Just tell me what you want.”

Damn, that was a rollercoaster of information and it only added more questions. Ian rubbed the back of his neck nervously, trying to come up with a way to do this that wouldn’t send Mickey walking away. How do you tell someone that sells sex, that you only wanna talk?

“Is that all you do?” Ian asked. Again, Mickey narrowed his eyes. “I mean, do you do other stuff too?”

Mickey rubbed his eyes. “Other shit like what? What else is there besides what I listed?”

“How much to talk?” Ian asked, already ready for the backlash of what he just asked for.

It was ludicrous.

“You better be fucking joking.” Mickey snorted. “Talking, seriously?”

Ian stood his ground under the snarky tone and nodded. “Yes, I’m serious.”

Mickey shook his head, a little bewildered. “Get lost man, go talk to your boyfriend or someone who actually gives a shit. Come back when you want what I’m offering.”

When Mickey turned away, Ian dug into his pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. “I’ll pay you for it.” That got Mickey to stop, but didn’t get him to turn around. “Just name your price.”

Mickey turned around, those eyebrows practically in his hairline. He looked shocked, maybe a little interested, or freaked out. He took his steps back until they were nearly face to face.

“Really?” Mickey asked. “Just name my price and you just wanna talk?”

Ian nodded and showed him the money. “Just talking, I promise.”

Mickey shook his head, not believing him. “And if I say yes, what do we talk about?”

Just the fact that Mickey was even considering it, made him smile. This was just what he wanted to happen. They would talk this way, and he might actually get Mickey to tell him why he was doing this. So he lost a little money, fine. Money was easy when you have a decent job. He would end up spending it on dumb shit anyway.

“We can talk about anything.” Ian suggested with a small smile. “Or nothing, if you want. But I kinda wanna know more about you.”

“The fuck you wanna know about me for?” Mickey barked, stepping into his space.

Ian shrugged, a little intimidated but he hid it well. “Well, that could be some of the shit we talk about.” He motioned to the cash again. “So, how much?”

Mickey scuffed and bit his bottom lip. “What if I said your dumb talking shit would cost you 100?”

Ian didn’t even blink as he counted out five 20’s and showed him. “100.”

Mickey looked away quickly, muttering something under his breath. Ian could tell that Mickey hadn’t been expecting him to pay it. 100 was a hefty amount for just talking but he would pay for it.

“Okay then, what if I said 150?” Mickey asked, meeting his gaze.

Ian knew what was going on. Mickey wasn’t out for money, or he was, but not right now. He was simply seeing if he was serious. Ian was dead serious as he fished out two more 20’s and a 10 and offered it.

“150.”

“Jesus Christ,” Mickey shook his head and stepped back. “You know there is an entire fucking school to talk to, for free I might add.”

Ian nodded and slid the rest of the money back into his pocket. “Yeah, but I’ve heard all that shit before. I dont wanna know about them,” he offered Mickey the money and this time, he took it. “I wanna know about you.”

Mickey eyed the money, quickly counting all 150 and tucked it into his hand as he nodded to the benches. Ian followed, smiling a little as he dropped his bag and took a seat. Mickey sat on the other one across from him looking entirely out of place.

“So,” Ian started but ended up smiling at the weirdness of it all. “Are you gonna actually answer any of my questions?”

Mickey shrugged. “You wanted to talk, so we talk. But it’s gonna be an extra 20 for each question.”

Now Ian’s eyebrows lifted. “10 a question.”

“25.” Mickey countered with a huff

Ian chuckled. “15, if you actually answer me.” That was as high as he was willing to go. Actually no, that was a lie. He would pay damn near anything for this story, but Mickey didn’t need to know that. “Deal?”

Mickey waited a moment, acting like he was thinking about saying no, but he wouldn’t. So he nodded. “Deal, but I don’t have all damn day, so you get to ask whatever you want within the next half hour.”

Ian nodded. That was more than reasonable and he had a feeling Mickey wasn’t going to answer half of what he had to ask. He might end up getting some information, losing money in the process, or he might end up keeping his money and getting to spend time with Mickey anyways, win-win.

“Okay, so first question.” Ian dug into his pocket and pulled out his money. “Do you enjoy any of this?” He looked around, making sure Mickey knew he was asking about it in general and not just talking with him.

Mickey shrugged. “Yes and no.”

Ian waited for him to elaborate and for a moment, he didn’t think he would, but he answered the question all the same. Ian pulled out a 10 and a 5 but kept it in his hand.

“Yes because half the time, the shit is actually good,” Mickey shook his head, looking away. “And no because I wouldn’t pick half the fucks that waltz down here and I don’t want to do this shit in the first place.”

Ian blinked slowly at him. Surprised by that entire offer of information. The sex was probably good half the time, but that didn’t mean Mickey wanted to fuck everyone that came down here.

The 15 was traded and Ian smiled when Mickey met his eyes. “Second question. Why do you do this if you don’t want to?”

This time, Mickey didn’t answer and Ian knew he wouldn’t. No money was traded, no words, not even a look. Mickey just glanced down until the uncomfortable feeling died down with his next question.

“Okay, do you prefer guys or girls?” Ian asked bluntly.

“Guys.”

The answer was clipped short, but it was an answer. Ian gave him another 15. He wondered how Mickey chose to field his questions. Like why he answered some, but not all. And how he decided which ones to answer.

“Are you mad that I came down here?” Ian asked quietly. This answer would decide if he came back down again. If Mickey said yes, he wouldn’t come back. The last thing he wanted to do was make him uncomfortable.

Mickey shook his head no. “Compared to the other assholes who come down here, you’re not so bad.”

Ian fucking grinned and it made Mickey smile a little too which he covered up with his hand. The moment passed and Ian hand over another 15. This was going surprisingly well.

“This talking thing, can go the other way you know.” Ian made sure to keep eye contact with him. “We could just talk, not only about you but anything you wanted.”

“Who says I want to talk?” Mickey asked, snapping a little still.

“I guess if you really don’t want to, that’s fine. But this might feel a little better if we both talk. Or if you wanted to ask me shit too maybe?”

Mickey considered for a moment before he spoke. “I’m not paying you back for asking.”

Ian snorted a laugh and it got a small laugh from Mickey as well. “All for free, promise.”

“Why the hell are you down here? Hmm?” Mickey asked and set the money beside him. “You just up and decide I’m the one you wanna talk to?”

Ian shook his head. “No. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now. I’ve seen you come down here, I’ve seen people come and go,” he paused as Mickey clenched his jaw. “I’m not judging, I’m just curious is all.”

“No one is just curious,” Mickey shook his head again. “They come down here because they want sex with no attachments and because it’s cheaper than a hooker down town. Cleaner too. They aren’t just curious.”

“Well, I am.” He scooted to the edge of the bench and Mickey seemed to scoot back. “I don’t care why they come here, I care why you do.”

“I come down here to make money.” Mickey snapped, losing every bit of the patience he had left. “I come down here because I need easy money fast. I don’t have time to slave away for 8 hours for shit pay and deal with people and their shitty attitudes.”

Their talk was coming to an end. Not just because that half hour was up, but because he struck a nerve and Mickey was getting upset. Ian never meant for that to happen.

Maybe this was how he could help. He could keep coming back to ‘talk'. He’d pay for Mickey’s time without sex of any kind. That way Mickey would still get paid, but he didn’t have to sell himself for it. At least not for him, others he couldn’t control.

“You’re what, 16?” Ian asked, unable to stop himself.

“I’ll be 17 this summer.” Mickey answered sharply.

Ian nodded and took out 30, 15 for that first question and another 15 for his next. “Tell me something,” Ian waited for Mickey to look up at him and saw how much pain was in those eyes. “At 16, what could possibly be so important, so demanding, that you’re forced to come down here?”

Ian stood up and hadn’t expected an answer. He grabbed his bag, moved to where Mickey was sitting and waited until he looked up at him. Ian held the money out and when Mickey took it, he bent down just enough to kiss the side of his cheek.

“Thank you.” Ian whispered, unwilling to look at Mickey’s surprised look and made his way out.

Just as he stepped back into the daylight, he was looking down just as someone clipped his shoulder trying to go in. He glanced up to see Lip standing there, a little wide eyed, much like himself.

They didn’t speak, Ian didn’t even know what to say right then. Lip came to see Mickey? How often? What did he ask for? Did Mickey know they were brothers? Did it matter?”

More fucking questions.

Ian stared him down as he walked passed and Lip did the same. Unlike his brother, he was not single. Ian had a boyfriend, all star in track, valedictorian, sexiest guy at school...or so he thought, or he used to be. Maybe not anymore.

It was strange for him to be coming out of the bleachers, not Lip. But why did Lip going down there piss him off? The thought of them together, like THAT, made his stomach turn.

“Hey babe!!”

Ian jumped at the sound of Alex's voice, his boyfriend. He was well onto the field by now, preoccupied wondering what Lip chose off that list Mickey gave him, to notice his boyfriend.

Alex was smiling as he put and arm around his shoulder. Ian tried to seem happy. Smiling and leaning against him, moving in to kiss his cheek. “Hey babe, sorry. Guess I didn’t see you.”

“Yeah, you seemed a little out of it.”

Had Alex seen him come from under the bleachers? He didn’t act as if he did. “Just saw Lip going under the bleachers.”

Alex smiled. “Yeah, he goes down there at least once a day. Which is fucking weird because last year he swore he wasn’t gay.”

Lip was one year older than him. So last year when he was a junior, Lip had been a senior. But Lip graduated last year and he was still coming to see Mickey? What the hell.

“He's more confused than some of the freshmen we get.” Ian bit his tongue about it bothering him and they made their way back to the field. “You done with practice?”

Alex shook his head. “Got another half hour or so. You wanna stay?”

Normally he would, but after that shit with Mickey, he was beat. Confused. A little angry about Lip. Not to mention he was late for practice himself.

“Sorry babe, coach is already gonna have my ass for being late. I can’t just skip.” Ian kissed his cheek again. “Meet me later?”

Alex nodded. “Later.”

There would be no going to practice. His heart wasn’t in it this time. He would have better luck going home to think about all this shit. Maybe even catch Lip later on, ask him what all that shit was about.

Mickey did have a bad reputation.

Chapter Text

Bad Reputation
Chapter 2- His Price to Pay

The next morning had Ian out of bed before his alarm, skipping his normal shower to dress as quickly as possible. The rest of the house was asleep, leaving him an excuse to skip breakfast and get to school as fast as he could.

Last night, his every thought had been filled with Mickey. Those answers rattled around in his brain, ping ponging often enough to drive him crazy. Even being with Alex hadn’t been enough to get him focus. Not even when Alex dropped to his knees, his pretty mouth working him just how he liked it, all he could think about was Mickey.

He thought about the obvious, Mickey and sexual activities with of all the people who paid him. About Lip and wondering if he would have the stomach to ask Mickey about it. Ian wondered how many people he talked to everyday, that had been with Mickey without him knowing. Lip was a surprise, but Alex seemed to know. Did that mean Alex went under there too?

Was it possible to have sex as a profession and not let it eat away at you? Did Mickey go home after, shower and forget all the hands that had touched him? Or who's mouth had been where? Or did Mickey give into the hopelessness and spend the night crying himself to sleep, begging for someone to help him?

Mickey asked for help, even if he didn't say the words. It was all in his eyes.

The pain as Mickey revealed that had been real. But did that mean someone had tried to help him before and Mickey turned them down? Mandy seemed to think there was no help, no hope. She was Just as sad as Mickey was, if not more so. Did someone make her do it too? Maybe when they couldn't hang out together, or tucked away into the women's bathroom where he would never see it?

Each thought was worse than the first and they were the only things that kept him company while everyone else stayed blissfully ignorant.

He had to see Mickey, right now.

Thank God for the car Clayton got him, his biological father. He had been trying to buy his love and affection since he moved in with him and Ian let him. It was the least he could do for 17 years of no contact or effort to raise him.

The car was in decent shape, nothing so new that he was afraid to park it at the school. Ian sped to the closest coffee shop to the school. He darted inside, smiled as he grabbed two large coffees and a bag of assorted creamer, a couple of muffins and he was back in the car, only a block away from the school.

He had to see Mickey again. To talk to him, to get more answers. What he got yesterday was incredible, but it left him wanting more, and maybe that was the point. The more he wants to know, the more money he has to pay. Did Mickey realize that and hustle him?

The car was the only one parked in the student lot. Only a few of the teachers parking spaces were taken. Ian left his bag inside the car, grabbed both coffees and the small bag and moved as quickly as he could to the field.

The field was also empty, quiet and a little slick as he quickly walked through the grass and down the hill towards the bleachers. It might have been too early for Mickey to even be there, but it was worth a shot.

Mickey was there, of that he was sure. The history teacher, a rather good looking guy with dark hair and a body built for sports, was currently on his way out, buttoning up his slacks, his face more than a little flushed.

When he spotted him, he had the nerve to look surprised. “Mister Gallagher,”

Ian narrowed his eyes as they stood face to face. He towered over him by a few inches, forcing mister James to glance up to look into his eyes. “Mister James, out for your morning run?” Ian snorted, eyes hard and unfriendly.

Mister James blushed and looked away. “I might have been. You?”

Ian nodded, glaring at him as he adjusted his wedding ring. “About to find out.” He glanced towards the entrance of the bleachers, then back to James. “How much you spend?”

Now he had the nerve to look a little bashful and smug at the same time. What a douchebag. James was nearing 35 to Mickey’s 17, totally underage and against the law. Not to mention James had a wife, a few kids too and he thought it okay to seek out sexual favors from minors?

“Uh…”

“Unless you want me to inform the other teachers how early you exercise in the mornings, you better tell me.”

Where the territoriality came from, Ian had no idea. He hated that Mister James came to see Mickey. He hated that Lip, his own fucking brother, came to see Mickey. But Mickey wasn’t his, in any way, shape or form, and it still pissed him off because unlike him, they weren’t paying for conversation.

“Well?” Ian prompted. “What’s it gonna be?”

James groaned and looked around for anyone close enough to hear. “I’m out $145.”

His eyebrows rose quickly. That was almost what he paid just to talk to Mickey. What the hell did this guy get? “What did you buy?”

James averted his eyes. “All of it.”

All of it. All the shit that Mickey listed yesterday? All of it? “Jesus Christ,” Ian shook his head in disgust. “Get the fuck out of here before I call your wife.”

Mister James moved as quickly as he could, fumbling up the hill on slick grass. Ian wanted to fucking chase after him and punch the shit out of him. Nasty fucking bastard. At least Mickey was doing it for business, James was just a fucking creep.

“We gonna have an issue with you scarin off my customers Gallagher?”

Ian snapped out of his little murder fantasy at the harsh sound of Mickey’s voice. He looked back and Mickey was leaning against the bleachers, smiling shyly, clearly amused.

“We might if you get creeps like that guy.” Ian moved closer and noticed the flush to Mickey’s cheeks and neck. Also how his hair was messy and the puffiness of his lips. “Regular?”

Mickey nodded and lit a cigarette. “At least twice a day.”

“Twice—“ he trailed off as he shook his head. “Jesus.”

“Yeah, he’s a fuckin perv but that money is good and he’s better lookin that half the guys I get down here.”

Ian looked away because he was one of the guys down there.

“Present company excluded.” Mickey continued.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Ian chuckled, amazed that more than half the anger he just felt vanished with Mickey around. “Glad you’re here, wanted to catch you before class.” He offered one of the coffees. Everything was better with coffee. “Unless you have a line down there.”

Mickey snorted as he rolled his eyes. “No line, but you'd be my 4th since I got here an hour ago.” He grabbed the coffee and started walking under. “You coming?”

Fourth in just an hour? Holy shit. And at 6 in the morning on a Thursday? Damn, people at this school were dedicated to their hookups.

It took him a second to realize Mickey had practically given him an invite and he had to scramble to catch up with him. “How early are you here?” Ian asked as he sat down across from Mickey, coffee in hand.

Mickey didn’t answer him though because his conversations weren’t free. Ian smiled, making Mickey grin as he sipped his coffee. Okay, so negotiating time.

“You really didn’t think coffee would make me forget why you’re down here, did you?” Mickey asked with a quirk of his eyebrow.

Ian shook his head and handed the bag over. Mickey gave a little surprised look before it was gone and dug into the bag for one of the muffins. “Not at all, just the easy conversation made me forget.” Ian smiled, happy for the conversation while it lasted.

“Do I need to list my shit again, or are you here for more conversation shit?” Mickey mumbled around a mouth full of food, not unaware of the way he was being looked at.

“Definitely more conversation shit.” Ian set his coffee down and pulled out his wallet. “Same as before?” Ian asked and Mickey looked away. “Unless you upped the price.”

“I didn't up the price Gallagher.” Mickey set his coffee down and lit another cigarette. “Can you afford it?”

That was twice Mickey said his last name. Up until now, he assumed Mickey had no idea who he was. How very interesting. Unless of course he knew he and Lip were brothers, then that 'interesting' shit got smashed to pieces.

“I can,” Ian promised with a small smile. “I might have to work a shit load of over time to get more after this, but I’ll be back.”

Ian had a job; he had a few jobs. Between coaching the JV hockey team and working at the local sports store around the block from Clayton's, he made good money. Money he probably shouldn't spend like THIS, but he was hardly worried about that at the moment. He was too into this now to back away even if he tried.

“I’ll make you a deal,” Mickey offered after a moment, unsure of why he chose to cut him a break, when he hadn't done that before. “We go 10 a question if I answer it, but I’ll only answer yours if you answer mine.”

Surprise hit him hard and he felt like he needed a minute to figure out why Mickey would want to offer that. To ask him questions. He’d asked a couple before, but only because Ian prompted him to ask.

“Okay, deal.” Ian smiled.

Now What did he really want to ask him? There was so much to choose from and the question he really wanted to ask would probably piss him off and it would all be ruined. Best save that one for last.

“Well?” Mickey prompted with a grumble.

“Okay, uhh…” he paused a moment more to decide. “How long have you been doing this?”

Mickey bit his lip. “Why do you care?”

Ian shrugged. “Curious really. I never see much of you in school, or when I hang around with Mandy, then I see you down here.” He kept his voice as soft as possible, not wanting to create conflict. “So?”

Mickey huffed. “Pretty much since I got to this fucked up school, so this will be year two.”

Ian handed the 10$ over, his eyes a little wider. “Is there any way you can make money a different way?”

Mickey scuffed, unbelievable. “If there was, don’t you think I’d do it?” He asked but that hardly counted as a question. “You seriously think I want to be down here in all my free time?”

Ian shook his head. “I think this is the last place you want to be. But maybe…" he paused, trying to sort through the legal ways to make money, "there has to be another way to get money Mickey.”

This was taking a turn quickly. They moved passed uncomfortable and moved to temperamental. It wasn’t any of his business, yet he couldn’t stay out of it. He didn't even try. He had to know, all of it. Even when it was clear that Mickey didn't want to tell him.

“Yeah, well maybe in Gallagher la-la land there is." Mickey snapped at him. "Maybe one where a rich daddy gives you money so you can spend it on dumb shit like this.” Mickey barked and stood up to pace. “Trust me, all the shit you want to say to me, I’ve already tried it and it only earned me a black eye or a cracked rib in return.”

That hit him like a literal punch to the gut. Someone was beating Mickey if he didn’t work? Who the fuck would do that? A boyfriend, girlfriend? Was this all about drugs?

Ian stood too, trying to get closer to him but Mickey seemed to be in a panic and backed away from him. Breathing heavily, glancing around like someone might be there. Like someone might catch them talking. “Tell me who it is.”

“What?” Mickey snapped, eyes hard and unforgiving.

“Who’s making you do this?” Ian raised his voice in the heat of the moment. “Is it a pimp, your boyfriend maybe?”

Mickey laughed so hard tears welled in his eyes, but it was far from funny. “I don’t have a fucking boyfriend Gallagher, are you shittin me? Who the fuck wants someone who fucks all day every day?”

Ian nearly gagged. All day, every day. With many, many people.

“And the only pimp I have is…” Mickey trailed off. Panting softly and out of breath. He pushed Ian away and sat back down, attempting to keep his shit together. It didn't help that Ian sounded like he was really worried about all of this.

Ian moved to take his seat again, trying to calm down enough to listen. But it was like Mickey just couldn’t bring himself to say it. “Is someone forcing you to do this?” If
Mickey said yes, then there had to be a way out of it all. A way out for Mickey. He would make a way out.

“Your boyfriend know you’re here?” Mickey asked quickly, itching a little because Ian was trying his damndest to find out who it was.

Ian shook his head, amazed that Mickey could just jump back into this 'deal' so quickly. “No, only Mister James knows I’m down here.” The urge to say Lip knew rose up, but that was the question for later. “So?” He asked again, studying Mickey’s flushed face as he waited for his answer.

Mickey shifted as he looked down to the ground, not wanting to make eye contact anymore. “Yes, someone is making me do this.”

Ian scooted forward, trying to catch Mickey’s eyes. After a moment, blue eyes met his and he looked sad, worried. “Will you let me help you?” Ian asked softly, unaware that this qualified as his question, and unsure if it even mattered anymore. “Because I can, if you let me.”

“Why do you want to help me?” Mickey asked as he looked at him. All he saw was worry, fear, sadness in his eyes.

“Because, no one should be forced to do this Mickey.” Ian was off the bench now, almost kneeling in the dirt to get closer to him. “You have this darkness in your eyes.” Ian was staring right at it and it was painful, fearful. “You’re too young have that look.”

It seemed like Mickey was going to push him away again. Spout off curses at him, keeping it strictly business. But Ian could see he was vulnerable right now, open to what he had to say. The switch from one to the other was incredible, practiced.

“Even if you could help, you shouldn't.” Mickey leaned forward, putting them closer together. “This shit will just drag you down too. No reason to let it happen to both of us.”

Ian acted before he fully thought about it, or why he shouldn’t. His hand moved to Mickey’s cheek, softly caressing the side as he licked his lips. “I don’t want you to do this.” Ian whispered and leaned up. “Let me try and help you.”

What was happening? This went from mild curiosity to something deeper. Something he hadn’t expected. Ian was infatuated with Mickey. He wanted to know everything about him. Ian wanted to know why he was down here. Who made him do it and why was it so important to get money like this? Ian wanted to help him, to save him.

“You’ll just get hurt.” Mickey spoke quietly, feeling the emotions bubble in his throat. “It’s better if you just forget all this shit.”

Ian shook his head and moved closer. One hand on Mickey’s cheek, the other resting on his knee to keep himself steady. “I tried to do that last night and the opposite happened. I can’t get you off my mind Mickey.” Ian slowly let one thumb brush over his cheek and Mickey seemed to crave the touch, despite his current profession.

Mickey allowed himself to lean into the touch for a second, giving up just one moment of control. “What’s in it for you?”

“Peace of mind.” Ian answered honestly. He kept Mickey’s eyes as he moved forward, showing him what he was about to do. When Mickey just eyed his lips, Ian went for it.

Their lips touched softly. Ian could feel how stiff he was, not making an effort to kiss him back. Probably because this was a really bad idea and that it would complicate both of their lives. But he couldn’t pull away, and only doubled his efforts.

His thumb went back to stroking Mickey’s cheek and slowly moved back, then in again for another kiss. His lips were soft and sweet, tasting like coffee and cigarettes. But Mickey still wasn’t responding, and Ian felt his heart drop.

As he slowly moved back, Mickey’s hand moved to the back of his neck, stopping him from leaving. Ian opened his eyes and saw the absolute fear in Mickey’s eyes. “I just want to help.” He whispered; his voice was a little tight, full of emotion. “I don’t care what they say about you, I know you’re better than this.”

Mickey licked his lips. “Better than this?” He questioned, more to himself and shook his head. “I don’t know how to let anyone help me.”

This was so wrong. Ian had a boyfriend; a serious boyfriend and Mickey was pretty much a better version of a prostitute. They weren’t supposed to come together like this, but it felt like a powerful force was pushing them together.

“Yes, better than this. I won’t ask anything from you Mickey,” Ian kept up the soft stroke over his cheek. “I don’t want sex or favors. Nothing like that. I just want to help you.”

“Then why are you kissing me?” Mickey asked and kept his hand on Ian’s neck.

Ian smiled. “Because I just can’t seem to help it.” He let his forehead rest against Mickey’s while he tried to get a grip. “I’m sorry.” He pulled away, but Mickey’s hold on him kept him from moving. “Mickey?”

“Do it again.” Mickey urged him on, licking his lips nervously, despite the warning in the back of his mind.

Ian went for it, swiping Mickey’s bottom lip with his thumb before leaning in to kiss him. It was just as soft and sweet as the first one, but this time Mickey kissed him back. Just a simple movement made heat flush throughout his body.

The groan couldn’t be prevented. Ian tried to keep it in but at the gentle swipe of Mickey’s tongue against his lower lip, he was done for. “Is that a yes?” Ian asked breathlessly when he pulled back enough to talk.

Mickey nodded and licked his lips, finding that he rather enjoyed the kiss. “I have no idea why the fuck this is happening, but you get one chance Gallagher.”

“All I need is one.” Ian whispered just as he kissed him again.

This was not why he came here this morning. He didn't come for kisses and promises of hope. Ian only came to talk and to try and understand. Now that he understood, there was no way he could walk away from it. There was no plan to help Mickey in the back of his mind. No guidebook to show him the way. But more than anything, Ian wanted to try. He wanted to help him, he needed to help him. Even if he didn’t understand why.

Chapter Text

Bad Reputation
Chapter 3- Trust Me

By some miracle, Ian managed to convince Mickey to ditch the rest of the day with him and work on figuring it out. Mickey was more than a little hesitant, especially getting in his car, but he did and now they were at Clayton's house, ready to sort this shit out.

“Make yourself at home.” Ian held the door open for Mickey and set his keys down on the counter and shrugged off his jacket.

The house was empty. Clayton was at work, his wife too. Leaving the house empty for him and Mickey to have a chance to talk, the right way and see they could come up with a solution.

Mickey moved into the living room and took a seat on the couch, fingers linked in front of him, feeling out of place. “Nice place.”

Ian shook his head and reached into the fridge for two beers, maybe it would let them relax quicker. “Clayton seems to think so.” He replied as he moved into the living room and handed Mickey one beer. “Feels kinda stuffy.”

“Who’s Clayton?” Mickey didn’t look up. “Boyfriend?”

Ian snorted. “Nope, dad.” He watched surprise flicker across Mickey’s face at that. “Frank isn’t my dad. He’s my uncle.”

“So your mom slept with Frank’s brother?” Mickey asked in mild disgust.

Ian nodded. “Took a DNA test my freshman year for some project, imagine my surprise.” He chuckled and managed to squeeze a smile from Mickey. “Big clusterfuck but it helps to have a different place to go rather than the house. Too many people there.”

Mickey knew of The Gallagher's, just like the rest of the south side, so it was odd for him not to live at home. Instead, looked around the large room. “So, you live here instead of the Gallagher house?”

“Only this year.” Ian picked at the wrapper on the side of the bottle. “I need to keep my scholarship and too much bad shit happens in that house.”

Fuck, small talk was awful. Trying to avoid talking about why they were really there was normal, but this was like pulling teeth with a pair of rusty pliers. They already eased into it back at school, so it wouldn't happen again now. Now, was big boy talk, serious shit. Half illegal shit.

“So, you want to tell me how all this started?” Ian asked after that uncomfortable silence became too much. “We didn’t come here to talk about me.”

Mickey shook his head. “I guess we didn’t.” He waited a second, thinking carefully before he blurted it all out. “Look, the only way this shit will work, is if you promise you won’t go after him.”

Ian clenched his jaw. Him. The one making Mickey do all these things. “And why not? He should he held accountable for all the shit you do.”

Mickey snorted, almost surprised at Ian's sense of justice “Yeah, well the world wasn’t built on hopes and dreams Gallagher. Just get this through your head, yeah? He is fucking evil, like the embodiment of all things fucked up and if you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong, he will kill you.”

Mickey spoke of this guy like he was the actual devil and it was making fear creep up his spine. “Who is it?”

“It’s my dad.” Mickey quickly drank the rest of the beer and leaned back on the couch wondering if he just made the biggest mistake of his life.

Ian was dumbfounded. His dad made him do that, sell himself? He figured it would end up being a pimp after all, or an abusive boyfriend. Or maybe he got tangled with the wrong crowd. But his dad?

"Uh,” Ian started but didn’t know what else to say. “Wow.”

Mickey nodded and looked away from his shocked face. “Yeah, and as fucked up as that is, it’ll only get worse if you go around with that damn hero complex.”

“I don’t have a damn hero complex.” Ian huffed and rubbed his face. “Someone would have to be heartless not to help.”

“Well, you’re the only not heartless person then Gallagher.” Mickey let his head fall back against the couch. This kid lived on a fucking rainbow if he thought people were as nice as he was. “You haven’t met my dad, have you?”

“I’ve heard a little about him, but never met him. Not even when I was at your house with Mandy." Ian sat back too. Trying not to memorize the way Mickey’s throat looked all stretched back like that. “He making you do it just to be a prick, or is there a reason?”

“Well, as with everything, there are two sides to every story.” Mickey opened his eyes to see Ian staring at him. “He said we have to pull our weight if we want to live there. So, I got a job at the garage up the road from us.”

Ian nodded. “Makes sense.”

“Yeah, well Mandy isn’t a people person so she had a hard time keeping the jobs she got.” Mickey continued with a deep sigh. “So he decided she was going to make money no matter what, even if that meant selling herself.”

Ian’s eyes widened. Much like they had when Mickey told him. Mandy never said anything about this to him and they were together every day. Was she afraid of her dad? Would he actually force her to do what Mickey was doing? “She never told me.”

“Because it’s nobody's business and because she doesn't know. I couldn't tell her that was the reason." Mickey barked and instantly felt bad because of it. He took a deep breath, trying not to bite his head off. “Anyways, there was no way I was about to let her do that shit. So I quit my job and told him I’d do it if he left her alone.”

Mickey may have been a little harsh sometimes, or most of the time. He may have come off as an asshole, but he was a good fucking person. Protecting his sister from their depraved dad. Not many people would be able to do that. Or willing to do it.

Ian shook his head. “Did it work?”

Mickey nodded. “It’s been working. She gets to worry about boys and school and not have to worry about any of that shit.”

“You’re a good person Mickey.” Ian whispered as he stood, empty beer bottle in hand. “But you shouldn’t have to deal with that shit either.”

Mickey stood when Ian did and followed him into the kitchen to dump the bottles. “No, I shouldn’t. But he needs money or we are out of a place to live, or she gets tossed under the bleachers with me.”

“Is there anywhere else you guys can go?” Ian asked hopefully. “Like other family?”

Mickey leaned against the counter and shook his head. “Look, I appreciate what you’re doin, but we don’t have anyone else. So, if that was your big plan, then it won’t work.”

That had only been step one of his plan. Finding other means for cash, then asking if they had somewhere else to go, that was normal. Unlike what he was about to suggest.

“Look, Clayton has been hounding me to let him get me a place, so I don’t have to stay there and here is a little crowded.” Ian explained and smiled when Mickey looked around like there was plenty of room. “Okay, so his wife hates that I’m here and wants me out.”

Mickey smiled. “That’s much better.”

“Yeah, who knew affairs could create tension. Anyways, I could tell him I’d take it and you and Mandy could stay there.”

Mickey’s eyes widened. He had never been so shocked before. . “Are you kidding me? You don’t even know me.”

Ian shook his head. “No, I don’t but I know Mandy, she's my best friend. And you won’t have to worry about him, or making money and shit unless you want to. And you won’t have to go under the bleachers again.”

There was a moment when Mickey didn’t say or do anything but stare at him in disbelief. It was understandable. When people offered help, it was minimal. They didn’t offer you a place to live for free without something in return. Mickey probably thought there would be something in it for him, like a sexual favors exchange. And it wasn’t like Ian hadn’t thought about Mickey that way, but it felt wrong. Even that small kiss felt wrong. Mickey was right, he didn’t know him. But he wanted to.

That’s why Ian wasn’t prepared for Mickey rushing up to him, gripping his entire face in his hands and kissing him. Ian stood there, hands at his sides, in shock for less than half a minute before he had his arms wrapped around Mickey’s waist, pulling him close as he kissed him back.

It was good, so fucking good. Ian couldn’t get enough of his soft but demanding lips. Mickey angled his head wherever he wanted him and Ian went with it, groaning deeply, feeling Mickey stand on the tips of his toes to reach him. It was easy to let him take over, easy to give up control.

Mickey pulled back, more than a little breathless as he rested his head against Ian's. “You’re insane, you know that?”

Ian grinned and gave a little nod. “I’m willing to be a little crazy if that means you’ll let me help.” They were still pressed close together, his hands around Mickey, with his face cradled in Mickey’s hands. “Is that a yes?”

Mickey fought against everything inside him, not to say no right off the bat. He didn’t trust easily, but there was something about him that made him want to accept that help.

“Nothing in return?” Mickey searched his face for a lie, a little amazed when he didn't find one.

Ian shook his head, then tilted it a little to rub their lips together. “Nothing that you don't want to give.”

“Yes.” He whispered and pulled Ian down again, trying to keep what he was feeling right now a little longer.

Someone kissing him had never felt so good before. Not even with his own boyfriend. But this was such an incredible feeling. Maybe because it was new and a little dangerous, maybe he did have a hero complex. Or maybe it was because Mickey kissed him without any prompt. Ian could never get enough of his tattooed hands brushing through the back of his hair, luring him in deeper.

The kiss was slow, but had the potential for something faster, all consuming. Ian moved one hand up to grip the side of Mickey’s face, urging him on just a little. Not enough to push those delicate boundaries, but enough to show Mickey he was okay with more.

But more would have to come later. Ian was the first to pull back, smoothing a knuckle up Mickey’s cheek as he let him go. Mickey moved, but stayed closer than he had been before that kiss.

“You know people won’t understand.” Mickey pointed out as he tried to catch his breath. “You helping me, they won’t get it.”

Ian shrugged. "They don’t need to understand why. They don’t know what you’ve been through.”

Mickey looked away, unsure again. Because Ian didn't know either, not all of it.

“It doesn’t affect them, just us and Mandy. So it doesn’t matter if they don’t understand.”

Mickey shook his head, unsure. There were too many factors.. “Your boyfriend gonna be okay with it?”

Ian smiled tightly, giving his answer. Alex would not be okay with it. Not even without mentioning the kissing.

“He gonna be okay with you kissin on me like that?”

That made Ian grin and step forward until they were once again face to face. “First of all, you’re the one kissin on me like that.” Mickey looked away again and Ian caught his chin, keeping him from moving. “And either way, he won’t be okay with it.”

“What’s that mean then?” Mickey asked bluntly. “Was this just talk?”

The answer was easy. He simply bent down and lightly kissed Mickey’s lips, too fast for him to kiss back. “It means let me worry about that, okay?”

“That’s dangerous shit Gallagher,” Mickey couldn’t hide his smirk. “Playin both sides.”

Was he playing both sides? Being with Alex, now…something with Mickey? Ian just found it a little odd that throughout this entire thing, he only thought about Alex when Mickey brought him up. That should have bothered him. Did it bother Mickey?

“I’m playin this by ear, so I have no idea what’s gonna happen with that shit.” Ian released his chin but didn’t move away. “I do know I’m enjoying myself a lot better with you then I do with him.”

As happy as he was to hear that, it didn't change the circumstances very much. “It’ll wear off once my dad gets wind of this.” Mickey warned, more than a little worried. “Then we are all in for some serious shit.”

Before Ian had a chance to reply, the door was unlocked and Clayton's wife walked in. Ian didn’t jerk away from Mickey like they’d been caught, there was no need. She seemed surprised to see him, or them, and instead of giving friendly eyes like she had when Clayton was around, she glared at him.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at school?”

Ian smiled when Mickey’s eyebrows rose as she sneered at them. This was nothing new. She was a total bitch unless Clayton was there. “I am, decided I needed a personal day.”

Mickey snorted, personal day, that was for damn sure.

Luckily, Clayton walked through the same door and her entire attitude changed. She dropped the ultimate bitch mode attitude and turned into Susie homemaker. Mickey noticed and shook his head, unbelievable.

“Ian!” Clayton smiled and came closer, noticing another person. “Oh, and Ian’s friend.”

Ian smiled. “Clayton, this is Mickey, Mickey this is my….father Clayton.” He didn’t mean to hesitate but the man had been missing for 17 years. It was hard to call him anything aside from asshole.

“Mickey, nice to meet you.” Clayton smiled

They shook hands and Mickey took a step closer to him. Ian smiled and nudged his shoulder. “Sorry for just stopping by, Mickey and I had something to take care of.”

Clayton seemed surprised as he looked at them. Ian knew it was because they knew about Alex. Met him a few times, liked him even. And Mickey was not him.

“Oh that’s ok, right honey?” Clayton asked his wife.

She smiled brightly and nodded, but Ian could see it was forced. Maybe Clayton noticed, maybe he didn’t. Or he could have just ignored it. Not like he cared one way or another.

“Clayton, you mind if we talk for a second?” Ian asked him directly, not caring if this was a bad time for her or not. This was not something he wanted her to have the privilege of hearing.

Clayton smiled. “Sure, of course. We can go in my office. Does your friend want to come?”

Friend. Hardly, but that was between them. Ian glanced at Mickey. “You wanna come with me?”

Mickey eyed them both and shook his head. It seemed a little awkward, dangerous and too much fucking drama. “Not fucking likely.”

“I’m just gonna mention it to him, see what he says.” Ian whispered and glanced to Clayton's wife. “You wanna wait in my room? Better than having her glare at you.”

Ian couldn’t remember what current state his room was in. That was the only room she refused to clean after she found a bunch of porn movies and magazines laying around his room. He was 18, of course he had porn. She was probably the only one who didn't and that was unnatural.

In Ian's room? In his personal space. That seemed like a very bad idea. “Gonna take long?” Mickey asked as he glanced at her.

“It shouldn’t. Come on, I’ll show you.” Ian nodded down the hall and turned to Clayton. “Gonna let him sit in my room while we talk.”

Clayton nodded. “Nice to meet you Mickey.”

Mickey faked a smile and followed Ian, very aware of the odd looks. “You too.”

They moved down the hall quickly and Ian opened his door to find that his room wasn’t as bad as he thought. His bed was messy, sheets and blankets tossed around. Some clothes on the floor, but nothing too bad. No porn or dirty underwear or sticky bottles of lube.

“She won’t bug you in here.” Ian let Mickey pass him and gripped the doorknob to close it but Mickey had a firm grip on his arm. “You okay?”

Mickey nodded but Ian knew he was more than a little uncomfortable. Ian let go of the doorknob and lightly gripped Mickey’s chin and kissed him. Just a brief press of their lips and at least half the tension drained from Mickey’s body.

“You need to quit with that shit.” Mickey smirked as he leaned in for another one. “You’re gettin too comfortable.”

Ian smirked. “You’re the one in my room, maybe you’re the one getting comfortable.” He winked, leaned in to kiss him again and shut the door before he was even more tempted to stay.

And of course Clayton's wife was right there, probably peeking in on him and Mickey. “Enjoy the show?”

She scuffed. “Maybe that nice boy Alex will enjoy the show too.”

Ian grinned, not taking the bait. “He might, you never know. But, I bet dear old dad might like to know about all those extra withdrawals you take out every Friday.” Her smile slipped and he winked. “Good talking with you.”

Without another word, Ian left her standing in the hallway, mouth open in surprise and knocked lightly on Clayton's office door.

“Come on in.”

Chapter Text

Bad Reputation
Chapter 4- A Fresh Start

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Mickey asked, eyes wide as they walked out of the house, pretty sure Ian was fucking with him.

Ian smiled and casually wrapped an arm around him. “He told me to find a place, give him the price and it was mine. But only if I look at this one first. ”

Things with Clayton had gone exceptionally well. He was thrilled that Ian finally wanted to take him up on that offer. Maybe it made him feel like an accomplished parent and Ian was okay letting him think that. Mickey however was more than a little shocked it had gone so well.

“How loaded is he?” Mickey asked as he eyed the big house they were leaving.

They walked back to his car, ready to go apartment hunting. “Like really loaded. He works for some big software company.” He honestly didn't care about the money and unlocked the car and opened Mickey’s before he thought about it.

“Opening doors now?” Mickey shook his head and elbowed him playfully. But it had a feeling rise up inside of him, almost like a flutter. “This hero shit is getting out of hand.”

It only made Ian smile wider. “Just get in.”

Mickey got in with a smile and Ian ran around the other side with a smile of his own. He had printed off a few places Clayton pre-approved, including the one he insisted on them checking first and all they needed to do was chose one.

Ian tossed the stack of choices to Mickey as he took off in a general direction. “Gonna hit Clayton's suggestion first, then you can pick which one you like the most and we can go from there.”

“These are fucking huge!” Mickey huffed and sorted through them quickly. Almost sure this was some sort of sick joke. “Why does this shit feel too easy?”

Ian kept his eyes on the road as he answered. “It’s not easy Mickey. This is just the beginning. Like you said, we have to deal with your dad still when he finds out. Not to mention Mandy.” He gave a glance over to see Mickey looking out the window. “We just do this one step at a time.”

They still hadn’t spoken when Ian pulled up to the first place on the list and turned the car off twenty minutes later. Mickey was busy not looking at the papers he handed him and avoiding his eyes.

“Tell me again,” Mickey cleared his voice, mad that he needed to hear it again. The drive had his mind whispering bad shit to him and he was starting to believe it. “That you’re okay with this shit.”

Ian turned in his seat and waited for Mickey to look at him. “I was going to get a place when I graduated anyways. So, it’s not like I’m only doing this for you.” He watched Mickey relax. “I’ll be living there too, and you and Mandy can stay for as long as you want, or need and if something better comes up, then you guys have time to work it out.”

Mickey nodded but looked away. It was too much, too helpful. Too nice. Too good to be real. Too good to come without an exchange.

“Mickey, Mandy is my best friend. So even if you didn’t want me to help you, I’d still do it for her.”

It was only then that Mickey allowed himself to look up at the place, already in love with it. “I guess we can give it a shot. But I’m telling you, this shit is going to get messy.”

“We are from the South Side Mickey,” Ian smiled as they both got out and moved to stand together. “Just because we ended up here, doesn’t mean we can’t handle that shit.”

“Ian Gallagher?”

They turned as a woman smiled from her car window. Must be the realtor Clayton spoke to. She parked quickly and got out of her car, a bunch of papers in hand. “Yes, I’m Ian.” He offered a smile with a handshake. “Thanks for coming.”

“Oh, of course. Clayton is a good friend of mine. My name is Sofia, nice to meet you. So, he tells me you are interested in this condo?”

Mickey flinched at the term and Ian wrapped his arm around him loosely. “Yes, I am. Can you give us a tour?”

She smiled brightly. “Yes of course.”

Sofia walked away, leaving them alone. Mickey pushed his arm away with a shake of his head. “Don’t get all touchy now, it helped you relax.”

Mickey wanted to argue, but couldn’t because he was right, one touch calmed his ass down like nothing had before. “Just shut up.”

Ian shut up but didn’t hide his smile as they followed after her. Sofia already had the condo doors unlocked by the time they joined her.

The place was huge, even on the outside. Just like apartments but a million times better, in every way. The outside was clean and spacious, gated and from their spot at the door, he could see a full sized pool, a tennis court and an indoor gym.

Of course it was nicer than anything he or Mickey ever knew. Even if they saved up every penny from birth until old age, it still wouldn't be in their price range. Why Clayton pre-approved this one, he would never know.

They followed her inside, past a comfortable seating area and a lobby, then a counter with a security guard stationed at it, gun and all, then moved to a row of elevators in the back. One opened and they let her go in first before they stepped inside.

"This place is bigger than half the South side." Mickey mumbled, afraid to touch anything, even in the elevator.

Ian nodded. "But it's really fucking nice. Did you see the pool?"

Mickey's eyes widened. "They have a damn pool?"

The woman behind them laughed lightly. "There are actually two pools for your convenience. Located on both ends of the condominium. And if I'm not mistaken, you have access to another one, a hidden one."

Two? Ridiculous. Maybe a third? Way out of control. What did she mean by hidden? That seemed as interesting as it did creepy.

When the elevator stopped on the top floor, they parted to allow her to go first. Ian looked at the elevator keys and his eyes widened. He nudged Mickey with his arm and pointed. It said penthouse.

"Holy shit." Mickey glanced around , almost certain she let them off on the wrong floor.

Holy shit was right. Ian followed her and had to drag Mickey by his arm off the elevator before it closed. She stopped at the only door on this floor and quickly unlocked it.

"Are you sure this is right?" Ian asked when she stepped inside and they stayed at the doorway.

"Very sure Ian. Clayton has been in the process of buying this condo for his own personal use but had decided that if you and your boyfriend want it, then it would be in your name."

"He's not my boyfriend, just a friend." Ian corrected and felt Mickey relax next to him. "Just gonna be roommates."

She smiled again. "Roommates are good too. Please let me show you around."

The inside looked like a damn palace. Glass windows, a small waterfall that made up one wall, hidden behind glass and radiated this incredible bluish color. The living room was the size of an actual house, all furnished, as was the rest of the condo with top notch furniture.

The living room had all white leather couches, facing the giant window where you could see all of Chicago. The coffee table looked heavy and expensive, there was a fireplace tucked into one wall, then a wall full of nothing but books as a built in library.

Plants and trees decorated the entire inside, making it seem tropical. Various art was hung on the walls, expensive looking light fixtures too.

Ian tugged Mickey along, both of their mouths open in shock.

The kitchen had a full bar, with room enough to sit five. Then a large table perched into a corner that gave you another view of the city. The counters were clean marble, all the alliances stainless steel and gleaming.

And that was just what they could see from the door. There was a damn wrap around staircase near the back, telling them that there was an upstairs to this as well.

"Oh my God," Ian moved around the room, more than a little impressed.

"Yes, this is one of our newly remodeled condos. New everything." Sofia smiled as she lead them in further. "There are four bedrooms, three down, the master bedroom is upstairs with its own full bathroom. Both with a shower and one of those big hot tub baths."

If it was possible, Ian's eyes widened even more. Mickey was in a similar state, but way more nervous than he was.

"There is another bathroom down the hallway, with a bath/shower combo. The appliances are all stainless steel, the couches are real leather."

"This place is amazing." Ian smiled at Mickey but didn't get one in return. It made his smile lessen and he backtracked over to him as the realtor was still explaining herself. "Hey, you okay?"

Mickey shook his head no. "Maybe we should look at one of the other ones. This shit is way too fucking expensive."

Ian had a feeling this would come up quickly. Mickey was still worried about the money. It became his entire life. Every day, letting anyone on you just to get that money for his dad. Now he was worried about this too.

"Mick, I told you. This is for me, okay? And it has four fucking bedrooms." Ian spoke softly, making sure Mickey didn't assume he was agitated. "You don't have to worry. If Clayton was already in the middle of buying this, then he can handle it."

Mickey kept his eyes down, not showing him his eyes and Ian couldn't take it. Mickey's eyes were so expressive. Each emotion tucked away safely in there. Grabbing his chin was becoming a little bit of a habit, but he did it all the same.

"Trust me, remember?" Ian reminded him once their eyes met. "Please?"

Mickey didn't speak because he didn't trust the words. Instead, he let his hand slip up Ian's chest, then up to grip the back of his neck and pulled him to his mouth.

Groaning instantly, Ian tucked his fingers into the band of Mickey's jeans and pulled him closer. Their bodies lined up, making him realize how well they fit together.

The kiss lasted longer than the others and Ian found himself pushing his tongue against Mickey's as he backed him up. He didn't think about why they were here, or Alex or Mickey's dad, or even the nice realtor lady watching them. His only focus was on getting as close to Mickey as possible.

"Ian," Mickey groaned as he pulled back to take a much needed breath. "Stop kissing me."

Ian grinned and nipped his bottom lip which made Mickey groan and tighten his grip. "I'll stop kissing you as soon as you stop kissing me."

Mickey lightly pushed him back. "If you want this big ass place, then get it. But don't do it for me or Mandy, okay?"

Nodding, Ian kissed the corner of his mouth and pulled away. He almost linked their hands as they walked back to the blushing realtor but had to remind himself that he and Mickey were not a couple. They weren't really even friends yet.

"Should I continue the tour?" Sofia asked with a heated smile.

Ian didn't even hesitate. "I think I've seen enough." He winked at Mickey which only made him huff. "I'll take it."
**

Everything was coming together quickly. Ian managed to talk to Mickey, convince him to let him help, took him to meet his dad, then went condo shopping together, and all before the school day was over.

But now they had separate stuff to handle. Ian needed to start transforming that condo into something livable, which meant moving his stuff over. And on top of that, he needed to talk to Alex, like ASAP. This shit with Mickey, even if it was only temporary, was making him doubt why he was with Alex in the first place.

Mickey still had to go home and give his dad the money he collected from the day and pack whatever shit he and Mandy needed. Oh yeah and tell Mandy what the hell happened while she was in class.

Ian wasn't sure how she would handle all this. Not just the moving part but the him and Mickey part. He had never expressed any interest in her brother and now he was inviting them to move in together and they were kissin on each like they were actually a couple. It was so sudden, they all had to have a bad case of whiplash.

The condo was officially in his name, thank you Clayton. It was move in ready at any time. The realtor lady left with a knowing blush and Ian was trying to stall before he had to drive back to school. What if things changed between now and then? What if Mickey decided he was being too pushy and went back under those bleachers?

"I can come with you, ya know." Mickey narrowed his eyes and Ian explained. "Back home to get your stuff and tell Mandy. So you don't have to do it alone."

Mickey smiled at the offer, but it was unrealistic. "Easy Gallagher, that knight in shining armor stuff might actually work on me if you use it enough."

"Oh yeah?" Ian grinned and Mickey smiled. He leaned against his car with his legs spread just enough for Mickey to stand between them...in his mind, that's exactly where he stood. "I'm serious Mick. You already said he's gonna make it all worse. You might need some help."

"No, it won't get that far." Mickey shot the help down again. "I'm going to go tell Mandy, then give him the money I made this morning, which wasn't a hell of a lot," he shot Ian a look, but he just smiled. "Then I'm gonna wait for his ass to leave before we do. I don't want to be caught leaving."

It was his fault Mickey didn't have all the money he would have collected from today. "How much do you usually bring back for him?" Ian asked, not really sure he wanted the answer.

"You already spent way too much money talkin to me." Mickey smiled a little, but under all that he felt a little bad because of it. "I can just tell him it was a slow day."

That didn't sit right with him. If his dad was as bad as he sounded, coming home with less money than normal could be bad. "And what does he normally say to that?"

"I don't fuckin know," Mickey grumbled. "This is the first time I've been short."

From the way Mickey put his guard back up, making him less approachable than before, he was right. And there was no way he would let Mickey go back with less than what he always had.

"The last thing you want to do is put him on edge when you're trying to stay out of his way." Ian risked getting snapped at and reached forward to grab Mickey by his belt loops and pull him close to his body. Mickey came with a soft grunt but didn't pull away. Ian looked up at him, eyeing his mouth. "How much?"

Mickey bit his lip, unsure of when he became this much of a pushover. "I normally pocket a grand by the end of the day."

Ian's mouth dropped open. "Like a thousand dollars?" He asked like he was 8 years old because he felt just as confused. "Holy shit."

"It's nothing to be proud of," Mickey huffed and lightly pushed against Ian's chest. "He only makes me give him 500 a day, so I pocket the rest in case Mandy needs anything."

Shit. Now he went and made a big deal worse by being mildly impressed. "I didn't mean…" He trailed off and let his hands slip around Mickey's waist. "How much did you make?"

It was strange how comfortable they were with each other already. Like old lovers. Ian was already used to small touches, even wanting more of them and acting without hesitation. He was damn sure used to kissing Mickey, nearly addicted to his soft lips by this point.

It had never been this way with Alex. It always felt a little forced, even as much as he liked him. But this past year was harder than the one before. They changed, he changed, and it happened way before Mickey. Maybe meeting Mickey, helping him and spending those soft moments together made him realize how unhappy he was with Alex.

The best part of this was, is that Mickey seemed to want it too. Whatever 'it' was. He felt it. Mickey initiated some of it. It wasn't one-sided after all. Even now, when he pulled Mickey close, he could have pulled away instead of putting his fists against his chest.

As much as Mickey didn't want to answer, he did because of that soft look being thrown his way. "With what I made before, then with what your crazy ass paid," Mickey was forced to pause as Ian grinned. "I totaled about 350."

Ian nodded. "We can swing by an ATM before we get back and I can give you the rest." It didn't surprise him when Mickey shook his head no. "Please Mick?" Ian nearly begged and it got him to stop wiggling and look at him. "I wouldn't offer if I didn't have it."

"Why you gotta be so fucking nice?" Mickey growled and butted their heads together. "Be like everyone else and be an asshole."

Ian moved his hands from Mickey's lower back to his shoulders, then the back of his neck. "You like when I'm nice." Ian whispered when their lips were inches apart. "Just say yes, then we need to handle our shit. Otherwise you're gonna kiss me again and I'll get distracted."

Mickey snorted but pulled back; it was true. "Fine, but after this that's it. No more you payin for shit."

"Last time, promise." Ian gripped his jaw just before he was out of reach and kissed him. Mickey let out a surprised groan that Ian felt all the way down his body. "Come on, we got shit to do."

Chapter Text

Bad Reputation
Chapter 5- Taking A Side

They made it back to school about 20 minutes before the final bell rang and soon people would start pouring out. After a half dozen kisses, mostly initiated by Mickey, they parted ways smiling, until later on when Ian would pick him and Mandy up.

Ian needed to find Alex, deal with the fallout of that shit, which he knew was going to be just as messy as what he and Mickey found themselves in. After dating for two years, it was going to be brutal.

Worst part was, it wasn't anything Alex did or didn't do. It just happened. It was true that he never loved Alex, not like in love. But it had been good, steady and dependable. It made life so much more enjoyable, but it had faded recently.

Or that could have been what Ian told himself instead of the truth. Truth was, he wanted someone else. Someone he never expected to want like that. This Mickey thing was new, like not even a day old new, but it was powerful and mesmerizing. It drew all of his attention, leaving Alex in the dark, being cheated on.

It had to end. And it had to be now before anything else happened.

Watching Alex slowly walking across the field was hard to watch. Only a few days ago, Ian thought he was single handedly the best guy for him. High school sweethearts, then going to college, maybe they'd get a place together, get married. All that cliched stuff and Ian wanted that, or Alex wanted that and he thought he should want it too.

He was fooling himself. Probably from the very beginning. Ian thought about it more than once over this past year, why their feelings towards each other never progressed. Their 'love' stayed the same. It didn't amplify like he assumed it would the longer they were together. There was no passion, no excitement, not even with the sex. They were just hanging on together, just because.

Not anymore. Not with how quickly his feelings emerged for Mickey. Ian was completely blindsided by him and his breathtaking blue eyes, his harsh but soft personality. Not to mention his story. It was far from a fairy tale but Ian was entranced with helping Mickey help himself.

Ian wanted to run at the sight of Alex and that big smile. He was bare chested, with sweat coating his slim upper body. Dressed in fitting shorts and sunglasses perched on his nose. It should have been sexy, it had been not but two days ago. Now Ian's body didn't respond, his cock didn't twitch like it normally did and that overwhelming need to bend Alex over had vanished.

Yet, with Mickey, just looking at him brought out all those urges. Not just sex, but all of it. They had only kissed a handful of times and it felt a million times better than sex with Alex had. Mickey was just so...different. Under that hard exterior, he was soft and playful. Mickey allowed Ian to witness a few less than stoic moments, letting him see the fear and worry he kept buried from everyone else. Mickey trusted him.

Alex was always confident, in both his body and his life. People flocked around him like he held some secret to eternal life. They loved him. He was into sports and outdoors stuff, he had plans for college and life after high school. He had goals, he had dreams, he had hope.

Mickey didn't, he was the complete opposite. He wasn't involved in sports, unless sex counted. He kept to himself as much as possible. He chose to keep Mandy safe and in school, forfeiting his own happiness and education, his own body, just to make that happen. Mickey wasn't the type to go to parties or games, or much of anything. Mickey had no goals, or hope, or much of anything.

But Mickey had wants and needs. He wanted to get him and Mandy away from their dad, to keep them both safe. He probably wanted to finish school, college maybe. Mickey wanted attention, affection, even when he never said it. Ian could feel his need. It was in every single kiss, every touch, every look.

Now he had to let one go, and hope the other wanted him.

"Hey babe," Alex smiled brightly and stopped in front of him. "You skipped?"

Ian nodded and decided not to lie, about anything, it would only make it worse. "Look, we gotta talk." He glanced to the track to see Alex's team waiting. "It's important."

Alex frowned, but nodded. "That doesn't sound good Ian."

Those words grouped together rarely sounded good. It was always followed by a break up or bad news. Well, he wouldn't disappoint.

They moved off the field a little, out of the teams eyeline and it put them closer to the bleachers. That wasn't any better because Mickey and Mandy could be close. Ian wanted to make this as simple as possible, so there wasn't any confusion. But it would be far from easy.

"Some shit has come up recently and I don't think this," he motioned between them. "Is working anymore."

That confused looked turned into a mask of pure shock. "What?!"

Ian sighed. "I know you've felt this strain this year because I have to." Alex, surprisingly didn't lie and nodded. "We have run our course together and to be honest," Ian paused and glanced under the bleachers to see Mickey and Mandy talking. "I've met someone."

Alex just blinked, his mouth parted. He was momentarily speechless. "You've met someone?" Alex asked, eyes wide.

Ian nodded and even with this awful talk, his stomach gave that flutter. "Yeah, I have. It's recent, like just yesterday, but I don't know, whatever it is, it's real."

"Yesterday?" Alex asked shocked. "We've been together for over two years and you're leaving because you met someone yesterday?"

Ian nodded. "Even if I hadn't met him, you and I have been over for awhile Alex." It hurt to see those emotions fall so quickly over his face. Sadness, heartache, pain. "Things have been the same for two years, that's not love. That's convenience."

"Who is it?" Alex asked, blinking away the tears in his eyes. "Tell me who it is."

"I don't have to do that Alex because it's not your business." Ian made sure to keep his eyes away from Mickey and Mandy. "I'm sorry."

Alex scuffed and turned to pace a little. The sadness died down, leaving only anger. He turned and shoved Ian back. "You're sorry?!"

Ian stepped back but didn't take the bait. He outweighed Alex by a solid 90 pounds and if they actually fought, he would win and it would only make this worse.

"Yes, I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt you, but I just can't do this with him if--" Ian didn't get the chance to finish before Alex punched him in the face.

Pain blossomed instantly. For someone as lean as Alex, he did throw one fuck of a punch. Hard enough to make his teeth clack together and for his brain to ping pong around his skull.

"You fucking cheated?" Alex raged as he moved to hit him again. "You fucking cheated on me." He repeated but this time it wasn't a question. More like he needed to hear it one more time, just to be sure he heard it right.

Ian held his cheek, feeling the warm skin bruise instantly. He took another step back, not prepared to hit Alex because he would never do that unless he had to, but he wouldn't be hit at and pushed around either. Alex's anger was just, he was a damn cheater.

"I'm sorry." Ian repeated and had to dab his mouth with the back of his hand as a little blood dripped out. "I didn't mean for this to happen."

Out of the corner of his eye, Ian could see both Mickey and Mandy walking to the entrance of the bleachers, noticing the public scuffle. Great, now it would be impossible not to look at him and Alex would put two and two together and figure it out quickly.

"Ian, are you okay?" Mandy asked quietly.

"I'm fine Mandy," Ian shot her a quick smile, aware of Alex looking at him. But he had to look at Mickey now. Beautiful blue eyes wide and curious. And that was the last straw.

"No fucking way!!" Alex nearly screamed and turned towards them. "Him? Really? This is the guy you're dumping me for?"

Mandy's mouth dropped open. "Holy shit."

Ian felt Mickey staring at him and turned again. His eyes looked a little wide too, shocked. But his lip was slightly turned into a smirk, one Ian found himself grinning at. "Yeah Alex, I think I am."

Alex scuffed. "You do realize he's fucked the entire school, right?"

When Mickey flinched and that smile slipped from his lips, Ian took a step towards Alex, eyes drawn into slits. "Don't go there man, you won't like it."

"Weren't we just talking about your brother being down there yesterday?" Alex glanced towards Mickey. "You're gonna be with a guy your brother fucked?"

If not for Mandy, Mickey would have left, she held his arm, keeping him there. But for Ian, that was the last straw. Yes, he knew about Lip. And yes, he was aware of how messed up it was, but the entire thing was 30 shades of fucked up. That didn't mean Alex got to treat Mickey that way.

Before Alex laughed again, Ian had his fist drawn back and popped his smirking ass right in the mouth. Something crunched, Alex screamed and blood came pouring out. Ian hissed at the cut of his knuckles from where a tooth had scraped across it, but he didn't stop to deal with it. He was ready to go again if Alex had anything else to say.

"I fuckin warned you Alex," Ian growled, pissed the fuck off that it had come to this. But he wouldn't back down. "Just keep your mouth shut because he is none of your fucking business."

Beside him, he could almost taste the surprise from Mandy and Mickey. It wasn't every day that people fought over each other anymore, and maybe it would scare Mickey away like this, acting possessive over him, but there was no way he would let Alex bad mouth him.

Alex wiped his bloody mouth with the back of his arm and laughed as he turned to Mickey. "Fine Milkovich, have fun with my sloppy seconds, gotta take what you can get."

Ian's eyebrows barely had time to rise before Mickey moved, shaking off Mandy as he got right in Alex's face.

"I ain't takin nothin from him or anyone else you fuckin douche bag," Mickey hissed and got in his face, even if he had to look up to do so. "What I do or don't do with him has fuck all to do with you or anyone else."

Ian grinned, wanting to get behind him and root his little angry ass on. It didn't matter that Alex towered over him, Ian had no doubt that Mickey could hold his own.

"He'll never get someone better than me Mickey," Alex spat in his face. "Especially not you."

Ian moved behind Mickey, shoving Mandy a little to keep her away from any flying fists, and wrapped his arms around Mickey's chest, slowly pulling him back. Alex growled, eyes on fire. Mickey relaxed just a little bit, letting him pull him back from the fight.

"He's not worth it Mick," Ian spoke right into his ear but loud enough for everyone to hear it. Mickey sagged against him, still primed for the fight but willing to let it go. "We got better shit to do, remember?"

Mickey smirked and saw Alex assume that 'better shit' meant sex. It didn't, but it was amusing to watch. "Damn right we do, it involves a lot of grunting, sweating, straining." He grinned when Ian chuckled. "And we have an entire fucking house to do it in."

Of course Mickey was talking about moving, lugging boxes and shit, but it sounded like sex and Alex believed it. "Come on baby," Ian whispered and didn't realize he let the little name slip. "I've been waiting all day for it."

Alex was seething, practically foaming at the mouth even as he pulled Mickey further away. The fight was over. There was no winner here, or maybe there was and Ian was dragging his prize away. But of course Alex had to go and open his mouth again, to get that last nasty word in.

"Just wait til his old man finds out."

Mickey froze and Ian tightened his arms. That was Mickey's biggest fear at the moment and Alex was threatening it out in the open. Ian was about to move Mickey out of the way and finish this shit once and for all, but he didn't need to.

Mandy was there, like some punk rock superhero wearing combat boots with a pink skirt and punched Alex in the face so hard, he toppled back and landed on his ass. Mandy hovered over him, grinning with a pair of brass knuckles on her hand.

"You even fucking try that shit you uppity bitch, and you'll get a face full of these until graduation." Mandy hissed and showed him her fist. "Got it?"

Ian smiled when Alex nodded, whining about his face the entire time. Mandy moved off him and came to stand with them. Not even out of breath, her makeup wasn't smudged and not a hair on her head was out of place. She was a goddess.

"So, we're doin this shit?" Mandy asked with a grin.

Ian grinned back and realized that Mickey was still in the cradle of his arms and hadn't moved. "You ready?"

Mickey turned his head to look up, putting their lips in range of each other and nodded. "One punch a piece, let's do this shit."

They moved at the same time. Ian cupped his jaw, angling him back while Mickey reached back to fist his hair and led him into a deep, territorial kiss that had every nerve ending in his body screaming that Mickey was his.

Mandy was watching, Alex was watching, even a few people on the field had come to watch and it didn't matter because he was locked at the lips with Mickey and they didn't give a shit what anyone else thought.

Chapter Text

Bad Reputation
Chapter 6- The Beast

 

After that shit with Alex, Ian gave Mickey and Mandy a ride home. They didn't talk about what was said or what happened, they hardly traded any glances the entire way. Maybe they were all still trying to process what exactly happened, even when it was obvious.

Ian left Alex for Mickey.

"Park up a block." Mandy directed from the back seat. "He gets paranoid easily."

Ian nodded and drove another block to park. He glanced at Mandy in the mirror, then over at Mickey, having a silent talk with her. Mickey hadn't looked at him the entire time. Not after that last kiss and Ian didn't push. He was trying to ask Mandy what he should do.

Unfortunately she only gave a sad smile and shook her head, telling him to leave it alone for now. Everyone needed to calm down, separately and he would give Mickey the time he needed because now he had plenty.

"Pick you guys up later?" Ian decided to ask, just to make sure.

Mandy nodded. "He normally leaves around 7, so any time after that we should be okay. Right Mick?"

Mickey nodded, aware of Ian staring a hole into his face. "Right."

Ian groaned internally and looked away, forcing himself not to ask what was wrong. Instead he dug the other $150 he pulled from the ATM to cover what Mickey lost and handed it over. Mickey took it and Ian saw his eyes for a split second; he was afraid.

"Mandy, can you give us a second?" Ian asked and gave her pleading eyes. "Please."

Mandy nodded. "I need a smoke anyway."

They were alone in a matter of seconds and Mickey finally looked over at him. Ian wanted to tell Mickey that it would all work out, that he and Mandy would be okay. But he didn't know that for sure. Anything could happen between now and after 7. Hell, their entire world changed in one day.

"Let me see your phone?" Ian asked and held his hand out. Mickey dug into his jeans and handed it over to quickly type his number in. "Call me when you two are ready and I'll come pick you up." He handed the phone back over.

"I'll call later." Mickey replied softly and looked away.

Before Mickey could get out Ian reached out; his hand palm up, silently asking for Mickey's. Ian smiled a little when Mickey touched his hand, loosely linking their fingers. "Just a little bit longer and you won't have to come back here."

Mickey huffed and tried to cover his small smile with the back of one hand. "You a mind reader now?"

"I might be," Ian smiled tightly. He gave their hands a tug and Mickey glanced at him. "Call me whenever, okay? I can help."

Mickey squeezed Ian's hand and nodded. "See you later Gallagher."

Ian let Mickey go, gave a wave to Mandy and waited until they walked that block to the house before he pulled away. The entire way back to Clayton's, his mind was on Mickey and the way he looked when they pulled up. He really, really didn't want to go back in that house.

And after tonight, he'd never have to again.
*

Instead of worrying about Mickey and the shit he couldn't immediately change, Ian put his time to something he could. He went back to Clayton's to be surprised by a small going away party, not like away away, but if felt like it. It was just Clayton and his wife, some cake and cheap beer, but it was nice, and they were all smiling by the time it was over.

She even managed to defrost her frozen black heart enough to smile and she baked the damn cake. Ian was afraid it had been poisoned and she knew exactly what he thought because she took the first bite.

Clayton waxed on about how proud of him he was, and that he needed to focus all his time and attention on college and his hockey scholarship, hinting that he would take care of the majority of the bills. Ian was only required to pay for food and anything else he needed, home and school wise.

More like Mickey and Mandy wise. Ian was going to make damn sure they got everything they needed. They didn't get it when they were supposed to, and the least he could do was make an effort to help, even if they said no.

After the party, Ian gave them each a hug, yes, even her; gag. And used the rest of his time to box up his room. Everything but the furniture was going. The boxes, courtesy of Clayton's wife, were currently being lugged by big muscled movers into a big truck downstairs, also thanks to her.

It wasn't all bad. Ian got to sit on the steps with a beer and watch them carry his stuff to the truck. Wearing those thin white t-shirts, sweating from excessive use of the stairs. Maybe he was being lazy by not helping, but these guys got paid to move other people's shit. Who was he to take that away?

So he watched, a little guilty that he looked in the first place, but it was a distraction from what he really wanted. It was nearing 7:30 and Mickey still hadn't called. It was making him worry enough to call Mickey, IF he had his number. Ian only had Mandy's.

As he waited for Mandy to pick up the phone, one of the guys came up to him with a clipboard in one hand and a friendly smile. Ian tilted the phone away from him mouth and raised his eyebrows in question.

"That was the last box Mister Gallagher. Looks like we are ready to go."

Ian grinned, Mister Gallagher. That sounded awesome. He dug into his pocket and handed them the address. "Go ahead before me. Gotta check and make sure I didn't forget anything."

The guy looked at the address and his own eyebrows lifted in surprise. "Penthouse?"

"That's the one." Ian smiled. "Don't worry, they have a service elevator you guys can use." The guy chuckled a little and smiled before he got into one of two trucks and left. They had good timing too because that's when Mandy's voice mail kicked in. "Hey Mands, it's Ian. It's past 7 and Mickey hadn't called me yet. I just want to make sure everything went okay tonight. Call me."

Something was wrong. Ian could feel it in the pit of his stomach. He hadn't wanted to leave them in the first place, but they both told him that him staying would only make it worse. What if listening to them had been a mistake? What if Terry caught wind of their plan? What the hell happened if Alex actually ran his big mouth?

Ian knew he was overreacting. Just so anxious about all this working out how it sounded earlier. Simple. Easy. Wonderful. For all of them. There would be nothing he could do to help, except wait. Wait for them to call and keep his mind busy until then. Instead of thinking of mind breaking images of Terry and Mickey going at it.

Ian made another sweep of the house. He forgot his computer on the table, so he grabbed it. He said goodbye to Clayton, promising to come on Sunday for dinner. The shrew wasn't home for that, thank fuck and with one last look at the house, he was gone.

The movers had already begun moving boxes up the stairs when he pulled up to the condo. Ian called ahead to the security desk and asked if the door can be unlocked without him there. That was against protocol, but the guard was nice and let it slide one time just as long as he was able to keep an eye out on them.

Ian locked his car and barely made it up to the top floor before his phone rang. He smiled at the unknown number, scooted passed the guys coming in and out, and answered on the 4th ring.

"Hey Micke--" he was cut off by Mandy crying in his ear. She was talking so fast; half was garbled by her sobs. "Mandy, what's wrong?" He asked frantically, wondering why she answered Mickey's phone. "Where's Mickey?"

Mandy cried harder. "It's bad Ian, it's really bad."

Panic seized him fast, taking a hold of him in a way that made his blood run cold. "Mandy, what happened? Where is he?"

"Terry came home as we were leaving." Mandy sobbed, nearly incoherent. "He hit Mickey hard enough to knock him out and locked me in the closet." She paused to sniffle. "By the time I got the door open, Terry was gone and Mickey…."

Ian clenched his hands as he paced back and forth. Terry caught them. Did that mean he knew, or was it just bad timing? Was Mickey okay? There were so many questions and he didn't know what to do.

"Put him on." Ian nearly yelled and heard her gasp in return. "Shit." He hissed and shoved passed the movers and the security guard and took the stairs as fast as he could. "I need to talk to him Mandy."

Mandy whimpered. "He's not awake yet Ian. He wasn't moving when I found him. But he's breathing. I don't know what to do."

"Fuck!!" He screamed, making her gasp again. "Call 911, he may need a hospital." Ian got into his car and drove as fast as he could, breaking every record known to man. "I'm on the way right now."

"I can't call the cops Ian. If Terry gets arrested, Mickey and I get tossed into foster care." She gasped as her voice shook. "There is so much blood Ian."

Shit, that's right. Unlike him, they were only 16 and Terry was their only parent. With no one else and Terry gone, they would get tossed into one of those awful group homes until they aged out. That was just as bad, if not worse than living with Terry.

"Try and wake him up," Ian suggested as he drove faster just at the mention of blood. "Make sure you have your shit ready when I get there." He waited until she mumbled a watery yes before he hung up.

This was fucking bad. So fucking bad.

Chapter Text

Bad Reputation
Chapter 7- The Beauty

This was fucking bad. So fucking bad.

Halfway there, Ian dialed Kev at The Alibi, he waited for two rings before Veronica answered. He powered over her sweet greeting and got right to the point, very aware of how rude it was. "V, it's Ian. I need to talk to Kev."

"Well hello to you too Ian. I'm great thanks for asking."

Ian rolled his eyes. This was not the time to hash out why he was never around anymore. "V, please. I need to talk to him."

Veronica huffed. "Kev!!"

He sent a silent prayer up to whoever was listening. There was a brief pause where he could hear Veronica bitching in the background but he was so content on driving as fast as possible, that he didn’t hear half of it.

"Ian, what's up?" Kev said in a happy voice. "How's my favorite Gallagher?"

Ian turned, blowing passed a red light and swerved to miss an oncoming car. "Good. I'm good. Kev, I need to know if Terry Milkovich is there right now."

"Uh," Kev paused to scan the crowd. "Yeah, him and his goons are here. They look like shit though. Like they already had a bar fight."

Ian clenched his jaw so he didn't say that the fight was with Mickey. "Does it look like he's leaving any time soon?"

"No, he just ordered an entire table full of shots. Waving around a wad of cash like an asshole."

That was probably the money he and Mickey combined to pay him for today. What a piece of shit. "Okay, now I can't tell you why, but I need you to call me the second it looks like he is about to leave."

There was only one more corner before he was at the Milkovich house and the dread he felt because of Mandy's voice, doubled at what he might walk into

"Sure man, come by sometime though okay, we miss you."

Ian shut his eyes tight. "Miss you too. Thanks Kev." He hung up the phone and pulled the car up to the Milkovich house. It was dark and quiet with only the porch light on. Ian stepped out and saw a few bags tossed into the yard. He grabbed them quickly, tossing them into the trunk. Before he moved up to the house, he grabbed the gun tucked into the spare tire and stuffed it down the back of his jeans.

Terry may be at The Alibi, but that didn't take away the fear he carried with him up the stairs. Ian turned the doorknob quickly and kept the door open wide as he looked around. Blood stained the floor by the door, then it was streaked up the wall. The lamp by the couch was knocked over, broken. The coffee table was kicked off to the side, hitting the tv hard enough to knock it down, creating a large crack down one side.

"Holy fuck." Ian hissed as he ran his hand into his hair. That's when he realized that Mickey was laying on the couch with Mandy laying against one of his sides. "Mandy." Ian whispered and Mandy lifted her head, eyes puffy and red and the tears were instant.

"We have to get him out of here Ian." Mandy whimpered and stood on shaky legs. "Please."

He came around the side of the couch and got a good look at Mickey. His face was bloodied by the large gash above his left eyebrow. He had one black eye, a split lip and his knuckles were bloody and busted, probably from fighting back.

"Oh baby," Ian whispered, tears filled his eyes as he leaned down and brushed his hair back. Mickey leaned into his touch, but didn't open his eyes. "Come on, we gotta go."

Ian lifted Mickey as carefully as he could, nearly bawling when busted knuckles lightly gripped around his neck. He glanced at Mandy and nodded at the door. She moved fast, making sure he was able to get Mickey out of the house before she shut the door. Then she ran around him to open the back door of his car.

"Ian?" Mickey grumbled lowly but coughed a wet sound as he hissed from the pain.

He stopped just before he put Mickey into the back seat and watched him try to focus on him. "I'm here baby, I got you."

"Where's Mandy?" Mickey tried to look around but pain shot into his head, forcing him to keep them closed.

Mandy smiled through her tears and brushed his hair back. "I'm right here Mick and I'm okay. Ian is taking us home."

When Mickey curled into his chest, Ian couldn't stop the tears. He hugged him close, not hugging nearly as tight as he wanted, but it was enough for now. "You need a doctor."

Mickey shook his head and buried his face in Ian's chest. "No doctor. They take reports and we can't let them get Terry."

"Mickey, you're really beaten up. I don't know if anything is broken or punctured. We need a doctor." Ian tried again, kissing on top of his head in hopes to sway him into agreeing.

"Nothing's broken Gallagher," Mickey grumbled and pushed away to see his face, Although a little blurry, was just as handsome and sweet as it was earlier. "Just get me the fuck out of here."

Ian looked to Mandy. She just nodded sadly back at him. "Fine, but this isn't over." He watched Mickey smile a little as he won the mini argument. "Can you scoot in?"

Mickey nodded and fisted the collar of Ian's shirt. "Only if you come with me."

"I have to drive." Ian smiled but made no move to let go as Mickey inched his way in.

"Mandy can drive." Mickey argued and pulled Ian in by the collar of his shirt. "I need you with me."

That settled that. Ian tossed the keys to Mandy and crawled into the back seat and shut the door. Mickey moved into his side, resting his face against his chest while his hand rested on his hip. Ian let himself relax and pull Mickey closer to him, resting his head on top of his and tried his best not to hurt him.

They drove in silence. No one uttered a single word. Ian's heart had calmed down enough to relax, but his mind was racing. Terry needed to pay for this. He needed to be held accountable for what he did. But how? He couldn't risk the state taking Mickey and Mandy away from him. That would do more harm than good but there was no way Ian was letting Terry get away unscathed by this.

"M' sorry." Mickey grumbled against his chest, his voice rough. "Told you this shit was messy."

Ian kissed the side of his ear. "Don't worry Mick, I can handle this shit." He promised, feeling Mickey smile against him. "No offense, but I've seen worse shit."

Mickey's laugh turned into a hiss as he grabbed his side. Ian noticed and moved his hand on top, holding him too. "Good. Didn't want this to scare you away."

Mandy pulled up at the complex and parked. "How far up?"

"All the way. Go get the security guard, see if he can help with the bags." Ian nodded and Mandy moved quickly. "You ready?"

Mickey nodded but he really was not ready for this. Not any of it. "As I'll ever be. No stairs, right?"

Ian kicked open the door. "No, no stairs. Just gotta get you into the elevator." He took a second, squeezing Mickey's side. "I'm gonna get out first, then I can carry you up."

"Fuck that." Mickey shoved him a little but gripped his shirt before he went too far. "I can walk."

Humoring him, Ian got out and let Mickey slowly move out of the car. Groaning and hissing every step of the way. It hurt to watch, but Ian didn't touch him until Mickey's foot got caught under the seat and he tumbled out, reaching for him.

"Easy," Ian caught him with ease and felt Mickey sag against his side. "Put your arm around me, let me help."

Mickey huffed but did as he was asked and put his arm around Ian's waist. "Fuck," he hissed when Ian stood and stretched his side a little too much. "Should have let you carry me."

Ian shook his head and moved slowly into the building. "I was trying to be helpful but you're stubborn as shit and said no."

They moved into the elevator and Ian could tell that Mickey's energy had all but vanished. The elevator moved up quickly and by the time they stepped off, he had to bend down and pick Mickey up, one arm locked under his knees while the other braced his back to carry him.

"You're crazy Gallagher." Mickey held onto his chest and spoke quietly. "So fucking crazy for wanting this shit."

Mandy had the door open and he walked them inside. "Crazy is as crazy does Mick." Ian walked down the hall and picked the first bedroom to lay him down in. "You're gonna have to get used to it."

Mickey whined as Ian set him down on the bed. "I'm already fuckin used to it."

Chapter Text

Bad Reputation
Chapter 8- Nurse Me Back To Health

They needed to get Mickey cleaned up to access the damage. So far nothing seemed too bad, but the worst wounds are hidden inside the body and like to sneak up when you assume everything is okay. That's how mistakes were made, that's how people died.

"Okay, I have a first aid kit in the living room. Let me go grab it and we can clean you up." Ian spoke as he pulled Mickey's shoes off and turned on the lamp beside the bed.

Nodding, Mickey closed his eyes. "I'll be here."

Ian knew it was probably bad for Mickey to fall asleep. He could have a concussion. But he left him alone and joined Mandy in the living room. She didn't have a scratch on her but looked just as bad as Mickey did. Her hands were bloody, shaking. She was still crying softly as she trembled. Hair a mess with makeup running down her face.

"Mandy?" He called softly and it made her jump and turn.

"Is he going to be okay?"

Ian nodded, even if he wouldn't be okay, she needed to believe it. "I'm gonna grab the first aid kit and clean him up." She nodded and brushed back her hair. "You want to get some hot water and towels for me?"

She nodded again and stood up to kick off her jacket and shoes. "Yes, towel and hot water." She moved to the kitchen. "There is a whiskey bottle in his bag with his clothes, he's gonna need it."

Ian nodded and waited until she was busy, to take out his phone and quickly call Veronica. While it rang, Ian found a bottle of alcohol by a pair of sweats and a baggy t-shirt. Ian stood with the whiskey and set it on the back of the couch.

"Hello?"

"V, it's Ian." He could practically hear her attitude from that less than friendly talk earlier. "I need your help." His voice cracked and he could hear the change in her voice. "Please."

"Ian honey, what's wrong?"

"My friend got beaten up by is dad and can't go to a hospital." He tried to keep his voice down so Mandy didn't hear how freaked out he was. "Will you help me?"

"Yes. Where are you?"

Ian gave her the address and room number, his voice straining the entire time. Trying not to cry. "Please get here as fast as you can."

"I'm coming Ian, right now."

The call ended and Ian jumped when Mandy touched his shoulder. He quickly wiped his face and offered her a smile. She didn't fall for it and pulled him into a hug. He went willingly, letting go just a little.

"Thank you Ian," Mandy cried in his ear as she kissed his head. "Thank you so much."

Ian hugged her hard and pulled back for them to rest their heads together. "V is coming to give Mickey a look over, just to make sure." Mandy nodded. "Can you wait for her while I clean him up?"

"I'll call down stairs to give him a heads up." Mandy cupped his face and lightly kissed his lips. "Be careful with him."

"I will." Ian promised and grabbed the first aid kit, the whiskey and the bowl of water and a towel from Mandy and moved back into his room.

Mickey hadn't moved an inch. His eyes were closed, his face nice and relaxed and his breathing was even. He almost looked peaceful. Ian set the items down on the floor next to the bed and leaned over Mickey to brush his hand over his cheek.

"Mickey?" Ian called softly, smoothing his fingers up the side of his face until Mickey slowly blinked his eyes open. "I gotta get you cleaned up."

Mickey nodded, his eyes heavy as they tried to focus on Ian's green eyes. "Shit hurts."

"Got this," Ian grabbed the whiskey bottle and wiggled it at him. "Might help."

"Gimme that shit." Mickey hissed as he grabbed the bottle and clenched his side. "Fuck, at least one rib is broken, maybe two."

Ian clenched his jaw, trying to keep his anger in. "I can wrap it, but we gotta get this shit off you and clean you up first."

Mickey uncapped the bottle and took a long drink. "I need help getting out of it."

"I can cut the shirt so you don't have to move and wiggle the jeans down?" He offered and grabbed the heavy duty scissors. "Might be easier than shrugging the shirt off if your ribs are broken."

"Cut that shit then." Mickey spread one arm out, waiting, as he took an even longer drink before doing the same with his other arm. "Don't cut me."

Ian huffed as he gripped the bottom of the shirt and cut it straight up the center. This was so not the appropriate time to ogle Mickey's very muscular chest, or the way his shoulders bunched, but Ian gave a glance anyway and kept cutting. Next he cut both arms and the shirt fell in rags at his sides. He tossed them aside, pulling a little to get the part out from under him until he was shirtless.

"Okay, time for the jeans." Ian moved to the end of the bed while Mickey popped the button with one hand. He had to take a deep breath to get that image from his mind, or what usually came after the button pop. "Might have to lift." He said tightly and tucked his hands into the band and pulled a little.

"I fucking hate clothes." Mickey groaned as he wiggled from side to side, his ribs protested the entire time.

Ian pulled hard and they slid off easily. He tossed them aside and grabbed the throw blanket at the bottom of the bed and tossed it over boxer covered hips and moved back to the floor for the supplies.

"Let's get some of this blood off and figure out what exactly is bleeding." Ian mumbled and wet one end of the white towel. He gripped Mickey's chin and turned his head to face him. "Other than your ribs, feel anything else?"

Mickey shrugged and held his side. "Fuck, nope. That's all I feel right now."

The rag came back red as he wiped Mickey's face clean. He had a deep gash over one eyebrow, a few smaller cuts on his cheeks, probably from that glass lamp that was broken. His lip was split down the side and he had a nasty looking bruise on his jaw.

"Looks like just that one cut is responsible for all the blood." Ian informed him as he cleaned the area with a cleaner part of the towel. "Might need stitches, and you're in luck because I have the liquid kind."

Mickey stayed still but kept his eyes trained on Ian. "I think I have a concussion."

"I'm certain of it." Ian dropped the towel to the floor and dug into the kit when Mickey's hand landed on his shoulder. He paused his search to look up. Mickey's eyes were wide again, afraid. It looked like he might cry. "Hey, you okay?" Ian whispered and put his palm to Mickey's cheek.

Mickey shook his head and leaned into his hand. "Physically, yeah. But other than that…" He looked away, both angry and afraid of this feeling. "Thank you, for being there."

The pain he felt from hearing him say that, let him know just how deep in this he was. Less than two days and he was falling for Mickey. Or maybe he already fell. Now he was getting dragged across rough gravel with no one to help him.

Ian moved his other hand on top of Mickey's that still rested on his shoulder and squeezed. "Thank me when you feel better." Mickey nodded and dropped his hand to take another drink. "Now let's close that." He grabbed two butterfly bandages and leaned in closely, nearly touching his chest.

"Can you reach it?" Mickey asked when he saw him come at him from a few different angles.

The cut was on Mickey's left eyebrow and he was kneeling on the floor on the right side of the bed. Either he needed to climb up the bed, or lean over his chest to reach it. "Might have to switch sides."

Mickey moved his hand to Ian's side and pushed. "I won't break Gallagher, just move where you need to."

His hand was warm and solid on his side. Sending a flash of heat up one side of his body. If Mickey was his normal healthy self, he would be able to see how his cheeks flushed because of that one touch.

So he moved, leaning over Mickey's chest until he was damn near hovering over him. Mickey helped keep him steady with that hand on his side, and turned his head a little so he could place two bandages to hold the cut together.

"Hold still so they don't pop." Ian spoke as he moved back to bend and get the liquid stitches. "Let's hope it holds." He mumbled as he carefully closed the cut and blew a little to help it dry.

"So, doctor Gallagher, am I gonna make it?" Mickey asked, amused even as he hissed from the pressure against his ribs.

Ian smiled as he moved back when Mickey's hand stayed on his side. "I have a good feeling you will. That was the biggest worry." He quickly cleaned the other cuts on his face. "It's gonna be a bitch to wrap your waist though."

"This entire thing is a bitch." Mickey closed his eyes and slowly rubbed his hand up Ian's side. "I can take it."

Ian shivered under the touch. "I know you can."

Cleaning Mickey's knuckles turned out to be a little more intimate then he imagined. He had to hold Mickey's hand in his own and lightly clean the cuts and blood away. When they were both clean, Mickey's hand curled around his own for a brief moment.

Ian looked up to see Mickey's eyes a little glazed over as he glanced at him. He was probably exhausted, worried or fearful. Grateful even. Just a mix of emotions that should wait until later to address them. If something real was said now, they would most likely regret it or they would be unable to get passed it later on.

"Are you able to sit up with help?" Ian asked and grabbed the ace bandage as stood up.

Mickey nodded but took a few long drinks before he set the bottle on the side table. "Just go slow."

There were only a few ways this could go and most of them painful or awkward. "Okay, when you go to move up, I'm gonna grab your hips and lift you, okay?" Mickey's eyes widened a little. "Otherwise I'm gonna have to grab your upper body and probably make it worse."

"Don't want that." Mickey looked away, trying to hide both his nervousness and excitement for something so stupid and nodded. "It's gonna hurt like a mother fucker no matter what."

It was a little awkward to straddle Mickey's legs. Keeping one of his legs on the bed, and the other leg hanging off the side of the bed for leverage. Ian leaned forward and saw blue eyes dilate from their new position.

Images flashed into his mind at warp speed. Him hovering over Mickey, Mickey looking soft and delectable under him, ready for him. Eager for him. Ian swallowed thickly and licked his lips before he glanced away.

"Whenever you're ready, just sit up enough to lean against the headboard." Ian had his hands resting close to his body. Mickey nodded, put both battered hands flat on the bed and started to lift himself. Ian's hands gripped both of Mickey's hips, with his fingers digging into his lower back and lifted him just as he moved back.

"Shit!" Mickey groaned and bit his lip as he settled against the headboard. "God, that hurts."

Ian nodded and let go of his hips, halfway through an inappropriate groan. "Good, that's good." He grabbed the bandage where he left it on the bed and moved off his legs to sit beside the bed. "It'll be easier like this."

Mickey ignored him and grabbed for the bottle. Even the pain couldn't chase away the feeling of Ian's hands on his hips like that.

It took some moving, but Ian managed to slip his hands around Mickey's sides and fed the bandage back and forth until it was tightly wrapped around him. Mickey started to sweat, groaning and drinking simultaneously.

"How's that?" Ian asked as he pulled back.

Mickey wiggled a little, noticing it hurt a little less. "It's good. But if I move it's gonna slide down."

Instead of making him move, Ian grabbed another pillow, balled it up and carefully stuffed it behind his lower back to brace it. It put his face very close to Mickey's again and the need to kiss him was there, as it always was.

But he resisted the urge and pulled back. "How's that?"

Mickey put his hand on Ian's arm, stopping him from pulling away all the way. "It's good."

"Good." Ian whispered back and put his hand on top of Mickey's. His thumb moved back and forth over tattooed knuckles and kept silent for as long as he could. "You really scared me Mickey." Ian cleared his throat. "You really fucking scared me."

"I know," Mickey sighed sadly. "I didn't think he would come back so soon."

"Do you think Alex said something?" Ian asked, already worried because this was his fault. "Because if he did--" he trailed off and shook his head. If Alex was responsible, Ian would have no problem dishing it back.

"No, as much as I'd like to blame that asshole twink, it wasn't him." Mickey squeezed his arm. "He left the money I gave him on the table. We were almost out the door before he came back."

With a heavy sigh, Ian bent his head down to rest on their hands. "I'm sorry Mickey." He whispered. "I told you I'd help you and now all this shit is my fault."

"Did you make Terry freak out?" Mickey asked harshly because that raw emotion made him feel like he had to hide it.

Ian sat up, eyes wide. "No, but--"

Mickey blasted through his sentence. "Did you make him sell me to whoever wanted some? Did you make him threaten Mandy's safety?"

Ian shook his head.

"Yeah, I didn't fucking think so." Mickey shook his head and squeezed Ian's hand. "You didn't do this shit Ian. Terry would do this with or without you around and he doesn't need a damn reason."

Ian squeezed their hands tightly.

"Believe me, I've had it worse off than I do right now. A few broken ribs and a headache is nothing compared to some of the shit he's done."

Fuck, that hurt to hear. Mickey really did look as awful as he felt and now he was saying this was nothing? Ian didn't even think he could imagine what the worst shit would look like. This shit had been awful enough without more.

"When you guys turn 17, we are getting his ass tossed in jail." Ian hissed and saw a flicker of a smile on Mickey's face. "I don't care if we have to fucking lie or bait him into it, but it's gonna happen."

Mickey nodded, only on board with that if they had a foolproof plan. "Well, it's only April, and our birthday isn't until August, so you have time to plan." Mickey chuckled.

"Good, that's plenty of time." Ian smirked, only halfway serious, well, maybe more than halfway. "Do you think he'll come looking for you?" Ian asked, worried because it would be simple for Terry to show up at their school looking for his kids.

"Not over here in the uppity parts of Chicago, but I wouldn't put showing up at the school passed him." Mickey paused to take a drink. "He's done it a few times, making sure I'm where I'm supposed to be."

"Just make sure you're in class or at least in the school the majority of the time," Ian suggested. "Mandy too. I doubt he would come into the school and start shit."

"Probably not, but before and after maybe." Mickey shut his eyes. "Not sure what to do about that."

"Well, I'll drive you and Mandy to school, so we'll be together. Then after I can drive back unless someone else has plans after."

Mickey opened his eyes and smirked. "You plan to keep us glued to your side the entire time?"

Ian nodded, very serious. "If I have to. I'm not sayin you guys have to go home with me, but I'm there if you want."

Being with them all the time would be hard. He had a job, two jobs and practice almost every day after school. Unless they were gonna tag along the entire time, there would be times when they would be alone.

"We want." Mickey cleared his voice when it sounded a little too deep for this kind of talk. "I want."

"I want that too." Ian almost leaned down to kiss him because he wanted to. He needed to and it felt like hours from their last one. "We can work it out."

Another one of those silences settled over them. Where neither of them knew what else should be said. They had so much they needed to work out. Ian still wanted to ask about Lip, even if he said it didn't matter, Ian wanted to know. Then they needed to address what happened with Alex and why. What it meant. They needed to know where to go from here.

"That hurt?" Mickey asked finally and lifted the hand that held the bottle to point at his bruised cheek.

Ian shook his head. "I'd forgotten about it until just now." He took one hand back and touched the hot skin of his cheek. It was sore, but not split. "Is it bruising yet?"

Mickey reached up and gripped his chin, angling it towards the light. "Yeah, gonna end up havin a black eye too. It's too close to your cheekbone."

Ian tried not to lean into the touch, but at this point, he craved any and all contact he was allowed. "Great, it's gonna clash with my hair."

Mickey chuckled. "I'm sure Mandy has some makeup for it." He released his chin, only to run one finger up the length of his jaw. His smile slipped, growing serious. "C'mere." He lightly pressed his fingers into Ian's jaw.

His eyes widened. "What?"

"I said come here." Mickey repeated his words and tightened the grip on Ian's jaw. "I can't fuckin move, so come to me."

Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe Mickey was a little tipsy, even if he didn't slur his words. But at this point, he was powerless to say no. When Mickey tugged on his jaw again, Ian moved forward, one hand pressed to either side of Mickey's body, then licked his lips.

"Mickey," Ian gasped just before their lips touched, resisting for a moment.

"Stop thinking for a minute and kiss me."

That was all he needed. Ian bumped their noses, giving Mickey time to lick his lips before his hand moved to the back of his neck and pulled him the rest of the way down.

"Mmm," Ian moaned against his lips, moving up a little closer to deepen it.

His lips were soft, eager and Ian let him control the pace. It was Mickey who tightened his grip, it was Mickey who hummed into the kiss. It was Mickey who took the hand he had braced on the bed and put it to his jaw. Ian could only go with it as he tried not to smash him.

"Mickey," Ian pulled back enough to take a breath and whined his name.

"Don't make me chase you," Mickey warned and tried to sit up. "It'll fuckin hurt but I'll do it."

Ian's hand moved to his chest and gently pushed him back to the bed. "No chasing." He whispered against his smirking lips and moved his hand back to his jaw. "I'm here "

"Good." Mickey still smirked as he pulled him in.

"Fuck," Ian barely had time to moan before Mickey pulled him into another kiss. It was much deeper, a little faster and he could feel the wet swipe of Mickey's tongue against his lips, seaking entrance.

With a deep groan, Ian's mouth parted for him. Giving Mickey access to lick into his mouth. Ian slid his tongue along side Mickey's. They twisted and twirled together, pulling back just to tease and go again and Ian was losing it. He was panting against his lips, his entire body responding to what he wanted.

Maybe the kiss was needed after all that shit, maybe Mickey needed it as much as he did. Incidences like tonight, made people want to kiss and touch to prove to themselves and each other that they were okay.

Mickey was just as responsive. Tilting his head, deepening the kiss. Practically whimpering into his mouth. Ian had to pull back, his chest was already pushing painfully against Mickey's side, making him give little gasps of pain every other groan.

When he pulled back, Mickey bit his bottom lip with his teeth. "Fuck." Ian whined and moved back, making Mickey release his lip. "That's becoming addicting."

Mickey nodded and licked Ian's kiss from his lips. "Why the fuck you movin then?"

Ian grinned at his grumpiness. "Because if I don't, I'm gonna end up on your lap, possibly hurting your ribs in the process."

Mickey huffed and tried to pull him back. "Like I give a shit. Come back."

Oh, how he wanted to. Ian wanted nothing more than to lay his body the length of Mickey's and feel him all over. Ian wanted all of those sharp gasps he gave and the way Mickey pulled him closer by his jaw. Ian wanted all of it.

Despite saying it wasn't a good idea, Ian still moved closer. Sitting further up the bed so he didn't put too much strain on his body. He bent down until their noses brushed together and traced Mickey's lips.

"Tell me that again when you feel better." Ian leaned down to kiss him again, nearly falling apart when Mickey groaned again. "Right now you need to take it easy."

Mickey nodded and risked the pain by sitting up enough to steal a kiss. "Fine, but if I decide I don't want kisses anymore, just know that it was your fault you missed out."

"I take full responsibility." Ian chuckled and sat up and brushed his dark hair back. "You look worn the fuck out."

"I am worn the fuck out." Mickey released the hold on Ian's neck and let his hand rest against his chest. "This shit is gonna be a bitch until it heals."

"Yeah, ribs take for damn ever." Ian offered, remembering when Frank broke a few of his when he kicked against his side during one of his many drunk home visits. "Painkillers might help."

All laughing and joking aside, they were both thankful this wasn't as bad as it could have been and Ian knew the moment Mickey thought it as well. Their smiles faded and life became real again.

"So, you wanna tell me what's up with that shit you pulled today?"

Ian frowned, his eyebrows drawn together as he thought about what that shit was exactly. "Uh, the kissing shit? Cuz I told you the moment you stop kissing me that I'll stop kissing you."

"Not that," Mickey snorted. "I meant that shit with your boyfriend." His hand moved up, thumb moving back and forth against Ian's chin, going faster as he spoke. "You plan that or did it just lead there?"

Oh, that shit. Okay, so they were gonna talk about that now. Wonderful. Too bad his answer was obvious. He was about to answer, but Mickey's thumb slipped and rubbed against his bottom lip. Ian gasped, feeling that soft sweeping sensation all the way down his body.

Before he could speak, there was a light knock at the door that forced him to turn. Mandy opened it enough to poke her head in, eyes a little wide at their compromised position. "You okay?"

Mandy nodded and smiled a little. "Your friend is here."