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The Casanova Catering Conflict

Chapter Text

Mickey had his head tilted back, staring up at the building across the street. One hand was resting along his forehead trying to shield the sun from burning into his eyes, the rays reflecting off the high rise windows sharply in all directions. The other hand was curled around the black strap of the messenger bag hanging loosely off his shoulder, nervously adjusting it every few seconds so the strap scraped against his skin.

Mickey lowered his hand and shook it out by his side, releasing some of the built up tension that was forming in his fist. He sighed heavily and started walking towards the building, stopping briefly to push the walk signal for the crosswalk, although jumping into oncoming traffic was extremely tempting.

He rushed across the street, flipping off the taxi driver who honked at him for stepping in his path even though Mickey clearly had the right of way, fucker. The building in question had a doorman, a fucking doorman, who greeted Mickey with a smile and held the door open for him. Mickey nodded quickly in thanks.

Once inside, his nervousness didn’t dissipate, if anything it magnified tenfold. The foyer was a cream color, the floor and walls made of some type of marble. There was a small sitting area near the windows that had a small black couch and two matching chairs surrounding a glass table.

Mickey walked up to the front desk where a woman was standing in her pressed black suit, dark hair held up tightly with a clip, a few stragglers fanning the back of her neck. Why apartment complex's needed a desk person for was always baffling to Mickey. He was used to barely having a door that closed without a struggle, let alone someone who had to check in every guest and sign for fucking packages.

“May I help you?” she asked, glancing up from the computer screen she was raptly focused on, her eyes glaring at the tattoos inked across Mickey’s knuckles.

He pulled his hands off the desk and put them in the pockets of his hoodie that had the company logo on the front. He wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed of his knuckle tattoos, his fists living up to the promise permanently inked there quite frequently, but for work situations it sometimes made things a little awkward.

“Uh, yeah, my name is Mickey Milkovich, I have an appointment with a Mr. Ian Gallagher,” he said. One thing Mickey had learned about dealing with people from the North Side is that they are more receptive to accommodate him if he adopted a sickly sweet tone and used “mister” and “misses”.

“ID please,” she said briskly while holding her hand out, palm up. Mickey nodded and reached into his back pocket to pull out his old, weathered leather wallet. He slid his ID out of the protective covering and handed it over. She scrutinized it, before writing down his information on a log-in sheet and passing it over for him to sign. Once he sloppily signed the piece of paper, she handed back his ID and said “13C," in a clipped tone. Mickey gave her a quick nod and headed over to the elevators.

Inside the elevators, he pushed the button for the thirteenth floor and tried to shake the last vestiges of the anxiety creeping up his neck before the doors pinged open. He stepped out into the hallway, the floor covered with a dark red carpet, the walls wallpapered with a delicate, white floral design.

He stood outside the black door, staring at the brass 13C screwed into the wood. He took a deep breath and lifted his hand up rapping on the door four times before taking a step back. Mickey’s other hand was attached to the strap of his messenger bag again, an anxious tick he is now noticing, moving it around and scratching the rough fabric against his neck some more to the point where it was starting to sting. He waited a minute with baited breath, but the door hadn’t budged, no movement heard from the other side. He moved forward again, knocking on it a little louder than before.

A few seconds later he heard footsteps approaching, finally. He ran his hand through his hair quickly, clearing his throat, straightening his back to look presentable and wiping his sweaty palms on the thighs of his jeans.

When the door finally swung open, Mickey’s jaw dropped slightly, his eyebrows climbing up his forehead. The occupant on the other side was shirtless, sweat glistening and running like streams through the sharp cut of his muscles, skin kissed pink from exertion. The guy had a towel thrown over his shoulder, that he used to wipe the sweat from his face and rub over his short red hair before making eye contact.

Mickey shook his head, blinking rapidly a few times before quickly extending his hand, which the apartment owner enthusiastically grabbed, eyes still laser locked onto Mickey’s.

“Ian Gallagher? I’m Mickey Milkovich from Casanova Catering. We had an appointment to go over your dietary restrictions and food menu for the next few months?”

Mickey ended the statement like it was a question even though he knew they had an appointment, it had been scheduled for the past month and the appointment manager for the company had called Ian to confirm the appointment earlier in the week. But who the fuck consciously decides to meet someone for the first time shirtless and covered in sweat? Jesus.

Mickey had been working for Casanova Catering for about a year and a half now. The company mainly focused on catering large fruity parties and corporate meetings for douchebags, but every once in awhile they’d get requests for personal chefs. When those requests came in, everyone who was capable threw their names into a hat and the “winner” would be pulled. When Mickey’s name was pulled, everyone cheered with joy that they weren’t the unluckily candidate. Mickey hated this shit. His name had only been pulled once before and it was the worst experience he’s had working for this company and he was not eager to repeat the process.

Ian chuckled and Mickey had to try real hard not to drop his eyes to stare at the way his ab muscles contracted with the action. “Shit, that was today wasn’t it? Come in,” Ian said as he stepped aside and pulled the door open fully. Mickey nodded and walked across the threshold, his eyes sweeping over the place and taking in the details.

It was fucking massive. The living room and kitchen were connected, the dark tile floors extending from the front door all the way to the floor to ceiling windows lining the far wall, dark grey curtains tied off to the sides. All the walls were white with artwork scattered here and there. The furniture was a deep grey to match the curtains, all furnishings facing the dark red brick fireplace that had a flat screen TV perched above it. An expensive looking rug spanning the distance between the fireplace and the couch.

The kitchen had white cabinets, the counters a dark mahogany. The stainless steel appliances were spotless and gleaming with the sun shining through the windows. There was an island separating the kitchen and living room that had four stools lining it. A chandelier was hanging over the island, reflecting the sunlight into small rainbows around the kitchen. The kitchen was a chef’s dream; there was plenty of counter space for food preparation, this fridge looked like it had plenty of storage room, there were two fucking sinks and the gas stove had six burners as opposed to four.

Mickey was afraid to touch anything. Everything was immaculate and sparkling like Mr. Clean himself came her to wipe everything down with his magic fucking eraser. This was by far the most expensive apartment he had been in. It oozed class and wealth and he was standing here with dirty sneakers with holes in the bottom and laces fraying at the ends. He was half tempted to take his shoes off, afraid to track dirt through the apartment, but his socks weren’t much cleaner than his shoes and he was certain he was wearing the pair with the hole in the big toe because of fucking course he would be.

Ian closed the door and walked around Mickey and over to the fridge to grab a bottle of water. He uncapped it and swallowed half of it in one gulp, the sun hitting his body making him look like some goddamn Greek statue and Mickey had to try real, real fucking hard to keep his eyes from greedily soaking in every goddamn dip, curve and clench. Ian reached back into the fridge and grabbed another bottle for Mickey, holding it out to him silently, his eyebrows raised in question. Mickey moved further into the apartment and rook the bottle from his hands, mumbling a low “thanks” before he opened it.

Ian’s eyes trailed over Mickey’s form slowly, causing Mickey to avert his eyes and focus intently on the art piece next to Ian’s head. Ian sucked in his bottom lip, biting the skin briefly before speaking, “make yourself at home, I’m gonna go change real quick.”

Mickey nodded once, still not making eye contact. Ian seemed to float out of the room silently and Mickey huffed out a relieved breath. He swung the strap from his messenger bag over his head and placed it on the island with a dull thunk. He dug around in the bag taking out his composition notebook, his favorite pen, the company issued iPad and some mock menus he had prepared previously in the week. He arranged everything neatly on the table and took another drink of his water before canvassing the apartment again, his eyes jumping to things he could easily steal. He never would, not anymore, not in a fucking heartbeat, he valued his job too much. But it was so ingrained in his being that he couldn't stop now. Besides, it was kind of interesting to asses how much money rich fucks wasted on purchasing useless shit just to display the fact that they were indeed wealthy. 

Mickey made his way over to the wall of windows, pausing briefly to gaze at some of the art decorating the walls. He didn’t understand this shit, most of it looking like someone had a seizure while holding a paintbrush over a canvas. He never understood why people would spend money on this crap, if you wanted it bad enough you could paint it yourself. He shuffled his way over to the windows and peered out into the skyline. The view was phenomenal, the setting sun bathing the city in a breath-taking golden light with specks of purple thrown in, the waves of Lake Michigan glistening in the distance. The view alone was worth the price of rent in the this place and Mickey could feel himself getting lost in the picturesque landscape in front of him. From up here, the city didn’t look so shitty. You couldn’t see the junkies huddling under bus stop structures or the drunks puking their insides out into city gutters.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he heard whispered behind him. Mickey jumped slightly and whipped around, causing Ian to raise his hands in front of him and chuckle lowly.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you,” Ian said.

Mickey huffed and shook his head. “Didn’t scare me, just wasn’t expectin’ ya to be standing right behind me s’all.”

Ian was in clothing that was more appropriate for meeting your personal chef, forgoing his basketball shorts and bare chest for loose sweatpants and a tight white thermal with the top two buttons undone that stretched over his shoulders deliciously.

Mickey cleared his throat and scratched his eyebrow with his thumb. “You ready to get this show on the road or what?” he asked.

Ian laughed again and turned to the side, sweeping his hand in an after you motion. Mickey rolled his eyes but walked over to the island, slipping into one of the stools before opening his notebook to the page where he had written down all his questions. Ian stood across from Mickey, leaning against the counter on his crossed arms. From this position Mickey could see down Ian’s shirt slightly and could just barely make out the spool of wiry red hairs on his chest.

Mickey lowered his eyes and kept them firmly glued to the paper for a few seconds while he decided what question to ask first. He clicked his pen rapidly a few times before speaking. “So, I guess the first thing I should ask is why you hired us? Like, what are you hoping to get from this?” he asked.

Ian swept his eyes over Mickey’s face and his eyes landed on his lips quickly before licking his own. Mickey’s cheeks flushed immediately and he reached for the water bottle next to him to distract himself from the fact that Ian was blatantly checking him out, for a second time.

“Well, I’m a sports model and I have this big shoot coming up in a few months. It could lead to a lotta big contracts and I don't have the best track record for staying on top of my diets. I really fucking love pizza and pasta,” he paused, head dipping slightly to try and catch Mickey’s eyes before continuing, “and I got a little bit of a sweet tooth," he finished with a grin. That smirk spread across Ian’s face almost caused Mickey to choke on his own spit.


Mickey collected himself very quickly given the circumstances. He wasn’t used to people openly flirting with him like this outside the fruity clubs he would occasionally visit, let alone a client. A high paying, hot as fuck, clearly interested in his ghetto ass, fucking sports model client. Mickey was never receptive to people flirting with him, it just made him feel awkward as fuck and now it’s even worse because he can’t just tell a client to fuck off like he normally would. He’s usually real good at concealing his sexuality, not because he’s ashamed, but because it’s nobody's damn business and he’s never been comfortable with advertising. But for some damn reason this jacked up red headed fucker is making it really difficult to concentrate.

He took another sip of water. “So, are you looking to bulk up or just maintain?” he asked, eyes still focused on his notebook, scribbling down a few notes while Ian spoke.

“Just maintain I suppose. I’m pretty strict with my workout routines, so it’s really just keeping me away from all the junk food I eat.”

Mickey sniffed. “Food allergies?”

“If I tell you I’m allergic to broccoli will you never let it into my apartment, ever?” 

Mickey laughed at that, causing a small smile to crack across Ian’s face. “Hate broccoli, got it. Although you probably just haven’t had it cooked correctly,” Mickey said.

Ian, adorably, scrunched up his nose and just shook his head. Mickey huffed out another small laugh.

It was all very clinical and routine after that, the awkward feeling clawing at Mickey’s skin slowly falling away to more of a tickle. He continued reading off some questions, jotting down notes when necessary. Once that was out of the way, Mickey showed Ian the mock menu’s he prepared to give Ian an idea of the type of food that Mickey was capable of producing and to get Ian’s input on certain dishes; what he liked and didn't like, what worked best for his workouts and what he absolutely wound't fucking eat even if it was the last thing on Earth.

Mickey opened up his iPad towards the end of their meeting to work out a schedule for when he would personally be coming to Ian’s apartment to prepare his meals each week. Ian walked around the island, placing one hand on the back of Mickey’s stool and the other on the counter, leaning forward over Mickey’s shoulder, his chest brushing against Mickey’s back every so often. Mickey concentrated real hard on controlling the heat creeping up the back of his neck and tried to steady his breathing. Christ, this guy smelled like heaven too.

Mickey was in hell. He never had a problem dealing with clients. Ever. Always kept shit professional and polite, never even giving some fine ass clients a second glance. He kept his head down and did his fucking job and that was that. He hadn’t mentally prepared himself for his client to be this fucking attractive because it had never been an issue before and he didn't think it would be today. But Ian made it tough to focus because Mickey couldn't keep his eyes from cascading over well defined muscles and locking onto those brilliant green eyes. It was even harder to focus when those brilliant green eyes were staring at him in admiration, that crooked smile stretching across his face.

They finally agreed that Mickey would come to the apartment every Monday and Thursday. Those days he would prepare Ian’s meals for the next few days to be kept in the fridge and he would cook one fresh, hot meal for him that day. Simple enough, nothing compared to the shitshow that was his first private gig with a wayward father and four screaming kids.

The whole meeting itself only took about an hour, much to Mickey’s delight. He didn't think he would be able to maintain his cool for too much longer. He went to pack up his messenger bag, taking out the book he read on the ride over to organize everything alongside each other neatly. Ian turned his head to read the title of the book, a small hum slipping out of his mouth.

“That’s a great book, I read it a few months ago. Total mind-fuck," Ian said, pointing to the thick paperback sitting on the table.

Mickey nodded, keeping his eyes focused on packing his shit. “I just started it yesterday. Pretty fuckin’ creepy so far," he said.

“Are you a big Stephen King fan?” Ian asked.

Mickey shrugged, grabbing the book and placing it back in his bag once everything else was in place. “Wouldn’t say “big”, but yeah I enjoy his shit, got a few more at home.”

He pulled the strap of his messenger bag over his head as they walked to the front door, Ian leading the way and holding the door open for Mickey. They said their goodbye’s, complete with an awkward unnecessarily long handshake and Mickey was on his way to the elevator.

He didn’t hear Ian’s door click shut until he pressed the button for the ground floor.

As soon as the door shut, Ian turned and slouched against it, banging his head lightly off it three times. He couldn’t stop the smile spreading across his face and it had nothing to do with the amazing food that he’s going to be eating for the next few months. He took a few deep breaths and launched himself off the door to scramble for his phone that was laying on the counter, dialing his brother’s number quickly.

It rang four times before Lip answered with a gruff, "yeah?”

Ian sighed, his eyes sparkling like a sixteen year old. If phone’s still had cords attached to them, he would be twirling it between his fingers. “I just met the love of my life, Lip,” he said with a dreamy air to it.

“I swear you say that shit at least twice a week. Who is it this time?” Ian heard the distinctive sound of his brother inhaling from his cigarette through the receiver, “don’t fucking say it’s your new per-”

“It’s my new personal chef,” Ian cut him off.

He heard Lip scoff over the phone, taking another drag off his cigarette. “Don’t fucking do it dude, that shit never works out. You remember what happened with your personal trainer, it wasn’t even that long ago.”

Ian screwed his eyes up in distaste. Of course he fucking remembered the triste with his trainer, Justin. It was messy and intense and Ian immediately fell in deep in true Ian Gallagher fashion. It was a blissful two months of constant sex, orgasms and fast flowing adrenaline before everything grew sour. Turns out the guy was verbally abusive in more places than the gym. He made it a point to make Ian feel lower than dirt every day, managing to pinpoint every single one of his insecurities and magnify them exponentially. It was a tactic that worked well for him in the gym, but proved to be a detriment everywhere else. He cringed at the memory, it’s something he’s been working hard to forget. It’s amazing how only two months of degradation can fuck you up for years to come.

“It’s not the same Lip, and honestly fuck you for bringing that up,” Ian snapped into the phone, "this guy’s different, he’s not a roided up juicehead. And he has the prettiest fuckin' eyes and he’s so smart, I can tell. He was reading one of my favorite books, that's gotta be a sign. I was laying it on pretty thick though and he didn’t bite.”

“Contrary to what you believe, not everyone is a homo," another exhale of smoke, making Ian crave the nicotine he gave up years ago. “Don’t make this awkward for him, man. The poor guy is just trying to do his job.”

Ian sighed, “there was a connection there though, I could fuckin’ feel it-”

“You feel a connection with every pretty boy that crosses your path. And everybody fucking reads, you were bound to meet someone who read your favorite book,” Lip snapped out. He was losing his patience, not like he had a lot to begin with, especially when it came to Ian's quick fire infatuations. “Did you call me just to wax poetic about unattainable dick, or was there another reason for this phone call?”

Ian huffed loudly before ending the call without saying goodbye and tossed his phone down on the counter. He should have never called Lip, that asshole has a knack for raining on Ian’s parade every damn time he develops a crush. He propped his elbows on the counter, leaning his head into his hands and pulling a little roughly on his hair, frustrated at himself.

Lip had a point. He does develop feelings fast and he has a tendency to catch feelings very easily and it usually ended with Ian getting his heart ripped out and crushed while it was still beating and bloody.

But Mickey was different, he could feel it in his gut and tingling in his limbs, making him restless. Even though the conversation was light and didn’t wander too far from food, Ian thoroughly enjoyed talking to Mickey. The way he casually used “fuck” as an adjective, verb and noun throughout his sentences (and the first few times he mumbled “shit” under his breath when he remembered he had to be professional), how his tongue would slowly poke out the side of his mouth while he was concentrating and how he would rub his right eyebrow with his thumb when he was getting frustrated.

Mickey wasn’t even Ian’s type, but he had a feeling Mickey was quickly becoming his type. Ian preferred athletic men, blonde, tall and muscular, the cliche poster boy for gay athlete's. But as soon as he opened that door he was immediately smitten with the stocky, dark haired man with the threatening knuckle tattoos.

He sighed heavily, pulling his shirt over his head as he walked down the hallway, his gym equipment always there for him when he needed to alleviate some frustration.

Mickey probably wasn’t even gay, but Ian would be damned if he gave up before he found out.

Chapter Text

Mickey stepped out of the shower and rubbed the towel over his hair quickly before tying it around his waist. He walked over to the sink and wiped the steam off the mirror, slowly revealing his scowling face through the fog. He opened up the medicine cabinet behind the mirror and pulled out his razor and cream, dispersing a small amount into the palm of his hand. He worked the cream into a lather and applied it to his cheeks and neck. He didn’t need to shave every day, his facial hair tended to grow at a glacial pace and patchy as fuck at that, but he was looking a little rough recently.

He was methodical in his movements, starting with the right side and moving over to the left, rinsing the razor with every two passes through the cream. He hissed when he nicked his neck slightly, cursing when he saw a small trickle of blood trail down his neck. He grabbed a small piece of tissue and pressed it to the tiny cut, leaving it there to soak up the blood.

It had been a week since his appointment with Ian and today was the first day he was scheduled to cook for him. Mickey had been in correspondence with Ian via emails throughout the week, finalizing the menu and making sure it passed Ian’s nutritionist’s strict guidelines for his diet. He only had to re-work the menu twice before it got the stamp of approval. He still had a lot to do before heading over to Ian’s for their 2 o’clock appointment and he was running a little behind this morning. He still had to go grocery shopping and he was not looking forward to lugging those bags onto the L and through the North Side.

Cupping his hands under the faucet, he splashed the last remnants of shaving cream off his face and wiped it down with a clean towel that he ended up just throwing on the floor. He walked out of the bathroom and into the crisp air of his living room, padding lightly to his bedroom across the way.

His apartment was small, nothing compared to the vastness of Ian’s apartment. The living room and kitchen were connected, a line dividing the area between chipped tile to stained carpet. The living room was furnished with a relatively new but still second hand couch, a scratched coffee table, an ancient television that decided when it wants to display the pictures in color and two bookcases that were overflowing with hardcovers and paperbacks. The windows were covered in grime that made the outside world look foggy and required something under them to keep them propped open.

The bedroom was in a similar fashion as the rest of the apartment, adorned with old furniture and even more books scattered on random surfaces, dirty clothes and clean clothes mixed together on the floor.

The place wasn’t much, but it was home for Mickey. He felt safe and comfortable here, a luxury he didn’t have growing up. He may still reside in the South Side but he was working hard to distance himself from the environment he grew up in and he was proud of how far he had come. If you could ask his fifteen year old self where he thought he would be at the age of twenty-six and he would have responded with “jail or dead." But he was neither of those things and that was good enough for him.

Mickey dropped the towel and dressed quickly, pulling on his cleanest pair of form fitting jeans over his boxers and a clean black tank top to wear underneath the company issued chef’s jacket, sleeves rolled halfway up his arms. He hated the chef’s jacket, it always draped awkwardly on his shoulders and tended to be too long for his arms. It was bulky and stiff and he felt like he would be able to move around better in the kitchen with just a t-shirt, but his boss insisted on being professional.

Once dressed, he walked into the living room and went over to one of the bookcases. He squinted at the spines and swept over the titles, his finger following his eyesight, trying to pick out a new one to read for his commute. Organized people would probably shelf their books based on if they’ve been read already or not, but Mickey just places them wherever there’s room. He should probably get a third bookcase but he didn't really have anywhere to put it. Reading wasn't something he did a lot growing up, in fact his positive his father wouldn't have allowed that pussy crap. It's a hobby he's picked up as he got older. It started as something he did to quiet his mind when white noise from the TV just didn't fucking cut it anymore, but he's grown to love and appreciate reading as a leisure activity instead of just an escape.

He finally found a title he wasn’t familiar with and walked over to the counter to shove it in his messenger bag, careful not to squish the sandwich he had in there. He threw the strap over his shoulder and grabbed his knife kit to bring along with him. Lugging around all this shit on the L is going to get old. Fast.

Everyday without fail, Mickey brought a small sandwich, an apple and a bottle of water in his messenger bag. Underneath the L station there was a homeless man named Charles that Mickey had accidentally befriended. Mickey was three sheets to the wind plastered one night, and after taking the train all the home from a fruity North Side club his wobbly legs just wouldn’t carry him the last few blocks to his apartment. He barely made it down the stairs without smashing his face off every step.

Charles swept in like some poorly dressed, dirty angel offering Mickey cover under his shabby cardboard lean-to, allowing him to use his only blanket as a pillow. Mickey woke up the next morning thoroughly confused but ridiculously thankful. That morning, he went across the street and bought two coffees, coming back to Charles and just sitting there talking to him for a few hours.

It was a weird friendship, but one that Mickey cherished dearly. Sometimes it honestly felt like Charles was the only person Mickey could talk to on the odd days he needed to get things off his chest. Charles was completely unbiased and was able to one up all of Mickey’s fucked up stories and he gave surprisingly sage advice when Mickey was searching for it. Mickey didn’t really have money to spare, but the most he could do was bring the man a sandwich and an apple so he knew he ate something at least once that day.

Walking up to the station, Mickey spotted Charles in his usual spot, camping out under his cardboard shack and reading yesterday’s paper that he dug out of the trash, rumbled and coffee stained.

Mickey smiled and walked over. “Mornin' Charles,” he greeted.

Charles glanced up, placing the paper in his lap and smiling brightly through crooked teeth. “Mickey my boy! How are ya this mornin’?” he asked.

“Not to shabby,” Mickey dug around in his bag, grabbing onto the lock of the sandwich bag,“starting a job with a new client today, not looking forward to it to be honest.”

He handed over the food to Charles, which he accepted with open hands. The first few times Mickey tried to give Charles food he vehemently rejected it, spitting about how he didn’t need Mickey’s fucking charity. But Mickey was relentless and Charles stopped fighting it eventually, soon customizing his order and asking for tuna instead of PB&J.

Charles cracked the water bottle and took a big sip before speaking. “And why’s that? Ya like this job I thought?”

Mickey rubbed the back of his neck. “I do usually, but it’s a private gig this time around. Fuckin’ hate working one on one with people and this guy seems like a freak. Super health conscious.”

“Don’t be so harsh, ya don’t even know ‘em,” Charles said through a mouthful of bread and tuna.

Mickey scoffed and rolled his eyes. “What’s to fuckin’ know? He’s another rich North Side prick who thinks he can have whatever the fuck he wants.”

Charles leaned forward and furrowed his brows, locking eyes with Mickey as he took another bite out of his sandwich. “Yer not tellin’ me something,” he said with a frown.

Mickey glared and thumbed at his bottom lip before looking away. Charles pointed at him and kicked his feet like a child. “There it is! The sign! Yer hidin’ something. Out with it, boy!” he yelled.

Mickey huffed dramatically and threw his head back, groaning dramatically to the sky. “Fuck. Fine. He might be really fucking hot and definitely gay and flirted with me. Like...a lot,” Mickey said, reluctantly. This guy always managed to make Mickey spill his guts with minimal effort. It was refreshing to have someone like that but also infuriating. 

Charles knew Mickey was gay, it kind of just slipped out one day during conversation since Mickey had no need to have his guard up around Charles. Mickey had been awkward about it for a minute, until Charles clapped his hand heavily down on Mickey’s shoulder and said he didn’t give a shit who he fucked.

Charles grinned wide like Mickey just told him a funny fucking story. “So, ya like ‘em? Makin’ ya nervous, huh?” he waggled his eyebrows playfully at Mickey.

“Fuck you,” Mickey said with no real malice. “I gotta go, asshole, enjoy your fuckin’ lunch." Charles gave him middle finger salute as a parting wave as Mickey darted up the stairs.

God damn Charles, picking up on all of Mickey’s little quirks and mannerisms and able to pull information out of him with ease. Mickey might just bring him a PB&J tomorrow to spite the fucker.

Ian groaned and rolled over onto his stomach, snuggling his face into the pillow to block out the harsh rays of the sun shining through the window. He forgot to close the blinds before going to sleep last night, crawling into bed drunk around 3am with his jeans hanging off of one leg and his t-shirt stained and rucked up around his midsection.

He had called Lip to come over last night, fully planning on gorging on as much pizza and beer that his stomach could handle. It was his last night before starting his strict diet and he wanted to taste as much cheese and grease as he could before being barred from it for the next few months.

What started as a relaxed evening quickly spiralled into chaos, in true Gallagher style. Lip decided it would be a wonderful idea to bring a handle of whiskey with him, as if they beer wouldn’t be enough to satiate their craving. They passed the whiskey back and forth between them while playing video games, Lip forcing Ian to take a shot anytime he mentioned the words “Mickey”, “blue”, or “fate”.

Needless to say, Ian ended up drinking more than half the handle. He’s pretty sure he blacked out half the night.

Ian longed to lay in bed all day to sleep off the vicious hangover he felt knocking against his skull, but he knew that wasn’t an option. At least he had a few more hours left to get some sleep before he needed to do anything productive. He sighed, snuggled closer to the pillow and waited to fall back into his dream about dark hair and pale skin, thoughts of Mickey constantly flowing through his brain for the past week.

Ian couldn’t have been asleep for more than twenty minutes before he woke to violent sounds of heaving and splashing coming from his bathroom. He groaned and punched his fist against the mattress twice before lifting himself up. He kicked off the jeans that were still hanging off one leg and tossed his soiled shirt carelessly behind him. He pulled on a clean pair of sweatpants and an oversized hoodie and walked over to the bathroom, yawning and rubbing one eye on the walk over.

As expected, Lip was hugging the toilet, sweat streaking down his face and spit dangling from his mouth. Ian lingered in the doorway, leaning awkwardly against the frame with his arms crossed, not really knowing how to help and not sure if he even wanted too. He cleared his throat to announce his presence and leaned forward to rub Lip’s back gently.

“You alright there, champ?” he said with a slightly chastising tone.

Lip groaned out a weak “fuck you” and shrugged Ian’s hand off his back.

Ian chuckled, "you’re getting old dude, I drank more than you did.”

“Beer before liquor and all that shit,” Lip mumbled into the toilet.

“Sure, whatever you say. Want breakfast?” Ian yawned out the last word.

Lip managed a weak thumbs up over his head, before dry heaving into the bowl again. Ian shook his head before walking out of the bathroom, thankful that he hasn’t thrown up from drinking since he was a teenager.

As he walked into the living room Ian’s jaw dropped open at the state it was in. Pizza boxes and beer cans were everywhere and a few slices of pepperoni were stuck to the window like they decided to re-enact the scene from Billy Madison with the pickles. There was a random piece of uncooked steak thrown on the floor next to the couch, the coffee table was pushed far away from the couch and the whiskey bottle was tipped over, slowing dripping splashes of leftover liquor onto the carpet. His white, expensive carpet.

“Fucking christ,” he mumbled with a shake of his head. He walked over and picked the whiskey bottle up, a shot or so left in the bottom of it, and brought it over to place on the counter.

Breakfast first, then he’ll focus on cleaning. Ian wasn’t a chef by any stretch of the imagination, but he knew how to toast some bread and scramble some eggs which was enough to soak up the booze in both their stomachs. He pulled the required ingredients out from the fridge, placing them next to the stove before leaning down to the cabinet under the island to grab a pan, the dishes clattering around loudly. He winced and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to will away the headache.

Ian placed the pan on the stove, turned the knob for the gas which ignited after a few clickclickclicks and turned it down to a low heat. Throwing a pat of butter in the pan he left it there to melt before moving over to crack a few eggs into a bowl and whipped them with a fork. He poured the mix into the pan and left it to simmer for a minute, putting four slices of bread into the toaster.

By the time Lip came out of the bathroom, red faced and disheveled, there was a plate of eggs and toast waiting for him, along with the last remaining shot of whiskey, three aspirin and a bottle of water.

Ian turned around from putting the pan in the sink and got a good look at his hungover brother.

“Jesus, what happened to your eye?” Ian asked upon seeing his brothers bruised and swollen face.

“You don’t remember, shithead?” Lip asked, throwing back the shot of whiskey with a cringe.

Ian shook his head, no. Fuck he really did blackout last night.

“You wouldn’t shut the fuck up about Mickey. So I pinched your leg, told you to can it and you took that as an invitation to fight me. You almost smashed me through the fucking coffee table.”

Ian winced, rubbing the back of his neck. “Shit. Sorry about that. That explains the steak though,” he laughed, pointing to the steak on the floor.

Lip rolled his eyes and focused on piling eggs onto his toast. “Whatever dude, it’s feels good to fight sometimes,” he said with a shrug.

Ian grimaced as he shook his head. “Whatever you say, weirdo. Could you help me clean a bit before you leave? There’s fucking pepperoni’s on the window.”

Lip laughed hard at that, clutching his stomach and turning to take a look at the window. “Fucking forgot about that, holy shit. Yeah, you drama queen, I’ll help you clean so your precious Mickey doesn’t see what a slob you are.”

Ian reached over and punched Lip in the shoulder before returning his focus on eating his own breakfast.

An hour later, all the trash was bagged and piled next to the door for Ian to take out later. They had managed to get the whiskey stain out of the carpet and the grease smudges off the windows. Lip was pulling on his shoes to leave and Ian was standing at the sink, washing the few dishes they had dirtied.

“Thanks for coming over last night. It was nice...even though I punched you in the face,” Ian said over his shoulder, “though I think you were overdue for a punch in the face anyway.”

Lip grunted and stood up from the couch, flipping his brother off before throwing his jacket over his shoulder and walking over to him. “It’s okay, makes me look badass to the ladies,” he said with a wink.

Ian rolled his eyes. “You’re seriously fucked up.”

“So are you, douchebag. We’re cut from the same cloth. I’m heading out. Try to keep your dick in your pants when Mickey comes over. And maybe try to lay off the flirting a little bit, yeah? Don’t wanna scare the dude off,” he laughed and patted Ian on the shoulder twice before walking over to the door. Ian yelling his goodbye from the sink.

He wiped his hands on his sweatpants and walked over to his bedroom, stripping the hoodie over his head. He could swear he felt grease pouring out of his pores from all the pizza he ate last night and he wanted nothing more than to sweat it all out on the treadmill, hoping all the activity doesn’t scramble his stomach and make him nauseous. He strided into his gym, which was supposed to be a guest bedroom but he decided fitness was more important than guest comfort when he first move in. He placed his phone on the iPod dock, found his favorite workout playlist and hopped onto his treadmill, planning on running for as long and as hard as his tired, booze soaked body would allow, deciding he would cool down from the run with a few barbell curls.

Ian had four hours until Mickey was supposed to arrive and he needed to make sure he was showered and mentally prepared for when he got there.

Standing outside Ian’s apartment door, with four full reusable grocery bags in tow, Mickey struggled to hold everything without dropping it. He was shocked he made it this far without tripping over his own feet. Luckily the fancy, organic grocery store was only a few stops away on the train, so travelling with everything hadn’t been too much of an inconvenience.

He opted for kicking the bottom of the door three times instead of knocking, his boot making a harsh sound against the wood. He grunted and adjusted all the bags he was carrying as best as he could as he waited.

Ian ripped open the door fairly quickly, like he was waiting on the other side for Mickey to arrive. Thankfully he wasn’t shirtless this time, but what he was wearing wasn’t leaving much to the imagination either, his shirt hugging him like a second skin.

Ian just stood there awkwardly, staring at Mickey again like he had never fucking seen him before. Mickey raised his eyebrows, “you gonna let me in, or am I making all this food in the fucking hallway?”

Ian cringed, moving aside and opening the door enough for Mickey to move inside. He walked over to the kitchen, hearing the door click shut behind him, and heaved the grocery bags on the counter, rotating his arms over his head and rubbing the muscles in his shoulders. Ian finally made his way over to the island and slid into one of the stools.

Mickey, still rubbing his shoulders, looked at Ian. “Did you get all the tupperware containers we talked about?”

Ian nodded and sprang up from the seat too fast, causing the stool the clatter down to the ground. He winced, mumbling a low “fuck” and bent down to pick up the seat. Mickey tried but he couldn’t help himself from staring at Ian’s ass, those tight black jeans were just hugging him in all the right places. He shook his head and started pulling the groceries out the bag before Ian stood up, the last thing he wanted was Ian to catch him staring at his ass.

Once the stool was upright, Ian moved around the island and went to the cabinet where he kept all his tupperware. Mickey suggested he get different sizes with different color lids for the days of the week, making it easier to organize everything in the fridge.

“Everything’s in here, for whenever you’re ready,” Ian said, leaving the cabinet door open as he walked back over to the stool, sitting down slowly. “So, what’s the first thing you’re doing? I’m not very experienced with cooking...or with good food. My family’s idea of a meal was cheap spaghetti or stolen lasagna.”

Mickey laughed a bit at the confession and finally placed everything on the counter, the folded up grocery bags shoved into his messenger bag. “Well, I have to clean all these vegetables and take the skin off the chicken before I do anything. Gonna prepare all the meals for this half of the week first, get that out the way, and then I’m gonna cook your dinner. Hopefully be outta your hair by six.”

Ian nodded. “Well I’ll uh...leave you to it then.”

As much as he would love to sit there and watch Mickey work, he had a feeling that the other man wouldn’t enjoy the audience, especially since Ian was making everything so fucking awkward. He walked over to the living room and threw himself down on the couch and grabbed the TV remote.

He tried to focus on the TV, he truly did, but he had made such an ass of himself earlier knocking the chair over like that and staring at Mickey when he first opened the door. He didn’t want Mickey to assume that’s how he always was, at least their first meeting wasn’t this disastrous. Ian is usually very suave and confident, but having the week to simmer in this crush has him at a boiling point and fumbling around like a baby elephant. And Lip’s advice was still buzzing like a mosquito in the back of his head, maybe try to lay off the flirting a little bit, ya?

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair, keeping his eyes permanently glued on the TV even though his ears were finely tuned into what was happening in the kitchen. He heard the water running, which meant Mickey was cleaning the vegetables. A few minutes later he heard Mickey’s not to gentle steps to the fridge and the sound of glasses clinking together and food being move around.

More steps over to the island, then the distinct sound of a knife slicing through a crisp vegetable and hitting the wood of the cutting board. Ian groaned lowly and sat up from the couch, making his way over to the island.

He placed his palms flat on the counter and leaned forward. “Need help with anything? I feel like an ass just sitting here," Ian said. He knew Mickey would say no, but it wouldn't hurt to ask. Not like Ian had an fucking idea what he was doing anyway.

Mickey sniffed, his eyes resolutely focused on cutting the vegetable in front of him. “Nah man, I got it,” he said simply

Ian nodded, even though Mickey couldn’t see and slid into the stool opposite him, resting his chin on the palm of his hand.  

“So, have you been doing this long?” Ian asked in a flirtatious tone, trying to slip back into his confident self, holding it back wasn't working. Fuck Lip.

Mickey sighed, still cutting the vegetable like he was avoiding eye contact. Or just doing his fucking job. “About two years now,” he said.

Ian hummed, still watching Mickey’s movements with interest. “You enjoy it?”

Mickey huffed, dropping the knife onto the board and looking Ian in the eye, finally. “Listen man, I get that you’re trying to be fuckin' hospitable or whatever, but I really work better and faster when no one is fucking bothering me,” Mickey snapped.

Ian straightened up and stared at Mickey a little wide eyed. Being rebuffed like that had stung a little. “Duly fucking noted," Ian bit out with as much heat as Mickey just used.

He pushed away from the island a little violently and walked down the hallway into his bedroom to change into clothes that were suitable to work out in. Mickey was an asshole. An asshole who had no qualms about mouthing off to someone who was paying him for his services. An asshole who clearly wasn’t interested in getting to know Ian. An asshole who was really fucking pretty and hot. Ian growled at himself, stomping like a child into his gym and hopping up on the treadmill to alleviate his anger.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Mickey breathed out softly to himself, head hanging down towards his chest.

He really shouldn’t have snapped like that, he was realizing it now. This was a client , someone who was paying him to be here. Mickey was replaceable, there were plenty of other personal chefs out there that would be willing to do this job without the attitude. He really didn’t need Ian calling in a complaint to his boss.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

He picked up his knife and went back to cutting, determined to get this shit over with as soon as possible. Prepping food was hypnotic to Mickey, his body getting lost in the motions of rocking his knife and cutting through food. It was calming to him, having something so methodical and predictable to do with his hands that didn’t involve violence.

Having Ian so close to him was messing with his concentration and he really wasn’t interested in cutting off a finger. He should have went about asking him to leave in a less patronizing way but it just slipped, lashing out with frustration and anger were natural reactions for Mickey and more often than not it got him into trouble.

He sighed heavily, silently berating himself for the rest of the time he was working. He didn’t want to bother Ian, so it took him a long time to navigate the obscene amount of cabinets to find everything he was looking for; pans in the island cabinet, utensils in the first drawer next to the fridge, spices above the oven and so on.

He didn’t see Ian for the remainder of the time he was working, apparently listening to Mickey’s outburst and leaving him alone. Which was ballsy, by the way. Ian didn’t know all. And if someone who looked like Mickey came into his fancy ass apartment he would be watching that fucker like a hawk. But it was close to six now and Mickey was done here for the day, Ian’s dinner of freshly caught salmon lightly seasoned and seared on the grill top, served with thinly sliced zucchini, pan fried in a light canola oil with scallions and sesame seeds was steaming on the counter top.

Mickey walked down the hallway, not sure where he was going since he never got a tour, but he heard the heavy thunkthunkthunk of what he assumed was Ian on the treadmill.

Jesus, has he been working out this whole time?

He paused in front of the door and took a deep breath, raising his fist to knock. The sound stopped, Ian opening the door seconds later. He was drenched in sweat, his tank top soaked and sticking to his chest, a bead of sweat curving down his neck and pooling in the dip of his throat. He was breathing heavily, like he just ran a damn marathon in the hours Mickey was here. Fuck, that imagine was doing things to him.

Mickey rubbed the back of his neck and looked into Ian’s fierce eyes.  “Uhh- your dinner for tonight is ready on the counter. All your shit for the next few days is in fridge. Ima head out. See you on Thursday?”

Ian nodded, not moving from the doorway. Mickey nodded back awkwardly and turned to walk back to the kitchen, shaking his head at himself. At the end of the hallway Mickey paused and turned around to see Ian leaning against the doorway, arms crossed in front of his chest, tongue poking up to lick his bottom lip. Ian snapped his eyes up from where he was blatantly staring at Mickey’s ass and made eye contact, eyebrows raised in question and instigation all in one.

Mickey swiped his bottom lip with his thumb, furrowing his brow and averting his eyes to look at the floor. “Sorry for uh- for snapping at you earlier. Was uncalled for. My bad,” he said.

He looked up briefly to see a surprised look on Ian’s face before turning around abruptly and basically sprinting to the kitchen to grab his bag and knife kit off the counter and high tail it out of this place.

When his hand was on the doorknob, he heard Ian clear his throat from the center of the room before saying “see you on Thursday” in a salaciously sweet tone.

Mickey just pulled the door open and left without another word. He needed a cigarette...or ten.

Chapter Text

It had been a long few days between Monday and Thursday and Mickey was exhausted. It wasn’t unusual for his company to be busy this time of year; spring brought around a lot of weddings and plenty of outdoor events that people desperately need catered, it’s just that they were usually more spread out than this.

During the week, Mickey had already worked a wedding and a corporate event, both were all day affairs, working at least fourteen hours each day. He had to arrive at the company by 7am, help prep the food, transport and set everything up, cook the food and work the whole event with a pleasant plastic smile planted on his face and then break down everything after.  

Mickey loved his job even though the days were long and exhausting sometimes. He acknowledged the fact the he could be doing something that was much more labor intensive or illegal. And he fucking loved cooking, it was very therapeutic and he was damn good at it. He had landed a spot with Casanova Catering when it was just starting and they didn’t care about Mickey’s intense personality or his rude tattoos. All they cared about was that he was a good chef and a hard worker and he had checked box those boxes. With what knowledge he had gained from working as a line cook for a few years, he had really flourished under the guidance of the people he worked for at Casanova and his skills and creativity have grown exponentially since.

The company had grown bigger in the two years he’s worked there, firing and hiring a lot of new people in the process. Thankfully, they view Mickey as an asset to their operation and haven’t let him go with the changing tides. Most of his co-workers were tolerable and kept to themselves, not asking invasive questions or getting into his personal space, just leaving him to his own devices and carrying their own weight.

He was currently laying on his bed, arms thrown out at his sides and staring up at the fan slowly rotating on the ceiling, the soft whirring sounds leaving him in a trance. His muscles ached, his feet were screaming, his back was throbbing and all he wanted to do was to lay in bed for a week with a new book and the polluted city air creeping through the open windows.

The only good thing about working today was that he didn’t have to be there until 2pm and he only had to work for four hours until he had a blissful three day weekend where he planned to do nothing but drink beer, read some books and shove his hand down his pants a few times.

He sighed, reaching his hands up in fists to rub against his eyes, trying to wake the fuck up. He reached over to the nightstand and grabbed his pack of cigarettes, withdrawing one from the cardboard and placing it between his lips before lighting it. He inhaled deeply, holding the smoke in for a minute to enjoy the burn in his lungs before exhaling towards the ceiling, the smoke getting wrapped up in the fan blades before disappearing.

He didn’t have time since Monday to think about how truly awkward the situation with Ian had been. Mickey was far from a relaxed person, but he liked to think he’s calmed down over the years, that he’s learned to deal with his anger internally before lashing out externally. But his outburst clearly proved that way of thinking was incorrect. At least he apologized, that’s more than he would normally do, not giving a fuck if he hurt the other person’s feelings or not.

Ian wasn’t even being that annoying, he was asking normal fucking questions that anyone should theoretically be asking someone who was making their food and creeping around their apartment. But it was the way he was saying it and the way he was looking at Mickey like he was some fucking exhibit in a museum, all moony eyed and intrigued.

It was unnerving and made it difficult to concentrate when he could practically feel the heat from Ian’s green eyes taking in every inch of his exposed skin. He ripped open under his gaze and he shuddered to think how he would feel if he actually opened himself up to this man, even a small amount.

But this was his fucking job and he couldn’t be flying off the handle at a fucking client like that even if said client was constantly undressing him with his piercing green eyes.

Mickey sighed, taking another drag of his cigarette before stubbing it out in the ashtray on the nightstand, swinging his legs off the bed and planting his feet on the floor. Time to start his day. 

Ian was sitting on his couch, feet propped up on the coffee table with his laptop resting on his legs.

He had exhausted every social media outlet and Google search and had found nothing about Mickey Milkovich; no Facebook, no Instagram, no LinkedIn, no Twitter, fucking nothing. He had tried every possible combination of the name and still nothing popped up. It’s like he didn’t exist. A ghost.

But he was obviously real, his presence leaving a strong imprint on Ian’s mind.

Ian barely knew this man besides his name and that he was a hell of a cook and apparently liked to read. But he wanted to know more and since Mickey clearly wasn’t going to willingly give up information about himself Ian had resorted to internet stalking.

But he had come up empty handed and he was frustrated. The closest he found was a Mandy Milkovich on Facebook who was also from Chicago, but her page was private so he couldn’t even creep on her. He was tempted to add her as a friend anyway, from what little he could see of her profile picture she bore a striking resemblance to Mickey. But he figured that would be taking it too far (though he did have the cursor hovering over the add button for a good ten minutes).

If that was Mickey’s sister and they happened to be close then she would know who Ian was and the last thing he needed was for Mickey to think that he was creeping on his sister.

He sighed and grabbed his hair from the roots, growling at himself in frustration. This was a new low, even for him. If someone wasn’t interested in him he would give up and move on, not trying to embarrass himself by pursuing something that was never going to happen. But for some reason, with Mickey, he couldn’t fucking let go, like a starving dog with a bone.

Mickey was different. He was intimidating, short tempered and tough. But he was also quiet, hard working and focused and Ian was infatuated with this walking contradiction of a man and his artic blue eyes. It was like reading a book that was written in a different language, you could look at the illustrations and fool yourself into understanding, but without context nothing made sense.

There was a softness hidden underneath Mickey's tough exterior and Ian just had to work on chipping off the paint. He was just going to have to change his approach, back off a bit and drop the flirtatious act, work on being Mickey’s friend first, earn his trust and then slowly peel off that paint, chip by chip.

The train screeched to a stop at the station and Mickey had to pick his head up from where he had it resting against the glass, his head feeling like it weighed a hundred pounds. He’s surprised he didn’t fall asleep on the ride over.

He had already downed one coffee, stopping at a small diner to grab him and Charles a drink and something to eat, not in the mood to make his usual sandwich. Charles had instantly known something was wrong, the usual playful glint in Mickey’s eyes strikingly absent and the small bags under his eyes standing in sharp contrast against his pale skin.

Mickey had just waved off his questioning glance, giving him the coffee and heading up to the L without exchanging more than the usual pleasantries. 

Now he was thinking of stopping off at another coffee shop and grabbing another one, maybe adding some espresso into it this time for the extra kick. He wasn’t used to being this tired but the start of the busy season always hit him like a truck, working the long hours was taking a toll on his body, being on your feet all day will do that to you. His exhaustion would pass, he just had to get used to the season being in full swing again.

He walked through the foyer of Ian’s apartment building with an expensive ass coffee in hand that the barista promised would do the trick. He signed in quickly, dragging his feet over to the elevator. The doors dinged open for the thirteenth floor and he moved slowly towards Ian’s apartment. He really wasn’t in the mood today, too tired to have his normal defenses up, saving all the energy he possessed to just prepare the food and get home before he decided fuck it and snuggled up with Charles under the L.

He knocked on the door and took a sip of his coffee, the hot liquid burning down his throat. He rolled his neck trying to loosen the muscles that were coiling themselves tightly into a ball.

Ian opened the door, nodding quickly at Mickey before leaving the door open and walking away. He was talking animatedly on the phone, huffing out annoyed breaths every few seconds. Mickey walked in and closed the door, moving over to the counter to get started, the quicker he worked the faster he could get into his bed.

He opened his knife kit, taking out the steel and his favorite medium sized knife. He took the knife and placed it against the steel at an angle, moving the knife against the steel, a sharp sound slicing through the air. Mickey fucking loved that sound, sometimes drowning in the noise that steel on steel made while he was sharpening his knives. It was an acute, abrasive sound that could make some people’s skin crawl, but Mickey just reveled in it.

A chef’s knives were very important to them, some seeing them as an extension of themselves. The first big paycheck that Mickey received from Casanova Catering he went out and bought a very expensive set of custom knives. They were made from extremely durable and beautiful Damascus steel, the handle grips were black with a small silver skull designed into the middle. The knives cost an arm and a leg, but they were fucking gorgeous and Mickey was allowed one outrageous purchase once in his life.

Mickey glanced up to where Ian was pacing in front of the windows, his fingers pulling at the skin of his bottom lip while he talked into the receiver. The sun was shining through the clean glass, making Ian’s hair look like it was actually made of fire. Ian looked agitated, like being on this phone call was the last thing he wanted to be doing today.

He kinda looked cute when he was irritated…

“Fuck,” Mickey hissed, dropping the knife onto the board with a clatter and grasping his finger in his other hand, blood seeping out through his clenched fingers. “Fuck, shit.”

Leave it up to Ian to fucking distract him from the complete opposite side of the room and for Mickey to barely slip while sharpening the knife and cut his finger. He walked over to the sink, turning the faucet on to a slow stream with his elbow and running his finger under the water, hissing at the contact.

Ian stopped his pacing and stared at Mickey a little wide eyed. “Uh-listen, yeah sorry, I gotta go. I’ll call you back,” Ian said as he ended the call and walked over towards Mickey, throwing his phone on the couch on the way over.

“Are you alright man? What happened?” Ian asked, his sweet concern something Mickey didn't have the willpower to rebuff at this time.

“Cut my fucking finger,” Mickey spit through clenched teeth, angry at himself. He hadn’t cut himself in a long, long time. Fucking rookie mistake. It wasn’t a deep cut, luckily it wouldn’t require stitches but holy shit did it sting and he was bleeding quite a lot.

Ian walked over to the counter and looked at the cut that Mickey was still running under the faucet. He ripped some paper towels off the roll and thrust them in Mickey’s direction. “Here, wrap it in this. Put a lot of pressure on it, I’ll be right back,” he said before walking away.

Mickey grunted and took the offered paper towels, wrapping it around his finger and squeezing it tightly. He’s a fucking idiot, he must look so goddamn professional right now, cutting himself while sharpening his knives. Fucking idiot.

Ian came back with a box, sitting down at the island and opening it, rummaging through it looking for the supplies he needed.

“Fucking boy scout, eh?” Mickey said snarkily.

Ian chuckled, glancing up at Mickey quickly before going back to the box. “Nah, just clumsy as fuck. Come here,” he prompted.

“I’ve had worse cuts than this man-”

“Just shut up and get over here,” Ian huffed.

Mickey rolled his eyes but walked around the island, standing an arms length away from Ian, hand still curled around his finger, blood soaking through the paper towel. Ian rolled his eyes as well at the distance that Mickey was keeping from him and grabbed onto his wrist to pull him in closer. Ian pulled the hand down closer to his face and took the paper towel off of Mickey’s finger, examining it through squinty eyes.

“It’s not too deep, which is good,” Ian said.

Mickey couldn’t really focus, swallowing thickly. Ian’s knees were pressing into the bottom of his thighs right above his own knees and the long freckled fingers wrapped around his wrist were conjuring up dirty images of Ian holding him down against a mattress. Or against a wall. Fuck.

Ian swiped an alcohol pad over the cut, pulling Mickey out of his trance and causing him to yank his hand from Ian’s grasp, hissing through his teeth. “Fuck man. Warn someone with that shit,” he said heatedly.

Ian huffed, grabbing onto Mickey’s wrist again. “Stop whining. I’m trying to help.”

Mickey glared, but allowed Ian to clean the cut, only wincing occasionally and keeping his outbursts in check. Ian was quick and efficient, slapping some antibiotics on the cut before wrapping it tightly in a band-aid.

He dropped Mickey’s wrist, gazing up into his eyes. “All set.” he said with a smile.

Mickey gulped and nodded. “Uh--thanks,” Mickey said as he wrapped his other hand around his wrist, trying to see if he could still feel the heat from Ian's fingers lingering there.

Ian grinned and turned to put all the supplies back into the box. Mickey lingered for a second too long before moving back to the cutting board and taking the knife and board to the sink to wash everything, making sure nothing was contaminated.

“If you need help with anything due to your handicap, let me know,” Ian smirked, getting up from the chair to put the box back where he got it. Mickey flipped him off, causing Ian to chuckle before he went back to washing everything.

Ian spent of the rest of the night sitting on the couch, flipping through the channels on TV, laughing lowly every once in awhile. He left Mickey alone for what remained of the evening. Mickey would be lying if he said he didn’t stare at Ian every once in awhile from his spot behind the island, sort of missing his annoying presence buzzing around him like a bug. He shook his head, focusing on his work and berating himself for feeling that sappy shit, even for a second.

It was around 5:15pm when he finished preparing Ian’s meals for the next few days and he was starting to cook his hot meal for the evening (baked chicken breast lightly seasoned with spicy adobo, served with small serving of whole grain cilantro-lime rice with a medley of sauteed chopped peppers, tomatoes and onions on the side. Simple, healthy, quick.) His finger was throbbing and he felt a dull headache creeping in caused from the exhaustion and he was excited that he was going to be ahead of schedule and one step closer to passing out in his bed.

He pulled the chicken out of the oven, being careful not to burn himself since he hadn’t been on his game at all. The other elements of the dish were already steaming on a plate and just waiting for the main part. He heard the tell tale sound of a chair scraping against tile, feeling Ian’s presence behind him like a hot wind.

“Smells fucking amazing in here. Your salmon the other night tasted so good and I am not a huge fan of fish,” Ian said to Mickey's back.

Mickey grunted in thanks, slicing the chicken and putting it on plate beside everything else. He turned around and placed the dish in from of Ian, wiping his hands on the towel that was thrown over his shoulder.

Ian groaned. “This looks really good. Thank you,” he smiled up at Mickey, picking up his fork and knife to cut into the chicken.

Mickey nodded once, turning to grab the pans off the stove and move them to the sink fully intending to clean up after himself.

He had just turned on the faucet to start scrubbing the dishes when he heard Ian cough a few times. Thinking he was choking or some shit, Mickey turned around with his eyebrows raised. Ian was waving his hands in front of him, his fork still poised about the plate and stabbing into the vegetable medley. “I got the dishes, don’t worry about it," he said after swallowing his mouthful.

Mickey’s brows furrowed as he watched Ian cut into another piece of chicken. “You sure?” he asked, skeptical.

Ian nodded. “You look tired as hell man, and your finger probably shouldn’t get wet. I swear, I got it, head home,” Ian said with a nod.

Mickey licked his bottom lip, not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. “Thanks," he said as he shut the faucet off.

He grabbed his knife kit from where it was sitting resting against the floor alongside his messenger bag, throwing the strap for both over his shoulder and adjusting it until so the fabric didn't scratch against his neck like it usually did. “See ya Monday," he mumbled out, Ian giving a quick wave before shuffling over to the door

“Hey! Mickey!” Ian yelled.

He turned, seeing Ian grinning from his position at the island. “This is probably the best fucking meal I’ve ever had, honestly,” Ian smiled gently, "have a good weekend!”

Mickey felt a small smile tug at his lips before he pulled the door open and walked down the hall, fuzzy thoughts buzzing through his mind the whole train ride home and he swore he could still feel the phantom heat of Ian's fingers curled around his wrist.

He was fucked.

Chapter Text

Sometimes, Mickey found it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep in his apartment. He liked to sleep with the windows open, enjoying the air flowing and circulating through the cramped space. It made his room feel open and airy and even though the city air was far from fresh, it was better than the smoke filled space he occupied.

But the sounds of the world outside his apartment always filtered in through the windows and pounded against his eardrums, demanding attention. The soft sounds of cars honking, police sirens in the distance, two people arguing, the screech of tires, the regular hustle and bustle of city life, they all battled for a little piece of Mickey’s mind every morning and who was he to deny their existence?

He would lay in bed and listen for hours sometimes until all the pieces blended into one mess of sound and voices indistinguishable from one another, a beautiful song that changed it’s tune every day but used the same instruments.

He's lived in Chicago his entire life, only travelling across state lines once in awhile to go on runs with his father, but he had never really listened to the activity buzzing around him until he lived on his own.

Growing up, his house was always very loud. There was always something to yell about, someone to hit, something to break. Silence was a rare commodity. Even at night the sounds of his father’s loud snores permeated the unsettling stillness in the air, infiltrating every crack and crevice of the house, alerting everyone that he was still there, that he was still breathing. Mickey would open his windows back then too, but the sounds outside were never as loud as the silence in his house.

He wonders what it’s like falling asleep at Ian’s place. Surely no outside sounds were floating up to the thirteenth floor and those windows don’t open. He’s not sure if the silence would be oppressive or peaceful. Does Ian like the silence? Does Ian feel like he’s suffocating in the silence like Mickey does?

Silence always spurred on thinking and thinking has always gotten Mickey into trouble. Silence was not his friend and he was always desperate to have some sort of noise to focus on no matter how small or insignificant it seemed. It’s a big reason of why he reads all the time. It’s never silent when you’re reading, the words constantly flooding your brain and constructing beautiful stories to focus on, stories to distract yourself from your own thoughts.

Even though the loud city life made it hard to sleep sometimes, he would take that over silence. So his windows were always open (weather permitting), the TV always on or the radio droning softly in the background.

He had longed for this weekend, craved the opportunity to lay in bed, order take out, do some laundry and be alone inside his apartment for three days. He was bored on the first day and the sounds from outside were just reminding him that the world was still turning while he was sitting on his ass doing nothing.

There was only so much daytime TV one could consume before wanting to claw their own eyes out. When he was younger he enjoyed sitting around doing nothing all day, playing video games and getting high and drunk with his siblings, but now he’s been working with his hands for so long that they ache for something to do.

By the time Monday rolled around he was actually grateful to have something to do and tasks to distract himself with. His hands have basically been twitching to hold his knives the whole weekend.

It was earlier than he would usually leave to head to Ian’s, but he just couldn’t lay in his bed any longer or he was going to go insane. He dressed quickly, packed Charles’ lunch into his bag and headed out the door, slamming it shut on the way out.

It was a nice day outside, slightly chilly but the clear sky allowed the sun to beat down wherever it pleased. Mickey took a deep breath, soaking in the warmth hitting his face before heading towards the L.

He spotted Charles instantly, his dirty curls flowing down to his shoulders and in front of his face, his usual winter hat not a top his head anymore in the spring warmth.

“Good morning, Charles,” Mickey said, leading with his usual greeting.

Charles gazed up, using his hand as a visor to block out the sun beaming behind Mickey’s head. “Mornin’. Look at you all rearin’ ta go, s’early,” he said.

Mickey shrugged, reaching into his bag for Charles’ lunch. “Got bored sitting on my ass, figured I’d get a head start on some shit," he said as he handed the sandwich and water bottle over to Charles.

Charles smirked, unwrapping the sandwich and taking a large bite before retorting, “are ya sure yer not just tryin’ ta appreciate some eye candy a little sooner?”

Mickey laughed humorlessly, rubbing the back of his neck. “No, Charles, I don’t give a fuck about eye candy. I need to go grocery shopping, fuck you very much,” Mickey replied.

“Mhhm, whatever ya say. Better get to it then, huh?” Charles said, making a shooing motion with his hands.

Mickey flipped him off before bounding up the station stairs, shaking his head at himself for being so transparent when Charles was concerned. Seeing Ian sooner was definitely a small motivator in his decision to head out early even though they barely interact with each other.

There was just something about that man that made Mickey shamefully giddy.

Mickey knocked on the door, shuffling the bags around in his arms and grunting when one got tangled up in his fingers. He was early, not ridiculously early, but early enough that he was wondering if Ian was even home. It had taken him less time at the grocery store than he planned and it was worth a shot to see if Ian was around first instead of waiting in the lobby until 2 o’clock rolled around.

The door swung open to reveal a short, skinny, middle aged woman with glasses and long, blonde flowing hair. What the fuck?

“ Ian here? I’m Mick-” he started.

“Oh! You’re the personal chef! Fantastic! I’ve been waiting to meet you! Come in, come in,” she said while waving her hand in a welcoming motion.

Mickey raised his eyebrows, thoroughly confused as to who this woman was and why she was so eager to meet him. She pulled the door open all the way, a large dazzling smile on her face (not as blinding as Ian’s, but it was nice) and held the door for Mickey while he continued to struggle with the bags.

He nodded in thanks and walked towards the kitchen, hearing the door click shut behind him. He placed the bags on the floor with a grunt, his usual counter space on the island was scattered with papers and photographs. He looked at the photographs briefly, noticing Ian’s red hair and freckles immediately.

There were dozens of photographs; Ian in a speedo, Ian in a tracksuit, Ian in fucking skin tight boxers. Each photo was different but each one was causing a tug low in Mickey’s stomach. Jesus. It was all too much for him to handle and he felt heat flaring up his neck and face instantly. He knew Ian had a great body, he had seen it for himself the first day he met Ian, but it was different seeing him manipulated by light and shadows and twisted into positions to show off how defined his body actually was. He didn’t look real, the sharp cut and soft planes of his muscles looking ridiculously photoshopped because there’s no way one man can have a body like that.

But Ian did, this was no photoshop.

He cleared his throat and bent down to start pulling groceries out of the bag, placing them on the opposite counter so he didn’t disturb the photo’s on the island. He heard the woman walk over the stool and pull one out, plopping down heavily.

“I’m Alexa, Ian’s agent. We have a meeting to rework his portfolio, we’re trying to find the best shots that highlight his physique,” she explained like Mickey fucking asked or something.

Mickey gave her a tight lipped smile, because he honestly didn’t give a shit why she was here, but he was trying to be semi-polite (and if you asked him, all those photo’s highlight Ian’s physique).

“I’m so happy to finally meet you! Ian has told me so much about you,” she said brightly.

Mickey furrowed his brows, not looking up from pulling the groceries from the bag, “Has he now?” he mumbled.

Alexa fiddled with the pen in her hand, running her hand through her hair before chuckling lowly. “, he says you don’t talk much. But he did say you are one hell of a chef,” she replied.

Mickey nodded. “Where is he anyway?”

“Oh! He’s just in the shower, I came over a little earlier than scheduled, he was all sweaty and gross from his workout,” she said as she pulled a face like the sight disgusted her.

Mickey hummed, pulling everything out of the bags finally, putting aside the produce he needed immediately and went about storing everything else in their respective places.

“I’m so glad he listened to my advice and hired you, that boy rarely listens to anything I say, but he needs to start eating better. That metabolism won’t last forever!” she laughed somewhat awkwardly.

Her laughter slowly petered out when she noticed Mickey wasn’t even paying attention, his focus on setting up his work station and putting the vegetables in the sink to clean them. She didn’t say anything else to Mickey, which he was grateful for. The heavy silence between them stretched on for a few minutes as she sat at the island shuffling the papers around and scratching stuff on a loose sheet of paper as Mickey focused on cleaning the vegetables and sharpening his knives. 

“Lex! You ready?” Ian bellowed from the hallway, walking out shortly after in an oversized hoodie and basketball shorts.  Mickey noted that even when Ian was dressed down he still managed to look great. What an asshole.

Ian ran his hand over his damp hair, matting it down to his head before it had the opportunity to stick out awkwardly. He jumped slightly when he noticed Mickey was standing there. “Oh, hey Mickey. You’re early," he said with a smile.

Mickey exhaled, trying to will away the own smile he felt tugging at his lips by biting down on the bottom one quickly before speaking. “Yeah, sorry to interrupt your meeting or whatever, I just got done shopping early,” he said with a shrug.

Ian walked over to the island and grabbed some of the photos off the counter. “It’s alright, let me just move this shit out of the way so you can have the counter space. Lex, help me out?” he turned to his agent with kind eyes.

Alexa jumped out of the stool and gathered up the rest of the photo’s and papers that Ian couldn’t carry, bringing them over to the coffee table in the living room. Ian followed suit, but not before glancing at Mickey and staring for a surprisingly appropriate about of time.

Over in the living room, one Alexa and Ian had all their paperwork scattered around the coffee table, Alexa leaned over and stared at Mickey for a second.

“Not much of a talker, huh?” she whispered.

Ian turned and looked at Mickey quickly, who was now at his usual spot at the island facing the living room, head down focused on slicing into a vegetable.

“Uh-no, he’s not,” Ian said fondly.

Alexa leaned back so Ian was blocking her view of Mickey. “You little shit, you like him!” she said quickly.

Ian stared at her wide eyed. “Will you keep your fucking voice down?” he hissed through his teeth, turning around again to make sure that Mickey wasn’t paying attention. “I don’t even know him, how can I like him? You’re nuts," he said dismissively.

“Ian, baby, I’ve known you for two years now, I know that look in your eyes," she said as she leaned over again to get another look at Mickey before whispering, “he’s not really your type. He’s cute, but not your type.”

Ian sighed, rubbing his eyes quickly in agitation. “Lex, shut the fuck up please? Can we do what you came here to do or what?” he said, exasperated.

She chuckled, picking up Ian’s shooting schedule before saying, “fine. But you two would make a cute couple.”

Ian groaned and threw himself against the armrest of the couch. Fucking Alexa, this was going to be a long meeting.

Thankfully, Alexa didn’t mention Ian’s crush on Mickey for the remainder of the meeting, sticking strictly to business, outlining Ian’s work schedule for the next month and reworking his portfolio for her to bring to scouting meetings. The whole thing took a little over two hours, Ian being very particular about what photo’s he did and did not want in his portfolio.

Ian wasn’t insecure about his body by any stretch of the imagination, he knew he looked damn good and he worked really hard to get his body in top shape. It’s just that his earlier photoshoots weren’t that great. He wasn’t professional yet and you could tell in those photo’s that he was a novice, his inexperience and discomfort showing on his face. Besides, those old photo’s don’t do his new body justice, his muscles not as defined as they were now.

By the time Alexa was packing up her things, Mickey had already finished prepping Ian’s meals for the week and the smell and sounds of Mickey cooking Ian’s hot meal permeated through the apartment. Ian's stomach grumbled with hunger as the smell curled into his nose and settled into his gut.

“Smells great in here, I’m jealous I don’t get to stick around,” Alexa said with a wink, swinging her bag onto her shoulder.

“More food for me,” Ian grinned, walking Alexa over to the door.

“It was nice to meet you Mickey! Take good care of this guy here," she pointed over her shoulder towards Ian.

Mickey just waved, not looking up from his cooking, moving around the kitchen with a comfortability that only comes with practice.

Ian held the door open for Alexa while she stepped out into the hallway. “ tryin’ to hit that?” she whispered much to loud for Ian's liking, her eyes taking on a playful gleam.

Ian groaned, pinning her with a glare. “Fuck off,” he said before closing the door in her face. It did nothing to muffle the cackling coming from the other side.

Ian shook his head, walking over to the island and taking a seat in his normal stool, admiring the ease in which Mickey moved around the kitchen. It was poetic the way he carried himself, so sure and confident when he was in the kitchen and cooking, it was like he was born to do this line of work. He was a natural. It was almost as mesmerizing as watching someone perform a dance they've been practicing for months.

That confidence was really attractive to Ian, it’s what pulled him to Mickey in the first place. He could tell from their first meeting a few weeks ago that this was something that Mickey took immense pride in, something that he knew he was good at and wasn’t afraid to exude that confidence. It was intoxicating and sexy. It made Ian wonder in what other facets of his life does Mickey carry himself in this manner.

“What’s on the menu for the night?” Ian asked, holding his head up with his palm.

“Fish again, sorry man,” Mickey glanced over his shoulder quickly, catching Ian's eyes briefly before turning back to the stove. “Grilled halibut with a lemon and white wine sauce with some steamed asparagus on the side.”

“Hmm, I don’t mind fish when you make it,” Ian said, a smile clearly evident in his voice.

“Fish is fuckin’ delicious, you’re missing out,” Mickey said back.

Ian laughed but said nothing in response. He sat in the stool until the food was done, fiddling with his phone and occasionally glancing up at Mickey, taking in the taut muscles of his back stretching beneath the fabric of his chef’s jacket and greedily soaking in the curve of his ass. What Ian wouldn’t give to be balls deep in that masterpiece, it looked nice and thick and juicy even through the thick denim.

Mickey turned to place Ian’s finished plate in front of him and Ian had to look away quickly to pretend he wasn’t just drooling over Mickey’s perfect ass.

Mickey rubbed the back of his neck, looking around sheepishly before asking, “uh-so I made some extra and I’m fuckin' starving, do you mind if I scarf it down quick before I leave?”

Ian perked up a little, delighted by the idea of Mickey sticking around even when he didn’t have too. He tried not to look too eager, but failed miserably when he opened his mouth.

“Yeah! Absolutely!” he all but yelled. Ian wanted to smack himself, never able to chill out for a goddamn second. But he was thrilled that Mickey didn’t immediately want to run off when he was done working. Even if his motivation was to not starve on his commute home, Ian was taking it as a win in his book.

Mickey nodded, grabbing the extra plate he prepared and moving around the island to sit in a stool, making sure to have a seat separating Ian and himself.

They ate in silence, the only sounds being the occasional scrape of silverware on plates. Ian glanced over periodically to take in Mickey’s profile, aching to trace the curve of his jaw with his tongue and run his hands through the inky black hair. He had to stop himself from taking his staring into creepy territory, certain that Mickey wouldn't hesitate to cuss Ian out if he was feeling uncomfortable.

It wasn’t as awkward as it could have been, the quiet bubble settling around them not as suffocating as Mickey had anticipated. Maybe sharing the silence with Ian wasn’t so bad.

Chapter Text

It was a Friday night and the club was packed, the music even louder than usual to cover up all the chatter and Mickey could feel the floor pulsing underneath his feet.

Mickey didn't come to clubs often, the atmosphere was too suffocating and being this close to random people wasn’t something that he wanted to get in the habit of doing. But the drinks were cheap and if he was lucky he would be able to find someone to suck his dick before he went home. He doesn’t dance. He doesn’t flirt. He doesn’t buy anyone drinks. He kind of just kept to himself, steadily downing drink after drink and waiting to catch the familiar glint in someone’s eye before he approached them. It’s not an exact science and more often than not he goes home drunk and unsatisfied, but the method works for him.

He’s been here for an hour now, glued to the seat he miraculously grabbed at the bar, drinking Jack and Coke like he’s getting paid for it. He’s pretty buzzed, his vision blurring a little around the edges and he could feel the heat radiating from his cheeks. He swept his eyes over the crowd, taking in the scantily clad dancers on boxes and people dry humping on the dance floor. It’s dirty, it’s loud and it’s way too fucking bright in here.

He rubbed his eyes with his index finger and thumb, bringing them together to pinch the bridge of his nose as he took a deep breathe, his leg bouncing up and down. Why did he even fucking come out tonight? He had work early in the morning for another fucking wedding and it’s not like he could get blackout drunk like he wanted too. But the pull of releasing some of this built up sexual tension was always very alluring.

Mickey had been keyed up since Monday, those pictures of Ian on constant playback in his brain making it difficult to concentrate on anything else. He couldn’t even jack his dick without sexual scenarios involving the redhead burrowing their way into his head. So he refused to even touch himself, not keen on those fantasies running through his head. He was fucking frustrated, literally fucking frustrated and he was looking to anyone for a release as long as they didn't have red fucking hair.

Being at Ian’s apartment on Thursday was rough, Mickey even more closed off than usual as he tried not to stare at Ian too much or even look at him at all. The last thing he needed was to have a thing for a client. Ian, thankfully, had kept his distance, leaving Mickey to his own devices and only talking to him briefly after his dinner was prepared, saying his farewells with a sickly sweet smile on his face that Mickey wanted to punch off.  

He sighed heavily, signaling the bartender for another drink and deciding if he didn’t find anyone after this one he was leaving, it was getting late anyway. He sipped this drink a little slower, giving himself more time to pick someone up, more time to scan the crowd and find the lucky person that would be willing to help him out.

He felt the person sitting next to him get up and leave, only to shortly be replaced by someone new, their body heat way to hot to be this close to Mickey. He kept his head turned away, still scanning up and down the bar and dance floor.

“So, you come here often?” the new mystery person said. Mickey froze. He knew that fucking voice. His eyes widened a little bit, his breath picking up speed before he turned his head to see dazzling green eyes and an enormous grin plastered on Ian’s face.

Fuck. He looked so good, wearing a tight, long sleeve V-neck shirt, his hair slicked back and his face tinged pink and glistening slightly with sweat, probably from dancing.

“You don’t strike me as the type to come to a place like this, Mick,” he said, eyes sweeping over Mickey’s seated form quickly. Mickey was too startled by his presence to correct him on his name. No one fucking called him Mick except his sister, it felt too personal.

“Yeah well-” and that’s all he said as he picked up his drink and started sipping it a little faster now, eager to get the fuck out.

“Lemme buy you another drink. What’s that, Jack n' Coke?” Ian asked.

Mickey’s eyebrows shot up, shaking his head at Ian. “Nah dude, don’t worry about it, I was gonna head out after this one anyway,” he said, hoping that his voice didn't sound as desperate as he felt. He needed to leave. Immediately.

Ian smirked, waving the bartender over. “One more drink, it won’t kill you,” he said with a wink.

Fuck. Fuck. Mickey came out tonight to get this man out of his goddamn mind. Now, not only was Ian sitting dangerously close to him but Ian now knew that Mickey is one hundred percent, unequivocally, positively gay. No straight man hangs out at a club in Boystown. He might as well have it stamped on his damn forehead.

“Besides, now I can ask you annoying questions and bother you without getting in the way of your work," Ian chuckled.

Mickey snorted a quick laugh into his drink while the bartender placed glasses in front of him and Ian. He was nervous, his hands shaking slightly around the cold glass in his hand because Ian was right, he didn’t have any excuses to use here because he wasn’t at work and Ian wasn’t his client at this exact moment. His shoulders tensed and his eyes couldn’t focus on one place for too long.

This was totally fucking with his chances of getting his dick sucked.

Ian turned so he was facing Mickey, his left arm propped up on the bar, fingers curled around his glass in his hand, smiling very softly at Mickey, his eyes delicate and gleaming and Mickey could feel himself getting pulled in.

“ did you get into cooking?” Ian asked through a smile as he raised the glass to his lips. Those fucking lips...

Mickey scoffed, turning his head and keeping his eyes focused on the bottles of alcohol in front of him. “Gotta eat,” he said dismissively.

Ian rolled his eyes, leaning forward slightly. “This will be a lot less painful if you indulge me and give me real answers,” he said with a determined smirk. 

Mickey took another large sip of his drink, drinking and drinking until chunks of ice hit his lips. He placed the glass down firmly, reaching over to start chugging the drink Ian purchased for him.

He sighed heavily and rubbed his bottom lip with his thumb before answering. “When I got outta juvie my probation officer got me a job as a line cook at some fuckin’ chain restaurant. Pretty basic stuff. It was whatever, I did okay with it. Left that job after a year, started working at some other restaurant with some real chef’s who taught me a buncha shit. I was there for awhile and then started working at the catering company. Nothing special,” he said quickly.

Ian looked shocked, his eyes wide and a smile tugging at his lips still. “That-that was the most I have heard you talk since I met you.”

Mickey laughed quickly, taking a sip of his new drink and looking Ian in the eyes finally. “Whatever, Freckles,” he said, licking his lips.

They held awkward eye contact for a few seconds, Mickey unconsciously pulled his lower lip into his mouth, biting down on the flesh. Ian’s eyes trailed down to Mickey’s lips and slowly peeked his tongue out to lick his own.

Mickey cleared his throat and jerked his head forward, pulling himself out of the trance he was in, taking another large sip of his drink hoping that it would kick start the rational fucking part of his brain.

“For what it’s worth you really are a great chef. I’ve never eaten this healthy in my fucking life. I’m hoping it pays off,” Ian said, his voice losing some of it's volume towards the end of the sentence.

Mickey hummed lowly. “With all the working out you do I’m sure you could eat whatever the fuck you want and not gain a pound,” he said.

Ian laughed, his smile fucking roping Mickey in again no matter how hard he tried to fight it. It lit up his whole stupidly gorgeous face and Mickey found himself wanting to make him laugh more often.

Somehow Ian was able to pull conversation out of Mickey with ease. They kept conversation on the lighter side and Mickey found himself relaxing bit by bit; his shoulders not as tense as they were before, chalking it up to the booze and the fact that he’s generally slightly, barely a smidgen more relaxed when he isn’t in a professional setting.

“Your turn, Red. How the fuck did modeling happen? I mean like, I get it,” Mickey said, motioning his hand up and down Ian’s frame, “but how?”

Ian chuckled, his face pinkening a little. “It was a fluke, really. I went as moral support for a friend of mine at this open casting call thing. Apparently, I was more of what they were looking for. And what kid from the South Side won’t jump at a the chance to get some cash for just fuckin' standing there?” Ian said with a shrug.

Mickey’s eyebrows raised. “You South Side?” he asked, surprised.

“Born and raised. Canaryville. Kinda hard to tell given where I am now, but I’ve worked hard so why not upgrade, right?”

“Canaryville? No shit,” Mickey pouted thoughtfully, bobbing his head a few times.

Learning that Ian was from the South Side made an airy feeling settle in Mickey’s chest. This guy gets it, he understands what it was like growing up there and how it was a struggle to simply put an ounce of food on the table for most families. It explains why Ian didn’t immediately judge Mickey for his tattoos and short temper.

They continued talking for about half an hour, the conversation flowing naturally much to Mickey's surprise. He was pretty fucking drunk at this point, already buzzing hard before Ian sat down in that seat, and he can't seem to shut the fuck up when he's drunk, it's landed him in some pretty sticky situations before. But he’s getting worse and he needs to cut himself off before he does something stupid (like drop to his knees between Ian’s legs right the fuck now).

He polished off his drink, the second one Ian had purchased him, and belched loudly before turning his attention back to the man next to him.

“I gotta head out, got work in the mornin’,” he said, his tongue poking into the corner of his mouth when he finished speaking.

Ian’s face fell, the small smile that was painted on his face for the whole conversation disappearing quickly. “Oh, al-alright then. See you on Monday?” he asked softly.

Mickey nodded, eyes sweeping over Ian’s face one more time before answering, “yeah. Monday.”

Mickey stood up from the stool, wobbling slightly from the alcohol and grabbing onto the back of the stool to steady himself before he made his way towards the exit. The bodies in front of him all blurred into one large ball of color and motion, the liquor kicking in full force with all the blood pulsing through his body.

He made it halfway to the door before he heard his name being called behind him and felt someone latch onto his elbow to spin him around quickly. Mickey was about to throw a punch until he saw that it was Ian. He looked up at him quizzically, eyebrows furrowed before Ian leaned down and attached his lips to Mickey’s in a rough kiss.

Mickey was frozen, completely caught off guard with what was happening right now, his lips not moving and his eyes wide with shock.

Holy fuck.

Ian’s hand squeezed Mickey’s arm and he moved his lips tentatively, waking Mickey up, and soon he was kissing back slowly, softly. It felt so fucking good, Ian’s lips were so soft and delicate but moving sinfully sluggish against Mickey’s own. Mickey doesn’t remember the last time he kissed someone and he forgot how fucking good it felt.

Ian sped it up a little bit, his mouth moving with a tiny bit more fervor but still keeping it slow, soon peeking his tongue out, licking against the seam of Mickey’s lips. Mickey almost let him in.


He pulled back abruptly, backing away from Ian with wide eyes and his breath coming out in short, quick huffs.

“Mickey…” Ian started.

“I gotta go. I gotta fuckin’ go,” Mickey said in a panic. He spun around and basically sprinted towards the exit, barreling through people with no regard to their safety. He heard Ian yell his name one last time before he made it to the doors, the brisk air hitting him in the face like a brick. He wanted to puke.

He fucked up, he fucked up real good.

Work on Saturday passed by in a blur, Mickey not really paying attention and just going through the motions, almost burning himself when lighting one of the sterno’s that went underneath the catering pans.

His lips still tingled from the kiss with Ian and he couldn’t stop thinking about how bad he fucked up. He should have pushed Ian off of him the second he felt his lips on his and he definitely should not have kissed him back.

Ian was a client, he had to keep telling himself that. The lines may have been a little blurry from the alcohol and the fact that he wasn’t in a professional setting, but Ian was still a fucking client and Mickey can’t go around catching feelings and kissing a fucking client. It was so damn frustrating. Ian was hot and nice and funny and Mickey’s heart sped up a small amount whenever he thought of him and his stomach churned a little when they were in the same room. Mickey had a fucking crush and he had a feeling it was painfully mutual.

But Mickey couldn’t blur those lines any further, that’s when shit gets messy, mixing business with pleasure only ended well in the movies. Work on Monday was going to be strained and awkward and if Ian tried to start anything Mickey was going to have to shut it down. Fast. No matter how bad he wanted to get his brains fucked out, the reward wasn’t worth the risk.

He didn’t know Ian well, but he could tell he was the romantic type, with grand gestures of love and public displays of affection, the whole nine yards. Mickey just wasn’t about that. He was a private person, didn’t feel the need to go flaunting his personal life to strangers and romance tended to make him uncomfortable. And romance was written all the fuck over Ian’s puppy dog face.

Why was he even thinking of shit like this? On top of everything Mickey definitely didn’t fucking do relationships and it’s not like he didn’t try, because he did. But every person he had made the effort with just didn’t feel right. Besides the dick to ass connection there was nothing there, nothing of substance. Every relationship he had tried was short lived and his partner always wanted more than Mickey was emotionally capable of giving. He always ended up feeling...inadequate.

He was sick of feeling inadequate.

So, he stayed out of relationships. If he kept to himself, didn’t open up to people and just hooked up with random men there was no one to disappoint but himself. He was used to disappointing himself.

He didn’t connect to people easily, it’s a flaw he’s been aware of since he was a child. He’s always been good at keeping people an arms length away from him and suppressing feeling anything towards anyone, keeping his emotions locked up tight in a trunk and shutting that shit down as soon as it started. Not surprising given the way he grew up. To show emotion meant you were weak and being weak wasn’t tolerated in a household that thrived on hyper masculinity, violence and hate. He remembers he wasn’t even allowed to cry at his own mother’s funeral, his father smacking the tears out of Mickey’s eyes while hissing in his face to stop being a pussy.

Mickey’s never loved anyone, hell he didn’t even love himself. Sure, he's pretty sure he loved his siblings to an extent but that’s a different type of love, a love forged out of obligation. A love of choice is something he’s never seen as a possibility and he’s been fine with that.

Until recently.

Until Ian crashed into his life and started extracting emotions out of Mickey that he’s been pushing down for years, emotions he honestly didn’t even think he was capable of feeling anymore. It was nice as much as it was terrifying. It was disheartening as much as it was exhilarating. He wondered what would happen if he had met Ian another way; would he allow his feelings to progress naturally or would he still swallow them down?

This was all uncharted territory and Mickey was unprepared to fight the whirlwind he felt stirring inside of him.

Ian couldn’t focus, his eyes glazing over and zoning out every couple of seconds. He was in the middle of a photoshoot for some up and coming athletic wear company and although it wasn’t a huge company he couldn’t afford to be scatter brained like this. Every photoshoot mattered no matter how big or small the company was, they all had to be treated with the same level of professionalism and respect and Ian’s motivation was absent before he even entered the building.

His lips were still burning from the brief kiss with Mickey and the details were flickering like an old film over and over in his mind. He was mad at himself for instigating the kiss like that. He didn’t regret it, not by a longshot, he just regretted his timing.

Ian had been buzzed, Mickey had been drunk and it was all around not a good atmosphere to lay one on him for the first time. It was impulsive and stupid and Ian probably just propelled himself ten giant steps backwards in gaining Mickey’s trust.

Mickey had just looked so good at the club, not in the usual professional chefs wear that Ian always saw him in. He was wearing a dark grey button down, the first few buttons left undone, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. His dark hair was slicked back, his cheeks were rosy from the alcohol and Ian was so fucking infatuated that he got wrapped up in wanting Mickey immediately that he didn’t think of the consequences.

But Mickey had kissed him back once the initial shock wore off, so that had to mean something, right? Even if Mickey was drunk, Ian didn’t pin him as the type to do something unless he genuinely wanted too.

The photographer snapped his fingers at Ian over the camera. “Focus, please! You’re not paying attention.”

“Sorry,” Ian shook his head and took a second to get his mind back in the game, noticing Alexa shooting him a disapproving glare from her position in the corner. This was his fucking job and he couldn’t afford the bad word of mouth that could potentially spread from a bad photoshoot. He was good at this, he knew he was, and he shouldn’t be allowing his crush on Mickey to cloud his judgement.

This photoshoot was an easy one, nothing compared to some of the grueling ones he’s done in the past. He just has to stand there in this company’s new track suit in front of a black back drop and pretend he’s fucking playing tennis.

It should have been easy money, if only he could stop his mind from wandering to a particular blue eyed chef every two minutes.

Mickey stood outside Ian’s building, pacing in front of a bench and steadily sucking on his cigarette, exhaling the smoke in sharp puffs. He was nervous as fuck to see Ian again because he knows he is going to bring up what happened at the club on Friday. Mickey already had his lie prepared; blame it on the alcohol coursing through his blood and the atmosphere of the club and leave it at that. Simple. Lying was easy.

He’d be damned if he told Ian that he actually wanted to kiss him, that he actually enjoyed the brief and chaste kiss they shared. That he actually wanted more .

But he couldn’t have more. And it’s bothering him that that’s bothering him.

He sucked down the last of his cigarette until the ash started burning the filter and threw the butt onto the ground, grounding it into the pavement with the sole of his shoe. He took a deep breathe, holding it in for five seconds, before exhaling slowly and making his way into the building.

The elevator ride up to Ian’s floor was way too short, Mickey tempted to hit the STOP button and get “stuck” for a few hours to prolong this inevitable awkward encounter.

Don’t be a pussy.

He knocked on Ian’s door, exhaling heavily one last time to try to ground himself and setting his face into his usual hard expression.

Ian opened the door, standing behind it to let Mickey into the apartment. “Hey,” he said softly. He looked just as confused and restrained as Mickey felt.

Mickey pulled his lips into a tight line and nodded at Ian, moving towards the kitchen. The atmosphere was immediately tense and awkward, it made Mickey’s skin crawl, but he wasn’t going to be the one to bring the subject up, happy to stew in the suffocating apartment air and wait for Ian to say anything. Or better yet, just ignore the whole thing.

The door clicked shut and Ian walked into the kitchen. He stood by the island, watching Mickey get comfortable and set up his work station. Ian opened his mouth a few times, looking like he was about to say something, but then would immediately snap his jaw shut. He stood looking down at the counter, glaring at the granite like the patterns in the dark rock would give him advice on how to handle this situation as he tapped his fingers in an odd rhythm.

“I’m uh, I’m gonna go work out for a bit,” Ian said, still glaring at the counter.

Mickey nodded but Ian was already turned around and halfway down the hall before Mickey even looked up from his work.

He exhaled an unsteady breath and stood stock still for a moment, trying to will away the feeling clawing at his skin. It was way to hot up here, way to silent and there were no windows for him to open. Mickey pulled his phone out of his pocket, swiping the screen until it came to the page with the music app on it and put all his songs on shuffle. He needed something to pierce through the silence.

Once clanging guitars and booming drums were filtering through the air, he shook out his limbs and went to work on prepping Ian’s meals for the week.

In the other room, Ian was pacing around like a caged animal, occasionally running his hands through his already fucked up hair and swearing lowly to himself over and over. He had a plan lined up in his head for when Mickey got here, he knew exactly what he was going to say and when he was going to say it. But as soon as he opened that door he suddenly forgot his whole god damn speech and could barely breathe.

Mickey always looked good, Ian constantly thanking whatever God there was for placing Mickey on his doorstep, but now that he knew what Mickey fucking tasted like he couldn’t focus on anything else besides how deeply infatuated with this man he was.

He walked over to the punching bag standing in the corner and punched it hard a few times, until his ungloved hands started to ache, frustrated at himself and the situation that he put himself in. He’s going to fix this, he had to fix this. He just had to work out for a little bit, allow some time for this aggravation to dissipate and clear his mind.

About two hours had passed before Ian wandered back out into the kitchen, freshly showered and significantly less agitated than before. His ears quickly picked up on the low music that was playing in the kitchen and he smiled a little because of fucking course Mickey would listen to Slipknot.

Ian walked over to the island, sliding into his usual seat and watching Mickey cut through an onion with lightning fast accuracy. “You’re really good at that,” he said like a fucking idiot. No shit Mickey was good with a knife, it's his job. 

Mickey said nothing, just grunted in affirmation and kept his eyes glued to the cutting board. Ian sighed, rubbing his hands through his wet hair and scratching at the back of his neck.

“Listen, I need to talk to you,” he started.

Mickey shook his head once. “Nothing to talk about,” he replied curtly.

Ian’s jaw popped open, staring at Mickey in disbelief. “You serious?”

Mickey stopped cutting but was still holding the knife in his hand, waving it around while he spoke, unintentionally coming across very menacing. “It happened, so the fuck what? Don’t make it a fuckin' thing. It’s nothing,” he spat out, purposefully looking anywhere but directly at Ian.

“It’s nothing?” Ian said incredulously. “You fucking kissed me back, Mickey!”

“I was drunk and horny, man. My mind wasn’t fucking workin’ right. Don’t know what you want from me,” he said with a shrug.

Ian stared at Mickey, slack jawed and at a loss for words. It’s nothing.

“I don’t fucking believe this,” Ian whispered, “don’t bother with dinner, just finish whatever the fuck you’re doing and leave.”

Ian pushed away from the island, the stool scraping against the tile roughly, and stalked into the living room, longing to run away to workout some more, but he would be damned if he ran away again. This was his fucking home after all.

Ian threw himself down none too gently on the couch and pressed the power button on the TV remote a little too rough. He honestly didn't know what he had been expecting, but it definitely wasn't Mickey rejecting everything and refusing to even talk about it. Time ticked by slowly after that, Ian getting angrier and angrier the longer he sat there, listening to Mickey work in the kitchen, the music still playing from his phone.

It’s nothing.

It's nothing.

Mickey Milkovich is a fucking liar.

It wasn’t fucking nothing. Mickey had kissed him back and then ran away like a spooked animal. You don’t run away from things like that if they don't mean anything to you.

Around thirty minutes later the music cut off and the sound of Mickey gathering his things reached Ian’s ears. Mickey mumbled out a barely audible goodbye as he walked  to the door quickly, eager to get out of there and go the fuck home apparently.

"Fuck this," Ian sighed angrily, pushing himself up from the couch. 

Mickey had his hand on the handle, pulling the door open slightly before he was abruptly stopped. Ian stood behind him, hand raised and curled around the edges of the door tightly, keeping Mickey from opening it further.

“You can say you were drunk, you can say that your judgement was clouded all you want but I don’t buy it for a fuckin’ second. I saw how you were looking at me, Mickey. I fuckin’ felt it too. So stop trying to pretend that you don’t feel whatever this is,” Ian hissed, low and vicious, literally breathing down Mickey's neck.

Mickey gulped as his body tensed. “It was nothing,” Mickey said with less conviction than his previous attempts.

“Bullshit it was nothing. Look me in the fuckin’ eyes and tell me it was nothing,” Ian growled.

Mickey turned slightly, not a lot of room to maneuver with Ian crowding him so close to the wall. He looked up into Ian’s eyes and saw the fear, the uncertainty that weren’t present in his words.

Ian’s eyes flicked down to Mickey’s mouth, lingering for a moment before snapping them back up to Mickey’s, fiery green on watery blue.

“Tell me it was nothing,” Ian said again in a low whisper as he leaned forward a small amount.

Mickey’s breathing picked up, making his chest noticeably move up and down, his eyes darting around Ian’s face. He felt trapped, stuck between the wall and Ian. Mickey never liked feeling trapped, always eager to swing his fists and punch his way out.

Instead, like an idiot, he lurched up and attached his lips to Ian’s, bringing his hand to the back of his neck to pull him in closer.

Ian gasped into the kiss, caught off guard by how quickly everything was playing out, but he acclimated quickly and started kissing back, feverishly. Ian closed the door and pushed Mickey against the wall next to it, one hand planted next to his head as the other reached under the fabric of Mickey's chef's jacket, clutching onto the soft, warm skin of Mickey's hip.

This kiss was nothing like the one at the club, there was nothing slow or chaste about it, both of them immediately riled up and hungrily moving against each other. Mickey sucked on Ian’s top lip before slipping his tongue into his mouth, wet and hot. Ian groaned, squeezing Mickey’s hip and pulling him gently towards him.

If Mickey was the type of person to think these things, he would think that Ian’s body fit perfectly against his own, that Ian’s lips tasted better than anything he’s ever eaten and that the little noises coming from Ian’s throat sounded better than any song he’s ever heard. He was fucked.

Ian pushed impossibly closer, slipping his leg in between Mickey’s and moving his hand from the wall to Mickey’s neck, his fingers curling softly into the black hairs behind his ear. Mickey groaned against Ian’s mouth when his thigh came in contact with his crotch, applying the smallest amount of pressure.

It felt so good, everything felt good, and Mickey felt that whirlwind inside of him grow stronger. He ignored it and put more heart into the kiss, sucking at Ian’s lip and scratching his nails across the skin of his neck. Ian mewled against Mickey’s lips and ground his crotch against Mickey’s thigh, slipping his tongue into Mickey’s mouth again.

It was sloppy and uncoordinated, and it was fucking perfect.

Mickey pulled away from Ian’s lips and Ian immediately started licking and nipping at the skin of Mickey’s neck. “I gotta go. My t-train will be here soon,” Mickey said with labored breath's.

Ian hummed into his neck, sucking lightly below Mickey’s ear. “Catch the next one,” he said.

Mickey chuckled breathlessly, the laugh quickly forming into a gasp as Ian pressed his thigh harder against Mickey’s crotch. “There ain’t another one,” Mickey whined.

Ian lifted his face from Mickey’s neck, his lips deliciously pink. “Call a fuckin’ cab," Ian said.

Ian pressed his lips against Mickey’s again, wasting no time shoving his tongue in Mickey’s mouth. Ian’s hand cradled the side of Mickey’s face, delicately trailing his thumb over his cheekbone while he devoured his mouth. Mickey moaned into the kiss, barely grinding down against Ian’s leg.

He allowed himself to indulge for a few more minutes, the kiss wild and with no direction but it was so fucking good. Mickey pulled back from Ian’s lips and put his hand against his chest, pushing him back slightly so he could catch his goddamn breath.

“I gotta go, Gallagher,” Mickey laughed at the whine coming from Ian’s throat. “I’ll see you in a few days.”

Ian rolled his eyes, but backed away from Mickey willingly. “What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?” he pointed down at his crotch.

Mickey grinned while pulling the door open and stepping out into the hallway. “Not my fuckin’ problem,” he said.

He winked at Ian before the door closed on his dumbstruck face, adjusting himself on the walk towards the elevators, a smile illuminating his face the entire time. He'll deal with the repercussions later when he's laying alone in his bed. For now...he felt like he was floating.

Chapter Text

4:43. 4:43. 4:43. 4:43. 4:44

The blinking red light of the alarm clock next to Mickey’s bed was taunting him, reminding him that he’d barely gotten three hours of sleep before he woke up in a cold sweat, sheets and blankets twisted around his feet and some thrown onto the floor.

He hadn’t had a nightmare in a long time, at least six months now so it shouldn’t shock him that one decided to creep up on him in the middle of what he assumed was going to be a wet dream. It’s not a new occurrence that Mickey would dream up scenarios involving Ian in varying degrees of undress with certain body parts in or around Mickey. They were unwelcome dreams for a while, Mickey trying to stave off his growing attraction to the redhead as much as he could, but the few days since Monday that’s he’s actually dreamed, he didn’t force himself to wake up like he had in the past.

This nightmare was unwelcome and terrible, Mickey’s heart still racing even though he’s been awake staring at the ceiling for thirty minutes now. He was back at his family’s house on Trumbull, enjoying some drinks and joints with Ian on the couch in the living room. One thing lead to another and Ian’s dick was shoved so far up Mickey’s ass he was seeing stars.

It was a blissful dream, until his father came barrelling through the front door and immediately started delivering blows to Ian’s delicate fucking face and waving a gun in Mickey’s. He jolted awake the moment the gunshot boomed through the barrel, fists raised and ready to defend himself against the shadows dancing on the wall.

Mickey hadn’t dreamed of that day in a while and even though the other person in the dream had changed, it doesn’t retract from the fact that that was still a very real situation from his past. The scar was still very visible and jagged on the back of his shoulder; not allowed the time to heal and close properly, Mandy digging the bullet out with a switchblade and stitching it up in their kitchen while Mickey screamed around the leather belt between his teeth. Mickey had wished he would die of an infection in the weeks following “the incident.”

He didn’t. Physically.

4:47. 4:47. 4:47. 4:47. 4:48

He took a deep breath and rubbed his hands over his face, trying to calm down. He needed a fucking cigarette.

He threw whatever sheet that was still covering him off his body and heaved himself off the bed, the bottom sheet sticking slightly to his sweaty back. He padded into the living room, grabbing his cigarettes off the coffee table and lighting one up on his walk over to the windows. Leaving the butt to hang between his lips, he unlocked the window and grabbed a book to shove under it to keep it propped open. He sat down on the arm of the chair next to the window, the furniture creaking in protest under him, as he inhaled deeply, holding the smoke in his lungs for a few seconds before exhaling. The nicotine worked wonders in calming his jittery nerves, his hands not shaking as bad as they were before and his heart slowing down beat by beat.

Mickey had resigned to the fact that he wasn’t going to get any more sleep, that scene would still be playing every time he closed his eyes for a few more hours. Besides, the sun was starting to come up, changing the sky from black to a dark navy, and he can’t sleep when the sun is already up.

Coffee and nicotine were going to be his best friends today. Well, every day really.

He finished the first cigarette and immediately lit up a second one, not giving his lungs time to catch a break. He rubbed one eye with the heel of his hand, sighing heavily. Mickey expected to be over this shit by now, it’s been seven goddamn years. He didn't flinch when people moved too fast anymore and he didn't have nightmares about digging graves under the train tracks, so why the fuck can’t he get over this?

It wasn’t the first time that his father had pulled a gun on him, though it was certainly the first time he pulled the trigger. Looking back on it now Mickey thinks it shook him so much because it was the first time he had felt safe with someone. He felt safe enough with that boy to bring him to his house, to fucking kiss him and fuck him on his couch, only for his father to come home early and obliterate that safe bubble with a fucking bullet.

And if he thinks about it (which he really, really doesn’t want too) he hasn’t felt safe with anyone since then. It’s probably a huge reason why all the relationships he’s attempted have failed, never able to let down his guard enough.

He’s grown so much from being the closeted gay kid from the South Side, no longer terrified to walk out of his room every morning afraid his father finally decided today was the day his faggot son stopped breathing. His father had been MIA for years now, hopefully dead rotting in a ditch somewhere, so the threat of his long time tormenter finding him wasn't an issue anymore. He doesn’t even think about that day too much, only lingering on it when his brain decides to torture him when his defenses are down.

Was this his subconsciousness’ way of telling him to slow the fuck down, that it’s too early to be feeling this comfortable around Ian already?

What a shit way to get a point across.

He inhaled the last of the cigarette and stamped it out on the window sill, watching the last tendrils of smoke float out through the screen. The sky had now taken on shades of pink and light blue, cars slowly flooding the streets while people started their commute to work. Mickey ran his fingers through his hair, scratching at the scalp roughly before standing up and making his way to the kitchen.

He turned the ancient coffee machine on and waited for it to start burping and spitting out that black liquid that would be his lifeline today. He crossed his arms and leaned back against the counter, smacking his head a few times on the cabinet behind him.

God damnit. Why couldn’t he be fucking normal and have normal fucking connections with people? Why did everything have to be so goddamn complicated? Why were his walls built up so high that most people didn’t bother finessing the gate open and just said “fuck it” and moved on?

He longed to just be with someone and not have to worry about the army of monsters he has locked in his closet bursting out at any given time. But being afraid and pining for someone to be by his side made him weak, and men weren’t weak. He could hear his fucking father's voice shouting these words at him in the back of his mind.

Mickey Milkovich was anything but weak. Wanting to share a life with someone and to be wanted by someone didn’t mean he was fucking weak, it was normal as shit and actually brave to open yourself up to someone like that. Sharing your life with another person took guts. 

But knowing this was normal and allowing it to happen were two entirely separate things. How can he expect someone else to have the patience for him to lower his guard when he wasn't even patient with himself?

He banged his skull against the cabinet one more time before turning around and opening it, pulling down the only coffee mug in his possession and pouring the burning black liquid into the cup, adding a spoonful of sugar into the mix to cancel out some of that overbearing bitterness. Reaching into his messenger bag on the counter he pulled out the book he was currently reading, clutched that in one hand and the coffee in the other.

He placed the coffee mug down on the table in the living room, some of the coffee splashing out and landing on the wood, and threw himself down onto the lumpy couch. Sighing, he opened up to his bookmarked page and started reading, hoping the monsters on the page would shoo away the demons in his head.

Miles away on the other side of the city, Ian was wide awake for a whole different reason. He woke up at 5am to his phone alarm buzzing and vibrating loudly on the nightstand, groaning lowly before slapping his hand down on the device to stop the annoyance.

It wasn’t a new development that Ian would have erotic dreams about Mickey and lately they’ve been happening more frequently and Ian can’t seem to stop them...not that he’s really trying to begin with.

That morning was no different, he woke up with an aching erection tenting the crotch of his sweatpants with a wet spot already staining the material. He was in the middle of dreaming of plump pink lips wrapped deliciously around his swollen cock, his fingers gripping onto dark black hair when his alarm rudely pulled him back to reality.

Still half asleep, he palmed his erection through his sweatpants, groaning lowly. He applied more pressure, gasping quickly and arching up into the contact. He brought his hand up to his mouth, spit in his palm once and reached under the waistband of his sweatpants. His hand wasn’t going to be as good as dream Mickey’s mouth, but it was going to have to suffice.

He wrapped his hand around his dick, eyes slipping closed as he moaned quietly. He gripped loosely, still groggy with sleep, and moved his hand slowly up and down his dick, the spit spreading out and cooling quickly.

If Mickey was actually sucking his dick the spit wouldn’t cool this quickly, it would be warm and moist, his mouth sucking and licking and pulling Ian apart with every bob of his head. Ian moaned a little louder, tightening his grip infinitesimally, longing to engulfed in the tight, wet heat of Mickey’s pretty fucking mouth.

Mickey probably sucked dick so fucking good, all tight and fast but still messy, his spit dripping down between Ian’s balls. Could Mickey deepthroat? Fuck, he probably could. He could probably swallow Ian’s whole fucking cock while looking up at him with those gorgeous blue eyes, bumping him against the back of his throat, scratching his nails down his thighs...

Ian came so fast and hard he surprised himself, gasping up at the ceiling while he coated his hand and the inside of his pants with come. He sat there for a minute, hand still loosely curled around his cock, breathing heavily and smiling the smallest amount.

Jesus, if imaginary Mickey could fuck him up this bad he wondered how he’s going to react when he actually has Mickey hot and squirming underneath him.

Because he will have Mickey squirming underneath him eventually, Ian was nothing if not confident. He just had to pick the lock on the door that Mickey kept himself locked behind.

He stood from the bed, taking off his pants quickly and wiping his hand on them before throwing them into the hamper. He walked over to the windows, stretching his arms behind him and cracking his back. The sun was just coming up, the sky slowing sliding off the black blanket and replacing it with pinks, golds and blues.

Ian smiled. Today was going to be a good day, he could feel it. He gets to see Mickey again and he has a plan to get him to stay just a hair later than he usually does. He’s just hoping Mickey says yes.

Watching the sun rise for another second, he inhaled deeply in satisfaction and decided that maybe he would take a run outside today. It’s been a few months since the crisp Chicago air pumped into his lungs while he ran.

Dressing quickly, he laced up his obnoxious neon green running shoes and did some stretches to loosen his muscles before heading out the door, locking it shut on the way out.  Stepping outside, he took in a big gulp of air, smile stretching across his face before he started jogging, taking a slow pace at first to get his feet acclimated to pounding against the pavement instead of the treadmill. It was beautiful out, the weather the perfect representation of early spring, warm with a slight bite of stubborn cold still nipping at your skin.

His jogging route took him in a big circle around the city that added up to roughly eight miles including a scenic stretch near Lake Michigan near the halfway mark. He stopped and stood on the shore, looking out into the vast expanse of the water, small gentle waves crashing against the land. He took a deep breathe, popping his foot up behind him and pulling it towards his back, stretching out the muscles. It was extremely calming being near the water, the sun finally over the horizon bathing the water in a golden hue.

He couldn’t stop his thoughts from wandering to Mickey while he was staring at the beauty of nature, because Mickey was a fucking work of art himself. He wondered what the other mans morning routine was like, knowing for sure it definitely wasn’t as intense as his own. Knowing Mickey he probably wasn’t a morning person, a small smile stretching over Ian’s face at the thought of waking up to a grumpy Mickey in the morning, all soft eyes and sheet creased skin, pouting beautifully at the injustice of having to leave the comfort of his bed.

He stretched out his other leg, eager to finish his morning workout so he can get the wheels in motion for his not so nefarious plan.

Ian opened the door, smiling brightly once Mickey was revealed on the other side. Mickey looked a little worse for wear, but still beautiful; small bags under his eyes and his skin a little paler than usual, making his eyes look bluer than normal.

Ian frowned, stepping aside to let Mickey into the apartment. “Are you okay? If you’re sick you didn’t have to come here you know.”

Mickey gave Ian a small smile, which caused the butterflies in Ian’s stomach to flutter briefly, and walked over to the island and put his knife kit on the counter. “Not sick man, just didn’t sleep well s’all. I’ll be fine.”

“You sure?" Ian asked, making his way to the island and sitting in his usual stool.

Mickey took out his favorite knife, running his finger lightly over the blade to check the sharpness. He took the steel out of it’s protective pocket, placed the blade at the perfect angle and pulled the blade down quickly, that harsh sound slicing through the air making Ian cringe.

“I’m positive,” Mickey grinned. He continued sharpening his knife, laughing at the disgusted look on Ian’s face. “If you don’t like the noise dude get outta here.”

Ian rubbed his hands up his arms, trying to get the goosebumps caused by the abrasive noise to go away. “Nah, I’m fine. Plus I wanna bother you while you’re working,”he smirked, chuckling a little at the glare that Mickey threw his way.

“What’s on the menu for tonight?” Ian asked nonchalantly. 

“Pan seared ground turkey cooked in low sodium teriyaki and soy sauce with some crushed garlic, served over white rice and some steamed green beans,” Mickey said.

Ian had his chin propped up on his palm, staring at Mickey with a smile on his face. “Can you teach me?” he asked.

Given how Mickey freaked out the first time he was here when Ian was hassling him while he was cooking, this was a risky question to throw out. Mickey was clearly a no bullshit kind of guy and just wanted to keep his head down and get his job done quickly and efficiently. But Ian was desperate for the interaction, clinging to every second with Mickey he could get and if having Mickey teach him how to cook was a way to get that interaction he was willing to look like a dick for asking.

Mickey furrowed his brows. “Teach you what?”

“How to cook it! I can barely boil water! It would be nice to have some skills for when you leave or I’ll go back to living on Chinese takeout.”

Mickey thought about it for a moment, trying to weigh the pros and cons in his head. On one hand Ian had a point, everyone should know how to at least cook rice for themselves, it’s not rocket science. But Mickey’s movements in the kitchen were just instinct and he’s not sure if he could explain everything he’s doing as clearly as he would like too.

Fuck it, this was something that Mickey was proud of. He knew he was a gifted chef, why not show off some of his skills a little bit? And if he ended up impressing Ian in the process, so fucking what.

Mickey thumbed at his bottom lip. “Fine. But no interrupting me and save all your questions for the end. Capisce?”

“Did...did you just say ‘capisce’?”

Mickey’s eyebrows shot up his forehead, pointing his knife towards Ian in a non-threatening way. 

Ian snorted, actually fucking snorted, and waved his hands in a placating manner in front of him. He put his hand up to his lips, making a zipper motion across them. “My lips are sealed,” he said.

Mickey tried not to smile, but he felt the corners of his mouth lift up a tiny amount. “Alright, let me get your shit ready for the rest of the week and then I’ll fucking teach you how to make dinner,” he responded.

Ian smiled like Mickey just stole him the damn moon and hung it up in his living room. He nodded his head and walked away from the kitchen, leaving Mickey alone so he could get his work done before Ian invaded his sacred space.

Two hours later, Ian stood in front of the stove, pushing around ground turkey mixed with different sauces in the pan. Mickey stood next to him, checking the rice that was cooking quickly before turning back to Ian.

“So just keep pushing it around like that, gotta make sure the turkey all cooks evenly,” he explained.

Ian nodded, keeping his eyes focused on the pan. Mickey was so fucking adorable when he was in teacher mode, he was soft and patient when Ian expected him to be more on Gordon Ramsey’s level. Even when Ian fucked up the first batch of rice (who fucks up rice, honestly?) Mickey didn’t lose his cool, he just calmly explained to Ian what he did wrong and how to fix it.

Mickey dipped a spoon into the pan, taking a small amount of turkey and sauce into his mouth, not even cringing as the hot food touched his tongue. He nodded his head, sprinkling a small amount of pepper over the pan and placed the used spoon in the sink.

“Good, good. Probably give it two more minutes and it’s all set. The rice and green beans are ready to go, just waiting on this. I’m gonna hit the can real quick, try not to burn everything down a’ight?”

Ian flipped him off, Mickey smirking as he walked down the hallway leading to the bathroom. Ian breathed heavily and left the pan on the stove to pull out two plates from the cabinet. Ian was going to ask Mickey to stay for dinner anyway, but why even give him the opportunity to say no. Surely he wouldn’t waste food if it was already plated up for him, right?

He piled the rice and green beans onto the plates, grabbing the pan off the stove and spooning the turkey and teriyaki mix over the rice. Everything smelled and looked fucking amazing, steam billowing up from the plates and the sauce from the turkey soaking into the rice. Ian’s mouth was watering and he was excited to eat something that he helped make especially if it was half as delicious as it looked.

Ian placed the dishes on the island, nervous now that they were actually there. Mickey could potentially say no, leaving Ian high and dry with a untouched plate and an empty heart.

He shook his head at himself, moving over to the fridge to pull out some bottles of beer, needing all the liquid courage he could get. He heard Mickey walking down the hallway, his heart was pounding so he downed a large gulp of beer in an attempt to tame the churning of his stomach.

Mickey walked into the kitchen, pausing briefly when he saw the two plates on the counter. He glanced at the plates, then to Ian, then back to the plates.

Ian rubbed the back of his neck. “I uh- figured maybe you’d be hungry and wanna stay for dinner?” he asked apprehensively.

Mickey was panicking. He knew his face wasn’t showing it but inside his stomach dropped all the way to the ground floor and his lungs seized up. He was exhausted and was really looking forward to going home and falling face first into his bed with all his clothes still on. This was like a fucking date, essentially. He and Ian had cooked dinner together and now they were supposed to fucking sit side by side and eat like some goddamn domestic couple?

Ian took another sip of his beer, nervously chewing on his bottom lip. “The uh- the Blackhawks game is on in like ten minutes. Don’t know if you’re a hockey fan, but everyone likes playoff hockey and I don’t know, I uh, I figured we could just eat and watch the game, have a few beers? It’s fine if you don’t want too! Like, I totally get it, you’re tired and everything...”

Mickey smiled a little at Ian’s rambling, still droning on in the background as Mickey thought it over. Ian was clearly nervous here too and knowing that fact made Mickey’s own nervousness slip away a little bit. He held up his hand to stop Ian’s word vomit, giving him a sly smile as he walked over to the island.

“It’s fine, Freckles. I’m starving, and who turns down free beer?” he smirked and grabbed his plate and beer off the island, walking over to the couch to settle in.

Ian stood in the kitchen still, shocked that this actually worked and embarrassed at his nervous rambling. He took another giant gulp of his beer and grabbed his own plate to join Mickey in the living room.

“That was clearly a fucking boarding! Are you blind, ref? Open your fucking eyes!” Mickey yelled at the screen, one hand waving in the air while the other was curled around his beer.

It took him awhile, but Mickey eventually relaxed into the cushions of Ian’s couch, steadily sipping down beer after beer and getting more invested in the game on TV than he intended.

Ian kept sneaking glances at Mickey when he thought the other man wouldn’t notice. He looked so good, the buttons of his chef’s jacket undone leaving a perfect view of the black tank top that stretched deliciously over Mickey’s stomach and chest, the dip in the neckline revealing sharp collarbones and some of his pale white chest. Ian wanted to run his tongue all over his fucking body.


Ian popped up from the couch like a goddamn weasel. “Need another beer?” he all but yelled.

Mickey chuckled, gulped down the remaining foam left in his bottle before handing the empty bottle over to Ian. “Yeah, thanks.”

Ian nodded and walked into the kitchen, placing the bottles in the recycling and opening the fridge. He leaned into the cool air, hoping that it would stop the heat forming on his neck from traveling up his face. He didn’t know why he was so nervous, he had his tongue down Mickey’s throat a few days ago, so why is sitting next to him on the couch causing his palms to sweat?

He was riled up on Monday, he supposed, angry at Mickey for denying their kiss at the club meant something. When Ian was angry that’s the only emotion that resided in his mind and body, everything else flew out his ears and the anger was left stewing like a hurricane in the center of his chest waiting to get out. The kiss on Monday wasn’t planned, nothing on Monday was planned, but Ian had purposefully asked Mickey to stay today, this was a premeditated makeout session and he was nervous to start it, not sure how Mickey would react when it wasn’t in the heat of the moment.

“Bullshit! You’ll call it on us but not on them? Un-fucking-believable,” he heard Mickey yell, snapping him out of his thoughts. Ian gulped down some cold air, grabbed two more beers from the fridge and walked back over to the couch, sitting down closer to Mickey than before, their knees brushing against each other occasionally.

Mickey nodded his thanks for the beer, taking a large gulp immediately, and didn’t seem to notice Ian’s new seating position, or if he did he didn’t acknowledge it.

They sat in silence for the remainder of the game, time winding down to the end of the third period. Ian had to act fast, certain that Mickey would hightail it out of the apartment as soon as the game was done. Ian wasn’t sure if the air was hot and thick in here or if it was just him. He felt like he was suffocating.

He turned his head and looked at Mickey, not even trying to be subtle about staring at this point, taking in the curve of his jaw and the dip of his nose. He had a killer profile. Mickey took another sip of his beer, draining what was left and leaning forward to place it on the coffee table with a thud. When he pushed back against the pillows, he turned and locked eyes with Ian.

“Can I help you with something, Red?” he said lowly, licking his lips.

Here goes nothing.

“Yeah, actually, you can,” Ian said before leaning forward and capturing Mickey’s lips in a kiss. Ian groaned against his mouth the moment Mickey pushed back against him, eagerly sucking on Ian’s top lip like he had been waiting to do it all night.

Ian brought his hand up to clutch onto the back of Mickey’s neck, pulling him in as close as possible. They kept it delicate for a few minutes, nothing but soft pressure and the occasional nip on the lips. Ian whined against Mickey’s lips and inched his body closer, desperate to feel Mickey’s body against his own.

Even though Ian was loving the slow progression of the kiss, he was quickly becoming impatient and hungry. He moved his lips against Mickey’s with more fervor, breathing in through his nose when Mickey complied. Ian ran his tongue against the skin of Mickey’s lips quickly, Mickey willingly opening his mouth to allow Ian inside, groaning at the contact.

Mickey ran his hand down Ian’s side and softly grabbed onto his hip, pulling him forward. Ian took the silent invitation and grabbed onto the lapels of Mickey’s jacket as he dragged himself up to straddle his lap.

Mickey pulled his lips away from Ian’s, whispering a drawn out “fuck” as their crotches came in contact with each other. Ian grinned and rolled his hips forward, eliciting a small groan from Mickey’s throat. Ian, hands still tangled in Mickey’s jacket, pulled him up into another desperate kiss, hot and messy, while slowly grinding down against Mickey over and over.

Mickey trailed his hands down Ian’s sides, settling firmly on his hips, dragging him down harder and faster against him. Ian moaned into Mickey’s mouth, nipping his lip quickly before delving his tongue back inside. Mickey kept moving Ian’s hips, delighted in the heat and pleasure he felt shooting up his spine from the contact, his cock growing hard in his pants. He moved one hand from Ian’s hip, dragging it across his heated skin until he landed on his ass, gripping hard before pulling him forward again.

Ian moaned into Mickey’s mouth, rolling his hips on his own accord, desperate to chase some of that friction and heat. He pulled back from the kiss and looked into blissed out blue eyes, smiling devilishly while he executed a particularly hard thrust against Mickey. Mickey groaned, the hand on Ian’s ass flexing quickly, while his head fell back against the couch.

Ian leaned forward, licking a stripe up Mickey’s neck and pulling his earlobe into his mouth, sucking lightly. “You taste good," he moaned against Mickey’s ear.

Mickey whimpered and thrust up against him, getting lost in heat wafting off the other man’s body, his fingers definitely leaving bruises on Ian’s hips and ass. Ian laughed a little at Mickey’s eagerness, licking and biting at the exposed skin of his neck, moving down until he reached Mickey’s collarbone and sucking a mark into the flesh there, grinding their crotches together the entire time.

Mickey mewled, loving the hot passes of tongue over his flesh and the dominating presence of Ian above him. Jesus, he felt like a teenager about to come in his pants from an intense makeout session. The hand grabbing onto Ian’s ass let go and moved to tangle into Ian’s hair, allowing him to properly mark him up before yanking on the red strands and pulling Ian off his neck.

Ian hissed at the sharp tug on his hair, but moaned when Mickey thrust up against him, chasing that delicious pressure. Mickey pulled Ian into another biting kiss, open mouthed and desperate. Ian planted firmly down against Mickey, circling his hips against him and gasping at the new sensation. Mickey was so hard and hot underneath him, it was doing fucked up things to Ian’s mind, which had essentially fizzled out until the only thing flowing through it was MickeyMickeyMickey.

He pulled back, a string of saliva leading from his mouth to Mickey’s, and placed his forehead against the brunette’s, drowning in the blue irises, not once stopping the circling of his hips.

“I-I’m gonna come,” he whined.

Mickey chuckled and licked his lips. “What are you fifteen, Gallagher?” he said, smiling wide.

“Fuck you,” Ian laughed, “you just feel so good.”

“Do I now?” Mickey arched one eyebrow up, cocky grin spreading across his face, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Mickey wrapped his arm around Ian’s lower back, latching on tightly and used his position to turn them sideways on the couch, pushing Ian down to lay beneath him. He leaned down and attached his lips to Ian’s neck, lightly sucking behind his ear. Ian lifted his legs as best as he could in the tight space to cradle Mickey in between him, one hand grabbing onto the back of Mickey’s head and the other scrabbling against the back of the couch.

Mickey thrust down against Ian, nipping and biting at the skin of his neck before latching onto his lips again. Using one hand to hold his body up, the other trailed down to make quick work of unbuttoning Ian’s pants and pulling the zipper down. Mickey shoved his hand into Ian’s pants, rubbing the bulge over his boxers. Ian moaned into Mickey’s mouth, thrusting up against his hand, desperate to feel him, skin on skin.

Mickey kept that position for a minute or two, until he finally delved into Ian’s boxers, grabbing his erection firmly in his hand. Ian ripped his mouth away from Mickey’s, moaning loudly and sucking down pockets of air while thrusting wantonly against his hand.

“Fuck, you’re big huh?” Mickey breathed out, stroking his hand slowly up and down Ian’s cock.

Ian could only give him a small smile, moaning again as Mickey brushed his thumb against the leaking tip, dragging the precome down his cock. The pressure was perfect. The pace was perfect. Mickey was fucking perfect.

If Ian was close before, he was about to explode any second now. His fingers grabbed onto the hair on Mickey’s head, tangling it up on knots. “Please,” he whimpered out, not even really sure what he was asking for.

Mickey laughed lowly. “Please what?” he asked, stroking his hand a little faster, twisting his wrist and swiping his thumb against the tip again.

Ian whined, thrusting up into Mickey’s hand again and pushing his head back harder into the cushion. He felt the heat coiling in the bottom of his gut, pleasure shooting up and down his spine. He was probably shaking.

“P-please let me come.” he whispered, biting down on the corner of his bottom lip.

Mickey leaned down until he was right next to Ian’s ear. “I fucking plan on it,” he breathed out, his voice thick with lust and sexy as all fuck.

Mickey latched onto Ian’s neck again, alternating between licking and sucking and moving his hand faster and faster, gripping just a little tighter. Ian wiggled his hips, moaning Mickey’s name wantonly. The moment that Mickey bit down on the curve of Ian’s neck is the exact moment that Ian gasped and came fucking hard, hips jerking up and hand grabbing so tight onto the back of the couch his knuckles were turning white. Mickey kept pumping him until he was completely spent, growing limp in his hand, his legs shaking and twitching still.

Mickey licked over the bite mark on Ian’s neck and slowly backed away, wiping his hand clumsily on Ian’s already soiled boxers. Mickey looked down at Ian through heavy lidded eyes, his hair falling down into his face. Ian grinned, reaching his hand up to push Mickey’s hair back, his hand landing on the side of Mickey’s face, brushing his thumb back and forth against his cheekbone. God, he looked so good.

“Do you need a hand?” Ian asked, gazing down at the bulge still very present in Mickey’s pants.

Mickey smiled and leaned down real quick to steal one more biting kiss from Ian before disentangling completely and standing from the couch. “Nah, I’m good. I gotta head out anyway,” Mickey said.

Ian groaned and bounced his head off the couch cushion. “At least let me blow you? I feel bad,” he said.

Mickey laughed, the sound echoing against the walls of the kitchen. “Don’t worry about it. You’ll just owe me next time.”

Ian nodded up at the ceiling, reaching his hands down to fasten his pants, cringing at the feel of his come drying on his skin and pubes. The sounds of Mickey packing up his kit could be heard from the kitchen and Ian was sad to see him go so quickly, especially since he’s probably leaving with the worst case of blue balls. He did it to himself though, Ian was more than willing to help him out.

Ian leaned up, putting his hands behind him to hold up his upper body. Mickey was swinging the strap to his messenger bag over his shoulder, his neck still flushed pink from their encounter, the hickey starting to bloom darkly on his collarbone.

“Can I like...get your number or something?” Ian asked.

Mickey paused, looking at Ian from the other side of the room. He contemplated it for a moment, what could be the harm in giving Ian his number?

Well, for one thing, Ian would probably send him good morning texts every fucking day or send him pictures of the god damn sunrise. That would push whatever this was into unwanted territory, relationship territory, and Mickey wholeheartedly was not ready for that. He didn’t need to drag anyone else into the shitshow known as Mickey Milkovich, with intimacy and trust issues that went deeper than the Mariana Trench. Ian didn’t deserve that.

Mickey didn’t want to be known as the guy that fucked his clients either, he had worked way to hard for this to get around and be his reputation. So if he didn’t give Ian his number, whatever was happening between them would be kept behind closed doors, nothing leaving the safe atmosphere of this apartment, no electronic evidence of anything scandalous.

He didn’t say anything in response to Ian’s question, just walked over to the door and said “see ya Monday,” before smirking at Ian and walking out into the hallway.

Ian sat on the couch, dumbfounded as he heard the door click shut behind Mickey.

What the fuck just happened?

Chapter Text

Ian Gallagher was a lot of things.

He was motivated, loving, smart, compassionate, loyal, reliable and a whole multitude of other positive attributes. But he was also an asshole, stubborn as hell, needy and hot-headed. Add a small pinch of narcissism and a dash of manipulation into the mix and you have the ingredients that make up Ian Gallagher.

But one thing Ian Gallagher was not was a selfish lover. He wanted to give way more than he wanted to receive. He would gladly stave off his own pleasure for hours if it meant the other person was falling apart piece by piece because of him. It was a heady power trip, it inflated his ego as much as it inflated his dick. Pleasuring someone until their brain short circuited and the only thing flowing through it was how good Ian was making them feel was the reason he preferred topping and rarely, rarely bottomed. He was in control. He was the only reason for their gratification.

And he was damn good at it too.

He never had any issues with his sexual prowess, most people enjoying how eager to please he was; easily malleable and accommodating, even stretching the boundaries of his own comfort if it meant the other person was going to have the best orgasm of their life. He just wanted to make his partner feel good, was that too much to ask?

But all this shit with Mickey had shaken him a little bit. The other man had brushed off his advances twice now (who turns down a blow job, seriously?) and it’s starting to eat away at his confidence. It’s cocky, but no one has ever turned down Ian’s advances before, he’s always been able to walk into a room, point and say “that one” and he’d have them in bed two hours later.

Did Mickey not find him attractive? Was Ian not good enough? Not sexy enough? Was it something he did? Was he being too forward with his desires?

These are all questions he threw out in rapid succession while on the phone with his brother.

“I mean, I just-I don’t get it,” Ian said.

“There was bound to be someone, somewhere in this city that didn’t want their dick in your mouth, Ian. S’not a bad thing.”

Ian rolled his eyes so hard he had to keep them clenched shut afterwards for a moment. “Obviously, you asshole. Straight guys don’t want their dicks in my mouth. Well actually...there was that one time-”

“Do not finish that fucking sentence. You’re lucky I even listen to you as much as I do about your fucking sex life, but you’d tell me anyway even if I protested.”

Ian smiled a little, because it was true. Lip has always been his confidant, his best friend as well as his brother. Even when they weren’t getting along and didn’t talk for months, Lip was still the only person Ian trusted with his secrets, the only person who wasn’t afraid to speak with Ian honestly. Lip didn’t sugar coat fucking anything.

“Who says you’re even the problem here? Maybe homie has a small dick and he’s embarrassed.”

Ian scoffed. “He does not have a small dick.”

“And how would you know? You haven’t seen it.”

“Because I fucking felt it the other day before he made me come my brains out.”

He heard Lip sigh. “Details I did not need. Listen man, as much as you don’t want to believe it, not everything is fucking about you, okay? So what he doesn’t want you to get him off? You got off, that’s what matters.”

“Jesus Lip, that’s not what matters,” Ian sighed, rubbing his forehead. “You must be shit in the sack, huh?”

Lip scoffed. “Fuck you, I am magnificent.”

“After that statement I’m going to need a list of sources before I believe you.”

Lip chuckled, the sound quickly followed by the flick of a lighter and the sharp inhale of a newly lit cigarette. “You’re an asshole, you know that? But seriously, he’s a gay man from the South Side and you know not every family is as accepting as ours. His issues probably go deeper than fucking tree roots. You don’t know what’s going on in his head so don’t automatically go assuming that the issue is stemming from you. Take a step back and give the man some space.”

Ian said nothing. He knew Lip was right, Mickey was spooked before they even started doing whatever it was they’re doing, so it shouldn’t shock him that he wasn’t completely on board to get freaky yet. But still, it wasn’t sitting right with him that Mickey was so quick to leave after every passionate interaction, basically sprinting from the fucking apartment as soon as he wiped his hand clean.

He certainly wasn’t ready to “take a step back” either. He had just gotten Mickey to come this far and he wasn’t ready to have him slip through his fingers just yet.

“Ian, are you there?”

“Yeah, I’m here.”

“Stop beating yourself up over it dude, it’s going to be okay. I have to go, class is starting soon and these freshman give me a bigger headache than you do. Go to the bar, fuck someone else and get this guy outta your head, alright?”

Ian laughed humorlessly. “Not that easy.”

“The fucking or the getting him out of your head?”

“The latter. Anyway, I’ll talk to you later. I got a shoot in like three hours I have to get ready for.”

“Good luck,” Lip said in a sing song voice before disconnecting the call.

Ian placed his phone down on the counter, he exhaled heavily and ran both hands through his hair before pushing away from the counter and walking towards the windows. It was a little cloudy today, a few drops of rain scattered across the windows and Lake Michigan grey and brooding in the distance.

How fitting.

He knew he was being ridiculous and clingy already but he didn’t know how to stop. Contrary to the attitude, the profession and the presence that Ian exuded he had self-confidence issues, who the fuck doesn’t? He was a middle child, always the one who was strong and self sufficient and didn’t need a guiding hand every step of the way. He got brushed off a lot. Forgotten about. Ignored. There was always an issue that was bigger than Ian’s issue and he was shoved to the back burner constantly.

So where he failed getting validation and attention from his family, he got validation and attention from his sexual partners. If it’s one thing he knows for sure it’s that when your dick is in another man’s ass his attention is solely on you. His eyes, his hands, his thoughts are only focused on you.

It’s a dark and fucked up way of thinking, but he can’t fucking stop. He’s been at it for too long it’s become an addiction, needing that praise to make him feel important and needed.  It was superficial, these people didn’t care about Ian or his problems and they definitely didn’t want to lay there post coital while Ian opened the floodgates.

He hasn’t been this screwed up over a guy in a while, he’s positive that he didn’t even think about men he’s been in actual, legit relationships with as much as he’s been thinking about Mickey this past month. There’s just something about the other man that has Ian hooked. Besides his good looks and apparently amazing handjob skills, he looks like he’s haunted by something and Ian wanted to be the one to make sure those ghosts weren’t shrieking as loud.

He didn’t just let Mickey take control the other night, he willingly gave it over to the other man and that’s something he hadn’t done since he first started exploring his sexuality. He’s surprised he gave it over to Mickey that easily, but in that moment everything felt so good and right that he didn’t even think about reversing their positions. Everything just developed naturally and he felt so comfortable with Mickey there was no need to control the situation.

He was slipping further and further and he was mostly desperate to regain some semblance of control over his feelings. His infatuation for the other man was slowly blossoming into something more and soon he was going to start allowing himself to feel things, dangerous things that could end up getting thrown back in his face.

But he didn’t know how to stop and to be honest he didn’t really want to. The pain would be worth it. Mickey was worth it.

When Ian first started modeling, photoshoot days were a source of violent, heart pounding anxiety. He wouldn’t sleep the night before (which was honestly hell on his skin) and he was so jittery and nauseous the whole day that he actually puked before a few shoots.

Those days were just so chaotic - people moving around in a tornado around him, manipulating him into different chairs for hair and makeup, making him dress and strip constantly, the photographer barking orders at him from behind the safety of his camera. All eyes on him. All attention on him.

After the first few times he got used to the flurry of activity and the grueling effort it took not to break down and cry in the corner. It was a rough world and anyone who said different wasn’t doing it properly. There was a lot of pressure to look a certain way. It didn’t matter if the sun shined out of your ass, if you weren’t toned enough, pretty enough, fucking tall enough you weren’t a marketable commodity. He’d been rejected for projects because of his hair color before.

It’s a tough job, one that constantly stabs at your self worth and confidence. It makes you believe that the only thing you offer the world is your good looks and hot body. If Ian didn’t already feel that way about himself, the job certainly pushed that mentality to the forefront.

But it’s a career that he thrived in, he loved the pressure to work on his body, he loved the attention from everyone around him and he loved being occasionally recognized on the street. It’s another thing that made him feel special, important, wanted. He knew the feeling was fleeting and as soon as one muscle wasn’t as defined as someone else's he would be a no one, a speck in the universe that contributed nothing to mankind except a crash course on the importance of vanity.

Today he was venturing out from the world of sports modeling. Usually there was always a new product to promote, a new running shoe, a new line of workout wear that needed a model. There was a very specific market that those promotional photos were pointed at, a specific scope of people that they were trying to reel into buying what they were selling.

But today, today was his first foray into fashion modeling, if you can call it that. He was modeling for fucking Calvin Klein, how Alexa had landed him this gig was beyond him because this type of stuff was not in his wheelhouse. Sure, he had the body and face to be an underwear model but it was a whole different atmosphere and an entirely different platform of exposure.

To say he was nervous would be an understatement, he’s positive he was more relaxed for his first photoshoot ever than he was for this one. As soon as he got off the phone with Lip, he worked out for two hours, making sure that certain areas of his body were in ripe and ready condition to be scrutinized under a harsh white light.

If only Alexa had bagged this photoshoot a few months down the road, when he was on his new diet and workout routine for more than a month, when his body would be at it’s peak, then maybe- maybe he would feel more comfortable in his own skin. He had some big shoes to fill with this shoot, usually only celebrities were lucky enough to be the new face of Calvin Klein underwear, but here Ian was caught up in the hype of working for this company and all the implications that came along with it.

He walked into the shoot with his head held high, exuding the confidence he needed to get through the day - gotta fake it ‘til you make it right? - and was accosted as soon as his right foot crossed the threshold.

“Ian Gallagher I assume?” a bleached blonde woman asked. She looked at her watch, then back at Ian. “You’re three minutes late. We got work to do, let’s go.” She turned abruptly on her heel and waved her hand over her shoulder, urging Ian to follow behind her.

Great, he was already off to a good start and making a fantastic first impression.

It was routine and normal after that, Ian sitting down for hair and makeup. Ian trying on different pairs of underwear that hugged him just right (with the occasional comment from the wardrobe department about how they “don’t have to fluff him up at all!”). The whole rigmarole of routine had Ian relaxing minute by minute, this was just another photoshoot for a client, nothing to get too hung up about.

It’s when he got in front of the camera that he started to clam up again, the weight of what he was actually about to do settling on his shoulders. This could change the entire direction of his career, for better or for worse, and the pressure was daunting. He stretched his arms above his head, tilted side to side, hoping if he stretched his muscles it would release some of the tension from his brain.

He shook hands with the photographer and took a few test shots, making sure all the details and lighting were as the should be before any actual photos were taken. Once the shoot had officially started it was like a curtain descended in Ian’s mind, separating his anxiety and self-deprecating thoughts from his professional skills and needs. The confidence he usually only exuded in the bedroom was coming out full force and allowing him to feel fucking amazing about this.

And he was on fucking fire, like he had been modeling half naked his entire life, born specifically to model this brand of Calvin Klein underwear. It was steamy and sexy. It was promiscuous yet marketable. He needed very little direction from the photographer and any criticism he received he applied immediately which made for a very efficient and short session.

The shoot was over as quickly as it begun, Ian walking out of the building after receiving the highest of accolades and promises of “you’ll hear from us soon!”

Ian was flying high and feeling fucking phenomenal about himself. He couldn’t wait to see Mickey later.

As soon as the door opened, Ian fisted his hand in Mickey’s jacket and pulled him into the apartment, slamming the door shut and immediately crowding Mickey against the wood, slipping his thigh between Mickey’s legs and nipping and sucking at his neck.

Mickey laughed lowly. “Aye, I got groceries in my hands, let me go put ‘em away first.”

“Don’t care,” Ian said as he reached his hands down and forcibly removed the bags from Mickey’s hands, throwing them to the ground beside them, Mickey whispering miserably about the tomatoes getting squashed.

Ian pushed his lips against Mickey’s to silence his commiserating, Mickey opening up to him without hesitation. The kiss was immediately frantic and messy, their tongues slipping against each others filthily. Ian linked his fingers with Mickey’s, squeezing his hands quickly in reassurance before forcibly moving their joined hands to plant them above Mickey’s head, holding them against the wood and sliding his whole body against Mickey’s until they were completely flush together.

Ian groaned the moment their bodies were pressed up against each other, loving the heat radiating off the other man’s body. Mickey arched away from the door slightly, seemingly to get closer than he already was. After a few more minutes of the wild kissing, Ian slowed it down, taking his time to enjoy the tender passes of Mickey’s tongue and how fucking perfectly they just fit together.

Ian held both of Mickey’s wrists in one hand, freeing up his other hand to run along Mickey’s neck, ribs, hip and trailing around to land on his ass, squeezing onto the muscle. Mickey groaned against Ian’s mouth and grinded against his thigh lightly, hesitantly. Ian pulled Mickey forward a few more times, encouraging him to ride his thigh freely.

Mickey took the encouragement and fucking sprinted with it, moving against Ian without any shame, some beautiful noises leaking out his mouth and vibrating against Ian’s lips. Ian felt the muscles in Mickey’s wrist flex, Mickey curling his hands into fists above his head, clenching them in pleasure.

Ian pulled away from Mickey’s lips, immediately dipping down and licking and sucking his neck again, every once in awhile nipping lightly at the skin. Mickey was breathing raggedly under him, his chest rising and falling against Ian’s, his heart thumping against his ribcage.

“Not-not that I’m complainin’, but what the fuck got into you?” Mickey asked.

Ian found a tender spot on Mickey’s neck, one that made the other man grind down slightly harder against his thigh. He put pressure on that spot with his tongue, moving it in circles before forming his lips over the spot and sucking lightly. Ian sucked on the area for a moment, hopefully marking Mickey again before pulling off with a pop . Ian pulled his head up, staring into Mickey's heavy lidded eyes, his face tinged pink. Fucking beautiful.

“You did,” he answered before pushing his lips against Mickey’s again, quickly sucking his bottom lip into his mouth. The hand still latched onto Mickey’s ass trailed forward, worming it’s way between their flushed bodies to rub the bulge in Mickey’s pants as best as he could. Fuck, he was so hard. He worked his hand in a circle, increasing the pressure with each pass until Mickey was squirming against the door.

He licked into Mickey’s mouth one last time before pulling back, resting his forehead against the other man's.

“I’m gonna suck you off now. Got a problem with that?” Ian asked with a cock of his eyebrow.

Mickey licked his lips, slowly shaking his head.

“Good,” Ian pecked Mickey’s lips once before releasing the hold he had on his wrist, red marks still very visible from his grip (hopefully they’ll form into bruises later on). He made quick work of unbuttoning Mickey’s pants and pulling the zipper down, staring into Mickey’s blissed out blue eyes the entire time.

Ian dropped to his knees fast, pulling down Mickey’s pants and boxers with him, barely holding back the groan he emitted from seeing Mickey’s dick for the first time, it was swollen and red at the tip, curved slightly to the left and on the thicker side. Christ, was it making his mouth water

Ian hastily pushed up Mickey’s chefs jacket and tank top and licked and sucked onto the flesh that was exposed while settling his hands on Mickey’s hips. Mickey exhaled heavily and ran one hand lightly through Ian’s hair, landing on the back of his head and curling his fingers into the short hair there.

He made sure there was a bruise forming on the junction of Mickey’s hip and thigh before he pulled back. He looked up to Mickey’s face, seeing the other man intently watching Ian’s every move. He gave Mickey a sly grin before trailing one hand away from his hip, fingers ghosting across his warm skin, before wrapping around his cock, the pride swelling in his chest when Mickey’s eyes fluttered briefly.

He pumped him slowly a few times, getting hypnotized by the the rise and fall of Mickey’s chest and the way his stomach muscles clenched every once in awhile. He poked his tongue out and teasingly flicked it over the tip of Mickey’s dick before bobbing his head down to take the whole head in his mouth, sucking lightly.

Mickey groaned and threw his head back against the door, a dull thud sound following the action. Ian smiled as best as he could around Mickey’s cock, soaking in the fact that he got that reaction out of Mickey by barely doing anything.

He pulled off and stopped pumping Mickey’s cock, squeezing lightly at the base before turning his head and running his tongue slowly all the way from his fist back to the head of Mickey’s cock before swallowing down as much as he could. Mickey gasped and arched away from the door, only for Ian to push him back and hold him there with the hand still resting on his hip.

Ian kept it slow, trying to savor the weight of Mickey on his tongue and his taste in his mouth. The languid bobbing of his head and the barely there pressure of his tongue on the underside of Mickey’s cock was doing fucked up things to the man standing above him, if the tightening and twisting of his fingers in the red strands of hair were any indication.

This is what Ian lived for, slowly and deliciously making someone fall to pieces above him, below him, next to him, it didn’t fucking matter. All that mattered was the pleasure he was directly causing the other man.

He pulled back and ran his tongue over the head of Mickey’s dick again, with more pressure than before, the small gasp Mickey emitted had Ian’s heart fucking galloping through his chest. He bobbed his head down Mickey’s cock and kept a far steadier pace than the one he adopted before, pumping his hand to make up for what he couldn’t fit in his mouth, spit slowly collecting at the corners of his lips.  

Mickey groaned and tugged lightly on Ian’s hair, trying not to thrust into the heat of his mouth. He gazed down at the mess of red and orange steadily bobbing up and down, his mouth dropping open at the sight of his cock getting repeatedly swallowed by Ian’s plump pink lips.

“Oh fuck, Ian. Fuck,” Mickey moaned.

Ian hummed around his dick, the vibrations traveling through Mickey’s whole fucking body and leaving him breathless.

Ian hollowed his cheeks, sucking just a little bit harder and bobbing his head a little bit faster, hearing Mickey let out a breathy moan. Ian trailed the hand still holding on to Mickey’s hip to his ass, gripping onto the pale flesh hard enough to leave marks. He pulled Mickey forward, getting him deeper into his mouth. Mickey shuddered above him, his eyes slipping closed as he poked his tongue out to lick at his drying lips. Ian kept massaging Mickey’s ass, pulling him forward every so often to feel him hit the back of his throat occasionally.

Ian’s cock was aching in his pants, screaming out from neglect and pulsing every time one of Mickey’s beautiful little moans floated into his ears. Ian pulled back quickly, pumping Mickey while flicking his tongue across the slit a few times.

“I need you to fuck my mouth, Mick. Can you do that?” Ian asked huskily.

Mickey groaned, he tightened his fingers in Ian’s hair and nodded his head. Ian grinned devilishly and wrapped his mouth around Mickey’s cock again.

He kept the hand on Mickey’s ass, urging him forward still, but moved the other hand he previously had wrapped around Mickey’s cock to his own dick and shoved his hand into his pants, groaning as soon as he wrapped his hand around the flesh.  

Mickey let out a breathy sigh and pushed down on Ian’s head lightly, urging him to take him deeper, moaning when he eagerly complied. Ian kneaded and massaged Mickey’s ass, squeezing every once in awhile and groaning when Mickey thrust into his mouth. Even without the use of his hand, Ian still managed to ignite every nerve ending in Mickey’s body with just his mouth.

Ian was close. He knew this was going to end soon the moment he touched his own dick, too keyed up from having Mickey so pliable and hot above him. But he was determined to get Mickey to finish first. He slowed down the pace which he was pulling his own cock and he pulled Mickey deeper into his mouth one last time before he released his iron like grip on the muscle and trailed his fingers over the crack of Mickey’s ass, teasing the tips of his fingers over Mickey’s hole.

Mickey thrust towards Ian’s mouth, fingers gripping his hair harder. “Fuck, fuck,” he breathed out.

Ian hummed around his cock, pulling back slowly to suck gently on the head for a few seconds before plunging back down, bobbing his head with expert speed and suction. He rubbed his fingertips over Mickey’s hole with more pressure, pressing down harder and harder each turn. Ian didn’t know if Mickey topped or bottomed, but with that reaction he’s pretty sure what Mickey’s preference was.

And it was so fucking hot.

He rubbed the ring of muscle incessantly, hoping to get Mickey off soon because the ache in his own cock was becoming unbearable. Mickey’s leg was twitching and shaking and his stomach muscles were clenching, tell tale signs he was about to tumble over the edge.

He tugged on Ian’s hair sharply. “I’m-I’m gonna fucking come.”

If Ian didn’t have a dick shoved in his mouth he would smile so wide at the lusty way those words tumbled from Mickey’s lips. He pushed the tip of his finger passed the ring of muscle, causing Mickey to thrust hard into his mouth, groaning deeply.

“Ian…” he breathed out - in warning it seemed. Ian hummed one more time and that was it, Mickey was done for. He moaned and threw his head back against the door, pulsing down Ian’s throat in hot streaks, his fingers pulling hard on Ian’s hair.

Ian kept sucking Mickey through his orgasm, making sure he was completely spent before pulling off and leaning his head against Mickey’s hip. His breath was coming out in short, quick huffs, the hot air fanning over Mickey’s sensitive cock making the other man shiver. He pulled on his dick a few more times before coating his hand and the inside of his boxers with his own release.

He sat there resting against Mickey’s hip for a few seconds, basking in the afterglow and trying to school his breathing back to normal. He smiled lightly to himself and pulled back, licking at Mickey’s cock a few times. Mickey exhaled heavily and whimpered at the continued stimulation.

Ian made sure Mickey was as clean as he was going to get before standing up, pulling Mickey’s pants with him on the way (because he’s a fucking gentlemen like that). He kissed Mickey lazily while buttoning his pants for him, making sure he was situated before pulling back and looking fondly into Mickey’s eyes.

“’m gonna go change. I’ll be right back,” Ian whispered.

Mickey nodded, or at least he hoped he nodded, and watched Ian disappear down the hallway while he stood dazed against the door.

The air in the apartment seemed thicker after the aftershocks subsided and Mickey felt like he wasn’t able to get enough air into his lungs. His palms were sweaty and his leg was still twitching a bit. To say that was the best blowjob he’d gotten in a long time would be a drastic understatement and he wanted nothing more than to lie down and take a nap.

But he hadn’t even started working yet, shit he still had to put all the food away. He’s not in the habit of hanging around the person who just swallowed his load since it’s usually at the club and he’s out of that bathroom stall before the other person is even off their knees. But now he had to share the same space as Ian for hours and try to make small talk and pretend that the other man didn’t just make Mickey completely unravel minutes earlier.

He took as deep a breath as he could manage and used the collar of his chef’s jacket to wipe at his forehead where he felt some sweat prickling along his hairline. He bent down to pick up the grocery bags and walked over to the island on wobbly legs. He placed the bags down gently on the counter being careful not to further damage any of the produce, noting that only one tomato got squashed.

“Fuck, fuck. What the fuck am I doing?” Mickey whispered to himself. He braced his hands on the counter and hung his head between his shoulders. He couldn’t believe he had let it escalate this far, what the fuck was he thinking? Ian was basically he’s employer, he worked for the other man even if it was through a third party. If this got around to the other people he worked for he would get fired in a second. His whole blossoming career would all be shot to shit because he wanted to get his dick sucked by some hot ginger shithead. He wasn't ready to give cooking up yet, he had plans. Big plans.

The problem was he didn’t want this to stop, if anything he wanted it to escalate further. He was torn between his professional life and his personal life and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to balance both, certain one would get neglected for the other.

He either needed to pull the plug on the whole operation or iron out some very strict guidelines they both had to follow before his colleagues could find out.

It was awkward and stilted when Ian came back into the kitchen, fucking glowing and all smiles. He tried engaging Mickey in conversation, briefly telling him about his successful photoshoot from earlier and a bunch of other mundane shit. Mickey didn’t contribute much besides the occasional grunt and nod of affirmation.

Mickey didn’t want it to be awkward, but fuck he had too many things to focus on and carrying on an engaging conversation with Ian wasn’t one of them at the moment. When his mind wasn't a fucked up mess he would love to hear (and potentially see) all about Ian's underwear modeling.

But he was trying to focus on preparing the food without cutting his finger off or burning his skin. He was trying to make his dick focus on the end game here and he was trying to figure out the logistics of how he was going to navigate this conversation towards their not-relationship.

So far he was coming up with nothing an actual adult would do and instead decided on giving Ian the cold shoulder until he figured this out and fuck if it didn’t hurt, watching the life and happiness slowly drain from Ian’s eyes when he noticed Mickey was brushing him off. Mickey wanted nothing more than to be the source of the other man’s happiness but first he had to figure out his own.

Conversation slowly dwindled, Ian apparently catching on that Mickey wasn’t paying attention to anything he was saying. It was disheartening, they took two steps forward and three steps back with every interaction.

Mickey finished up his work, cleaning his utensils haphazardly and washing all the dishes quickly and messily. Once Ian’s meal was placed in front of him at the counter, Mickey gathered his things and swung the strap to his messenger bag over his shoulder.

“Do you um, do you want to stay for dinner again?” Ian asked sheepishly, averting his eyes to look anywhere but at Mickey.

Mickey stared at Ian, sweeping his eyes over his face and admiring the defined muscles of his arms before landing on what little of his chest was exposed through the neckline of this tank top. He licked his lips and almost, almost said yes. Staying late again would definitely fill his quota for awkward interactions for one day.

He snapped himself out of the trance he was in induced by the redheads strong upper body. “Nah, can’t today, sorry man. Got some shit to do before I head home anyway. I’ll see ya on Thursday?”

Ian nodded, keeping his head down and poking at the food on his plate with a fork. “Yeah, Thursday.”

He gave Ian one last lingering look before nodding and turning around towards the door, the fucking door he fell apart against earlier.

He needed a fucking drink.

The sun was setting, casting the streets in a dark golden color and illuminating areas of the city that only the setting sun seemed able to find. Mickey was sitting under the train tracks with Charles, making himself comfortable on the dirty concrete with his legs folded underneath him. He was steadily downing a pint of whiskey that he bought around the corner, passing it over to Charles every once in awhile, cigarette hanging limply from his fingers, the ash piling up at the end.

He spilled his guts to Charles the moment he sat down, telling him everything that had unfolded between him and Ian from the moment he met the fucker up to the events that transpired earlier that evening.

“I’m fucking up, Charles. I keep thinking with my dick and I’m gonna end up hurtin’ the guy,” Mickey said, taking a swig from the bottle before continuing. “I’m fucking sick of hurtin’ people, man. It’s like all I’m fucking capable of.”

“Ya not fuckin’ up, kid. Ya tryin’ to protect yaself.”

“I am fucking up though! Shit, you should have seen his face.”

“Look, relationships ain’t easy, you know this. Openin’ yourself up like that is hard, s’gonna take some time, ‘specially for you,” Charles said, reaching his hand out for the whiskey.

Mickey furrowed his brows and handed the brown bottle over to the other man. “I’ve tried though, I’ve fucking tried a handful of times. It never fucking works out. So why keep tryin’?”

Charles took a gulp of the whiskey, wiping his mouth off with the back of his hand. “Love ain’t easy, kid.”

Mickey scoffed. “Slow down there chief, no one said anything about love.”

“Ya didn’t fuckin’ have to. I’ve known ya for what, almost three years now? Never heard ya talk about anyone this much. Ya like him. A lot. And yer scared. S’normal,” Charles shrugged.

“Not fuckin’ scared,” Mickey mumbled, eyes downcast. He flicked the end of his cigarette, dislodging the built up ash and brought the butt to his lips, inhaling deeply.

“Yer fuckin’ scared, don’t lie to me,” Charles smiled softly at Mickey, taking another sip from the bottle before handing it back. “Maybe yer other relationships never worked ‘cause they weren’t a right fit, ya stubborn prick. Gotta find the one who’s worth the effort, worth the pain of rippin’ ya fuckin’ heart out and puttin’ it on a platter for them to pick and prod at. Do ya think he’s worth it?”

Mickey kept his eyes focused on the whiskey bottle, thumbnail picking off the paper label, balling up the little pieces of paper and flicking them onto the ground in front of him.

“I don’t know,” Mickey whispered.

Charles huffed. “Yes ya fuckin’ do. How does he make ya feel?”

Mickey swallowed thickly and bit at his bottom lip, pulling off some of the skin. He can’t believe he’s having this conversation with Charles right now. Spilling his guts out about a boy, looking for advice. It’s fucking girl talk is what it is.

He took another giant gulp of the whiskey, feeling the liquid burn his stomach before he stubbed his cigarette out into the concrete. He handed the bottle over to Charles before answering.

“He-fuck, he makes me feel good about myself. Makes me laugh, acts like he’s actually interested in what I’m fuckin' saying. He makes me nervous, but it fucking feels good. Natural. Talking with him is-it’s fucking easy, ya know? It’s easy. It’s never been easy before.”

Charles smiled at Mickey and punched him lightly in the knee. “Looks like ya found someone who’s worth the effort then, kid.”

Mickey groaned and ran his fingers through his hair. “He’s way outta my league, man. Hell, we’re not even playing the same fucking sport.”

Charles furrowed his brows and scratched his nails through his tangled beard. “What makes ya say that?”

Mickey threw his hands out in front of him. “Look at where I am right now, fucking getting drunk before it’s even dark out. He’s a fucking model! Who lives in this fucking huge amazing condo in the North Side! He could literally fuck anyone he wanted, he can fucking be whatever he wants to be. He’ll get bored eventually and move the fuck on once the novelty wears off.  And why the fuck would he want to slum it with some South Side piece of shit anyway?”

“Hey!” Charles barked at him, startling Mickey a little bit. “Yer not a fuckin’ piece of shit, don’t ever say that to me again. Ya got heart, a fuckin’ huge one, shit ain’t got no heart. Life has thrown a lot of terrible things yer way, Mickey, fuckin’ awful things. But it don’t sound like Ian will be one of ‘em.”

Mickey sighed and fumbled in his messenger bag for his pack of cigarettes, eager to spark up another one. He pulled one out from the cardboard, holding the pack over to Charles with his eyebrows raised. Charles rolled his eyes but pulled one from the pack regardless. Mickey flicked the flint on the lighter, sparks flying out once or twice before a flame appeared. He lit his cigarette and handed the lighter over to Charles for him to do the same.

They sat in silence for a couple of minutes, Mickey emotionally drained from the entire day and ready to collapse onto his couch and read a book so his brain had something different to focus on besides fucking emotions and what if’s.

Charles cleared his throat before taking a large drag off the cigarette. He looked at Mickey, his eyes soft and a little sad. “Yer allowed to be happy, kid. You’ll realize it some day.”

Mickey sniffed and averted his eyes. Yeah...some day.

Chapter Text

Mickey stood leaning against the counter in his kitchen, arms crossed over his chest and his bare feet getting cold from standing on the chilly linoleum for so long. He stood staring at the man currently laying on his floor as he wriggled around, grunting and swearing occasionally. He could offer to help the man, but where’s the fun in that?

He reached behind him, grabbed his pack of cigarettes and drew one out of the cardboard, lighting it up and smiling slightly at the first inhale, the first cigarette of the day was always the sweetest.

There was a loud clang and the sound of something hissing, followed by more swearing. Mickey cocked his eyebrow at the man, his asscrack poking out the top of his pants slightly and rolled his eyes at the cliche. Wear a fucking belt, maybe?

He took another puff off the cigarette, releasing the smoke slowly through his nostrils, wiggling his nose around when the smoke tickled the hairs on the inside. He pushed himself off the counter and stepped over the man’s squirming legs and headed towards the coffee machine. Mickey placed the cigarette between his lips, leaving it to hang there while he prepared the coffee, sucking on the cigarette occasionally and squinting to prevent some of the smoke from stinging his eyes.

The coffee started percolating after a well placed smack to the side of the machine and soon the sounds and smells of the bitter liquid permeated the air. Mickey turned around and resisted the urge to kick the guys feet, for no good reason besides he wanted too.

“Have you fuckin’ figured it out yet? I don’t got all day,” Mickey spit out, agitated that this was how he had to start his morning. He woke up to the sound of a loud humming coming from his kitchen, seemingly vibrating the floors and walls of his apartment. As he stumbled out from his bedroom, bleary eyed and disoriented, the humming only got louder and more insistent.

His fridge was on the fritz again, the piece of shit already went through one round of repairs a few months ago. Mickey wasn’t the type of person to call a repairman unless it was completely necessary, making sure he poked around and looked for any potential disrepair before picking up the phone (he’s definitely mildly electrocuted himself a few times thanks to this strategy). He spent about an hour trying to figure out what was wrong until he eventually got frustrated enough to call in a professional.

“Seems like the compressor motor shit the bed,” the man, Paul apparently as it said stitched into his navy workshirt, mumbled from his position behind the fridge.

Mickey groaned and rubbed his forehead, feeling a headache coming on already. He took one last drag of his cigarette before stamping it out in an ashtray he left by the sink. “How much is that gonna run me?”

Paul pushed himself back until he wasn’t seated behind the fridge but propped up against the wall next to it. He looked up at Mickey quizzically, wiping his hands on a red towel hanging from his belt loop. “Your landlord won’t pay for this?”

Mickey snorted. “If I left it up to that crusty fuck I wouldn’t have a fridge ‘til next year. It’s easier to pay for it myself.”

Paul shrugged and pushed himself off the floor, walking over to the toolbox and clipboard he had placed on the counter when he first entered the apartment. Mickey poured himself a cup of coffee and added two tablespoons of sugar, luckily he didn’t use milk or creamer because they would both be spoiled by now. 

Paul checked some things off on the clipboard and pulled out his phone to do some simple calculations. “Well, this is an older make and model so finding a refurbished compressor isn’t an option, gonna have to buy a brand new one. That, plus the cost of labor would probably run you around $550, give or take.”

“Fuckin’ A. Five fifty?!” Mickey all but yelled.

Paul gave Mickey a sympathetic look and ripped off the work order that he just finished writing up. Mickey snatched it from his hands and looked over the form with creased eyebrows, chewing on the corner of his lip.

“Sorry man, you can look around for a lower estimate from someone else but I recommend getting it fixed as soon as possible. Or just buy a new fridge,” Paul said with a shrug.

Mickey mumbled a low “fuck” under his breath. “When can you fix it?”

Paul packed up his toolbox, putting the clipboard inside with the rest of his tools. “Gonna have to call the office, gotta be a week at least.”

Mickey exhaled heavily and nodded his head in Paul’s direction. He walked behind him over to the door, saying a clipped “thanks” before basically slamming the thing in the guy’s face.

It’s not like Mickey didn’t have the money to pay for the repair, it’s just that he would have to dip into the money he’s been saving for two years now. Every tip he got from a catering event or any spare cash he had after paying his bills got squirreled away into a large envelope in a safe at the bottom of his closet. When he first started saving he vowed to never touch the money until he had enough saved to finally put towards opening up his own restaurant.

Opening his own restaurant was a dream he has had for a few years now. At first he left it at that, just a dream, not fully believing that it would ever be something that could become reality. A Milkovich starting their own legitimate business? That’s enough to make the whole city laugh.

But the longer he worked in the industry he started believing more and more that he could actually run a restaurant and do a damn good job of it too. He had incredibly high standards when it came to food and cleanliness and he had no qualms about creating unique and delicious dishes. He would just have to hire someone to run the books and actually manage the business, but he would rule the kitchen with an iron fist.

He’s had to dip into the savings quite frequently as of late, because life apparently didn’t know when to give someone a damn break. There was the incident with the fridge a few months ago, Mandy was short on her rent one month, Iggy needed fucking bail money and there was that time he had to use some cash when he was out sick with the flu for three weeks. It wasn’t enough to make a huge dent in the savings, but now with the fridge fucking up again it’s another deduction he couldn't really manage.

This was the biggest reason he needed to put a lid on this...thing with Ian.  He didn't need this ruining his chances of achieving his dream. The catering company was by far the best job he’s ever had, the hours were great and the pay was even better. He wouldn’t find another job that fit his needs quite like this one did. He didn’t want to go back to washing dishes or being the bitch for another executive chef with a superiority complex. He was better than that now, he was talented enough to be his own boss.

Mickey had set up a timeline for himself. He wanted to have the restaurant open and fully operational by the time he was thirty and each deduction was taking him further and further away from that goal. He only had four more years until he reached thirty and he was barely halfway to where he needed to be.

Maybe Sergio needed help down the street with food prep, he could manage the hours between catering and Ian, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s had to work more than one job to make ends meet. Shit, he wouldn’t even be opposed to helping Iggy out on runs every once in awhile if it added to the fund and brought him closer to his goal.

Mickey sighed and finished drinking his coffee before heading into the bathroom to get ready for work. He had to be at the catering company by 10 to help get everything ready for some benefit in the North Side. He usually didn't mind working events like this, but this one specified they wanted everyone to be wearing a “white suit with a black bow-tie”

How fucking pretentious. A bow-tie, seriously? He’s probably going to end up choking himself to death with the damn thing before the day was over. He’s going to have to put band-aids over his knuckles to obscure his tattoos, positive that the yuppie fucks at the benefit wouldn’t appreciate the words scrawled across his hands.

Their loss.

The house was huge, something that Mickey had only seen in movies. It was made of stone, four large Roman columns holding up the slight overhang of the roof in the front. The bushes were perfectly trimmed, some topiary’s even buzzed into the larger vegetation, the flower beds were perfectly manicured and strategically colored. There were so many windows, why was there so many windows?

It was a gorgeous benefit, the sun shining brightly but just cool enough to not be oppressive (although the sun was starting to leave a sunburn on the back of Mickey’s neck). The house was overlooking Lake Michigan, the breeze blowing off the water adding a welcome chill to the warm air. The benefit was held in the backyard, a large stage was set up in front of the water, the perfect backdrop for the band with the setting sun floating through the white chiffon curtains hung around the stage.

Mickey weaved around the scattered tables and hoards of people with ease, looking like a damn ballerina holding up the hors d'oeuvres on a silver platter, plastering on his best corporate smile and only speaking when spoken too. He looked fucking ridiculous in his white suit and bow-tie, but at least all his colleagues were looking like idiots right along with him.

He wasn’t exactly sure what the benefit was for, all he knew was that there were a lot of old, rich white people here eager to spend their money on something, anything to make them feel like they were contributing something to the world besides greed and wealth. One rich, old fuck, took Mickey’s last piece of crab salad canape (creamy crab salad with finely diced roasted bell peppers, topped with a sprig of parsley and served on a lightly toasted baguette drizzled with olive oil) off his silver platter and suggestively placed a twenty dollar bill into Mickey’s jacket pocket, withdrawing his hand from the fabric slowly while winking at Mickey.

Mickey tried to smile, but it definitely came out as a sneer. If he wasn’t working he would pop that old fuck in the jaw for doing something like that. He abruptly turned away from the man, muttering threats under his breath the whole way back to the kitchen, his fingers twitching in agitation.

To get to the kitchen, Mickey had to walk through the massive foyer of the mansion, the floor decorated with a huge compass rose that was placed in between the landing of the two separate staircases leading to the second floor, art and pottery scattered throughout the space. If Mickey was a few years younger he would be scouring the place for things to shove down his pants to pawn later or ways to break in for a more fruitful heist when the house was dark and quiet.

Now, he just admired his surroundings with distaste. It’s remarkable what well off people chose to spend their money on, outfitting their living area with pieces that belong in museums when they could be spending that money on fucking feeding the homeless.

Mickey rolled his eyes and pushed through the kitchen doors, careful not to hit anyone standing on the other side. The kitchen was a flurry of activity, servers and cooks buzzing around the place trying to get everything set up for dinner (fucking $1,000 a plate, ridiculous). Mickey usually helped in preparing the hors d’oeuvres and dinner plates but the owners of the catering company had wanted to cook everything themselves, claiming this was the biggest event they’ve had in awhile and they wanted everything to be perfect. So, everyone else was delegated to help with presentation and serving.

As much as Mickey loved prepping and cooking food, he didn’t mind the days where he was demoted to serving since it didn’t happen very often. It was a welcome break from the heat of the kitchen and he got to pocket all tips that came his way.

He placed the silver platter down on the table, waiting for it to get filled up with dishes. He patted his pockets down, feeling the shape of the rectangle box he desperately craved in his back pocket.

“Yo, boss! Gonna have a smoke before dinner starts,” Mickey yelled across the kitchen.

His boss looked up from the stove, rolling her eyes at Mickey before speaking. “Fine, but for god sake Milkovich put the filter back in your pack. I don’t need these assholes complaining about anything.”

Mickey threw a thumbs up over his shoulder, already on his way out the back door.

He walked around the house, finding a secluded space on the side of the building where the chatter and music weren’t as loud. He leaned up against the stone, taking a second to relax before pulling the cigarettes out his pocket, lighting it as soon as it was placed between his lips and inhaling deeply. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall, resting there while continuously bringing the cigarette to his lips.

Mickey only got in a few moments of silence before someone invaded his alone time. He felt someone sidle up alongside him and he was immediately aggravated that this person decided to penetrate his few minutes of solitude. He didn’t know who they were or what they wanted, the only thing he did know was that the scent of their cologne was intoxicating.

“Couldn’t find anywhere else to stand, fucker?” Mickey said, eyes still closed.

He heard the person chuckle, a deep sounding laugh rolling past their lips. “Right here is looking pretty good to me, actually.”

Mickey stopped breathing and popped his eyes open, jolting away from the wall. “The hell you doin’ here?”

Ian crossed his arms and leaned against the side of the house, a small smirk playing at his lips as he tilted his head back and gazed up at the pinkening sky. Jesus, he looked good. His red hair was slicked back, wearing a dark blue suit with a white undershirt and black tie, his pants perfectly pressed and deliciously form fitting, his stubborn stubble leaving a fantastic shadow across his face.

Ian turned his head and looked at Mickey. “My sister’s fiance's family is the one hosting the benefit, she told the whole family they could tag along so I figured why not?” Ian shrugged.

Mickey placed the cigarette to his lips and glared at Ian while inhaling the smoke. “Your whole family fuckin’ traded up, huh?”

Ian huffed out a quick laugh. “She actually still lives at home in Canaryville with her fiance, so really, he leveled down.”

Mickey raised his eyebrows at that. Who the fuck would willingly chose to live in the South Side when this was how they were raised? Clearly this person was a masochist or deranged.

Ian took the time that Mickey was contemplating the reasons why someone would put themselves through that torture to admire his outfit, sweeping his eyes up and down his body unabashed.

“You look really great,” he said a little breathlessly, “didn’t think I would ever see you in a bow tie though,” Ian laughed.

Mickey flipped him off, self consciously adjusting the bow tie around his neck. “Fuck off, didn’t have a choice.”

Ian smiled softly at Mickey, eyes bouncing around his face and body. They stood soundlessly together for a few minutes, Mickey sucking down the last remnants of his cigarette. The silence should have been awkward, given how their last encounter ended, but it wasn’t awkward at all. It was kind of peaceful in a way, the two of them just leaning against the wall, no pressure to do or say anything.

Mickey took the last drags of his cigarette before putting the ember out by smashing it against the side of the house, the ash leaving a small mark on the immaculate stone. He looked down at his shoes, eyebrows furrowing as he put the decimated filter back into the pack like his boss requested.

“Uhh, listen, about the other day,” Mickey began. Ian perked up like an eager puppy, pushing away from the wall and focusing all his attention on Mickey.

“I uh-we,” Mickey struggled to form the words, not really sure where he was going with this but he needed to get something out, desperate to draw the line on their... activities somewhere. He didn’t know why he chose this specific time and place to bring it up, but it had to be done eventually, the weight of being a prick to Ian had been sitting heavy in his chest since that day. He opened his mouth again only to be interrupted by the shrill sound of the microphone slicing through the air.

“If all guests would please take their seats, dinner is about to begin,” the voice from the stage said.

Mickey exhaled, annoyed yet thankful at the interruption. He looked up sheepishly at Ian, who’s eyes were wide and imploring, his mouth parted slightly.

Mickey sniffed. “That’s my cue.”

Mickey nodded in goodbye towards Ian before walking around him back towards the kitchen. Ian immediately latched onto his wrist, restricting him from moving any further.

Mickey turned and looked down at his wrist, then back up into Ian’s eyes, his brow furrowed slightly in question.

Ian’s eyes searched Mickey’s, darting back and forth for a moment before whispering, “Tell me,” he licked the corner of his mouth and squeezed Mickey’s wrist, “please.”

Mickey swiped his thumb at his bottom lip, anxious now that the moment was broken. His eyes drifted back down to Ian’s grip on his wrist, his mind flashing back to the last time Ian’s fingers were curled around that exact spot. He involuntarily shivered, hoping it wasn’t noticeable to the other man.

Mickey swallowed and opened up his mouth to speak again.

“Milkovich! Get the fuck over here, let’s go!” He heard yelled behind him.

Mickey ripped his wrist out of Ian’s grasp and saw the fleeting image of one of his co-workers flying back around the corner on way to the kitchen.

Mickey turned back to Ian and shrugged before adopting a slow jog to get back to the kitchen.

How much had they seen? Did they see Ian’s hold on his wrist? Could they read the vibe of their interaction? Did anyone know Ian was Mickey’s client? What the fuck what the fuck.

This was Mickey’s worst nightmare, his fucking co-workers couldn’t keep their mouths shut about anything, eager to gossip and spread stories whether or not it was truth. This could get around to his boss, he could get fired and him and Ian weren’t even doing anything. What’s worse is he didn’t even see who was the one who yelled, only catching a glimpse of their retreating form. It could have literally been anyone and he can’t intimidate the whole goddamn crew into being silent.


He stopped right before entering the kitchen and took one last deep, steadying breath before pushing the door open.

“Fucking finally!” Mickey’s boss barked at him as soon as he stepped foot in the kitchen. “Take those platters over there, you got tables 13 and 14. Don’t fuck it up!”

“Yes, Chef,” Mickey mumbled, picking up the platter and balancing it expertly on his shoulder. He backed into the door, pushing it open again and walking out into the massive foyer and out into the yard. The sun was just starting the set, it would be fully dark by the time dinner was over.

He scanned his eyes over the many tables, squinting until he saw the cards that indicated what tables he needed to serve the first dish. He sighed heavily, noting that Ian was placed at table 13 because of fucking course he was and so was that geriatric fuck from earlier, who was sitting with his arm slung over the back of Ian’s chair. It would look casual to most, except Mickey noticed the fuckers fingers gently grazing over the back of Ian’s shoulder in small circles.

Something bristled inside of Mickey, something dark and fucked up and something he had no right to be feeling. He wanted to snap that old fucks fingers, one by one, staring him in the eye the entire time he did it.

Mickey sighed and tried to make sure his face wasn’t involuntarily scowling. He served table 14 first, placing their plates down delicately and explaining to them what the first course was, answering the quick questions that sprung up with ease.

He slowly made his way over to Ian’s table, ignoring the looks the other man was throwing his way. He assumed everyone at the table was related to Ian somehow, though the only one who bore any resemblance to him was the a young red-headed girl. He placed the first dish down in front of one of Ian’s younger siblings, this one with short brown hair and a poorly covered up black eye.

“For the first course we have a lobster stuffed portobello mushroom topped with a crispy garlic bread crumb crust.”

“Mushrooms? Gross,” the kid said, sticking his tongue out and screwing up his face in distaste.

“Just try it, Carl,” the red-headed girl said, rolling her eyes in the process.

“The only mushrooms I like are the illegal kind,” Carl said, waggling his eyebrows.

Ian’s older sister elbowed him in the ribs and leaned over to whisper harshly in his ear. “Do not embarrass me in front of Jimmy’s family.”

Ah, so the creepy old fuck was the future father-in-law? How quaint. Mickey forced a smile and continued placing the dishes in front of everyone, maybe dropping the plate a little too roughly in front of Grandpa before leaning over Ian’s shoulder to put his plate down, his chest brushing softly against Ian’s shoulder.

He held the silver platter at his side once all the plates were distributed, “I’ll be back to fill your water glasses.”

Mickey walked back across the yard heading towards the kitchen, his feet stomping slightly like an angry child. He had no reason to be this pissed off, he held absolutely no claim over Ian, they weren’t fucking boyfriends. tThey weren’t dating, hell they weren’t even fucking. But there was just something about that old fuck that pissed Mickey off, he was sleazy and dirty and no amount of wealth could wash away the fact that he was a scumbag and he wanted Ian far, far away from that man.

For Ian’s sake of course, not Mickey’s.

After stopping in the foyer and taking a few deep breaths, he returned to fill his tables water, the condensation sliding down the crystal glasses and momentarily staining the white tablecloth. Everyone at Ian’s table was laughing and talking animatedly, that kid Carl taking pieces of the mushroom and flicking it at the red-headed girl, laughing maniacally.

Mickey filled their glasses and left the table, feeling Ian’s eyes laser focused onto his retreating form. He returned to the kitchen and decided to focus on helping his boss get the main dishes ready, basically hip checking her out of the way to help plate most of them. She just huffed and left Mickey to his own devices. He just needed to do something with his hands before he wrapped them around that old fucks neck.

The first course was complete, Mickey heading back to the back yard with his platter filled with the main course. The sun was sitting much lower in the sky now, purples and pinks reflecting off the shimmering lake and illuminating the whole benefit in a gorgeous light. The band was playing softly now, a classical song with no lyrics to have everyone relaxed and comfortable while they ate.

As Mickey placed the main course down, he picked up the empty plates and stacked them neatly on his platter. He went around the tables in the same order he did the first time, leaving Ian and that old fuck for last and placed the dish in front of Carl first.

“The main course is a cajun seafood pasta, shrimp and scallops cooked in a white wine and cream sauce, served over fettucine and sprinkled with some parmesan cheese and a splash of lemon,” Mickey explained the dish, keeping his eyes resolutely focused on putting the food on the table.

When he made his way over to Ian’s side of the table he noticed that Grandpa’s hand was hidden under the table cloth, seemingly moving in circles over Ian’s thigh, Ian laughing sheepishly at something Grandpa whispered to him.

Mickey immediately saw red. This fucking guy was literally sitting at a table with his whole family and was feeling up his son’s fucking brother-in-law.

Mickey scowled and curled his hand into a fist by his side before reaching up for the next plate and immediately dropping the whole, steaming meal into Grandpa’s lap.

“Jesus Christ!” Grandpa yelled and pushed back away from the table, brushing the steaming pasta off his slacks, the hot sauce soaking into the fabric. Everyone in the vicinity had turned their nosey eyes to what was happening at table 13, some snickering behind their hands.

“I am so, so sorry sir,” Mickey said, the malice and hate he couldn’t keep hidden infecting his words, hoping he gave the fuckers Viagra filled dick some third degree burns.

Ian handed the man a napkin, glaring at Mickey for a moment and mouthing what the fuck . Mickey just shrugged, his tongue poking at the inside of his cheek. He placed Ian’s dish down in front of him and gathered up the remaining empty plates, which now included the empty pasta dish.

“Let me go get another one for you, sir,” Mickey said.

The guy grumbled and waved Mickey away dismissively, still wiping at the mess on his pants. Mickey couldn’t help smirking as he walked back to the kitchen, not even caring how unprofessional and childish he just was, it brought him a small ounce of joy.

He pushed into the kitchen, his boss in the process of cleaning everything up.

“Still got enough for one more dish? Just dropped one.”

His boss looked up exasperated and stopped wiping down the counter. “What the fuck did you do, Milkovich?”

Mickey held his hands up, a smirk playing across his lips. “Nothing Chef, just got slippery fingers," he waggled the offending hand at her like she would be able to see just how slippery they were.

She glared and pointed at the few dishes set aside for this exact reason. He brought it back out to the table, placing it down gently in front of Grandpa, who had pushed his chair back towards the table.

“My apologies again sir, I just feel so awful,” Mickey said, adopting his best apologetic tone. He walked away from the table feeling a sick sense of pride and vindication.

The rest of the benefit went by without incident, though it did take a few minutes for Mickey’s blood to stop boiling with hate. Once the haze of his rage dissipated he started thinking about how idiotic and childish he just behaved. In the heat of the moment he didn’t care about the consequences, but now it’s all he can think about. He just dumped hot food on the man who hired Casanova Catering for his event. How un-fucking-professional.

While he was in the kitchen helping clean and pack everything up into their vans, he couldn’t help thinking about how Ian was now affecting his work inside and outside the safety of that apartment.

And it wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all.

The next morning, Mickey woke up from a restless sleep and was absolutely dreading his appointment with Ian later that day.

There’s different types of rage and hate and until last night Mickey thought he had experienced all their forms in his short twenty six year old life. But he had never experienced the variety he felt last night. He knew what it was though, it was the ugly face of jealousy. Jealousy that was completely unfounded. He tried to justify his actions to himself by saying that Ian was uncomfortable by the old fucks advances, so in hindsight he was doing Ian a favor.

But in reality Ian didn’t look uncomfortable at all. Later that night, when dinner was successfully cleaned up and the benefit was winding down, he noticed Ian talking and laughing with the guy at the bar, standing a little too close together. Mickey scowled before climbing into the van to head home and curled his hand into a fist, his nails biting into the palm of his hand.

Mickey knew he had acted like a selfish brat, but for some reason the thought and sight of another man touching Ian suggestively like that made his stomach roll. It was ridiculous. Ian was free to do anything he pleased, there were no chains connecting the other man to Mickey besides some quick and intense sexual encounters.

And now he had to face him later in the day and he wasn’t prepared to explain why he did what he did because he wasn’t ready to share why Grandpa's actions had made him so mad.

He likes Ian. A lot. It’s something he has been actively trying to suppress and ignore, but his subconscious knew how he really felt and there was no avoiding that sometimes. He didn’t want Ian to know how much influence he actually had over him, certain that he would abuse the privilege of being close to Mickey like the few before him.

Today, he was going to lay down the guidelines that Ian would have to follow if he still wanted to continue. He was hoping that he wouldn’t scare the other man away, because there was definitely other more willing and open men than Mickey that Ian could easily find.

He was just hoping that Ian was interested just enough to not give up on him entirely.

Mickey got off a stop before the one he was supposed to and walked the rest of the way to Ian’s building. It gave him time to make sure his demeanor was calm and he could suck down four cigarettes before heading into the smoke free apartment.

Riding the elevator up to Ian’s floor, he kept moving the strap to his messenger bag around, scratching it against his neck and twisting it up in his hands. He was fucking nervous and it was infuriating. He needed to do something with his hands and since he wouldn’t have his knives unpacked for another few minutes.

Ian opened the door, dressed in his work out clothes, sweat dampening his light blue tank top. He smiled at Mickey and stood to the side allowing him into the apartment. Mickey walked over to the island and immediately started pulling his knives out, eager to get to work and ignore Ian as much as he could for the time being.

Ian walked over the fridge and pulled out a water bottle, chugging half it before saying anything to Mickey.

“Still got some of my workout to finish, but I’ll be out soonish.”

Mickey gave him a quick nod and went about sharpening his knives, hoping the sound would have Ian scurrying away from the room sooner. It worked.

Mickey stood alone in the kitchen, diligently going about preparing the food and trying to keep his mind focused on the task at hand and not drifting to the inevitable conversation that they are going to have. He cleaned the chicken first, making sure that all the skin was removed before cutting the wings and legs off, setting those aside to work on the breast. Cleaning the meat and produce always took him the longest, he was very thorough in making sure the products he was using were the best quality he could get.

Once the chicken was done, he started working on peeling the onions, hating how they made him tear up so badly. He blinked and sniffed, trying to stave off the tear build up caused by the damn vegetable.

Which of course would be the exact time that Ian decided to stroll out from the hallway, freshly showered and in a pair of sweatpants. It should be a crime that someone could look as good as Ian does in fucking sweatpants. Mickey wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, trying to get the tears out of his eyes before Ian could notice.

Ian slid into the stool, smiling at Mickey and asking him routine questions; how was the rest of your evening, what’s for dinner, how has your day been so far,  all questions that Mickey answered as briskly and short as possible, saving all his conversation stamina for later.

But of course, the normalcy wouldn’t last for long.

“It was a beautiful benefit last night, wasn’t it?” Ian asked.

Mickey nodded, sweeping the cut vegetables into a small bowl to save for later. “Oh, it was just gorgeous,” he said sarcastically.

“The food was phenomenal, so glad Ned chose to work with your company. You got some talented chef’s working there,” Ian smiled, the implication that he was referring to Mickey not going unnoticed.

Mickey could taste something bitter popping up in his mouth at the mention of that man, now having a name to put to his stupid fucking face. Ned, he fucking looked like a Ned. Mickey bit down on his bottom lip, eager to ask a question that's been burning in his throat since last night.

“You uh-you go home with anyone? You were looking pretty chummy with Grandpa before I left,” Mickey cringed, immediately hating himself for asking, but he selfishly needed an answer even if it would end up feeling like he got stabbed in the gut.

Ian smirked, his eyes darkening dangerously. “Why? Were you jealous, Mick?”

“Oh, fuck off,” Mickey scoffed and rolled his eyes.

Ian pushed himself up and away from the island, eyes laser locked onto Mickey the whole time. He came around the counter and moved towards Mickey like a fucking lioness stalking her prey. Ian walked Mickey backwards until his lower back hit the counter, a sharp pain shooting up his spine. Ian trailed his index finger around the collar of Mickey’s chefs jacket before lightly clutching it in his hand.

He brought his face closer to Mickey’s, his breath fanning across Mickey’s lips. “Is that why you dropped that dish? Did you want all of my attention, hmm?” he asked lowly.

Mickey tried not to breathe too heavily, but fuck the fire in Ian’s eyes was doing things to him. His eyes trailed over Ian’s face, lingering on his lips for a moment before he snapped them up to look back into that fiery green.

“Eat me,” Mickey said, his voice not coming out as malicious as he was hoping.

Ian smiled and licked his lips. “I would fucking love too.”

He pulled on the collar of Mickey’s jacket and yanked him up to meet him halfway into a biting and rough kiss. Mickey gasped but immediately put his hand on the back of Ian’s head making sure he wasn’t going anywhere.

Ian removed his hand from Mickey’s collar and placed both his palms flat on the counter, caging Mickey in completely and pushing his own body closer, Mickey’s other hand rising up to grab onto Ian’s hip.

They kissed passionately for several minutes until Ian pulled away and started licking at Mickey’s neck. Mickey whimpered at the loss of Ian’s lips against his own, but sighed when they eventually latched onto his neck.

Between licks and bites, Ian breathed against Mickey’s skin, “Tell me what you were gonna say last night.”

Mickey groaned, but it wasn’t in pleasure. He threw his head back in annoyance, accidentally giving Ian more room to roam.

“Right-right now?” Mickey asked.

Ian nipped at his skin and licked a stripe from the hollow of his throat to underneath his ear, where he sucked gently.

“Yes,” Ian mumbled out, his hot breath fanning across spit shined skin, making Mickey shiver.

Mickey removed his hand from the back of Ian’s head and put his index finger and thumb on Ian’s chin, easily guiding him back up to his mouth, hoping to distract Ian with his lips and not have this conversation right now. It worked momentarily, Ian eagerly licking into Mickey’s mouth and moving his lips sinfully slow against Mickey’s own.

Ian caught on soon, pulling back and glaring at Mickey playfully. Mickey grinned before poking his tongue out to lick at his lips.   

Ian cocked his eyebrow at Mickey, as to say oh, we’re playing it like that then ? He moved his hand from resting flat on the counter and snaked it under Mickey’s jacket and tank top, trailing it slowly up his chest. Ian leaned forward to resume the makeout session and kept moving his hand around Mickey’s chest and stomach, enjoying the soft give of his flesh and the goosebumps he felt prickling along the surface.

Mickey sighed against Ian’s lips, loving the rough hands moving over his skin more than he thought he would. He usually didn’t give people the opportunity to admire his body, it made him feel too exposed. But with Ian? He didn’t mind.

Ian swiped his thumb over Mickey’s nipple and smiled against the other man’s lips at the whine vibrating in his throat. He worked his thumb gently in a circle over the sensitive nub and gave it a quick, sharp pinch before trailing his hand back down Mickey’s abdomen, popping the button on his jeans and pulling the zipper down.

He wrapped his hand around Mickey’s semi-hard cock, pumping him tantalizingly slow, feeling him get harder and harder underneath his hand. Mickey mewled against Ian’s lips, squirming slightly at the sensation. Ian bit down softly on Mickey’s bottom lip and pulled on it a little before letting go.

“Tell me,” He whispered, staring straight into deep blue eyes and brushing his thumb over the slit of Mickey’s dick.  

Mickey’s fingers gripped harder onto Ian’s hip, his eyelids fluttering slightly. “I-Ian, come on.”

Ian stopped moving his hand and squeezed softly at the base of Mickey’s cock. He leaned in and kissed Mickey again quickly.

“Tell me,” he said again, huskily.
Mickey groaned in aggravation and pushed his hips against Ian’s hand, desperate for some movement. Ian lightly flexed his fingers around Mickey’s cock in warning.

“Fuck, fuck fine. I just-just wanted to apologize for being an asshole on Monday,” Mickey said, a little breathlessly.

Ian wasn’t satisfied. He knew that wasn’t the only thing that Mickey wanted to say to him last night, no one (not even Mickey) would get that anxious about fucking apologizing. Ian pumped his hand up Mickey’s cock slowly a few times, rewarding him for getting half of what he wanted to say off his chest, then stopped again and squeezed the base of his cock.

“What else?” Ian asked.

Mickey was breathing heavily and sweat prickled across his hairline. He knew this was a shakedown, Ian was literally pumping him for information and it was fucking wonderfully torturous. This wasn’t how he wanted to broach the subject. He wanted to talk about this casually, to not make a big deal out of it and just mention it when Ian was sitting there watching him cook. He knew Ian wasn’t going to let it go that easily and he desperately wanted him to pick up the pace of this jerk off session.

Mickey swallowed thickly and licked his lips before speaking, “I think we need-need to uh-talk about some f-fucking guidelines to what we’re doin’ here.”

Ian furrowed his brows and pulled on Mickey’s cock slowly. “What are we doing here, Mick?”

Ian thumbed at the tip of Mickey’s dick, moving some of the wetness he found there around the head of his cock, still pumping him agonizingly slow. Mickey whimpered and dug his nails into Ian’s hip, the slow build up and barely there pressure of Ian’s hand was leaving his head in a fog.

“That’s what we n-need to talk about,” Mickey slurred out.

Ian leaned forward and teasingly licked at Mickey’s neck. Mickey raised his hand to the back of Ian’s head again, scratching his nails through the short, soft hair there. Ian sucked lightly on that sensitive spot on Mickey’s neck and moved his hand a little faster over Mickey’s cock.

“Do you want me to get you off first?” Ian breathed against his neck.

Mickey thrust against Ian’s hand and gasped as Ian nipped lightly at his neck. “Y-yes.”

Ian hummed against Mickey’s skin and started pumping his hand at a much faster pace, squeezing just a hair tighter to apply the perfect amount of pressure. Mickey groaned loudly and threw his head back against the cabinets.

Part of Mickey was appalled that they were doing this in the kitchen, a million and one food safety reasons popping up in his head. But the other, larger part of him didn’t give a fuck, his brain clouding over with pleasure and want. He canted his hips towards Ian’s hand, seemingly not in control of his lower body.

Ian’s presence over Mickey was dominating and all consuming, everything in the background blurring out until Ian was the only thing that Mickey could see clearly. Ian abandoned Mickey’s neck and started kissing him fiercely, wasting no time in running his tongue against Mickey’s and picking up the pace of his hand.

Mickey groaned against Ian’s lips, feeling like he was suffocating from all the stimulation. Jesus, he’s never felt this way just from getting a hand job and it was terrifying and slightly erotic how much influence Ian had over him.

Ian pulled back from Mickey’s lips and stared into his eyes, twisting his wrist and getting Mickey to cry out softly.

“Do you like what we’re doing together, Mickey?” Ian asked, his voice coming out lusty as fuck. He massaged his thumb over the head of Mickey’s dick and Mickey could only gasp and thrust up against Ian’s hand some more, barely nodding his head at the question.

“Do you wanna keep doing stuff like this?” Ian whispered, his intense green eyes never wavering from Mickey’s face.

Mickey swallowed thickly and tried not to look to hesitant to answer that question. Because of fucking course he wanted to keep hooking up with Ian, all three of their encounters had already become the sexiest things that Mickey had ever experienced and he wasn’t eager to let them slip away so fast. But the intensity of their chemistry was slightly scary, Mickey had never felt like this before and it was making him anxious to not know where his emotions stood regarding the other man.

Was it just lust? Sexual attraction? Or was something much more terrifying starting to take root between them? 

Mickey bit down on his bottom lip, his eyelids fluttering and threatening to close. He nodded his head one more time before gasping and coming hard into Ian’s hand, his leg shaking slightly against the lower cabinet.

Ian groaned and kissed Mickey hard and quick, licking into his mouth before pulling back and nipping his bottom lip.

“Good, me too,” He mumbled against Mickey’s lips, pecking them one more time before pulling away completely.

Mickey slumped against the counter and fastened his pants before curling his fingers around the edges of the counter for support. Ian walked over to the sink and turned on the tap, washing his hands underneath the stream of water.

Mickey took a deep breath before pushing away from the counter, throwing a quick look at Ian’s back.

“I’m uh, gonna go to the bathroom real quick.”

Standing in the bathroom, Mickey cleaned himself quickly and then cupped his hands under the tap and splashed some cool water on his face. He stared at himself in the mirror, water streaming down his face and dripping off his chin, splashing into the white porcelain. He was mentally giving himself a little pep -talk because there was no way that he was getting away with avoiding this conversation now that Ian knew Mickey needed to talk about it.

He wiped his face off on a clean towel hanging off a hook next to the sink, expecting black smears to rub off on the white towel. Looking straight into his own eyes, he blinked a few times, his lips moving silently, pantomiming the speech that he has been writing in his head for a few days now.

Talking about his emotions didn't come easily for Mickey. Unless he was absolutely wasted, at which point speech flowed freely albeit a little slurred, he wasn't in the habit of talking about heavy subjects. He didn't grow up on a "your emotions are valid" type of house. He grew up learning to swallow your emotions even if you were choking on them. Never show you were capable of feeling anything other than anger or his father would absolutely tear you apart, using whatever he could to hold over your head and use against you. The only person he's ever been able to be open up to was Charles.

"You can do this," he mumbled to himself. He cracked his neck and shook out his arms before taking a deep breath and opening the bathroom door.

Walking back out into the kitchen, Ian was seated in his usual stool. He was sitting there scrolling through his phone nonchalantly like nothing happened. Mickey was somewhat jealous of this guy's relaxed composure, it's like nothing ever affected him, like water off a fucking ducks back. But if he cared to look a look closer and wasn't so wrapped up in his own head he would notice that Ian was anything but relaxed, his shoulders were tense and he was constantly chewing on his bottom lip.

Mickey walked behind the counter, going back to what he was doing before the hand job shakedown. He picked up his knife and with an unsteady hand started chopping up the pepper that he was working on before. Prepping food always calmed him down, so he wanted to get some work out of the way first before opening his mouth, hoping that he could gain a grasp on the tornado of things going through his head.

Ian didn't say anything, leaving the floor open for Mickey to bring up the subject whenever he was ready, but it didn't stop him from staring at him with imploring eyes.

Mickey could feel the heat of Ian's stare, it was making him hot around the collar and a little itchy in his own skin. He glanced up at him briefly, Ian throwing him a small reassuring smile. Mickey put his knife down on the cutting board, noticing his hands weren't shaking as bad as before. That was a good sign.

"Okay...okay," Mickey paused exhaling heavily, "fuck."

"It's okay, just talk to me," Ian said in a low voice.

Mickey glared. Ian didn't know how fucking hard this was for him. Just talk to me, like it was the easiest fucking thing in the world.  

"Not everybody just gets to blurt out how they fuckin' feel every minute," Mickey spit out, a little harshly.

Ian's eyes went wide, but he nodded his head in understanding. He didn't say anything else, not wanting to push Mickey and be shut him out completely.

Mickey took a deep breath to ground himself. "Okay, look, if we're gonna keep doing this," he gestured between himself and Ian with his hand, "there needs to be some fuckin' rules."

"Rules?" Ian said with a cock of his eyebrow.

"Yes, fuckin' rules. Christ man, you're my client. If this gets around I would get fired so fast and I can't lose this job."

Ian barely nodded his head. He stared down at the counter a little disappointed in where this conversation was heading. He knew Mickey wasn't about to fucking propose or anything like that, but he was maybe hoping that he would ask him out on an official date at least. He didn't know why he thought that would be an option, just from the short time he's known Mickey he could tell that he wasn't that type of guy. But fuck, he couldn't help but be optimistic where Mickey was concerned.

Mickey barreled on, afraid that if he stopped for a moment he wouldn't be able to continue. "So, if we're gonna do this, it needs to strictly stay between us. Nothing is to leave this apartment. No telling your fuckin' manager, no talking about it with your friends. People love to fuckin' run their mouths and the last thing I need is this shit getting around."

Ian bristled momentarily. He didn't want to be a dirty little secret, he's been there before and it wasn't something he was eager to repeat, it was honestly hell. He was a very loving person, he wanted to scream his devotion to someone from the top of the Sears Tower, but for some reason he kept falling for people who only wanted him to whisper about it in the dark.

But Mickey was scared, that was something Ian had picked up on immediately. He couldn't blame the guy, knowing families in the South Side he couldn't even imagine the hell that Mickey went through as a gay teenager. He just needed some time. And maybe, maybe when Mickey was no longer contracted to work for Ian their relationship could develop further. Ian was completely smitten with this man and he was sure that his desire to be near him wouldn't dissipate anytime soon.

Ian nodded his head again because really, he would take whatever Mickey was willing to give.

"Okay," Ian said.

Mickey's eyebrows went up his forehead a small amount, the relief was evident in those blue eyes like he was expecting Ian to put up a fight or throw in some stipulations of his own. "Okay?"

Ian smiled. "Yeah, okay."

Ian stood and moved around the counter in a move that mimed his actions from earlier. He crossed his arms and leaned against the counter next to Mickey.  “But I also have some rules.”

Mickey rolled his eyes, because of course he wasn’t going to get away with it that easily. “Name ‘em, tough guy.”

Ian smirked. “You’re gonna give me your phone number so I can text you when I want too, because I don’t know about you but talking to you only two times a week isn’t enough for me. Sorry." Ian paused for a moment, looking like he was contemplating something before he added on, "and you're gonna stay and eat dinner with me every Monday and Thursday."

Mickey scoffed, not really wanting to give Ian his number. He didn't mind the dinner part, if the other man was gonna put up with Mickey’s rules it was the least he could do. “Fuckin’ fine, but don’t blow up my phone.”

Mickey raised his eyebrows when Ian stood there silently staring for a few seconds, a fond smile on his face. Mickey scratched his eyebrow with his thumb. “That it, Freckles?”
“Yeah, that’s it,” Ian said, before crashing his lips against Mickey’s

It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it was good enough. For now.

Chapter Text

Mickey really didn’t want this to become a thing. He tried really fucking hard, too.

But Ian Gallagher was like a fucking parasite. He worked extremely hard to pierce through your skin and worm his way into your body, attach himself to the lining of one of your vital organs and then proceed to suck the life out of you. He was insidious like that, infecting someone and draining them slowly, so slowly that the host didn’t notice anything was wrong until they were on their deathbed.

It started out with a few texts here and there, texts that Mickey refused to respond to based on principle (though he definitely reread them multiple times a day). They were simple at first, fucking good morning texts like he predicted he would receive before Ian even had his number, quick texts telling Mickey how good his lunch was that day, short complaints about being stuck in traffic or sitting next to someone with extremely rank BO.

They weren’t earth shattering and they weren’t conversations that Mickey contributed to whatsoever. If Ian was peeved by the lack of response from Mickey you couldn’t tell, and he never mentioned it when they were together. He continued to text him every day, plowing on without encouragement, seemingly content to throw snippets of himself out into the void without validation.

Mickey responded eventually, he fucking had too. After a month of almost radio silence on his end it was only a matter of time before he responded.

Ian had sent him a picture of the lunch that Mickey had prepared for him earlier in the week with the caption “what the fuck is this?” with approximately eighteen question marks. Mickey had slipped some broccoli into Ian’s lunches, hoping the redhead wouldn’t notice until after he finished the meal.

It made Mickey laugh so hard his stomach hurt. He could just fucking hear Ian’s incredulous voice through text message, could see the stubborn set of his brow and the crinkling around his eyes from how hard he was scowling at the tiny tasty trees Mickey meticulously placed into his meals.

He wiped his eyes with his thumb and shot back a quick “did u die?” to which Ian responded with a few middle finger emoji’s. Mickey chalked that up to a win in his column.

But now that Ian knew Mickey wasn’t completely illiterate when it came to using his phone, he figured he had to text him back every so often to not come off ruder than usual. As far as he could tell, Ian had kept up his side of the bargain and hadn’t told anyone about their arrangement, he still had his job after all, so he could indulge the other man by texting back occasionally.

It was usually never anything of substance and it came off pretty rude anyway; like the day Ian sent a picture from his early morning jog, his face the main focus of the photo, a huge smile plastered on his face with beads of sweat dripping down his chin, the sunrise bright in the background. Mickey had smiled softly to himself (and definitely did not save the picture, fuck you) and stared at the photo for a few minutes before sending back “woulda been better w/o ur ugly mug

He’s hoping Ian took it for what it really was and could look passed Mickey’s crass insults to see the affection delicately laced underneath.

It wasn’t long after that until the sexts started rolling in and Mickey was shocked it took Ian this long to send a salacious message. The first one was as innocent as a sext could be, Ian sending out a simple “I’m horny :(

Mickey nearly choked on the water he was sipping when he read that, his neck instantly flushing hot pink. He was on his commute home from a catering job, trapped on a packed train with a mother holding a wailing child on one side and an obese man trying to fall asleep on his shoulder on the other. He whipped his head around quickly, checking to make sure no one could see this conversation somehow, like a giant neon sign had materialized above his head, flashing the word “SEXTING” brightly with an arrow pointing at him to broadcast his shame to the entire train.

Now, Mickey wasn’t new to sexting but he certainly wasn’t good at it and it wasn’t something he actively participated in. Get him in the bedroom and he’s not shy or reserved at all, demanding what he wanted without shame. Sexting though...sexting was a whole different skill that he couldn’t master. Mickey was always good with speaking through his actions rather than using words, able to convey everything with his body and tongue. Words didn’t come as easily as actions did, and sexting was all about words.

He tried to avoid sexting, and the few people that tried to get him interested usually gave up within the first few texts. He was just too awkward and shy through the phone, not really knowing how to carry on the conversation and lost on how to come across as sexy through jumbled letters on a screen.

Dirty talking wasn’t a foreign concept. When he was in the bedroom and face to face with the other person sometimes words and thoughts flowed freely, no time to feel embarrassed and wondering if what he said was good enough because when your pants are off and there are strong hands pushing against your skin there’s no time to be nervous. But with sexting you had to sit there and think about it and stress over that short little sentence.

But just because he wasn’t good at it didn’t mean he didn’t enjoy it. If it was a one-sided activity he would be eager to receive those suggestive sentences and paint a picture for himself in his own mind without having to contribute. Sexting is basically just a book of fictitious porn in the palm of your hand, fictitious porn that revolves around you and your partner. The only difference was this work of fiction had potential to become reality.

So yeah, sexting got Mickey a little hot and bothered, he just wished he could sit back and enjoy it without having to put his two cents in.

He checked the train one last time before he turned the brightness down and held the phone as close to his body as he could so if anyone decided to be nosy they’d be shit out of luck. His thumbs floated above the screen for a moment, frozen in thought while he contemplated his response.

As he started typing, the baby next to him burped and spit up all over his mother’s shirt, the spoiled milk smell floating into Mickey’s nose and making him scowl in distaste. This was absolutely not the ideal place to do this with Ian, especially not for the first time. What the fuck was he expecting, to walk off the train with a huge boner, poking people in the legs as he moved towards the doors?

No, fucking no. He shook his head and sent back a quick “fuck u tellin me for firecrotch?” before shutting his phone off completely and shoving it in his messenger bag. He would deal with whatever the redhead said when he was in the safety of his own apartment.

Twenty minutes later he was sticking his key into the multiple locks on his door, the top one getting jammed. He shouldered the door open roughly, swinging into his apartment with more flair than usual. He threw his bag on the counter, knocking off a few envelopes in the process and not giving a fuck when one floated underneath the stove.

He pulled his phone from his bag, fumbling a little when turning it back on, almost dropping it onto the countertop. He huffed impatiently while his old as fuck phone booted up, the white apple on the black screen taunting him.

Once the familiar lock screen popped up, a cliche picture of one of Mickey’s knives on a cutting board, the phone buzzed incessantly with texts from Ian.

“I was hoping you would be able to help me out. :(“

“I’m so fucking hard it huuuurts.”

“See? :(“

That text was followed by a picture. Ian was laying down in his bed, the picture taken up near his face to perfectly showcase the fucking mountain range known as his abs that led down to his dick tenting the front of his grey sweatpants. Jesus fuck.

The last and final text was sent about two minutes before he turned his phone on. It was another picture, pretty much the same one as before except Ian had his hand shoved down his pants with the caption “thinking of you ;)

Mickey’s cock twitched a little in his pants. Ian was so fucking sexy and managed to turn him on with just two goddamn pictures. This fucker was lethal. He propped his elbows up on the counter, holding his phone in front of him and hunching over, his butt jutting out a little bit.

He thought of texting something suggestive back, thinking for a few seconds about what he would say. He huffed out a defeated breath and just said “fuckin tease.”

He put his phone down on the counter and ran his hands through his hair, the one stubborn piece falling into his eyes. He stared at the open thread, watching those taunting little dots indicate Ian was typing something back.

Come over.”

Mickey huffed, a little disgruntled but charmed at the same time. How Ian managed to constantly provoke two completely different emotions at the same time will continue to confound him.

not our scheduled day shithead.”

For weeks Ian has been trying to get Mickey to come over on days when he wasn’t scheduled or getting paid to be there. Of course he would get paid in...other ways, but he just wasn’t ready for that. Only being with Ian on Monday’s and Thursday’s made their interactions seem less personal somehow, even with his hand shoved down Ian’s pants and his mouth covering his own. It wasn’t professional by any means, but it was a way to distance himself from Ian the only way he knew how and to keep that barely standing wall between them in place.

Ian has managed to demolish most of Mickey’s walls with ease, getting him to laugh and joke around and fucking talk without tripping over his words. It was kind of scary how fast he had opened himself up to the other man and he was desperately trying to cling onto that last remaining barrier with white knuckles.

“So?? It would be worth it. ;) I’d suck you off so good, Mick, take your whole fucking cock into my mouth and not stop until you were shooting down my throat. You taste so good. I can’t get enough.”

“Fuck.” Mickey breathed out. He was definitely tempted to go over, but he was not a fucking booty call and going over now would most likely add more fuel to Ian’s ever burning fire.

Mickey’s dick was certainly interested, straining a little against his jeans. He moved one hand off the counter and pushed down on the front of his jeans lightly, trying to alleviate some of the pressure building in his dick. He sighed at the contact, his eyes slipping closed and picturing Ian on his knees in front of him, lips wrapped around his dick, those fiery green eyes gazing up at him through dark red eyelashes.


His phone vibrated again on the counter, the screen lighting up with yet another picture from Ian. Mickey tapped on it and groaned when the image became fullscreen. A similar shot as before, except now the sweatpants were pushed down Ian’s thighs and his dick was fully in the frame, his hand wrapped around the base.

“Come over, please. ;)”

Mickey pressed harder on the outside of his jeans, hissing through his teeth. He was painfully turned on right now, but there was no way he was trekking it across the city to get a quick blow job, no way. He rubbed his crotch roughly a few times before pulling his hand back and shooting off another message, “fuck u not gonna happen firecrotch.

Mickey’s stubbornness always came back to bite him in the ass, and not in a good way. In the month and a half they’ve been hooking up he has grown accustomed to Ian and his body has begun to crave the fucker, much to his chagrin. His dick knew what Ian’s lips and calloused hands felt like, it was intoxicating and addicting. His brain tried to keep his primal side under control, but sometimes libido stomped on rationale with steel toed boots. Remaining unmoved on this one facet of their budding relationship would be the only thing to save Mickey from succumbing to the riptide known as Ian Gallagher. He had to keep their interactions some-what clinical and scheduled, no fucking going off course.

Hard to get is getting me hard, Milkovich.

Mickey rolled his eyes and replied quickly with a sarcastic “ur already hard dickbreath” before leaving his phone on the counter and walking into his bathroom. Hopefully a cold shower and a quick jerk off session would remind his dick that it didn’t need Ian to have a good time.

Sadly...Mickey’s brain was starting to crave the other man too since the only images it supplied for wanking material involved red hair and gangly limbs.

Ian sighed and came into his hand, frustrated and not feeling very fulfilled. It was a mediocre orgasm at best. Mickey wasn’t a sexter apparently, which was a damn shame. Ian had heard some filthy things fall out of Mickey’s mouth in the throws of passion and it’s a disappointment to know that it didn’t transfer well over the phone.

They haven’t fucked yet and to be honest it had Ian a little on edge. Not that he’s complaining about their set up, because their encounters have been some of the sexiest one’s Ian’s had the pleasure to be involved in and he’s learning Mickey's body in a different way. He just desperately wanted to have Mickey underneath him, to be inside him, to lick every inch of his skin and mark his body so everyone knew to leave Mickey the fuck alone. But there was really no bad way to have Mickey, and Ian would take whatever he could get.

He’s never yearned for another person like this before and it’s pretty terrifying knowing that Mickey affected his mind and body this way. He fucking knew as soon as he slept with Mickey he would be in over his head, so the slow progression wasn’t all that bad.

But he wanted more, he needed more. Blow jobs and hand jobs were great interludes when you were getting laid on the regular, but nothing compared to the connection you had with someone during sex and he knew that connection with Mickey would be different than anyone else and he would instantly be addicted. He knew Mickey wasn’t ready for that intensity, so he would wait as long as he had to until Mickey was ready.

Ian’s been lucky enough to sneak a peek at the real Mickey, the Mickey that he keeps hidden under that prickly personality and “fuck the world” disposition and he’s become more enamored with the guy than he was to begin with. Mickey was sweet. Mickey was caring and funny and fucking smart. He was strong and driven and fucking stubborn as all hell and all these things coalesced into the most beautiful picture that Ian could stare at for years if he was given the chance.

But he can’t stop thinking that maybe Mickey doesn’t feel as strongly as he does. He’s tried to get the other man to come over during their off days with the promise of free beer and an orgasm, but Mickey had always firmly said no. The thought that the only thing that’s keeping Mickey interested in him is the thrill of feeling like this was wrong constantly flowed through Ian's head. The idea that besides the convenience of it all, Mickey only agreed to continue hooking up because illicit situations got him hard or some shit.

It’s a fucked up headspace to be in, thinking the other person only wanted you to be their dirty little secret, that you’re not worth more than that. Ian’s been in this situation before but it feels different now. He didn’t really care about those other people like this and he certainly didn’t mind being a hidden part of their life.

But with Mickey...he wanted Mickey in every way you could have someone. It was more than sexual. He wanted to wake up to him in the mornings, disgusting morning breath and all. He wanted to make the other man breakfast while Mickey guided him from the sidelines. He wanted to fucking hold his hand when they were watching a movie and take care of him when he got sick. He wanted to build a fucking life with the other man and it was devastating thinking that the only person he’s ever envisioned this way might only be interested in his body.

He knows his self deprecating thoughts were rarely rational, but when your whole life and career were built on people who were only interested in you physically it’s hard to turn off that destructive thinking when it came to personal relationships.

Ian sighed heavily and punched the mattress, mad at himself for spiraling like this. Mickey didn’t want to come over when he wasn’t supposed to, that was normal. Mickey was easily spooked, a tad bit paranoid and he took his career very seriously. If someone, anyone, were to see Mickey here when he wasn’t supposed to be it would have people asking questions. Just because Mickey was being cautious didn’t mean he didn’t feel that spark between them too.

Ian was just holding out hope that the spark would still be there in a few months, when Mickey wasn’t contracted to be his personal chef anymore and the thrill of getting caught wasn’t hanging over their heads. Maybe then he would be able to have Mickey the way he craved.

The sun was blazing today and for a city nicknamed the Windy City there wasn’t much wind blowing to grant a reprieve from the heat, even if the name did come from politics and not weather patterns. The sun rays were pounding down onto the pavement making sure that the street ahead looked slightly blurred from the heat waves.

Mickey was fucking sweating, it wasn’t a long walk from the train to Ian’s, but sitting on the packed train wearing jeans and his heavy as fuck chef’s jacket had him feeling a little riper than normal. He was just hoping his deodorant held up so he didn’t walk up to Ian’s place smelling like a fucking donkey.

Walking into the foyer of Ian’s building was like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert. The air was cold and crisp, cooling his sweaty skin slowly and causing goosebumps to flare up momentarily. He walked over to the elevator but didn’t hit the button to go up to the thirteenth floor quiet yet. He wanted to take a few extra minutes to cool down, to make sure his face wasn’t dripping with sweat and that his skin wasn’t beat red like the sun personally smacked him in the face.

Once he was moderately cool he made his way up the the thirteenth floor, banging on Ian’s door a little too aggressively. He could probably just walk in at this point, but the small bug in his ear was constantly reminding him to be professional, so for now he would continue to knock and wait to be invited inside.

Ian opened the door a few moments later, a small, barely there smile creeping across his face. It wasn’t his usual smile though, it looked a little strained and like it hurt  just to pull his lips across his face.

Mickey frowned, but moved into the apartment regardless and swung his bag and knife kit onto the counter, inconspicuously smelling his armpits to make sure they weren’t completely rancid.

“You okay man? Look a little blue.” Mickey asked.

Ian slid into his stool at the counter, exhaling heavily before responding, “I’m fine, just fucking...worn out and I am really, really craving some comfort food right now but I fucking can’t because of this stupid, shitty diet.”

Mickey smiled a little at Ian’s whiney tone, like a child that got his favorite toy taken from him. He unbuttoned the first button of his chef’s jacket, the fabric scratching against his hot and sticky skin, he desperately wanted to take the heavy thing off completely.

“I think you fuckin’ deserve a cheat day.” Mickey said somewhat quietly.

Ian looked up from where he was staring at the counter, his eyes catching on the small area of Mickey’s exposed chest briefly before snapping up to meet Mickey’s own eyes.

He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, squeezing the muscle softly. “I-I don’t know. I’m doing really well and I don’t want to fuck it up for once.”

Mickey scoffed and rolled his eyes. “It’s one fuckin’ meal, you ain’t gonna gain eighty pounds from one goddamn meal. You’ve been working hard, you fuckin’ deserve it.”

He smiled softly at Ian, trying to encourage him and reassure him that one starchy, fatty, cheesy meal wouldn’t ruin his months of hard work. Mickey knew the healing powers of a good dinner and how it could drag a person out of a funky mood. Sometimes you just needed something that reminded you of home and nothing made someone feel better than their comfort food.

Mickey placed his palms flat on the counter and leaned down so he was eye level with Ian on the other side of the counter. “So what will it be, Firecrotch? What are ya cravin’?”

Ian perked up like a puppy, straightening his back and his eyes sparkling brightly, practically vibrating in his seat. It was like getting the approval from Mickey was the only thing he needed.

“Pasta!” he basically yelled, “Oh! Alfredo! I fucking love alfredo sauce. With chicken! Yeah, yeah with chicken. And, and maybe some garlic bread? I miss carbs.”

Mickey laughed at how eager and childlike Ian instantly became, extremely amused that the other man was getting this excited over the prospect of chicken alfredo, of all things. He moved around the kitchen, checking the required cabinets to make sure they had everything stocked that was required to make Ian’s requested dish.

With his head still jammed into the fridge, Mickey mumbled, “You’re in luck, loser. We got everything here so I can make your goddamned pasta.”

Ian clapped twice in excitement, the dark mood that he was in minutes earlier instantly disappearing. He stood up from the chair abruptly, almost knocking it over in his haste.

“Okay! Alright, this is amazing, you’re amazing! I’m gonna go work out a little bit more just so I feel better about this and I’ll be back.” Ian said with a smile, walking backwards down the hallway. Mickey just chuckled and waved him off.

“I’m putting fuckin’ broccoli in there, just so you know. And you’re gonna fuckin’ eat it!” Mickey yelled, hoping Ian heard him from down the hallway. The loud groan he heard muffled by the thick wall was confirmation enough.

Mickey started setting up his station, pulling out the two knives he used the most and sharpening them quickly. The sun creeping into the large high rise windows was making the apartment feel like a hotbox and Mickey groaned at his inability to escape the heat even inside. Ian obviously had central air conditioning but probably avoided using it so he could sweat more, the freak. Mickey unbuttoned his chef’s jacket, taking it off completely and draping it along the back of one of the stools, leaving him in just his usual black tank top. He instantly felt ten times better, able to move around without feeling like he was going to die of heat stroke. He hated that fucking jacket.

Mickey has become so used to prepping the weekly meals that he has been able to cut his time in half. Since the meals usually don’t change much week to week, he’s got the procedures down to a perfect science. If this was any other personal chef gig he would be dragging it out, making sure he spent the whole time he was scheduled in the kitchen, milking the client for all the hours he spent there. But the extra time down time with Ian wasn't something he was about to complain about, some days he was hellbent on finishing early to just relax with the redhead.

He was just about finished with the meal prep an hour and a half later when Ian came back out into the kitchen from his workout, freshly showered and his damp red hair matted down against his forehead.

Mickey gazed up from where he was dicing up a green pepper and smiled delicately. Fuck, he’s turning into a softy with all this smiling and being nice shit.

Ian smiled back and walked up to stand beside Mickey, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the counter. Mickey continued cutting the pepper, fast and accurate, the sounds of his knife hitting the wood board like music to his ears. He pretended not to notice how Ian’s eyes swept up and down his body, lingering on his upper arms. Shit, he should’ve put the chef’s coat back on.

“Jesus, I’m always afraid you’re gonna cut your fucking finger off.” Ian sighed.

Mickey furrowed his brows slightly, remembering back to that day where he cut his finger while he was distracted by this shithead and how embarrassed he felt afterwards. That day was a fluke, Mickey hadn’t cut himself like that in years.

“Nah man, I’m usually pretty good with this shit. Accidents happen though, just gotta be careful," he said with a shrug.

Ian nodded his head, still watching Mickey slice and dice the pepper perfectly.

“Can you show me?”

Mickey stopped cutting and turned to look at Ian. “Show to cut a pepper?”

Ian shrugged, “Yeah, why not?”

“You could fucking hurt yourself for one, my knives are no joke.” Mickey said vehemently, cringing internally at the thought of Ian injuring himself at all, let alone with one of his knives. 

“I’m a big boy, Mick, I’ll be fine. You just gotta guide me.” Ian said, his eyes locking onto Mickey’s.

Mickey sighed and placed the knife down gently onto the cutting board. He threw his hands up, eyebrows creeping up his forehead as he backed away from the counter. "Be my guest, Princess.”

Ian grinned and slid into the spot previously occupied by Mickey. Ian picked up the knife, trying different grips that felt the most comfortable in his giant hands. Mickey watched over his shoulder from a distance, cringing as Ian completely butchered the cuts on the pepper, making completely inconsistent sizes and shapes, ruining a perfectly good product.

Mickey smirked, an idea popping into his head. He moved to stand behind Ian, one hand resting on his hip while the other gripped lightly onto Ian's wrist. He guided his wrist in the air a few times, trying to demonstrate the proper rocking motion required to cut things quickly and precisely.

"Do it like this." Mickey said.

This probably wasn’t the best way to teach someone how to hold and use a knife; Mickey’s warm breath was fanning over the back of Ian’s neck and that hand felt like it was scorching a mark into Ian's skin.  Mickey was a dangerous distraction at any given time, let alone when Ian was holding a knife. He tried to focus though, not to keen on losing a finger but fuck Mickey was so solid behind him it was making things go a little blurry around the edges.

Mickey let go of his wrist, that hand moving to grab onto Ian’s other hip before whispering “your turn.”

Ian had to suppress the shudder he felt rippling through his body, that little fucker knew exactly what he was doing. He grabbed a new bell pepper and cut off one of the sides, avoiding the seeds, and placed it skin side down. He took the knife and brought it down gently, not raising his knife from the cutting board but rocking it like Mickey had showed him. He cut that one piece perfectly, despite the smoldering distraction behind him, and worked on the next side. He worked silently for a minute or two, Mickey’s chest pressed against him feeling like it was burning a hole into his back. He focused intently on his knife work, his sizes and speed not looking to bad.

Mickey moved forward a little more, pressing impossibly closer and grinding his crotch barely into Ian’s ass. Ian bit his lip and slowed down his movements. Mickey leaned forward and lightly kissed the nape of Ian’s neck and left a dusting of barely there kisses up to his ear. He exhaled beautifully before adopting the lustiest voice he had in his arsenal and whispered, “Yeah, just like that.”

Ian almost cut off the tip of his finger with how fast he dropped the knife onto the cutting board, the steel hitting the wood with a clatter. He whipped around and grabbed Mickey’s face, his fingers curling into his hair, probably getting some pepper juice in the dark strands. He pulled Mickey up to kiss him deeply, moving the other man backwards until he was pressed against the counter. Mickey laughed against Ian’s lips before eagerly returning the kiss, his hands gripping a little tighter onto Ian’s hips and pulling him closer. Ian groaned from the contact and pressed his lips firmly against Mickey’s, running his tongue along his top lip.

Mickey slowly rolled his hips against Ian’s, greedily accepting his invitation and exhaling softly when Ian slipped his tongue into his mouth.

It was delicate and so deliciously sweet, their tongues sliding against each other as Mickey slowly ground their crotches together. Ian ran his hand through Mickey’s hair before settling on the back of his neck, pulling him deeper into the kiss, sighing in contentment against his lips. They stood like that for a few minutes, soft noises and barely there moans reverberating around the kitchen.

Ian barely detached his lips from Mickey’s, moving back just enough to get some air into his lungs, their lips brushing together with each deep inhale. He stared at Mickey for a moment before he trailed his lips over Mickey’s skin, nibbling on his jaw before moving down to his neck, sucking lightly on the protruding tendon. Mickey leaned his head back a bit, giving Ian more room to roam.

Ian’s hands moved all over Mickey’s body, down his ribs, across his hips, before firmly settling onto his ass, squeezing the muscles and pulling slightly. Mickey gasped at the stretch and thrust forward against Ian. Ian chuckled into his neck, licking a path from the hollow of his throat back to that tendon and biting softly, soothing it with his tongue.

The hands that Mickey had on Ian’s hips were now trying to force the tight shirt Ian wore up his torso, desperate to feel the hard planes of his back and hungry to grip onto the pronounced muscles. He shoved the shirt halfway up Ian’s chest, trailing his hands over the sharp cut of his hip and up his back, gripping onto his shoulders and groaning at the feel of hard muscle beneath his fingertips.

Ian was working overtime on Mickey’s neck, the soft whimpers and harsh exhales of breath encouraging him and he was definitely leaving multiple marks on the expanse of flesh. They were firmly pressed against each other, chest to chest, crotch to crotch, Mickey effectively keeping Ian locked against him with the strong grip on his shoulders. Ian started slowly rotating his hips, grinding together strongly while pulling Mickey against him, hands still cupping his ass.

Mickey sighed and loosened his grip on Ian’s shoulders and started incessantly pulling on the fabric of Ian’s cotton shirt. He yanked hard before he practically whined, “get this the fuck off.”

Ian huffed a laugh against his neck, biting softly before pulling away. They locked eyes and Ian held back the whimper trying to slip through his lips from the look on Mickey’s face. He looked totally blissed out, cheeks flushed and the gorgeous blue of his eyes barely visible around the pupil. His neck was also so totally fucked, Ian noted with pride.

Ian dove back in for another kiss, immediately sloppy and heated. He squeezed Mickey’s ass once more before moving his hands to his hips, using the position to guide him through the apartment, bumping against the island with a grunt and frantically moving down the hallway, lips locked the entire time.

Ian pushed Mickey into his bedroom door which caused it to swing open with a bang. Ian walked him closer to the bed before pushing him back onto the mattress roughly. He reached down to the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head quickly. Mickey moaned and quickly reached out to run his hands over Ian’s abs.

“Christ, it’s like you’re cut from marble.”

Ian smirked and lightly trailed his fingers down his abs until he tangled his fingers up with Mickeys. He squeezed the brunette's hand and said, “Move up. And take your fuckin’ pants off”

Mickey kicked off his shoes and quickly complied, pulling down his jeans and scooting up the bed to lay on the pillows (which were softer than fucking clouds, he noticed). Ian straddled Mickey’s shins and teasingly danced his fingers over the milky flesh of Mickey’s thighs, softly moving from the top of his knee to the bottom of his boxers. Fuck, he had some strong thighs, he could probably ride dick like a pro.

Mickey shivered from the contact, the light grazes of Ian’s fingers raising goosebumps on his skin and making the skin feel like it was burning. Ian moved his hands up, avoiding Mickey’s cock straining against his boxers, and worked on Mickey’s shirt, slowly pushing the black fabric up and exposing a small line of Mickey’s stomach. Ian leaned down so he was awkwardly crouched over him and kissed the skin he exposed, sucking lightly on a small spot on Mickey’s hip.

Mickey mewled lowly and ran his fingers through Ian’s hair, scratching softly at the scalp. Ian pushed Mickey’s shirt up more, licking at every new inch that was exposed, absolutely drunk on the taste of the other man’s skin which was somewhat salty but with an unmistakable uniquely Mickey taste.

Ian lavished attention to Mickey’s midsection for a few minutes, leaving small hickeys and bite marks scattered across his torso. Eventually Ian sat up and straightened his back, pushing on Mickey’s shirt and silently urging him to pull the garment off completely.

Mickey pulled the shirt off without moving too much, throwing the fabric somewhere on the side of the bed. Ian groaned and leaned down to kiss Mickey passionately, wasting no time in stretching his body out fully and slotting his leg between Mickey’s open ones, his thigh rubbing against Mickey’s covered cock.

Mickey moaned at the contact of their bare chests and softly thrust up against Ian, greedily sucking on his top lip. Ian’s hands were skimming down Mickey’s sides, lightly scratching, almost tickling him. Ian lifted his hips to get some room between them and rubbed over the bulge in Mickey’s boxers. Mickey detached his lips from Ian’s, throwing his head back against the pillow and gasping out a breathy “fuck yes.”

Ian took Mickey’s exposed neck as an invitation, making a few more marks pop up on the surface before trailing his lips lower and nipping the collarbone quickly before he continued to move south. He wrapped his lips delicately around Mickey’s nipple, sucking on it lightly.

Mickey gasped and grasped onto Ian’s hair again, the other hand scrabbling at his back. Ian kept a firm pressure on Mickey’s cock, rubbing a little quicker now and alternating between sucking, biting and licking Mickey’s nipple.

He focused on the nipples for a few minutes, stimulating the sensitive nubs while still rubbing Mickey’s dick, practically drowning in the soft whimpers and gasps coming out of Mickey’s mouth. Ian licked from the center of Mickey’s chest up to his neck again, focusing on the other side which was looking far to bare. He slipped his hand under Mickey’s boxers, finally grasping onto his cock and teasingly running his hand up and down Mickey’s shaft.

“Can I fuck you?” Ian rasped against Mickey’s ear, thrusting down against him softly, “Please? I want to fuck you,” he licked down Mickey’s neck again, “I need to fuck you.”

Mickey groaned fucking loud and grabbed Ian’s face, pulling him up to his lips. They kissed feverishly, briefly, before he pulled away.

Mickey stared deeply into Ian’s eyes, his hands still framing his face, taking in all the details of the gorgeous man’s features; the freckles lightly scattered fucking everywhere, his sharp as fuck but slightly crooked jawline, the way his pupils were so blown out they nearly drowned out that fiery green, the small barely visible scar underneath his bottom lip.

Mickey swears he stopped breathing, but he had enough breath in him to answer Ian's question, “Yeah, yeah you can.” 

Ian moaned and leaned in again, kissing Mickey quick and harsh, pulling on his bottom lip with his teeth while he pulled away and sat back on his heels. He wrapped his hands around the waistband of Mickey’s boxers, pulling them down his legs and throwing them carelessly in the room somewhere.

Ian stood from the bed and unbuttoned his pants, hastily pulling down his jeans and boxers in one motion. He stood there, admiring Mickey’s body for a moment, drinking in the sight of seeing him fully exposed for the first time. He may not have been as noticeably muscular as Ian, but he was far from scrawny, his muscles beautifully defined under his soft skin that was flushed pink and littered with light bruises and bite marks and a handful of old scars. Ian shook himself out of his Mickey induced haze and moved over to the nightstand, throwing lube and a condom on the mattress before crawling back over Mickey’s body, capturing his lips again.

Mickey mewled at the slide of Ian’s cock against his own, he could cry from feeling Ian pressed firmly against him with no clothing barrier, absolutely nothing separating them at this moment. The kiss was messy and desperate, Mickey huffing out breathes through his nose with each downward thrust from Ian. He scratched his nails down Ian’s back, landing on his ass and squeezing hard before pulling him forward.

“Hurry up, c’mon.” Mickey pleaded against Ian’s lips, apparently just as desperate as Ian. Hopefully he was craving the same intimacy as Ian instead of just chasing an orgasm.

Ian chuckled and reached down to wrap both their cocks in his large hand, stroking slowly a few times, the dry friction stinging slightly but still managing to feel good.

“Hurry up with what?” Ian asked teasingly.

Mickey growled and squeezed Ian’s ass, jerking him against his body again, “Hurry up and fuckin’ fuck me.”

Ian leaned down and nipped on Mickey’s lip before he released their cocks and arranged their bodies until he was on his knees between Mickey’s spread legs. He inched as close as he could get before he reached down and grabbed onto Mickey’s thigh, urging him to wrap his leg around his back. Mickey eagerly complied and reached up towards the top of the mattress, grabbing the bottle of lube and basically throwing it at Ian’s head.

Ian laughed again and snatched the tube flying at his head, popping the cap to drizzle a decent amount over his fingers. He reached his hand down, teasing Mickey’s hole briefly before slowly pushing his finger inside. Mickey breathed out another “fuck yes” that almost didn’t make it to Ian’s ears and pushed his head harder into the pillow. Ian pushed his finger in until the muscle squeezed around the knuckle. As slowly as he had pushed the finger in, he pulled it back out until it completely slipped from his hole, teasing Mickey by constantly entering and exiting his body.

He leaned down and started sucking on Mickey’s neck again, obsessed with bruising him as much as possible, the red marks standing out starkly against his pale skin. Ian kept up the slow and devilish teasing for a few minutes, until Mickey was properly wriggling underneath him and whispering “please” every few seconds. Ian relented and pushed in another finger, speeding up a little bit, scissoring and circling and making sure Mickey was properly stretched.

It wasn’t his fault he was going so slow, Mickey just looked and sounded so fucking good. Sweat was glistening off his chest already, his lips were deliciously swollen and bitten pink, his cock was leaking and a deep red color at the tip, his back arching off the bed occasionally after Ian slowly thrust his fingers inside, his leg tensing against Ian’s back. He was fucking beautiful and Ian was wrapped up in watching him slowly unravel under his fingers. He couldn’t stop staring.

Ian snapped a few minutes later, his cock growing impatient at the lack of attention and aching with arousal. He slid his fingers from Mickey, causing the other man’s breath to stutter, and ripped the condom wrapper open with his teeth. He rolled it down his shaft, stroking it a few times to get the extra lube from his fingers onto the condom.

Ian lifted up Mickey’s other leg that he had resting beside them on the mattress and hooked his arm behind Mickey's knee, pressing his hand down onto the mattress next to Mickey’s head, leaving him in a completely vulnerable and deliciously open position.

Ian grabbed onto the base of his dick and brought it towards Mickey’s ass, rubbing the tip against his entrance a few times before slowly, slowly pushing forward, breaching the rim. Mickey whimpered and clawed at Ian’s back with one hand, definitely leaving angry red marks on his shoulders, as the fingers of his other hand gripped onto the bed sheet. Ian pushed forward more, watching his cock get swallowed by Mickey's ass inch by inch until he was completely flush against the other man.

Ian paused, letting his cock just sit heavy and hot inside of Mickey for a minute while he leaned down to kiss him again, sweetly. The hand that Mickey had scratching down Ian’s back latched onto the back of his head now, fingers pulling roughly on the red strands of hair. Ian groaned and messily slipped his tongue into Mickey’s mouth at the same moment he pulled back and thrust forward. Hard. Mickey almost bit Ian’s tongue as the shockwaves rolled through him.

Ian went slow after that first initial thrust, pushing into Mickey deeply but at a leisurely steady pace, enjoying the feeling of his cock getting engulfed by the tight heat over and over again.

Mickey was a mess underneath him and it was honestly spurring him on more. He knew fucking Mickey would be completely different than anyone else he’s had before and he wasn’t wrong. Mickey just looked so good, like he dropped every single one of his walls and was just allowing himself to live in this moment, to enjoy it for everything it was. His face was completely fucking open and vulnerable, a soft smile unconsciously playing across his lips, his eyes fucking sparkling. It was the most gorgeous thing Ian had ever seen, and he wanted to work extra hard to make sure Mickey felt as good as possible and he hoped that Mickey could somehow feel how much Ian cared about him, that this was more than just a fuck.

Ian was pouring his whole heart into this and he wanted the affection to absorb into Mickey’s skin, to sink into the other man’s bones and patch up all the holes that’s he's filled with.

Mickey bit his bottom lip furiously, clenched his eyes shut on a particularly hard thrust and dragged his nails across Ian’s shoulder blades, his back seemingly permanently arched off the bed.

“Fuck Mick, you’re so fuckin’ hot. You’re so good. Christ.”

Ian finished the sentence with a deep thrust which caused Mickey to cry out and dig his nails in harder.

“There, there. Right fuckin’ there,” he gasped out.

Ian groaned and dropped his head down into the crook of Mickey’s neck, laying his chest against Mickey’s, their skin easily sliding together from the sweat. Mickey grunted at the stretch of his leg that was still hooked over Ian’s arm, but seemed to like the new angle if the whine rumbling in the back of his throat was any indication. Ian sped up, thrusting harder and faster against that spot, his balls slapping against Mickey’s ass with every push forward and his stomach gliding against Mickey’s leaking cock. Mickey was eagerly pushing back as much as he could from this position, trying to take Ian in as hard and as deep as he could.

The quick breaths and quiet moans slipping through Mickey’s lips were the dirtiest sounds that Ian had ever heard, and his mind was recording them to playback in a loop for the next time he was alone and craving the other man.

“You feel so fuckin’ good.” Mickey whispered, running his tongue filthily against the shell of Ian’s ear. Ian shivered and lifted his head away from Mickey’s neck, crashing his lips against Mickey’s while still keeping up the fantastic pace and depth of his thrusts. He lifted his chest away slightly from Mickey’s, the hand he had tightly gripping the sheet started moving down Mickey’s ribs, squeezing his hip, before he wrapped it around Mickey’s cock.

Mickey ripped his lips away from Ian’s, moaning and pushing up into his fist. Ian stroked him in sync with his thrusts and rubbed his thumb along the leaking slit occasionally, still keeping that pounding pressure on Mickey’s prostate.

Mickey was close, Ian could tell. The muscles in his ass were clenching tightly around Ian’s dick and his breath was labored and picking up speed. Ian paused, much to Mickey’s protest, and pushed directly up on Mickey’s prostate, circling his hips to rub the head of his cock against the bundle of nerves incessantly.

“Open your eyes. I wanna see them when you come.” Ian rasped out.

Mickey pried his eyes open, staring into Ian’s, his jaw hanging open, tongue reaching out to lick his lips. Ian worked his hand faster, still rotating his hips hard against that spot. Mickey’s fingers clawed against Ian’s back again, stinging the already tender flesh. Ian pulled out and slammed forward once, twice, three times before a garbled moan fumbled out of Mickey’s mouth and he was spilling over Ian’s hand, their eyes locked together the entire time.

Ian continued to pull on Mickey’s cock, making sure he was completely spent before releasing him. He leaned forward, burying his head into Mickey’s neck again, his hot breath fanning across Mickey’s warm skin. Ian angled away from Mickey’s prostate and continued pushing into his worn out and sensitive body. Mickey trailed his hand down to grab onto Ian’s ass to pull him deeper inside him and leaned up to whisper in Ian's ear.

“Come for me. Fuckin’ come,” he breathed out, squeezing Ian’s ass again and clenching around him tightly.

Ian moaned loudly and latched onto Mickey’s neck, biting down sharply while his body shook and he released into the condom, thrusting forward until he was completely empty.

Ian slumped against Mickey, not even giving a fuck that the other man’s come was now sticking to his own stomach.

“Holy shit.” Mickey whispered, unwrapping his shaky leg from around Ian and let it fall down onto the mattress with a slight bounce. Ian hummed in response, licking the bite mark on Mickey’s neck once before he lifted his head and kissed Mickey passionately for a minute while he pulled out. He grabbed the end of the condom, tied it off sloppily and tossed it next to the bed. He collapsed next to Mickey, reaching down to squeeze the hand laying against the mattress briefly.

Mickey’s other hand reached up to rub at his neck. “Jesus dude, are you sure you’re not part vampire?”

Ian chuckled and turned on his side so he was facing Mickey, his head propped up in his hand, “Didn’t hear you complaining,” he said with a wink.

Mickey smacked him lightly on the chest, smiling brightly before he pushed himself up until he was resting against the headboard. Ian threw his arm around Mickey’s midsection, not caring that it was sticky and covered in come, and pulled Mickey closer, missing his body heat already. He pressed a chaste kiss against the bottom of Mickey’s ribcage before he looked up into bright blue eyes that were shimmering with untainted affection.

Something shifted between them; something similar to a lock clicking into place for the first time, like a puzzle piece that’s been getting shoved into the wrong spot finally finding where it belonged in order to complete the whole picture.

Ian just blinked and asked, “Dinner?”

Mickey laughed deeply, his stomach spasming slightly. He reached down and soothingly ran his fingers through Ian’s hair before he nodded his head to answer the question, “Dinner.”

They laid in bed for a few more minutes, still snuggled up against each other before Ian planted one more kiss on Mickey’s lips and walked into the bathroom attached to his bedroom, wetting a towel so the other man could clean himself up.

It wasn’t long until they were dressed and back in the kitchen, Mickey wearing a pair of Ian’s sweatpants that were much too long for him and his tank top. Ian chose to walk around in sweatpants with no shirt, despite Mickey’s rant about how unsafe that was when working around hot food.

Mickey cooked all the food, Ian just hovering around him and genuinely just getting in the way, constantly stealing food off the stove and sneaking up behind Mickey to rest his chin on his shoulder, wrapping his hands around his waist to watch him work.

At some point Ian stole a spoonful of hot alfredo sauce and dropped some onto his chest, Mickey just scowled and said “fuckin’ told you,” while proceeding to wet a paper towel with cold water and press it to the burn. It was so simple and easy being around Mickey like this. It was so fucking domestic and would probably seem boring to outsiders, but it was the most fun that Ian had had in a long time.

The alfredo took a little longer than planned and by the time Mickey was done and pushing everything on to dinner plates the sun had already set and he could see the moon shining in the distance. They ate in silence at the island, sneaking glances at each other, smiles forming on both their faces even though their mouths were stuffed with pasta and sauce.

Halfway through dinner Ian moaned after taking a large bite of garlic bread, “this is the best cheat day ever. I don’t even care that I’m eating broccoli, I missed pasta so fucking much.”

Mickey chuckled, scraping the last remnants of food off his plate, “glad it’s worth all those extra calories then” he said, slightly muffled around the food in his mouth.

Eventually, it was time for Mickey to go before all the trains heading near his neighborhood stopped running for the evening. Ian cleaned the kitchen alone while Mickey went into the bedroom to gather his things. Ian didn’t want him to go, but asking Mickey to stay would probably make Mickey clam up and that was the last thing Ian wanted to happen after how today panned out. So he didn’t ask, though his heart was already aching from the distance and Mickey was still in the damn apartment.

He walked Mickey to the door, waving awkwardly once the other man was standing in the hallway. He wanted to go in for a goodbye kiss, just to have the lingering taste of Mickey on his lips, but he figured that would be another thing that would get Mickey to build back that wall.

Mickey’s eyes darted around the corridor quickly, before he lurched forward and kissed Ian hard. He pulled back after a few seconds, mumbling a goodbye against Ian’s lips before turning his back quickly and walking towards the elevator.

Ian watched his entire bow-legged walk down the corridor, his eyes lingering on his ass. Once Mickey got into the elevator and turned around, Ian locked eyes with the other man, seeing him smirking as the door closed and blocked him from view entirely.

Ian closed and locked the door, leaning against the wood and sighing in contentment, a smile permanently stitched across his face it seemed. He stood there for a minute or so, just playing over the day’s events in his head over and over. He went to bed shortly after, his sheets still carrying the musty smell of sweat and Mickey. He buried his face into the pillow and inhaled deeply.

Although he was sleeping alone, it was the best sleep he’s had in years.

Chapter Text

Every time that stupid bell over the door jingled Mickey would whip his head up hoping she would be walking in the door. She’s fifteen minutes late, no message saying she was going to be late and that bitch was always punctual as fuck. It’s always the same time, same place, same day every fucking month (10am, Casey’s Diner on the corner of South State Street and East 59th, the second Saturday of every month) so it’s not like she didn’t know he would be here, waiting for her.

If either of them couldn’t make it for work or personal reasons they would always, always , make sure the other person knew so there would be no reason to panic; but he hadn’t heard anything from her since last night, just the standard message that said “Tomorrow?”, to which Mickey responded with an even more standard one letter answer of “k”.

He checked his phone again, still no message from his little sister. He shook his head, deciding to give it ten more minutes before he starting calling her incessantly, just to make sure she was okay.

While he had his phone open, he scrolled through his message thread with Ian. He hadn’t seen him since Thursday and for once the distance was kind of fucking with him. Ian was like heroin, you get one small taste and suddenly you’re addicted and doing things that seemed unfathomable before but now seem reasonable all to just feel that high again. And he felt the best high that night.

So in a weird, strange twist of events Mickey had started texting Ian first, just to have the small interaction and feel the littlest connection to the other man. Usually it was just a simple “hey” but Ian would take that small effort on Mickey’s end and fucking sprint with it, keeping the conversation flowing naturally all day. Mickey was never a big texter, he preferred to make phone calls since they were more efficient and succinct and he was far too impatient to wait for a text back from someone. But texting was a way to keep in contact with someone throughout the day without hassling them, without having to drop everything to have a phone conversation and to remind the person that you were thinking about them.

Fuck, Mickey was becoming so sickly sweet and enamoured with Ian it was nauseating. He was a ghost of who he was in past “relationships” (not that this was a relationship, no fucking way) and it felt good , it felt right, like he was finally doing something “normal” people do when they like someone. It was different, Mickey was fucking different, but it wasn’t a bad thing.

He started reading a small part of their conversation from Saturday when Mickey had sent Ian a picture of a delicious dessert he prepared for a yuppie baby shower in hopes that the picture would make the other man jealous. Ian sent back “ you fucking jerk ” with a few middle finger emoji’s.

He had just cracked a tiny smile when he heard, “What are you smiling at, assface?”

He put his phone down and looked up to see his sister sliding into the booth next to him and immediately picking up the menu, her eyes sweeping over the words like she hasn’t read it a thousand times by now. Fuck, he always forgot how different she looked. Long gone was the dark hair riddled with multicolor streaks accompanied by raccoon eye makeup, and in it’s place was long blonde hair and delicate eyeliner, if any makeup at all. She never needed it in the first place, she was beautiful on her own, but when he thought of his sister his mind always conjured up images of teenage Mandy, not this adult Mandy sitting across from him.

“You’re late.” He ignored her question, instead focusing on her tardiness.

Mandy just rolled her eyes, the same shade of blue as Mickey’s, and waved her hand in the air, “My Uber driver was like eighty years old, I’m not even sure he could fucking see let alone speed through the city. What, did you want me to threaten him with a knife to get here faster?”

Mickey let out a quick breathy laugh, picturing the situation in his head, “Fuckin’ yes.”

Mandy smirked, eyes leaving the menu to look at Mickey. Her eyes caught on his neck, the blue orbs widening and her mouth hanging open a bit.

“Jesus Christ, take a vacuum to your neck recently?” she asked.

Mickey’s hand shot up to his neck, covering the worst of the hickey’s with his palm while his face flushed pink. He knew they were bad, but he was hoping they would have faded a bit since Thursday. Most of them had, but the biggest one was being a stubborn bitch. He had to buy makeup the other day for work and standing in the makeup aisle at the drugstore finding the shade that fit his skin tone was something he never thought he would have to do and hopefully would never have to do again.

“Shut the fuck up, you’ve had worse ones than this,” he spat back.

She snorted, “Yeah, but I covered all mine, you’re just flaunting yours like a little slut.”

Mickey flushed further and flipped her off. She smirked and went back to looking at the menu, eyes scanning the different type of french toast they offered.

She kept her eyes downcast while she asked, knowing Mickey got uncomfortable with eye contact sometimes, especially when the conversation involved personal relationships, “is it serious? You never let anyone mark you up. I remember when you flipped out that one time about scratches on your back.”

Mickey licked his bottom lip and pulled it into his mouth, chewing on it briefly. He remembered that. It was when they were all still living together on Trumbull, they hadn’t heard from Terry in months and Mickey brought someone home for the first time since the incident. It was quick, it was dirty and pretty fucking good if he was being honest. But when he took a shower in the morning and felt the water stinging his back he was pissed for two whole days.

It’s not that scratches on your back screamed GAY, quite the opposite actually, but it was no one's damn business what Mickey’s sex life entailed and that’s the main reason he didn’t allow people to leave marks on his body. He was a private person, no one needed to know that he had sex recently and how else do you get scratches on your back? Fuck, he definitely marked Ian up good the other day thinking about it now, hopefully he wasn’t as pissed as Mickey was when it happened to him.

Hickey’s were embarrassing and somewhat trashy in his opinion. It’s like the other person was marking their fucking territory and Mickey belonged to no one but himself. But he was littered in marks from Ian and he fucking liked it. He liked having that reminder that Ian was there, enjoying his body bit by bit. It felt good while he was doing it too, the thought of stopping Ian not even crossing his mind.

Mickey opened his mouth to start answering his sister’s question with a snarky remark when the waitress came over, “Good morning! Could I start you off with some coffee?”

Mickey nodded his head and turned the mug over that was placed on the table, Mandy quickly did the same. The waitress poured the steaming liquid into both their cups, Mickey inhaling the smell quickly.

“Are you ready to order or do you need a few minutes?”

Mickey locked eyes with Mandy, his eyebrows raised in question. She nodded her head, “Yeah we’re ready, I’ll have the blueberry pancakes with no whipped cream and a side of bacon.”

The waitress scribbled down the order quickly and turned her smiling face to Mickey. “Uhh, I’ll take the full stack of banana pancakes and nothing else,” he reached over to the side of the table that held all the condiments and picked up the almost empty bottle of syrup, “and can we get a full bottle, please? This ain’t gonna be enough.”

The waitress laughed and took the bottle from him before turning and heading towards the kitchen.

Mandy screwed her face up in distaste, “You’re disgusting, it’s fuckin’ breakfast you don’t need that much syrup.”

Mickey scoffed and glared, “speak for yourself, the syrup is the best fuckin’ part.”

She laughed and shook her head, reaching over for a small cup of creamer and a packet of sugar, dumping both of them into her cup of coffee and swirling the spoon around to disperse the ingredients, the metal spoon clanging against the ceramic every few passes.

Mickey poured a packet of sugar in his cup and just swirled it around, some splashes of hot coffee landing on his hand. He stared at the window and sipped the black liquid, reveling in the feeling of the hot sensation sliding down to his stomach, warming his insides. Even though it was summer and the heat was unbearable he just couldn't jump on the iced coffee bandwagon, it just didn't have the same soothing effects that hot coffee seemed to have.

He heard Mandy slowly slurping her coffee, like she was afraid the hot liquid would burn her tongue if she didn’t sip it in small increments.

She took one more obnoxious slurp before asking, “so, you gonna answer my question or just ignore me like usual, asshole?”

Mickey sighed and clenched his eyes shut quickly before placing his mug back on the table and turning his head to face his sister. Mandy had always been Mickey’s number one supporter when it came to his sexuality and relationships, never once criticising him for his decisions (because hello pot, meet kettle) but she tended to be a little...invasive. Mickey didn’t mind sometimes, because occasionally he needed someone to talk to and be brutally honest with him and when Charles wasn’t in the picture, Mandy was the one person he felt comfortable spilling his guts too.

But Mandy’s approach to relationships had always been aggressive and bordering psychotic and Mickey was more on the reserved and trepidatious side, choosing to approach relationships with caution and reserve instead of barrelling into it head first and unarmed. Even though her advice came in handy some times, more often than not Mickey left the conversation feeling more spooked than before.

He took one more sip of the coffee before answering her, “It’s not serious, okay? I just- fuckin’ - didn’t mind I guess…” he trailed off, a flush pinkening his cheeks.

Her eyebrows rose up her forehead in a startlingly good imitation of her brother, “You didn’t mind... that some random guy...was going to fuckin’ town on your neck?”

Mickey huffed and started biting on the corner of his lip, might as well get this shit out on the table now, “He’s, uh, he’s not some random guy a’ight? I fucking work for him.”

Mandy almost choked on her coffee, some of it dribbling out the corner of her mouth, causing her to wipe it away with the back of her hand.

“Wanna run that by me again?” she said.

Mickey ran both his hands through his hair and scrunched up his face before looking her in the eye again, “I’m- he’s- fuck. I got hired to be his personal chef about two months ago and I don’t know, shit just...happened.”

“What do you mean “shit just happened”? This isn’t like you, Mick.”

He sighed heavily, already tired of this conversation and frankly exhausted by the whole damn situation. “Fuck, I know. I know it’s not. I’m fucking risking everything here, Mands, fucking everything. If my boss finds out I’m screwed. But I...I like him. And for some strange fucking reason he likes me too. Like, actually likes me .”

“Shit, you sure he’s alright in the head then?” she said with a smile.

Mickey grimaced and reached over to grab one of the small coffee creamers and threw the thing at her head. She dodged the plastic cup and laughed loudly, waving her hands slowly in front of her to try and placate her brother. Mickey huffed and slouched in the seat, crossing his arms across his chest like a pissed off child.

“Yes, you fuckin’ bitch, he’s got all his damn marbles.”

She licked the corner of her mouth and picked up her coffee cup, smiling into it before taking a sip. It looked like she was about to say something else but apparently their waitress was incredibly apt at interrupting awkward, yet important conversations. Mickey was grateful for the pause in conversation, looking forward to shoving as many pancakes into his mouth as possible.

She placed their dishes in front of them with a smile, accompanied by a completely full bottle of syrup. If this was a cartoon you would visibly be able to see the scent tendrils wafting up from the fluffy stack of pancakes, Mickey leaning over the plate to inhale deeply.  He grinned somewhat devilishly before picking up his fork and knife and slicing the pancakes into all different shapes and sizes so the syrup could soak into every delicious morsel. He then took the bottle of syrup and emptied roughly half the sugary, sticky substance over the pancakes, creating designs that would disappear shortly.

Mandy watched, shaking her head before she started spreading the butter around her stack of pancakes, waiting for her brother to decide he was done dousing his breakfast in sugar. He handed the bottle over with a grin before he started shoveling pancakes into his mouth like it would be his last meal, a small trickle of syrup running down his chin.

It was honestly kind of gross watching Mickey eat pancakes, but Mandy just smiled, happy that some things never change, her brother had been drowning his pancakes in syrup since he was strong enough to hold the bottle by himself.

They ate in silence for a few minutes, Mandy seemingly dropping the subject of Mickey and Ian for now and the only words spoken were when the waitress came over and asked to refill their coffee.

Mandy tapped out halfway through her stack of pancakes, pushing her plate towards her older brother who only had two more small pieces on his plate. “Here, finish this for me,” she said.

Mickey’s eyebrows rose up his forehead, pointing his fork at her plate while he spoke through a mouthful of fluff, “that’s half a damn plate!”

Mandy rolled her eyes, “not all of us can pack it in like you, homo.”

Mickey glared but dragged her plate over to his side of the table, stacking the dishes once he shoved the last remnants of his banana pancakes into his mouth.

While Mickey was busy pouring more syrup over Mandy’s abandoned pancakes, she took another sip of her coffee before broaching another difficult subject.

“So, listen, I gotta let you know that Uncle Ronnie’s 60th birthday bash is tomorrow and he really wants you there, Mick.”

Mickey groaned, throwing his head back dramatically while swallowing, causing his adam’s apple to bob comically in his neck, “you just fuckin’ tellin’ me this now? The fuuuck?”

She shrugged, holding her coffee cup in both hands, hovering in front of her mouth. “I felt like maybe if I told you in person it would make it harder for you to say no.”

Mickey put his fork down, his appetite suddenly gone, silently thanking his sister for waiting to spring that on him until he was done with his breakfast. He wiped his face with his napkin, throwing it over the two plates to signify he was done eating.

He scrubbed a hand down his face and tried to stop the heavy feeling from settling in his gut, although all the pancakes he consumed weren’t helping with that mission. It’s not that he didn’t want to go to Ronnie’s birthday, it was just...well...yeah, he didn’t want to go to his Uncle’s birthday.

Ever since his “coming out” (which was really just Terry telling the whole family about how he caught Mickey taking a dick up his ass and was feeling gracious enough to let him live, for now ) he didn’t get along with a lot of his cousins and uncles, most of his family carrying the same beliefs and views as Terry. So he wasn’t exactly amped to go hang out with them all day when there would no doubt be copious amounts of booze and drugs ingested.

He was lucky with Ronnie, his Uncle being somewhat of a father figure to Mickey and his siblings, their fucked up guardian angel in a way. Things were prickly on any branch of the Milkovich tree, but some branches were rougher than others and Mickey and Mandy’s seemed to be the roughest of them all. So where-as Terry was an absolute monster with no morals and apparently no feelings, Ronnie was only a monster to those who truly deserved it and never laid a hand on his children no matter what. Not to say Ronnie wasn’t a criminal and addict like the majority of the Milkoviches, he was just a better father than Terry could ever dream to be.

Mickey and his siblings spent a lot of time at Ronnie’s growing up, usually getting dropped off by their mother when Terry went on one of his benders. His mother and Ronnie tried hard to protect them for as long as they could, both of them fully realizing the terror that Terry could unleash on those kids but were powerless to stop it.

It couldn’t last forever. When Terry was lucid enough during one of his episodes, he completely forbade their mother from ever speaking to Ronnie again, apparently on the notion that she was sleeping with him, and because Ronnie ain’t their fuckin’ father, I am.

In two quick minutes, their relationship with their Uncle and their only semblance of protection disappeared, that safety net completely falling away when their mother died.

“Look, I know it’s not ideal but he fuckin’ misses you and who the fuck knows how much longer he’s got to be honest, you know he’s been ruining his body for years with all the coke and alcohol. I’m surprised the fucker even made it to sixty.”

Mickey grunted in acknowledgment, staring out the window again, throwing the idea of hanging out with his family around in his brain. The waitress came over in the meantime and gathered their dirty plates and placed the check on the table,

Mandy sighed, “at least think about it, okay? It would be nice if you saw Iggy and Colin again at least. Ig’s been asking about you.”

Mickey snorted, still staring out the window. “Douchebag can’t pick up the phone unless he’s asking for money but he can ask you about me , nice.”

She ran her hand through her hair, fluffing up the blonde mess perfectly and reached for their check, “I know, a’ight? He’s a shithead, they all are, but we’re your family and showing up for ten minutes won’t kill you. Do it for Ronnie.”

He looked back in time to try and stop her for paying for breakfast, placing his hand on top of her’s briefly while he lifted his butt to grab his wallet from his back pocket. She stopped him, sliding her hand back from underneath his, the check firmly settled in her fingers.

“I got this, I’m just slowly paying you back for that rent money you floated me a few months back.”

“I told you not to fuckin’ worry ‘bout that.” Mickey grunted.

She smiled softly, throwing a ball of wadded up bills onto the table. “Too fuckin’ bad. The least I can do is buy your nasty ass breakfast every once in awhile.”

Mandy slid out of the booth and walked over to Mickey’s side of the table, gripping onto his shoulder lightly, “just think about it, alright? No hard feelings if you don’t wanna go, I understand.”

Mickey reached up and awkwardly patted her hand, not sure what the fuck he was supposed to do in this position. Mandy snorted a laugh and squeezed once before letting go and stepping away from the table.

“Thank you for an eventful morning. And if you do end up coming over tomorrow, cover that fuckin’ hickey, you whore!” she sing-songed as she walked towards the door, Mickey throwing a middle finger up at her retreating form and scowling as best as he could.

She basically floated out the door laughing, her bright blonde hair shining in the sun when she got outside. Well, at least Mandy was happy these days, she deserved it the most out of all of them.

This position was becoming all too familiar, laying down listlessly on the mattress watching the fan blades spin across the ceiling. The bed sheets were thrown everywhere, the sticky summer heat had finally hit with full force, making it impossible to sleep with even the thinnest sheet covering your body. It’s days like these Mickey wished he wasn’t such a tightwad with his money and used some of his savings to buy a goddamn air conditioner, at least for the bedroom. Instead all he had was the shitty ceiling fan which was only proficient in giving his eyes something to focus on and did absolutely nothing in cooling the room down.

He was laying down shirtless and just wearing a thin pair of boxers, arms spread open across the bed, too hot to even be surrounded by his own body heat. His mind kept wandering to the conversation he had with Mandy and he was battling with himself about what he wanted to do.

On one hand, he had no desire to see any one from that side of his family ever again. There was  never any confirmation that Terry was actuallydead, just speculation since no one had heard from him in over six years. The last thing he needed was for Terry to fucking show up and ruin everything. Again.

But he hadn’t heard from Iggy since he bailed him out of jail a few months ago (typical) and Colin, shit, he hadn’t seen Colin in about four years. Mandy was the only one he quasi stayed in touch with and that was usually just limited to their monthly breakfast meetings. For children who grew up on a household that preached about familial bonds and the strength that comes from blood they certainly split real fast once Terry disappeared.

His Uncle Ronnie was the only thing pulling him in the direction of going to the cookout, he could see his siblings any time if he wanted too. But Mandy was right about their Uncle, he was getting older and he definitely didn’t take care of himself as well as he should have so who the fuck knows how much longer he had before he kicked the bucket and Mickey would never forgive himself for ignoring his birthday invitation.

He blinked, still staring at the turning fan blades. He sighed and scrubbed a hand down his face before sitting up, throwing his legs over the side of the bed and planting his feet on the floor. He looked over to the nightstand with somber eyes, gazing at the wooden surface that held a small table lamp, his pack of cigarettes, an ashtray and the current book he was reading. He pulled the drawer open, rummaging around amongst the pointless scrap papers, name brand condoms, a half empty bottle of lube and the small Beretta he had stashed in there until his fingers caught the corner of what he was looking for.

He pulled out an old polaroid, the edges bent, the picture wrinkled and sun damaged. It’s not something he does often, but every once in awhile he will pull out the polaroid and look at the picture, trying to focus on something good from his childhood because it’s not like the warm memories come flooding back to him in vivid detail; he could probably count the number of good times on one hand.

The picture was taken around Christmas, when Mickey was probably close to seven years old. They were at their Uncle Ronnie’s before Terry forbid their presence in that house. It was Mickey, Mandy, Iggy, Colin and their mother seated in front of the tree, bright smiles plastered over their faces, each individual face shadowed by bruises in the shape of Terry’s fists, track marks clearly visible on his mother’s arms even through the grainy quality of the photograph. They had it hanging on the fridge back home for the longest time, but when his mother died Mickey took the photo off the fridge immediately and stored it in his room, certain that Terry would go on an emotional rampage and try to destroy any evidence that women ever existed in an attempt to ease the pain and guilt.

If anyone else looked at this picture they would probably only focus on the fact that dark bruises were peppering everyone’s skin, color samples of different shades of purple and yellow. But Mickey looked at it and he saw the one fucking Christmas he actually remembered getting a gift, a real brand new gift, all for himself. He sees the one family photo where the smiles aren’t forced or fake, the one fucking picture without fear or anger in anyone’s eyes, just joy and happiness and fucking love all because their Uncle decided to buy them each a gift that year.

It was one of the only pictures he had of all of them together and it was definitely the only photo he had of his mother, and he kind of liked it that way. He liked remembering her as the woman in the photograph, her eyes sparkling with life and happiness. Most memories he had of her in his mind she was either strung out falling asleep on the couch or getting tossed around by Terry. He had enough of those memories to regale people with for thirty years without repeating the same story once. He didn’t need photographs for those moments.

But this one, this one fucking moment, he’s so happy his Uncle bullied them into taking the picture, otherwise Mickey really wouldn’t have remembered how radiant his mother looked when she smiled.

“Fuck,” he whispered, wiping his eyes with the heel of his palm and dropping the photograph into his lap. He knew what the smaller version of himself would want, the younger Mickey staring at him with faded blue eyes from a wrinkled old photo.

Mickey put the picture back in the drawer, shoving the thing shut a little forcefully, the lamp teetering slightly. He didn’t want to go to this fucking party, but his Uncle deserved the in-person “happy birthday” for all the years he spent trying to make life a little bit brighter for him.

He sighed heavily one last time, the mattress shaking slightly with his shuddering breaths, and finally stood up to get dressed to head to a side of town he never thought he would walk through again.

The neighborhood fucking smelled the same, that’s the first thing Mickey noticed.

Despite people flocking to the area because of criminally low market prices trying to spruce it up and gentrify the shithole, that smell seeped into the actual foundation of this neighborhood. This wasn’t a smell you could mask with flower beds and vegetable gardens, it was a constant smell that hung around the neighborhood like a smog cloud for centuries, worming it’s way into the resident's bodies until they too smelled like it. It smelled like damp dirty laundry and cigarette smoke, with the lingering stench of mold and dirt. A weird combination for a city neighborhood, but that’s what Mickey smelled whenever he walked here.

The second thing he noticed was that he could hear the party at his Uncle’s house at the end of the street the second he turned the corner, an oldies station was blaring loudly and people were laughing and hollering, yelling over each other to get their unwanted opinion in. His family was never known for quiet and subdued gatherings, instead they were infamous for the loud and rowdy parties that usually ended in the cops getting called by nosey neighbors after one or three fights have already broken out.

Mickey was hoping that in his old age his Uncle would want a smaller, more private event. What a naive shithead he was.

He took his time walking down the street, stepping over the familiar cracks in the sidewalk that had new weeds growing through the concrete, his eyes coasting over the same old houses. Some of them had been remodeled, but the framework was the same. He puffed on his cigarette, exhaling a cloud of smoke to the already smoke laden air.

He reached his hand out and trailed his fingers over the rods in a wrought iron fence, his fingers thunking against the rods as he walked creating an odd rhythm. He fucked himself up real good on this fence one day, running through back alleys and people’s yards trying to outrun the assholes he robbed of $200 with fake cocaine. He hopped over the fence but didn’t quite make it, snagging the bottom of his loose jeans on one of the top spikes, face planting hard onto the concrete below. He’s lucky he didn’t lose all his teeth, thankfully just breaking his nose and seriously busting up the rest of his face. His blood stained the pavement there for months, the melting snow of a brutal winter being the only thing that was able to wash it away.

There’s pieces of himself scattered all around this neighborhood. Pieces of himself he is glad to have shed and abandoned without looking back. He’s grown so much since he was a teenager when he was just a thug controlling this small slice of paradise with his fucked up family, selling drugs and guns, fighting, bashing skulls and burning shit down for fun, whatever it took to remind everyone not to fuck with the Milkoviches.

It’s a message that’s been booming loud and clear since the day he was born, getting louder with each step towards his Uncle’s house.

He paused a few houses away, puffing on the last remains of his cigarette and trying to get his head in the game to see his family after many, many years. Even though he grew up with them, he still had to put himself into the right frame of mind to deal with their own special brand of bullshit.

He took one last deep breath, puffed out his chest and walked the few remaining strides to the house and opened the gate, that old familiar creak still sounding loudly. He hadn’t stepped foot on his Uncle Ronnie’s property in years and it felt good to be back in a place that held good memories instead of being tainted by bad ones. Mickey stood there for a second, blocking out the shouts and laughs coming from the back yard and just looked at the old house with it’s peeling paint and one boarded up window that’s been like that for years, because no one is stupid enough to rob this house.

Mickey walked around the side of the house towards the backyard where the noises were booming the loudest. He drew out his pack of cigarettes, lighting one up again quickly to soothe away the anxious feeling settling in his gut and to have something to occupy his mind with.

When he stepped around the corner of the house everything looked as he expected; piles of empty beer cans and a few shattered bottles of whiskey were scattered everywhere and the backyard seemed it was stuck in a perpetual cloud of cigarette smoke between the cigarettes, joints and grill. Two of his cousins were wrestling in the corner of the yard, Colin and Iggy cheering them on, probably fucking betting on who would win. Some people had chairs circled around a fire, burning random shit. Uncle Ronnie was standing by the grill, drinking a beer and laughing with his son, Kyle.

Mickey groaned, part of him hoping Kyle wouldn’t be here but he knew he would be, Ronnie was his fucking dad.

Mickey was only two months older than Kyle, so growing up they had been inseparable. Mickey was closer to Kyle than he was his own siblings. Where one went the other wasn’t to far behind. It was rare to see one of them without the other. When they both went to school before they simultaneously dropped out, teachers would groan looking at their attendance sheets and see two Milkoviches in their class because that always meant two times the trouble.

They did everything together, literally everything. When they were young it was the normal bullshit, riding bikes and going to the park, having sleepovers and imagining they were superheroes. Normal fucking kid bullshit. When they reached their teen years is when the mischief really started. They started helping their fathers out with runs and robberies, started selling and doing drugs, fucking people up on principal and not giving a fuck what happened.

It felt like there were no consequences back then, they were unstoppable and unhinged. It was always the two of them. Together. Side by side. Matted black hair standing next to unkempt blonde. Fuck U-Up and Game Over.

Kyle grew up slightly different than Mickey. Kyle had some semblance of love and mutual respect in his household. Yeah, Uncle Ronnie was a piece of shit sometimes, but he was never, ever as bad as Terry and that’s something that Kyle never understood. He could never wrap his head around the fact that the bruises on Mickey’s neck came from Terry, that the time Mickey broke his arm was because Terry was twisting it grotesquely behind his back until it snapped.

Kyle grew up having his house be his safe space, not really understanding why Mickey and his siblings spent so many nights sleeping over his house when they had their own. Abuse is a tough concept to wrap your mind around when you’re that young.

He only started realizing the hell Mickey lived in when Terry put that temporary ban on interacting with their Uncle, forcing Kyle to seek Mickey out a few blocks over at his house. It was then when he started noticing the abuse first hand.

Kyle wasn’t new to violence, living in the Milkovich family violence was something you got used to as soon as your newborn eyes weren’t bleary anymore. It was the violence against family members that Kyle couldn’t comprehend. They were taught that family was the only thing you had, they were the only ones looking out for you and that your blood was the only thing you could trust.

Who can you trust when your blood causes you to lose blood?

Even with his slow understanding he truly didn’t get it, because he didn’t live it. And that was okay with Mickey. He didn’t want fucking pity or sympathy because he could fucking handle it, he was a man. He just wanted his cousin by his side fucking shit up like they always had been.

When the whole “coming out” thing happened Kyle dropped communication with Mickey as fast as someone ripping their hand away from a hot stove, like Kyle was personally injured by Mickey’s sexual orientation. Like Mickey wasn’t Mickey anymore.

And it hurt, it fucking hurt worse than the bullet hole in his shoulder. Here was his one friend, his best fucking friend, and even he couldn’t accept Mickey for who he was. He was completely and utterly alone for those few more years he lived with his father, not even Mandy could rouse a good mood from Mickey for those few dark years.

He hasn’t talked to Kyle since then, not that he was eager to rekindle the relationship after he showed his true self anyway. But it didn’t stop him from missing the fucker occasionally.

“Mickey!” he heard his sister yell. He whipped his head around, seeing her walking down the back stairs on shaky legs, already drunk apparently. He felt the heat of his family’s stares poking into his skin, all eyes on him now thanks to his fucking sister, so much for an inconspicuous entrance.

She walked over to him, throwing her arms around his neck and squeezing slightly, “I’m so glad you came,” she slurred into his ear.

He patted her back awkwardly, eager to get all the usual “hellos” out of the way until he can sit in the corner drinking by himself. She disengaged from the hug but grabbed his wrist, pulling him over in the direction of Ronnie and Kyle. To say he was panicking a little would be an understatement. He wanted to make the rounds on his own time, maybe talk to Kyle for a single second before leaving, but now Mandy was throwing him to the wolves immediately and leaving him there alone to go sit by the fire.

Ronnie was grinning from ear the ear standing at the grill, abandoning his burgers and hot dogs to pull Mickey into a tight embrace that Mickey felt himself relaxing into. He brought his arms up and hugged his uncle tightly, briefly. Ronnie pulled back, that smiled still stitched onto his face and ruffled up Mickey’s hair like he used to when he was little.

“Glad you could make it, punk. I’ve missed your ugly mug.” Ronnie said.

Mickey laughed, flattening down his hair, “couldn’t miss your birthday bash, you old fuck.”

Ronnie laughed, taking a sip of his beer and turning to look at Kyle, “gonna say anything? Don’t be a fuckin’ brat.”

Kyle grimaced, looking Mickey in the eyes briefly before muttering a half-hearted “Hello.”

Mickey waved pathetically, wishing he had something to drink, eager to get on his sister's level to make this whole thing a little less painful.

Ronnie grunted, turning his body towards the grill to poke the hot dogs and flip the burgers. “So Mick, Mandy told us you’ve gone straight now? Legit. Working and getting taxes taken out and shit.”

Mickey heard his uncle ask the question, but what he really focused on was Kyle huffing when Ronnie said the word “straight”, mumbling out a “yeah right” under his breath.

Mickey bristled momentarily, but ignored the comment to engage in conversation with Ronnie, who he’s realizing he missed really fucking badly. “Uhh, yeah, working for a catering company now.”

Ronnie’s eyes bulged, “you a fuckin’ chef?”

Mickey flushed, embarrassed. “Uhh...yeah.”

Kyle glared, mumbling something into his beer that Mickey couldn’t quite catch. “What was that, mumbles?” he said angrily, his hand unconsciously curling into a fist beside him.

Ronnie whipped around, staring his son in the eyes. “Wanna grab Mickey a beer?”

“You sure he doesn’t want an apple-fucking-tini instead?” Kyle snarked.

Ronnie’s eyes darkened, “Beer. Now.”

Kyle rolled his eyes but obliged, slinking away from the conversation and mumbling to himself. Mickey had only been here five fucking minutes and the homophobic comments were already rolling in. At least Ronnie was doing his best to de-escalate the situation.

Ronnie coughed and started poking at the hot dogs again, “Tell me about this chef shit, what exactly do you do?”

“Uhh, well, mostly I help my boss cook meals for large events, benefits, weddings, stupid shit like that. I occasionally go to people’s houses and cook for them a few times a week. It’s kinda just a placeholder job until I can open my own place.” Mickey said, feeling kind of awkward talking about his career in front of his Uncle.

“Your own restaurant? Holy shit Mick, that’s amazing!”

Mickey bit the corner of his lip and reached up the rub the back of his neck, “if it actually fucking happens, shits stupid expensive.”

“It’ll happen, I got faith. Proud of ya.” Ronnie huffed out, punching Mickey lightly in the arm.

Mickey’s breath stuttered real quick. He’s never, not once, heard those words from someone who meant it, let alone someone he actually cared about and admired. Proud of ya.

He flushed, “Uh, t-thanks.”

Ronnie grinned, flipping the hamburgers and taking a sip of his beer at the same time. Moments later he was bombarded by his brothers, Colin throwing an arm around his neck and holding him in place for a noogie with Iggy poking him in the obnoxiously in the side.

“Good to see you, you lil’ shit.” Colin said, still rubbing his knuckles painfully into the top of Mickey’s head.

“Get the fuck offa me.” Mickey barked, somewhat muffled by Colin’s onslaught.  

Colin laughed but pulled away, smacking Mickey on the back before Iggy pulled him in for an aggressive and brief hug.

“Nice to see ya fuckface, it’s been too fuckin’ long.” Colin said.

Mickey punched him the arm once as soon as he disengaged from Iggy, “You got a fuckin’ phone, asshole. Use it.”

Colin grinned and took a sip of his beer, “So what the fuck is up man? Missed your stupid ass.”

Mickey rolled his eyes, but briefly caught his brothers up on the basics of what he’s been doing since he last saw them, not hesitating to give Iggy shit and remind him he’s waiting for that bail money to make it’s way back into his pocket (yeah right ).

Kyle came up halfway through their conversation and tapped Iggy on the arm with the beer bottle, motioning for him to hand the bottle over to Mickey.

Mickey scoffed, snatching the bottle out of Kyle’s hand quickly, “it’s not fuckin’ contagious, asshole.” he growled out.

Kyle glared, but said nothing and walked away. Iggy turned to Mickey, eyebrows raised and thumb pointing over his shoulder, silently asking what the fuck? Mickey shrugged and popped the cap off his beer with his lighter, gulping down half the beer immediately and feeling the bubbly liquid slosh around in his stomach.

For as nervous as he was before he arrived, talking to his Uncle and brothers felt really fucking good. He’s missed this and he can begrudgingly say that he actually missed his shithead brothers as well. Mandy floated over to them at one point, joining into their conversation with waving hands and a loose tongue. It was weird, having all of them in one spot together and laughing, fucking joking around and enjoying each others company.

Growing up they didn’t really have the opportunity to become friends . Sure, they looked after each other and took care of each other, but they never really bonded on a friendship level like most siblings do. They had to survive, they had to fucking be Terry’s little henchman, running around making sure payments were collected and shipments were made. There really wasn’t time to relax and joke around, not like this at least.

After the initial greetings and usual starter conversations were over, the evening progressed as Mickey expected, his little group disbanding and interacting with the other members of their family and Milkovich adjacents after awhile, getting more and more intoxicated over the next few hours.

Mickey eventually made his way over to the fire, properly buzzed and working on getting full blown wasted. He plopped himself into a chair next to one of Ronnie’s friends, who immediately passed Mickey a joint, readily accepting the invitation.

Kyle was seated across the fire, his face getting warped by the flames and the heat waves making him look maniacal. He caught Mickey’s eye briefly and scowled. Mickey sighed, he was getting sick of this shit. He didn’t do anything to personally offend Kyle and so far he’s the only one this evening who’s shown to have an issue with Mickey being here at all.

Mickey was in a great mood and he didn’t want this shithead ruining it. He can’t remember the last time he actively enjoyed hanging out with this group of people. But the alcohol always made him quick tempered and hot headed, especially when he’s been mixing beer and whiskey like this.

He closed his eyes, head lolling back to rest against the seat, the warmth from the flames making him feel warmer than he already was thanks to the summer heat. He was content, he was happy and he was drunk.

Mickey almost dozed off, his breath slowing and his muscles becoming looser and looser. He almost passed out completely until he heard Kyle’s voice float through to his ears. He didn’t pick up the whole sentence, but what he did hear was enough to have him instantly alert and pissed the fuck off. He had had enough of Kyle, making fucking comments behind his back and acting as if Mickey was diseased. He wasn’t a little kid anymore, his sexuality wasn’t something that was keeping him chained in the closet, terrified. He was an adult and he was fucking free.

If Mickey had overcome his own personal demons to accept himself he wasn’t going to allow people to talk shit like this, especially his own fucking family. Frankly, he should have popped Kyle in the jaw when he first got here.

He stood up slowly, the alcohol making his legs feel like lead. He stomped over to where Kyle was sitting with one of his idiot friends and loomed over him, his short stature casting a dark shadow over his cousin.

“The fuck did you just say?” Mickey spat through his teeth.

Kyle rolled his eyes, “Nothing, you fuckin’ queen, go back to falling asleep in your chair.”

Mickey’s eyebrows dove up his forehead, poking his tongue out to lick at his lips. “If you got something to say, fuckin’ say it you pussy.”

Kyle’s face turned beat red and he stood up lightning fast, standing far too close to Mickey for his own personal safety. “Fine. I said “can’t believe this fucking faggot is a fucking chef”, how gay can you be dude? What, you become a fairy and all of a sudden the family business ain't good enough for your prissy little hands? You fucking disgust me, I’m surprised you’re not sucking cock for fifty bucks a pop on the street cor-”

He didn’t have the opportunity to finish his sentence, Mickey immediately reaching out and grabbing him by the throat. Mandy, who had been lingering around the fire all evening, squeaked from behind him and put her hand placatingly on Mickey’s shoulder.

“Mick, don’t fucking do it. He’s not worth it.” Mandy whispered.

Mickey’s nostrils flared, the heat not leaving his eyes and blazing unwaveringly into Kyle’s, which were lit with a fire of his own. Mickey snarled and squeezed his throat threateningly before pushing Kyle away roughly, turning away with his fists balled up as his sides.

He took two small steps towards leaving this shithole when he heard a chuckle from behind him, “fuckin’ faggot can’t even fight like he used too. You got a vagina now, ya fuckin’ queer?”

Mickey didn’t even think, the alcohol mixed with his rage having him on the borderline of blacking out. He turned around sharply, using his momentum to have his fist already flying through the air, connecting with Kyle’s jaw with a sickening crunch.

Kyle staggered back, clutching his jaw with his hand. He took two seconds to balance himself out before he came barreling at Mickey with the ferocity of a pit bull, popping Mickey real good in the eye on the first punch.

The blows didn’t stop after that, the boys grappling and pushing each other around dangerously close to the fire. They had garnered an audience by now, people hooting and hollering and absolutely no one trying to step in and stop it. Milkoviches thrive off violence after all.  

The scrabbled around for a few minutes, each of them getting their fair share of blows in, bruises and blood darkening both their faces and fists. Mickey swept Kyle’s legs out from underneath him, causing him to fall back into the dirt with a loud grunt.

Mickey squated down, looming over him with his legs on either side of Kyle’s chest keeping him immobile in the dirt. Kyle’s legs were flailing around and kicking up dust in his struggle to get out from underneath Mickey. Mickey had his first raised, ready to strike like a fucking snake. There was blood dripping down his face from the cut above his eyebrow, a drop cascading off his chin and landing on Kyle’s white t-shirt, the warm liquid instantly soaking through the fabric to Kyle’s skin.

Kyle noticed the blood on his shirt and pulled a disgusted face, his mouth twisting up into a snarl. He struggled under Mickey with more vigor, trying to dislodge his solid form from sitting on his chest.

“Get the fuck off me you fuckin’ aids-monkey.” Kyle spit, literally spit, at Mickey.

Mickey chuckled humorlessly and raised his fist in the air, “That really what you think of me? Well, this fuckin’ aids-monkey is about to fuckin’ kill you.”

He brought his fist down hard, punching Kyle in the cheek, his head snapping to the left and blood spraying out of his mouth. Once Mickey started he couldn’t fucking stop, his vision blurring and almost whiting out completely. He was enraged and lost in the power of his resentment and anger, taking out all his years of pain and sadness on his cousin.

Soon, Kyle stopped struggling completely, his eyes rolling back into his head. It was only then that Mickey stopped, even though his fist was still raised and his chest was heaving with the pace of his breaths.

His vision slowly floated back in and it was then that he noticed the absolute silence that had fallen over the party, the sounds of the crackling fire and his heavy breathing being the only noises he heard. People were staring at him, jaws hanging open, eyes bulging.

Mickey lowered his fist and looked down at Kyle, his face completely smeared with blood and looking one solid shade of purple. He wasn’t responding, but he was breathing, so Mickey definitely didn’t kill the fucker even though it felt like he might have.

“Mick…” he heard his sister whisper. Her soft voice completely snapping him out of his rage induced trance and he stood up from Kyle’s chest slowly. His eyes scanned the crowd until they landed on Ronnie.

“I’m sorry.” Mickey whispered, eyes locked with Ronnie’s.

Ronnie nodded slowly, eyes blank and face devoid of all emotion. He wasn’t rushing to his son’s side, so Mickey took it as a good sign that Kyle would be okay in a few minutes. Well, not okay, but conscious. This definitely wasn't his first beat down, but apparently long gone were they days where they were backing each other up in brawls.

He apologized one more time, a little softer than before and disappeared from the scene like a ghost.

The train ride was long and quiet, besides the incessant ringing in Mickey’s ears. People kept casting looks his way, pulling their bags closer to them and attempting to give Mickey as much room to himself as possible. He chuckled darkly to himself, his nose wrinkling slightly as he  pictured the show he must be putting on for all the poor fucks surrounding him. 

He didn’t bother to even try and clean himself before jumping on the train, honestly not giving a fuck what he looked like right now. His right eye was definitely grotesquely bruised and swollen, blood trickled down his nose and also from the gash above his eyebrow, his knuckles were already a deep reddish purple color and the blood that was splattered across the front of his shirt definitely didn’t belong to him.

The only part of this image he’s worried about is that it probably looks like he got his ass handed to him. If only they could see what his cousin looked like.

Leave it up to his family to make him feel disgusting and cheap, like he’s the fuck up with his steady job and dream of something better, like he was abandoning his bloodline and forgetting his roots, because how dare a Milkovich try and make a name for themselves outside of the police catalog?

It was like being a fag was okay if he was still knocking skulls and selling drugs, but as soon as he did something as gay as becoming a chef that was the only thing they targeted. A Milkovich could be gay as long as he was still a thug, a Milkovich could be gay if he compensated by being extra tough and intimidating, a Milkovich could be gay if he was still a Milkovich . They could overlook the dick in Mickey’s mouth if it meant two seconds later he would be smashing someone’s kneecaps with a baseball bat.

But apparently he’s not a Milkovich anymore, just in name but not in practice. And fuck them and that name if this was what being a Milkovich was still about. There once was a time when Mickey reveled in his last name, taking pride in the fear it sparked into people’s eyes when those three syllables rolled off his tongue. It was a name that instantly commanded respect and control because who would dare cross a Milkovich? There was a whole gang of them you had to worry about as soon as you knocked one down. Cut off one head and another takes it’s place, right?

But now that name just leaves a bitter taste in the back of his mouth and makes his skin feel slimy. He would never escape the stigma attached to his name, the reputation following him around like a pack of hungry wolves. What good has a Milkovich ever done? What fucking benefits have they brought to the world?

None. Fucking none. All they’ve done is make this city even shittier than it was to begin with. Fucking leeches.

He’d be damned if the only thing in life he was reduced to was his fucking name. He was so distant from the boy he used to be and he’s proud of overcoming his upbringing to an extent, a fucking poster child for surviving a deplorable childhood and becoming a slightly okay adult. He could give people a reason to not fear the name Milkovich, but hopefully make their mouths water thinking about his food. His name would be remembered as something positive, something fucking good and something he built all for himself with no one’s fucking help.

Fuck the Milkovich stigma, his name would be inked in the newspapers somewhere besides the police catalog.

Even with this train of thought his blood was still boiling with rage, he still felt dirty and wrong in a way he hadn’t felt in years. He was ashamed. Ashamed of where he grew up and who he was as a fucking person. Disgusting that only a few hours could tear down everything Mickey had tried hard to build up.

Growing up in that oppressive atmosphere it took him a long, long time to not be ashamed of being gay because it wasn’t a choice, who the fuck would chose to be gay living in that neighborhood, under his fathers fucking roof?  He learned to live with it, to hide it, he was taught that he was vile and he should be ashamed of who he was and even if you were dying inside you man the fuck up and move the fuck on. In his teen years he would have murdered his fairy godmother with his own two hands if that meant he could live the rest of his life as a straight male, it would have made growing up much easier.

But he got out and grew the fuck up. He wasn’t ashamed anymore and didn’t care who knew he liked having things shoved up his ass by another man. Doesn’t mean the hate and homophobic ideals that were beat into him don’t float back in every once in awhile and take up residence in his mind. When you’re taught your entire life that you’re a disgusting fucking human, a waste of space and a piece of faggy South Side trash those thoughts don’t disappear entirely, if they ever disappear at all.

Except...well, except when he’s with Ian. Ian never makes him feel dirty in that way. He’s never ashamed of who he is when he’s with Ian. It’s liberating, like he can finally fucking breathe after being crushed under rocks for the past twenty six years.

The train hit a bump on the tracks, causing Mickey’s head to bounce against the window, sending a jolt of pain through his already throbbing skull. He groaned and leaned forward, propping his elbows up on his knees so he could lean over with his palms supporting his head.

He closed his eyes, trying to will away the pounding headache and the fact that his face felt like it was literally on fire. He must have dozed off for a few minutes, because when his glassy eyes reopened there was a decent pool of blood puddling between his sneakers and his half of the train had been vacated, people crowding around the other end like they’ve never seen someone bleeding on the L before.

Mickey growled and snapped like a rabid dog, “The fuck’re you lookin’ at?”

Someone coughed and everyone immediately diverted their eyes somewhere else. Great, he was that person now.

He looked up at the electronic board that displayed the next stop, groaning when he realized he missed his fucking stop and was heading deeper into the city and further away from the South Side. He could get off the next stop and just wait for the next train heading the opposite direction and go pass out in the comfort of his shitty fucking apartment.

Or...or he could ride the train with these judgmental assholes for a few more stops until he got to Ian’s neighborhood and have that tall ginger shithead fuck all the negative thoughts and feelings out of his head, to have the other man’s calloused hands blazing reminders into his skin that this was okay, that this was okay, that this was okay.

Once that idea settled into his mind, his feet and brain wouldn’t collaborate on anything else. The only time they would be standing and walking would be if the final destination was Ian’s apartment, Mickey’s whole body on board with that idea apparently.

He waited a few more minutes until the conductor announced the stop over the intercom which sounded more like static than actual words. He stood up, his hand jolting out to grasp onto the railing for support when he got lightheaded from standing up too fast, his head already woozy to begin with.

The doors dinged open and Mickey walked out onto the platform, but not before flipping off everyone on the train with both hands. The walk to Ian’s wasn’t too bad and it was made easier by the fact that he wasn’t weighed down with groceries or any of the other requirements he brought to work with him.

He paused, leaning against a street sign for balance and took a deep breathe. Holy fuck, he was breaking his own damn rule. Not only was he showing up to Ian’s when he wasn’t scheduled he was showing up fucking covered in blood and bruised from head to toe.

What the fuck was he thinking? It’s only been about a month since he set up their guidelines and he was already going to break them? This was fucking reckless.

But he needed this, he fucking needed Ian, as weak and clingy as that sounded. Mickey needed his soft hands and gentle words to soothe his bruised and swollen skin, he needed the comfort that wafted off Ian like heat waves to soak into his bones and alleviate the ache that plagued his whole body. God, he was so fucking gay.

He huffed out a breath and licked his bottom lip, wishing he could shut his brain off for one goddamn second, that’s all he needed. One second to just reset his brain and get him thinking straight.

Ha, straight, that’s what started this whole thing.

Mickey pushed himself off the street sign and kept walking. He was exhausted, as much as he wanted to get fucked hard he had a feeling he would be falling asleep as soon as the dried blood was cleaned off his face.

When he got to Ian’s building he was surprised to see the doorman wasn’t outside like usual, chalking it up to the universe deciding he needed something good to happen to him today. He pushed the door open, walking into the lobby and keeping his body turned so the bruised side of his face wouldn’t attract the attention of the girl at the front desk.

She turned her head when she noticed his presence, “Mr. Milkovich, wasn’t expecting to see you tonight.”

He paused, probably looking awkward as fuck keeping his body turned away from her. “Uh, yeah, forgot something important upstairs, gotta grab it.”

She nodded and went back to doing whatever the fuck she was doing and Mickey would have sprinted to the elevator if his sore body allowed it, instead he just walked at a slightly faster pace.

He leaned back against the cool metal of the elevator, sighing as the cold feeling seeped into the fabric of his shirt and started soothing his burning skin. He punched the number 13 a little too rough and leaned his head back, sighing heavily.

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open to the floor that was becoming all too familiar to Mickey by now. His mind was a constant battle between “ should I or shouldn’t I ?’ like he had a devil and an angel whispering into his ear.

Half of him knew he wouldn’t regret showing up to Ian’s like this, unannounced and bruised as all hell. But the other half knew that as soon as the sun started shining he would be kicking himself in the ass over and over about breaking his own goddamn rules, rules he set up to protect himself and his career. It was a slippery and steep slope he was on and he was trying to clutch onto the edges to keep from falling, but his fingers couldn’t get the right grip.

Mickey sighed and ran his fingers through his knotted and blood crusted hair, “I shouldn’t be fucking doing this.”

He knocked on the door.

Chapter Text

Ian groaned into his pillow as his alarm clock started blaring loudly at 5:30am sharp. He picked his phone up angrily from the nightstand and tapped the snooze option before throwing it down on the mattress with a bounce.

He snuggled further into the pillow and inhaled deeply through his nose. When he fell asleep last night the pillow smelled distinctly like Mickey still, now it just smelled like laundry detergent and shampoo. He moved the fluffy thing around and sniffed at different spots trying to detect the faintest smell of Mickey lingering on his pillow.

God, he was pathetic.

He rolled over onto his back and stretched his arms above his head, yawning loudly. He hissed when his back started stinging from rubbing against the sheets, even though the sheets were soft the threads still irritated his scratched up back.

He smiled, the slight pain causing him to remember the night before. Not like he forgot in the few short hours he was asleep. Hell he probably wouldn’t forget last night until he was six feet under.

The whole evening kept playing back like a movie in his head, cycling in and out of his sleep fogged brain. He loved having that physical reminder that Mickey personally etched into his skin that he had had him completely the night before.

It was the small details that took up permanence in his mind; like the way Mickey would gnaw on his bottom lip to keep from moaning to loud, his breathy little exhales every time Ian pushed into him, the blush that started on his chest and rose up his neck, the small barely there smile that was plastered across his face the whole time.

Fuck, it was fucking him up all over again.

He jumped out of bed before he could get too wrapped up in his own fantasies, his dick semi-hard already. He didn’t have time for that today, he had a lot of training to do and he told Lip he would meet him sometime for lunch. He hadn’t seen his brother in a few weeks and Lip was starting to get pissy.

Once he was properly awake and had a banana and a protein shake he was ready for his morning workout. The workout changes everyday, but for the most part each one consisted of forty minutes of cardio, an hour or so focusing on another area of the body, then a thirty minute cool down. Today he was focusing on his legs. He fucking hated leg day, after forty minutes of running on the treadmill the last thing he wanted was to do leg presses and lunges, his muscles always ended up aching for hours and feeling like jello afterwards. He could work on his core and arms all day, but he always had to push himself harder on leg day.

He was halfway through his leg workout when he heard a pounding at the door. It was still early in the morning, barely 8am, who the fuck was trying to break down his door right now? Not that he wasn’t grateful for the distraction from leg presses, but he was slightly concerned due to the early hour and urgency of the knocks.

He wiped a towel over his head to soak up the sweat as he slowly made his way to the front door. The knocking coming again even louder than before. He pulled the door open slowly, expecting to see his brother or maybe even the police. The last thing he expected was to see the blonde bob that belonged to Alexa bouncing up and down on the other side of the door.

He groaned and pulled the door open, the smaller woman ripping into the apartment like a tornado. Her excited energy was rolling off her like waves, the smile that was stretched across her face looked painful.

“Is there a reason you’re basically breaking my door down this early in the morning? I coulda been sleeping,” Ian said.

Alexa scoffed, rolling her eyes behind her thick framed glasses, which were definitely only for decoration, “Shut up, I know you were awake at 5:30 getting ready to workout you weirdo. I have some great fucking news!”

Ian flinched at the volume of her voice, but his eyebrows rose up his forehead in amusement. If she was this excited it must have been big, she wasn’t even this excited when she landed him his first big contract.

She slid into a stool at the island, drumming her hands against the surface, “Remember that photoshoot with Calvin Klein you did a month or so ago?” she paused, waiting for Ian’s confirmation. He rolled his eyes and nodded his head, urging her to continue, “Well! I thought it was a little weird that they were shooting with models that weren’t celebrities or high fashion models. Turns out that they were holding secret auditions! That’s why it was so easy to get you in there, they were booking shoots with a lot of different models from different areas of expertise. They want new faces for their runway show later this year and baby, you made the list!” she finished with a flourish of her hands.

Ian definitely didn’t hear that correctly, he must have a wax build up in his ears or something. He poked his pinky finger into his ear to try to dislodge the imaginary wax, disappointed when he removed his finger and his hearing wasn’t altered at all.

“Ex-excuse me?” he said.

Alexa smiled, basically vibrating in her seat, “They fucking want you to walk their runway show! This is amazing, Ian! Imagine all the new opportunities that will come from this!”

Ian’s jaw was basically on the floor, his heart beating rapidly in his chest. He heard the words, but they weren’t really clicking, “But I-I’m not a fashion model, I model track suits and-and fucking...running shoes, I don’t do runway.”

“Well hunny, you’re about too! They really liked what they saw during your session, sent me a huge email raving about your professionalism and how amazing your body is, blah blah blah,” Alexa said as she waved her hands around dramatically, “they want us to meet with them this weekend at their offices in New York to talk face to face!”

“New York? This weekend?” It felt like he couldn’t breathe, his brain wasn’t even able to process information let alone remind his lungs to expand.

Alexa pulled out her phone and scrolled through her emails to find the details, “Mhhm, tomorrow afternoon around two. Our flight leaves at noon today so pack your bags, Princess!”

Ian felt frozen to the spot like his shoes suddenly super glued to the floor, his mouth hanging open like a dead fish. Alexa hopped out of her stool and laughed at Ian’s dumbfounded expression. She walked around the island, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge before she playfully smacked Ian’s ass.

“Get moving, we have a career to launch!” she said with a smile in her voice.

That was the kickstart Ian needed he basically tripped over his own feet in his haste to get to his bedroom. He threw an empty gym bag onto the bed and started tossing random clothing items in there without folding them, not even paying attention to what he was packing.

Fuck, he needed to shower he smelled like shit. Damn, he had to text Lip and cancel lunch, he’s going to be pissed. Jesus, this is all happening so fast.

Ian picked up his phone and instead of texting his brother the first message he went to was his conversation with Mickey. He was about to start typing when he paused; did he really need to text Mickey that he was leaving for the weekend? It’s not like they had any plans and Mickey wouldn’t miraculously change his mind and show up on a non-workday, right?

They weren’t at that point yet, if they ever got there at all. Ian was still uncertain about what Mickey’s “intentions” were. Where Ian was ready to plow on full steam ahead into relationship territory, Mickey was still holding on to the hook-up mentality with white knuckles.

And it was making Ian antsy. He liked to have things clearly laid out in front of him in black and white, no misconceptions or confusion about anything. But shit with Mickey was a jumble of colors, like the water that a painter dips their brushes into. All the colors have bled together to make this murky cup of water that you can’t see through and it had him on edge not knowing where the other man stood in regards to this thing .

But he didn’t want to push Mickey either. He’s not saying his dick is the cure to everything but he was certain that after last night something would have shifted within Mickey to have him maybe starting to consider taking things further.

It’s been less than twenty four hours you shithead, relax , Ian thought to himself.

He shook his head and exited that conversation and went to text Lip, cancelling their lunch plans with an unnecessary amount of apologies. This was a huge career opportunity for him, Lip could shove his complaints up his ass.

Ian took a quick shower to clear his head and wash the sweat from his skin and he was back to packing. It was just a quick visit to New York but for some reason he found short vacations harder to pack for, there was always some necessary item that was overlooked and forgotten. He did a quick mental checklist of everything in the bag and zipped it up, satisfied that he had everything he would need for their short weekend getaway.

He walked out into the kitchen with his bag slung over his shoulder and saw Alexa’s head shoved deep into his snack cabinet, munching on his last bag of cashews.

“Ready to go when you are, chipmunk.”

Alexa whipped around, her cheeks puffed out in mid chew. She swallowed and smiled brightly at Ian, “Thank god, you took forever, the taxi has been waiting outside since I got here. You’re paying!” she said as she danced her way to the front door.

Ian rolled his eyes but couldn’t stop himself from smiling, her enthusiasm was contagious. He followed her out of the apartment, making sure everything was shut off before locking the door up tight and making his way to the elevator.

His phone vibrated in his pocket as soon as he was settled into the back seat of the taxi. He groaned internally at what he assumed was going to be more complaints from Lip about how he was feeling neglected or whatever the fuck.

What he wasn’t expecting was to see Mickey’s name flashing across his lock screen. He quickly unlocked his phone, almost dropping the thing in his rushed state. The message was pretty normal and lame, just a simple “ hey ” but Ian’s heart burst at the implications. He smiled so wide he thought his cheeks would splinter from the pressure. Mickey texted him unprompted, this was definitely a first. It meant the other man was thinking of Ian in some capacity and he was thrilled by that concept.

He got settled against the leather seat before sending back a greeting of his own, smiling the entire time.

The flight was relatively short and before long they were settled into their hotel in Manhattan.

It wasn’t Ian’s first time in New York, but the sight always took his breath away. He obviously wasn’t new to city life, but New York was different than Chicago on so many levels. The hustle and bustle of city life seemed so much louder in New York than it was in Chicago. The streets were constantly flooded with people flowing with the current, the lights were much brighter and were perpetually flashing and scrolling along the sides of buildings, advertising products and services to everyone all hours of the day.

It truly was the city that never slept. Even Chicago had it’s semi-quiet moments, but Ian had a feeling that the only time New York would truly be silent was if the world stopped turning.

In reality the cities weren’t vastly different, but it was still unfamiliar territory to Ian. There was the thrill of the unknown, the excitement of being unaware of your surroundings, the comfort in knowing that you are a stranger here, just a visitor with no real claims to anyone or anything. He was a ghost; here one day and gone the next.

And Ian fucking loved it. He loved that anonymity, he knew no one here and no one knew him, he could truly be whoever he wanted.

Their hotel for the weekend was located right across the street from Central Park on one of the top floors, their room on the side that provided gorgeous views of the skyline. Ian stood by the window while Alexa got ready for their meeting in an hour, his eyes scanning over the city and trying to commit every detail to memory.

Once again he couldn’t stop his mind from traveling to Mickey and it was seriously becoming a problem, thoughts of the other man constantly distracting him at the most inopportune times. He wondered if Mickey had ever been to New York, or if he had ever even been on a plane.

Ian scoffed at himself, of course Mickey had never been on a plane. He was just as South Side as Ian, their families didn’t have money to spend on luxuries like family vacations and weekend getaways. Hell, until two years ago Ian had never been on a plane either.

Ian would love to be the first person to bring Mickey to New York, he can just imagine the way that Mickey’s face would be frozen in awe, his eyes shimmering with the bright lights reflecting in pool of blue, that fucking mesmerizing smile of his as big as ever. Ian would be able to take Mickey on an actual fucking date and bring him to all the fancy restaurants since the threat of being recognized by someone wouldn’t even be an issue. He would love to hear Mickey drone on and on about the cuisine for hours as he stared at him with unveiled affection and admiration from the other side of the table.

One of these days, Ian would bring Mickey to New York, he was sure about that.

The door to the bathroom swung open with a flourish, the smell of Alexa’s shampoo following her out of the bathroom like a cloud. Ian turned from the window, smiling at this small, tenacious little woman he was lucky enough to have as his agent.

He reached up and started straightening his tie nervously, “Are you sure I need to wear this thing? Isn’t it a bit too...formal?”

They went shopping last night once they got settled into their hotel room, Alexa raiding Ian’s bag to see if he had appropriate interview attire. She was pretty peeved when she realized not one damn thing he brought would suffice for the meeting and she had basically dragged him out of the hotel by his ear like a pissed of grandmother to the nearest tailor.

She scoffed and gazed into the mirror to expertly apply her lipstick, smacking her lips once she was finished. “Hun, we’re trying to look fashionable and professional. You look great, stop worrying about it.”

Ian looked at her in disbelieve, nervously adjusting the tie once more. She turned to look at him, her hands on her hips, “Stop fussing with it and let’s go!”

He took one last look in the mirror and flattened out the already flat lapels and started picking off imaginary lint. He inhaled a deep breathe of stale hotel room air and followed Alexa out into the corridor.

His phone buzzed on the descent down to the ground floor. He unlocked it quickly once he saw that it was another text from Mickey and opened their thread to see a picture that Mickey had sent of some delicious looking cheesecake with the caption “want some firecrotch? ;]

you fucking jerk ” Ian sent back, complete with a few middle finger emoji’s for emphasis. He bit his lip and stared at the glowing numbers on the wall of the elevator, his heart racing with adrenaline, not only from this career changing interview he was about to have but also with the fact that Mickey had taken to texting him first these last few days.

It was a stupid thing to get this hung up about, but it was the little things that Ian cherished the most.

“To Ian Gallagher, Calvin Klein’s newest runway model!” Alexa said, raising her champagne glass into the air.

Ian smiled and looked around embarrassed but raised his glass to clink it against Alexa’s and took a decent sip of the expensive champagne afterwards. The meeting had gone flawlessly, the executive looked over Ian’s portfolio with admiration and couldn’t stop talking about how amazing he was during the photoshoot a few months ago. Apparently it was rare to find a model that didn’t have a disgusting air of superiority surrounding them and Ian’s attitude and professionalism was like a breath of fresh air.

They had talked about the specifics of what he would be doing on the runway and told him it was okay if his walk wasn’t perfect, they were going for the unpolished look anyway. Depending on how he did with the runway there would be more opportunities open to him, not only with Calvin Klein but with other fashion agencies as well.

It was all so fucking surreal, Ian almost didn’t believe it was happening. When he first started modeling it was just something he did to make a quick few bucks, he never saw it as a long term thing. Landing his first big photoshoot with Nike two years ago was an eye opener and it made him realize that this was something he could make his career. The money was good and he was good at it too, so fuck it. It might not have been the path he saw his life taking but he was going to ride this train as long as possible.

“Whatcha gonna eat tonight babes, everything is on me!” Alexa said, her eyes scanning over the ridiculously priced food items.

Ian groaned, “we could have eaten somewhere less expensive than this. All this food is outrageously priced, Lex!”

“Hunny, we’re paying for the experience , not the food. Jeez, you know nothing. You just booked a huge contract! We’re splurging tonight, don’t even think about getting a salad!”

Ian laughed because he definitely was planning on getting a salad. But she was right, they were celebrating, he could deviate from his diet again and binge on some juicy steak and fancy potatoes.

He hit the home button on his phone that was resting face up on the table, illuminating the screen but seeing nothing in his notifications. Alexa looked at him, her brow cocked in curiosity, “You’ve been looking at your phone obsessively all night, am I not interesting enough?” she said, her voice taking on a playfully offended tone.

Ian chuckled and took another sip of his champagne, “You’re plenty interesting my dear, just waiting for a response from someone is all.” Ian had texted Mickey after his meeting, it wasn’t anything big and he definitely didn’t tell him about his new career development, but he was still anxiously awaiting a mundane reply from the other man.

“Is it Mickey?” She drew out the last syllable of Mickey’s name like she was singing a song.

Ian choked on his champagne, the carbonation feeling like nails scratching against his throat. He coughed quickly and took a sip of the complimentary water. Once he was settled he looked at Alexa’s smirking face.

“That obvious, huh?” he asked.

She laughed, throwing her head back, her voluminous blonde curls bouncing back and forth, “Every time you get a new text message you get this moony look on your face, you’re essentially the heart eye emoji. I just assumed it was Mickey, I knew you liked that boy ever since I met him a few months ago back in your apartment.”

Ian flushed, he knew he wasn’t subtle but he didn’t think he had been that transparent. He took another sip of the champagne, the small amount of alcohol in his system already loosening his lips. He was such a light weight and this expensive shit was going to his head quickly.

“Uh, yeah, I like him a lot actually. We um- we finally slept together on Thursday,” he said.

“Already dick whipped?” Alexa asked with a smirk.

Ian laughed hard, tears leaking out the corner of his eyes. He didn’t think he would ever hear words like that coming out of her mouth. “Jesus Christ, Lex. I am not dick whipped.”

She grinned, biting the corner of her lip before she took a generous sip of her own champagne, “I somehow don’t believe you.”

Ian looked down at the menu, a blush creeping across his cheeks. He wasn’t “dick whipped”, but he was definitely Mickey whipped. That man had Ian wrapped around his tattooed finger and didn’t even know it.

“I am not dick whipped. The situation is just...complicated.” Ian shrugged.

That certainly piqued Alexa’s interest, also one to thrive off gossip and the drama of other people’s lives. She always said her life was boring, but Ian didn’t see how that was possible being a single, middle aged fashion agent. She had the opportunity to travel to world without anyone or anything holding her back, enjoying her life to the fullest.

“Complicated how?” she asked.

Ian groaned, he knew he shouldn’t have mentioned anything, she’s going to want every last gory detail. But maybe she would be able to offer some advice to him and shed some light on some facts that Ian couldn’t see in the shadow of his lust. He gulped back the last of his champagne and filled his glass up again, the bottle chilling in a bucket next to the table, he was going to need it for this conversation.

Ian took a deep breathe and delved right into the issue. The more he talked about it he realized he had a lot of internalized emotions and thoughts swirling in his head about the situation, some things he didn’t even know he had been thinking about until they were spilling out of his mouth. Their waiter came over halfway through Ian’s spiel and he ordered his food mechanically before he dove right back into the conversation.

Alexa looked on with a shocked expression, her facial movements matching Ian’s monologue perfectly, letting him know that she was fully listening to everything he said. He didn’t even pause for a breathe it seemed, rambling on and on about his feelings for Mickey and how trapped he felt in their current situation. He was so infatuated with Mickey it was all he could think about and apparently all he could fucking talk about so it was no surprise that he had a lot to say on the matter.

He finished his word vomit right as the waiter was bringing their food to the table, placing it down on the white table cloth delicately and refilling their glasses of water and champagne for them.

Ian immediately dug into the steak, his mouth watering as soon as the thing was placed in front of him. He doesn’t remember the last time he had red meat and he was excited to sink his teeth into the meal. His stomach was still churning from his conversation, wondering if he said too much and had spooked Alexa into silence. She still hadn’t acknowledged any of Ian’s rambling and it was making him uneasy. He never knew when to shut the fuck up.

She took a few bites of her meal, washing it down with a sip of champagne before responding, “So, let me get this straight, he is jeopardizing his job with this company and essentially his own future career to be intimate with you and you don’t think that means anything? I don’t believe he would continue to do something like this if he didn’t truly want it, Ian. He’s a hardass, I got that the moment I met him. He’s no bullshit and clearly cares about his career a great deal but he could potentially lose all of that as a consequence for being with you ,” she took another bite of her food, “from what you said there is clearly a connection there, you can’t fake shit like that. He is just being cautious, I don’t blame him. I think you need to relax over there, Red, and stop over thinking things.”

Ian grumbled, keeping his eyes downcast as he sliced into his steak, “Shit, I know you’re right. But it’s so hard. I want him around me all the fucking time and I’m limited to this twice a week bullshit. It sucks.”

“How much longer is he working for you?” she asked.

Ian bit into his steak, taking a moment to relish in it’s juicy deliciousness, “I mean, I guess I can dismiss him whenever I want, right?” he took a sip of his champagne, “but what if he doesn’t want anything to do with me afterwards? He gets dismissed from working with me and I never fucking see him again? I can’t risk that. I should just fucking hire him permanently.”

“But then you would still be stuck in this weird client/worker limbo that you’re currently in,” she said.

He groaned, knowing she was right. It was a shitty situation to be in and he didn’t really know how to break out of it.

“To be fair, I don’t think he would break it off once he wasn’t employed by you anymore. Have you fucking seen yourself lately? What self respecting gay man would pass up the opportunity to hit that every night?” Alexa said with a laugh.

Ian smiled, though it didn’t reach his eyes. He was sick of being reduced to his body and looks, which was sort of silly considering the contract he just signed.

But he could offer Mickey so much more than just his fucking body. Ian knew that, but did Mickey know that? Fuck he was spiralling, this was a bad idea bringing all this up, this was supposed to be a celebratory dinner and now it was being tainted by thoughts of inadequacy and unrequited feelings.

He didn’t say anything else on the subject, instead directing the conversation to other things to distract both himself and Alexa. They finished the rest of their meal and settled into a comfortable silence every so often, thoughts of Mickey still swirling around untethered in Ian’s head despite the change in conversation.

The waiter cleared their dishes once they were done, the bottle of champagne nearly empty and they ended up splitting the last of it.

“Any dessert for you folks this evening?” the waiter asked.

Ian looked over to Alexa deviously, a smirk stretching across his face. Diet be damned, he was having some motherfucking cheesecake tonight.

Ian sighed heavily as he pulled his bag from the back of the taxi, closing the trunk roughly. He patted the trunk twice to let the driver know he was all set, the driver not wasting a single second before peeling away from the curb like he was getting chased by the police. Ian shook his head and walked towards the front door of his building, his feet dragging like they were encased in cement.

The doorman wasn’t there like he usually was and Ian was fine with that. He always felt a little uneasy interacting with him because he really didn’t need someone opening doors and carrying his bags for him, he wasn’t a damsel from the twenties for crying out loud.

He walked into the cool air of the lobby, smiling politely at the woman working the front desk before he ambled over to the elevator. Even though New York wasn’t that far of a flight, the whole process always exhausted him, not to mention the copious amounts of alcohol he drank with Alexa the night before definitely didn’t make the short flight any easier. He was so excited to get home, take a shower and pass out enveloped in his soft sheets and fluffy bed.

The elevator lurched when it started its ascent to the thirteenth floor, causing Ian’s heart to speed up for a moment but it soon leveled out. The doors dinged open to reveal the dark red carpet that he’s walked down a million times before.

Jiggling his keys in the lock, he pushed the door open with a flourish and let his bag slip off his shoulder to land with a thunk on the floor. He shut and locked the door making sure the chain lock was securely in place before he walked over to the kitchen for a bottle of water and a meal more filling than airplane peanuts.

He pulled the fridge door open, the strong light blinding him momentarily. He shifted through his food containers, browsing the leftovers from the last few days to find something that would make his stomach stop rumbling. He picked up one of the blue containers and pulled the top back to sniff the food, trying to decide which dinner he was in the mood for this evening.

Ian would always mix and match his dinners. Yeah, they were labeled with the specific days but he figured it didn’t matter mucj, they were all low calorie and healthy anyway. He decided to eat the meal that was prepared for Friday night and placed the container in the microwave, hitting the button to heat the meal for three minutes.

He left the food in the microwave and walked to his bedroom, striping his shirt off on the way, desperate to get into a pair of soft sweatpants and a loose shirt so he could plop himself down on the couch comfortably while he stuffed his face.

Ian was pulling his sweatpants on when he heard a pounding at the door, his brow creasing in curiousity. It wouldn’t be Alexa again, she was just as eager to go home after their two day trip as he was. Lip would have called or texted before popping over, not one to come over unannounced incase Ian was “entertaining” as Lip so eloquently put it.

Shit, maybe it was Mickey. Was it possible that Mickey missed Ian as much as Ian missed him? Jesus, he’s such a sap.

The knocking came again, a little louder and more insistent than before. He walked out of his room and slowly made his way over the door, his steps cautious and weary. It was time’s like this he wished he had a peep hole so he could look out into the hallway to see who was there before opening the door. What a dangerous design flaw on the architect's end.

He pulled the door open slowly, the chain lock keeping it from opening all the way and he peered out the small opening to look into the hallway, his eyes landing on the bruised and bloody form of none other than Mickey Milkovich.

Ian gasped and closed the door, frantically sliding the chain out of it’s place and pulling the door open fully, “Jesus Mickey, what the fuck happened?”

Mickey’s eyes, well...eye, scanned the inside of his apartment quickly before focusing on Ian. “You uh--got any ice?”

Ian’s eyes bulged out a little bit taking in Mickey’s form. His right eye was completely hidden behind his swollen and bruised flesh, there was a cut above his eyebrow that had dripped a decent amount of blood down the entire right side of his face, his clothes were covered in red splotches and dirt and his knuckles were bruised and swollen as well.

“Do I got any ice?” Ian repeated slowly and sarcastically, “get the fuck in here!”

Do you got any ice, that’s the first thing Mickey has to say? What the fuck. He closed the door, sliding the chain back into place and turned the lock on the doorknob.

“Smells good in here,” Mickey said as he sniffed the air, “what’s that, fuckin’ Friday’s dinner?”

Ian walked into the kitchen and pulled open the freezer, taking out a package of definitely expired peas and wrapping them in a dish towel before he handed it over to Mickey.

“You’re a freak. Yeah, it is Friday’s dinner.” Ian said, right as the microwave peeped to signify it was done heating the food. He ignored it, more pressing matters were currently standing in his kitchen holding a bag of frozen pea’s to his fucking face.

“Today’s Sunday.” Mickey said. His voice sounded detached and far away, like even though he was standing here, he wasn’t really here.

Ian huffed, growing aggravated at Mickey’s evasiveness. “Your point?” he asked.

Mickey sat down in Ian’s usual stool, the one he always sat in when he was watching Mickey float around the kitchen. Mickey propped his elbow up on the counter and leaned onto the bag of peas, seemingly too exhausted to even hold his head up.

“I uh- I don’t remember.” Mickey responded.

Ian snorted a laugh before scanning his eyes over Mickey’s face again before asking softly, “Wanna tell me what happened?”

Mickey sighed, his shoulders shaking with the force of it. It took him a moment but he looked into Ian’s eyes before opening and closing his mouth a few times, taking a second to formulate his thoughts.

He eventually settled on responding with, “not really, if that’s okay?”

Ian nodded, not going to push Mickey for information if he didn’t want to give it. He walked around the counter and grabbed onto Mickey’s hand, tugging on his arm lightly.

“That’s fine, you don’t gotta tell me anything. But just let me fix you up a bit, yeah?” he asked.

Mickey nodded, standing from the stool and shaking his hand out of Ian’s grip, apparently not wishing to be touched more than necessary at the moment.

They walked down the hallway into the bathroom, Ian directing Mickey to sit down on the toilet. He turned to get the first aid kit he kept underneath the sink. He peeked a glance at Mickey who was scowling at nothing holding the towel wrapped peas to his head still. Ian unclicked the hooks on the first aid kit and pulled out the antiseptic wipes Mickey was oh so fond of, a roll of gauze and some butterfly strips.

“Alright, move the towel and lemme clean it off to see what we’re working with,” Ian said.

Mickey obliged, lowering the peas and revealing his busted up face. Ian winced, the sight causing a pang in his chest. He frowned and moved closer to Mickey, nudging his legs open with his knee and shuffled forward to stand between the other man’s now spread legs. He put his thumb and index finger on his chin and pointed his head up towards the light.

He ripped open the packet of antiseptic wipes with his teeth and Mickey’s eyes widened dramatically as he jerked back from Ian.

“No fuckin’ way, that shit stings,” Mickey spat.

Ian sighed and pulled Mickey’s head up again. “I know it does, Mick. But we gotta clean this. Some nasty shit coulda gotten in there, you could get an infection. Your eyes are too damn pretty to get fucked up by a stupid infection because you were being a little bitch.”

Ian smirked and Mickey flipped him off, but he didn’t pull back again so Ian figured that was a good sign. He wiped the cut with some gauze as gingerly as he could, trying to sop up the small trickle of blood that was still seeping out. Once it was clean he swiped the antiseptic wipe over the cut, Mickey hissed through his teeth but didn’t flinch away.

“Sorry,” Ian mumbled as he continued to wipe the cut, making sure that all the dried blood was removed and there was no dirt surrounding the immediate area.

“It’s not that bad actually, head injuries just tend to bleed more. If you were drinking that doesn’t help either, alcohol thins the blood and shit.” Ian smiled lightly, trying to reassure Mickey that it really was okay.

He opened a new packet of wipes and cleaned the cut a little bit more before he was satisfied that it was completely free of harmful bacteria and tossed the soiled wipes into the trash. He pulled out a few butterfly strips and pinched the cut closed as delicately as he could, Mickey wincing at the slight pain. It only took four strips across the cut until it was relatively covered and pinched together as tightly as the bargain brand strips would allow.

He stepped back to look at Mickey’s face and tried to assess if there were any more areas that needed immediate attention. Besides the grossly swollen and bruised eye the rest of his face looked alright.

“Everything looks okay. I don’t know if you wanna shower or anything? I can get you some clean clothes?” Ian asked softly.

Mickey nodded and kept his gaze locked on the tiled floor. Ian hummed to himself and turned to gather the necessary clothing items from his bedroom. He had only moved about a foot before he felt Mickey’s warm hand curl around his wrist and pull him back towards him gently.

“Would you uh-would you wanna shower with me?” Mickey asked, the one eye that wasn’t shrouded looked up at him pleadingly.

Ian smiled and reached up to run his fingers through Mickey’s hair, pulling apart some of the knots that had formed in the dark mess.

“Sure, yeah. Just- just let me go grab some clothes and I’ll be right back. Start the shower?” Ian asked.

Mickey nodded and released Ian’s wrist from his grip. Ian leaned down and kissed the crown of Mickey’s head real quick before walking into his bedroom, hearing the shower start shortly after his retreat.

Ian paused in front of his dresser and leaned against the polished wood and took a few deep breaths. He’s wanted Mickey to come over on his own accord for weeks now and when he finally does show up it looks like he got hit in the face with a fucking hammer. It was painful to see him looking like that. But he was kind of ecstatic that Mickey was here even though the circumstances surrounding his arrival were unclear and kind of fucked up. It meant that Mickey trusted him enough when he was vulnerable, it meant that Mickey was reaching out to Ian for comfort and help and those factors made Ian’s heart swell.

Mickey trusted him. Mickey fucking trusted him and that wasn’t something he was going to take lightly.

He grabbed some clothes and walked back into the bathroom, the steam from the shower already fogging up the mirror. He saw Mickey’s dirty clothes piled in the corner and his heart fluttered. Not only was Mickey naked in his shower, Mickey specifically asked Ian to shower with him. This was a whole new fucking level.

He stripped quickly, his clothes piling up in front of the sink and pulled the curtain back to step into the steaming shower. Mickey had his back facing the stream of water, his head tilted back to wash the shampoo out of his hair. Ian trailed his eyes up and down Mickey’s body, licking his lips unconsciously at the image of him naked and fucking dripping wet in his shower. Ian’s eyes caught on the hickey he left on Mickey’s neck a few days ago, the corner of his mouth pulling up in a smirk, proud that the mark was still there days later.

He heard a chuckle and his eyes darted up to lock onto Mickey’s, a devious smile stretching across the other man's lips, “Admiring your handiwork, Firecrotch?”

Ian flushed a little before he stepped closer to Mickey. He grabbed a face cloth from the small shelf on the wall and reached up towards the shower head to get it wet, momentarily stopping the stream of water from pounding down on Mickey.

“Maybe I was,” he smirked, squeezing some body wash onto the cloth, making sure there was enough suds to do the job. He started rubbing at Mickey’s face with the cloth to get the dried blood and dirt off his skin, trying to be as gentle as possible to not hurt the tender flesh.

Mickey sighed, his eyes bouncing around Ian’s face and chest while Ian continued to wipe at his face delicately, like he was afraid Mickey would break. This was all oddly intimate, but it’s apparently what Mickey needed if he wasn’t pulling away or making any snarky comments about it.

“Turn around,” Ian whispered.

Mickey obliged, turning so his back was to Ian and backing up a little bit so his face didn't get pelted by the hot water.

Ian trailed the cloth over Mickey’s back with one hand, the other reaching up to lightly rest on his hip, his fingers nervously tapping a rhythm on Mickey’s skin. Mickey let out a soft breath and tilted his chin towards his chest, enjoying the soft passes of the cloth over his skin.

Ian noticed a small scar on Mickey’s shoulder, one that looked like it was once a deep and painful wound. It healed roughly, still red and angry looking even though it was probably a few years old. He didn’t even fucking think, just leaned down to kiss the scar tenderly.

Mickey’s shoulders tensed briefly from the contact, but he relaxed shortly after and let a soft sigh float passed his lips. Ian continued kissing his skin, leaving a trail from that scar to the back of Mickey’s neck, licking and kissing but not sucking, content to lap up the drops of water that continuously formed on Mickey’s skin with his tongue.

The last thing Ian wanted when he got in the shower was to make it sexual. Was he craving Mickey? Fuck yeah he was, he always was. But now wasn’t the time, the whole night still felt utterly surreal and he didn’t want to burst this weird bubble they had found themselves in.

But was soon as Mickey tilted his head back against Ian’s shoulder and shuffled backwards closer to Ian it was like that spark of want ignited into a fucking inferno of need. Ian dropped the face cloth, where it landed with a wet splat on the bottom of the tub, and grabbed onto Mickey’s other hip, pulling him back more as he moved his lips to the side of his neck, dragging his tongue and teeth across the damp skin.

Mickey hummed and reached up to lightly grab onto the back of Ian’s head, his fingers curling into the wet strands of hair as he tilted his head to the side. Ian sighed against his skin, taking the invitation and laving his tongue everywhere he could reach, stopping briefly to suck onto that mark again.  

Mickey gasped and pushed his ass back against Ian, lightly grazing against Ian’s cock. Ian whimpered against Mickey’s neck and moved his lips to suck lightly behind Mickey’s ear before travelling to leave a blazing trail on a different patch of skin. Ian removed one hand from Mickey’s hip and started moving it along Mickey’s chest. He rubbed his thumb against his nipple briefly before he continued moving south, scratching his nails lightly across Mickey’s stomach.

“Ian,” Mickey let out in a breathy sigh, his fingers curling a bit tighter into Ian’s hair.

Ian groaned against Mickey’s neck and pushed a little closer to get some friction on his rapidly swelling cock. He feathered his fingers down towards Mickey’s dick, trailing through the dark hair above before loosely curling his fist around the base of his semi-hard dick, stroking it once in one long pull, the water causing his hand to slide along Mickey’s length with ease.

Mickey moaned fucking loud, his voice echoing around the small bathroom. Ian smiled into his neck, continuing to pull teasingly on his cock over and over, trying to keep his movements slow while he continued to move his lips and tongue across Mickey’s skin.

The hand that Mickey didn’t have holding onto the back of Ian’s head wormed it’s way behind him, he grabbed onto Ian’s hip and jerked him forward roughly until Ian’s front was completely plastered against Mickey’s back, his cock sliding against Mickey’s ass.

Ian’s mouth dropped open in a silent moan, letting out a sharp puff of hot air over Mickey’s skin. He curled his fist a little tighter around Mickey’s cock, reveling in the way the other man’s body shivered from the pressure. He still kept a leisurely pace, pulling slowly but surely on Mickey’s cock and occasionally rubbing his palm and thumb against the head.

The noises tumbling out of Mickey’s mouth were so hot, debauched sounding moans and whiney little sighs, some of the sounds getting drowned out by the noise of the water still pounding down from the shower head. Ian rolled his pelvis against Mickey, lightly thrusting against his ass to feel something , his dick now aching with arousal and need. Mickey sighed heavily, licking his lips and pulling the bottom one between his teeth.

Ian stopped and licked Mickey’s neck, moving to nibble on his earlobe once before whispering “you’re so fucking sexy,” into Mickey’s ear.

Mickey turned his head and pushed his lips against Ian’s, the angle a little awkward but still good. Ian groaned against his lips, eagerly returning the kiss and pushing his crotch against Mickey with a newfound ferocity. Mickey whined against Ian’s lips and thrust forward into his fist before pushing backwards to wiggle his ass against Ian.

Ian poked his tongue out, requesting permission to push into Mickey’s mouth. Mickey opened up, but ended up pushing his tongue into Ian’s mouth before Ian had the chance to push into his, their tongues sliding together messily, sometimes meeting outside their mouths before getting pushed back into place. Ian rolled his hips against Mickey’s ass again, not even caring that he was just humping Mickey at this point. Any type of contact with Mickey felt amazing, like there were sparks shooting through his veins and electrifying his heart. It made him feel better than any drug ever could, Mickey was intoxicating enough on his own.

The kiss was ramping up in intensity and between that, the hot steam from the shower and the ministrations on his cock Mickey couldn’t fucking breathe. He pulled back, his fingers still tangled tightly in Ian’s hair, his lips ghosting over Ian’s with each deep breath.

Ian looked at Mickey’s face, his chest constricting once again at the sight of his black eye and poorly held together cut. Fuck, he still looked gorgeous and totally blissed out, his eyelids fluttering and threatening to close but he kept them locked onto Ian’s still. Ian pulled on Mickey’s cock faster, eager to make him forget about the pain pulsing in his face and just make him feel good .



Mickey pushed back against Ian’s cock again and Ian moaned lowly against Mickey’s lips, surging forward to initiate another brief yet passionate kiss. He bit down onto Mickey’s lip, pulling on it a little bit before releasing it.

“I wanna be inside you so bad. You felt so amazing the other night, so fucking tight and hot,” Ian whispered.

Mickey nodded, pulling on Ian’s hair when Ian decided to speed up the pace of his hand again, pulling on Mickey’s cock faster and tighter. Ian twisted his wrist and smiled devilishly at the adorable whimper that Mickey let slip. Mickey immediately bit down on his lip to make sure no other noises like that snuck out.

“You sound so good, those little noises fuck me up, Mick.” Ian emphasized by rubbing against him again and stopping the movement of his hand to massage the head of Mickey’s cock. Mickey whined, his eyes slipping closed and his teeth moving furiously over the skin of his lip.

“Do you want me inside you, hmm?” Ian whispered, back to pulling on Mickey’s dick tightly, “Fucking poundin’ into that tight ass? You take it so good,” he licked a path down Mickey’s neck, swirling his tongue on top of that hickey with force, “you fuckin’ love it deep and hard huh?”

Mickey groaned and pushed back against Ian, grinding his ass hard against Ian’s dick, “Yeah, yeah I do,” Mickey replied in a shaky voice.

The hand that Ian had gripped onto Mickey’s hip the whole time moved to grab onto to base of his own dick, moving it to Mickey’s ass, rubbing it along his crack and stopping to circle the tip around Mickey’s entrance.

That was it, Mickey was done for. He spilled over Ian’s hand with a moan, his fingers latching onto the red curls tightly as he thrust into Ian’s fist until he was completely empty. Ian smiled against the skin of his neck and lifted his head to capture Mickey’s lips again, pushing them together lazily.

Mickey whimpered and sagged against Ian’s body in contentment. Ian pushed his tongue into Mickey’s mouth, swirling them together slowly for a few moments. He eventually pulled away from Mickey, admiring his blissed out face, a small smile stretching across the brunette’s lips as his eyes slowly opened to lock onto Ian’s.

Ian grinned softly, pecking Mickey quickly on the lips one more time before switching their positions swiftly so he was the one with his back facing the spray of water. He tilted his head back to let the water run down his head and face, he sighed at the feeling of the hot water pouring over his skin.

Mickey still looked like he was in a haze, his body swaying slightly from everything that’s happened since Ian stepped into the shower. He took his time trailing his eyes up and down Ian’s body, focusing a little too closely on Ian’s dick, which was still red and swollen.

Mickey rubbed his bottom lip with his thumb, “You uh-” he cleared his throat, “you need a hand?”

The euphemism wasn’t lost on Ian. He chuckled deeply and finished rinsing the suds from his hair before he looked back at Mickey.

“Nah, I’m good. You’ll just get me back later,” he winked.

Mickey flushed, his cheeks growing hotter if that was even possible. They finished up quickly, taking turns under the stream of water to wash their bodies, Mickey paying extra attention to his hands and arms, making sure there was no blood or stubborn dirt caked on anywhere.

They stepped out of the bath tub simultaneously, the air in the bathroom humid from all the steam that billowed out of the shower which severely fogged up the mirror and the window. Mickey slipped into the clothes that Ian provided, mumbling out a clipped “thanks” as soon as the sweatpants were resting snug against his hips.

Mickey sat down on the toilet and started to slip on his shoes that were piled in the corner with the rest of his dirty clothes. He pulled on the left one and leaned down to tie it into a knot, his tongue poking out adorably.

Ian’s brow furrowed, glaring at Mickey as he wiped the towel over his hair, “What are you doing?”

Mickey looked up quizzically, his hands frozen in the middle of looping his laces together. “I was gonna just, ya know, head out? I’ve fucked up your night enough already.”

Ian huffed incredulously and threw the towel he used on his hair into the hamper in the corner. He walked over to Mickey and bent down in front of him, yanking the shoe off his foot quickly. “Yeah don’t think so, tough guy. Stay to eat some food and ice your face a little bit longer and then I’ll think about letting you leave,” he smirked.

Mickey huffed a laugh as his shoe hit the wall behind Ian and threw up his hands in surrender.

They walked into the kitchen, Ian hitting the number on the microwave to heat up his food again since it has certainly cooled down in the half hour they were in the shower. He pulled open the freezer and grabbed a real ice pack instead of frozen food like before. He wrapped it in another dish towel and handed it to Mickey, who was leaning against the counter with his arms crossed.

Mickey placed the towel to his face, hissing a little at the pressure on his swollen eye but he kept the towel pressed against his skin, the numbing effect of the ice already soothing.

Mickey watched Ian’s food spin around inside the microwave, the dull whirring sounds somewhat hypnotizing.

“You know- you aren’t supposed to mix and match those meals,” Mickey said nonchalantly.

Ian’s head darted out of the fridge, smacking the top of his head on one of the shelves. Mickey laughed quickly, Ian’s face screwing up in pain as he rubbed the bump on his head.

“What do you mean?” Ian asked, a panicked edge cutting into his voice.

“Your meals each day are fucking calorie calculated you shithead. That’s why I label them specifically for each day so you get the daily recommended calorie intake according to your fucking training schedule you approved that first meeting.”

Ian’s eyes grew wide, “Fuck, I’ve been fucking up this whole damn time? Shit. Fuck.”

Ian was panicking, thinking about all the extra hours he’s going to have to log at the gym now, especially after his weekend with Alexa, and how he’s going to have to have Mickey adjust his meals some more. Fuck.

He abruptly turned around and started moving food around in the fridge, doing calculations in his head that made no damn sense. Mickey’s going to have to start writing down the calorie information on each container, that’s the only solution. Fuck, he’s an idiot.

He felt a hand creep up his back and lightly squeeze onto the back of his neck. “Hey,” Mickey said softly, “relax there, champ. They’re all low calorie meals anyway, it’s okay.”

Ian huffed out a breath, instantly relaxed by the comforting presence of Mickey’s hand, feeling some of the tension leave his shoulders. He turned, Mickey’s hand falling away from his neck, his back now facing the cold air of the fridge, a chill running up his spine.

“Are you sure?” he asked pathetically.

Mickey chuckled and leaned forward, pecking Ian’s lips once, his hand never removing the ice pack from his face, “I’m fucking positive. I’ll start writing calorie counts or some shit on the containers if that’ll make you feel better.”

Ian smiled, somewhat thrown by the fact that Mickey could apparently read his mind. He sighed heavily, the momentary panic leaving his body, “Yeah, okay. Do you-um- are you hungry?” he pointed over his shoulder with his thumb towards the mass of untouched food.

Mickey leaned up on his toes to see over Ian’s shoulder. His brow furrowed as well as it could behind the ice pack, his mouth turning down into a deep frown, “You not eatin’? Everything okay?”

Ian smiled fondly, shaking his head at Mickey, smitten by the fact that Mickey cared if he was eating. “Everything’s fine. I was away this weekend so you have your pick of meals.”

Mickey smirked, stepping closer to Ian, kicking his feet apart with his own foot until he could slip his leg in between Ian’s, resting his thigh against Ian’s dick. “What if I’m only hungry for you?” Mickey asked devilishly, that goddamn smirk stretching wider.

Ian laughed loudly, he couldn’t help it. Mickey scowled and tried to back away, embarrassed, but Ian reached up quickly and grabbed the back of Mickey’s head and pulled him forward to kiss him hard. Mickey sighed and reciprocated the kiss, pushing back against Ian with ferocity, lightly grinding his thigh against Ian.

Ian pulled back with his eyes still closed, “that was so corny,” he whispered, chuckling again slightly.

Mickey laughed too, Ian feeling his breathy exhale against his wet lips, “yeah, but you fuckin’ liked it.”

Ian nodded and pulled Mickey back against his smiling lips, miraculously not road blocked by the ice pack Mickey still held against his face. Mickey’s other hand shot up to rest flat against the freezer door, effectively trapping Ian against the appliance and ramping up the heat of the kiss to compensate for the cold air spilling from the fridge.

The microwave dinged just as Mickey pushed his tongue into Ian’s mouth. Ian whined and pulled back from Mickey, his stomach growling now that it knew that the food was ready. Mickey wasn’t having it and he lurched forward again to continue kissing Ian, not giving a shit about his dinner apparently. Ian laughed against Mickey’s lips and engaged in the kiss for a few more moments before he pulled back again.

“My dinner is ready,” Ian mumbled.

Mickey hummed and licked his lips, “fuck your dinner.”

He went back in for more, nipping on Ian’s bottom lip and pressing against his dick again. Ian whimpered, eager to continue but his stomach was severely protesting the delay in it’s own gratification. He put his hand on Mickey’s chest and pushed him away gently.

“I’m fuckin’ hungry, you jerk. Let me eat,” he said.

Mickey rolled his eyes, although the sarcastic effect he was going for was lost somewhat by the ice pack. Ian pushed him back enough so he could slip away and dipped under Mickey’s arm that was still propped against the freezer. He heard Mickey grumbling behind his back as he pulled open the microwave door and grabbed his bowl of steaming food, shaking his head at the grumpy man standing in his kitchen.

Mickey pulled a random container out of the fridge and a bottle of beer (lite beer, gross) and slammed the door shut with his foot. He walked over to the microwave and hip checked Ian out of the way, throwing his food into the machine and popping the beer bottle open with his teeth like it was some kind of flirtatious party trick.

Ian shoved him back lightly and grabbed a fork and bottle of water before he walked over to the living room and threw himself down on the couch with a huff.

“Got anything you wanna watch, I have like a thousand fucking channels,” Ian said, turning his TV on and scrolling through the massive amount of options.  

“Food Network!” Mickey yelled a little too loudly. Ian raised his eyebrows but was not surprised by Mickey’s choice at all. He scrolled until he found the right channel, not having the number memorized.

Mickey plopped down none to gently next to Ian, throwing his ice pack on the table so he could use both hands to eat and drink. “Fuck yeah, Cutthroat Kitchen,” Mickey said.

Ian frowned, “the fuck is that?”

Mickey took a sip of his beer, eyebrows raising up his forehead. Ian winced at the stretch of the butterfly strips but didn’t say anything about it. Mickey pointed his beer bottle at the tv and swallowed his mouthful of beer thickly, “you’ve never fucking watched Cutthroat Kitchen? Holy shit, you’re in for a treat.”

Mickey wiggled back against the couch, getting himself comfortable against the fluffy cushions as he shoveled a forkful of whatever fucking dinner he picked into his mouth. The episode droned on, Mickey laughing and making rude and snarky comments as it progressed, calling a contestant a “fucking idiot” for spending ten grand on a pair of tweezers.

Ian didn’t pay attention to the episode if he was being honest. He was too busy trying to sneakily watch Mickey, mesmerized by his complete change in demeanor. When Mickey showed up a little over an hour ago it was like he wasn’t even here, his head someplace else, distant and detached, fucking bruised and bloody.

But now the other man was laughing and fucking engaging Ian in conversation and initiating makeout sessions. His attitude took a complete one-eighty like he didn’t get the shit beat out of him hours before.

Ian was still curious about what happened, that ugly bruise getting darker and darker by the minute it seemed, but he didn’t want Mickey to close himself off again. If he wanted to talk about it, he would. That’s one thing Ian had learned about Mickey very, very quickly. The more you poked and prodded for information, they higher Mickey’s defensive walls shot up. As much as Ian wanted to be an invasive fucker, he wanted Mickey to talk about things on his own time, when he was comfortable and relaxed enough to open himself up.

Ian would like to think it was his presence that made Mickey cheer up, but he was never one to underestimate the power of a good orgasm and he didn’t want to put too much faith on the notion that he was actually responsible for Mickey’s shifting mood.

But Mickey had sought Ian out, Mickey came to Ian for comfort and TLC and that had to fucking mean something , right? Fuck.

Mickey turned his head and smirked at Ian, “you’re not fuckin’ subtle you know, I can feel your fuckin’ laser eyes practically melting my skin.”

Ian looked away immediately, his face heating up in shame from getting caught, “Sorry,” he mumbled out before shoveling food into his mouth.

Mickey laughed, taking a swig of his beer before focusing his eyes back on the tv. Ian settled back against the cushions as well, taking a bite of his food and trying to focus on the show even though he had absolutely no idea what was going on. All he knew was that it was making Mickey laugh and that was good enough for him.

Two episodes later their dirty plates were abandoned on the coffee table and somehow they had maneuvered around until Ian was leaning against Mickey, Mickey’s arm slung over Ian’s shoulders, his fingers absently blazing patterns into Ian’s skin. It all looked very casual, but Ian’s heart was fucking racing at how fucking comfortable and relationshippy this whole night felt. He had never seen Mickey this open and carefree before and it was doing things to his head. He didn’t want to get to ahead of himself but shit, this felt so natural and good and he didn’t want it to end yet.

Mickey sighed at the beginning of the next episode, shifting around until Ian raised his head to look at him.

“I gotta go, it’s getting late.” Mickey said, at least having the decency to look a little regretful.

Ian whined and sat up fully, imploringly looking at Mickey and pulling out the best kicked puppy look he could, “One more episode? Please?”

Mickey huffed and rolled his eyes, painfully if the wince he supplied afterwards was any indication, “You’re so goddamn whiney. One more fucking episode and that’s it,” Mickey held up his index finger for emphasis.

Ian grinned and wiggled back down into the position he was in before, awkwardly resting on the spot between Mickey’s chest and stomach. God, he was so content.

But he wanted more (what else is new?). Mickey was already here, he might as well stay the night, right? It was only logical. If Ian slept that well the other night with just the smell of Mickey on his pillows, how well would he sleep with the other man curled tightly against his chest?

He hatched an idea, smirking to himself before he lifted his head and kissed the base of Mickey’s throat once, then twice, and then he started a trail up and over his Adam’s apple. Mickey’s neck was sensitive as fuck and he planned on taking full advantage of that fact.

“What are you doing?” Mickey asked breathily, leaning his head back a little bit to rest on the cushion behind him.

Ian hummed against his skin, moving his lips up to his jaw and nibbling softly, “kissing you, what’s it look like?”

Mickey chuckled, his fingers curling into the fabric of his sweatpants, gripping the material tightly. F-U-C-K. He didn’t answer Ian’s question, just allowed him to continue the exploration of his neck, tilting his head to the side, silently telling Ian to roam over there as well.

Ian sat up more, dislodging Mickey’s arm from around his shoulders and shuffled closer to him, reaching his hand up to rest on one side of Mickey’s neck while he continued to kiss and lick the other side.

Soon, Ian grabbed onto Mickey and wrestled them around until Mickey was straddling his lap, flashbacks of a few weeks ago flipping through Ian’s mind. This situation was going to end much differently than the last one though. He kept kissing on Mickey’s neck, sucking lightly in some spots, but never enough to mark him up. Mickey had enough bruises littering his body as it was.

Mickey whined and barely thrust down against Ian, experimenting with the new position. Ian groaned and moved his lips from Mickey’s neck to his mouth, kissing him slowly and tenderly. Mickey thrust down again, gyrating his hips once he was flush against Ian.

Ian pulled back from him, fingers digging sharply into his hips as he moved Mickey back and forth on his lap, “you should stay over tonight.”

Mickey groaned and bit the corner of his lip before responding, “I got work tomorrow.”

Ian laughed, his mouth dropping open in mock offense, “You have work here tomorrow. You’re already here, just stay over,” he leaned up and sucked on Mickey’s neck again quickly, pulling off with a wet pop, “I’ll make it worth it.”

“I don’t-I don’t got my knives, gotta go shoppin’,” Mickey said.

Ian flexed his fingers against Mickey’s hips again and pulled him down harder on his lap, “I’ll fucking drive you to get your knives and groceries. You’re already here, come on.”

Mickey threw his head back, groaning in exasperation or pleasure, Ian couldn’t tell. “Fine. Fuck, just shut the fuck up.”

Mickey leaned down and attacked Ian’s lips harshly, biting a little too hard. Ian whimpered but moved his hands to creep under the waistband of Mickey’s sweatpants and grabbed onto his bare ass, squeezing tightly as he thrust up against him.

Yeah, it was going to be a good night.

Chapter Text

Mickey’s eyebrows woke up before he did. They creeped up his forehead at first, then scrunched down in confusion and frustration when his thoughts caught up with them. He opened his eyes slowly, noting the pain still pulsing in his face from the night before, that eye still not able to open fully, if anything it got more swollen overnight.

He stared at the plain white wall in front of him, willing his sleep fogged brain to wake the fuck up. This wasn’t his bed, these aren’t his sheets and that definitely wasn’t his own dick poking himself in the back. There was a strong arm slung over his waist, keeping him smashed up against the man behind him, the orange hairs and spattering of freckles looking lighter in the morning light.

Mickey groaned and reached his fist up to rub the sleep out of his good eye, his eyesight blurring momentarily from the force of it. He was not a morning person by any means, it usually took him at least twenty minutes to put his feet on the floor and get moving and waking up like this didn’t make him eager to get out of bed any faster than usual. Ian was so warm and solid behind him, his breath fanning over the back of his neck and lightly blowing on the little hairs there. He doesn’t remember the last time he slept that soundly, not even waking up once in the middle of the night, at least not that he can remember.

As much as he would love to stay like this for another fucking century, his bladder wasn’t having it. He tried to be stealthy and grabbed onto Ian’s wrist lightly, moving it as slowly as possible, not trying to disturb the sleeping man behind him.

He was almost successful until Ian’s arm moved back to it’s original resting place and pulled Mickey back further against his chest.

“Stop movin’,” Ian mumbled against the back of Mickey’s neck, his voice deep and scratchy with sleep.

Mickey smiled and squeezed Ian’s wrist, “Gotta take a leak, lemme up.”

Ian grumbled unintelligibly behind him before he nuzzled his nose in Mickey’s hair and lifted his arm minutely so Mickey could shuffle out from underneath him. Mickey sat up and stretched his arms above his head and moved his neck from side to side until it cracked, his mouth opening up in a silent yawn.

He stood from the bed and walked bare assed into the bathroom. He flicked on the light and squinted at the brightness that was magnified by the white walls and tiles. He took a moment to stare into the mirror and inspect his face just to see if it looked any better after a good night of rest. He snorted, his face looking even worse than the night before, like his body just needed a few hours to catch up with the trauma. He’s had worse, he can deal with it for a week or two.

He noted a few other marks that were scattered across his body, marks that definitely weren’t from his fight with Kyle. Like the finger shaped bruises that were on his hips, the deep purple mark on his chest that was mysteriously the size of Ian’s mouth and the scratch marks along his ribcage.

Those marks were only for him and Ian to see. Unlike his busted up face this was a story that no one but them knew the plot to.

Surprisingly, Mickey was eerily calm and complacent with what happened last night. He was expecting the panic to rise up in his chest and seize his heart in a vice grip the moment he woke up. But he felt nothing but...fucking happy. He slept over Ian’s. He slept in Ian’s bed. He cuddled with Ian all fucking night. They fucked all fucking night and Mickey can’t remember the last time he felt this okay.

Breaking his own rule turned out not to be as earth shattering as he thought it was going to be.

He pissed quickly and rinsed his hands off before heading back to the bedroom, shaking his hands wildly at his sides to air dry them. Ian hadn’t moved much, the arm that was wrapped around Mickey’s waist was still in the same position like Mickey was still curled underneath it.

There was something so raw and real about seeing someone in the morning when they hadn’t had the opportunity to primp and preen themselves for the outside world. Waking up next to someone was a chance to see them for who they truly were, caught when they were the most vulnerable.

And Ian was fucking beautiful.

Yeah, his body was always on point, that wasn’t something that would change any time soon. But his face took on a new softness that usually wasn’t there, too hardened by the outside world to let that mask slip fully. His red hair was rumbled and sticking up in all different directions and his lips were dry and warped from how his cheek was smashed into the pillow.

Mickey smiled softly to himself and continued his trek to the bed, his body longing to be tucked under that fucking arm again. Before he could do that, Ian grumbled something under his breath and flipped onto his back, throwing an arm over his eyes to block out the morning sun. The sheet slipped down his body somewhat, revealing some of that dark red hair in the V of his hips.

Thanks to the light streaming in through the slats in the curtain, Mickey could see the tiny scratches he left on Ian’s chest last night from absently clawing at his skin while he was riding him into the mattress. Even if Mickey’s mind wasn’t fully awake yet, his dick certainly was as evidenced by the little twitch it gave when that memory came back to him.

He smirked and walked to the end of the bed instead and lifted the sheet up enough for him to crawl underneath and settle between Ian’s spread legs. His face might be busted up but he could still suck a dick, that was for sure.

He lightly feathered his fingertips along Ian’s thighs as he got comfortable on his stomach, licking his lips in anticipation. Not to sound like a slut but Mickey had seen a lot of dicks in his time as an out gay man and to say Ian’s was the best one he’s seen would be a drastic understatement. As far as dicks go it was fucking perfect, the right length, shape and thickness to have anyone drop to their knees as soon as Ian unzipped his pants.

Mickey loved sucking dick. There was just something he couldn't explain about how the stretch of his mouth around someone’s cock made him moan, the taste of it on his tongue got him hard as fuck and the control he felt over the person above him made his vision go a little blurry.

It was a heady experience with anyone, but with Ian it just felt...different. Different in a way he couldn’t describe even if he tried, none of the usual words felt right. Mickey usually didn’t like different. But he liked Ian’s different. He would gladly suck Ian’s perfect dick everyday for the rest of his life if he could. He doubted Ian would complain about that scenario.

He kissed the inside of Ian’s thigh, the skin there even paler than the rest of his body it seemed, and ran his tongue over the milky flesh of his thigh, lightly nipping once his mouth made it up to Ian’s hipbone. He dug his fingers into the hard muscle of Ian’s thighs and spread his legs open wider, exposing more of his body for Mickey to devour.

He heard a sigh and a grumble above him before he felt the sheet being lifted off his head. He gazed up to see that Ian was looking down at him with a funny smirk on his lips, a comical double chin now prominent thanks to the angle. Mickey chuckled at the image but kept moving his tongue along Ian’s hipbone, stopping to suck lightly real quick before moving to taste more of his skin, eyes locked onto Ian’s the entire time.

“Good mornin’,” Ian mumbled as he threw the sheet off of them completely, the soft morning glow of the sun casting them in a pale yellow light.

Mickey hummed against his skin and flexed his fingers on his thighs again instead of saying a greeting of his own. Ian wiggled around on the mattress until he found a position that was more comfortable than the one he was currently in. Mickey paused his exploration while Ian moved around and looked up at him with a glare.

Ian snorted at the sour look on Mickey’s face, “My apologies, your highness. Please proceed,” he flourished with a wave of his hand.

“Dork,” Mickey said with no heat behind it before he continued licking and sucking at Ian’s skin. Ian sighed and ran his fingers through Mickey’s hair once before he rested his hand back at his side and closed his eyes.

Mickey finished sucking a small mark onto Ian’s hip before he moved lower, placing a kiss dangerously close to the base of Ian’s dick. He heard Ian let out a small gasp and he smiled to himself before poking his tongue out to lightly swirl it over Ian’s balls at the same time he moved his hand to grab onto Ian’s cock, stroking it torturously slow.

Ian sighed and gripped the sheet in his fist, twisting the fabric up in his fingers. Mickey had barely even touched him and he was already so turned on it was fucked. Mickey could fuck him up more with one finger than anyone else could with their entire body.

Mickey pulled on Ian a few more times before he pushed his tongue to the base Ian’s cock and licked up his length filthily until he slipped the head into his mouth and sucked. Ian groaned loudly and focused all his energy on not thrusting up into Mickey’s mouth immediately, the urge to be fully engulfed in the wet heat was overwhelming.

The fingers of Mickey’s hand gripped onto Ian’s hip a little tighter and held him still against the mattress as if he had read Ian’s mind. It was in Ian’s nature to try and control everything when it came to sexual situations, but Mickey had been slowly showing him how fucking good it felt to just let the fuck go, to focus on nothing but the pleasure pulsing through his veins.

Honestly, he doesn’t think he would be able to do this with anyone else but Mickey.

Mickey swirled his tongue around the head of Ian’s dick before bobbing his head down and pulling back up slowly. Over and over and over and over again, calmly pulling Ian apart bit by bit.

“Fuck, Mickey,” Ian sighed. He released his grip on the sheet and ran his fingers through Mickey’s soft black hair before he settled that hand on the back of Mickey’s head, not pushing or guiding, just curling his fingers into the hair in an attempt to ground himself.

Mickey pulled off completely and stroked Ian fast and hard, his tongue flicking at the slit of Ian’s dick every so often before sinking back down and adopting the same languid pace as before, sucking a little bit harder this time around.

There was no pattern to Mickey’s blowjobs, no fucking rhythm. They were unpredictable and different every goddamn time and they were honestly the best blowjobs Ian had ever received. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as Mickey continued, he felt like he was about to lose it already. Mickey pulled him in deeper and deeper each time, more of his cock getting the pleasure of having Mickey’s tongue and lips on it.

“God, that feels so good,” Ian whined. Mickey tried to laugh, but the act was muffled by Ian’s dick down his throat, the vibrations sending shivers all the way down to Ian’s toes. This wasn’t going to last long, he knew that as soon as he felt Mickey settle between his legs minutes ago.

Mickey sped up, bobbing his head faster and faster and relishing in the fact that Ian couldn’t seem to catch his breath. He released the grip he had on one of Ian’s thighs and wrapped his hand around the base of Ian’s dick, squeezing and stroking what he tragically couldn’t fit in his mouth. He scratched the nails of his other hand down Ian’s thigh, biting into the pale skin just enough to leave a trail of red marks that had Ian hissing through his teeth.

Mickey pulled back until just the head of Ian’s dick was resting in his mouth, stroking the rest of his length tightly while he swirled his tongue around the tip, putting more pressure on the head with every turn. He licked over the slit once slowly, eyes laser locked onto Ian’s as he tasted the saltiness dripping from Ian before he plunged back down, Ian’s cock hitting the back of his throat. Mickey moved his hand to fondle Ian’s balls, squeezing once before massaging them with tenderness.

“Mick,” Ian gasped and arched up into Mickey’s pliant mouth, “Mickey, I’m gonna come.” He flexed his fingers in Mickey’s black hair tighter, yanking in warning. Mickey hummed around Ian’s dick, a hum that sounded very close to mhmmm and continued bobbing his head up and down, rolling Ian’s balls in his palm, putting just the right amount of pressure on that thick vein.

It was all too much and Ian came with a groan, back bowing off the mattress while Mickey eagerly swallowed everything Ian had to give. He continued to lick and suck until Ian had to practically pull him off his dick.

Mickey licked the corner of his mouth and smirked up at Ian evilly, still cradled between Ian’s spread legs, the fingers of that one hand still curled sharply into Ian’s hip like he would float away if he wasn’t latched onto Ian’s skin.

Ian whined and scratched at Mickey’s shoulder, urging him to move up the bed. Mickey wiped his mouth on the back of his hand and crawled over Ian’s body until he was close enough for Ian to grab onto the back of his neck and pull him into a deep, lazy kiss, tasting himself on Mickey’s tongue. Mickey groaned into Ian’s mouth, grinding his erection against Ian’s thigh lightly.

Ian maneuvered them until Mickey was laying flat and he was propped up on his elbow with one arm and the other arm was slung across Mickey’s chest. He used the position to pull Mickey closer to him, his mouth never leaving Mickey’s. They continued to kiss slowly for a few minutes, neither of them planning on moving from the bed for a little bit longer, at least not until their tongues got tired.

Mickey trailed his hand down his own chest until he got to his cock, wrapping his fingers around himself and tugging roughly a few times as he huffed against Ian’s mouth. Ian moved his hand from clutching at Mickey’s ribs and curled his fingers around Mickey’s wrist, yanking that hand away from his cock. Mickey whined from the loss as Ian proceeded to slot their fingers together and hold his hand down against the mattress.

Mickey eased back from Ian’s mouth, pulling that bottom lip with him before letting go, “help me out here man, ‘m fuckin’ dying.”

Ian grinned, “I was planning on it. You’re so impatient.”

Mickey’s eyebrows rose up his forehead indignantly, “says the man who already shot his load this mornin’.”

“I was getting there, pushy. Relax,” Ian said through a smile.

He dropped his head to lick and bite at Mickey’s neck, never one to forgo lavishing attention to that particular area. Mickey sighed above him, but relaxed against Ian none the less. Ian squeezed Mickey’s hand before untangling their fingers and sliding his hand up the mattress until he found that helpful little bottle lodged underneath the pillow, shoved there last night for easy access.

Ian licked on Mickey’s neck continuously until the other man was panting and squirming underneath him, thrusting his hips up into nothing but air. Ian smirked against his skin and lifted his head to smash his lips against Mickey’s, wasting no time with shoving his tongue in his mouth. Ian popped the cap of the bottle with his thumb, the click reaching Mickey’s ears like a fucking chorus of angels.

He drizzled a small amount of lube over Mickey’s erection, just enough to get the job done without leaving Mickey a sticky, nasty mess. Mickey moaned in the back of his throat at the sensation, his hips thrusting up into the air again.

Ian held out a few moments longer, waiting to see if Mickey would give up and start jerking himself off again like before. If anything Mickey was more patient, he just started pushing against Ian’s lips a little harder and whining a bit more. But that hand stayed clutching the sheet so hard the blood was draining from his knuckles. There was only so much teasing that Ian could inflict on someone before he himself got antsy, he wanted his hands on Mickey as much as Mickey wanted Ian’s hands on him. He soon relented and wrapped his hand around Mickey’s cock, pulling on him quickly, the lube allowing his hand to slide Mickey through his fist no fucking problem.

The reaction was instantaneous; Mickey turned into a puddle against the mattress, his muscles melting into mush and his brain barely able to comprehend the whole kissing thing.

Ian backed away from Mickey’s mouth and soaked in his kiss bitten lips and sweat dampened skin through hazy eyes.

Fuck, he’s gorgeous, Ian thought.

Mickey’s eyes popped open quickly and for a moment Ian’s heart felt like it had ceased beating, terrified that he had said that out loud. Even though that thought was very real and things between them had been progressing slowly, they weren’t there yet and Ian didn’t think Mickey would take kindly to that sentiment slipping from his lips.

Calling someone sexy or hot was one thing, usually just adjectives that were thrown around without meaning in the heat of the moment. Even though Mickey was sexy and fucking hot, calling someone gorgeous felt too intimate, too real, too close to things they weren’t. Yet.

Mickey was a different kind of gorgeous, this was an descriptor that went passed his physical attributes and encapsulated his whole goddamn being. Mickey was gorgeous all the way down to his fucking bones, everything about this man was gorgeous even with his black eye, scarred up body and crude knuckle tattoos. All those imperfections just made him unique, a priceless piece of abstract art. Shit, he’s in so deep.

If Mickey did hear him, he didn’t say anything. He just licked his bottom lip filthily and moved the hand that wasn’t grasping the sheet to pull on Ian’s hair.

Ian groaned and dropped his head down to kiss along Mickey’s neck again (would he ever get tired of tasting his skin?), and took a moment to lick a long stripe across his collarbone before kissing down Mickey’s chest and taking Mickey’s nipple between his teeth. Mickey thrust up into Ian’s fist, his stomach muscles constricting visibly. Ian moved his jaw from side to side, lightly grinding the nub with his teeth before soothing it with his tongue. He stopped the movement of his hand while he did this, massaging the head of Mickey’s dick with his lube slicked thumb.

Mickey’s mouth dropped open, a deep whine clawing it’s way from his throat. Ian didn’t want to drag this out any longer. Mickey had been so fucking good to him this morning the least he could do was make him come fast and hard. He went back to pulling on Mickey’s dick, tight and messy, the way he’s learned Mickey liked.

“Shit,” Mickey rasped out, “Ian, ‘m gonna fucking come.”

Ian grinned wickedly, pleased to have Mickey turning to goo in his hand. It only took a few more strokes before Mickey painfully clutched onto the back of Ian’s head and let go all over Ian’s fist, his come spurting up onto his abs and stomach, some of it dribbling down Ian’s hand.

Ian groaned and kissed Mickey slowly, keeping the kiss delicate and chaste. He had to restrain himself from pushing his tongue into Mickey’s mouth like he wanted too, knowing if he did that they wouldn’t be getting out of bed again for a long, long time. He stroked Mickey’s cock lightly a few more times until Mickey shivered from oversensitivity. Ian pulled away slowly and rolled over onto his back, wiping his hand on the sheet, he needed to change them anyway.

Mickey stayed laying on his back, chest heaving up and down. He pulled up the corner of the sheet and followed in Ian’s footsteps, wiping come and lube off his stomach and dick.

“I need a fuckin’ cigarette,” he mumbled out.

The thing was though is that Ian didn’t allow smoking in his apartment, so taking a smoke break would require him to go outside, which inadvertently would expose him to the doorman and the desk lady. Fuck, he didn’t think of that when he slept over last night. There was no way he was going to sneak out of this building without someone noticing him. Shit. People are nosey as fuck, someone was sure to ask questions.

The sound of Ian’s laugh pulled him back to the present, the redhead turning onto his side and  propping his head up on his fist as he smiled at Mickey. If it was anyone else Mickey would scowl at the fond look on their face. He would throw some rude comment in their direction and storm out of the apartment. Mickey didn’t deserve to be looked at like that. But the warmth in Ian’s eyes had a hot sensation blooming through his chest, heating him up all the way down to the tips of his fingers.

“The window in the bathroom opens a little bit, you can smoke in there. But just this once!” Ian said.

Mickey grinned and lurched forward to peck Ian on the lips harshly before springing from the bed and pulling on a pair of boxers. He walked into the bathroom where his cigarettes were still in the pocket of his dirty, discarded jeans. The window was above the toilet, it was a small square pane of glass with a crank that needed to be turned in order to open. It opened barely a crack, not even a large enough gap for Mickey to stick his hand through. He sat on the toilet seat and reached down to grab the lighter out of his back pocket, sparking up the cigarette quickly.

“Want breakfast? Can make you an omelette or some shit,” he yelled around the filter, his voice reverberating around the walls. Bathrooms always fucking echoed.

Ian walked towards the bathroom, unfortunately now clad in a pair of boxers as well. He crossed his arms and leaned against the door frame, the epitome of calm, cool and collected. He cocked his eyebrow at Mickey and said “omelette’s not on the menu.”

Mickey huffed a laugh, squinting at Ian through the smoke floating in front of his face, none of the fumes going out the window like Ian had hoped. “Special fuckin’ occasion. I’ll make yours with veggies and egg whites or whatever,” Mickey waved his hand in the air, “fuckin’ healthy bullshit.”

Ian grinned from ear to ear, “Yeah, yeah that sounds great actually,” he trailed his eyes over Mickey’s body, a want present in his eyes like he didn’t have Mickey laying underneath him moments ago. He bit the corner of his lip and looked down at his feet, “need help with any of it?” he asked.

Mickey inhaled deeply, holding the smoke in his lungs before exhaling through a smirk, “you remember how to cut a pepper?”

Ian chuckled, his cheeks turning a little pink, “I might have been a little distracted during that lesson, but I think I can handle it.”

Mickey breathed out a harsh laugh and licked his bottom lip before he pulled on the cigarette once more, “get to it then asshole, I’ll be out in a minute.”

Ian flipped him off, but turned around and walked to the kitchen obediently. He smiled to himself, his cheeks starting to hurt from the force of it. He couldn’t believe last night and this morning was reality and not a dream. Obviously the sex was phenomenal, but Ian was more hung up on the time they spent curled together under the sheets, legs tangled up while they spoke softly into the darkness, Ian playing with Mickey’s fingers and hair. It was cliche as fuck, but it had been more than he was expecting and he was so fucking happy. Each passing second he spent with Mickey had him falling further and further down the rabbit hole and he was about to roll out a sleeping bag and and take up residence down there forever.

Back in the bathroom, Mickey was in a similar state. Every inhale of cigarette smoke had to pass by a pair of smiling lips before it entered his lungs. He shook his head, like his grin was made from magnetic metal specs in an Etch-a-Sketch that could be easily erased with a quick shake. He flicked the ashes of his cigarette into the trash next to the sink, the grey particles landing on the bloody gauze that Ian had used to clean him up last night.

The fucked up family reunion gone awry had ended up being one of the best things that’s ever happened to him, it lead him straight to Ian’s door afterall. He was positive he wouldn’t have made this step at all if it wasn’t for the conscious need to be near Ian. This is the first time he’s slept over someone’s house and didn’t sneak out in the early hours of the morning. And now he’s sticking around long enough to make the fucker breakfast.

He sucked down the rest of the cigarette quickly. He stood up from the toilet to blow the last plumes of smoke up towards the window, throwing the filter into the bowl and flushing it down the drain so the stale smell didn’t linger in Ian’s bathroom. He tried to flatten his hair down in the mirror, but that one fucking strand kept stubbornly falling into his face.

Before he walked out into the kitchen he pulled one of the discarded shirts on the floor over his head. If Ian wanted to be shirtless in a kitchen that was on him, Mickey had some fucking standards. He made his way out of the bedroom and into the hallway, the sun hanging at the perfect angle to penetrate every corner of the apartment.

“Jesus Christ, ever heard of curtains?” Mickey grumbled, squinting on his the way to the kitchen.

Ian chuckled, his eyes focused on continuing to cut the pepper that had he started working on, “Awww, are wittle Mickey’s eyes sensitive to the sun?” he teased.

Mickey’s eyebrows shot up his head, a disbelieving smirk playing across his lips, “you wanna fuckin’ die?”

Ian scoffed, “Yeah okay, tough guy. Make me my omelette,” he said through a smile.

Mickey grinned and walked over to the fridge to pull out the eggs, vegetables and everything else he might need. He would have loved to make his omelette full of bacon and sausage and other nasty, greasy things, but there wasn’t any of that in Ian’s fridge, not with the diet he was on. At least he could add cheese to his meal.

It was fun making breakfast with Ian, he just stood around and basically forced Ian to make the entire meal with his guidance from the sidelines. He showed him how to separate the egg whites from the yolk, picking out the pieces of shell that slipped in there. He watched Ian fail at flipping the omelette and laughed at the panicked yelp Ian gave when the smoke alarm went off after he burnt the first batch of eggs, too distracted from crowding Mickey against the counter and shoving his tongue in his mouth. Ian was a fucking mess in the kitchen and normally Mickey’s professional side would be pissed, angry at how the product was getting ruined and how Ian wasn’t taking this seriously.

But Ian didn’t need to take it seriously. They were standing in Ian’s kitchen in their underwear, making a sloppy breakfast after a morning of lazy blowjobs and uncoordinated handjobs. Seeing Ian giggle and smile at Mickey’s slightly exasperated demeanor had Mickey biting his bottom lip in an attempt to stop the ridiculous smile and warmth he felt in his chest from spreading to his face.

Thirty minutes later they both sat at the island with plates slightly resembling an omelette, but was really more of a scramble. Mickey upended about half a bottle of tabasco over his eggs and saw Ian scowling out of the corner of his eye. They ate in relative silence, a comfortable silence, enjoying their haphazard breakfast and the sound of the other’s breathing.

Mickey spotted a bag next to the door, a gym bag that looked packed full of shit. He swallowed his eggs and pointed his fork at the bag, “planning on going somewhere?” he asked.

Ian made a questioning hmm sound and directed his eyes to where Mickey was pointing. He shook his head, taking a drink of his weird smelling protein shake before answering, “nah, that was from this weekend. I went to New York for a meeting. Oh! That reminds me! I got you something,” he proclaimed as he pushed back from the table and walked towards the door.

Mickey groaned, throwing his head back dramatically, “I swear to god, Red, if you got me one of those fuckin’ I heart NY shirts I promise Ima light it on fire.”

Ian chuckled from his squatted position and continued digging around in his bag, checking the different pockets and coming up empty, “No, it’s not a shirt. Just something I saw at a gift shop outside the airport and I thought you would like it.”

He dug around in the bag for a few more seconds before he stood up quickly with his fist held in the air triumphantly.

“It’s cheesy, so don’t laugh at me,” Ian said.

Mickey rolled his eyes, but held out his hand like an impatient child. He was curious to see what little souvenir Ian had gotten him, pleased by the fact that even though he was halfway across the country he was thinking about him. Ian placed the object into his hand, something small and made of green plastic. It was a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty.

Mickey’s eyebrows furrowed, “the fuck is this?” he asked.

Ian laughed, taking the plastic statue back from Mickey and pressing a button. The torch she held in her right hand spouted an actual, legitimate flame. Mickey laughed, snatching the lighter back from Ian, “a fuckin’ lighter?”

Ian rubbed the back of his head, a blush starting to stain his cheeks, “Yeah…”

Mickey grinned and stood up from the stool which brought him chest to chest with Ian. He grabbed onto the back of his neck and pulled him in for a quick, harsh kiss. “Thanks,” he mumbled against Ian’s lips as soon as he pulled away and rested his forehead against the other man's.

He could feel Ian grin against his lips, his hands coming up to rest on Mickey’s hips. “It’s just a lighter,” he said.

“Yeah, but it’s a fuckin’ cool ass lighter,” Mickey responded. Ian laughed again before he initiated another kiss with Mickey, this one soft and slow, tasting and exploring, his fingers clutching at the fabric of Mickey’s shirt.

They pulled away from each other before things could get to heated and sat back down to finish their breakfast, the comfortable silence settling over them again once again.

“Still want me to drive you home? I don’t mind,” Ian asked a few minutes later, his eyes bright and sparkling while looking at Mickey.

Mickey paused mid chew, thinking it over. He forgot Ian mentioned that last night, that had been the final incentive to get him to stay the night. Was Mickey’s apartment ready for a guest? And not just any guest, but fucking Ian?

And just like that, the calm, comfortable bubble they had found themselves in for the past twelve hours had been popped.

Ian may have grown up South Side but he had gotten out and cleansed himself of the filth that buries itself into your skin. Ian had a fancy ass apartment on the thirteenth floor with views that would make anyone freeze in awe. Mickey lived in a shitty one bedroom apartment above a convenience store in an equally as shitty neighborhood. His scenic view consisted of brick walls and trash.

The panic he expected to wake up with was suddenly clawing it’s way through his stomach and up his throat. He didn’t want Ian to see where he lived, it would be a blatant show of how much better Ian could do. Someone better than Mickey, with his table for one and lumpy cigarette burned couch.

He’s given Ian so much already, has torn down a lot of his walls and defenses so easily it was kind of startling. He’s become an open fucking window for this man when before he was a locked door with the key hidden on a ring with thousands of other fucking keys. Besides, one of his original rules was that nothing between them was supposed to leave this apartment and Ian following him out the door and giving him a ride wasn’t exactly subtle, was it? This is the last line of defense he had and he didn’t want to let it go just yet. Everything was happening too fast.

He swallowed thickly, keeping his eyes focused on cutting off another piece of his omelette. Alright, play it cool shithead, “Nah, it’s a’ight. I can take the L,” he said with finality, shoving more eggs into his mouth.

Ian frowned, his brow creasing in confusion, “A-are you sure? I really don’t mind, Mick.”

Mickey waved his hand in the air, dismissive, and washed down his mouthful of eggs with some orange juice before responding, “It’s cool. I gotta fuckin’ shower and do a few things anyway, don’t wanna waste your time.”

“It wouldn’t be a waste of my time, it would be kinda...kinda nice, knowing where you live,” Ian said, his face still displaying his confusion but his voice was laced with an undercurrent of warmth.

And that’s exactly what Mickey didn’t  fucking want, Ian seeing where he lived, how he lived. At least here in Ian’s apartment he could pretend he wasn’t an ex-con from the South Side, he could make himself believe that he was worthy of all this, that he was worthy of Ian. But as soon as he stepped out that door and onto the busy city street that illusion was shattered like frail glass and Mickey still had to trek his ass back to the shit hole where he belonged.

“Honestly, it’s fine, gives you time to work out right?” He smiled pathetically, trying desperately to play this off as something other than a diversion tactic.

Ian slowly nodded his head, a similar smile stretching across his lips, weak and brittle. He looked down at his plate and pushed his food around with his fork, “Yeah, okay. I guess you’re right.”

They ate the rest of their meal in silence, this one suffocating.

A few hours later Mickey left his apartment freshly showered and with his knife kit grasped in his fist. He didn’t really have to wear his chef’s jacket anymore, but it had become a habit to slip the scratchy material over his shoulders. Plus, it was a physical reminder that Ian was still his fucking client and he was on the clock, a reminder that Mickey should still try to act like a professional even though he had Ian’s dick down his throat before he even brushed his teeth.

He was at a loss at what to do with Ian. It felt like he was drowning at sea with nothing keeping him afloat and no land in sight, the salt of the ocean leaving him dehydrated and fucking thirsty. For the first time in his life, the very first fucking time, he saw himself building a life with another person; going to bed together, making dinner, having date nights, stressing about money and bills, arguing about what to watch on TV or who’s turn it was to wash the dishes.

He wanted it all, good shit, bad shit and everything in between. Ian’s mess would be his mess, Ian’s happiness would be his happiness. For once his heart and his brain were on the same fucking page. least part of his brain. He wanted Ian, but reality kept knocking like an annoying fucking neighbor.

Mickey took a deep, shuddering breath, hoping it would help to reset his brain. Maybe he was doing this all too fast, hell they’ve only known each other for a couple of months, they’re not even fucking dating, they are just casually hooking up. His brain was probably just clouded over with dick lust, the emotions he’s feeling were just fake and brought on by sex and orgasms.

He just felt so comfortable with Ian, he’s never felt like this towards anyone or anything in his life. Ian allowed him to be himself and for some strange fucked up reason Ian liked what he saw.

Or at least he thinks Ian liked him beyond what he had to offer sexually. You can’t fake that shit, right? Who was he kidding, he’s been faking and hiding his emotions his entire life. If only he wasn’t such a repressed asshole and could talk about this kind of shit without his throat closing up and his lungs malfunctioning.

He still had plans for his life and career, big fucking plans. He didn’t want his desire to find...fuck to hold him back, he didn’t want anything to take his focus and energy away from that goal. He had to stay focused on his career. It’s what he’s been working towards for long time and he couldn’t deviate from the path now.

He tried to think of the logistics of what being in an actual relationship with Ian would entail. He was only contracted to work with Ian for two more months, at that point it wouldn’t be weird if they took things a little further, right? His boss couldn’t retroactively fire him if she found out they were hooking up the whole time, and it’s not like Mickey would be bragging about it and parading around. He barely talked to anyone he worked with anyway.

Fuck. Fuck. Why did everything have to be so goddamn complicated? Wasn’t love supposed to be easy? Or was that cliche only saved for normal straight people that don’t have monsters beating down their closet door?

Mickey walked faster to the train station stairs, eager to see Charles for the first time in a few weeks. That fucker was elusive these days and he was in desperate need of Charles’ special brand of tough love today. Reaching the familiar spot near the station he didn’t catch sight of that shaggy hair that he’s grown accustomed too. He turned in a circle a few times, scanning up and down the street trying to see if Charles was anywhere near by.

He rubbed his bottom lip with his thumb as he walked over to another occupant of under the tracks, “Aye, Oliver! You seen Charles around?” he bellowed.

Oliver was a short man with a surprisingly clean shaven face and dirty blonde hair with clumps of knots in it. Oliver was nice even though he tended to get angry extremely quickly and he did have an imaginary friend he spoke to quite often.

Oliver twitched, mumbling something out the side of his mouth before looking directly at Mickey with his bloodshot brown eyes, “Cubbies game today, he’s working ‘round Wrigley.”

Mickey pursed his lips and nodded at Oliver, giving him a quick thanks before walking up the stairs to the L. He’ll have to check back tomorrow and see if Charles is around then, he missed that wild fucker. He took the crushed pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, pulling a butt from the pack and putting it to his lips. Smoking technically wasn’t allowed on the train platform, but the CTA could kiss his ass.

He pried that stupid Lady Liberty lighter out of his pocket and clutched it in his hand, turning it over and over in his palm as the different grooves and curves dented his skin. He sighed and flicked the lighter a few times and gazed at the flame that flared up from the torch in her hand. He leaned into the fire, igniting the paper of his cigarette quickly. Inhaling deeply he stared at that stupid fucking lighter as he breathed smoke out of his nose, the wind from the approaching train making the smoke twist around his head like a tornado.

Looks like he would be drowning in the ocean for a little while longer.

Chapter Text

For the longest time Mickey hated working weddings, despised every single thing about them actually. From the way that everything had to be meticulously planned down to the flower petal, the fucking group dances like the conga-line or ridiculous chicken dance and how every five fucking minutes someone was clinking their wine glass with a fork and forcing the newly married couple to kiss in front of all their friends and family.

Weddings were stupid, why people would throw away their hard earned money on an extravagant party that lasted one night was beyond him. Money that could be well spent on more important things than a dress that will only get worn once and would be torn and wine stained by the end of the evening. Money that could be spent on something other than a shitty band that plays subpar cover songs with the risque lyrics censored so no ones grandma got offended.

So yeah. weddings were stupid and marriage was even worse. If you loved someone why did you need a piece of paper to prove that? Why did you legally need to tie yourself to this person when you weren’t planning on going anywhere in the first place? And why did you need to do this in front of all your friends and family? Reciting your vows for everyone to hear and hold you to for the rest of your life? Fuck that. He had yet to see one marriage pan out successfully in his whole twenty six years of life so he didn’t really see a point to the whole thing. Find someone you can see yourself spending the rest of your life with and stay with them without the law getting involved, easy as that.

Okay, so maybe Mickey was a little bit bitter, but so the fuck what?

The only thing that Mickey liked about working weddings was that every once in awhile he would find someone who was willing to take him home afterwards and fuck the shit out of him. Someone who was drunk on the concept of forever love and steamy honeymoon sex (or probably just drunk in general) and could take all their emotionally charged endorphins out on him in the bedroom.

Back before Mickey worked in the kitchen during weddings he would be out on the floor, carrying around plates of hors d'oeuvres, tending to the buffet table and serving the chicken or fish to the people that checked the right fucking box on their RSVP cards. He didn’t give a shit about his job back then and would actively flirt with any good looking man who simply winked in his direction. Weddings were a perfect opportunity for no strings attached hookup and he was right on board with being used and abused for the evening.

But it’s different now, he’s different now. As the wedding season progressed he didn’t find himself hating them as much as he used too and he refused to stop and think about why. He’s worked enough of them at this point in his career, he’s just become desensitized to their outrageousness, that’s all. Nothing else to think about.

The wedding they were working today was massive, at least four hundred people in attendance and making dinner for that many people required a disgusting amount of food and preparation. Everyone at the company had been swamped for the past two weeks getting everything in order for this night. The stress of preparing for the event got even worse a few days leading up the wedding, Mickey’s boss running around like a tyrant and micromanaging every single detail until everything was done to her exact specifications. Mickey couldn’t blame her, if this was his company he would be acting the exact same way. Now that the day has finally come they are operating like a well oiled machine, pumping out appetizers and making sure the buffet was stocked at all times like this wasn’t the biggest event they’ve ever booked.

Due to the hectic nature of the past week, Mickey had to cancel on Ian. Twice. His boss, Hannah, promised to reimburse him for the hours he missed, but it wasn’t the money he was worried about. It’s been three months and he’s gotten accustomed to seeing Ian at least twice a week and suddenly not being around him and that outrageous red hair and goofy fucking smile left him feeling somewhat lost.

For the wedding everything was planned down to the very last detail, Hannah absolutely determined to make a good impression on the rich fucks they were catering for. Everyone was delegated to do one specific task and one task only, that way everyone knew where they were supposed to be at all times and only had to focus on their station. Mickey was in charge of plating and Mickey could fucking plate . It’s not something that everyone could do well and it took a keen eye and a steady hand to plate a dish to make it aesthetically pleasing and identical to the three hundred and ninety nine plates sitting next to it. It was probably the only relatively artistic thing that Mickey could do.

It was all about repetition and patience, find a flow that worked well and take the time to obsess over every minute detail. Mickey was a plating machine, he was finishing up dishes before the servers were even back from delivering the last group he had finished. Each plate looked identical to the one before it, not a single drop of sauce out of order.

He huffed out a deep breath and stood back with his hands on his hips as his eyes scanned the table that held all of the completed dishes. He smiled softly to himself, proud that he was able to plate so many dishes in such a short amount of time without them looking haphazardly thrown together.

He wiped his forehead with the towel he always had slung over his shoulder and gazed down at his jacket as he did so, noting that he managed not to get any sauce onto his immaculate white jacket. Coming out of work with a clean chef’s jacket was almost unheard of, people would probably assume he did nothing at all instead of working his ass off for hours.

Once the dinner was rolled out the only thing left to do was wait for the wedding to end before they could pack up and head home. Dessert had been taken care of by a bakery on the North Side, supplying the happily married couple with a twenty five layer cake that almost toppled over on the way into the venue. Mickey’s boss sent the majority of people home, only keeping a small group late to clean up the kitchen and load up the van. Mickey was always chosen to stay late, not like he minded too much, he needed all the hours he could get.

Mickey was elbow deep in scrubbing one of the sauce pans when he heard Hannah call his name. He whipped around, soap suds and water slowly dripping off his arms and onto the linoleum.

“Yes, Chef?” Mickey responded, wiping his arms off on the sides of his jacket.

“Can you show Chris here how to disassemble the buffet table, please?” Hannah asked.

Mickey frowned but nodded his head, leaving the crusty sauce pan to soak in the sink. He walked through the kitchen, waving his hand in a follow me motion to this Chris guy that’s been working with them for about two weeks now.

They walked through the nearly empty function hall and over to the buffet table, the only people still lingering around were the clean up crew and the bartenders settling their tips. Mickey turned to Chris abruptly, almost causing the other man to trip over his own feet.

“Alright man, you got a fuckin’ brain?” Mickey asked.

Chris’ brows furrowed, but he chuckled a little bit as nodded his head. “Yeah, I have a brain,” he answered.

Mickey hummed and thumbed at his bottom lip, “good, then you’ll be able to figure this out, it ain’t rocket science.”

Mickey walked this Chris guy through the whole process of breaking down the buffet table, maybe delving into a little too much detail when it wasn’t necessary and showing him how to stack the stands the most efficient way possible.

Between the two of them it only took about ten minutes to break down the entire stand and have everything ready to transport to the van. Actually packing everything into the van took more time than taking the whole thing apart, stacking the stands and pans in such a way to leave room for everything else they brought with them took finesse and a little bit of puzzle solving skills (and maybe a lot of swearing on Mickey’s end).

Once everything was packed into the cramped as fuck white van, Mickey walked back towards the building and leaned up against the wall. He  took a deep, relaxing breath and pulled out his pack of cigarettes, pulling one halfway out of the pack and waving the cardboard in Chris’ direction with raised eyebrows. Chris laughed and plucked the offered cigarette out of the pack and put it to his lips.

“Got a light?” he asked Mickey, his words slightly muffled around the cigarette.

Mickey nodded, pulling out his own cigarette before reaching into his back pocket to grab that stupid statue of liberty lighter. He sparked up his own cigarette first, inhaling deeply before he handed the lighter over to Chris, not even embarrassed that this was the only lighter he carried on him these days.

Chris laughed around the filter, lighting his cigarette with the flame from lady liberty’s torch and throwing the plastic back at Mickey, who caught it with ease. “Nice lighter,” Chris said, blowing out a cloud of smoke through smirking lips.

Mickey flipped him off, depositing the lighter snuggly in his back pocket, placing it so the jagged edge of her torch didn’t stab him in the ass.

They stood in silence for a few moments, steadily killing their cigarettes and enjoying the peace of a rare, quiet Chicago night. They were in the North Side after all.

Now, unless the guy was literally waving his dick in Mickey’s face he was pretty terrible at picking up signals. The only reason he caught on so quickly with Ian was because that asshole was the polar opposite of subtle, basically undressing Mickey with his eyes the second he opened the door that fateful day a few months ago. But if Mickey was apt at picking up signals, he would have felt the lust dripping off this Chris guy in an instant. His eyes were hyper focused on Mickey the entire time they stood there, drinking in Mickey’s every move like he was a parched man dying in the desert and Mickey was the only thing that would stave off the dehydration.

Chris wasn’t a bad looking guy and if he had started working with the company around the same time Mickey started he probably would have tried to hook up with him. But he didn’t do that shit anymore, his job was too important to fuck it up by sleeping with coworkers. (Clients on the other hand...)

Chris put the cigarette up to his lips again, eyes raking over Mickey one last time before looking him in the eye with the knowing glint. “Wanna get a drink when we get outta here?” he asked.

Mickey choked on his smoke, coughing out the last remnants left in his lungs before grinding the cigarette out into the concrete. He regained his composure relatively quickly, “Nah man, I’m fuckin’ exhausted, just wanna head home,” he responded.

Chris smirked, taking one step closer to Mickey, still giving him some space but driving the point home nonetheless. “Come on man, one drink won’t kill ya. There’s this bar close to my apartment we can go to just in case you wear yourself out,” Chris smirked, throwing a brave wink in Mickey’s direction.

Jesus, is this what people who grew up outside an abusive household were like? Throwing around suggestive comments like confetti without knowing with absolute certainty that that person was a fag? Christ, that sounded dangerous and stupid as fuck in Mickey’s opinion.

Mickey rubbed the back of his neck and took a deep breath, trying to keep his anger at bay, the fucking audacity of this guy. “I’m good man. I’m uh-I’m kinda seeing someone at the moment anyway.”

Chris took one last inhale of his cigarette before grinding it out against the concrete like Mickey had done. He blew his smoke up into the sky, a small frown deepening his features. “Well then, he’s a lucky guy,” Chris said half heartedly before walking passed Mickey and back into the building.

If Mickey wasn’t so wrapped up in the fact he just said he was fucking seeing someone he would be pissed that Chris just assumed he was seeing another guy . Not like he was wrong or anything...but it’s none of his fucking business.

Fuck, he just admitted out loud that he was seeing someone. That he was seeing Ian .  And the most fucked up part of the whole thing was that he did it unconsciously, his brain ready to supply that answer at the drop of a hat, pushing it passed his lips before he had the chance to second guess himself. Him and Ian weren’t dating, they weren’t exclusive and they certainly weren’t fucking boyfriends. But they were still technically seeing each other, right?  Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Mickey pulled out another cigarette, lighting it up with shaky hands. He sucked it down in solitude, his brain running a mile a minute with an ongoing mantra of fuckfuckfuck . He finished the second cigarette in record breaking time, seemingly taking the whole thing down in two long hits before he headed back inside to finish cleaning and packing.

By the time he was done for the evening and walking to the train station he was mentally and physically exhausted; his mind never did manage to cool down from the panic mode it entered into earlier and frankly Mickey had a fucking headache.

Walking up the platform to the L took every bit of energy he had, his feet felt like they weighed a thousand pounds and made a heavy sounding thunk each time they pounded down onto the steel steps. His lungs seemed to be just as tired as his brain, taking in breaths in short, quick bursts. The train had just pulled up to the station when he got to the top and he was thankful for his impeccable timing otherwise he would have to wait another twenty minutes for the next one.

The doors dinged open and he walked into the cabin, throwing himself down into a seat close to the doors so a gust of air blew his hair around every time they whooshed open to take on more passengers. He sighed heavily, closing his eyes and tilting his head back towards the wall, desperate to get home and sleep for hours until he had to head to Ian’s tomorrow. Finally.

He felt his phone vibrating in his pocket and he audibly groaned at the concept of expelling any energy on talking to whoever the fuck was on the other line. He pulled his beat up phone out of his pocket and glanced at the cracked screen, unconsciously smiling when he read Ian’s name broadcast at the top. Mickey cleared his throat before hitting accept, putting the device up to his ear and squirming down into his seat to get comfortable.

“Hey,” Mickey said, the smile on his face clearly evident in his voice.

“Hey yourself,” Ian said, his voice sounding like goddamn silk. Mickey found himself relaxing already, the stress and panic of the day falling away and Ian had only said two words.

“How was work?” Ian continued.

Mickey sighed, rubbing his eyes with his thumb and forefinger before bringing them together to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Fuckin’ long. I’m exhausted. Got a pounding headache,” he mumbled out.

Was he whining? Fuck, probably. But it was true, he was exhausted and achy and he had every right to whine, he’s been standing on his feet for fourteen hours and half of that time was spent hunched over a table. “I fuckin’ hate weddings man,” he finished.

Ian chuckled and Mickey turned into goo immediately, seemingly melting into the plastic of the train seat. This is something new that they’ve been doing, this whole talking regularly on the phone thing. The first time Ian had called him he had been apprehensive to answer, unsure if he would be able to carry on a conversation over the phone. He thought about it until the call almost went to voicemail and then he was scrambling over furniture to answer. But this was Ian and talking with him was organic. It didn’t require any excessive thought, it was a easy as breathing it seemed.
Ian’s voice sounded different over the crackling phone line; deeper, fucking sexier and Mickey berated himself for not starting this whole nightly phone call bullshit sooner.

If you had asked Mickey a year ago, hell even three months ago, if he would have nightly phone calls with someone he would have straight up laughed in your face, spitting about how he didn’t do that dependant bullshit . But now he wasn’t sure if he would be able to fall asleep at night without them.

“Come on, weddings aren’t that bad,” Ian paused, contemplating, “but to be fair I’ve never had to work a wedding before, just attended them so I can’t relate. What’d she have you doing this time?”  

Mickey smiled some more, a warmth blossoming in his chest. Apparently Ian was a great fucking listener. During one of their phone calls last week Mickey went on a ten minute rant about his boss and the company, bitching about nothing and everything at the same time. Half the sentences falling out of his mouth didn’t even make sense to his own ears, his anger just tumbling past his lips in an unorganized jumble.

But Ian listened. Ian listened to every goddamn word.

“Plating. Which is fine, I don’t mind plating. It’s the fact that she expected me to plate every goddamn appetizer and hors d'oeuvres by myself. And then after that I had to pump out four hundred fucking plates in the span of like twenty minutes. I swear I didn’t even stop to fucking blink man,” Mickey sighed.

Ian hummed into the mouthpiece in understanding, “I mean that’s a huge sign of trust, right? She wouldn’t have put you on plating if she didn’t think you be able to kill it.”

Mickey groaned, “I know, I know. It was just a lot and I’m being a huge pissbaby right now. I’m just fucking over it, I’m over bustin’ my balls for other people and if I have to hear the fucking chicken dance song one more goddamn time I’m gonna stab someone with a fork.”

Ian laughed, the breathy sound of it ringing through Mickey’s ears and thrumming through his whole body. He felt so fucking warm and it wasn’t because he was still wearing his chef’s jacket in the middle of August.

“Anyway, I’ll shut the fuck up. What about you? How was your day?” Mickey asked.

It was Ian’s turn to sigh now, “it was boring,” he paused and it sounded like he was licking his lips, “I uh, I miss you,” he said sheepishly.

Mickey’s cheeks flared up, red hot in embarrassment. No one has ever fucking missed him. Ever. He’s not someone that people miss . They usually just have Mickey around as long as he’s useful and then give him the boot as soon as he’s served his purpose. He doesn’t even recall any of his maybe-boyfriends saying they missed him when they were seperated for a period of time.

He squirmed around in his seat, sitting a little bit straighter than before. “Shut the fuck up, you needy asshole. It’s only been like a week,” Mickey responded, covering up his shock and insecurity with mockery and logic. He wouldn’t say it outloud, but he missed Ian too.

Ian laughed again, nonplussed by Mickey’s self defense mechanisms at this point, “I still fucking miss you, you shithead.”

They were silent for a minute, neither of them rushing to fill the silence with words and just content to know that the other person was on the other end of the line, connected through the wonder of technology.  

“So listen, I have a question and you’re probably gonna think it’s weird but I’m being serious,” Ian said.

That certainly piqued Mickey’s interest and if he was a dog his ears would have perked up. “Okay...” he said slowly, skeptically, “shoot.”

Ian paused and Mickey could hear him shuffling around wherever the fuck he was; laying in bed, walking around in front of that huge window, taking a shit, who the fuck knows. “I was wondering if you would make me dinner tomorrow night?” Ian asked.

Mickey’s eyebrows furrowed, a frown deepening the lines of his face. He rubbed his hand through his hair, scratching at the back of his head, the perfect picture of dumbfounded confusion. He switched his phone to the other ear, wiping that hand on front of his pants, his palms suddenly sweaty.

“Uhhh, I don’t know if you know this but I literally make you dinner all the fucking time. That’s what you pay me for,” Mickey responded sarcastically.

Ian huffed, “I know that, asshole. But I don’t mean like that. I want you to make me something that’s not one of the usuals, something that doesn’t focus on my diet. I want you to make your favorite meal. For me. We’ll like...I don’t know, make it a thing. I’ll get a nice wine-fuck not wine. Idiot. I don’t know, this was stupid, I’m so stupid.”

Mickey could feel Ian’s nervousness wafting through the phone as if he was sitting right next to him, his frantic energy was leaking through the line and sinking into Mickey’s skin, making him itchy and jumpy as well.

This was weird, this whole conversation was weird.

“ mean like a date?” Mickey asked, his words coming out slowly like he was taking the time to comprehend what Ian said.

Ian scoffed. “Yes, like a fucking date, Mickey. Will you go on a date with me?” Ian bit out, sounding almost angry. But Mickey knew Ian well enough to know that he wasn’t angry with him, he was most likely angry at himself and he really didn’t have a reason to be. If this is what was qualifying as dates between the two of them then they’ve been on a few already.

Sure, they were informal dates and kind of just happened but they were definitely still dates . Ian was just trying to make it special for some unknown reason by formally asking Mickey. And if that wasn’t the reason why Mickey’s heart felt like it was swelling in his chest he should probably see a fucking doctor.

Mickey laughed quietly into the mouthpiece, shaking his head even though Ian couldn’t see him. “Yeah, Freckles, I’ll make you dinner tomorrow,” he said softly.

Ian let out a sigh of relief like he had been waiting for Mickey’s answer with baited breath, his relief palpable even from miles away. “Really?” he asked, like he was shocked Mickey actually said yes.

Mickey smiled, this guy was a huge dork, “Yeah, really. It’s fine, not like I don’t cook every fucking day as it is.”

“I would like, you know, offer to make you dinner. But I think I would burn the apartment down,” Ian responded, sounding slightly regretful, like he wanted to make dinner for Mickey but just didn’t have the skills to do so.

“Nah, you wouldn’t burn the place down. I woulda kicked you out and taken over way before that could happen,” Mickey said.

Ian laughed again, loud, infectious, “True, so true,” he paused and took a deep breath, still trying to regain some semblance of chill, “so I’ll see you tomorrow then?”

“Yeah, yeah. You’ll see me tomorrow,” Mickey responded with a undisguisable fondness laced into his words. This fucking redhead giant was going to be the death of him.

“Okay, okay good. Well...have a nice night Mickey,” Ian said, his voice dripping like honey now that the brief panic had flowed through both of them.

“Yeah, good night Ian.”

It took them a moment before disconnecting the phone call, neither one of them eager to get off the line with each other just yet. But soon Mickey heard the beeping in his ear indicting Ian had ended the call. He stared down at his phone for a few more seconds, tossing the thing back in forth between his hands as his mind replayed the conversation he just had over and over. He huffed out a relieved sigh, biting his smiling lips as he rested his head against the train wall, eager to fall asleep and wake up to a new day.

Ian disconnected from the phone call and smacked himself in the forehead with the device.

“You’re such a fucking idiot,” he berated himself, smacking the phone against his forehead one more time before shoving it into the pocket of his sweatpants. He crossed his arms over his chest and paced back and forth in front of the window, chewing on his bottom lip as he went. Ian had never been good at playing it cool and that disaster of a phone call stood testament to that fact. He didn’t want to come off as needy and weird but he had failed miserably on that front.

“I miss you,” he mocked himself in a high pitched voice, “fucking idiot.”

Although it wasn’t a lie by any means it was still stupid to admit that out loud. He wasn’t trying to spook Mickey by being too clingy right off the bat, but that’s exactly what he was and it was hard to turn that part of his personality off sometimes. Especially when it came to Mickey. Ian just craved him all the time, was starved for his warmth and presence at all hours of the day and the last week without him had been hell, his body going through withdrawals from not being able to get its fix.

After their first sleepover went very, very well, Mickey had been sleeping over every Sunday and Wednesday night if his work schedule allowed it. They both claimed convenience, since Mickey would have to be at the apartment later the next day anyway, but they both knew what it really was. Although they had only had a grand total of six sleepovers, Ian had already gotten used to waking up to Mickey’s warmth and soft skin.

They weren’t “official” by any stretch of the imagination, but Ian was pretty sure that they were still kind of dating, even if the lines of their relationship have yet to be clearly mapped out. He was hoping to change that soon.

And yeah, maybe they've been on a few unofficial dates already, but Ian wanted this one to be special, to mean something. If he was going to attempt to elevate this relationship to the next level he wanted to make sure their dinner was memorable in some way. So the only way to do that was to officially ask Mickey out on a date, even if said date was constricted to the confines of his apartment. Dinner and a movie still counted as a date even if it was in private, right?

It always made Ian itchy and on edge to not have things clearly defined and laid out, always desperate to label things in any way possible; one night stands, fuck-buddies, boyfriends, he labeled fucking everything. He had been patient with Mickey, giving him time to slowly acclimate to Ian so he wouldn’t scare him away or hinder their growth together by lumping their relationship into one category. But every relationship Ian has been in before has always been very black and white, both parties intentions very clear from the start. But everything with Mickey was always so damn muddled he was ready to clarify things as best as possible.

It had been about three months of them fooling around and getting to know each other and Ian was ready for more . The thought of someone else laying their hands on Mickey, tasting his lips and waking up to those sleepy blue eyes made him physically ill. The only way to stop those thoughts from infiltrating his mind late at night was to make it official, to make sure there were no loose ends or any grey areas when it came to what they meant to each other.

Ian was ready, ready to take everything with Mickey to that next level. He was just hoping Mickey was ready too.

Mickey’s never had this much of a dilemma when grocery shopping before. He’s changed the entire meal about five times now, abandoning his basket full of goods and starting all over again every time. He was nervous and even though he’s made dinner for Ian countless times, this time was different. There was a certain air of importance that was placed around this dinner for some reason and he didn’t want to fuck it up by cooking the wrong meal.

He stood in front of the produce, the small hissing sound from the fountain constantly spritzing the vegetables was making his fingers twitch. He chewed on his thumb nail with a furrowed brow while he thought over all his options. Should he go with chicken or beef? Fish? Maybe go way off the rails and get fucking veal or something? Arugula or spinach? Tomatoes or potatoes? Broccoli or asparagus? Fuck, not broccoli. Ian hated broccoli.

He huffed out a defeated sigh and abruptly turned from his spot in front of the judgemental legumes and started walking away from the produce section, thinking that maybe inspiration would strike from looking at everything else the store had to offer. He circled the store a few times, dipping down each and every aisle, probably looking like he was casing the joint when suddenly a lightbulb went off.

Ian had asked Mickey to make his favorite meal, something he enjoyed eating and making. Only one dish came to mind and if Ian didn’t like it then he would be shit outta luck.

He grabbed elbow pasta, three different types of cheeses, some whole milk and a can of italian bread crumbs. Tonight they were having some goddamn baked mac n’ cheese like adults. It wasn’t the sexiest thing he could make Ian for dinner, but it’s not like he was trying to seduce Ian with food anyway. Mickey simply just had to ask Ian to take his pants off and the redhead would comply. No food necessary.

What a fantastic arrangement.

He paid for his purchase as soon as he was done picking up the regular round of groceries for the week, throwing in a six pack of beer just incase Ian did something gay like actually get them wine to sip on. If Mickey wanted juice he would drink fucking juice, the point of alcohol is to feel that slight burn as it raced down your throat and warmed your belly.

He got to Ian’s complex quickly, taking the elevator to the thirteenth floor as he expertly ignored the old lady standing next to him, side eyeing his tattoos and clutching her purse a little tighter in her fist.  Mickey didn’t knock anymore unless the door was locked, which it rarely was especially if Ian knew he was coming over. He pushed the handle down with his elbow and walked into the apartment like he owned the place.

“Ian?” he called out when he didn’t immediately see the other man in the kitchen or the living room. He placed the bags of groceries on the counter with a thud, wasting no time in pulling everything out of the bags and onto the countertop so it was easier to put away, placing some vegetables into the sink so he can wash them immediately.

Ian came stumbling out of the hallway, tripping over something apparently imaginary as he made his way into the kitchen. Mickey’s eyes trailed up and down Ian’s body, greedily soaking in the sight. Ian always looked good, it was hardwired into his fucking DNA (he remembers seeing them at the benefit, the whole fucking family was beautiful), but for some reason he looked extra sexy today. Maybe it was because Mickey hadn’t seen him in a week or maybe it was because Ian was wearing a pair of tight as fuck jeans and an even tighter button down shirt, the top few buttons left undone. He hadn’t seen Ian in an outfit like this since that vomit inducing encounter at the club a while ago, the redhead usually content to just float around the apartment in his gym shorts or sweatpants. And damn if it didn’t have Mickey practically drooling.

“Hey,” Ian said, all soft and sweet like an asshole, a tiny smile brightening up his face.

Mickey snapped himself out of the daze he was in, refocusing his gaze back on the food in front of him on the counter. “Hey,” he said to the assortment of cheese rather than to Ian. He picked up the box of pasta and went to put it away in the cabinet, turning his back on the other man. For some reason he was having a hard time keeping his breathing under control and it was embarrassing as fuck.

It couldn’t have been more than two seconds later when Ian grabbed onto Mickey’s bicep and spun him around a little forcefully, almost causing Mickey to drop the unopened box of pasta on the floor. Instead, Ian took the box out of his hands and placed it on the counter behind them before gently gripping Mickey’s cheeks in his hands and pulling him in for a deep kiss, their lips slotting together with ease. Mickey groaned, immediately reaching out to grab onto Ian’s hips to pull him closer, one hand trailing around to rest heavily on the center of Ian's lower back.

Ian hummed against Mickey’s lips and wrapped one arm completely around Mickey’s back, holding him in place as he dragged their bodies completely flush together. Heat immediately flared down Mickey’s spine, igniting a fire in his gut that made his skin prickle. He wondered if Ian could feel it, could feel this fucked up reaction that he had no control over when it came to having Ian this close to him. God, his presence was fucking all consuming, every sound cut out until all Mickey could hear were the frantic breaths that Ian was releasing through his nose and his own heart pounding furiously in his chest.

Ian sucked on Mickey’s top lip like it was his only saving grace. He clutched onto the back of Mickey’s shirt fiercely, balling the fabric up into his fist as he dropped his jaw open to lick gently at the seam of Mickey’s lips.

Mickey opened up like a goddamn floodgate, immediately accepting Ian’s tongue into his mouth, pushing them together softly. Mickey whimpered pathetically at the feeling, hoping to Christ that Ian didn’t hear it, but the small quirk of his lips forming into a cocky smile proved otherwise.

Whatever. Fuck it. He pulled Ian in closer, putting some pressure on the small of his back and moving his tongue with a little more force but still keeping the kiss slow and deep. It was Ian’s turn to whine now and a proud little bubble inflated in Mickey’s chest, swelling until it almost burst. The hand that Ian still had resting on Mickey’s cheek traveled to grip onto the back of his neck, thumb resting against Mickey’s cheekbone, holding his head in place as he pushed him back against the counter with his hips.

Mickey was thankful for the support, positive that his knees would have given out with how fiercely Ian was now licking into his mouth and sucking on his lips. Ian slipped his leg into between Mickey’s slightly spread ones, his thigh resting snugly against Mickey’s crotch, his own crotch resting hot on Mickey’s hip.

It was only a week, seven days, one hundred and sixty eight hours since they’ve seen each other and they’re acting like it’s been months. Apparently their brief (albeit awkward, thanks to Mickey) phone sex sessions did nothing to quell the need burning through the both of them.

Mickey was ready to drop his pants and get Ian the fuck inside him immediately, but apparently Ian had different plans. Ian pulled back from Mickey, biting down on that full bottom lip before disengaging completely, his chest heaving up and down with the force of his breathes.

“Your eye looks good,” Ian whispered, his breath hot on Mickey’s lips as his thumb traced over the pale yellow bruises gently, like a simple brush of skin on skin would make those stubborn assholes still clinging to Mickey disappear.

“Yeah, only took three fucking weeks,” he said, rolling his eyes in exasperation.

Ian grinned and pulled Mickey in for another kiss; quick, but poignant, and over way too fucking soon.

He pulled away completely, a shiver running through Mickey’s body at the sudden loss of his warmth. Ian walked around the counter and slid into his usual stool, propping his head up on his palm as he looked at Mickey with wistful eyes, a smile creeping across his lips. “So, what’s for dinner?” he asked.

Mickey at least had the decency to look somewhat embarrassed, having second thoughts about his meal choice now. What if Ian had been expecting this elaborate, fancy meal and all Mickey could fucking come up with was goddamn mac n’ cheese? He wanted to smack himself for being such an idiot. This was supposed to be a date, right? And he’s making fucking mac n’ cheese.

He rubbed the back of his neck and looked down menacingly at the box of elbow pasta before he picked it up and held it in the air, “I uh, figured I would make us some baked mac n’ cheese, if that’s alright?”

Ian’s moan was nothing short of pornographic, his eyes rolling into the back of his head as he licked his lips. The sight alone was enough to give Mickey a half chub if he wasn’t there already. He chose to laugh it off instead, his embarrassment disappearing as quickly as it flared up.

“I take you approve then?” he asked, a cocky smirk stretching across his face, reassured by Ian’s reaction that he didn’t fuck this up after all.

“Oh, I approve alright, fucking love mac n’ cheese. I’ve never had homemade before though, I’m just used to that powdered cheese shit,” Ian said.

Mickey grimaced, the thought of that fake ass powder even being labeled as a cheese was sacrilegious and honestly should be illegal. False advertisement or some shit.

“Well, I hope you’re hungry for some actual mac n’ cheese and not that fucking imitation bullshit. I’m just gonna...prepare your food for the week and then get started,” Mickey explained as he moved to head over the sink to wash the vegetables still sitting in there.

Ian’s eyebrows climbed up his forehead as he sat up a little straighter in his seat. “I’m fucking starving. So, how about, you cook the mac n’ cheese first,” Ian stood up from the stool and walked around the counter, “then we watch a movie and drink some beer,” he kept stalking towards Mickey until he had Mickey pinned against the counter again, “then maybe we fuck on the couch or against the window,” he ran his fingers through Mickey’s hair, grabbing onto the black locks on top before he pulled Mickey’s head back sharply, causing Mickey to hiss a little bit.

Ian’s eyes were fucking burning hot into Mickey’s, his voice dripping with lust and rumbling deep with unquestionable authority, “then we move to the bedroom and fuck again before we fall asleep. And then maybe, tomorrow, you can make my food for the week. That sound good, hmm?” Ian asked.

Mickey couldn’t really do much besides gulp down all the saliva that had started pooling in his mouth and nod his head as best as he could. God, he was so fucking turned on right now it was fucked.

Ian grinned, looking like a fucking shark about to devour Mickey whole. “Good,” he said pointedly before diving in and immediately sucking on the side of Mickey’s neck, scraping his teeth against the flesh before soothing everything over with his tongue. Ian had managed to find the most sensitive area on Mickey’s neck with ease, already knowing the exact spot to swirl his tongue to get Mickey burning hot in an instant.

Ian planted one last deep, smacking kiss to that spot before he pulled away, his fingers uncurling from Mickey’s hair and his body disappearing completely. Mickey stood there disoriented for a moment, his vision a little blurry and his breathing still erratic, but he caught on quickly. He shook his head, huffing out a small laugh as he pushed himself away from the counter.

“You’re such a fucking cocktease, man,” Mickey grumbled out, putting pressure on the front of his jeans to alleviate some of the ache.

Ian gave an amused chuckle as he walked over to the fridge, pulling out bottles of beer for the both of them, twisting the cap off before handing the drink over to Mickey. Mickey nodded his thanks and downed half the bottle in one gulp, attempting anything that cool the fire burning in his gut.

By the time Mickey was halfway done with his second beer, the pasta was in the boiling water and Mickey was in the process of starting the cheese sauce. Ian was very eager to have a hands on experience with making tonight’s dinner, badgering Mickey with questions until Mickey just started explaining everything he was doing unprompted.

“The first thing we gotta make is a roux,” Mickey said.

“A what?” Ian asked, moving to stand beside Mickey, resting his hand on the small of his back.

“A roux. It’s real simple, those pretentious French fucks just like to pretend they’re special with their fancy terms, but it’s really just melted butter and flour. It’s used to thicken sauces,” Mickey explained.

“I do like a thick sauce,” Ian said, the simple sentence dripping with innuendo.

Mickey looked over at him with furrowed brows, the smirk plastered across Ian’s face making it difficult for Mickey not to smirk as well; he was sucker for shitty jokes and those were never in short supply when Ian was around. “You’re gross. Make yourself useful and get me another beer,” Mickey responded, waving his empty bottle in front of Ian’s face

Ian chuckled and pecked Mickey loudly on the cheek, grabbing the bottle out of his hand and shuffling over to the fridge.

“Now, the roux gets really thick and chunky when it’s done, kinda looks like mashed potatoes. That’s when we start whisking in some milk until it’s creamy again. With the added milk the roux now becomes something called a bechamel,” Mickey kept explaining, raising his voice a little bit so Ian heard him with his head stuck in the fridge, “which is just another stupid fucking name for sauce. After that’s all whisked in we add all that cheese I had you grate earlier into the bechamel and mix it in until it’s melted. Add all the ingredients together in a pan, sprinkle some fucking breadcrumbs on top and put it in the oven and you’re done. Easy as fuck. No more boxed mac n’ cheese for you, Gallagher.”

Ian was standing next to him again, reaching out the bottle for Mickey to grab onto. His face was kind of unreadable, borderline impressed but also with a speck of shock thrown in there. Mickey took a gulp of his beer, moving to stir the pasta around in the boiling water.

“Have you ever thought about teaching?” Ian asked.

Mickey scoffed, turning to look at Ian with an incredulous look on his face. “Yeah, okay guy, lemme just roll up into a culinary school with my knuckle tattoos and mile long rap sheet and teach some dumb fucks how to make mac n’ cheese,” Mickey grumbled, rolling his eyes as he took another sip of his beer.

“I’m serious! You’re so good at this, I think you would be an amazing culinary instructor. I mean, you taught me how to make some stuff and I’m a fucking idiot in the kitchen,” Ian said, amused.

Mickey shook his head, turning down the burner for the pasta and placing his beer on the counter to start adding the milk to the roux. “Nah man, I got other plans that don’t involve teaching. I ain’t trying to be responsible for someone else’s career anymore, fuck that.”

“What are your plans then, if you don’t mind me asking?” Ian asked softly, not trying to push Mickey into explaining, but he was genuinely curious.

Mickey stared down at the sauce, whisking the milk around and around in the pan. He didn’t share his goals with a lot of people, hell fucking Mandy didn’t even know he wanted to do open his own place. He wasn’t trying to allow anyone to have an impact on him with their negative thoughts and judgmental fucking attitudes, trying to avoid having to hear I told you so at all costs when it came to his dreams and ambitions. But Ian wouldn’t judge him, he would probably be encouraging more than anything.

Mickey pulled his bottom lip between his teeth, biting on the pink flesh real quick before answering, “I uh, I wanna open my own restaurant.” Short and sweet, didn’t give away too much detail but answered Ian’s question nonetheless.

“No shit? That’s fucking amazing!” Ian said, his enthusiasm palpable and genuine, “have you like, looked into anything yet or are you just in the dreaming stage?”

Mickey left the sauce simmering after he finished adding in all the milk and focused his attention on the pasta, turning the burner off and grabbing a towel to wrap around the handle so he could carry the hot pot over to the sink to drain. He dumped the pasta into the colander, steam billowing up into his face as he shook the pasta around in the plastic bowl, “I mean, I haven’t looked at locations or anything like that. But I’ve reworked the menu a million fucking times in my head, I’m not sure what type of cuisine I want to do yet, ya know? I got a few names picked out though that would fit whatever the fuck I decide to do. Right now, I’m just saving up all my cash so when I do eventually figure it out I don’t have to wait to get it started.”

“That’s amazing, Mick. It really is, I believe in you,” Ian said to Mickey’s back, his voice delicate but passionate, leaving no room for an argument of intrusive thoughts about insincere comments.

The praise made Mickey’s skin itch though. He hadn’t done anything yet and having dreams of bigger things wasn’t revolutionary or amazing, it was fucking foolish actually. Where they were raised dreams rarely come true, so building up all these ideas and goals in your mind usually ended poorly.

“Whatever Freckles, do me a favor and stir the pasta into the sauce, turn the heat off,” Mickey said, bringing the colander over to the stove to dump the pasta into the bubbling cheese mixture.

They continued to make the mac n’ cheese alongside each other until it was placed in the oven and a timer was set on the stove, Ian cracking bad jokes the entire time and not prodding Mickey for more information about the whole restaurant thing. It was a relief really, Mickey didn’t have it all figured out yet and he didn’t want anyone asking him questions he couldn’t answer, lest he look unprepared and uneducated. But at least Ian knew now, at least Ian was aware that Mickey was someone with goals for himself, someone who had plans for a better life.

Mickey plopped himself down on the couch, a new bottle of beer in his hand as Ian rummaged through his DVD shelf to find a movie to start while dinner was still cooking.

“I got a few genres, not sure what you’re in the mood for. Action, comedy, drama, whatcha feeling?” Ian asked. The setting sun was piercing through the clean windows, lighting up Ian’s hair in so many different shades of copper it was kind of breathtaking. Ian’s shirt and jeans were so goddamn tight, accentuating all of his muscles in his back and ass and Mickey wanted nothing more than to grip the hard muscle in his hands as Ian plowed into him.

Ian kept going, unaware of Mickey’s lustful gaze piercing into his back, “Van Damme, Segal. Got Double Impact? Under Siege, Hard to Ki-”

“Under Siege, for-fucking-sure,” Mickey said with finality.

Ian laughed, dragging the DVD case off the shelf and popping open the cover. “You a Segal man then? I prefer Van Damme myself,” Ian said, placing the disc into the player.

“Man, fuck Van Damme,” Mickey said, taking a big gulp of his beer. God, he wished Ian would just let him smoke in here, it would make life so much easier. Ian settled back down next to Mickey, sitting close enough so their knees could bounce against each other and the skin of their arms would brush with every move. “Segal has that powerful fucking ponytail, you can’t deny how badass that is,” Mickey continued.

Ian scoffed, “Yeah, okay. Try not to pop a boner while we watch this movie then, fangirl.”

“Not making any promises,” Mickey said, smiling into his beer bottle as he brought it to his lips.

Twenty minutes into the movie the timer on the oven started going off, signifying their dinner was ready. Mickey took the hot dish out of the oven, with only one comment from Ian about how adorable he was with those oven mitts on. The cheese sauce was bubbling and the breadcrumbs perfectly browned on top, it looked like the most picture perfect dish of mac n’ cheese on the planet. Mickey scooped out two big portions onto plates for the both of them, carrying them over to the couch while Ian grabbed another round of beers.

They settled back into the couch, Ian pressing play for the movie to continue right where they left off. Mickey didn’t want to look like a fucking creep, but he wanted to see Ian’s reaction to his first bite of their dinner, hoping that Ian’s first experience with a homemade mac n’ cheese would be a good one. So, he stared at Ian out of the corner of his eye, eagerly anticipating his opinion and trying not to look too conspicuous.

Ian stabbed his fork into the meal, loading up the utensil with as much pasta and cheese that he could fit in his mouth. He wasn’t even apprehensive, just jammed the whole bite into his mouth. Again, the pornographic moan came floating past Ian’s lips as he chewed and chewed, his eyes fluttering closed.

Mickey grinned. He knew he was a good chef, it was just nice getting validation even if it was from something as executing a basic mac n’ cheese perfectly.

“Mick, this is fucking amazing,” Ian moaned out, scooping up another forkful and shoving it into his mouth. “Like honestly, can’t believe I’ve never had this before. I can’t turn back now,” he said around a mouthful of food.

Mickey grimaced. “Close your fucking mouth you animal,” he said, moving the food around on his own plate as he fought a smile. “But thanks,” he finished softly.

They ate the rest of their meal in relative silence, minus Ian’s quiet moans of approval and shit blowing up and people got shot on TV. It was nice, Mickey could get used to this. Ian got seconds as soon as his plate was empty, basically licking it clean before Mickey reminded him there was plenty left if he was still hungry.

Plates were discarded on the table after they both finished their second helping, stomachs full of beer and cheese and Ian was happy as fuck.

Now was the perfect time, Ian thought. It was quiet, Mickey was relaxed and slightly buzzed and had a full stomach. There was absolutely no reason for the other man to be grumpier than he usually was, if only Ian could work up the nerve to ask him. He sat on the couch, his eyes glued to the TV as his nails picked at the label on his beer bottle, a nervous tick. It felt like he was sweating profusely, positive there would be pit stains on his shirt if he lifted his arms up.

Fuck it, fuck it. The worst Mickey would do was say no, right? And it wasn’t that big of a deal if he did, it wouldn’t change anything between them at all. It’s okay, it’s okay.

Ian took one more giant sip of his beer before taking a deep breathe and turning his body to face Mickey. “Hey, um, I have a question for you,” he began,  “and you can totally say no if you want too, absolutely! I don’t want you to think I’m pressuring you into anything because that’s not the case but I really think this would be a cool thing for the two of us and it would mean a lot to me if you did say yes. But like I said! You don’t have to, the decision is totally up to you, but, just-”

“Spit it out, Ian. Christ,” Mickey grumbled.

“Fuck,” Ian huffed out. This was harder than he thought it would be. “Okay, okay. So, I have a fitting in two weeks for my runway show, right? And I was wondering if-um-I was wondering if you wanted to, uh, come with me?” Ian asked, finally. He couldn’t look Mickey in the eye, his gaze firmly planted on the fabric of his jeans stretched over his thigh. “It would, um, it would be kinda nice, dontcha think?” he whispered, hopeful.

He kept his head down but looked up at Mickey through his lashes. The other man was fidgeting in his seat, biting furiously on his bottom lip, steam seemingly coming out of his ears as the cogs in his head worked over time. Fuck, it was too soon. They weren’t ready for this yet, Ian just probably shoved Mickey five hundred yards back in his pursuit to connect emotionally. He should have waited, what a fucking idiot.

“Can I think about it?” Mickey asked, his voice smaller than Ian’s ever heard it before.

Ian nodded his head so fast it felt like it was about to come unhinged. “Yeah, totally. Of course,” he spit out in one quick succession.

“Good, now shut the fuck up and get on me,” Mickey said, that familiar snark and cockiness floating back into his voice.

And who was Ian to deny a command like that?

Chapter Text

“You ever been to New York?” Mickey asked, flicking the end of the filter to knock off the built up ash, before bringing the stick back to his lips again.  

Charles snorted, taking a bite of his tuna sandwich and washing it down with a pull from his own cigarette. Mickey grimaced, that combination didn’t seem like one that would be particularly enjoyable, but Charles had the cigarette firmly wedged between the same fingers that held onto the sandwich.

“I never told ya, did I?” Charles asked, ripping the crust off of his sandwich and throwing it over to a bird nearby, the ugly thing screeching loudly in approval.

Mickey’s eyebrows furrowed, glaring at Charles. “Told me what?” he asked.

Charles laughed, scratching his dirty nails through his knotted beard as he screwed his face up in contemplation. He finished scratching at his skin and held his finger up, indicating that Mickey should wait a moment. He took three large bites of his sandwich and threw the scraps over to the gaggle of birds that had formed around that one piece of crust that he threw moments earlier, all of them squawking and pecking at each other to get the smallest morsel in their beaks.

“I’m from New York kid, born n’ raised,” he said, the tuna still smacking against his lips and teeth.

“No shit. How the fuck did you end up here?” Mickey asked, flabbergasted.

Charles wasn’t shy when it came to sharing facts about his personal life and past, eagerly telling outrageous stories that seemed purely fictional but Charles had sworn up and down they were true. Mickey had no reason to doubt him. But the fact that he was from New York was something that hadn’t been mentioned, a small tidbit of information about this weird man that had slipped through the cracks.

“Chasin’ pussy, how the fuck do ya think I ended up here? Wasn’t in my right mind, lemme tell ya,” he laughed, stubbing his cigarette out on the wood of the bench and immediately pulling another one out of the pack that Mickey bought him.

They were sitting on a bench near Shedd Aquarium, watching the gentle waves of lake Michigan lap up against the stone wall, a few sail boats and jetskis flying across the surface. Charles had moved locations, saying that where he was before wasn’t safe anymore and wasn’t turning out any money. So he moved closer to downtown and further away from the South Side. Mickey was kind of pissed that Charles didn’t even tell him, didn’t even try to communicate that he wasn’t dead in a ditch somewhere but just panhandling near more affluent folks.

He was more bummed about the fact that he had to go out of his way to talk to the fucker now instead of running into him on his way to the train.

“My girlfriend moved ‘ere, got a good job offer. Told me I didn’t have ta come with ‘er but fuck that. Thought I was in love, ya know? I woulda chased her to the ends of the fuckin’ Earth,” Charles said.

His eyes were gleaming, looking out over the lake and getting lost in his memories, his eyebrows twisting downwards. “Didn’t last long, clearly. She fuckin’ cheated on me with some hotshot, dumped me, kicked me out. I had nothin’, didn’t know no one out ‘ere, didn’t really have any skills. Worked at fuckin’ White Castle for awhile ‘til I got fired for stealin’. Fucking pricks,” he took a pull off his cigarette again, his teeth worrying his bottom lip as he exhaled through his nose.

“Got kicked outta the room I was rentin’. Couldn’t pay, ya know? No one wanted to hire a fuckin’ thief. Couldn’t find nothin’ unless I waited outside Home Depot and hopped in the backa someone’s truck,” he took another deep pull from his cigarette, his fingers shaking so much that some of the ash fell off and landed on his trousers.

Mickey didn’t want Charles to dig all this shit up if it made him this uncomfortable. Talking about your past is tough, doesn’t matter how much time has passed between then and now, some shit you never get over. Mickey knew that better than anyone.

“Then, ya know, this happened,” Charles tapped the crook of his elbow with the fingers that were holding the cigarette.

That, Mickey did know about. He met Charles when he was in the worst of his withdrawal, trying hard to kick the habit in a habitat that did nothing to help addicts trying to recover. It was a rough few months and with Charles’ stubborn ass attitude about rejecting any help at all, all Mickey could do was bring him food and water to keep him somewhat comfortable. It wasn’t his first time trying to ease the pain of someone he cared about trying to wrench themselves away from a painful addiction.

“All’s I know is followin’ that bitch around ruined my damn life. Who know’s what life coulda been like if I’da stayed in New York,” Charles finished with an air of authority, flicking his decimated cigarette butt in the grass somewhere. He leaned back in his seat, inclining his head to rest against the wood of the bench.

Mickey sat there in silence, his cigarette forgotten about and burning out between his fingers as his mind ran a million miles an hour. Charles didn’t do it intentionally, he was just speaking from personal experience, but he was certainly watering the seed of doubt that was already planted in Mickey’s mind. He had been thinking the whole thing over for a few days and before this conversation the pros of going with Ian definitely outweighed the cons.

But now, he wasn’t so sure.

Charles rolled his head on the back of the bench until he was facing Mickey. He must have noticed that Mickey’s mood slipped dramatically, that he said something to jostle Mickey’s panic button because he was ferociously biting down on his bottom lip and picking at the loose thread on his jeans, and those were some of Mickey’s tell tale signs.

“Ah fuck, wha’d I do now?” Charles asked, reaching up to grab onto Mickey’s shoulder and shake him back and forth to bring him back down to Earth.

Mickey blinked rapidly a few times, clearing his throat and sitting up a little straighter, trying to give off the vibe that he was okay and not having an internal breakdown for the fifth time this week over this bullshit.

“Nothing, it’s uh-it’s nothing,” he mumbled, swiping his thumb against his twitching nose.

“Bullshit it’s nothin’. Ya thinkin’ bout something in that wack-o brain a yours,” Charles said, sitting up and leaning over a little to get into Mickey’s face.

“It’s just, Ian uh-Ian asked me to go to New York with him for the weekend,” he trailed off, hoping that Charles would catch on to where where he was going with this.

He hummed and nodded, sitting back against the bench again and stretching his arms along the top. “Ah shit, n’ I just scared ya, didn’t I? Listen kid, yer just fuckin’ goin’ for the weekend, not uprootin’ ya whole life ta move there. I say go, definitely. Everyone should see the city once in their life and when are ya ever gonna get an opportunity like this? Huh?”

Mickey smiled half heartedly real quick before his lips slipped down into a deep frown, his eyebrows following their lead and scrunching up on his forehead. “You don’t think this is all moving too fucking fast? I’ve only known the guy for like three months and he wants to take me on a vacation? I’m not some fuckin’ kept boy,” Mickey said, the last sentence being spit out with vehemence.

“Aye, woah, no one’s sayin’ yer a kept boy, Mick. The fuck?” Charles shook his head and reached over to squeeze Mickey’s knee in reassurance. “We’ve been over this before, kid. Sometimes people like ta do nice things for people they like, not everyone has a hidden motive. I think Ian jus’ genuinely wants ya to spend some time with him away from ‘ere. Ya don’t have to hide from anyone in New York, no one fuckin’ knows ya there and no one gives a shit.”

Mickey huffed out a breath and crossed his arms over his chest. All the points that Charles brought up were ones that he had already thought of himself so it wasn’t new information. But it was reassuring to hear it from an outside perspective. It would be nice to hangout with Ian where no one knew them, where they didn’t have to be weary of their comings and goings and could just fucking be without Mickey freaking out every three seconds about Ian being his goddamn client.

“So, you think it’s alright if I go?” Mickey whispered.

Charles scoffed, resting back against the seat casually like he was before. “I think it’s plenty a’ight if ya go.”

Mickey uncrossed his arms and lowered his hands into his lap, picking at the skin on the sides of his fingernails as he spoke, “Are you sure that - you don’t think I’m, uh--you don’t think this is moving too fast?”

Charles huffed. “Whaddya say ta me a few months ago?” he paused, waiting for Mickey to fill in the blanks. Mickey’s eyebrows rose up his forehead as he shrugged aggressively. He has said a lot of shit to Charles over the years, how is he supposed to remember it all?

Charles rolled his eyes and did his best to look annoyed, but the small smile growing on his face gave him away. “Ya said it was easy, that bein’ with Ian was easy. Stop tryin’ to fuckin’ complicate things, stop tryin’ to make it hard because that’s whatcha used to, ya prick. Relationships are s’posed to be beautiful and make ya happy, they’re not s’posed to be all turmoil and heartache. From what I’ve heard, what ya have with Ian looks like it has the potential to be somethin’ amazin’. So don’t fuck it up by psyching yaself out. Yer ya own worst enemy, kid.”

Mickey didn’t say anything, his eyes glued to the horizon of Lake Michigan as he nodded his head in acknowledgement of Charles’ little speech. They didn’t say anything else to each other for the rest of the time that Mickey sat there staring at the water. He sparked up another cigarette, sucking it down leisurely, the nicotine quelling whatever bitter and sarcastic retort he had formulating in his brain to say back to Charles.

Because Charles was right. Charles was always fucking right. Mickey’s first instinct when Ian asked him to go to New York was to say yes; in fact he almost blurted it out immediately after the question tumbled out of Ian’s mouth. But he always had to over think things, go through every scenario a million times trying to predict every possible outcome so he would always be prepared no matter what happened. In the end he always ended up spooking himself out of something that had the potential to be good, to make him happy.

He wouldn’t let that happen this time. He couldn’t. Being with Ian was easy and for the first time in his life he needed to start listening to his heart instead of focusing on all the doubt.

He flicked his cigarette filter onto the sidewalk and stood up, picking his messenger bag up off the ground and swinging the strap over his head to rest on his shoulder.

“A’right, I gotta head out. Do ya need anything before I don’t see you ‘til whenever the fuck?” Mickey asked Charles.

Charles shook his head, waving the pack of cigarettes in the air, “Nah kid, you gave me everythin’ I need.”

Mickey snorted, but nodded his head and gave an awkward little wave before turning around and heading in the direction of the train, Ian’s apartment was only three stops away on green line.

He heard Charles yell his name before he got to far away and he turned around, continuing to walk backwards as he waited for Charles to say something. Charles grinned and raised his hand to wiggle his fingers in some weird fucking form of waving. “Have fun in New York,” he said with a wink. Mickey flipped him off and turned back around.

Mickey stood on the train instead of sitting, his hand wrapped around the cool metal pole so his body didn’t get pitched down onto the dirty floor with every stop and lurch. He tried not to think about New York too much, didn’t want to shake what little assurance he had about the issue. Instead, he thought of different dishes and recipes, his mind rattling off ingredients and cooking techniques until he constructed a complete, imaginary meal all the way down to the plating. He did this over and over until he heard the crackling voice over the intercom announce that Ian’s stop was next, the train creeping to a halt at the station and the doors sliding open with a whoosh.

Mickey got to Ian’s apartment quickly and locked the door behind him. He may be in some upper class neighborhood thirteen floors up but old habits die hard. He could hear the faint noise of some electro-pop music coming from Ian’s work out room. He smiled quickly and placed his bag on the counter, rolling his eyes as the infectious beat got louder and louder the deeper he walked into the hallway.

The door was wide open, Ian shirtless and sweating, his back bent at an awkward hunch as his gloved hands pounded against the punching bag. The sounds of leather on leather provided an off tempo beat to the song, Ian creating a rhythm of his own.

Mickey crossed his arms and leaned against the door jamb, his eyes raking over Ian’s body. He bit his lip, entranced by the way Ian’s muscles moved under his glistening skin, his arms bulging and his abs heaving with each movement. Ian didn’t even notice Mickey was standing there, his eyes resolutely focused on what section of the bag he would start to pummel next.

It looked fucking therapeutic, if Mickey was being honest. He wouldn’t mind strapping on some gloves one day and taking out all his anger on the punching bag until his arms were sore and his mind was quiet.

Mickey wasn’t sure how long he was standing there getting hypnotized by watching Ian move, but soon the electro-pop song slowly petered out until a new one started up with a similar sounding beat. Ian paused and lowered his arms to rest them down at his sides as his chest rapidly moved up and down with his deep breathing. He turned and started to bend down to pick up his water bottle resting on the ground when he spotted Mickey. He jumped, his gloved hand reaching up to rest against his chest.

“Jesus, how long have you been standing there?” Ian asked before he moved the gloved hand up to his mouth to pull at the velcro strap with his teeth. Once the strap was loose he shook the glove off his hand, where it landing on the floor with an inaudible thump.

“Long enough,” Mickey said.

Ian raised his eyebrows as if to ask “ long enough for what?” but didn’t say anything else. He turned the music down and sat down on his incline bench. He took off the other glove and threw it next to the other one before reaching down with his taped hand to pick up the water bottle. He took three large gulps, Mickey’s eyes trailing down to watch his Adam’s apple bob up and down with the action.

Mickey swiped his thumb against his bottom lip and pushed himself away from the door and walked further into the room. “I gotta talk to you,” he said. Might as well do this now while he still had the tiniest bit of confidence pumping through his veins.

Ian’s eyes widened a little bit, but he nodded his head and ran his hand through his hair to push back the sweat drenched stands that were hanging in his face. Mickey shifted from foot to foot, his head turning to stare out the window as he tried to figure out the right place to start. Jesus, this shouldn’t even be difficult, but all his doubts from earlier were popping back up now that it was time to actually face the situation.

Ian leaned forward and grabbed onto Mickey’s hip, pulling him closer. “Hey,” Ian said softly. Mickey looked down at him, pulling his bottom lip into his mouth as he stared into Ian’s open and honest eyes. “Tell me. It’s okay,” Ian practically whispered, his thumb brushing back and forth on the waistline of Mickey’s jeans.

Mickey would be offended at being spoken to in such a condescending manner if it didn’t calm every single nerve in his body instantly. Ian had a fucked up way of doing that to him.

Mickey licked his lips quickly. “If we’re gonna do this New York bullshit,” he waved his hand around, trying to create an air of nonchalance to this whole situation, “we’re gonna do it my way and you either accept that or I’m staying the fuck home.”

Ian nodded vigorously, his hand gripping onto Mickey’s hip a little bit tighter as his eyes took on that goddamn eager puppy look that roped Mickey in every single fucking time. “Yeah, yeah of course. Fuckin’ anything you want, Mick. I just want you there with me,” Ian said, his voice getting softer towards the end of the sentence.

“I’m not gonna have you fuckin’ paying for my shit. I’m gonna buy my own damn plane ticket and I’m paying for half of the hotel room,” Mickey said, his voice coming out harsher than intended, trying to sound authoritative in an attempt to cover up his insecurity.

Ian shook his head, an endearing grin on his face. “Already paid for. The company pays for that crap.”

Mickey folded his arms across his chest as he glared at Ian. Ian just grinned harder and pulled Mickey closer to him, moving his other hand under Mickey’s shirt to rest on the small of his back. The scratchy texture of the tape itched Mickey’s skin somewhat, but the heat and comfort of Ian’s hand outweighed the displeasure.

“Fuckin’ fine,” Mickey rolled his eyes and pointed his finger aggressively at Ian to prove his next point, “but I’m buying dinner.”

Ian bit his bottom lip to keep himself from smiling too wide, his fingernails biting into Mickey’s skin as he curled his hand in excitement. “You asking me out on a date, Milkovich?” Ian said through a smirk.

Mickey scoffed and rubbed his hand in Ian’s face as he shoved his head backwards. Ian’s laugh made a small smile quirk at the corners of Mickey’s own lips. Mickey removed his hand from Ian’s face and trailed it around to hook onto the back of his neck, squeezing tightly before he just started massaging his fingers into the tense muscle.

“Never mind, I take it back,” Mickey snarked.

Ian’s face looked like it was about to crack with how hard he was smiling. He yanked on Mickey’s hips and manhandled him until Mickey was straddling his lap, Ian’s hands firmly placed on Mickey’s ass. Mickey’s eyes floated all around Ian’s face, the beads of sweat breaking up the usual freckled surface.

The look on Ian’s face was starting to make Mickey uncomfortable, all moony eyed and content. Fucking happy. Mickey did the only thing he could think to do and wrapped his arms around Ian’s shoulders and leaned in to press his lips against Ian’s, immediately trapping Ian’s top lip between his own. Ian mewled and squeezed onto Mickey’s ass, rocking Mickey forward a little as he eagerly returned the kiss.

Mickey used to think that nothing in life came easier to him than cooking did. But being with Ian? Yeah, that was fucking easy.

Watching Mickey on the plane provided endless entertainment for Ian, even though he felt pretty terrible about how anxious Mickey was. Getting through security was a trip, Mickey was just a touch on the wrong side of twitchy and nervous, causing a few TSA agents to raise their eyebrows and take a little extra time swiping their metal detection wands over Mickey’s spread eagled form.

He had settled down somewhat once the plane had been stable in the air for a couple of minutes, but maybe the few ridiculously over priced drinks they had while waiting did the trick in tampering down some of his nerves. The book Mickey brought sat untouched in his lap, his head turned to look out the window the entire time, never before seeing the world from this high up.

Ian remembered his first time on a plane and how he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the clouds and the blue sky, the world looked so small and insignificant from up here. It caused quite an existential panic that first time. Everything was just so fucking microscopic and unreal, like he was looking at a painting and none of this was real, that he wasn’t real. Plane travel opened up a whole new world of possibilities, you could fly anywhere in the world and start over. Start a new life, leave everyone and everything behind and entirely recreate yourself and the people around you would be none the wiser.

He got quite emotional and poetic on his first plane ride, but settled down once his feet were on solid ground again.

Mickey had yet to say a word to Ian since they sat down in their seats, his teeth constantly biting on his bottom lip, tearing off pieces of flesh. Ian wondered what Mickey was thinking about, if he was having as much as an internal breakdown as Ian did or was just soaking up the beauty that was mother nature.

The stewardess cart rattled down the aisle, the first stop being Ian and Mickey’s row since they were sitting pretty in first class. “Anything to drink for you, sir?” she asked Ian, preparing a plastic cup for some water and napkins just in case.

“Just water and some pretzels, please,” Ian said. The stewardess nodded her head and prepared his cup and bag of mini pretzels, Ian unlocking his tray table so she could place the items down when she was ready.

Ian turned his head to see Mickey still staring out the window. Has he even fucking blinked? He lightly elbowed Mickey in the arm, jostling him from his daydream and getting his attention.

“Want anything?” he asked.

Mickey turned from staring at the window and looked at Ian quickly before making eye contact with the stewardess. “Got any fuckin’ booze on that thing?” he asked, nodding his chin in the direction of the cart.

The stewardess laughed but listed off all the available options, Mickey settling on a gin and fucking tonic, dry, and a bag of pretzels as well. She wandered off to attend to the other patrons and Ian smiled softly at Mickey as he gulped down his drink in one sip.

“Still nervous?” he asked.

Mickey scoffed, “fuckin’ understatment. Feel like I’m gonna fuckin’ die. You know how many of these death traps crash every year?”

Ian narrowed his eyes as he tried to keep from grinning. “Did-did you look up plane crash facts last night while I was asleep?” Ian asked, a gentle laugh floating through his words.

Mickey scowled. “Couldn’t fuckin’ sleep,” he mumbled out, like that was a good enough reason to inflict emotional distress on himself.

Ian laughed again and turned in his seat as best as he could so he was fully facing Mickey. “Next time you can’t sleep, just wake me up and I’ll wear you out,” he said with a wink.

Mickey flipped him off quickly, a glare etched onto his face. Ian just smiled and turned so he was sitting appropriately in his seat. He stretched out his legs and groaned lowly, the extra legroom of first class was always a plus, his legs too long to be jammed against the back of someone’s seat for hours on end in coach.

They fell back into a comfortable silence, Mickey’s head turned to stare out the small round window again. They had a late flight so the sun was setting on the tops of the clouds as they flew through the air. It was a breathtaking sight seeing the blue sky darken and scatter different shades or orange, red and purple through the endless horizon, making the fluffy clouds look like cotton candy.

A crackling came over the intercom, “Good evening folks, this is your captain speaking. We will be landing at JFK in about forty minutes. It looks like will be flying into a small storm so expect some turbulence. I advise everyone to stay in their seats with their seatbelts securely fastened. Thank you.”

“Fuckin great,” Mickey mumbled as he curled his fingers tightly against the armrest. The entire flight had been a blessing with no turbulence, but of course Ian’s luck was bound to run dry as soon as they got close to landing.

Everything was smooth until fifteen minutes later when the aircraft hit a rough pocket of air and the plane dipped and jostled violently. Mickey squeezed his eyes shut and rested his head against the seat, the knuckles on his hand going white with how hard he was gripping the armrest.

Ian didn’t even think, just reached over and placed his hand on top of Mickey’s and squeezed, hoping that it would comfort Mickey somewhat. Mickey let out a pathetic little sound, that he would probably knee Ian in the nuts if he ever mentioned, and just turned his hand over to slot their fingers together.

They didn’t disconnect until the plane was secure at the terminal and they were clear to unload.

Getting from the airport to their hotel room took a lot longer than expected with New York city traffic and they barely had any time to get ready for their date later that evening. Their reservations were for 8 and it was already ticking dangerously close to 7. There was only enough time to shower off the stale smell of the airplane and get dressed somewhat presentably.

Mickey had gone first, choosing to shower separately or they wouldn’t make it to dinner at all. He was standing near the window, dressed and eager to get this over with. The sounds of the shower raining down in the background put him in somewhat of a trance as he stood taking in the view of the city twinkling and bustling with life below him. He didn’t see the appeal to be honest, it was just another fucking city, basically looking the exact same as Chicago in the dark. Sure, it was a little smaller than Chicago and had a different fucking smell to it but all cities were the fucking same. Packed to the brim with buildings and businesses and overflowing with shitty people just trying to survive and make a name for themselves.

It had been a long time since Mickey was nervous entering a five star restaurant. The first time he went to one was on a date, which went terribly by the way, and he was nervous as fuck for three whole days leading up to it. Five star restaurants just have a knack for making people feel like dirt. Uneducated, poor, scum of the Earth, dirt. Fancy restaurants and Mickey didn’t get along very well for the longest time. He didn’t like people looking down their noses at him and honestly the atmosphere in those places was overwhelming and oppressive.

The thing about growing up in the South Side is that no matter how much you progress you’ve made in life or how far away you’ve moved that feeling of inadequacy follows you around like the plague. It doesn’t matter how cultured you seem or how many showers you have taken, the stench of the South Side never quite leaves your skin, it’s something that pretentious rich fucks can smell a mile away. It’s all in the way South Side residents carry themselves, their no bullshit attitude and a tendency to speak their mind freely with the scowls painted across their faces. Always on guard and ready for a fight. Hyper vigilant. Those types of qualities don’t really go over too well when eating at a five star restaurant.

But now, Mickey can walk in there with his head held high, confident in his knowledge about food and restaurant culture. He probably knew more about the menu items than anyone in the fucking building, besides the head chef of course, and he would defend himself if anyone tried to make him feel like he didn’t belong.

Tonight was the first time in a long time that he was nervous to go out to eat at a fancy restaurant and it was all because Ian would be sitting across the table, staring at him with that fucking moony eyed expression he seems to always have glued on his face, like he’s hanging on to every one of Mickey’s words. This was their first date, like official date date, an outside Ian’s apartment date and Mickey was nervous as fuck.

He wasn’t nervous about getting caught or being seen in public on a date with another man, he was far over that fear by now. He was nervous because what if Ian just...stopped liking him after this? What’s stopping Ian from dropping Mickey like a bad habit once he saw how awkward he was in public, how volatile and cautious he was? During this date Ian could fucking realize how much better he could do and everything would be ruined before it even had a chance to start.

Mickey could smell Ian’s cologne before he heard him walk out of the bathroom, Ian finishing tucking his dark green shirt into the back of his pants.

He raked his eyes up and down Ian’s body and licked his lips.  “Damn Gallagher, you clean up good,” Mickey said, lusty appreciation thick in his voice.

Ian looked up and grinned, his shirt firmly tucked in now and fitting snug against his chest, the short sleeves looking just a hair too tight for Ian’s muscular arms.

“Not so bad yourself, Milkovich,” Ian smirked and wasted no time in stomping across the floor and closing the distance between them quickly. He wrapped his arm around Mickey’s waist and pulled him close to his chest, leaning down to kiss Mickey slow and tender, all lips and no tongue.

Mickey didn’t know what to do with his hands; he didn’t want to grab onto Ian’s shirt and wrinkle the material, but he also didn’t want to run them through his perfectly styled hair. He settled on a compromise and shoved his hands into Ian’s back pockets, grabbing his ass through the denim.

Ian mewled into Mickey’s mouth and backed him up against the wall, slipping his thigh in between Mickey’s spread legs as he finally pushed his tongue into Mickey’s mouth, pushing against him lazily. Mickey could forgo the whole date thing and just stay holed up in this hotel room with Ian, order room service instead while they get their fill of New York from looking out the window. But he had a feeling Ian wouldn’t be content with that, that ginger fucker had been talking about this damn date ever since Mickey mentioned it back home two weeks ago.

He felt a buzzing against his thigh, Ian’s phone vibrating in his front pocket with a seemingly endless stream of notifications. Ian groaned and pulled away from Mickey, barely, just enough to reach into his pocket and pull out his phone. Mickey’s mouth hung open, his tongue poking into the corner, as Ian’s eyes scanned the messages he was sent, the dim light illuminating his face.

“Rides here,” he said, locking his phone and shoving it back into his pocket.

Mickey flexed his hands on Ian’s ass and pulled him closer again, Ian gasping as he was pushed right up against Mickey’s warm body. Mickey fit his lips against Ian’s for one more biting kiss before pushing him away, Ian stumbling a little over his own feet.

“Looks like we should go then, huh?” Mickey asked with a quirk of his eyebrow.

Ian laughed but nodded his head, walking over to the nightstand and shoving his wallet and hotel key into his pocket before striding to the door, Mickey hot on his tail.

The restaurant was classy, but Mickey had been in more suffocating atmospheres for work so this was fucking nothing. The walls were an off white brick, the hardwood floor a light and natural looking brown, the floor to ceiling windows allowing all that natural light illuminate to the dining room during the day. White table cloths covered every table, topped with silver candle holders and white stick candles, chandeliers hanging down every ten feet. The restaurant had an open kitchen so the entire dining room could look in and see the process and the chaos that is the kitchen of a fine dining establishment.

They were seated at a table in the corner near a window, the light breeze flowing through the open glass was doing a fantastic job of cooling Mickey down when his anxiety flared up every so often. He couldn’t really see the kitchen from here which kind of bummed him out, eager to watch everything and judge from a far.

Ian was staring down at the menu, his brow furrowed as he silently mouthed the foreign French words that described the dishes. Mickey smirked a little, finding Ian’s confusion cute and endearing. It made Mickey feel a little more at ease knowing that maybe Ian wasn’t as comfortable in these types of places as he pretended to be.

Mickey picked up his water glass and just held it up in the air for a moment. “If you have any questions you can ask me ya know,” he said to Ian, taking a sip of his water as he looked over the rim with raised eyebrows.

“That obvious?” Ian asked, his cheeks flushing a bit pink as he looked up at Mickey through his lashes.

“Can practically see the steam comin’ out your ears, Red.”

Ian laughed and picked his head up, closing the menu and folding his arms over it as he leaned forward to speak to Mickey.

“Is this the kinda restaurant you wanna open?” he asked, waving his hand around quickly to indicate the decor and general atmosphere of this place.

Mickey scoffed and took one more sip of his water before putting the glass down, the condensation leaving a wet ring on the white cloth. “Nah man, this place is fucking suffocating. I don’t need no fucking table cloths and chandeliers and bottles of wine that cost almost a thousand fuckin’ dollars,” he said as he pointed out said blasphemous items.

“I want a nice place, relaxed and fucking... comfortable . Some place where people like us wouldn’t feel weird eating at. Maybe someone saved up for fucking months to take someone on a date, right? They want to go somewhere nice but they don’t want to feel like they’re getting fuckin’ judged and looked down on. Give them the fancy fucking cuisine without the douchey vibe and pretentious shitheads. Make us South Side pieces of trash feel welcome, ya know?”

Ian was smiling softly, his eyes adopting that puppy dog look that never failed to make Mickey turn into a puddle of sentimental mush. “That’s sounds amazing, it really does,” Ian said as he leaned back in his seat and picked up the menu again. His eyes scanned through the dishes, too fast to really be taking in any information, “you don’t wanna do French though, right? Don’t really see you as a French guy.”

“Man, fuck the French,” Mickey said, possibly a touch too loud. “Love eatin’ it, hate cookin’ it. All these snotty French shits have a huge stick up their ass, think they’re better than everyone else,” it was Mickey’s turn to lean forward in his seat, getting passionate about this conversation, “I’m not really sure what type of food I wanna create but lemme tell you it ain’t gonna be fuckin’ French.”

Ian laughed, charmed despite Mickey’s crass attitude and bold opinions. “You really don’t have any idea what type of food you wanna make?” he asked.

“What if I don’t want to be tied down to one specific style? That’s so damn restrictive. Maybe I’ll just mix it the fuck up and do Italian one week, Asian the next and maybe fucking Southern comfort food after that. Keep it changing. Evolvin’. That could be my fucking shtick, ya know? Make the restaurant stand out, it would be different than anythin’ else in Chicago right now.”

“That’s real ambitious, think you can handle it?” Ian asked.

“Fuckin’ ‘course I can,” Mickey said with finality. He could do whatever he set his fucking mind too, he was positive about that. He just had to want it bad enough and opening a restaurant had far surpassed a want, it’s become a fucking need at this point.

Ian pressed his lips into a tight line, nodding his head. Impressed. Mickey could tell that Ian wasn’t doubting anything he said, that Ian fucking believed in him, believed in Mickey’s ability as a chef and business owner. That kind of support was doing fucked up things to Mickey’s head.

They both went back to looking at their menu’s. Mickey already knew what he wanted, knew what he was ordering before he even walked in the door, but he had to scrutinize every inch of the menu, picturing how he would plate the described dishes.

Ian ran his hand through his hair and squirmed around in his seat, clearly uncomfortable. He let out a short, bitter laugh before he said, “I literally have no fucking idea what any of these words mean. Can’t even read half of ‘em,” he folded the menu and placed it back down on the table, “think you can order for me?”

Mickey’s eyebrows arched. “You want me to order your food?” he asked.

Ian smiled, embarrassed. “Yeah man, I have no idea what I’m doing and I’ll look like an ass mispronouncing the words. You know what I like, just pick something.”

“You stickin’ to your diet?”

“Nah, order whatever. Fuck my diet,” Ian smiled. Mickey nodded and went back to flipping through the menu hoping to find something that Ian would enjoy.

In the end he just ordered an appetizer (a small bouillabaisse for them to share, Mickey was determined to get Ian to love seafood) and two of the same entrees (cassoulet with duck confit). He also ordered an entire bottle of bottom shelf whiskey (which was still expensive as fuck) for them to work on while they waited.

For as nervous Mickey was leading up to this whole weekend it was going surprisingly fucking fantastic. He was in a city where no one knew who he was, no one knew his name and no one knew that this date between the two of them right now was a big fucking thing. A huge thing. The whole awkward client/worker situation that always hung around them like a black cloud had slipped away and it was just the two of them. Just Ian and Mickey, on a fucking date in a fancy ass restaurant halfway across the country, far from anyone who could try and potentially tear down what they were trying to build.

Mickey had never had a date go as easily and flawlessly as this one seemed to be going. He already knows Ian and Ian already knows him, so conversation and jokes flow naturally all evening. No awkward silences, no tiptoeing around each other, just genuinely enjoying each others company. Ian looked so fucking happy the entire time and Mickey was suddenly very, very happy that he threw caution to the wind and went on this little trip.

They were steadily drinking the whiskey, halfway done with the bottle by the time their entrees arrived. Mickey was glad to have something to soak up all the booze settling in his stomach, he wasn’t trying to get absolutely trashed on his first official date with Ian and that small appetizer didn’t do much with lining his stomach.

“So, tell me something about you that I don’t know,” Ian said, cutting into his duck and shoving a chunk into his mouth.

Mickey rolled his eyes at this cliche asshole. He immediately thought about all the shit that Ian didn’t know about him, all the dark and fucked up things that he even refused to think about. Maybe some day they’ll get there but for now he had to think of something he could tell Ian that wouldn’t be overly emotional and raw. Something that wouldn’t spook the redhead into thinking he was courting a psychopath. This date was going well so far, why ruin it with his fucked up childhood?

He took a sip of his whiskey, the liquid burning hot in his stomach and warming his cheeks as he thought of a useless fact that wasn’t difficult to share.  “Used to have my tongue pierced,” he said with a shrug.

Ian nearly choked, his fist coming up to slam against his chest to get the food down his esophagus. “And why the fuck don’t you have it pierced now ?” he asked accusingly as he took a sip of his own whiskey to wash down the tiny morsels still sitting uncomfortably in his throat.

Mickey laughed, swirling the amber liquid around in his glass. “Had to take it out for my last stint in juvie, just never got it redone. Wasn’t fucking worth it,” he said.

Ian scoffed. “Yeah, for you maybe. God damn,” he whispered the last word as he cut into his slab of meat again, shaking his head at the injustice.

Mickey smirked, a playful glint darkening his eyes. “Don’t think about it too much and pop a chub over there, freak,” he said.

Ian scowled and flipped him off quickly. “Ya know, I was arrested once.”

“Oh, yeah? Fuckin’ tough guy, huh? What’d they snag you for?” Mickey asked, the snark in his voice not going unnoticed.

He licked his lips and leaned forward like it was going to be some giant, risque secret that the strangers sitting near them weren’t allowed to eavesdrop on. “Grand theft auto,” he said, all smug like he was fucking proud of it.

Mickey barked a laugh in his face and kicked his shin lightly under the table. “You tellin’ me I got a criminal mastermind on my hands? Wouldn’t’ve pegged you as someone who did time.”

Ian flushed and rubbed the back of his neck. “See, I didn’t actually get charged with anything. I didn’t uh -- I didn’t know the car was stolen.”

“What the fuck?” Mickey laughed out, his eyebrows scrunched in confusion.

“My sisters fiance used to steal and sell cars, he made a fucking shitload of money. He let me and my brother borrow a car one night and we got caught. God, Fiona was fucking pissed at Jimmy for so long.”

“You sure you grew up in Canaryville, you big softie? You probably shit your pants when they put you in cuffs.”

Ian gave a deep belly laugh, the sound making Mickey’s insides swell. “Fuck you man. I’ll have you know I was perfectly fucking composed,” Ian said. Mickey gave him a face that left no argument about how little he believed that.

The rest of the date ended the exact same way it began, with both of them smiling and happy, but they were walking out the door far more intoxicated than when they entered. Ian had suggested walking through Times Square before heading back to the room since Mickey had no time to explore the city in the short time they had been here.

Mickey looked over at Ian, his face beaming and bright, and decided that maybe a walk through the city wouldn’t be so bad.

The first time Ian stood in the middle of Times Square he could have sworn he had an out of body experience. The center of this city was vastly different than Chicago and all the bright lights and huge television screens beaming through the night basically had Ian’s jaw resting on the dirty cement. Alexa had made fun of him for it intensely, ruffling his hair and talking to him like he was a small child who just stepped out into the world for the first time.

It’s a surreal sight and one that’s so different than what he’s used to at home that he was greedy to soak up all the visuals he could and he ended up standing in the same spot for about two hours. It’s lost all its appeal now that he’s been here multiple times, but it never fails to make him feel a little light and airy inside. He was hoping that this whole experience ended up being one that Mickey would treasure forever; it’s not every day that you get to come to New York for basically nothing.

It was a quick walk from the restaurant to Times Square, Mickey’s hand brushing the back of Ian’s with every step. They walked in silence, picking up bits and pieces of people’s conversations and hearing the indiscernible chatter that to some would seem deafening, but to them sounded no different than home.

Maybe it’s because he’s slightly drunk, but Mickey looked even more beautiful than usual. His face took on a look of awe that Ian had never seen before. They were just standing in the middle of Times Square, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, fucking swimming in their surroundings and fully immersing themselves in the feeling of being somewhere new. Together.

Now, Ian thinks. Right now is the fucking time. Mickey just looked so goddamn happy, his face open and bright, his shoulders relaxed for once, a barely perceivable smile etched across his face, the bright lights making his eyes sparkle even more than usual.

Yeah, right fucking now.

“Mickey,” Ian said to get the other man’s attention, his throat closing up and his mouth going dry when Mickey turned his head and looked at him with slightly raised eyebrows. It felt like everything was happening in slow motion, like it took a century for Mickey to turn his head and lock his eyes with Ian’s own, the cars flying by and the horde of pedestrians all blurred together into one ball of color and indistinguishable shapes.

But Mickey was coming in crystal fucking clear.

Ian’s mouth opened and closed multiple times, trying to get the words to crawl their way out of his throat but they were stuck, seemingly lodged behind his constantly bobbing Adam’s apple.

“Ian?” Mickey asked, his words coming out slow and slurred, sounding deeper than usual. God, what the fuck was happening to him? Was this whole thing some perfect dream and reality was slowly starting to creep in and shatter the whole illusion? Was there some sort of glitch in the fucking Matrix? Mickey reached out and grabbed Ian by the bicep, his thumb moving back and forth over his skin in reassurance. That seemed to be the jolt Ian needed, his mind snapping out of the haze it was in and the loud city noises piercing into his ears yet again.

Mickey had a look of concern on his face which caused Ian to flush a little in embarrassment. How long had he zoned out like that?

He shook Mickey’s hand off his arm and linked their fingers together once his hand fell down by his side. Mickey’s infamous eyebrows crawled down his forehead as his eyes rapidly scanned the area for immediate threats, like the boogeyman was going to jump out of the sewer and murder them for having the audacity to hold hands in public. Ian wasn’t going to let go, not for anything.

Ian steadied himself again and took a deep breathe, expanding his lungs as much as he could in case this was the last bit of oxygen he ever got to inhale.

“Mickey,” he started again, soft and nervous, but somehow still managing to come across strong and sure. He wanted this, he wanted this so fucking bad. “Mickey. I like you. A lot. It uh, it kinda scares me how much I fucking like you. And um, I would really appreciate it if you would be-be my boyfriend.”

There. He did it. He might have stuttered through it and looked like an ass, but he did it. It was out there in the universe, his intentions clear, his feelings bare and clear as day.

Mickey looked like a deer caught in headlights, his eyes bulging and his eyebrows basically disappearing into his hairline. Ian wasn’t sure if Mickey’s palm was sweaty or if it was his own. Shit, probably both. Maybe he shouldn’t have done this here, when they were so far away from the creature comforts of home. What if Mickey said no? Where would he go, back to the hotel room to awkwardly share a bed together until they left? Fuck no.

Ian was getting nervous and twitchy. The longer Mickey stood there in silence, staring at Ian like he just asked him to murder his first born son, the more Ian started to spiral, his mind wandering to dark places about what the consequences of this could possibly be. A weight settled over him, making it feel like he was encased in lead as dread seized his heart in a iron clad grip. God, it felt like he was going to fucking cry.

But soon enough it looked like Mickey got zapped back into his body, his eyes softening and a smirk appearing on his lips. He looked into Ian’s eyes, huffing out a small laugh as he shook his head back and forth a few times.

“You’d appreciate it, huh?” Mickey asked teasingly.

Ian grinned and kicked the toes of Mickey’s shoe lightly and squeezed the hand that Mickey had yet to untangle from his own. “Yeah, yeah I really would,” Ian whispered.

Mickey stepped closer, their joined hands getting smushed between their thighs. “Can’t say no to that then, can I?” Mickey asked, soft and affectionate, his other hand reaching up to grab onto the back of Ian’s neck as he stepped even closer until they were chest to chest, his fingers slowly massaging into Ian’s hair.

Ian smiled bigger than he ever has in his life, he’s sure of it, and brought his forehead down to rest against Mickeys. “So, is that a yes?” he asked, requiring direct confirmation that Mickey was indeed accepting his request.

Mickey bit down on his bottom lip, keeping his own smile from cracking too wide across his face. “Yeah, Ian, it’s a fucking yes.”

Ian couldn’t explain it, besides the fact that he just felt fucking warm, from the top of his head all the way down to his toes.

“Can I kiss you?” he whispered, the hand not tangled in Mickey’s reached up to grab onto the side of his neck, his thumb rubbing back and forth slowly as his eyes flicked down to stare at those perfect fucking lips he’s grown to love.

Mickey licked those lips before he answered. “I’d appreciate it,” he said, smirking at Ian.

He attached his lips to Mickey’s, soft and slow, the taste of whiskey still sitting heavily on Mickey’s tongue. This was different than any kiss they’ve had before; this kiss was packed with promises and, and...fucking love and Ian had never felt anything like it before in his twenty five years on this planet.

Mickey stepped closer, wrapping an arm around Ian’s midsection and pulling him flush against him, running his tongue along his lips until Ian opened up and let him in. He groaned into Mickey’s mouth at the immediate touch of his tongue, but still kept the kiss slow and delicate. He was positive that there were fireworks going off in his mind, the colors from the street bursting through his eyelids and lighting up his whole fucking world. It felt like his skin was on fire, burning up from having Mickey this close to him now that they were official. This was everything he could have hoped for and more when he asked Mickey to come with him this weekend.

Ian pulled back and rested his forehead against Mickey’s again, his breathing uneven. He cracked his eyes open a sliver, just enough to see Mickey’s blissed out fucking face and huge goddamn gorgeous smile beaming brighter than all of Times Square.

“Wanna-wanna head back to the hotel room?” Ian whispered.

Mickey licked his bottom lip and nodded his head jerkily three times. Ian grinned and squeezed his hand one more time before pulling away and walking in the general direction of the hotel. They could have hailed a cab, but Ian was having trouble believing this whole evening was real so he figured a twenty minute walk in the stale Manhattan air would help clear his head somewhat. And if the dazed look on Mickey’s face and the way he kept bringing his index and middle fingers up to rub his lips was anything to go by he could use the walk as well.

Ian couldn’t wipe the grin off his face if he tried, his lips permanently stretched across his face as he walked down the busy New York sidewalk next to his boyfriend. His fucking boyfriend . Ian picked his arm up and wrapped it around Mickey’s shoulders, pulling him closer to his body so Mickey fit snuggly against his side. Ian turned his head and focused his million watt smile on his equally as smitten boyfriend.

“Can’t believe you used to have your tongue pierced,” Ian joked, swinging his hip towards Mickey and gently checking him in the side.

Mickey huffed out a quick laugh before his lips slid into a cocky smirk, “aye, taught me how to swirl my tongue real fuckin’ nice.”

Ian moaned lowly and kissed the crown of Mickey’s head before he whispered huskily into his hair, “don’t I fucking know it.”

The door slammed shut, echoing along the empty hotel halls. Ian crowded Mickey against the door, wasting no time in capturing his lips in a rough kiss. He had one hand planted next to Mickey’s head while the other got shoved underneath Mickey’s shirt, Ian’s fingers dancing along his ribs and skimming across his hip bones, finally resting on the small of his back to lazily scratch at his skin.

Mickey groaned against Ian’s lips and knotted his hand into his hair as he brought a leg up to hook around Ian’s hip, pulling him closer by pushing his heel against Ian’s ass. Ian moaned against Mickey’s lips, pushing on his back to get him closer, Mickey’s back arching at a weird angle.

Ian ran his hand along Mickey’s elevated thigh, travelling from knee to hip before trailing around to grab onto his ass, squeezing the muscle through Mickey’s jeans as he pushed his tongue into Mickey’s mouth. Ian was half tempted to pick Mickey up fully and fuck him against the door, loud and hard so anyone walking through the hall would be able to hear it. But he also wanted to take Mickey slow and deep and tender on the bed, with whispered words and reverent hands. God, he wanted everything.

Ian pulled back long enough to clumsily fumble with the buttons of Mickey’s shirt, trying to get the clothing off of Mickey as quickly as possible. Mickey shimmied out of the shirt once all the buttons were undone as Ian reached for the hem of his tank top, pulling it over Mickey’s head in a hurry. Ian threw the garment behind him somewhere on the floor and immediately went back to kissing Mickey, slipping his tongue back into his mouth with ease. Mickey ran a hand down Ian’s back, dipping into his pants until his fingertips were dancing along the top of Ian’s ass, his arms too short to get a full grip on the tense muscle.

Ian groaned and pushed Mickey against the wood harder, running his hand all along his elevated thigh like he wasn’t sure what part of Mickey’s body he wanted to focus on.

They stood pressed together against the door until their lips were soaked and their chests were heaving. Mickey lowered his leg and pushed his shoulders away from the door, walking Ian back towards the bed, their lips connected the entire time. Once Ian’s knees knocked against the mattress, Mickey pushed on his shoulder roughly, causing Ian to fall backwards on the bed with a bounce. He stared up at Mickey, pupils blown and breathing erratic, as Mickey kicked apart Ian’s feet until his legs were spread wide open.

Mickey dropped down to his knees so fast it must have hurt, Ian thought. Mickey grabbed onto the waistband of Ian’s jeans with both hands and yanked him down, dragging Ian’s body along the mattress until his crotch was level with Mickey’s face. Mickey made quick work of unlatching Ian’s belt, releasing the buckle expertly with one hand. His fingers moved quickly to pull down Ian’s zipper and pop the button, one quick pull and Ian’s cock would bounce free from the all of this goddamn restrictive material.

Mickey didn’t pull down Ian’s pants immediately though, just took to massaging his thighs, his hands moving up and down along the clothed skin.

“Ian,” Mickey whispered, squeezing Ian’s thighs quickly before going back to rubbing up and down. “ Ian ,” he said again, more forcefully when he didn’t get acknowledged right away.

Ian groaned and propped himself up on his elbows, looking down at Mickey through heavy lidded eyes. “Yes?” he asked, breathily.

Mickey bit down on his bottom lip, breathing hard through his nose. “What do you want?” he asked. The question was said with so much authority Ian’s stomach clenched up in anticipation.

“Want you-want you to suck my dick,” he groaned out.

Mickey quipped up an eyebrow, his fingers curling into the waistband of Ian’s jeans, pulling the garment all the way down to pool around his bony ankles. Mickey leaned forward and licked a fat stripe up Ian’s exposed thigh, stopping to suck the skin right where his boxers ended.

“Yeah? Want me to suck you off ‘til you come?” Mickey asked, his voice deep and passionate, his hot breath fanning over Ian’s covered cock right before he started mouthing at him over the thin cotton.

Ian’s sucked his bottom lip into his mouth, a moan getting caught in his throat, his brain short circuiting for a second as the moist heat of Mickey’s mouth feathered over his cock, sending shivers through his entire body. Fuck, this was so erotic, he probably couldn’t form a proper sentence if he tried.

Mickey turned his head and bit down onto Ian’s thigh, seemingly aggravated that he hadn’t received an answer yet. “I asked you a question,” Mickey said as he started rubbing at Ian’s bulge, applying the perfect amount of pressure to have Ian leaking all over the place already, a wet spotting darkening a patch on the front of his boxers.

“N-no. I wanna, I wanna come in your ass,” he finally moaned out.

Mickey’s mouth dropped open, his eyelids fluttering as he just stared at Ian, his blue eyes blazing into Ian’s green. Mickey was frantic in his movements, pulling on Ian’s boxers until his cock was finally free and jamming the fabric down to rest on top of Ian’s jeans. Mickey ran his hands up and down the outside of Ian’s thighs as he nosed at the base of Ian’s dick, inhaling deeply.

If it was anyone else Ian would make a comment about how fucking weird it was that they were smelling his balls, but when Mickey did it it just made him whine in the back of his throat. Mickey moved his head and mouthed along the skin of Ian’s thigh, dragging his teeth and lips wherever he pleased.

Mickey smoothed one hand over the skin of Ian’s other thigh until he wrapped it around his cock, pulling on it slowly for a few strokes. Mickey pushed his tongue fully passed his lips and licked all the way up Ian’s length, swirling his tongue around the head beautifully in a way that made Ian wish Mickey still had his fucking tongue pierced. God, the smooth metal would add an amazing extra sensation to all of Mickey’s beautiful movements. Ian was instantly jealous of anyone that was lucky enough to experience that.

Mickey wrapped his lips around his teeth and swallowed Ian down in one swift movement, hollowing his cheeks and sucking hard for a few seconds. Ian arched off the bed, pushing his cock deeper into Mickey’s mouth as he moaned loudly and instinctively grabbed onto the top of Mickey’s head. Mickey bobbed up and down, twisting and pulling his hand at the base of Ian’s dick as he sucked.

“G-god, your fucking mouth, Mickey. Christ,” Ian groaned.

Mickey hummed and continued bobbing his head, his smooth tongue putting a soft pressure on that thick vein on the bottom of Ian’s dick. Mickey pulled back and just kept the head in his mouth, sucking lightly as he swirled his tongue around the tip, his tight fist leisurely pumping up and down the rest of Ian’s dick, the spit making the movements easy.

It felt like Ian couldn’t fucking breathe. Mickey’s blowjobs were always fucking amazing, but he had stepped it up tonight, easily giving Ian the best head he has ever received in his entire fucking life. No exaggeration. The way Mickey kept switching from frantic and hard to soft and slow had Ian’s head fucking swimming.

Mickey inched his way back down again, slowly, taking more and more of Ian’s cock into his mouth. It wasn’t something that Mickey did often, in fact he’s only been able to do this to Ian twice. But every so often he can relax his throat enough to fit Ian’s entire fucking cock in his mouth and tonight he was feeling confident.

Ian’s tip hit the back of Mickey’s mouth and when Mickey didn’t stop or pull back Ian moaned fucking loud, knowing what was about to happen. His fingers tangled into Mickey’s hair, just needing something to hang on too, but he didn’t dare push down; Mickey had to do this on his own. Mickey kept going until his lips were wrapped around the base of Ian’s dick and his nose was nuzzling the small hairs on Ian’s abdomen.

Ian’s vision blacked out, his mouth hanging open in a pathetic attempt to swallow down more air. He ended up letting out a choked whimper instead. His whole fucking dick was sitting inside Mickey’s mouth, half of if resting down his throat and Ian couldn’t fucking think.

Mickey swallowed once, then twice, his throat muscles constricting tightly around Ian’s dick, his tongue barely undulating against the underside.

“Oh fuuuck. Mick. Holy shit,” Ian groaned, the fingers of his other hand twisted into the sheet as incoherent words and phrases tumbled out of his mouth without filter. Mickey hummed in affirmation as much as he could and the vibrations travelled from the tip of Ian’s dick and spread through his entire fucking body.

A proud glint was visible in Mickey’s eyes as he bobbed his head in tiny increments, swallowing around Ian and keeping the majority of his cock down his throat. He moved his hand and started rolling Ian’s balls in his palm, squeezing lightly.

“Mickey, oh my god, you gotta - you gotta stop. I don’ wanna come yet,” Ian whined, his fingers yanking at the black strands of Mickey’s hair.

Mickey smiled as best as he could and pulled back some until Ian was out of his throat and just resting in his mouth. He swirled his tongue around the head, licking the slit twice before pulling off completely.

Mickey kept his hand wrapped around Ian though, pumping him slowly and tightly as he stared at Ian with heavy lidded lust filled eyes, licking and biting onto his swollen bottom lip. “Hmm, fucking love your cock, man,” he mumbled before wrapping his mouth around Ian again and sinking down, presumably to keep sucking Ian off with the same enthusiasm as before.

Ian groaned and sat up, resting his hands against the mattress and locking his elbows to hold up his upper body. He shimmied up the mattress and away from his boyfriend (his boyfriend !) until his dick slipped out of Mickey’s mouth, a rope of saliva stringing between the two of them. “Fuck, seriously, you gotta stop, I’m gonna blow,” Ian whined.

Mickey laughed but nodded his head, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “Short fuse, huh Freckles?”

Ian rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I think anyone would have a short fuse with their dick shoved halfway down your throat. Get up here,” he demanded.

Mickey smirked and complied, extricating Ian fully of his pants, underwear and shoes before he stood up from the floor. He pushed Ian down on the mattress and crawled over him until he was straddling his waist, hands planted on either side of Ian’s head. They sat there for a moment, mouths hanging open and chests rising and falling quickly as they just stared at each other, a fond look embedded deep in both sets of eyes.

Ian hooked his hand around Mickey’s neck and pulled him down into a deep kiss, trying to bring some tenderness back to the sexually charged moment.

Mickey groaned and fully lowered himself down onto Ian, the rough material of his jeans rubbing against Ian’s exposed dick, causing him to whimper lowly. It wasn’t unpleasant but it definitely wasn’t fucking ideal, he wanted Mickey naked and he wanted him naked now . He moved his hand down to work on unfastening Mickey’s jeans, popping the button and pulling the zipper down single handedly with a practiced ease. He shoved his hand into Mickey’s pants, rubbing his dick roughly over his boxers and noting with pride that Mickey was hard as fuck.

He laughed against Ian’s lips and pulled back from his mouth, trailing his lips down to the side of Ian’s neck, licking and sucking beautifully. Ian arched up into Mickey and moved his head to the side, stretching out his neck and fucking presenting himself to the other man. Mickey took the invitation and started to suck a mark into Ian’s skin, biting down lightly every so often. Mickey kept one hand flat on the mattress to support his weight and smoothed the other hand over Ian’s chest, popping the first button of his shirt, then another, and another.

Once three buttons were open Mickey moved and starting licking at Ian’s chest, moving further down with every new button that was opened, mouthing at all the newly exposed skin. Ian just sat there, his arms thrown out at his sides, staring at the ceiling with his mouth hanging open like a dead fish. His boyfriend was straight up worshipping his body with his tongue and he didn’t have the willpower to stop him.

Mickey wrapped his lips around one of Ian’s nipples, sucking quickly before lightly biting down and grinding the nub between his teeth. Ian moaned and arched off the bed, pushing his chest closer to Mickey’s face as he grabbed onto to back of his head.

“D-don’t stop,” he moaned. He felt Mickey grin against his chest, soothing the abused nipple with his tongue before moving on to the next.

While Mickey was preoccupied, Ian was busy trying to push Mickey’s pants down, which was a struggle given the angle. He got Mickey’s jeans and boxers below his ass before he gave up, content to just finally be touch his bare ass. Ian squeezed the perfect fucking globe in his palm, groaning lowly at the feel of it in his hand.

Mickey moaned against Ian’s chest and pushed back into his hand, grinding his cock against Ian in the process. This was all too much and simultaneously not enough at the same time. Ian huffed out a deep breathe before he pushed on Mickey’s shoulders, urging him to pull away from his chest.

Mickey groaned in protest, but sat up anyway, sitting on Ian’s lap as he stared down at him with hungry eyes, his hands moving all over Ian’s exposed chest, pushing the shirt off his shoulders. Ian was gripping Mickey’s hips tightly, the skin turning white with how hard his fingertips were jabbing into the flesh. He moved Mickey back on forth on top of him for a few moments, swallowing his choked moans as their dicks rubbed together.

He snapped a minute or so later, wrapping his arm around Mickey’s waist and switching their positions quickly until he was hovering above Mickey and resting between his spread legs. He leaned down and started kissing Mickey fiercely again, the urge to feel those lips and tongue against his own was just overbearing.

This kiss was more tongue than anything else and Ian was on the verge of exploding. He pulled away and stood up from the bed quickly, Mickey frozen in place and looking up at Ian like he had three heads. Ian yanked off Mickey’s shoes and socks, throwing them somewhere on the floor before he pulled off Mickey’s pants and boxers, leaving him completely naked and flush on the bed.

“Turn over,” he said deeply as he shimmied out of his shirt that was still hanging off his shoulders. Mickey licked his lips and complied, rolling over until he was on his hands and knees and crawling on the mattress until he was propped up in the middle. Ian shuddered at the sight, and what a fucking beautiful sight it was. Mickey’s perfectly round, plush, amazing fucking ass just propped up in the air for him to play with? God fucking damn.

He practically dove over to his suitcase to dig out the bottle of lube and a sleeve of condoms from the front pocket. Ian stood there for a second looking at the foil wrapped latex, contemplating. Did they need these now that they were official? Was this another barrier between them that wasn’t necessary? Fuck, he’ll ask when he gets there.

Ian threw the items down on the bed and crawled behind Mickey, plastering himself to Mickey’s back as he started kissing along the nape of his neck, pushing Mickey’s head to the side so he could start mouthing at the skin behind his ear.

“Fuck,” Mickey breathed out, minutely shoving back against Ian and brushing his ass against his cock.

Ian huffed a warm breath across Mickey’s skin and backed away, straightening up and kneeling behind Mickey. He pushed between Mickey's shoulder blades gently, directing him to lay with his face and shoulders against the mattress so his ass would fully be on display. Mickey collapsed with ease, his arms folding underneath him like they were just waiting for the permission to give out. Ian ran his palm flatly down Mickey's back, all the way from his neck to his ass. He squeezed onto the muscle and pulled it to the side, stretching Mickey open a little bit.

He moved his index and middle finger to Mickey's puckered hole, rubbing in slow, tight circles. "You want it?" he whispered.

Mickey whined and clutched onto the comforter below his hands. "Y-yeah," he whined.

Ian bit his bottom lip and slid his fingers up and down Mickey's crack, teasingly. Mickey sucked in a breathe as he shivered, his eyes slipping closed.

 "How bad?" Ian whispered again, breathless. God, seeing Mickey like this was just...out of this fucking world. So open and accepting. So relaxed and fucking beautiful. Yeah, it was amazing to hear Mickey verbalize how badly he wanted him, but his actions spoke far louder than words in this situation. Mickey's body was doing all the talking for him.

"Real bad," he said, licking his lips.

Ian moaned fucking loud and reached for the lube. He clicked the cap open with one hand and squeezed out a decent amount down Mickey's crack, immediately going back to rubbing at his entrance.

Ian leaned down, his height making it easy to plaster himself against Mickey’s back again and get dangerously close to the keening man’s face. Ian pushed his middle finger into his ass, slowly, sinking down to the first knuckle before pulling back out. He did this over and over until his finger was getting completely buried with every thrust forward.

“How do you want it?” Ian whispered into Mickey’s ear, taking the lobe between his teeth as soon as the words left his mouth.

Mickey's mouth hung open as his body shivered again, goosebumps breaking out over his skin as Ian felt all remaining tension in Mickey’s body completely fall away, loose and trusting. "Like-like this," he barely moaned out.

Ian groaned and softly pushed his lips against his boyfriend's, Mickey reciprocating the movements easily despite the slightly awkward angle. Ian pulled his finger all the way out of Mickey's ass, rubbing against the ring of muscle a few times before sliding back in with two fingers.

Mickey whimpered, his rhythmic movements against Ian's lips stuttering somewhat as he embraced the feeling of slowly getting filled up. Ian pushed his fingers into Mickey leisurely, stopping sometimes to just rub at Mickey's prostate before going back to thrusting and scissoring, opening Mickey up.

He bit down on Mickey’s bottom lip and pulled it with him when he backed away from his mouth, releasing it fully when the stretch got too much. He cracked his eyes open, staring at Mickey’s blissed out face as he rubbed his prostate again, a deep moan slipping past Mickey’s lips as he pushed back against Ian’s fingers. Hungry.

“Mickey, look at me,” Ian said. Mickey opened his eyes with a great effort, his eyelids fluttering as he tried to catch his breathe. He was constantly thrusting back against Ian with every push forward, desperate to feel more, staring Ian in the eyes the entire time.

“Do we-do we need to use the condoms?” he asked. Fuck, he wanted to ask way smoother than that, find a way to make it sound sexy and intimate. But the right words got lost on their way out of his mouth, his mind getting sidetracked by the look on his boyfriend’s face; blue eyes glazed over, mouth bitten pink and swollen, cheeks flushed as he fucking thrusted back onto Ian’s fingers. It was a sight Ian alone was going to be privy to for a long, long time. He added a third finger alongside the first two, twisting them as he pushed in and out of Mickey’s pliant body.

“Just you, just you,” Mickey repeated like a mantra, his eyes falling closed again as those two words kept fumbling out of his mouth like he didn’t even know he was saying them.

“Ah fuck,” Ian huffed, straightening up in a flash and kneeling behind Mickey again. He pulled his fingers out which prompted a deep moan from Mickey, his ass clenching around nothing.

Ian grabbed the lube, squeezing more on his fingers before he wrapped his hand around his achingly hard dick and stroked himself. Once he was slicked enough he grabbed onto Mickey’s hip with his clean hand while the other went to Mickey’s ass, massaging the muscle appreciatively for a moment before pulling it to the side and resting the head of his cock against Mickey’s hole, rubbing up and down.

Ian pushed his hips forward until the tip of his dick breached Mickey’s rim, a small piece of himself sitting hot inside Mickey’s ass. Mickey whined and pushed back, taking a little bit more of Ian’s cock inside before Ian stopped him, gripping onto his hip tightly and holding him in place.

“Patience,” he said, to which Mickey replied with an aggravated huff. Ian wanted to take his time, to slowly push into Mickey so he could enjoy the feeling of every inch of his dick slipping into Mickey without a condom; finally able to feel him fully and completely, no fucking barriers between them, just skin on skin.

So that’s what he did, pushed into Mickey so slowly it was bordering on torture for the both of them. He couldn’t keep his eyes off of where they were connected, watching himself sink further and further into Mickey like quicksand.

Mickey’s thin patience soon wore out, because when Ian was only about two inches away from being fully buried in that amazing ass, Mickey thrust backwards quickly until Ian’s hips were resting flush against him. Ian almost toppled over from how good it felt, focusing his energy on keeping his body upright while his whole cock was fucking throbbing inside Mickey.

Ian moaned and hung his head down in pleasure, his eyes threatening to close as he pushed a little bit closer to Mickey, wiggling his hips a little bit. “You feel un- fucking -believable Mickey, holy shit,” he managed to say through broken groans.

“Yeah, yeah, you too. So full,” he mumbled against the mattress.

He pulled out a little bit before pushing forward again, hard, his hips slapping against Mickey’s ass. Ian kept the pace slow and deep after that initial thrust, pushing in and out of his boyfriend leisurely, moving his hips in a rhythm that had Mickey babbling underneath him. It’s not often that Ian fucked without a condom, way too many fucking liars in this world, and he’s always blown away when he gets to go bareback, the sensations hitting him a lot harder than they would if he was wearing a rubber.

And goddamn did Mickey feel fucking good, soft and tight and oh so fucking hot.

Ian gave a few more slow, shallow thrusts before changing course completely. He slapped Mickey sharply on the ass, the smack resonating through the room, and started thrusting into Mickey quick and deep. Mickey moaned, his hand reaching back to grab onto Ian’s thigh as he met each of his thrusts with ease.

“Fuck, Ian, like that, like that,” Mickey said, hissing through his teeth on a particularly hard thrust.

Ian knew what Mickey liked, knew that Mickey would never complain about the slow and sweet pace that Ian enjoyed sometimes, because as long as there was a dick in his ass there wasn’t much Mickey could complain about. But he also knew that Mickey liked it hard and fast and sometimes just downright fucking rough . Mickey had given Ian everything he could have hoped for this weekend and more, so he’s gonna give Mickey everything he wanted until he was screaming and shaking.

He ran his hand up Mickey’s back, sliding through the sweat slowly beading up on the pale skin, and grabbed onto his shoulder, his fingers digging into Mickey’s collarbone, almost pushing against his throat. He pulled Mickey back with every push forward, making sure each thrust hit him as hard as it was supposed too.

“Oh God, you feel so fucking good,” Ian moaned, ploughing into Mickey like it was his fucking mission in life, spurred on further by the little mewls and moans coming out of Mickey’s mouth. Ian wished they were louder, the full force of those beautiful sounds getting swallowed up by the mattress, the foam and polyester doing absolutely nothing to deserve the full impact of those sounds.

Ian paused his thrusting abruptly, sitting deep and hot inside Mickey. “Get up, get up,” Ian said impatiently, yanking on Mickey’s shoulder to get him propped up on his hands again.

Mickey groaned in annoyance but complied, planting his hands on the mattress and raising his body up so his face wasn’t shoved into the comforter. Ian leaned against Mickey’s back and started kissing at the nape of his neck, licking up the sweat that started collecting under Mickey’s hairline. He started thrusting into his boyfriend again, reverting back to the slow and languid pace from before, making sure Mickey could feel every fucking inch of his cock rubbing against his sensitive inner walls. He ran one hand all along Mickey’s chest and abs, tweaking his nipples and barely grazing against his cock before he moved back up and wrapped his long fingers around Mickey’s throat, tilting his head back and exposing his neck.

Ian could feel Mickey swallow, his adam’s apple bobbing behind his hand as a growl rumbled deep in his throat.

“Yeah, lemme hear you, Mick,” Ian husked into Mickey’s ear, his voice deep with lust. He practically pulled his dick all the way out, just the tip sitting inside Mickey, before he slammed forward and nailed Mickey right in the prostate.

“Fuck,” Mickey yelled out, his shoulders shaking. Ian smiled wide, all his teeth showing, fucking primal, and kept thrusting into Mickey, making sure to pinpoint that same spot every goddamn time. Ian applied a small amount of pressure to Mickey’s throat, squeezing enough to have him sucking down air harder but not enough to block his airway completely. Yeah, sometimes Mickey liked to be choked and Ian was all about servicing his boyfriend tonight.

Ian kept his hand wrapped around Mickey’s throat, squeezing and releasing in a pulsating pattern and thrusting into him hard and deep over and over and over until Mickey was a babbling mess and his thrusts back against Ian were becoming more frantic. Ian turned Mickey’s head until their faces were lined up and pressed his lips against Mickey’s, wasting no time licking into his mouth and biting down onto those fucking amazing lips. Mickey whined into Ian’s mouth, sharp puffs of air getting pushed out of Mickey’s nose with every thrust forward from Ian.

Ian pulled away from the kiss, putting more pressure on Mickey’s neck as he doubled the pace of this thrusts. Mickey wasn’t usually exceptionally noisy in bed, he was actually pretty refrained and silent at times, choosing to convey how good he felt with his body rather than with words (a common theme with this shithead, apparently), but tonight he was fucking mouthy. Whimpering and moaning loud and sighing every chance he got, sometimes letting a loud “fuck” burst through and all of it had Ian going fucking wild.

“You close?” Ian whispered, a shiver running up his spine when he got a good look at Mickey’s fucked out face. His eyes were firmly shut, his mouth hanging open, his tongue sweeping out to lick at his chapped lips every so often.

“Y-yeah,” he sighed, thrusting back against Ian again.

“Me too, me fuckin’ too,” Ian moaned right before he let go of Mickey’s throat and peeled himself off the keening man’s back, kneeling behind him and grabbing onto his hip with one hand while the other reached around to grab a hold of Mickey’s swollen cock.

Mickey moaned really, really fucking loud as Ian started pumping him in sync with his thrusts, fast and messy, moving his ass back against Ian in a way that only Mickey could.

God, that fucking ass. So thick and bouncy.

Ian wasn’t going to last much longer, but he wanted Mickey to go first, Mickey had to go first. Ian thumbed at Mickey’s leaking slit, pulling the wetness down with him to help with his movements, jerking Mickey tight and fast like he liked.

“Come on Mick, come,” Ian said, pumping into Mickey faster, the smack of his hips against Mickey’s ass getting louder and louder the faster he went, nailing Mickey in the prostate with every thrust. Mickey clenched around him tightly as he let out a long drawn out moan, slipping Ian’s name in there between the slurred syllables.

He spilled seconds later, whimpering and groaning as he leaked over Ian’s hand and all over the comforter, the muscles in his legs shaking from the force of it, continue to thrust back against Ian until he was completely spent.

Ian groaned and released Mickey’s cock, grabbing onto both of his hips while he lowered his chest against Mickey’s back, mouthing across his shoulder blade and neck. He didn’t last much longer after that, what with Mickey whimpering and clenching around him and all. He thrust into Mickey four or so more times before he paused, balls deep in Mickey’s ass, and bit down onto his shoulder. He cried out, the sound getting muffled by Mickey’s skin, as he let go deep into Mickey’s ass, his come coating all of Mickey’s soft walls.

“Oh God,” Mickey whined, his arms shaking, “fuck, so fucking hot.”

Ian soothed the bite mark on Mickey’s shoulder with his tongue, still pushing into him softly as he rolled through the aftershocks. He placed a few featherlight kisses up Mickey’s neck until he got to his lips, kissing him lazily and slowly for a few moments before he pulled out, some of his come dripping out of Mickey’s hole as he went.

He flopped down on his back, breathing heavily while Mickey just collapsed where he was, settling into the wet spot with gusto like a sicko.

Mickey’s eyes were closed, his face beat red and his sweat drenched hair dropping into his face. Ian smiled, reaching his hand up to push Mickey’s hair back, petting his head in the process. Mickey sighed in contentment, his breath evening out like he was about to fall asleep, completely fucked out and comfortable.

Ian turned until he was resting on his side, propped up on his elbow. He dragged his hand down and patted Mickey lightly on the cheek, keeping his hand there as he spoke. “Hey, stay with me, I’m not done with you yet,” he said.

Mickey buried his face into the plush pillow and groaned loudly. “Jesus, give me a few minutes. My boyfriend just fucked my brains out, can’t even fuckin’ think,” he mumbled into the pillow.

Ian grinned wide and wrestled with Mickey’s pliant body until he was laying on his back. Ian climbed over him, pinning his wrists above his head as he settled firmly on top of Mickey, their sensitive dicks rubbing together briefly.

“Who fucked your brains out?” Ian asked, his smile absolutely beaming down in Mickey’s face.

“You’re so fuckin’ gay,” Mickey said, his own gorgeous smile slowly pulling at his lips, those small adorable dimples denting his cheeks.

“Say it,” Ian whispered, his eyes floating all along Mickey’s face. He loved hearing that word come out of Mickey’s mouth knowing it was describing him. He was Mickey’s fucking boyfriend. Mickey was his fucking boyfriend and he wasn’t planning on letting that label disappear anytime soon.

“My boyfriend,” Mickey whispered as well, licking his lips. “My boyfriend fucked my fucking brains out, but if he doesn’t shut the fuck up and get off me he ain’t gonna be my boyfriend for long.”

Ian grinned, knowing Mickey was all bark and no bite. He squeezed his wrists and leaned down to capture his lips in a slow kiss. Passionate. Fucking meaningful, their tongues and lips moving together like this was a dance they’ve been performing for ages.

Ian rolled off of Mickey eventually, but not before fucking him again, slow and deep. Face to face, with whispered words and private moans.

Chapter Text

Ian woke up at the ass crack of dawn.

His eyes dragged themselves open around 4:30am, groaning lowly once he saw the blue light on the cable box broadcast the time. The sun wasn’t even up yet, the room still pitch black, Mickey still passed out next to him, sleeping like he was dead. Ian smiled a little bit, remembering all the events from yesterday, amazed that everything panned out exactly as he had hoped.

It still felt like a fucking dream. He was in Manhattan, in a high class hotel room, still thrumming from the adrenaline of a perfect date with his fucking boyfriend. These types of things don’t happen to Ian. He might have had a stroke of luck landing this swanky modeling gig but that’s as far as his luck went and it certainly didn’t extend to his relationships.

But right now he felt like the luckiest man in the fucking world.

He gravitated towards Mickey’s warmth, hoping the comfort and peace he got from being near him would be enough to lull him back to sleep. He longed to wrap his arms around Mickey and pull him close to his chest, but he didn’t want to wake his boyfriend up at such an ungodly hour for something so selfish.

So he just laid next to him quietly. He shuffled as close to Mickey as he could get without touching him and pretended he could see the soft lines of Mickey’s face in the dark even though he could barely see an inch in front of him. Ian would probably never get tired of looking at Mickey while he was sleeping, as creepy as that might sound. Mickey just looked so relaxed and peaceful when he was asleep, like he was finally at ease for once. It was beautiful, seeing him so open.

Ian closed his eyes, trying to will himself back to sleep, but it was no use. After sitting there getting increasingly more frustrated as the minutes ticked on he decided to go for a run. He had to do fucking something. He raised himself up as carefully as he could, still mindful of the man sleeping next to him, not eager to meet the full wrath of a grumpy Mickey the-fuck-you-wake-me up-for Milkovich .

He walked slowly to the bathroom, making sure he didn’t trip over any discarded clothes and shoes on the way. Once in there he pissed quickly and brushed his teeth, leaving the door cracked open when he walked out so the sliver of light would help as he got dressed without illuminating the whole room.

The sun was slowly starting to come up now, the city below sluggishly getting bathed in a dark navy, making the room look slightly less ominous and easier to navigate. He rifled through his suitcase as quietly as possible, going on feel rather than sight, trying to find the pair of running shorts and tank top he brought with him.

He was putting his shoes on awkwardly, standing up and trying to balance on one foot while trying to tie the laces together. Ian wasn’t the most coordinated person, wasn’t always in full control of his body and muscles as he would like to hope; he was just downright fucking clumsy. While trying to pull on the second shoe he lost his balance, stumbling back until his ass crashed into the dresser. Loudly.

“Shit,” he whispered harshly, looking towards the bed for any signs of life.

Mickey grunted and rolled over, rubbing his eyes with his fists. He stared up at the ceiling, slowly blinking his eyes to get used to the slight light of the room, different than the pitch black behind his shut eyes.

His eyes landed on Ian’s shadowed form, still standing against the dresser. “You fuckin’ dippin’ out on me already, Gallagher? Damn, it was a good run I guess,” he said, his voice deep and thick with sleep, a smile evident in his sarcastic reply as a lazy grin stretched across his face.

Ian slipped on his shoe successfully this time before he walked over to the bed. He sat down on the edge, placing one hand flat on the mattress on the other side of Mickey so he was leaning over him slightly.

“Wouldn’t even think about it. Just going for a run, go back to sleep,” he whispered, picking up the hand not used for support to run it through Mickey’s tousled hair. Mickey hummed as his eyes slipped closed again, succumbing to the feeling of Ian’s hand soothingly running through his hair.

“What fuckin’ time is it?” he mumbled, his voice cracking somewhat, licking his dry lips.

“‘Bout 5:15, too early for your ass to be awake,” Ian said.

“My ass would still be asleep if it wasn’t for my shithead boyfriend,” Mickey replied.

My shithead boyfriend probably shouldn’t be a phrase that made Ian smile like a dope, but that’s exactly what he was doing.

He gently tugged on Mickey’s hair in retaliation, going back to running his fingers through the soft locks immediately after. “I’ll make it up to you when I get back, I promise,” Ian said, leaning down to press a kiss to Mickey’s forehead.

Mickey scoffed, swatting Ian’s face away as he turned on his side as best as he could, ready to fall back to sleep, his breath evening out quickly. Ian just huffed a small laugh and stood up from the bed, slipping out the room as quietly as possible, even though he didn’t really need to be quiet at this point.

Ian got back to the hotel about an hour and a half later, his skin red and blotchy while sweat dripped down his forehead. He had run through Central Park, only stopping for a quick break when he was crossing the bridge, standing there stretching his legs while he looked over the cityscape. Ian has always loved running through the city and preferred it over using the treadmill. He got to dash in and out of people’s everyday life, a fleeting thing that didn’t even register to most people, but he for sure noticed them. It gave him the opportunity to pick up small pieces of people’s conversation, a small glimpse into how they’re feeling or what they’re doing, an interloper and eavesdropper, picking up small morsels of useless information to make him feel more connected to the world around him.  

Plus, the scenery of running through the city was vastly superior than staring at a wall or a tv screen.

When he entered the room, Mickey was laying in bed, fully awake now and propped up against the headboard, tv remote resting in his palm. He was still naked, the white sheet draped over his lap while he smiled sleepily at Ian, his hair sticking up in all different directions. He looked so fucking good.

“Good morning,” Ian said unnecessarily, kicking his shoes and socks off hastily as he pulled his tank top over his head, wiping his face and hair quickly, eager to jump in the shower and wash the sticky sweat off of him.

“‘Morning,” Mickey replied, his voice deep and groggy still from misuse, “how was your run?”

“Good, fucking hot. Isn’t it supposed to start cooling down by the end of August?” Ian asked, exasperated.

“Pretty sure August is still summer,” Mickey responded, dragging his eyes slowly down Ian’s body, lingering on the running shorts that tightly hugged his thighs and ass. “Come ‘ere,” Mickey mumbled, sitting up a little straighter and throwing the remote somewhere into the mass of fluffy blankets and pillows.

Ian smiled, sheepishly running his hand through his damp hair, “I’m fucking gross man, lemme shower first.”

“Mmm, I like ‘em dirty. C’mere,” Mickey said again, biting his bottom lip as he held his hand out, summoning Ian with two quick motions with his fingers. Ian did as he was told, walking over to the bed while keeping his eyes locked with Mickey’s.

“Drop the shorts,” Mickey demanded.

Ian paused where he was, his eyes darkening as a smirk creeped across his face. He pushed his hair back one more time and trailed that hand slowly down his chest, Mickey’s tongue poking out to lick the side of his mouth while his eyes followed Ian’s hand lower and lower. Ian slipped a  finger into the waistband of his shorts, pulling the fabric away from his skin and dragging it down the smallest amount.

Mickey hummed appreciatively, but snapped his fingers in impatience.

Ian’s eyebrows shot up his forehead. “What? You want me to strip faster? Where’s the anticipation? The build up?” he said with a smile, pulling his shorts down a little more, those dark red hairs above his dick popping into view.

“I’ve been anticipatin’ your ass for a whole hour, plenty a build up,” Mickey responded, cocking his head to the side real quick and licking his bottom lip.

Ian scoffed, rolling his eyes as he kept up the brutally slow pace, hooking his thumb into the other side of his shorts and dragging them down inch by inch. The top of his dick was almost out of his shorts when Mickey huffed out an impatient breath and threw the sheet off his lap. He planted one foot on the floor to bring himself slightly closer to Ian and looped an arm around his midsection and threw Ian onto the bed. Ian pushed out a deep breath as he laughed, his body bouncing up and down on the mattress a few times before Mickey completely plastered himself to Ian’s front and pressed his lips firmly against Ian’s smiling mouth.

Ian grabbed onto the back of Mickey’s head, returning the kiss eagerly as his other hand ran down Mickey’s back, resting possessively on one of his fucking glorious ass cheeks. Mickey pushed down against Ian, rubbing his semi hard cock against Ian’s still fabric clad dick.

Mickey lifted himself up so there was just enough room to push Ian’s shorts down, grunting when the task wasn’t as easy as he had hoped.

Ian chuckled and pulled away from the kiss, moving the hand that was holding Mickey’s head down to help his boyfriend pull his shorts off. “You have no patience,” he said.

Mickey scoffed, grinning slightly which caused the corners of his eyes to crinkle while he responded, “you just fuckin’ figuring this out?”

Ian shook his head and kicked his shorts off the rest of the way, jerking up to latch onto Mickey’s lips again. Mickey took the opportunity to fully straddle Ian’s waist, his knees knocking against Ian’s hips, moaning deeply once their cocks rubbed against each other.

It got heated pretty quick, Ian always had a short fuse in the morning not to mention his blood was already racing from his run. He rutted against Mickey harder, moaning against his lips and squeezing his ass with both hands. He trailed his fingers over Mickey’s hole and gasped, pulling back from Mickey’s lips.

“You stretched already?” he asked, breathless.

Mickey grinned darkly and brought his own fingers back to rub against his hole, pushing two of them in with ease. “Yeah, told ya I’ve been waiting,” he said, moaning loud to put on a fucking show.

“Fuck, that’s hot,” Ian replied, going back in for a kiss while blindly searching for the lube, his hand scrabbling along the sheets and blankets. He found the bottle wedged underneath Mickey’s pillow and soon he was sitting up against the headboard and balls deep in Mickey’s ass.

They kept it slow for awhile, gentle with soft kisses and muffled moans, Mickey still lazy and sleepy. It didn’t take long for the intensity to get dialed up once Mickey’s body and mind fully woke up and emerged from the early morning fog.

Mickey had his hands wrapped around the top of the headboard, making it extremely easy to thrust down onto Ian’s dick, the momentum fucking perfect. Mickey sucked on Ian’s neck, panting and moaning against the damp skin. “Fuck. Yeah. Right there, Ian, right there,” Mickey whined wetly against his neck.

Ian just gave a quick laugh because Mickey was the one driving the train here, Ian really wasn’t doing anything except squeezing Mickey’s ass and thrusting up occasionally. He ran one hand up Mickey’s back, easily sliding against his damp skin until his fingers tangled in Mickey’s hair. He clutched onto the dark locks and pulled Mickey’s head back.

Mickey moaned, thrusting down against Ian faster, his eyes slipping closed as his mouth hung open, fucking panting.

“You look so good Mickey, just fuckin’ taking my dick. You love it, huh?” Ian groaned, shoving up into Mickey again.

Mickey was too fucked out to answer, the most he could do was nod his head and grunt in affirmation. Ian attached his lips to Mickey’s neck, licking and sucking, dragging his teeth across the pale skin as he thrust up into Mickey harder and harder, Mickey fucking bouncing in his lap. Ian, still clutching onto Mickey’s hair, moved Mickey’s head until their mouths were lined up, immediately latching on Mickey’s lips with a sigh.

Mickey moaned, slipping his tongue feverishly into Ian’s mouth. Ian slapped Mickey’s ass, a sharp sound following the action, and grabbed onto the muscle, massaging it in his hand before he let go and curled his fist around Mickey’s cock. Mickey whined against Ian’s mouth and started fucking himself on Ian’s dick even faster, getting a workout of his own this morning.

It was over as quickly as it began, Mickey moaning and coming against Ian’s chest not long after Ian started jerking him off. Ian wasn’t too far behind, thrusting up into Mickey a handful of times before pausing when he was buried to the hilt, letting go inside Mickey for the third time in less than twenty four hours. Fuck, this would never get old.

Mickey grinned lazily down at Ian, his eyes heavy lidded and his face flushed and sweaty. Ian groaned, surging up again to attach himself to those beautiful bitten pink lips. He was slightly obsessed with those fucking lips. Mickey returned the kiss in earnest, his hand uncurling from the headboard and resting on the side of Ian’s neck, his thumb slowly dragging back and forth against Ian’s jawline.

Ian pulled away a few moments later to catch his breath, Mickey dropping his head against Ian’s shoulder.

“Fuck, I need a smoke,” Mickey mumbled into Ian’s neck, planting one more smacking kiss against him before lifting himself off his lap with a groan.  He planted his feet on the floor and pulled on a pair of underwear that Ian was pretty sure belonged to him and plopped himself down at the table in the corner. Mickey pulled out a cigarette, lighting it up immediately, inhaling sharply and giving a satisfied sigh on the exhale.

“Pretty sure you’re not supposed to smoke in here, Mick,” Ian chastised, a smirk present on his lips despite the tone. Mickey scoffed, taking another hit off the cigarette and ashing it into a paper cup on the table, the scorch marks around the lip of the cup clued Ian in on the fact that this was not Mickey’s first smoke in the room.

Mickey leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees, slightly scowling at Ian through the haze of smoke. “Who the fuck cares? You ain’t paying for this shit. They can bill someone else for a damn cleaning fee. If you think I’m trekking my ass all the way down to the street to smoke a butt you’re sorely fucking mistaken.”

Ian chuckled and held his hands up. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the headboard, smiling unconsciously, still breathing heavily. God, he was so fucking happy.

“What are you smiling at, Freckles?” Mickey asked. Ian could tell by the sound of his voice that he was smiling too.

“Nothing. That was just a uh, really great run this morning,” he said, his eyes still closed and that damn smile still present.

He heard Mickey inhale again, the crinkling sound of burning paper faintly reaching his ears. Mickey hummed deeply, “so what’s the plan for the day? When’s your fucking meeting?”

Ian groaned, rubbing his hands down his face. He didn’t forget about the meeting, but it had certainly taken a backseat to everything else that had happened since they’ve been in the city. They weren’t here for very long, their flight home was scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, and Ian would rather spend the day being an annoying tourist with Mickey than trying on the same pair of pants fifty fucking times.

He lifted his head off the headboard and looked at the time on the cable box. “I gotta head over there in like an hour,” he mumbled.

Ian heard the sound of Mickey’s cigarette fizzling out in the cup before the other man stood up and walked around the bed.

“Looks like we should hop in the shower then, huh?” Mickey asked, smirking at Ian before he disappeared into the bathroom.

Ian stayed where he was, waiting a moment so he didn’t look overly eager to follow Mickey immediately into the bathroom like a lost puppy. It couldn’t have been more than ten seconds before he was springing up from the bed and slipping into the bathroom.

Who was he kidding? He would follow Mickey anywhere.

Mickey wandered around the streets of Manhattan, not really sure where he wanted to go and explore. He had a few hours to kill before Ian was done with his meeting and one thing he knew for sure was that he wasn’t going to do all the normal touristy bullshit. He didn’t give a fuck about seeing the Statue of Liberty or going to the top of the Empire State Building or going into any of the boring museums. He was more concerned with the food culture of New York, interested to see all the varieties and flavor this new exciting city had to offer.

So he had planned his own unique tour or New York, doing some research on his phone before leaving the hotel room. Luckily enough they were here on a weekend when there was supposed to be a farmers market and Mickey couldn’t have been more excited. He loved farmer’s markets and was unashamed of this fact. He loved everything about them - talking to the vendors about their produce, talking about farming and cultivating, going to each and every stand and testing out the product. Fucking everything. He could spend the entire day at the market and wouldn’t see it as a waste at all.

He was going to try not to be too bitter about the fact that he couldn’t take any fresh ingredients home with him. The seafood this close to the ocean was probably so fucking fresh, possibly caught the night before and not the two day old shit he gets back home.

He hopped on a few trains, getting lost once or twice but eventually managing to figure out the New York subway system and find the farmers market. There was something really liberating about creeping around New York by himself. No one knew him here, every single person was a stranger. No one was fucking afraid of him just because of the stigma his last name carried, he could be a brand new person in this city and that concept made his chest feel a little lighter.

His eyes lit up when he finally got there, the sounds and smells already bringing a smile to his face. This was the biggest farmers market he had ever seen and he was pumped to spend the majority of his day here. It was weird, whenever he was around food and produce he become fucking personable and talkative, eager to share his enthusiasm with someone else who was just as passionate. Everything about farmers markets was so bright and vibrant, from the food to the people, and it was hard to keep his excitement to himself.

Maybe someday soon he would be able to share his excitement with Ian, start educating that ginger fuck on what good food actually is.

Generally, he had a rule that he wouldn’t touch anything he didn’t plan on purchasing but he couldn’t fucking help himself today. He couldn’t buy anything anyway but he didn’t want that to hinder his experience.

He went booth to booth, taking his time to feel the produce, fucking smell the produce like a freak and ask the vendors any questions he had. The array of food available here was much larger than the markets he’s been too back in Chicago and he was suddenly jealous of all the New Yorkers who had access to this caliber of product all the time. This farmers market alone was enough to placate him if he ever had to move to this god forsaken city for some reason.

The hours ticked by much too fast and when he looked at the time on his phone he panicked momentarily. Ian had texted him around noon saying he would be done close to 3 and it was creeping dangerously close to that time. Mickey wanted to be there when Ian got out so they could go get some food, the bagel he had at the hotel breakfast did nothing to satiate his hunger. He left the farmers market with a heavy heart, hating to leave empty handed when he wanted nothing more to leave with bags and bags of produce.

Mickey decided to take a cab to get to where Ian was, figuring it would be easier than trying to navigate how to get to the address from the subway.

He stood across the street from a large brick building, staring up towards the sky while his cigarette hung out the side of his mouth. This was the address Ian had given him but it didn’t look like it was the headquarters for a fucking multi-million dollar fashion empire. If anything it just looked like a seedy place where people who claim to be fashion moguls lure unsuspecting hopefuls in with the promise of fame only to fucking kill them or something. Jesus.

The more the minutes ticked on the more anxious Mickey got. He didn’t really know anything about Ian’s career except that he had a few high paying clients and a couple of spreads in fitness magazines. He had seen a handful of Ian’s modeling photos and had met Ian’s agent so it all seemed legitimate, but Mickey had so many unanswered questions swirling around in his head, especially with how sketchy this placed looked.

Ian knew all about Mickey’s career, had been up close and personal with how the whole system worked with the catering company and about Mickey’s restaurant aspirations so it seemed kind of one sided that he didn’t really know anything about Ian’s career. It made him look fucking selfish and ignorant, not even giving a shit to ask the redhead about it. Isn’t that something you usually knock out on the first date? Fuck. He should probably know the basic fucking facts about his new boyfriend.

Mickey didn’t want to fuck this up, he couldn’t fuck this up, so right at that moment he decided that dinner that night was going to be all about Ian. And he was going to fucking pay attention for once.

He paced up and down the sidewalk, steadily smoking his cigarette and casting glances at the door of the building every time it opened. At least the people walking out of the door looked like they belonged in the fashion industry; starved looking woman with sharp faces and bags bigger than them seemed to be the most popular product these days, but what else was new.

It happened unintentionally, but every person that filtered out of that building took imaginary stabs at Mickey’s confidence in his newfound relationship. They all just drove the point home that Ian could do so much fucking better than him. Ian could be with someone who shared the same jetset career goals and was a clear ten instead of slumming it with a six at best.

Mickey had just lit up another cigarette when he saw that shock of red hair shining bright in the sun out of the corner of his eye. Ian was standing outside the glass doors, laughing and talking with another guy, equally as buff and attractive. Ian looked like he was taking the fuckers number down in his phone. Mickey bristled momentarily, but his anger flew away the second Ian caught his eye from across the street, doing a double take before he fucking waved adorably like the nerd he is.

Mickey unconsciously waved back, putting the cigarette filter to his smiling lips. Ian held eye contact for a moment before turning back to the guy next to him, shaking his hand briefly before they parted ways.

Ian jogged across the street, narrowly avoiding getting hit by a taxi in his haste since his eyes were still fucking glued onto Mickey. He flipped off the driver who instantly threw his finger back. He got across the street quickly without further incident and stood in front of Mickey, his smile beaming and eyes twinkling. Christ, when did Mickey willingly walk into a goddamn fairy tale?

“Hey,” Ian said, it looked like was about to reach out towards Mickey but changed his mind at the last second, his barely raised arm lowering to hang back down at his side.

“Hey,” Mickey replied, blowing some smoke through his grin.

They stood there silently for a moment, just taking in the sight of the other person standing in front of them, like just standing there doing nothing in the vicinity of one other was good enough. They were definitely in the heights of their honeymoon period and Mickey was fucking relishing in it, eating up all the euphoria with a silver goddamn spoon. He’s never felt this good before, no one has ever felt as right as Ian before.

But even with all those good vibes floating around there was still a nasty, bitter voice shouting dully in the back of Mickey’s mind. He blinked and cleared his throat, averting his eyes from just staring silently at Ian’s beautiful fucking face.

“Who was that guy?” Mickey asked, pointing his cigarette in the general direction of mister tall, dark and handsome, trying to keep the anger out of his voice and act like he was just genuinely curious instead of bordering on jealousy.

Ian shrugged. “His name’s Greg, met him a few weeks ago when I came to sign my contract. He was just stopping by real quick to see how everything was going. Told me to call him if I had any questions. Nice guy.”

Mickey hummed, squinting his eyes and taking another drag off his cigarette.

“He’s one hundred percent straight Mick, got nothin’ to worry about,” Ian smiled, reaching out to drag his knuckle lightly up and down Mickey’s forearm. Ian always did seem to read him like an open fucking book which was kind of terrifying to be honest.

Mickey shivered minutely but shook it off, scoffing as he threw his dying cigarette onto the concrete, grinding it out with a little more force than necessary.

“Ain’t fucking worried about shit,” he mumbled before turning to walk down the street, no destination in mind just yet but Ian eagerly followed him anyway.

They had only walked a few feet down the street when suddenly Ian reached over and grabbed onto the front of Mickey’s shirt, pulling him into an alley. He pushed Mickey none to gently up against a wall next to an overflowing dumpster and immediately covered Mickey’s lips with his own, pushing himself against Mickey and planting his palm flat on the graffitied brick next to Mickey’s head.

Mickey thought he was past the hooking up in dirty alleyways part of his life, but apparently he was wrong. He was thankful for this dingy, dirty alley at the moment though. He had wanted to get his lips on Ian the second he saw him standing across the street but he was never one for gross displays of public affection.

So he settled into the impromptu make sesh with gusto, reaching down to grab onto Ian’s hips and pull him in close while he returned the kiss in earnest. Ian growled lowly, uncurling his hand from the front of Mickey’s shirt and sliding it up his chest until it came to rest on the side of Mickey’s neck.

It was immediately heated and passionate, small sighs and quiet moans softly emanating from their throats, their tongues and lips sliding together with a practiced ease. Every pass of tongue against tongue had Ian rolling his hips against Mickey, pushing toward him like gentle waves.

Ian had an affinity for sucking and nibbling on Mickey’s bottom lip, sometimes halting the makeout completely to just focus on that lip. Mickey called him out on it one day, curious as to why Ian was such a fucking weirdo. He explained, timidly, that he liked the way it felt trapped between his lips, soft and tender. He liked when he pulled back and saw it bitten pink and swollen knowing he caused it. Ian seemed to have some slightly possessive tendencies like that and Mickey was fucking living for it.  

Ian moved the the hand resting on the wall and trailed it down to grip onto Mickey’s ass, pulling his boyfriend against him everytime he rolled his hips forward. Jesus, they were both getting so hard already, getting way to riled up for their current situation, but Mickey didn’t have it in him to put a stop to it quite yet.

It took Ian removing his hand from Mickey’s ass to hastily fumble with the button of his jeans for Mickey to pull back from the kiss and smack Ian’s hand away from trying to undress him in a seedy alley.

“Sorry, I-I just can’t keep my fucking hands off you,” Ian whispered, his eyes raking all over Mickey’s face, lingering on his lips again.

“Usually I wouldn’t stop ya, but you’re not fucking me in some damn alley like an animal,” Mickey said, chuckling slightly.

Ian groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, possibly even stomping his foot like a child throwing a tantrum. Mickey just looked at him slightly amused, grinning while his eyebrows rose up his forehead. Ian huffed and pecked Mickey on the lips one more time before backing away from him, his hands raised in surrender.

“You hungry?” Mickey asked as they finally made it out onto the street, swiping his thumb against his bottom lip.

“Fucking starving,” Ian immediately replied.

“Was thinking Chinese?” Mickey suggested, voice hesitant. He knew Ian had been straying from his diet a lot recently and it was pretty much entirely his fault. But you couldn’t come to New York and not have any fucking Chinese food. A city was only as good as it’s Chinese food.

And if he recalls correctly, Ian told him a few months ago that he used to gorge himself on Chinese on a near nightly basis so he figured that the odds were in his favor with this one.

“I could absolutely go for some Chinese,” Ian said, throwing a smile in Mickey’s direction.

“Good, I heard of this place in Midtown from a buddy of mine. Said it was the best Chinese in the city.”

“Let’s hope he’s right.”

They settled into their little booth in the corner of the small Chinese restaurant, Mickey’s mouth watering as soon as he walked into the place. The restaurant was kind of a hole in the wall, Mickey and Ian walking by the front door twice before they realized their mistake. It was nice place though, quiet and clean, the perfect atmosphere to have some light conversation.

Mickey ordered some wonton soup to appease his appetite and a jug of sake to split with Ian while they waited. There was no sexy way to eat soup, so Mickey just sat there slurping up the delicious broth with his small spoon, looking at Ian through his lashes while the redhead smiled at him softly.

Better start the information session sooner rather than later.

“How’d the meeting go?” he asked the bowl of soup rather than Ian. He was nervous for some reason, like asking Ian questions would be too invasive. But they were fucking dating, Mickey should know this shit and Ian shouldn’t have any issues talking about his career with his fucking boyfriend.  

Ian sighed, taking a small sip of the sake before answering. “It was alright, didn’t do much. Just took my measurements and had me try on some stuff. Nothing too groundbreaking. Asked me to demonstrate my runway walk which lemme tell ya did not go well,” he chuckled, running his hand through his hair.

“Never done runway before?” another slurp of soup.

“No, this would be my first time. Kinda nerve wracking to be honest. What if I fall and bust my ass in front of everyone? That’d be fucking mortifying. They gave me some pointers though, just gotta practice,” he shrugged.

“You gonna sashay around the fucking apartment?” Mickey asked, laughing.

Ian threw a small rolled up piece of napkin at Mickey’s face, grinning as he shook his head. “Fuck you, not while you’re there. Probably trip me on purpose.”

Mickey licked the side of his smiling lips and cocked an eyebrow, raising his bowl of soup to his lips to get the last remnants of broth that couldn’t be ladled up with a spoon. Once he got the last dregs of soup he lowered the bowl and settled back into his seat, throwing his arms along the top of the booth, Ian greedily soaking in the view, sweeping his eyes up and down Mickey’s body.

“How’d you land this gig?”

It took Ian a second to answer, his eyes snapping up to meet Mickey’s after staring at his chest, his t-shirt pulled snuggly across his pecs. “It was an accident, really. Showed up thinking it was a regular photoshoot and it turns out they were holding some sort of auditions without telling any of the models. Pretty shocked when I found out. Never done anything like this before.”

“What’s the usual shit you do then?” Mickey asked, the questions rolling off his tongue with ease now. He was genuinely curious, he didn’t know anything about this line of work so he had a lot of blanks to fill in.

“Shit for sports magazines and athletic wear. Hence the amazing bod,” he said with a smirk, swiping a hand up and down his frame like he was fucking presenting himself.

Mickey snorted and shook his head, polishing off his small glass of sake before filling it up again. “You like it?”

Ian shrugged, “I guess? I mean it’s not really the direction I saw my life heading but I don’t hate it. Meet a lot of interesting people.”

Yeah, that’s what Mickey was afraid of. But he had already said something to that effect earlier, probably should keep his mouth shut on that one if he didn’t want to look like an insecure asshole.

Which…he definitely was. But fuck, that was such a turn off. He didn’t want Ian to think he was doubting his loyalty already without any fucking reason besides his own insecurities.

He cleared his throat and sat forward in his seat, crossing his arms in front of him on the table.  He hoped Ian didn’t notice his change in demeanor. “What would you want to be doing if you weren’t doing this?

Ian gazed up at the ceiling for a second, his face screwed up in contemplation. “Honestly? I have no idea. I haven’t really thought about it since I have this, ya know? But, I did want to be in the army at some point, even did fucking ROTC as a kid. So probably that?”

Mickey’s eyebrows rose up his forehead, trying hard not to picture Ian in an army uniform. That was a fantasy he didn’t know he had until this very moment. “Fucking army, huh? Wanted to get your ass shot off for a country that thinks you’re one of God’s mistakes?”

Ian laughed, shaking his head. “It’s not that deep, Mick. I liked playing the fucking hero, figured that was the perfect opportunity. Too late now, I’m getting old.”

“I’m older than you, you shitstain. What’s that make me then, huh?”

“Fucking ancient.”

Mickey kicked Ian’s shin under the table, causing the redhead to pause in his laughter and wince, reaching down to rub his bruised skin, muttering “dick” under his breath.

The waitress picked that as a perfect time to bring their dinners over, placing the veggie dumplings with a ginger scallion dipping oil in front of Ian and the spicy pork shumai in front of Mickey. They both nodded their heads in thanks and wasted no time digging into their meals. Mickey licked his lips in anticipation, it’s been a long time since he’s had decent Chinese food.

Ian rubbed his hands together, his eyes lighting up at the food in front of him. He picked a veggie dumpling up with his fingers, dumping it into the oil before shoving the whole thing in his mouth in one go. Mickey sat there, chopsticks stuffed with food halfway up to his mouth as he watched Ian chew his dumpling with a huge smile on his face.

“You don’t fucking use chopsticks?” Mickey asked, the judging tone of his voice not going unnoticed by Ian.

“‘Less yo’ wanna watch me ea’ off the ground, I’m usin’ muh fingers,” he said through a mouthful of food, wiggling his fingers at Mickey.

“You’re fucking disgusting,” he said with a laugh, shoving his own bite of food in his mouth.

They ate quietly for a few minutes, Ian still using his fingers to eat his dumplings, almost dropping his cup of sake due to his oil slicked digits. Mickey couldn’t believe that this was the weirdo he chose to be his boyfriend.

But he didn’t regret it. Not one fucking bit.

He still had some burning questions about Ian’s career though and he found it safe to ask after the lull in conversation, giving Ian some time to recharge from the onslaught of Mickey’s poking and prodding. If the tables were turned he knew he would need a few minutes to collect himself after giving up so much information.

“So, this fucking show with Calvin Klein, what exactly is it for?” he asked.

Ian swallowed his mouthful of dumpling, wiping his hands and mouth with the napkin he had placed in his lap. “Debuting their winter line. Gotta come back here the end of next month for the show.”

Mickey drew his lips into a tight line, nodding his head as he poked at the remaining food on his plate with his chopsticks.

“That’s uh- really fucking cool that you landed something like that. Must be exciting, huh?” he said before shoving his stickful of food into his mouth.

“Yeah, I suppose,” Ian said wistfully.

“What, ya not excited?” Mickey asked, surprised. This seemed like a step up to him, that Ian was moving up the ladder from print modeling to runway modeling. Wasn’t that what they all fucking aspired to be?

“I mean I am! It’s a huge opportunity I’m just fucking...scared. As lame as that sounds. It’s a brand new world to me, ya know? I’m not used to it, so it’s gonna be an interesting transition, to see how I handle it. Like, what if no one fucking likes me? What if I fuck up on the runway in front of all those camera’s and tabloid mags and-and celebrities? Is that really how I want my big debut to end? What if I lose all my contracts because of it? What if...”

Ian kept rambling on and on, spiralling down into a world of doubts and what if’s and Mickey saw the classic Ian freak start to formulate right before his very eyes. When Ian got nervous or overwhelmed he couldn’t keep his goddamn mouth shut and ended up digging himself a deeper hole than the one he was in to begin with.

Mickey reached over to where Ian’s hand was resting on the top of the table and covered it with his own, squeezing quickly. Ian immediately stopped his tirade and closed his mouth, his eyes locking onto Mickey’s, green on blue.

Mickey smiled gently before speaking. “Relax Gallagher, you’re fuckin’ hyping it up too much. You’re gonna be fine. And if anyone talks shit I’ll find out where they live and beat the crap out of ‘em.”

Ian’s smile started small, starting on one side of his mouth and blooming until it lit up his whole face. He moved his hand around until he could link his fingers with Mickey’s, squeezing them back. “Thanks,” he said softly.

Mickey nodded his head in affirmation. He wasn’t much for fucking hand holding, especially in public. But this felt necessary, it felt good.


“That’s your fucking dumpling hand, isn’t it?” he deadpanned, his eyebrows furrowing.

Ian smirked and dug the oily pads of his fingers into the back of Mickey’s hand, smearing the grease all over Mickey’s skin. Mickey grimaced and flailed his hand around until Ian let go, wiping his hand off with his napkin while glaring at his boyfriend. They went back to eating their food in relative silence, Ian sneaking glances at Mickey when he didn’t think he would notice, his face scrunching up into a huge grin every time they locked eyes.

They weren’t in there for much longer, finishing up their plates and polishing off the sake quickly, both of them feeling a little bit lighter as the alcohol pumped through their veins. The waitress came over when their napkins were folded over their dishes, placing the bill down on the table with two fortune cookies on top of it.

Mickey grabbed the bill before Ian even saw it. He threw one of the fortune cookies at an unsuspecting Ian, Ian juggling it a few times trying to catch it, eventually successfully grasping it in his hand. Mickey tossed some bills onto the table before he opened up his own cookie. He wasn’t a huge fan of fortune cookies, they were bland and genuinely just didn’t taste good. But he liked to read the fortunes and scoff at how fucking stupid they were with their corny “predictions” of love and happiness. Though sometimes the lucky numbers on the back did come in handy.

He unrolled the paper, his eyes scanning the numbers quickly before he turned it over and read his fortune.

Stop searching, happiness is right in front of you.

He gazed up quickly at Ian, the redhead happily chewing on the nasty cookie as he read his own fortune. Mickey smiled briefly, unconsciously. He was turning into such a fucking sap he should kick his own ass.

But...maybe these things weren’t so stupid after all. He placed the fortune into his wallet before he folded the weathered leather and slipped it back into his pocket.

They left the restaurant right as the sun was starting to set, casting the dirty city streets in an orange glow, the bustle of Manhattan rush hour traffic steadily growing thicker and thicker. Ian suggested just heading back to the hotel and Mickey had absolutely no objection to that, their flight back home tomorrow was sure to drain him of energy so calling it a night didn’t seem too terrible.

They spent the rest of the night relaxing in their plush as fuck hotel bed, ordering dessert from room service, exchanging lazy blow jobs and watching free movies on HBO until they fell asleep curled up together under the comforter.

Mickey was much more relaxed on the flight back to Chicago than he was on the one to Manhattan, he even managed to crack open that book he brought with him instead of clutching the armrests for dear life. His fear probably dwindled once he experienced first hand that flying wasn’t as awful as he built it up to be.

It was a great little two day vacation but Ian was happy to be heading home, excited to sleep in his own bed and fall back into his usual routine.

But he was nervous as well.

Nervous because he wasn’t sure how Mickey would react once they returned home. He saw a different side to Mickey in New York; a looser, happier Mickey. Hell, they fucking made out in the middle of Times Square and went on two dates in public. Two !

He didn’t want Mickey to regress and put himself back into that shell from before, that shell that tried so hard to keep Ian from getting inside, but slowly crumbled once they were far away from the facets of life that were trying to keep them apart.

He wasn’t naive enough to believe they would be able to be public with their relationship just yet, he was just hoping that Mickey wouldn’t forget the promise he made in Times Square, because being boyfriends was a fucking promise.

He understood Mickey’s hesitance, he understood how important his job was to him and he didn’t want to get in the way of that. But he also wanted to believe that he was just as important to Mickey as his job was despite how new the relationship was. Ian had always fallen for people pretty quickly, it was one of his fatal flaws, desperate for love and attention and finding it in the hands of pretty boys with shitty personalities.

But he had never felt this strongly about someone before, usually the infatuation would wear off as quickly as it came. But not with Mickey. If anything it grew stronger and stronger every fucking day. He knew Mickey could feel it too, Ian felt it with every press of his lips and with every gentle pass of his hands, could see the admiration in his eyes and hear it in his voice. He didn’t want that to disappear for the sake of Mickey’s job, as fucking selfish as that sounded.

The only plausible solution would be to fire Mickey, right? He’s not worried about him disappearing once the contract with Casanova Catering ends because Mickey had entered a different kind of contract when he pressed his lips against Ian’s in Times Square.

If Mickey wasn’t contracted to work for Ian anymore there would be no reason for him to be paranoid that his boss would find out and sack him since technically Mickey wouldn’t be actively breaking any rules. He would be free. They would be free. No more walking on eggshells or having the threat of any outside influences impacting their new relationship.

Yeah, he was fucking doing it. He was firing his boyfriend.

“Hey Mick,” he said. Mickey hummed, his eyes not leaving the page he was on, his blue orbs still scanning the printed words on the paper.

Ian took a deep breath, readying himself for this guaranteed awkward conversation. He’s never fired someone before and he wasn’t exactly sure how to head into this.

“You’re fired,” he mumbled.

Okay, so mumbling wasn’t exactly as strong as he wanted to come across but fuck, this was harder than he anticipated.

Mickey’s head shot up, his eyebrows furrowed as that stereotypical scowl took over his face. “The fuck you talking about?” he asked, exasperated.

Ian grinned, which probably wasn’t helping him at all but he couldn’t help it. This whole situation was kind of hilarious and he was excited. Excited because once he finally did this they wouldn’t have to be fucking worried anymore and if anything bad happened between the two of them they would have no one to blame but themselves.

“You’re uh-fired. I am no longer in need of your culinary services,” Ian said, highlighting exactly why he was firing Mickey as cordially as possible. “So, thank you for all your hard work. It was uh- greatly appreciated,” he smirked, “but you no longer work for me.”

Mickey still looked confused as fuck, the scowl not leaving his face. It was kind of cute, but Ian was not about to tell him that after he just fired him.

“Ian, what the fuck are you doing?” Mickey huffed.

Ian sighed. “Okay, look. This might sound stupid but I don’t want you to be paranoid when we get home. I don’t want you to forget everything that happened this weekend because it was the best fucking weekend of my life. I want you to be happy, Mick. And you can’t be happy if ya got this fucking fear of getting fired because you’re with me,” he turned in his seat and reached over and grabbed onto Mickey’s forearm, “if you don’t work for me anymore there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

Mickey reached up with the hand that wasn’t holding his book shut, his thumb acting as a bookmark. He rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger, squeezing the bridge of his nose. Mickey opened his mouth, about to speak before Ian cut him off.

“I’ll you for the month you’re missing out on if that’s what you’re worried about. But I can’t have you actually work for me anymore. It’s a conflict of interest at this point,” he rambled. Christ, can he ever shut up?

“Jesus Christ Ian, you don’t gotta pay me, what kinda bullshit is that?”

“I don’t know! I just...I just don’t want this to fuck you over financially and have you be mad at me or something,” Ian said, his sentence tapering off into a whisper.

Mickey sighed, “I’m not fuckin’ mad at you man, I get it. It would make things a helluva lot easier. But you already signed the contract ‘til the end of September. They might penalize you or some shit.”

“That’s fine! It really is, I don’t fucking care. I just...want you,” Ian dipped his head and stared at his hand still clutching Mickey’s arm and shut his eyes tightly.

He heard Mickey sigh again deeply. “Hey,” he said softly, waiting to continue until Ian looked at him again, “you already got me, alright?”

Ian let out a deep breathe, his shoulders sagging in relief as he smiled softly at Mickey, slowing nodding his head.

“Can’t believe I just got fucking fired though, that hasn’t happened since I set the grill on fire on purpose at one of my first jobs,” Mickey laughed, slipping his actual bookmark into place and shoving the paperback into his bag.

“What the fuck?” Ian laughed, instantly prodding Mickey for information about that wild story.

The rest of their flight went by relatively fast, the pair of them swapping war stories about their various shitty jobs, Ian crying with laughter at the end of some of Mickey’s. His boyfriend was fucking ridiculous.

They landed in O’Hare early in the evening, hailing a cab and sitting quietly in the back seat as they sat in traffic on the 90 for what felt like centuries. Mickey had given the driver his address, Ian hearing for the first time where Mickey lived since he kept that shit private for the longest time, he was just a private person and Ian respected that.

What he didn’t expect was to have Mickey sheepishly ask him to come upstairs when they got there.

“Seriously?” Ian asked, excited. This was another part of his world that he was allowing Ian into, another piece of that armor that was coming unlatched.

“Yeah man,” Mickey said before slipping out of the cab, leaving Ian to pay the fare, shoving a few bills into the cabbie’s hand not even giving a shit if he grossly overpaid.

When he jumped out of the car Mickey had already pulled both of their bags from the trunk and placed them on the sidewalk, the cabbie pulling away as soon as Mickey shut the trunk. Mickey was bent over, rifling through his suitcase for his keys that he shoved into one of the pockets. Ian waited eagerly, bouncing on the balls of his feet as he stood on the sidewalk.

Once he found them he ushered Ian inside with a quick incline of his head. “Don’t get too excited, ain’t nothing special about my place,” Mickey said.

“Yeah, but I get to go through all your shit while you’re sleeping tonight and find your sex toys,” Ian said, completely serious even if the grin on his face suggested otherwise.

“Okay, one, who fucking said you were sleeping over? Two, you’re not rifling through my shit, asshole,” Mickey said over his shoulder as he ascended the staircase.

Ian bit down on his bottom lip and smacked Mickey’s ass, couldn’t help it, it was right in front of his face. “Try and stop me, tough guy.”

Chapter Text

September had always been one of Ian’s favorite months. It was still hot enough to break a sweat every once in awhile but the heat was no longer overbearing, the night’s carrying a small chill to them. The weather was comfortable, fresh and warm. He could run through the city without dying of a heat stroke or freezing his ass off.

It had been two weeks since they came back from New York and things were going pretty fucking perfect. Ian had called the owner of Casanova Catering and cancelled Mickey’s contract the day after they got home, completely severing his professional ties with Mickey. The owner, Hannah, had asked a few follow up questions, curious as to why Ian was cancelling his contract so abruptly, insinuating that Mickey could have potentially been acting inappropriately.

Ian assured her it had nothing to do with Mickey being unprofessional, even going to extra mile to rave about how fantastic Mickey had been during the whole experience. He just simply explained that he didn’t require the services of the company anymore, apologizing profusely for the short notice.

And that was that. A clean break with the company and Mickey was no longer his personal chef in that aspect, though Mickey still remained his personal chef without the financial benefits. Mickey fucking loved cooking for Ian and he certainly wasn’t going to stop him.

Things between the two of them had gone surprisingly well since coming home from New York, Ian did not expect this level of comfort to settle over them as quickly as it did. He expected some hesitance on Mickey’s end, that he would tread lightly with their new label and still have some  reservations about the whole thing.

But if anything Mickey fucking dove head first into everything instead of just dipping his toes in the water and Ian was shocked with how open Mickey had become; like he was just holding himself back and waiting for the right opportunity and right person to dump all his affection and love into and Ian was happily reaping the benefits.

It shouldn’t have shocked Ian at all to see how quickly Mickey delved into domesticity though, he had known him for going on four months now and everything about Mickey just screamed that he loved being loved and giving love back. He just had to allow himself to reach that level of vulnerability which was never an easy task for anyone but seemed exceptionally hard for him. Ian had been breaking him down slowly for months, driving a wedge between the lips of that shell Mickey hid himself under and he had finally cracked it wide the fuck open two weeks ago.

They were currently laying in Mickey’s bed in just their boxers, the open window bringing in a nice refreshing breeze every so often as sounds of the bustling South Side floated through the screen. Ian missed hearing the sounds of the city waft through his windows, something he didn’t take into account when he moved into that apartment on the thirteenth floor. They’ve been spending a lot of time at Mickey’s place, it was smaller and not as well maintained as Ian’s but Mickey was comfortable here and with all the new developments that have popped up in his life Ian figured Mickey’s comfort took paramount to his own.

Plus, Mickey could smoke in here, so that was one less thing his irritable boyfriend had to bitch about.

Ian was laying on his side next to Mickey, his head resting on his boyfriend’s chest, his arm slung along Mickey’s midsection as he grazed his fingers lightly up and down Mickey’s side absentmindedly. Ian didn't have anything lined up until the end of the month and Mickey had the day off and they had no plans besides just hanging out and relaxing so that was exactly what they were going to do.

Mickey was holding his phone up over his face, scrolling with his thumb through various food blogs and recipe websites as his other hand ran through Ian’s hair. Ian had been surprised at first to learn that Mickey read food blogs and left comments and talked to people in threads. It just seemed like such a non-Mickey thing to do that it threw him off at first, but thinking on it now it actually seems like a very Mickey thing to do.

There were still so many things he didn’t know about Mickey and every new thing he learned just made Ian even more infatuated than he was before. Mickey was just so fucking complex and interesting and Ian was eager to learn everything about the man throughout the coming years. He had a feeling that even if they were together for half a century he would still learn new things about his partner every day.

Learning all the little things about Mickey would come with time; with exposure and patience. But there were some things Ian was eager to learn about Mickey very, very quickly. Sexual things. Erotic things.

Their sex life was far from vanilla, Ian doesn’t think it ever would be, but they had never really talked about their likes and dislikes, their wants and needs. Sure, Ian knew about the whole choking thing, but that had happened by accident and it wasn’t something that Mickey divulged willingly, it had just happened in the heat of the moment.

They had nothing but time today so why not get some of those gritty details out of the way, right? Maybe share some things with each other that were just too intimate, too vulnerable to share with  someone who was just a fuck buddy.

Ian turned his head and stared up at Mickey, those blue eyes still resolutely glued to his phone screen, scoffing at something he read as he shook his head. Ian leaned up and placed a few chaste kisses to Mickey’s neck, nothing to serious at the moment, he had to start slow and build his way up to it, he had a feeling Mickey wouldn’t reveal his kinks without Ian putting in a little bit of effort. He had to get Mickey hot and bothered first, tease him a little (okay, maybe a lot) until the brunette was breathless and demanding Ian do what he wanted.

He kissed a little lower, leaving a trail down his neck and stopping to lick and suck at the dip above Mickey’s collarbone. Mickey hummed, finally locking his phone and placing it down on the beside table.

“Whatcha doing down there, Red?” Mickey asked, his fingers still running through Ian’s hair.

Ian grinned against Mickey’s skin, sucking on the side of his neck now and moving around until he was half covering Mickey, his leg shoved between Mickey’s open ones.

“Me? Nothing,” he smirked, trying to play innocent while continuing to slowly lick and kiss on Mickey’s neck, in no rush to speed things up just yet.

Mickey smiled real fucking wide until the side of his eyes did that crinkle thing that Ian loved and dug his head deeper into the pillow, stretching his neck out so Ian had more skin to lavish attention too. Ian just administered small licks and bites, continuing to softly drag his teeth across the pinkening flesh and suck on areas he already knew to be sensitive. He spent a few minutes just kissing and tasting and fully soaking in all the little breathes and sighs that Mickey let pass his lips.

He licked and sucked on a spot until he was positive there would be a hickey there in the morning and moved further south. He shuffled his body around until he was hovering over Mickey and mouthing at his warm skin and loving the feel of Mickey’s tattooed fingers curling harder and harder into his red hair. Ian licked a fat stripe over one of Mickey’s nipples and kissed in a straight line across his chest until he got to the other one, slipping the small nub between his teeth and lightly grinding it while flicking it with the tip of his tongue.

Mickey moaned softly, rubbing his half hard cock against Ian’s thigh that was still shoved between his legs. Ian lowered his body, but didn’t completely plaster himself against Mickey’s chest, choosing to prop himself up on one elbow while the other hand moved to pinch Mickey’s other nipple sharply before massaging it delicately.

“Fuck,” Mickey shivered, his hand still glued to the back of Ian’s head making sure it didn’t try to move to far from that spot. Ian hummed, pulling back slightly and blowing hot air over Mickey’s wet nipple, watching goosebumps flare up along the pale skin before diving back for more.

This was another thing he already knew Mickey liked, having his nipples pinched and licked and sucked and fuck, Ian was getting so hard from the little mewls and whines Mickey was letting out already. But he had to stay strong, he couldn’t fold just yet, he had to keep his mind focused on the end game which was mind blowing orgasms all around.

He gave Mickey’s nipple a few quick flicks of his tongue before moving to the other one and doing the same, sucking and licking and blowing over the sensitive nub while rubbing the other, getting a little rougher with his pinches and tugs. He kept this up for awhile, alternating nipples but lavishing attention to both of them equally until Mickey was squirming.

“Ian,” Mickey whined, his body shivering as he rubbed his cock against his thigh again. Ian hummed in acknowledgment before biting down decently hard on Mickey’s nipple, which caused Mickey to arch up with a gasp. Ian continued to flick his tongue over constantly while he reached down and manhandled Mickey’s legs until they were wide open and framed around Ian’s hips.

Ian rocked forward against Mickey, groaning when their cocks lined up and immediately unlatched from Mickey’s nipple, diving up to capture his lips in a rough kiss, immediately clashing tongue against tongue. Mickey moaned against Ian’s lips, returning the kiss eagerly as his hand clutched onto the back of Ian’s neck, rutting up against his boyfriend over and over without shame.

It was frantic and messy, Ian deeming Mickey almost properly riled up enough to get the information he required. He pulled back from Mickey’s pink lips and started licking and sucking at his neck again, lowering one of his hands to rub Mickey roughly over his boxers briefly before he dipped back to grab and squeeze at Mickey’s ass, pulling Mickey forward with every push of his hips.

“Get the lube,” Ian mumbled against Mickey’s damp skin. Mickey groaned and pulled open the drawer on the bedside table quickly, almost pulling the whole thing out completely. His fingers wrapped around the bottle, not even bothering to close the drawer.

Ian grabbed the bottle from Mickey’s hand and placed it down on the mattress, interlocking his fingers with Mickey’s and holding both his hands down next to his head against the mattress. He went back to Mickey’s lips, dialling down the intensity a little bit by softly kissing and licking into Mickey’s mouth, grinding against him slowly.

Mickey, unfortunately, wasn’t on board with Ian slowing things down. He planted his feet on the mattress and rutted up against Ian in earnest, trying his damndest to ramp up the kiss. Ian was nothing if not stubborn, but he also had a soft spot for the horny man squirming under him.

He uncurled his fingers from Mickey’s and backed off of him completely, sitting up on his knees and taking a moment to stare at Mickey’s flushed body underneath him; his chest heaving with deep breathes, his nipples still bright red and peaked, his neck littered with red bite marks, those gorgeous blue eyes heavy lidded and blown out.

“Fuck, you’re gorgeous,” he whispered before pulling Mickey’s boxers off completely and grabbing the bottle of lube. He squeezed a decent amount on his hand and lowered his body against Mickey’s again, going back in to kiss those delicious lips as he reached down and curled his hand around Mickey’s swollen cock.

Mickey moaned and arched up off the bed, his mouth movement slowing down against Ian’s as be became wrapped up on the ministrations on his dick. Ian pumped him slowly and tightly, Mickey already leaking precome over his stomach. He kept that up for a minute or two before he let go, moving his hand over Mickey’s balls and slipping one finger along his ass crack, dragging it up and down a few times before rubbing the pad of his finger against Mickey’s hole.

Mickey groaned and nodded his head wildly, giving Ian the permission he didn’t really ask for but appreciated anyway. He pushed his finger into Mickey quickly, sinking down to the knuckle and causing his boyfriend to inhale sharply.

Mickey reached his hand down and wrapped his fingers around his own dick, pumping himself a few times as he sucked in air through his teeth. Ian got lost in the visual of it all for a moment before he pulled his finger from Mickey’s ass and wrapped his hand around his wrist. He pulled Mickey’s hand off himself and held it down against the mattress as he stared straight into those lust blown blue eyes.

“Don’t move your hands,” he said deeply. Mickey moaned again but did as he was told, the tattooed fingers of both hands curling into the sheet as Ian pushed his finger back into him, pumping in and out of Mickey at a teasingly slow pace, leaning down to suck on one of Mickey’s nipples again.

A few minutes later Ian placed his other hand down flat on the mattress and locked his elbow into place, hovering over Mickey so he could watch his face and look into his eyes while he asked those burning questions.

“Tell me what you like,” Ian whispered.

“Wha-whatcha talkin’ ‘bout?” Mickey asked, all slurred and fucked out. Fuck, he was so sexy Ian wanted him immediately. But he shook his head at himself, couldn’t lose the plot now.

“Some things you like in bed that I can do for you,” he clarified, keeping his voice at a whisper thinking it would sound sexy rather than creepy, but to be honest was definitely bordering on creepy anyway.

Mickey’s eyebrows scrunched up, his lips slipping down into a frown, but his eyes stayed clenched shut. “You already fuckin’ know what I like, ya doing it now,” he bit out, his tongue poking out to lick at his lips.

Ian rolled his eyes in annoyance but slipped a second finger into an unsuspecting Mickey, rubbing against his prostate immediately. The deep moan coming out of Mickey’s mouth made Ian’s jaw drop open. God, he fucking loved seeing Mickey like this.

“Some other things, things you haven’t told me yet,” he said as he thrusted his fingers in and out of Mickey at a brutally slow pace.

Mickey squirmed around on the bed, his chest heaving and stomach clenching. He opened his eyes and locked onto Ian’s unwavering ones. “Fucking Christ Gallagher, we gotta do this now?”

Ian nodded enthusiastically. “Absolutely. I wanna make you feel good.”

“Already fuckin’ make me feel good.”

“Want to make you feel more than good,” he emphasized by rubbing against Mickey’s prostate again. He wondered if he could make Mickey come just from this, wondered if he ever has before. Mickey still didn’t say anything, his bottom lip wedged firmly between his teeth. Ian glared and thrusted his fingers into Mickey sharply, his boyfriend crying out, mouth dropping open as he panted.

“Fuck, fuck, okay. When-when you told me earlier not to m-move my hands? That was hot,” Mickey whined. Alright, okay, now they were getting somewhere.

“You like being bossed around?” Ian asked. Mickey could only nod in response. Ian could do that, he could definitely fucking do that.

“What about toys?” he asked breathlessly as he twisted his fingers inside of Mickey, unrelenting on his prostate.

“Not-not big on toys,” Mickey whined, his back arching as his fingers flexed in the sheets.

“At all?” Ian asked slightly surprised. Mickey liked having his ass played with, he just assumed that extended to toys as well. This was exactly why they were having this conversation.

“Why use a goddamn dildo when I got a perfectly good human cock three fucking inches away from my ass?” he bit out, suddenly coherent, like he was pissed at Ian for having the audacity to expect him to like fake dick.

Ian chuckled. That was fair. “Have you ever tried?” he asked anyway.

“Fuckin’ ‘course I have. I like, I like beads,” Mickey moaned and tried to thrust back against Ian’s slowly moving fingers, “shove ‘em up my ass and pull ‘em out real slow.”

It was Ian’s turn to moan, rewarding Mickey by thrusting into him a little bit faster. “Fuck okay, okay we’re definitely trying that. What else?”

Mickey swallowed thickly, his hands curling into the sheets so hard his knuckles were turning white. “Maybe-maybe restraints? Tie me up,” he said on a breathy exhale.

“Oh god,” Ian whined. Yeah, yeah he definitely liked the picture those words painted in his head. Mickey’s hands tied to the headboard and unable to move while Ian just fucking pounded into him with his hand around Mickey’s throat. The level of trust that required on Mickey’s end would be the most erotic part of the whole experience. Ian wanted nothing more than to give that to him.

“That was good Mick, real good,” he said before diving down for a kiss, done with talking for the time being, he had gotten enough information out of Mickey for now. They kissed wildly for a few minutes, Ian still lazily fingering Mickey open and maybe paying too much attention to his prostate.

Mickey wretched his lips away from Ian’s on a particularly intense jolt of pleasure. “Oh god, fuck me. Fuck me, Ian. Please,” he said on a moan, his body arching up again as he tried to wrap his leg around Ian’s waist.

Ian had dropped his mouth down to the base of Mickey’s neck again, sucking fiercely at the sweat damp skin. He ran his tongue up Mickey’s neck until he could nibble on his earlobe. “No,” he said simply, sinisterly.

Mickey whined in annoyance and pushed his hips down against Ian’s fingers again. “Come on, please,” he was begging at this point.

“Have you ever come like this before? Just from having your prostate stimulated?” Ian asked. He didn’t understand how he still had a clear head when the image of Mickey below him should have been fogging up his brain.

“N-no,” Mickey said, his leg tensing up as Ian pushed in a third finger.

“You’re about to,” he said in response, smiling brightly.

Mickey moaned fucking loud, louder than he had all night. “D-don’t think I fuckin’ can,” he mumbled out.

“Don’t know ‘til you try,” Ian said. This was going to be harder for Ian than it was for Mickey. His dick was still trapped in his boxers, hard as a fucking rock and screaming out to just be fucking touched. But Ian had other plans, he could deal with himself after.

He pulled his fingers out and sat up on his knees fully. “Turn over,” he breathed out, rubbing himself over his boxers while he waited, groaning deeply at the temporary relief.

Mickey whined but complied, flipping over and laying down on his stomach, rutting against the mattress.

“Nah uh, don’t think so. On your knees, Milkovich,” Ian said, grabbing onto his boyfriend's hips and gently tugging him up.

“I fucking hate you,” Mickey mumbled into the pillow as he pulled his knees up underneath him, keeping his face pressed into the jumble of pillows and blankets.

Ian hummed in appreciation and slapped Mickey’s ass before grabbing onto the muscle with both hands. “You have the most amazing fucking ass,” Ian said before slipping his finger into Mickey again, pumping it in and out as he found a position that would be more comfortable for him.

Once he was settled he pulled his finger out of Mickey again, the brunette letting out a deep sigh at the loss. Ian smiled and moved in to lick a fat stripe over Mickey’s hole, his boyfriend jerking forward in surprise before settling back into place. The lube left a weird taste in Ian’s mouth, but he didn’t fucking care.

Ian was relentless after that, lapping and circling at Mickey’s hole while Mickey whined and moaned into the pillow. Ian was in the perfect position to give Mickey all the attention he deserved while still being able to rub his own dick against the mattress, finally getting some contact that he desperately craved.

Ian pulled Mickey apart slowly, administering small licks over Mickey’s hole torturously slow while his thumb rubbed against his perineum. Mickey’s hands flexed in the sheet, pushing back against Ian as he cried out.

Ian rolled his hips down against the mattress, moaning against Mickey’s ass as he gently sucked and poked at Mickey’s sensitive ring of nerves. The noises resonating from the bed were so fucking filthy, along with Mickey’s moans and mewls and Ian’s wet sounding licks, it was the hottest thing Ian had ever experienced and it was all because of Mickey. He kept going, licking and sucking at Mickey over and over and over until his boyfriend was falling to pieces and moaning every chance he got.

Ian swirled his tongue with more force, his jaw aching and chin drenched in his own spit but he couldn’t fucking stop, Mickey sounded so good. He pulled his ass cheeks apart some more, giving himself a little more room to fucking feast on his boyfriend’s ass, pushing his firm tongue in and out of his hole now before going back to licking at him, alternating his method every so often.

He pulled back after a few minutes, taking a few deep breathes as he pushed a finger into Mickey, seeking out his prostate like a fucking missile, rubbing it in tight circles.

“Jesus Christ,” Mickey cried out, pushing back against Ian’s finger, “oh fuck, fuck!”

Ian hummed, slipping a second finger into Mickey and thrusting them in and out at the same pace as his tongue moments ago. Ian knew some of Mickey’s tells by now, knew when he was close to coming and he was exhibiting some of the signs nows; his back permanently arched, his eyes clenched, his leg shaking. God, it was beautiful.

“You close?” Ian asked huskily, biting down on his bottom lip as he continued thrusting his fingers into Mickey.

“I can’t Ian, I fuckin’ can’t,” Mickey whined deeply, his face beet red and dripping sweat as he rocked back against Ian’s fingers desperately.

“You can babe, you’re almost there, come on,” he coaxed, rubbing and pressing against his prostate with more urgency as he moved to sit up behind Mickey. He reached around and rubbed his hand all around Mickey’s chest until he got to his nipples again, taking one between his fingers so he could start pinching and pulling, hoping the added stimulation would get him there quicker.

“Fuck!” Mickey yelled before biting down against the pillow. Ian grinned and pinched Mickey’s nipple some more while thrusting his fingers into Mickey quickly, taking care to stop and rub against his prostate often.

It only took about a minute more of this stimulation before Mickey moaned so fucking loud and came harder than Ian has even seen him before, his body jerking and shaking as his ass clenched tightly around Ian’s fingers. Ian kept his fingers in Mickey while he rode through the aftershocks, his boyfriend pushing back against him every so often.

“Oh my god, Mick. That was fucking amazing,” Ian moaned out, his breath stuttering.

When Ian pulled his fingers out of Mickey he smacked him once on the ass sharply before Mickey collapsed against the mattress. Ian remained on his knees above him, looking down at Mickey’s flushed and sweaty back. Fuck, Mickey had a nice back, defined and muscular.

Lost in his desire, he absently spit into his hand and reached down to shove it into his boxers, wrapping his fingers around his neglected dick and hissing loud at the sensation.

“Get in me,” he heard Mickey mumble.

“Wh-what?” Ian asked, his mind still in a lust filled fog as he continued to slowly pull on his cock.

“Fucking stick your dick in me and come in my ass,” Mickey demanded, moving his leg up until his knee almost touched his elbow, inviting Ian in.

Ian groaned and pushed his boxers down his thighs just enough to take his dick out. He plastered himself to Mickey’s back and pushed into him without further preamble, shivering involuntarily once he was completely buried. Mickey was so loose and wet, but still fucking hot and tight at the same time, it didn’t make any damn sense. Ian pulled out and pushed back in, over and over and over again, moaning and huffing into Mickey’s ear as he sped up the pace of his thrusts.

He wasn’t going to last long, he knew that when he only had his hand wrapped around his dick let alone buried deep in Mickey’s amazing fucking ass. He pushed into his boyfriend a few more times before he paused, buried balls deep and came so fucking hard he saw stars.

He rode through the waves, pushing into Mickey’s overly sensitive body a few more times before pulling out and collapsing next to him on his back.

Mickey was grinning into the pillow, his eyes closed, cheeks adorably pink and those fucking eye crinkles back in place. Ian just stared at him for a moment, his heart almost bursting in his chest and it wasn’t from that round of mind blowing sex they just had.

He wanted to say it, wanted to say those three fucking words so bad they were sitting bitterly in the back of his throat burning like battery acid, itching to slip out of his mouth the more he stared at Mickey’s beautiful face.

But he didn’t. He couldn’t. Not yet. It was too soon. But God, did he feel it. He closed his eyes and turned his head before Mickey opened his eyes and got spooked by the look that was no doubt spread across his face

“You uh, you never told me what you like, ya know…” Mickey whispered, his voice hoarse.

Ian snorted. “I like whatever you like,” he said, speaking to the ceiling.

“That’s bullshit,” Mickey said hotly.

Ian chuckled now. “No, really. I’m a fucking chameleon like that, whatever you like, I like. I just want to make you feel good.”

“You don’t have anything?” Mickey asked, sounding somewhat embarrassed.

Ian sighed, rubbing a hand down his face. “Just, maybe, tell me how good I make you feel? I love hearing you,” he said softly, this conversation feeling kind of awkward and out of place now that they weren’t in the heat of the moment.

“Yeah? Want me to talk dirty to you?” Mickey said flirtily, laughing lowly, successfully shattering whatever tension was starting to build between them.

Ian grinned wide, only replying with a vigorous nod of his head.

He felt Mickey shift next to him, his old bed creaking a little with his movements. Mickey rested his hand on Ian’s cheek, turning Ian’s head so he could place a few chaste kisses on Ian’s lips before pulling away, his hand remaining on Ian’s cheek.

“You hungry?” Mickey asked.

“I could definitely eat,” Ian mumbled as he finally opened his eyes, biting down on his lip once he looked into Mickey’s gentle blue eyes.

Mickey smiled before patting Ian on the cheek. “Good. Let’s get cleaned up.”

Fifteen minutes later they were standing in the kitchen dressed in sweatpants and loose t-shirts. Mickey’s back was bent as he peered into the fridge, the hand holding his cigarette kept the door open as he rummaged through the food contents for something to make.

“I’m just gonna make a sandwich or something. Can whip you up a salad real quick? Got some real crisp lettuce from the market yesterday, some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach,” he kept rambling on with the different ingredients he could add into Ian’s salad.

“Salad sounds great, thanks,” Ian said, cutting off Mickey’s ramblings as he plopped himself down on his couch and picked up the TV remote. Mickey’s TV was fucking ancient, one of those heavy ones shaped like a box with knobs still on the side and the bent antenna’s still sticking out the top even though they served no purpose. Sometimes it just decided to display the images in black and white. Ian fucking hated this TV, one of the only downfalls of staying at Mickey’s apartment since he was so used to the giant flat screen at his place.

“You should buy a new TV,” he said over his shoulder.

Mickey grunted, stubbing his cigarette out in the ashtray on the counter before washing his hands to start preparing their separate lunches. “What’s wrong with that one?” he asked.

“What isn’t fucking wrong with it?” Ian replied with a laugh.

“Aye, it works alright? I barely fucking watch it, not gonna spend a shit ton of money on something I’m not gonna use. Gotta save all the cash I can man,” Mickey said, pulling out some lunch meat and mayo from the fridge along with all of the ingredients for Ian’s salad. Ian rolled his eyes and continued searching the channels for something to occupy his mind. At least Mickey had cable and wifi.

“I can buy you one,” he mumbled, positive that that suggestion would be met with resistance.

“Like fuck you will,” Mickey snapped. Ian huffed a laugh, shaking his head at the exact response he expected.

He stood up from the couch and walked over to one of the bookcases lining the wall. He stood with his arms crossed behind his back as he scanned the various titles written on the spines. Mickey clearly had no shelving order except that the first two shelves were stuffed full of cookbooks, most of them relatively new.

But there was one cookbook on the shelf that didn’t quite fit in, it looked old and worn, the binding broken in and the words faded. It was thick and maroon, the title imprinted in a beautiful gold script, definitely written in a different language.

Ian cocked an eyebrow and pulled down the cookbook, examining the cover before he opened it, the binding creaking a little at the movement. There was something hand written on the first page, scribbled in the same language that was on the binding. He furrowed his brow and flipped through the book, noting that the certain pages that were dog eared had directions written in the margins and some of the ingredients crossed out and replaced, the pages stained with sauce splatter and dirty finger prints. Someone clearly loved this book a lot once upon a time. He placed his finger on the page he was on and closed it, looking for the publication date on the back cover.

1963. Jesus Christ.

“Hey Mick?” he asked, back to flipping through the book, stopping on some pages to look at the pictures of the food.

He heard Mickey hum from the kitchen in acknowledgement. Ian closed the book and turned around, holding it up by his face. “Where’d you get this?”

Mickey looked up from where he was busy cutting up some lettuce and throwing it into a bowl for Ian. His eyes bulged as he dropped the knife with a clatter. He stepped away from the counter, wiping his hands on his pants as he walked over to where Ian stood.

He grabbed the book from Ian’s hand and kind of just held it in front of him, staring down at the cover with a fond look on his face, his fingers delicately tracing over the letters engraved on the cover.

“It was uh, my Mom’s. My Grandma gave it to her before she died. Wrote some directions in Ukrainian that I can’t fucking read,” he mumbled.

“You’re Ukrainian?” Ian asked, his voice coming out higher than he anticipated.

“Yeah. Can’t read it or speak it though, so this thing is kinda useless,” he said as he flipped it open to scan a few of the pages.

“Can your mom read it?” Ian asked softly.

Mickey chuckled quickly. “Yeah, yeah she could,” he whispered before he walked around Ian and placed it back on the shelf, his fingers lingering on the spine. He cleared his throat and turned back around, shooting Ian a quick half formed smile before walking over to the kitchen, picking his knife back up to resume cutting the lettuce.

Ian had a million and one questions he wanted to ask, suddenly hit with the burning realization that he knew nothing about Mickey’s family or childhood. Shit, he didn’t even know his mother wasn’t alive still; the only thing cluing him on on the fact she wasn’t around anymore was Mickey’s use of the word could . He didn’t know if Mickey had any fucking siblings or any living relatives at all, he didn’t speak about his past often, if ever.

Ian spoke about his family all the fucking time it seemed, Mickey has definitely eavesdropped on phone conversations between Ian and his siblings before and Ian never hesitated to tell stories and anecdotes when something reminded him of someone in his family. Hell, Mickey had even kind of met everyone back at that benefit a few months ago.

But not every family was as close as the Gallagher’s, Ian knew that, but he was still curious as to why Mickey decided to keep that entire part of his life separate from him.

“So uh listen,” he heard Mickey speak from his position at the counter, the crisp sound of him now cutting up a cucumber could be heard, “I have breakfast with my sister once a month. I’m meeting up with her this Sunday, was wondering if you would want to come?”

Ian stood with his mouth hanging open, certain that Mickey was a fucking mind reader, asking that exact question just as Ian was having questions of his own. Well, he knew Mickey at least had a sister. He wondered if that was the Mandy Milkovich he semi-stalked on Facebook a few months prior on his quest to actually stalk Mickey.

He walked over to the kitchen and stood behind Mickey, wrapping his arms around the slightly shorter mans waist and hooking his chin over his shoulder, watching his methodical movements on the vegetable.

“I would love to have breakfast with you and your sister,” he whispered before placing a kiss on the side of Mickey’s neck.

They had just walked off the train and Mickey didn’t waste a single second in sparking up a cigarette, his nerves visible all morning. He had been smoking more and on the entire train ride over here he was jiggling his leg and touching his face and lips more than normal. Ian knew he was nervous about this breakfast with his sister and he was trying subtly to calm his flighty boyfriend down all morning, but to no avail.

It was only a short walk from the train station to the restaurant and Mickey had already cranked down one cigarette and was working on his second. They stopped in the alley next to the diner, Mickey putting the cigarette to his lips with shaky hands.

Ian rubbed his hand through his hair. “Mickey, if you don’t want me here I didn’t have to come,” he said softly.

“I fucking invited you, didn’t I?” Mickey bit out, aggravated.

Ian sighed. “You did, I know. But if it’s too soon or whatever and you want to like...wait a little bit longer until this isn’t so… new , we can,” Ian said, reaching out quickly to squeeze Mickey’s unoccupied hand in reassurance, dropping it as quickly as he had raised it.

Mickey rubbed his eyes, huffing out a deep breath of smoke as he threw his dying cigarette down to the concrete. “It’s not that man, I do want you here. It’s just, fucking - no one has ever met anyone from family before. And Mandy,” he barked out a quick laugh, shaking his head, “she’s a fucking handful.”

Ian tried not to look too proud about the fact that he was the first person Mickey was bringing to “meet the parents”, so to speak, but he couldn’t help it. He smiled real wide and felt a happy bubble rise up in his chest. It took everything in him not to tackle Mickey to the ground and cover his face in kisses.

“I think I can handle her,” Ian responded instead of pouncing on his boyfriend. Mickey gave a disbelieving face but didn’t say anything else as he walked towards the front door, Ian following closely behind.

They sat in an empty booth near a large window, the sun beaming through the slats in the plastic shade and warming Ian’s skin as he slid against the vinyl, Mickey sliding in next to him, their legs squished together from knee to hip. There was plenty of room in the booth for them to have some personal space, but Ian kind of loved the fact that Mickey pressed close to him, though he could do without the constant jiggling of Mickey’s leg against his own.

Ian grabbed a menu from the holder on the end of the table pushed against the window and handed it to Mickey before picking up his own.

“I’m all set,” Mickey said, waving away the offered menu.

“Already know what you’re getting?” Ian asked with a small grin as he put the unwanted menu back in it’s place.

“Yeah, I get the same thing every time, no need for a menu,” he replied.

Ian shook his head and looked down at his menu, scanning over the different options. He didn’t want to get something too heavy, his runway show was rapidly approaching and he has been hyper aware of everything he was eating and had even tweaked his workouts a bit to push himself a little further. He wanted to look the best he has in years for this show, dead set on making one hell of a first impression.

Thankfully he knew an amazing personal chef that could make him delicious meals without packing on the calories. That was at home though, eating at restaurants always posed a whole new dilemma.

He was busy debating between the different merits of wheat versus rye when Mandy arrived, Ian not noticing her arrival until she greeted Mickey with an affectionate “hey assface.”

Ian looked up as Mandy was sliding into the booth opposite them. If it wasn’t for her blonde hair (which was not natural judging by the dark roots sprouting out the top of her scalp) the family resemblance between the two was remarkable. She had the same deep blue eyes as Mickey and the same cute little button nose but with a nose ring threaded through it. However, her bone structure was a little sharper than Mickey’s. She was beautiful.

“Who is this?” she asked, eyes raking over Ian with curiosity. Okay, so Mickey didn’t tell her that he would be crashing their little breakfast date, kind of awkward.

“Ian,” he said with a smile, taking the initiative to introduce himself and sticking his hand out across the table in greeting. Her eyes flicked down to Ian’s outstretched hand before coming back to look him dead in the eyes.

“Pleasure,” she said with disdain, her lip curling up a little bit.

Ian frowned a little and retracted his hand, clasping them together underneath the table. That certainly wasn’t the response he was expecting, but knowing Mickey’s less than stellar public attitude it seemed fitting.

Mickey cleared his throat. “Mandy this is uh, that guy that I was tellin’ you about,” he mumbled.

“Oooooh, so you’re the client that’s had Mickey’s panties in a twist for the past few months,” she said, her eyes now taking on a glint of interest.

“Jesus Christ,” Mickey whispered, his hand coming up to rub at his eyes. Ian laughed a little, still confused as to how he should be feeling at the moment.

“Well, I'm not his client anymore. Fired him a few weeks ago,” Ian said, smiling with pride.

“Why’d you fire him?” she said quickly and hotly, ready to jump down Ian’s throat for giving her brother the boot.

The smile slipped off his face immediately, taken aback by her quick fire hostility. He looked at Mickey quickly before turning back to look at Mandy. He was curious about what Mickey did and did not want to tell her, but he had failed to debrief Ian on any no-no’s before breakfast so he was on his own here. He opened and closed his mouth a few times while Mandy still stared at him, her eyes burning into him.

“So I could, so I could date him?” he said it like a question, even though that was the correct answer. Mandy made him nervous for some reason and it wasn’t because she was Mickey’s sister. She was slightly terrifying and already made him feel inadequate and uneasy.

“You’re…dating?” she asked slowly, her eyebrows rising up her forehead in a great imitation of her brother.

“Yes?” Ian answered, skeptical, casting a glance at Mickey again.

“You don’t sound so sure about that,” Mandy said, her eyes narrowing.

Mickey huffed out an aggravated breath. “Fuckin’ a. Yes Mandy, we’re fucking dating. Ian is my boyfriend, not my fucking client. You happy?” he snapped at his sister.

Mandy smirked at her brother, clearly loving the fact she was making him uncomfortable. She opened her mouth, intent on saying something else but the waitress chose that exact moment to come over and fill their coffee cups and give them some water glasses. She gave them a few minutes to decide on what to order since Ian still unsure, he was grateful for the interruption though. They sat in silence while they added their desired sweeteners and creamers to their cups of coffee; Ian decided just to take his black today in an attempt to avoid any excess sugar and dairy, Mickey just dumped some sugar into his mug while Mandy added both creamer and sugar to her’s.

“So, Mick told me you’re a model, right?” Mandy asked, a smirk playing across her lips as she blew on her hot coffee, “how many dicks you suck to get that job?”

Ian looked affronted, grinning in disbelief at her bluntness. Mickey groaned loudly, wiping his hand down his face. “Jesus Mandy, don’t fuckin’ interrogate the guy!” he whined.

Mandy grinned, turning her slightly evil smile to her brother. “Fine, I’ll just ask him questions about you ,” she winked at Mickey before turning her attention back to Ian. “Is my brother a top or a bottom?” she asked.

Ian choked on the water he was sipping while Mickey jerked up from the table, patting down his pockets. “I need a fuckin’ smoke,” he growled as he pulled his cigarette pack and lighter out of his pocket. “Don’t fuckin’ answer that question, Gallagher!” he yelled, putting his cigarette to his lips as he walked towards the door, pointing threateningly at Ian with raised eyebrows.

Mandy gave Mickey a beaming smile and moved her head to watch him as he walked out the door. As soon as that bell above the door jingled and Mickey was well out of earshot, she turned her head and that dazzling smile from before had been replaced by a scowl, the look in her eyes deadly enough to turn lesser men to stone.

She picked up a knife and held it in her fist, her hands coming up to rest underneath her chin. It may have only been a butter knife, but with the way she was holding it accompanied with the look in her eyes it might as well have been a fucking machete.

“Alright Firecrotch, I want to like you, in fact I do like you. If my brother hadn’t scooped you up first I probably would’ve attempted to get in your pants. But me liking you doesn’t cancel out the fact that if you hurt him, I won’t hesitate to slice your fucking nuts off. You hear me?” she snarled, the knife seemingly glistening in the sun coming in through the window.

Ian’s eyes bulged, his mouth suddenly going bone dry. “I don’t - I don’t intend on hurting Mickey…”

She scoffed. “No one fucking intends on hurting Mickey,” she spit, malice dripping from her every word, “but guess what? They aaaall do,” she waved the knife around in an all encompassing manner. “You might’ve noticed that my brother isn’t the most personable person, he doesn’t share shit very often. In fact, I’m fucking shocked he even brought you with him today. But when he gets comfortable enough with someone to start sharing they always fucking leave.”

“I - I don’t understand,” Ian whispered, picking up his glass of water with slightly shaky hands, attempting to take a sip to get his fucking voice working properly again.

She laughed darkly. “Our childhood was a nightmare. A literal living, breathing, fucking nightmare. Our dad was an evil, abusive fucking prick,” she emphasized the last two words with two quick jabs of her knife into the air, “and Mickey always got the worst of it, you know his fuckin’ mouth. As soon as he starts opening up about that shit people fucking bolt, can’t handle his emotional baggage apparently. They’re all fucking weak,” she whispered, hot with hatred.

“You seem special to him, otherwise he wouldn’t’ve brought you here this morning, pretty big move for him. So I’m just warnin’ you, dickbreath, if he decides to fucking bare his soul to you and you use that against him in any way...I will hunt you down,” she leaned closer across the table and stared directly into Ian’s eyes, her own eyes dark and unblinking, “and I will chop your fingers off one by one and make you fucking eat them. Understand?”

Ian swallowed thickly, nodding his head while maintaining eye contact with the small, terrifying girl across the table. Jesus, she and Debbie would probably get along really well. The menacing look dripped off her face and that sickly sweet smile from before came back full force. She placed the knife down on the table and leaned back in her seat, picking up her cup of coffee and acting like she didn’t just make Ian shit his pants.

He could see Mickey through the window, leaning against the wall next to the front door with his phone in hand, foot propped behind him against the brick, his cigarette burning away between his fingers, halfway done. Ian looked back at Mandy, seeing her grin at Ian over the top of her mug.

“Lis-listen,” he started, his voice trembling somewhat, still vibrating from the shock of Mandy threatening harm to his various appendages. He cleared his throat and straightened his shoulders, trying to physically make himself appear confident. For her to assume that he was just like all the other guys that Mickey had been with was kind of insulting. “You don’t fucking know me. At all. I’ve seen some shit too and I can tell you right now I’m not gonna fucking dump him because he shares things with me. The fuck? And the guys that did that to him didn’t deserve his fucking trust to begin with.

“I like your brother. A lot. Like...a-fuckin’- lot ,” he emphasized,  getting side tracked for a moment as he thought about his boyfriend standing outside. He turned his head to watch him through the window again, a small smile appearing on his lips when he caught sight of him. He snapped back into the conversation quickly though. “I want to learn these things about him. Hell, I want to fucking learn everything about him, don’t care how long it takes. Not gonna ditch him whenever he decides he’s ready. I’m not fucking going anywhere,” he finished, leaning back in his seat to match her stance, crossing his arms over his chest in defiance.

She looked at him with a shocked look on her face, her mouth slipping down to an impressed grin. Her eyes stayed locked into his for a few moments, probably sizing Ian up and trying to figure how genuine he was, trying to detect a hint of deception.

She wouldn’t fucking find any doubt in Ian’s eyes.

A few moments later, she broke eye contact and barked out a laugh, shaking her head as she placed her cup on the table, crossing her arms in front of her and leaning forward. She ran one hand through her hair, fluffing the blonde locks up beautifully before she looked at Ian, leaning her head on her propped up hand.

“I like you, Ian,” she said with a smile.

Ian deflated, happy that the combative atmosphere surrounding their little booth had evaporated. “You’re not too bad yourself when you, ya know, don’t have a knife in your hand,” he smiled, causing her to laugh loudly.

The bell jingled above the door, Ian looking up to see Mickey walking over to their table looking slightly less stressed out. He slid into the booth alongside Ian, wiping his hands on his thighs once he was settled.

“We ready to fuckin’ order or what?” Mickey asked, looking at Ian with raised eyebrows before turning his attention to a still smiling Mandy.

“Yeah, we’re ready, Mick,” she said softly.

The rest of the breakfast went by without a hitch, a lot of the awkwardness that resided before was gone and conversation flowed naturally. The more they spoke, the more that Ian realized he really, really did like Mandy. She was funny and smart, vivacious and no bullshit and definitely wasn’t as scary once she dropped the protective sister act. She and Mickey were very similar, except she had a lighter air surrounding her, her laugh coming a lot more easier than Mickey’s. They were both soft and vulnerable but had that protective outer shell surrounding them, shielding them for everyone they didn’t allow into their bubble.

It was amazing to watch them interact, the jokes and insults never in short supply but the affection between them was clearly palpable. They probably wouldn’t like to hear this, but it was obvious that they were related. Ian wondered if it was this obvious with his own siblings. He didn’t feel like an outcast or an interloper to their conversations, both of them including Ian in on everything. Ian and Mandy got along really well and he could see them potentially being friends, which Mickey would probably fucking hate.

Ian was talking about their recent trip to New York when the food showed up, Mandy looking at Mickey with surprised eyes as Ian told her about the less gritty details about the weekend.

“How the fuck did you trap a hottie that can afford to take you on vacations? Wasn’t that supposed to be my game plan?” she laughed.

Mickey rolled his eyes in annoyance, slicing into his pancakes without responding to his little sister. They ate with only small breaks in conversation, Mandy making a comment about the amount of syrup Mickey poured over his breakfast, and by his reaction this was something she pointed out quite often.

Breakfast only lasted about an hour, the trio walking out into the sun and warm air after having polished off their plates and third cup of coffee, Ian was going to be so fucking wired. Mandy was going the opposite direction than the two of them, so unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to travel together. They lingered outside the dinner for a few minutes as she and Ian exchanged numbers, much to Mickey’s chagrin.

“Call me if you wanna go out and get a drink sometime. Mickey is a fun sucker and doesn’t like to go out with me,” she said, throwing a glare at her brother.

“That’s not the only thing he sucks,” Ian winked at her before he looked down to add some emoji’s next to Mandy’s name in his phone (a knife and a martini glass).

“Ew, gross!” she squealed while Mickey kicked Ian in the foot. Ian and Mandy hugged each other before she moved over to Mickey, pulling him unwillingly into an aggressive hug. She whispered something into his ear that Ian couldn’t hear, but Mickey’s face immediately blushed before he pushed Mandy away from him, that devilish grin of her's back in place. They parted ways and that was that, breakfast with Mickey’s sister was done and out of the way, one more thing Ian could check off his list.

“I think that went well,” Ian said as he nudged Mickey with his shoulder. Mickey grunted, fumbling for his pack of cigarettes again. He was going to blow through that entire pack today and he had just bought it this morning.

“What? You don’t think it did?” Ian asked, slightly worried.

Mickey scoffed. “Oh, I think it went fuckin’ peachy. You gonna become best friends with my sister and start likin’ her more than me,” he grumbled, lighting up his cigarette. He still used that stupid  lighter Ian got him and that fact made him giddy as fuck.

“I don’t know about that, she just doesn’t have that thing I like most about you,” Ian said airily.

“Yeah? And what’s that, Freckles?” Mickey asked with interest.

“Your dick,” Ian smirked through a boisterous laugh.

Mickey turned and pushed Ian playfully, a grin poking out behind the cigarette hanging from his lips. “Let’s get back to your place then so you can show me how much you like my dick,” Mickey said with a smirk, his eyes bright and flirtatious.

Ian hummed as he started walking backwards towards the L station steps. “Don’t gotta tell me twice,” he winked.

Chapter Text

The crack of lightning was so bright it lit up the whole room, the darkness of night looking like it was the middle of the day for a split second. The flash was shortly followed by a rumble of thunder that was so loud it felt like it shook the very foundation they were on. Rain was pounding down so hard that the leaky spot in the corner of the dining room looked like an indoor stream running down the wall and ruining the already fucked up wallpaper. The wind was howling, hitting the paint chipped windows with a force that made them rattle and whistle.

There is a saying that old houses could talk and if that’s true this one would be able to tell some truly horrific tales that would surely seem fictional. But this house only seemed to speak when the storm was raging outside and kept conspicuously quiet when a storm was brewing within its four walls.

A movie was playing on the stolen flat screen in the corner, illuminating their shifting bodies in the dull light. Ian’s solid form was pressed heavily on top of Mickey’s, propped up on his elbows, his hands digging into Mickey’s hair as they engaged in a deep kiss, their moans and sighs getting drowned out by the sound of the rain and low volume explosions from the movie.

He felt warm. He felt safe. He felt fucking loved .

Lightning flashed bright white and suddenly the whole scene had changed. Ian was on the couch, slumped over and bleeding from his forehead. The coffee table was upended and shards of glass littered the carpet. The television was smashed, the white and black fuzzy dots jumping around the screen, the sound of static loud and piercing as Mickey walked backwards with his hands up.

Terry walked closer and closer, a baseball bat resting on his shoulder, a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth as he spoke. He was saying things, nasty things that cut Mickey down to the bone, sliced through all his skin and muscles and dug in deep. Mickey couldn’t say anything back, all this thoughts occupied with the boy on the couch and stuck wondering if he was alive or dead.

Terry swung the bat at Mickey’s knees, sweeping his legs out from underneath him and causing him to land on the floor with a sickening thud. Terry loomed over him, spouting hateful rhetoric as he literally spit on Mickey’s prone form, his spit burning like acid as it landed on Mickey’s skin.

Lightning flashed again, blinding him momentarily and then there was a foot on his throat, the treadmarks of the boot leaving indents in his skin as it crushed his windpipe. His hands were scrabbling at the boot, trying to move it an inch, just one fucking inch so he could breathe, gasping for air as he thrashed around on the worn out hardwood trying to gain the upperhand. But his father just looked him dead in the eyes, his grin wide and malevolent, his teeth dripping blood as he dug his boot into Mickey’s neck harder, Mickey pushing out his last gulp of air.

Terry raised the bat, a strike of lightning silhouetting his father’s menacing form above him against the static of the broken tv screen. He swung the bat and right before wood came in contact with skull a loud crash of thunder boomed and Mickey was bolting upright and gasping for air, his hand immediately reaching for his neck as his chest heaved up and down.

He was in Ian’s bed, in Ian’s apartment, in the North Side, thirteen stories high, not back at the Milkovich house of horrors in the South Side. His father was nowhere in sight even though Mickey was positive he could still smell that particular scent of menthol that clung to that man like a stubborn dirt stain. That smell always made Mickey sick.

There was a storm raging outside just like in his dream, the rain hitting the windows fiercely, the shadows streaking down the bedroom walls and leaking over onto the bed making the whole room look like it was melting.

He was sweating profusely, drenched around the collar of his shirt, the cotton rubbing up against his neck uncomfortably where the phantom weight of a boot still lingered. He pulled his legs up to his chest and planted his elbows on his knees, pushing the heels of his hands a little too roughly into his burning eyes.

“Fuck,” he whispered wetly, his voice wavering a bit. He shivered, his skin breaking out in goosebumps as his body shook with the effort of holding back tears.

“Mick?” he heard Ian mumble, his voice hoarse with sleep as he shuffled around until he was facing Mickey. He reached out and lightly grabbed onto the clammy skin of Mickey’s arm in what was supposed to be a reassuring gesture. But Mickey ripped his arm away as if he was burned, the contact too much for him right now.

Ian was immediately alert and sat up, turning on the little light on the bedside table, changing the color in the room from a dark grey and pale blue to a muted yellow. “Are you alright?” he asked softly, his voice laced with worry as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

Was he alright? Fuck no. He wanted to laugh darkly in response, throw some sarcastic asshole of a reply back to Ian because of fucking course he wasn’t “alright”. He was fucking embarrassed and terrified at the same time, his heart still galloping like a racehorse as the images from the dream kept flipping through his mind like a picture book.

What adult still had nightmares like this? What adult was still so terrified of their father that nightmares like this were common? Out of all the terrible situations that plagued his childhood, this was the one moment his unconscious mind always chose to remind him of when he least expected it? Always twisting the ways Terry tortured him but the theme always remained the same.

This shit always popped up just when he was feeling safe and comfortable and happy. It was like a fucking sci-fi monster that came lurking when it detected the faintest whiff of happiness and greedily sucked it all up for itself and left fear and doubt in it’s place.

He could still feel Ian’s sad eyes piercing into the side of his face as he waited patiently for an answer that Mickey wasn’t ready to give because he didn’t want to lie. He scrubbed his hands down his face harshly and ran them through his hair, gripping at the locks on the back of his head hard in frustration.

“Y-yeah, I’m okay,” he eventually said, still not looking at his boyfriend sitting next to him. Fuck, he needed a cigarette. “You mind if I uh-if I have a smoke in here? Please?”

God, he sounded fucking pathetic, his voice small and uneasy. One short dream was enough to rock him straight to his fucking core. It’s been a few months since this has happened, so of course his mind would plague him on a night he was sharing a bed with his boyfriend instead of home alone.

He wasn’t sure which one was worse.

“Um, yeah sure,” Ian said hesitantly, still eyeing Mickey carefully.

“Thanks,” Mickey huffed before throwing the sheet off of himself and pulling the musty shirt over his head, throwing it in the general direction of Ian’s hamper and foregoing getting another one until he was done with his cigarette.

Mickey walked out into the kitchen without saying anything else to Ian, his bag resting on the counter where his cigarettes and lighter were wedged into the side pocket. The rain looked even more depressing thanks to the massive windows that lined the living room wall, the bright lights of the city washed out and fading in and out with the steady deluge of rain, the shadows of water streaking down every surface in here as well.

He pulled out a cigarette and lit it up with shaking hands, placing the carton and lighter into his sweatpants pocket before he grabbed a paper cup to use as an ashtray. He walked over and paced in front of the massive windows, inhaling deeply, savoring the taste of his cigarette as each pull of nicotine helped calm his jangling nerves, his heart slowing down significantly. He had to keep reminding himself of where he was now, had to keep forcing his mind to remember the fact that he was safe here. He was fucking safe no matter how hard his past demons tried to remind him that he was far from safe at one point in his life.

It was weird experiencing a storm so high up from the ground, it almost felt like he was a part of it. His anger and resentment feeding into the electricity zipping through the sky, his suppressed emotions building and building until they boomed as loud as the thunder, his thoughts dark and brooding and gathering all these elements into one catastrophic storm cloud that could rain down on everyone and everything, making them all feel as bleak and hopeless as him.

He had to find an anchor, something solid for his mind to focus on so it would stop slipping back to the dark recesses of his imagination and conjuring up scenes from that fucking nightmare.

So he picked a dish to focus on, something labor intensive so by the time he had finished walking his mind through all the steps he would be level headed and relaxed, the nightmare pushed far from his mind. He listed all the ingredients and mise en place he would need before he started cooking, taking a hit off his cigarette every so often.

There was a flash of lightning that startled him, the thunder rolling through shortly after. He noticed he was down to the filter on this cigarette, throwing the decimated butt into the cup and grabbing another one out of the box with one hand.

He continued on with his routine once the newly sparked cigarette was resting between his lips, mumbling under his breathe as he stood rigidly still in front of the window. He wasn’t sure how long he was at it, but he was only about halfway done explaining to himself how to make the sauce when Ian spoke.

“Making lasagna?” Ian asked, his voice a little playful. His sudden presence should have spooked Mickey, but he knew Ian was there. He could feel him. He exhaled a large cloud of smoke before taking a deep breath of clean air and turning around.

Ian was sitting on the couch, his body turned towards Mickey, his long legs crossed in front of him as he leaned against his hand that was propped up on the back of the couch, his face soft and open as a small smile lingered on his lips.

Mickey rubbed his eye with the heel of his palm, angling his cigarette away from his face as to not singe his hair. “Sorry I woke you up,” he mumbled out instead of answering Ian’s question.

“It’s okay. Bad dream?” he asked, his eyes still gentle and puffed up from sleep, his hair rumpled. It was unfair how fucking good Ian looked at any given time, the fucker didn’t even have to try.

There was no use pretending he didn’t have a nightmare, he woke up sweating and skittish and those weren’t symptoms of a goddamn sex dream. Well, maybe the sweating, but not the nervousness and the almost crying. Fuck. He took another hit off his cigarette, his eyes still locked on with Ian’s, suddenly extremely grateful that the redhead seemed to have an endless supply of patience when it came to him.

“Yeah…” Mickey said on the exhale, barely nodding his head.

Ian hummed, shifting his position a bit, sitting up a little straighter. “Wanna talk about it?” he asked.

Fuck no Mickey didn’t want to talk about it, he had just constructed an imaginary dish of lasagna to keep his mind off of it for fucks sake.

But this was something that wasn’t going to go away anytime soon, apparently. Mickey’s past would forever creep up on him when he least expected it and if he planned on being with Ian for a long time, which he was fully fucking planning on doing, it would be best to tell his partner about this shit so he knew what to expect.

He should come with a fucking disclaimer stamped into the back of his neck (you can fuck me in the ass but don’t ask about my daddy issues) for any guy to see before they got romantically involved. He figured his knuckle tattoos would have been a good enough warning that he was fucked up but apparently not.

But he needed to do this, not only for his own peace of mind but for Ian’s too. Their relationship was still new and as much as it would hurt for Ian to pull away after this conversation it would hurt even more when this same shit popped up later on down the line, when their feelings and future together were firmly cemented and deep. Ian had a right to know about what he was getting into before he fully committed to a fucking Milkovich.

Mickey took one last pull off his cigarette, throwing it in the cup among the ashes. He walked over to the couch, placing the cup on the table, and plopped down next to Ian. He rested his head on the back of the couch, staring up at the ceiling for a few moments, watching the rain drip and streak down the ceiling and over the walls. It was soothing, in a way. Or maybe that was just the heat coming off of Ian’s perpetually blazing body that had him calming down.

He took a deep breathe, a small rumble of thunder accompanying the action, and tilted his head to look up at Ian’s patient and soft eyes, the rain leaving streaky shadows on his face as well. He decided to start with the heaviest of it, the thing that plagued him night and fucking day and what was the main focus of most of his nightmares.

“You know that scar on my shoulder…?”

And he did it. He told Ian fucking everything. Told him about that night that no one knew about besides the Milkoviches and that boy who was left broken and bleeding because of his feelings for Mickey. He told Ian about the guns, the drugs, the robberies, the abuse, the neglect, the hate, his mom, even about Kyle and Ronnie. It was like once he started he couldn’t fucking stop, his mouth moving faster than his mind, his thoughts and emotions and memories slipping passed his lips without hesitation. The floodgates had been opened, the water had been building up behind them for years and years and was ready to flow freely as soon as it got the opportunity.

And Ian? Fuck. Ian was so, so fucking patient and silent throughout the whole thing. His mouth had slipped down into a frown and his eyes looked sad but he kept quiet; nodding when appropriate and resting his hand on Mickey’s thigh to gently remind him that he was still here when Mickey got lost in his retelling and stumbled over his words.

He kept some stories private though, the ones involving Mandy or Iggy or Colin because those weren’t his stories to tell.

He wasn’t certain how long he had been talking but something he was certain about was that this was the most that he had said in one go in his entire fucking life. He had never told anyone even an eighth of what he was telling Ian. But it felt good . With each story he told it felt like a stone was getting lifted off his back, the weight easing up bit by bit and making it easier to breathe.

The storm was still raging outside, his stories punctuated by lightning and thunder and all of it felt so fucking fitting. But it started slowing down, the rain not pounding as hard against the windows and the clouds rolling back, taking the thunder and lightning with it. He finally paused for what felt like the first time in hours and scrubbed his hand down his face, pressing his fingers into his eyes that shockingly hadn’t shed any tears. He’s cried about this shit enough over the years, he supposed.

He was scared to look at Ian now that he was done, staring straight ahead at the dormant fireplace and the black tv screen. He had just ripped his fucking soul open and laid everything out on the table for Ian to poke and prod it, to rifle through and pick apart and he was terrified that the man he was falling head over fucking heels for would look at him differently now.

The silence stretched on uncomfortably for a few moments until Ian pulled Mickey closer and nestled his head underneath his chin. He kissed the crown of Mickey’s head, sticking his nose into the dark strands and inhaling his scent. Ian always fucking did that and for awhile it made Mickey a little uneasy, but he liked it now, he figured Ian was just trying to ground himself.

“Thank you, for telling me all of that, I know it wasn’t easy,” he whispered softly, his hand reaching over to grab onto Mickey’s, Mickey squeezing back fiercely. “You’re safe now, you know that right?”

Mickey choked down a sob and nodded his head, clenching his eyes shut tight. Ian rubbed his other hand up and down Mickey’s bicep, pulling him closer against his chest. And Mickey truly did feel safe, Ian was making him feel safe.

That sat there like that for awhile, the distant sounds of thunder could still be heard every so often, small flashes of lightning still cutting the sky in half, but the meanest part of the storm had passed.

“One time, my sister and her best friend stole a dead body from a nursing home and used it to cover up our father’s social security fraud,” Ian said out of nowhere. Mickey snorted out a quick laugh.

“My Grandmother tried to cook meth in the basement and almost blew the house up,” Ian continued. “My sister, Debbie, she stole a fucking baby when she was nine and we all had to scramble and figure out how to return the kid without getting caught. My brother, Carl, put rat poison in a sandwich and fucking fed it to my uncle who was trying to kick us out of the house. When I was fifteen I was fucking my thirty-six year old boss who was married with two kids,”

“I woulda knocked his goddamn teeth out,” Mickey said hotly, making Ian pause his ramblings and huff out a quick laugh.  

“Yeah, Lip didn’t like that one too much either,” he said airily as he tried to pull Mickey impossibly closer to his chest, his cheek still resting on the top of his head.

Mickey appreciated what Ian was doing, trying to make him feel better by sharing fucked up, yet slightly hilarious, stories from his own childhood. It was nice to know he wasn’t the only one in this relationship that had their demons, some were just worse than others.

It was tough for Mickey to link Ian to the South Side, by looking at him and talking to him there is no way that someone would assume he came from that part of the city and Mickey often forgot that Ian lived there for the majority of his life; that his family still fucking lived there.

But people could take one look at Mickey and it’s like he had the words South Side Scum tattooed across his fucking forehead.

Ian got it. Ian fucking understood. He didn’t look at Mickey like he was damaged and fucked up, he didn’t run for the hills when Mickey released all his demons into the wild. He just held him tighter and still looked at him like the sun shone out of his ass.

Fuck, how did he get so goddamn lucky with Ian? As cheesy as it fucking sounded it felt like he was the missing piece to Mickey’s puzzle and he was so, so grateful that he pulled his name out of that hat to be his personal chef.

Mickey moved around until he was facing Ian, his legs folded up underneath him as he rested back on his heels. He reached up with both hands, cupping Ian’s face between his cold palms and brought his boyfriend in for a soft kiss. No tongue. No teeth. No rush. Just a slow, passionate kiss that he hoped would display his gratitude.

He pulled back, resting his forehead against Ian’s and closed his eyes, his thumbs rubbing back and forth along Ian’s sharp cheekbones.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

He felt Ian smile, the skin on his face pulling as his lips quirked up. “Anytime,” Ian whispered back, nudging his nose against Mickey's.

Mickey cleared his throat after a minute and stood up from the couch, holding his hand out to unnecessarily help Ian up. “Let’s get you to bed, huh Freckles? Got a long week starting tomorrow,” Mickey said softly with a smile.

Ian groaned and grabbed onto Mickey’s hand, allowing himself to be pulled up from the couch. “Don’t remind me,” he responded.

Mickey laughed. They walked back to the bedroom and slipped under the blankets, Mickey not even bothering to put on a new shirt. They settled into the center of the bed pressed tightly together, Ian snuggled against Mickey’s back with his arm looped around his waist, hugging him closely to his chest as the steady rise and fall of his breathing soothed Mickey into a, thankfully, peaceful sleep.

The next morning Mickey woke up alone, but that didn’t shock him. Ian was a last minute packer even though Mickey had begged him to do it the night before the redhead just wouldn’t fucking listen. So know the morning of his flight he had to scramble around the apartment and throw every haphazardly into a suitcase and pray that he didn’t forget anything.

Ian was leaving this morning for his runway show in New York. Even though the show wasn’t for another three days they wanted him there early for some practice runs and to make sure all the clothing fit correctly.

He could hear his boyfriend clattering around in the bathroom, swearing as something smashed into the sink. Mickey groaned and sat up, stretching his arms over his head until his back cracked.

“The fuck was that?” he yelled to Ian in the bathroom.

“Ummm…I may have dropped your cologne in the sink,” Ian responded, his voice muffled behind the bathroom door.

My cologne? Gallagher, what the fuck?” Mickey whined, placing his hands behind him on the mattress to keep him propped up.

The door to the bathroom opened and Ian walked out wearing his best apologetic expression. “I know! I’m sorry! I’ll buy you a new one,” he said as he shuffled over to the bed. He crawled onto the mattress and straddled Mickey’s lap, his hands coming up to hold onto Mickey’s cheeks.

“Good morning,” he said with a bright smile.

“‘morning,” Mickey whispered with a smile of his own, licking his lips.

Ian dove in for a kiss, covering Mickey’s lips with his own and wasting no time slipping his tongue into Mickey’s mouth. Mickey was thrown off at first, worried about morning breath and just the general nastiness of cotton mouth, but Ian didn’t seem to care. His hands were gripping onto Mickey’s cheeks so firmly there is no way he would be able to pull back even if he wanted too. It was slow and lazy and so, so fucking perfect.   

Ian pulled back shortly after he started but only enough to speak softly. “Can you do me a favor?” he asked, pecking Mickey on the lips after “you” and “me”.

“What?” Mickey asked, a little breathless.

“Can you,” Ian was now placing languid kisses on the side of Mickey’s neck, “clean the glass,” another kiss polished off with a quick nip of the skin, “outta the sink for me so I can pack?” he finished before he started sucking gently on Mickey’s soft skin.

Mickey groaned and threw his head back in aggravation. “If you did this last night like I fuckin’ told you this wouldn'ta been a problem. I could be making us breakfast right now or some shit.”

“Mmm, I know,” he mumbled against Mickey's skin, taking his newly exposed neck as an invitation instead of a display of irritation. One of Ian’s hands started trailing down Mickey’s chest, his thumb rubbing against one of his nipples as he continued to lick and suck and softly bite at Mickey’s traitorously sensitive skin.

“Don't start something you don't got time to finish,” Mickey said through a smile, his eyes slipping closed.

“Who said I don't have time?” mumbled out against Mickey’s neck, his hot breath hitting Mickey’s damp skin and making him shiver.

Mickey kept his composure though.“You, you asshole. You said last night Alexa would be here at like 9.”

“So? I can make you come in like ten minutes and still have plenty of time to pack,” Ian breathed out, dragging his tongue in one fat stripe up Mickey’s neck, stopping so he could begin to suck a small mark behind his ear.

“You can’t clean the glass outta the sink but you can get me off?” Mickey asked, skepticism and amusement thick in his voice even as he slowly rolled his hips up against Ian.

“Mhhhm,” Ian backed away from his neck and planted his hand in the center of Mickey's chest, shoving him backwards so he was laying flat against the mattress while Ian still straddled his waist.

“Gotta get your priorities straight man,” Mickey said.

Ian’s eyebrows went up a little bit as he smirked at Mickey, shuffling down his body until he was able to start pulling his sweats and boxers off. “Thought I made it pretty fucking clear nothing is ever straight with me, Mick,” he said, that damn smirk still present on his lips, throwing a wink in there for good measure.

Mickey barked out a quick laugh, his smile stretching wide and unhindered. “Well thank fucking God for that,” he said before getting comfortable on the bed, spreading his legs a little and lifting his arm to rest his head on his hand.

Fourteen minutes later Mickey was meticulously picking glass out of the sink and trying not to gag at the overbearing smell as he heard Ian rummaging around in the closet, different shirts and pants flying through Mickey’s peripheral’s as Ian threw them at his open suitcase.

“What you bringing so many fucking clothes for? Don’t they give you shit to wear?” Mickey yelled, throwing the huge glass shards into the trash before running the tap, cupping his hand and splashing some water around the basin to wash everything down the drain.

“And what am I gonna wear around the city? Nothing?” Ian’s reply came a little muffled as he was still in his closet riffling through shit.

Mickey wiped his hands on a towel and walked back into the bedroom, heading over to Ian’s suitcase and starting to fold all the clothes that were rumpled up and strewn everywhere.

“I really don’t think anyone would mind if ya did,” Mickey said, smiling to himself.

Ian walked out of the closet with a bundle of clothes in his arms, throwing the pile on his bed and sorting through what he did and did not want to bring. “ I would fucking mind. You’re the only one who gets to see the goods now,” he said, smiling brightly at Mickey as he started throwing what he wanted to bring into the suitcase, Mickey immediately pulling it back out to fold it with minimal eye rolling.

They finished packing his suitcase together as quickly as possible, Mickey taking it upon himself to rearrange everything neatly so the suitcase could be zipped closed without a problem. Ian called out certain items in the process to confirm they were indeed packed and ready to go, something that Mickey made sure to mention wouldn’t have been a problem if Ian made a fucking checklist.

By the time everything was packed and all the discarded clothes were put back in their right place, Alexa was only waiting outside in the taxi for ten minutes. Ian locked the door, triple checking that everything was secure before they walked into the elevator, standing side by side.

As soon as the doors closed Ian dropped his suitcase by his feet and whipped in front of Mickey, backing him against the cool metal wall. He looped his arm around Mickey’s waist and pulled him closer, resting his forehead against Mickey’s and just stared into his eyes for a few seconds with a small smile on his face.

“Don’t have too much fun while I’m away,” he whispered, his eyes flicking down to look at Mickey's mouth briefly before snapping back up.

Mickey licked his lips, his eyes fluttering slightly, his body getting overwhelmed by having Ian this close to him like it always fucking did. He cleared his throat, attempting to get his brain to focus on the conversation instead of trying to count all the freckles on Ian’s face.

“I’m just gonna be fuckin’ working and sleepin’ man, you’re the one having all the fun,” Mickey said.

“Not gonna be as much fun without you there,” Ian mumbled, puffing out his bottom lip in a pout.

Mickey chuckled a bit, shaking his head. “I doubt that,” he responded, reaching his hand underneath Ian's unzipped hoodie to rest against his rib cage, his thumb brushing back and forth against the fabric of his shirt.

Ian grinned and leaned down to finally fucking place his lips on Mickey’s. Mickey sighed, returning the kiss in earnest as he pulled Ian in closer. He was faintly aware of the chime ringing through the elevator indicating their descent down to the ground floor, but he didn’t fucking care. Someone could have walked onto the elevator at any point and Mickey would've have noticed, his world solely focused on his boyfriend. Ian was going to be gone for a week so he was going to steal all the little moments he could. Fuck, he’s turned into such a softie thanks to this fucking ginger giant.

But it wasn’t a bad thing, it wasn’t a bad thing it all.

Ian hummed against Mickey's mouth before he slipped his tongue between his lips, meeting Mickey's tongue softly and slowly on the inside. Ian shifted closer, resting his forearm against the wall and bringing them chest to chest. Mickey moaned lowly and squeezed onto Ian's ribs, rocking against him a little bit.

Before things could get heated, the elevator jolted to a halt, the doors swinging open with a ding and letting the cooler air of the lobby rush into the small elevator. Ian pulled back from Mickey, but not before biting down on his bottom lip and rubbing his tongue over it. Mickey begrudgingly let Ian move away from him, even though he would have been content to stay in that elevator for hours with their lips locked.

Ian bent down to pick up the straps to his suitcase, Mickey definitely appreciated the view for as long as he could before they walked outside. The taxi cab was parked right outside the door, still running as Alexa leaned out the window, waving her phone at Ian’s face.

“I’ve been here for fifteen minutes, you diva! What, you think the world revolves around you? Hmm?” she yelled, her annoyance undercut by the smile on her face when her gaze landed on Mickey, her eyes lighting up in understanding.

Mickey just scowled and followed Ian to the trunk of the cab as Ian unceremoniously threw his suitcase into the trunk, not even caring if he crushed Alexa’s shit. He turned to face Mickey, keeping the trunk open to block their view from the meddlesome blonde in the backseat.

“I’ll call you when I’m settled in, okay?” Ian said, his hand reaching out to grab onto Mickey’s.

There once was a time where Mickey would have rebuffed any public display of affection between him and any man, even something seemingly as simple as fucking holding hands wouldn’t have been a thing without his anxiety and paranoia rearing it’s ugly head. But he didn’t care anymore, couldn’t bring himself to care when Ian was the one he was holding hands with, those green eyes bright and dazzling as he tangled their fingers together. After the events of last night, Mickey woke up feeling a little different. Lighter. Happier. His relationship with Ian morphed somewhat and Mickey was certain that Ian could feel it too.

Mickey squeezed his hand back, moving a little closer to his boyfriend. “Yeah, call me whenever, no rush. Don’t got shit goin’ on today,” he responded, shutting down his brains angry screaming about how he was a bitch waiting around for Ian’s phone call.

Ian grinned at Mickey and yanked on Mickey’s hand to pull him closer to his body. He placed a quick, chaste kiss onto Mickey’s unsuspecting lips like he just couldn’t help himself. He squeezed their entwined fingers before he backed away and let go completely, closing the trunk forcefully.

“See you in a week!” Ian said with a wave before walking around the cab and throwing himself into the backseat, the door slamming behind him.

Mickey backed up so he was standing on the curb, pulling his pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lighting it quickly. “Good luck!” he yelled, hoping Ian heard him through Alexa’s open window. Ian turned and looked at Mickey through the back window, smiling brightly as they pulled away and out of sight.

Mickey stood there for a second, sucking down his cigarette through grinning lips, shaking his head at himself before turning and walking towards the L.

Today was it, the big fucking day. In two short hours Ian would be walking down the runway for the first time in front of hundreds of people and clicking camera’s.

And he wasn’t nervous, okay? He fucking wasn’t. The sweaty palms and the heart palpitations and the upset stomach were completely normal for someone who lived through the chaos that was his past few days in New York. Fashion week in this city was no fucking joke and it was the wildest and most intense thing that Ian had ever experienced.

The first day him and Alexa landed in the city they didn’t have too much planned. Ian had a fitting and a general meet and greet with the few people that he would be working with during the show just to get acquainted and friendly but after that they were free to wander and observe. Before the fitting Ian just assumed he was going to be wearing regular clothes, maybe one or two weird things, but the rest would be normal as fuck.

He was so, so wrong. He learned that shows like this were more focused on displaying the art that was fashion rather than debuting clothes that were more on the practical side. It was still technically a fall and winter show, but the outfits were just more flashy than something that would be worn on any normal fucking day. It all just drove the point home how this world was so completely new to him. He knew nothing about high fashion and the crash course he was getting in the subject this weekend was giving him a fucking headache.

But he liked it. Art did always fascinate him.

Alexa and him spent the past two days fully indulging in all the activities that were available to people with all access passes like them, taking full advantage of the free products and services that got handed out like candy on Halloween; hoarding hair products, lotions and perfumes like dragons.

They had managed to snag seats to a few of the runway shows that had happened during their stay, Ian paying close attention to try and get as many pointers and tips that he could pick up that he maybe wouldn’t have gotten from their practice runs.

So far he knew he had to keep his face neutral and eyes facing forward. No looking down at this shoes, no looking at the faces in the crowd and no fucking smiling. Just look straight ahead and focus on keeping your face as neutral as possible. Walk straight, walk with a purpose, walk without colliding with another person on the runway. Who knew there were so many rules to walking .

It was a lot to take in, but he had been practicing in his hotel room alone and in front of a supportive Alexa and he seemed to be getting the hang of it. The extremely quick wardrobe changes were still tripping him up a bit, but he was positive he would be fine when the time came.

But today was the day he would be putting his new found stomping skills to use and it felt like his legs were made of Jell-o. He was certain that as soon as he got out of this makeup chair that he would collapse to the floor.  He had a feeling that no amount of practice runs would have prepared him for this.

It was just so different from everything else he’s ever done, he wasn’t quite sure how he fit into this new world. He’s heard some interviews with other models, eavesdropped on a few conversations here and there, and had heard them talking about their struggles working in the fashion industry and how fucking difficult it had been when they first started. Many of them living in cramped apartments with six other models, surviving off ramen and tap water and barely landing enough gigs to scrape by and get their foot in the door, having to endure rejection after rejection but still manage to hold their heads high.

Everything was just kind of...handed to Ian. He didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a model. He didn’t put in the years of research and dedication. He didn’t get a terrible start like the rest of them. He walked into an audition as support for his friend and came out with a contract. The business of sports modeling was vastly different from the business of fashion modeling and he had a lot to fucking learn if he wanted to stick with this path. He wasn’t sure how he felt about all of this quite yet, couldn’t really form an opinion one way or the other. He was just going to look at it for the opportunity that it was and take everything that happened afterwards in stride.

“Head up, please,” Ian heard the makeup artist say, placing a hand underneath Ian’s chin to gently guide his head upwards. It was just a subtle makeup look for today, some highlighter and a little eyeliner and then Ian would be heading over to hair to get his fluffy red locks slicked back and parted weirdly.

The clothes they were presenting today were all pretty monochromatic, no wild pops of color or erratic designs. Just a lot of silvers, blacks, bronzes and golds all coordinated with varying types of pants, oversized jackets with bizarre looking metallic accents. Definitely all outfits that Ian would not wear in his normal day to day life...probably because his boyfriend would tease him for it insistently.

Those two hours of prep flew by in a blink of an eye and suddenly Ian was standing in his spot in line dressed in his first outfit (distressed white jeans, extremely polished black dress shoes and a white denim jacket buttoned up to his neck) and waiting for the music to start and the show to begin. This was the tamest of looks that he would be modeling tonight, the one he had to change into immediately after his first walk had a bronze shimmering overshirt that reached down to his fucking knees underneath a black jacket with a huge collar.

He shook out his hands and legs, cracking his neck and trying to prevent his heart from jumping out of his chest. He was fifth in line so that meant he only had about forty five seconds to get his head in the game once the bass heavy music with the continuous beat started playing through the speakers, the ground pulsing with anticipation.

He tilted his head back, closing his eyes and taking a deep breathe, holding it in as he tried to think of something that would calm his nerves even a tiny amount.

The only thing he could picture was Mickey’s smiling face.

Ian opened his eyes and felt a little more centered, a little more prepared to take on the terrifying task that he was about to embark on, an easy smile stretching across his face involuntarily. Ian creeped up closer and closer to the side of the stage, that smile slipping and that hardened look settling firmly in place. The stage manager was silently telling everyone when it was their cue to start walking and soon Ian was being gently pushed onto the catwalk.

It felt like he wasn’t breathing, his lungs seizing up as soon as he walked out onto the runway. He was thankful for the aesthetic they wanted to have for the show because the entire place was blacked out except for the stage, which was illuminated brightly. The only faces he could see where the ones of the people sitting in the front row and even then they were shadowy and mysterious.

It made everything easier. He could pretend he was walking in his own house, could pretend he was only practicing in front of Alexa instead of the hordes of people watching here and on the internet.

He stomped down the runway, his eyes focused on a single spot in the distance that didn’t exist, his head staying perfectly straight as his face didn’t budge from that stoney look. He walked with a purpose, he walked with poise and he didn’t trip over his own feet once.

He felt on fucking fire, his usual cocky confidence finally breaking through all the worry and insecurity as he worked that fucking catwalk. He turned briskly on his heel once he got to the end of the stage and started his journey back behind the scenes, leaving a wide berth so the other model making the journey had plenty of room.

Once he was behind the scenes and out of view of any spectators he couldn’t help but jump up and down a few times in triumph, his enthusiasm infectious, smiling beaming as he laughed raucously. He changed into his next outfit quickly, no one here giving a shit about being modest as they all stripped down to their underwear quick as lightning, getting dressed again just as quickly. The adrenaline was pumping through his veins and making his hands shake as he buttoned up his coat as quickly as possible, shuffling back into line, ready to do the whole thing over again, this time with less fear and more confidence.

It was all over so quickly, the whole show only lasting about fifteen minutes but to Ian it only seemed like three. It was the encore walk, all of the models spilling out onto the stage at the same time, wearing black suits in varying shapes with different accents, the crowd cheering and applauding as they all made their last round on the catwalk. He couldn’t believe that it was over already.

Months of anticipation and preparation and it was all over in fifteen short minutes.

As soon as he got backstage Alexa pounced on him like a lioness. “Oh my God baby that was so good!” she yelled, squeezing him in such a tight hug he thought he was going to burst.

He wrapped his arms around the small woman and squeezed just as hard, one hand coming up to ruffle her blonde locks. Ian owed so fucking much to Alexa, she has been with him every step of the way throughout his career and he probably wouldn’t have made it this far without her.

“Couldn’t’ve done it without you, Lex,” he said, smiling down at her and lifting her up off the ground in a tight hug.

She squealed, kicking her feet as she hugged Ian back tighter. He let her go shortly after and walked over to the clothing rack to return the last outfit he wore and change back into his street clothes. Alexa followed him, hot on his heels.

“I’ve never seen anything like it! No one will even be able to tell this was your first time! You’re a fucking natural baby! Sexiest one out there!” she yelled, throwing her hands out and moving them up and down as if telling the whole world to look at the wonder that was Ian fucking Gallagher. He just smiled and shook his head, his cheeks flaring up in embarrassment.

She took out her phone and started scrolling through her calendar to let Ian change in peace, even though she’s seen him in far more compromising positions than this. “You have an internet mag standing by that wants an interview and then tomorrow we have another meeting with the exec’s over at CK. Then after that they want another quick photoshoot with you and some of the other models and then you’ll be on your way back home to your boy toy,” she said, ending the sentence with a smirk and drawing out the o’s in boy toy.

Ian flipped her off, stumbling a little as his foot got caught in the leg of his jeans. Thankfully his clumsiness stayed in the check the whole show, he probably wouldn’t have survived the mortification of busting his ass on the runway.

“Wanna catch Dolce & Gabbana's show after your interview? I saw some of the outfits and it looks like it’s gonna be ah-maze-ing,” Alexa asked, her voice muffled somewhat as Ian pulled his shirt over his head.

“Sure thing, Lex.”

When the day was over Ian didn’t really want to do anything but crawl into bed and promptly pass the fuck out. He was exhausted, both mentally and physically, and even though he was invited to a few after parties that he kind of wanted to go to he politely declined, his energy levels way to low for something like that. Maybe tomorrow.

He walked into his hotel room, throwing his room key and backpack onto the bed before he collapsed onto the soft mattress with a sigh, his arms spread out at his sides. The chaos of the day was finally crashing down on him, his mind replaying the events out of order as he obsessively picked apart his performance.  A performance that he thinks he fucking nailed.

Despite the chaos and the constant flares of anxiety, he had a shitload of fun. He met a lot of interesting people (and some really, unfortunately stupid ones) from all over the world and found himself deep in conversations with a people he would have never met otherwise. This is what he loved most about this job, the people. He loved interacting with people from completely different backgrounds and histories, talking to them for hours and hours, hearing their stories and experiences and relentlessly trying to place himself in their shoes.

If he had a million years to predict where his life was heading he never would have imagined this scenario; living this turbulent, wild and crazy life that he now got to call his own. He figured he would be stuck in a mundane existence, working at a job he didn’t hate but didn’t necessarily love and just making enough money to live comfortably and pay all his fucking bills. And maybe, if he was lucky, he would have found a nice guy to occupy his time that didn’t bore him. That fantasy was enough to get anyone from the South Side excited about their future.

He never pictured jetsetting around the country and getting paid a heart stopping chunk of change to model some clothes all while this amazing fucking man he couldn’t stop thinking about waited for him back home.

Ian laid on the bed a little while longer, his mind wandering from the show to Mickey. He really wished his boyfriend could have been here with him, seeing his face in the crowd would have calmed Ian’s nerves immensely. Unfortunately, Mickey couldn’t spare a week long trip away from work and he had a mandatory class he had to attend to get recertified on food safety protocols, his boss was a stickler for that piece of paper.

He missed Mickey. He missed him so fucking much it was stupid. He’s only been away from him for three days and he was already torn up about it. He has never once in his goddamn life been this needy and codependent in a relationship before and it was slightly scaring him.

It was just....Mickey made everything better . Ian could be standing in a pile of shit with no shoes on and just seeing Mickey’s smiling face would make him forget about it. They've grown so close in the month that they've been official, have shared some sacred and heavy things with each other that their bond and connection grew stronger every day. Some people might raise their eyebrows at how quickly they seem to be moving but time isn't a factor when the other person just fucking feels right.

He scrubbed a hand down his face, trying to scrape off that layer of grime he felt caked onto his skin from the sweat and makeup. He sighed and pushed himself off the mattress, pulling his shirt over his head as he walked over to the bathroom, not bothering to close the door. He turned the shower to a blistering hot temperature and waited until the steam billowed out the top of the curtain to take off the rest of his clothes and hop under the steady deluge of water.

The water pressure was fucking amazing, Ian groaned loudly as soon as he turned his back to the spray and felt the water pounding down onto all his sore muscles. After he was sufficiently relaxed he started cleaning up, scrubbing some hotel brand soap all over his body and face and using the entire tiny bottle of shampoo on his hair to wash out all the styling product. The suds took a lifetime to rinse out but Ian enjoyed the consistently hot water regardless. He knew the soap would dry out his skin, but he had all those fancy new lotions to try anyway so he didn’t care.

After what felt like hours he stepped out of the shower. The air was thick with steam, the mirror fogged up and streaking droplets down the glass. He wiped a spot clean on the mirror, slowly revealing his face and chest that was almost as red as his hair and started brushing his teeth, the mirror slowly becoming clouded over again.

Once he was done he walked back into the room, stopping by his suitcase and dropping his towel on the floor, slipping on a pair of boxers before crawling into the fluffy blankets of a bed that felt too big and empty without Mickey occupying it as well. He nestled up against the headboard and threw the blanket over his waist and legs. He picked up his phone, the screen showing a notification for a missed FaceTime call from Mickey from about thirty minutes ago.

“Shit,” he whispered, scrambling to unlock his phone and return the call, hoping his boyfriend didn’t decide to fall asleep waiting for him. He hastily hit the button to call him back, running his hand through his damp hair as he stared at himself on the screen.

It wasn’t long until Mickey’s face was taking up his screen, smiling from ear to ear.

“Heeey, there he is,” Mickey said, placing a cigarette to his mouth and taking a drag through his grinning lips. He was sitting in his living room, that weird fucking poster he had tacked up on the wall behind his couch was visible behind his head, the volume from the tv turned low enough so he could hear Ian, but muffled sounds and voices still floated through the speaker.

“Hey Mick,” he responded, biting down a little bit on his bottom lip to keep himself from grinning to wide. Just hearing Mickey’s voice and seeing his stupid face on his small as fuck phone screen was enough to have him feeling a little less tired and at ease.

“You did fuckin’ amazing tonight. Looked amazin’ too,” he said with a smirk, his eyes falling down to gaze at what little of Ian’s chest and abs were visible through the camera, “‘though some of the shit they had you guys wearin’ was weird as fuck.”

Ian laughed a little but decided to comment on the first half of Mickey’s sentence instead of the end of it. “You - you watched the show?” he asked with a hint of surprise.

“Fuckin’ course I did. Didn’t think I’d miss your big moment, did ya? Had Mandy find a livestream for it or whatever the fuck and watched it on my phone at work. Took an extra long smoke break,” he winked.

Ian was fucking floored, his emotions messily overflowing, blaming the whirlwind he was feeling on exhaustion. Mickey had been so goddamn supportive of this whole thing but Ian didn’t expect him to drop everything and watch his fucking runway debut. His own family probably didn’t even watch the show.

God. Ian loved him. He fucking loved Mickey Milkovich so much.

“Didn’t have to do that,” he said, his cheeks flushing somewhat in embarrassment as he reached up to rub the back of his neck. Sure, people from his life had seen some pictures from his photoshoots and some of the ads he has been in, but they’ve never actually seen him live in action and it was a little nerve wracking.

“Shut the fuck up, yes I did. So tell me about it!” Mickey demanded, taking another hit off his cigarette, blowing the plume of smoke directly at the camera and clouding up Ian’s perfect view. The excitement and pride in Mickey’s voice was clearly noticeable.

Ian shuffled up a little straighter against the headboard, a smile breaking out across his entire face. “Okay, so it all started at like fucking 7 o’clock this morning…”

They spoke for almost two hours, Ian sparing no details about everything that’s happened to him the past few days; painstakingly recalling the tornado that was his first runway show with the fittings and the interviews and the trail runs. It was all so exhausting but so much fun and he was glad he got to share his excitement with Mickey, who was all smiles and witty comebacks.

At some point Mickey had to cut the conversation short, Ian’s enthusiasm had energized him to the point where he was no longer exhausted and felt like he could talk to Mickey the whole fucking night. But the other man wouldn’t allow it, his eyes getting droopy and his responses coming slower and not as quick, he had been up since 5am Ian had learned.

“Alright, I gotta head to bed tough guy, you should probably hit the hay too, you’ve had a long fuckin’ day and gotta do more crazy shit tomorrow,” Mickey said, yawning halfway through the end of his sentence.

Ian groaned, fixing the camera with a pout and some puppy dog eyes, not wanting to end the conversation, starved to hear Mickey’s voice and see his face after three long days of just text messages and missed phone calls. He knew the other man was right though, it was time to go the fuck to sleep.

“Aye, no fuckin’ whining. Just...enjoy the last few days and get home safely. Miss ya,” he said sheepishly.

Ian didn’t miss a beat, “I miss you too, like...a fucking lot .”

Ian could see Mickey’s blush even through the shitty phone screen. He dipped his head down to hide his smile, but Ian could decipher exactly what those fucking eye crinkles meant in his sleep. They said their good nights and sweet dreams, Ian dragging it out as long as he could until Mickey huffed an aggravated sigh and disconnected.

Ian moved around until he was comfortable in the too big bed, turning the TV on and shutting the lights off. He turned to Food Network, watching the contestants on Chopped scramble to finish their dish with only two minutes left, the judges yelling demands behind the safety of their table.

He was just hoping Mickey was watching the same thing. That hope brought him quickly and peacefully to sleep even though the body heat and soft skin he craved was absent.

Finally. He was finally fucking home. Stepping over the threshold into his apartment had all the stress and anxiety of the past week slipping away and the creature comforts of home creeping in. He was going to shower in his own fucking shower, put on a shitty pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt that may or may not be Mickey’s and wait for that fucker to come over so Ian could snuggle him into the mattress.

Snuggle. Fuck. Same difference.

He had about two hours until Mickey was off work and he was supposed to be coming over immediately after, not even stopping at his place to grab anything and Ian was excited that Mickey was so eager to see him.

He floated around his apartment for a little bit, turning the TV on for some background noise. He took a nice long shower and then emptied his travel bag, putting all his new products in their respective places and hiding Mickey’s gift in the top drawer of his dresser. It wasn’t anything big, just a replacement for the cologne that he dropped but he wanted to be a dramatic asshole about presenting it to him. Ian was about to start a load of laundry when heard a knock at the door. He smiled widely and abandoned his basket of clothes near the washer and bounded over to the door to let Mickey in, slightly confused as to why he was knocking. His boyfriend was fucking weird.

He pulled the door open with a flourish, “you don’t gotta knock anym--Justin?” his smile slipped, his brows furrowing as he took in the sight in front of him.

Justin. The ex, Justin. The personal trainer turned boyfriend who always managed to make Ian feel like shit was leaning against the door jamb, his arms crossed in front of his chest, his eyes glassy. He smelled like fucking bourbon.

“Wh-what are you doing here?” Ian asked, closing the door a little bit to hide behind it, not willing to let Justin into his space that easily.

“Wanted to fucking congratulate you on moving up. Who’d’ve thought?” he smirked, his words slurred and strung together but still managing to come off scathing.

Ian nodded. “Okay, thanks. You can leave now,” he said, attempting to shut the door on Justin’s face, not even caring how rude it was. He was almost home free, the door was almost shut when Justin shoved his boot into the way, effectively making it impossible for Ian to lock himself inside.

Justin's fingers curled around the door, trying to push it open a little. “‘M tryin’ to be fuckin’ nice,” he snarled.

Ian sighed, planted his feet and digging his shoulder hard into the door to keep Justin from pushing it open. He didn’t have the patience for this right now and he needed this drunk asshole to disappear completely by the time Mickey showed up.

“Justin, I really don’t give a shit about anything you have to say. So please, get the fuck out of here,” Ian said, trying to come across as intimidating, his anger making this an easy task to complete.

“Ooo, when didya grow balls? Gotta say,” he dipped his voice down to a whisper, “I like it,” he smirked.

Ian gagged, his stomach curling in disgust. God, what the fuck was wrong with him so many months ago that he let this asshole fuck up his head like that? Was his self worth really that low that he let any attractive shithead into his life regardless of how toxic they were? Apparently so.

Justin still wouldn’t move his foot, his boot still firmly wedged against the door jamb and the door.

“Justin,” Ian was hoping that using his name over and over would give him the upper hand, he wasn’t sure if he was succeeding though, “you need to leave right the fuck now.”

“Or what?” Justin asked, his voice manically teasing.

“I’ll fuckin’ make you leave if I have to,” Ian said, his voice thick and low. Justin was way more muscular than Ian and in reality it wouldn’t be a fair fight at all. But Justin was drunk, he was already unsteady on his feet, his eyes were halfway closed and all his words were coming out slow and slurred. This would no doubt be a fight that Ian would win, regardless of size, and it was a threat that he fully intended to carry out if need be.

Justin’s eyebrows went up, his head cocking to the side. He pushed away from Ian, removing his foot from obstructing the door, and held his hands up as he walked backwards in defeat.

“Alrigh’, I know when ‘m not welcome, don’t gotta be such a fuckin’ prick,” he said.

Ian should have closed the door the minute Justin moved his foot. He should have slammed the door in his ugly intoxicated face and locked it until Mickey showed up. But he didn’t. He didn’t follow his instincts like an idiot and as soon as Justin was done falsely surrendering he walked closer, slowly, as to not spook Ian more.

He walked right up the the door, close enough that Ian could smell the bourbon on his breath. Justin reached out and grabbed onto Ian’s cheek, Ian cringing at the contact.

“You were the hottest piece o’ ass I’ve ever had,” he said, like it was some kind of fucking compliment instead of a statement that made Ian want to crawl out of his skin.

Ian distantly heard the ding of the elevator. The sound of the doors sliding open.

Mickey was standing there. Wide eyed, open mouthed, a bottle of champagne held at his side. Him and Ian locked eyes for a moment, Ian seeing the sadness and betrayal in Mickey’s eyes even from down the hallway.

That sadness soon turned into a fire he had never seen before, a fire that was burning him up from thirty feet away and then Mickey was savagely smashing the button for the doors to close.

“Mickey!” Ian yelled, trying to push a fucking hefty Justin out of the way. Mickey wouldn’t look at him, but Ian could see his hands clenching at his sides, his fist curling so tightly around the neck of the bottle Ian thought it would shatter in his hands.

“Mickey!” he yelled again, more desperate, finally getting fed up and pushing Justin away roughly, not giving a shit if he cracked his head open on the wall. He ran down the hallway, hoping to get into the elevator before the doors closed.

He didn’t make it. The doors slid shut a second before Ian reached them. He collided with the metal, smashing his fists against the door in defeat. He huffed out a deep breath and turned his head to the left, the bright red sign screaming EXIT like a beacon.

He pushed open the door, the handle smashing into the plaster and definitely leaving a hole in the wall. He barrelled down the stairs, skipping two or three steps at a time, holding on the railing to keep from busting his face open. He was hoping, fucking praying to anything that would listen, that he would be able to catch Mickey in the foyer, that he would make it down there before Mickey’s elevator even made it to the ground floor.

He jumped the last few steps, rolling his ankle a little on the landing but he didn’t stop. He burst through the door and into the lobby, basically sliding on the polished marble as he stopped in front of the elevators. He looked up at the numbers, but nothing was illuminated, nothing was fucking moving.

“Fuck,” he whispered hotly before turning and running through the lobby out onto the street. He didn’t even have fucking shoes on.  

He looked up and down the busy Chicago street, whipping his head back and forth, trying to see that blindingly white chef’s jacket in the crowd. He ran his hands through his hair, gripping hard onto the side of his head in frustration when he couldn’t find what he was looking for.

“Mickey!” he yelled one last time, a few people around him stopping and staring. Fuck, he was going to cry. He was going to break down and cry in the middle of the street with no fucking shoes on and screaming his lungs out.

He wanted nothing more than to find Mickey and fucking explain what he just saw, explain that it was absolutely and positively nothing . Just a drunk ex sitting on his doorstep, an ex he had no qualms about throwing out an open fucking window. But he didn’t even know where to start, Mickey could be fucking anywhere right now.

Ian fruitlessly looked up and down the street a few more times before he gave up and turned around, sulking back into the building and waiting until the doors of the elevator closed on his face before he crumbled to the ground and held his face in his hands, his chest stuttering with deep breathes and barely restrained sobs.

He got up to his floor and saw Justin still laying against the wall, unconscious but still breathing, unfortunately. Ian kicked Justin's legs out of the way and slammed his door shut loud and hard, turning the lock and putting the chain in place. He didn’t need anymore unsuspecting visitors this evening. He only wanted one specific visitor but that was shot to shit.

He grabbed his phone off the counter and paced in front of the windows, dialing Mickey’s number a hundred times and looking out onto the cityscape like his obsessive ringing would throw up the fucking Bat signal to indicate Mickey’s location.

But he was met with the same infuriating voicemail message time after time, each time leaving a message, trying to explain, trying to say anything to get Mickey to fucking believe him, to call him the fuck back. If he couldn’t reach him tonight he would spend all day looking for him tomorrow, would even go down to Casanova Catering if he had too, he didn’t fucking care.

There once was a time where Ian wouldn’t give a shit if he hurt someone like this, wouldn’t even try to explain himself or set things right. The next pretty boy would cross his path at any time, something new and better to occupy his time without having to put in the effort.

He refused to let Mickey go like this. Not without a fucking fight.

Chapter Text

The bottle smashing against the pavement sounded louder than usual in the dead of night, the shards of broken glass ricocheting off the concrete in a million different directions, some just settling in to the fizzling liquid pooling on the sidewalk. He was pacing like a caged animal, back and forth back and forth as the glass crunched underneath his feet and got wedged in the sole of his shoes, digging in deeper and deeper with each step.

It was a dark night. The changing of the seasons from Summer to Fall always brought these dense clouds that blocked out any and all light that Chicago would normally get from the constantly light polluted sky. There was no moon. There were no stars. Just a flickering fucking streetlight that was giving Mickey a headache.

He shouldn’t have smashed that bottle, there was another gulp or two of champagne in there for him to drink. At least he had that pint of whiskey in his back pocket, snagging it as he picked up a pack of cigarettes on his way to the lakeshore, the lights of Shedd Aquarium shining through the night like a homing signal.

“A’righ’ Mick, just settle down. Have a fuckin’ smoke and relax,” Charles said, his voice soft and complacent as he stared up at Mickey, his eyes watching his every move.

Mickey snorted. Like fuck he could calm down right now, but the cigarette portion of Charles suggestion sounded fucking amazing. He pulled a stick out of his pack and placed it between his lips, feeling around for his lighter and pulling out that stupid Statue of Liberty that he hated to love. He stared at the lighter as it lay in his open palm, his lips quivering in disgust as his scowl settled in deeper. His fingers curled around the lighter, the sharp point of her torch digging into his skin almost enough to draw blood, his hand shaking with the force of his anger.

He growled and threw the lighter near the water, hoping his less than stellar throwing skills would manage to get the piece of shit plastic close enough to the water that the waves would carry it far, far away. Drown the bitch and everything she stood for in the chilly water.

“Fuck. Motherfucking fucker,” he snarled, stomping over to where Charles was sitting under his tent. “Gimme a light,” he demanded, thrusting his hand out for Charles to place whatever firestarting instrument he possessed into his hand.

Charles rolled his eyes and pulled a small book of matches out of his rucksack before he stood up. He lit the match for Mickey, cupping his hand as he held it up to the end of the cigarette so the small breeze coming off the water wouldn’t extinguish the flame.

Mickey inhaled deeply, smoking billowing out of his nose and mouth as the paper lit and burned. “Thanks,” he mumbled. God, he fucking loved cigarettes, probably wouldn’t even quit if his life depended on it which it probably would some day, they don’t call them cancersticks for nothing.

“Ya need ta fuckin’ relax kid or yer head’s gonna explode. Tell me wha’ happened. Slowly,” Charles prompted, really emphasizing the last word, lighting up a smoke of his own.

Mickey grabbed the pint out of his back pocket, holding it in the same hand that held his cigarette as the other twisted the cap off, the black plastic falling onto the sidewalk. Just another piece of trash Mickey sprinkled throughout the city, always fucking leaving pieces of himself places. He took a huge swig, downing half the pint in one go as it burned down his throat and pooled into his stomach in the most wonderful way, settling in with the bubbles still sloshing around from the champagne.

He was already drunk, that fruity expensive shit went to his head real quick much to his shock. He didn’t need the whiskey, but God did he fucking want it. The drunker he got the less everything would hurt, the more numb his body and mind would become to the searing pain that was ripping through every nerve and fiber of his fucking being.

He handed the pint over to Charles, his red rimmed and glassy eyes watching as Charles tipped the bottle back and took the smallest of sips, handing the bottle back to Mickey immediately, like he knew he would need it.

Mickey nodded his head and went back to pacing in front of Charles’ camp. “Fuckin’...cheatin’ on me,” he whispered, barely loud enough for Charles to hear.

But he did. He shook his head twice, his eyes blinking rapidly like he was trying to force himself to wake up from a dream, like he couldn’t fucking believe what Mickey just said.

“Wha’ the fuck did you jus’ say?” he asked.

Mickey took another swig of the whiskey, the amber liquid leaving a delicious after taste in his mouth that mingled real well with the taste of nicotine.

“Ian. Ian’s fuckin’ cheatin’ on me,” he said again, his voice wavering. Saying it outloud for the first time hurt, like actually saying these words and throwing them out into the universe gave them a different weight than just saying them in his head. It made it real.

“Wha’ the fuck happened tonight? Thought you’s was gonna have a nice dinner and fuckin’ suck each other’s dicks all night?” Charles asked.

Mickey usually liked how crude Charles could be, but the words just dug a knife into his stomach. He took another swig of the whiskey before he snorted sardonically, looking at Charles out of the corner of his eyes.

“That was the fuckin’ plan ‘til I saw him getting all nice and cozy with some fuckin’ meathead in the hallway,” Mickey spit out, taking another drag off his cigarette fiercely, sucking the smoke out of it like it was his life source.

“What you mean by “cozy”?” Charles asked, his voice delicate, not patronizing or heated, just searching.

“Fuckhead was like careesin’ Ian’s fuckin’ cheek, staring all,” he waved his fingers in front of his face, “all fuckin’ whimsically into each other’s eyes and shit.”

He took another hit off his cigarette, the embers almost down to the filter. “You shoulda fuckin’ seen this guy, Charles. I mean, fuck, I knew I wasn’t Ian’s type but just fuckin’...seeing it shoved in my face like that was fucked. Shoulda known I wasn’t gonna be good enough, not after last week.”

“What happened last week?” Charles asked.

Mickey stopped pacing, his body swaying a little as it got used to being stationary. He stared Charles deep in the eyes. “Fuckin’ told him everything,” he said heatedly, his drunken slur disappearing for a moment, his nose wrinkling in disgust.

He was disgusted for allowing himself to be that vulnerable and open. Disgusted with himself for being so blindsided by love that he ripped himself apart for someone he thought he could trust only to have that trust thrown back in his face in the most brutal way.

He should have never let his walls down, should have stuck to the rules that he’s been living by successfully for years. Break one rule and the rest of them start dissolving like salt in hot water, disappearing and only leaving a faint hint in the back of your mouth. There was a reason Mickey was so closed off and isolated, there was a reason he built all those walls and made all those rules and it was to protect himself from the agony that was bleeding through his every pore.

But he thought Ian was worth it, thought Ian was worth obliterating all those defenses and disbanding all those rules. For once in his pathetic goddamn life he thought he was finally going to get what he deserved, and in a way he did; he got pain and heartache and betrayal. He didn’t deserve love and understanding and happiness. Not for who he is, not for the things he’s done. He supposed this was karma constantly coming around to knock him down and make sure he’s miserable as fuck forever.

Mickey couldn’t believe he was that stupid to think he would be good enough for Ian, that he would measure up to the people the redhead came in contact with every day with their fucking hard bodies and sharp faces and knowledge of the world. Ian fit right in. Mickey wasn’t even good enough to be a goddamn fly on the wall, stuck in a spider’s web ready to be feasted on. Ian was just a good actor who had managed to fool Mickey into thinking his affection was sincere. Mickey didn’t take Ian for a con artist but he was South Side after all.

None of this would have happened if he had just stayed focused on his career and never allowed his dick to run the show. He should have just kept his fucking head down and did his job and never screwed around with Ian. Sure, he would still be a lonely, miserable prick but at least all his focus and attention would have been on his career and livelihood instead of on some redheaded incubus with the seduction powers of a siren.

“Everythin’ as in…” Charles began to ask, trailing off when Mickey threw him a withering look. “Ah, that everythin’,” he finished when it clicked.

Mickey huffed, a laugh building up in his belly and crawling it’s way out of his throat. He threw his head back, laughing up at the ashy black sky. He didn’t know why he was laughing, this was far from fucking funny but it seemed to be the only response his booze soaked brain could comprehend. His laugh cut off abruptly, a devilish smirk creeping across his face as he licked his lips, looking truly as sinister as he felt.

“Yeah, that everythin’,” he said before taking another swig of whiskey, the pint almost polished off by now. He took the last drag off his cigarette before he threw the butt on the ground and stomped on it, digging it into the dirt with the toe of his shoe.

“Then, the next day, that fucker goes off to New York to do his fucking model shit for a week. And, and I thought it would be okay, ya know? That we, that we fuckin’... connected when I told him that shit because he made me feel okay ‘bout it. More okay than I’ve ever fucking felt. But he was prolly just fuckin’ faking it to make me relax. Just get me to sleep and then he would be free of me for a week.

“And what’s even more fucked up is that I called him every fuckin’ day like a bitch. Waitin’ around with my dick in my hand, just-just waitin’ for him to come home because, because I missed him. Was probably screwin’ people in New York the whole time and only calling me back when he was fucking done unloading in some twink’s ass.”

“Hey now wait a fuckin’ second,” Charles started, holding up his finger to stop Mickey’s tirade, “can’t be spittin’ this shit without all the facts.”

“I don’t need fuckin’ facts, Charles! I have eyes!” Mickey yelled, wishing he had something else that he could throw and break since the pint was made of plastic, half tempted to punch a nearby tree until all the bones in his hand snapped and splintered.

“No. Wha’ you saw was something that could be innocent. You don’t know who this guy is, don’t know what tha fuck they were talkin’ ‘bout and you don’t know what Ian was fuckin’ doin’ in New York. He was probably just sittin’ around in his fuckin’ room waiting to come home to yer dramatic ass,” Charles said, the same calm tone in his voice even though his eyes were flickering with heat.

Charles took a deep, calming breath and closed his eyes for a second before looking back at Mickey. “Tell me what happened when he saw ya.”

Mickey rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger, bringing them together to pinch the bridge of his nose as he sucked on the back of his teeth. “He fuckin’...yelled for me, pushed the guy offa him and ran towards me.”

“Gently or rough?” Charles asked.

“What?” Mickey furrowed his brow, his brain not moving fast enough for this cryptic bullshit.

“Did he gently get the guy away from him or was he rough ‘bout it?” he clarified.

“Kinda...kinda rough? Asshole hit the wall pretty good,” he smiled despite himself, the memory of the sound that fuckers head made bouncing off the drywall brought a small glimmer of joy to his otherwise gloomy disposition.

“So, lemme get this right. Ian pushed this guy away so rough tha’ he smashed into a wall, then came runnin’ down the hallway to you? Bet he’s been callin’ ya nonstop too,” Charles said.

Mickey stared at Charles, catching up after a few seconds and not liking the vibe that Charles was giving off about being on Ian’s side of this situation when he should have Mickey’s back without fucking question. Was anyone loyal anymore?

“The fuck you sayin’?” Mickey asked, taking a step closer to Charles.

“Pull back the ragin’ bull act, Mick. It’s fuckin’ me ya talkin’ too,” Charles said with a scoff, raising a hand to keep Mickey where he was. “I’m comin’ at this with a rational fuckin’ head, unlike yer drunk ass. Mick, it doesn’t take a fuckin’ genius to see that yer insecure,”

“Aye! I’m not some fuckin’ teenage girl,” Mickey spit heatedly. He glared at Charles as he swallowed up the last remains of the whiskey before throwing the empty bottle into the darkness, wishing he had more, wishing he had a whole damn bar to pour down his throat.

“No one fuckin’ said ya were ya asshole. Everyone is insecure, bet ya even Ian is too. You’ve had this fuckin’ feelin’ of not being good enough from the very fuckin’ start and were probably just waitin’ for the other shoe to drop. Yer scared. Ya heading to a place you’ve never been before wit someone and I think ya saw whatcha wanted ta see,” Charles said.

Mickey’s brow furrowed, his thumb coming up to swipe at his bottom lip. “The fuck you talkin’ about?” he asked.

Charles sighed, running his hand through his hair, stopping to scratch onto the back of his head aggressively. “I think, and this is just what I think kid, no one knows ya better than yerself, but maybe ya wanted things ta slow down a bit. You were probably shaken up after tellin’ him everythin’ and maybe you unconsciously decided that ya weren’t ready, that ya weren’t prepared to let someone in like tha’. So ya panicked and took what you saw at face value and didn’t try ta understand what was happein’,” Charles said.

Mickey stood silent for a second, his eyes squinting as he stared at Charles through hazy eyes and slowly started to comprehend what he was saying. And maybe he was scared, maybe he was looking for an out because his insecurities about his own inadequacies couldn’t keep popping up and making him spiral into a dark place. But one thing he thought he knew for sure was that Ian fucking fit perfectly, even if it was all just an act.

“No. No. I was ready. I am ready,” Mickey whispered. He wouldn’t have shared that shit with Ian if he didn’t think he was ready, if he didn’t think Ian was going to be the one to stick it out with him until the very end.

“Then dontcha think that ya should handle this like an adult in a romantic relationship with another adult and fuckin’ find tha guy and talk it out? Hear his side a the story? Maybe listen to all the fuckin’ voicemails he no doubt is leavin’ ya,” Charles asked, a little arrogantly because he knew he was right, a smirk stretching across his face as he pointed to Mickey’s pocket where his phone was vibrating for what felt like the millionth fucking time.

Mickey blinked slowly, the whiskey he drank so quickly finally catching up to him and speeding through his veins, mingling with the champagne and doing a fantastic job of bringing him dangerously close to blackout territory. But instead of making his mind cloudy it was making things clearer, the fog of his rage dissipating and a haze of calm complacency taking it’s place.

“How do I, how do I know I can trust ‘em?” Mickey asked softly, his words all strung together and slurred. He wanted to trust Ian, but his eyes didn’t deceive him and something was definitely going on between the meathead and his boyfriend.

“Ya trusted him enough to tell him all that shit. Ya trusted him enough to bring him ta yer apartment, to meet ya sister, to take ya ta New York...”

Mickey huffed, a small smile creeping over his face. “A’ight, a’ight. I hear ya,” he raised his hands in surrender. “Got any weed?” he asked.

Charles snorted, walking forward and slinging his arm around Mickey’s shoulders, pulling him in for an awkward side hug. “Sure you can handle reefer right now ya fuckin’ lush?”

“Fuck you, don’t tell me what I can fuckin’ handle,” Mickey laughed, throwing his arm around Charles’ waist in camaraderie. They walked back to Charles’ tent, Mickey thankful for the support as he swayed and staggered over to their sanctuary. The tent was old and weathered and had been stitched back together so many times Mickey doesn’t even think any of it was the original fabric anymore. It carried the smell of wet trash and cigarette smoke but it kind of felt like home.

They plopped down on his threadbare sleeping bag, Mickey making the immediate decision to buy him another one before it got too cold. Mickey drunkenly ran his hands along the smooth fabric on the outside, enjoying the silky feel beneath his fingertips as Charles rolled them a joint in his lap, breaking the weed apart with his thumb and index finger and dropping it into the rolling paper.

Charles rolled it up and licked it shut, handing the joint and his book of matches over to Mickey. Mickey grunted in thanks, sticking the joint between his lips and striking the match against the book, missing the corrosive surface completely once or twice before he got it, the flame sparking up with a hiss.

Mickey inhaled deeply, the delicious tasting smoke curling down into his lungs and loosening his limbs. He rolled his head back, exhaling slowly as the smoke clouded around above his head and the top of the tent, leaking out through the holes.

“I think I love him,” he whispered, eyes still closed as he raised the joint to his lips again.

Charles snorted a laugh. “No fuckin’ shit, Sherlock.”

Mickey woke up the next morning with a splitting headache and his mouth feeling drier than the Mojave desert. His face was shoved into the grass, the blades leaving a criss cross pattern on  his cheeks and forehead, at least it was a refreshing smell to wake up to. The gentle breeze blowing off of Lake Michigan was doing it’s best to invigorate him and rouse his body from it’s intoxicated stupor.

He groaned and rolled over, his chef’s jacket that he was using as a blanket slid off his back and landed beside him silently. He opened his eyes, immediately regretting his decision and snapping them shut, squeezing them tightly to block out any and all light that would try to pierce through.

Someone laughed next to him, deep and guttural before Mickey heard the hissing of a match and the crinkling of burnt paper.

“I remember my first beer,” he heard Charles say before a deep inhale.

Mickey just shushed him a few times and continued to lay on the ground like a wounded animal. “The fuck happened last night?” he asked with a groan, his voice scratchy and hoarse.

“Came ova here wit a bottle of half gone champagne and a pint a fuckin’ whiskey complainin’ about yer boyfriend ‘til ya blacked out. Like I give a shit,” Charles said with a scoff.

“You do give a shit, you asshole,” Mickey said, moaning in agony as he opened his eyes again and turned his head to stare at Charles who was grinning as he put the cigarette back up to his lips.

“Someone needs ta go have a nice, greasy breakfast. Ya got work this mornin’?” Charles asked with a slight nod of his head.

Mickey licked his dry, cracked lips before rolling over and laying on his stomach again, pillowing his hands underneath his head as he closed his eyes, half tempted to fall back asleep in the dirt. “Nah, took the day off to hang with Ian,” he said, his voice muffled by his elbow.

“I think ya should still do that,” Charles responded.

“I dunno...” Mickey grumbled.

Charles scoffed.“Don’t be a fuckin’ pussy and call yer fuckin’ boyfriend.”

“Jesus, alright. Fuck, don’t gotta be up my ass about it,” Mickey said, pushing himself up into a sitting position which took a lot more effort than he would have liked to exert at the moment.

“Don’t think I’m tha one ya want up yer ass,” Charles said through a smirk, winking at Mickey.

Mickey screwed his face up in distaste. “God, you’re fuckin’ gross dude,” he said, smiling a bit regardless. Mickey reached his hand out, snapping his fingers a few times until Charles handed over his half smoked cigarette with minimal eye rolling. Mickey took a drag off the cigarette, rubbing his forehead aggressively to try and alleviate the headache when he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket again.

He sighed, reaching into his jeans and pulling out his phone, surprised that it still had any battery life left. It was Ian again, not like Mickey was surprised, but he wasn’t ready to deal with the conversation quite yet, not without ample amounts of coffee and nicotine. So he let it ring and ring and ring until it went to voicemail.

“Can’t avoid ‘em forever, kid,” Charles said.

Mickey nodded in agreement, but didn’t say anything else. They sat together in silence, Mickey sparking up one of his own cigarettes, handing it to Charles when it was half done to replace the one he stole. He stood up, grabbing his jacket and bag from the ground, wiping the grass off his white jacket hoping it didn’t stain. He wasn’t in the mood to run home and bleach the sucker. He gave Charles a short farewell, thanking him for putting up with his melodramatic ass all night before he started walking back towards the city.

He found a small breakfast place that looked relatively cheap, the vinyl booths old and cracked, duct tape covering the biggest holes in an attempt to keep the stuffed foam from falling out. The lacquered tables were stained and chipped, the windows grimy with years of build up. Mickey’s inner restaurant snob was screaming, but his hungover stomach was rumbling for something, fucking anything.

Mickey slid into a booth in a back where he would be isolated and not bothered by the few other patrons that were milling about the place. He ordered a coffee and some toast with two sides of bacon when the waitress came over, desperately craving caffeine and grease, his stomach not up for handling much more than that.

He placed his elbows on the table, resting his head in his hands as he closed his eyes and prepared himself to go through the barrage of voicemails and texts Ian had left him since last night.  He wasn’t ready for this. He felt ashamed now that the rage had dissipated. He didn’t want to hear Ian’s pleading and begging, didn’t want to hear the hurt in his voice that Mickey caused because he fucked up what was supposed to be a good evening.

He took in a deep steadying breath and picked up his phone with shaking hands, better to get this shit over with.

There were fucking fifty six missed calls, eleven voicemails and eighteen text messages. Jesus Christ, his boyfriend definitely didn’t know when to give the fuck up.

He read the texts first, thinking it would probably be easier than having to hear Ian’s desperate voice. The texts weren’t as terrifying as Mickey anticipated, just a variety of call me , I can explain, it’s not what it looked like, please fucking answer your phone and where are you ?

The waitress placed Mickey’s food and coffee down in front of him, startling him momentarily before he gave the waitress a clipped, thin smile in thanks. Mickey sighed, rubbing his forehead again as he took a sip of his coffee, cringing a little at the burnt taste of this batch and pouring in some extra sugar to overpower the bitterness. He decided to bite the bullet and listen to the fucking voicemails, turning the volume down just in case Ian decided to scream or some shit, his head hurt too much for that.

He placed the phone up to his ear, the first voicemail coming across as frantic as he had expected.

“Mickey! Mickey please pick up. What you saw, it was nothing, okay? He just showed up and wouldn’t fucking leave. I tried, I tried to get him to go but he wouldn’t listen. Please call me back so I can explain. Please,” Ian’s voice rang through his ear, sounding frenzied and determined.

Mickey swallowed the lump in his throat, continuing to listen to the voicemails that got increasingly more depressing as they went on, like Ian was starting to fucking lose it. He explained who that guy was and how uncomfortable he felt with him being there, how he treated Ian like shit the whole time they were together. The last message was the one he received while sitting with Charles, Ian explaining how he had been looking for Mickey all morning and if he could “ just fucking text me and tell me you’re alright.

And Mickey believed him, he truly did. Once he was done listening to the last voicemail (where Ian sounded like he was own the verge of crying, his voice cracking as he spoke) he dropped his phone down on the table with a clatter, feeling like the biggest piece of shit in the world. He shouldn’t have run away like a bitch, he should have marched right up to that fuckhead and fought for Ian’s safety and comfort instead of letting Ian handle it on his own.

Fuck, he had some explaining to do.

Ian stood on the sidewalk outside Mickey’s apartment, phone in hand as he called his wayward boyfriend for the hundredth time.

Mickey wasn’t home. Ian had found that out after pounding on his front door for a solid twenty minutes, long enough to rouse the meth head next door from his hole and yell out that he never fucking came home.

Mickey wasn’t at work either. Ian called them before he made the journey out here in an attempt to limit his searching perimeters. He was about to resort back to the methods his family used when they pretended to give a shit for Debbie’s sake and would look for their piss drunk father in gutters and dumpsters.

The shrill ringing of the phone was grating on Ian’s very last nerve, Mickey’s phone going and going and going until it went to voicemail. Ian was able to recite Mickey’s voicemail greeting by heart at this point seeing as it’s been the only thing he’s heard from Mickey in over twenty four hours.

He remembered the last conversation they had, the one that happened right after Ian’s flight landed at O’Hare. The one where Mickey was being a flirty little shit and making Ian’s cheeks flush bright pink in public. The one where they made plans to drink fancy champagne in celebration but gorge themselves on cheap pizza and wings before they fucked for hours on Ian’s couch. Fuck.

He ended the call and didn’t even bother leaving another voicemail, he’s said all he could say at this point. He swore loudly, turning around to kick a rusted tin trash can in the alley next to Mickey’s building, kicking and kicking until the aluminium dented and twisted beyond repair.

He stood in silence for a few moments, his fist curled up at his sides as his breathing slowed down and his vision cleared. He was hurt and desperate. He knew Mickey had a reason to be reacting like this because the scene he had walked in on was sketchy as all fuck but Ian didn’t fucking do anything. He didn’t deserve the cold shoulder and he just sincerely wanted Mickey to be a fucking adult and hear him out.

Ian only had one more place to check before he would resign himself to being a creepy stalker and waiting outside Mickey’s building until he inevitably came home. He unlocked his phone again, scrolling down to the name right above Mickey’s in his contact list, raising the phone to his ear to hear that nerve rattling ringing again.

“Hey!” Mandy greeted cheerily on the other end, her voice enthusiastic and comforting.

Ian’s stomach plummeted immediately, the air pulling itself from his lungs in one deflating breathe. Just based on her reaction to him calling he knew that Mickey wasn’t fucking there, that he hadn’t even reached out to her at all.

He sighed and ran his free hand through his hair, feeling the silky strands slip right through his fingers. “Hey Mands,” he said thickly, his throat felt like it was clogged with spit, his tongue not wanting to work properly. He wiped his eyes with his fist, his hands shaking as he found himself craving a cigarette for the first time in years.

“Are...are you okay?” she asked, concern heavy in her tone.

Ian gave a choked laugh. He was being so fucking dramatic about this whole thing but found that he couldn't stop even if he tried. So what he hadn’t heard from Mickey in a few hours? It wasn’t the end of the world. But god, did it fucking feel like it.

He composed himself quickly, his back straightening out as if there was an invisible thread in his spine being yanked upward. He cleared his throat before he spoke. “Yeah, I’m alright. Listen, have you heard from your brother recently?” he asked.


Ian rolled his eyes, his fuse exasperatingly short at the moment. What other fucking brother would he be talking about?

He kept his anger at bay, holding his tongue so the bitter retort he felt sitting in the back of his throat didn’t leap out of his mouth. This was his last chance and he didn’t want to piss off his final lifeline. “Yeah. I...I kinda fucked up and I can’t find him,” he admitted.

“What the fuck did you do?” she asked, the comforting tone of her voice predictably absent and the cold, menacing tone he remembered when he first met her back in full swing.

“It-it was just a misunderstanding, okay? Please. I need to find him. He’s not at his apartment and he’s not at work and he won’t answer my fucking calls or texts and I don’t know where else to fucking look. I just need to know he’s alright.”

She sighed and was quiet for a moment, like she was weighing her options. She didn’t know the situation but Ian expected to not get much of an answer out of her. Milkoviches were fiercely loyal, that much had always been evident. It would have to be really important for her to even consider taking someone else’s side even if Mickey’s hands were smeared with blood.

“Please…” Ian whispered. He wasn’t above groveling at this point, would kneel in a pile of marbles with no jeans on while begging if he had too. He needed to find Mickey.

“Fuck, fine. I don’t know if he’s there for sure ‘cause I haven’t heard from him the shithead but if he is you didn’t fucking hear it from me, got it?” she said, and Ian could just picture her waving her finger in his face as she said it.

And that’s how he found himself walking around aimlessly in the area of Shedd Aquarium, his eyes peeled for someone who fit Mandy’s description.

“He ain’t here,” Ian heard someone yell. He whipped around, his eyes frantically searching around until they landed on a small, decrepit tent nestled between a small copse of trees. The man sitting inside definitely matched Mandy’s description. This was so fucking weird. Ian felt like he had fallen into some fantasy roleplay game where he was on a quest to seek out a knowledgeable wizard hidden deep in an enchanted forest. Except this wizard was some homeless guy living in a tent in the middle of Chicago.

“Excuse me?” Ian responded as he walked closer with caution, his defenses on the rise.

“Mickey? He ain’t fuckin’ here if tha’s who ya lookin’ for,” the guy sitting under the tent said, a small smirk stretching across his face. “Ian, right?”

“Who’s asking?” Ian said, his brow furrowing down and his classic defiant chin jutting out as he took in the sight before him.

The guy let out a deep belly laugh, his crooked smile showing through his gnarly beard as he scratched his nails through the coarse hair on his cheek.

“Now I can see the fuckin’ appeal,” the guy said through his laugh, petering out until he was just smiling. He looked down and scoured around in his rucksack, eventually pulling out a pack of cigarettes, the same brand Mickey smoked.

“Ya can come closer ya know, not gonna fuckin’ bite. I’m Charles,” he said, blowing out some smoke through the gap in his smile where one of his front teeth should be.

“Nice ta finally put a face to the name,” Charles grinned, his smile warm and inviting and Ian found it hard to not instantly soften at this guy’s friendly demeanor.

Ian had a million questions he wanted to ask about this whole fucking situation but he had more pressing matters that needed to be rectified and his childlike curiosity about Mickey’s friendship with this man was going to have to be put on the back burner. ( But seriously, what the fuck? )

“Do you know where he is?” Ian asked, coming to a stop in front of Charles’ tent, but not sinking down to his level, choosing to tower over the man instead in an attempt to physically keep the upper hand in this interaction even though he really had nothing to bargain with if the time came.

“The fuck would I tell you for?” Charles said, squinting up at Ian as he took another drag off his cigarette.

Ian’s frustration and anger immediately flared up again. He didn’t have time to play these fucking mind games. Mickey was out there, somewhere, still thinking Ian was fucking with him and Ian had to fix it. Mickey didn’t deserve an ounce of the pain he was undoubtedly suffering through right now and the longer Ian wasn’t with him the longer Mickey would be hurting and that wasn’t o-fucking-kay.

“God fucking damnit dude, I don’t fucking have time for this! I need to find Mickey and if you care about him you should fucking tell me where he is!” Ian shouted, throwing his arms out at his sides in a display of aggravation.

Charles glared at him, taking another hit off his cigarette nonchalantly as he observed Ian with his prickly brown eyes. It felt like this dude was ripping him apart piece by piece, examining him and trying to justify his worth in this world. Each second that he silently stared felt like a century and suddenly Ian didn’t feel as confident as he did when he walked up here. This dude was intimidating, he could see why Mickey liked him.

“You cheatin’ on him?” Charles asked rather bluntly, nodding his head once in Ian’s direction.

Ian was taken aback, his mouth turning down into a frown as he blinked a few times. He didn’t expect Mickey to open up to someone so quickly about all of this, to seek advice and actually talk through his feelings with someone who wasn’t Ian. What exactly was Mickey’s relationship to this guy? Jealously prickled up his spine momentarily before it disappeared, but the shock remained.

Looking Charles dead in the eye, he answered. “No. I’m not. And I never fucking would. Ever.”

Charles held his hands up in surrender, a small chuckle coming from his throat again. He shook his head a bit, still grinning up at Ian. “Aye, I believe ya kid. And I think Mickey knows that too. Mick’s just,” he paused, a sigh slipping out his mouth as he rubbed the back of his neck. “Mick’s a good guy, but he can’t stop himself from jumpin’ to assumptions, ya know? He’s been hurt before and ya terrify him if I’m bein’ honest. So try not ta be to hard on ‘em when ya talk to him, yeah?” Charles finished.

“I-I wouldn’t be. He didn’t do anything wrong,” Ian said.

Charles stubbed his cigarette out in the dirt, his eyes downcast as he replied. “See, I know tha’, and you know tha’, but I don’t think Mickey does.”

“What do you mean?” Ian asked. Was this guy the fucking Mickey whisperer or some shit?

“I guaren-fuckin’-tee that he’s blamin’ himself for this whole damn mess ya two are in right now, tha’s just who he is. Always assumin’ he’s the one that’s gonna fuck things up, that there’s always gonna be somethin’ wrong wit ‘em so all his relationship problems must be his fault somehow, someway. It’s just who he is and it’s infuriatin’ ‘cause he’s so much more than his upbringin’ but he doesn’t fuckin’ get tha’” Charles paused and looked up at Ian again, squinting his eyes as the sun shined through the leaves and branches that acted as some sort of natural roof to his shanty.

“I want ta like ya, Ian, because I’ve never seen Mickey this happy the entire time ’ve known ‘em and I’d hate to see him self destruct again ‘cause it ain’t fuckin’ pretty. But if he trusts ya then so do I. He was wit me all last night, fuckin’ gettin’ absolutely trashed, haven’t seen ‘em that hammered since I first meet ‘em. He left ‘bout an hour ago to eat breakfast and crawl his ass home, should prolly be at his apartment by now,” Charles finished.

Relief settled over Ian like a warm, soft blanket, taking solace in the fact that Mickey was safe and didn’t do anything reckless last night. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Ian blurt out in rapid succession before he turned, hell bent on sprinting all the way to Mickey’s apartment.

He didn’t get too far before he heard Charles yell behind him, “you fuck this up I’ll kill you myself!”

Ian laughed into the wind, looking over his shoulder to shoot back, “join the fucking club!”

He ran and ran and ran, side stepping pedestrians and jumping over obstacles as he bolted to Mickey’s apartment, confident that he would get there faster than the L.

Ian flew up the steps the same way he did earlier that morning on his first attempt to find an elusive Mickey. He used the railing to pull himself up the staircase, skipping steps completely to get to the top as quickly as possible. He skidded to a halt in front of Mickey’s door, his lungs burning with exertion, face warm and sweaty as he banged his fist against the wood so hard the hinges rattled.

The door was yanked open so fast Ian almost fell into the apartment. Mickey was standing there in a tank top and sweatpants that were too long, an unlit cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth as he glared at a flustered Ian.

Mickey plucked the cigarette from his lips. “Christ Gallagher, break down the fuckin’ door why dontcha,” he grumbled.

Ian didn’t even hesitate, just stepped into the apartment and grabbed Mickey’s cheeks, pulling him in for a fierce kiss that was over way too soon, their reunion was supposed to be a lot longer and hotter than this and minus all the complicated emotional crap. Ian pulled back and looked into Mickey’s deep blue eyes, still gripping his cheeks so Mickey couldn’t go anywhere.

“I’m so fucking sorry Mickey. It wasn’t anything, he-he just showed up. I tried to get him to leave but he wouldn’t and, and you wouldn’t answer my calls and fuck…I’m so sorry,” Ian said in one quick rush before kissing him again.

Mickey reciprocated briefly before pulling away, rubbing his thumb across his bottom lip as he stepped back. “We gotta talk,” he said, keeping his eyes trained on the ground instead of at Ian.

Ian felt a pull of dread deep in his stomach, his heart skipping a beat. Nothing good had ever come from the words “we gotta talk”. He stood there, his eyes glassing over as his arms rested limply at his sides, his fingers twitching to hold Mickey again.

“Mickey, please. Nothing happened. Nothing would ever fucking happen, not with him, not with anyone,” he pleaded, desperation dripping from his every word. It couldn’t end like this. It fucking couldn’t.

Mickey lit up his cigarette before plopping down on the couch. “Stop. I fuckin’ believe you a’right? Listened to all the voicemails. Sit down,” he instructed, smoke billowing out his nose as he patted the seat next to him.

“If-if you’re gonna break up with me I’d rather be closer to the door,” Ian said.

Mickey huffed, resting his head against the back of the couch as he rubbed his eyes with his free hand. “Not gonna fucking break up with you, just said I believed ya didn’t I? Please, just sit the fuck down. Making me antsy,” Mickey said.

Ian hesitated for a moment, still lingering by the door and eyeing Mickey skeptically. Mickey just raised his eyebrows and took another hit off the cigarette, his eyes staring directly into Ian’s the entire time even through the smog of smoke. Ian sighed and relented, walking around the beat up coffee table to sit on the couch next to Mickey, clasping his hands together and keeping himself at arm’s length.

Mickey scoffed, taking the last drag of his cigarette before he leaned forward and stubbed it out in an ashtray on the table. He scooted closer to Ian, wrapping his arm around his shoulder and pulling him closer until Ian was reluctantly snuggled against his side. He couldn’t stop himself from inhaling deeply and relaxing into Mickey’s grip.

“Fuckin’ relax, shithead. Just got some stuff I gotta get off my chest, apparently, so calm down,” Mickey said, rubbing his hand up and down Ian’s arm before placing a kiss to the top of his head in reassurance. It was silent for a few moments, Ian allowing Mickey to gather his thoughts, grateful for the lull in conversation before he inevitably couldn’t stop himself and started rambling on again in attempt to explain something that didn’t need further explanation.

Mickey cleared his throat, his fingers absently trailing up and down Ian’s arm. “I’m the one that should be sorry, fucking bolting like that. It was just,” Mickey paused, taking a deep breathe, “I guess, I don’t fucking know, I’m insecure or whatever,” he said quickly, waving his hand around as if to erase the comment from existence. Ian tried to move so he could look at Mickey, but Mickey just tightened his grip on Ian’s arm, keeping him in place. It was probably easier for Mickey to say this without Ian’s imploring eyes stabbing into him.

Mickey continued. “It’s just, fuck, seeing that guy and knowing what you do for a living and the people you’re around all the fucking time I just assumed it was only a matter of time ‘til my shift was up, ya know? Just didn’t think it would be so soon.”

Ian gasped softly in astonishment and moved himself out of Mickey’s grip, sitting up straight as he stared at his boyfriend with a disbelieving furrow in his brow. “Mick…” he sighed out sadly, shaking his head.

“No. Just-just lemme get this out, alright?” Mickey said, exasperated as he held up his hand to silence Ian. Ian clamped his mouth shut and barely nodded for Mickey to continue.

Mickey looked down at his hands, his thumb picking at the skin on the side of his other thumb as he spoke. “You’re so far out of my fuckin’ league, man. You can bag any fucking guy you want and just having that fact literally shoved in my face just set me off. I fuckin’ freaked because I...I’ve never felt like this about someone before and just being reminded that I’m not fucking good enough was almost as bad as getting shot.”

Ian’s heart plummeted down to his stomach, his eyes stinging as he stared at Mickey, speechless.

“And you did absolutely fucking nothin’ wrong a’ight? So don’t start thinking that. It’s just...I’m fucked up dude,” he laughed, bitter and dry, his adam's apple bobbing in his throat as he swallowed thickly. “I can barely fuckin’ stand myself so I never expect other people to put up with my bullshit for long. I know I’m a fuckin’ piece of work and-and emotionally fucking retarded so I just assumed that you, ya know, didn’t want to deal and found a new piece of ass already. Someone who was easier to fucking handle and wouldn’t fight every step of the way.”

Ian’s throat had gone dry, his fist curling up unconsciously in his lap. He wanted to beat that shit out of anyone who made Mickey feel this way. But he knew that he couldn’t; he couldn’t fight ghosts. He knew Mickey’s upbringing was the reason his self worth was nonexistent, he knew that Mickey’s piece of shit father was the reason for all of this emotional hell his boyfriend inflicted upon himself on a daily basis.

Mickey grew up always being reminded that he was worthless. That he didn’t deserve love and admiration and understanding, that he wouldn’t amount to anything in his life besides running guns and drowning in drugs and rotting away in a concrete cell. Always reminded that he wasn’t someone that was worth fighting for when that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Ian was fucking pissed. Pissed at the world for dragging this beautiful, amazing fucking man through hell and back ten times over and never giving him a fucking break.

He took a few deep breaths to quell his rage, the last thing he wanted was for Mickey to think he was pissed at him. He rubbed the palms of his hands on the thighs of his jeans before he reached over and grabbed Mickey’s hand. He linked their fingers together and brought their joined hands up to his mouth, placing a kiss on the back of Mickey’s hand before reverently kissing every letter on his tattooed knuckles.

Ian looked at Mickey through his lashes, their somber eyes locking together as Ian cradled their joined hands against his cheek. “I know you said this wasn’t my fault, but it clearly is. I should be telling you how amazing you are constantly. How much you mean to me, how fucking beautiful and strong you are so you never fucking doubt it, so you never fucking question it,” Ian whispered, kissing the back of Mickey’s hand again.

Mickey flushed, his eyes downcast as a tiny smile started cracking it’s way through his hard features. Ian grinned, moving them around on the couch until Mickey’s back was leaning against the armrest, Ian sprawled between Mickey’s legs and anchoring him down to the couch. He ran his hand through Mickey’s hair before he landed on his cheek, his thumb rubbing back and forth against the soft skin, ghosting over the barely there freckles that he adored, watching them disappear and reappear with every brush of his thumb.

Ian stayed silent for a moment, getting lost in Mickey’s open and honest eyes that were so deeply blue he felt like he was drowning. Mickey’s face was soft, his rough edges smoothing out with each pass of Ian’s thumb. He placed a kiss to Mickey’s forehead, resting his own head against that exact spot, licking his lips before he spoke.

“I wanted you the second I laid my eyes on you. As soon as I opened that fucking door six months ago...I knew. I'm not gonna let you go now that I actually have you. You're perfect for me, Mickey, and I will spend the rest of my fucking life proving that to you if I have too,” Ian said softly, his eyes never wavering, his voice never stuttering. He’s never been so sure about anything before in his fucking life than he was about this, than he was about Mickey.

“Ian...” Mickey started, his eyes taking on a look of fondness, but there was sadness lingering in there as well.  Ian cut him off, diving down for a kiss, breathing Mickey in as he moved his lips slowly against his boyfriend’s, his grip tightening infinitesimally on his cheek as he gently bit his bottom lip

He pulled back, leaving Mickey breathless underneath him. “I love you, Mickey Milkovich,” he said fiercely, trying not to get thrown off by the panic that was now slowly bleeding over Mickey’s face. “I fucking love you and I will never stop proving that to you.”

Mickey’s mouth hung open, his breath speeding up as his eyes bounced back and forth between Ian’s. He didn’t say anything, his cheeks flushing pink. Ian wasn’t worried. He didn’t need Mickey to say it back to him yet, didn’t want to push him to confess things unless he actually meant it.

But Ian did fucking mean it and Mickey needed to fucking hear it, needed to feel it. He’s probably never felt a genuine love like this in his entire fucking life and it was high time he finally did.

Mickey dug his fingers into the hair on the back of Ian’s head before he surged up for a kiss, dragging Ian’s body closer to his as he devoured him in a biting, passionate clash of lips and tongue. Ian melted against Mickey immediately, fully settling down on top of him as he slipped his tongue into Mickey’s mouth, moaning when Mickey was immediately there to meet him and tangle themselves together.

They carried on like that for awhile, wrapped up in a little bubble on that lumpy as fuck couch where it was just the two of them moving together; moaning, sighing, whimpering. Communicating everything through their lips and fingertips, never taking it further than working their mouths together; sliding, biting, licking.

Ian placed his thumb on Mickey’s chin, pulling it down slightly to open Mickey up for a deeper, more feverish kiss, devouring Mickey’s gasp with a sweep of his tongue as Mickey’s fingers curled tighter into his hair.

Of all the things him and Mickey did together, kissing was on the top of Ian’s list. There were so many things that could be conveyed through a kiss, everything felt more intimate and real when you’re connected at the mouth. Ian could kiss Mickey until his face was numb, lips swollen and tongue heavier than lead.

Mickey pulled back, his head resting against the armrest as he fought for breath with his eyes closed, lips curling up into a lazy grin. Ian dipped his head down and started lavishing attention to Mickey’s neck, biting and sucking on that sensitive area that never failed to get Mickey riled up even more.

Mickey gasped and tried to roll his hips up against Ian but the way they were pressed together didn’t allow for too much movement, the couch too fucking small to get comfortable like this.

“We should-we should move this to the bedroom,” he suggested, ending on a sigh as Ian nipped at the cord of his neck, replacing teeth with tongue.

Ian hummed against Mickey’s neck in agreement but did nothing in regards of moving locations, just continued to suck and bite at Mickey’s skin, marking him up with tiny little bruises along the side of his neck. He pushed his hands under Mickey’s tank top, his palms running flat along his abs and stomach, nails scratching at his ribs as he abandoned Mickey’s neck and covered his mouth once more.

Mickey wanted more and Ian could feel it. Could hear the desperation and need in the soft breathy moans vibrating against his lips, could feel it in his kiss, in the incessant pulling of his hair and clothes, in the way Mickey rolled his hips up every so often, his cock already hard and hot in his sweatpants, eagerly rubbing up against Ian.

Normally Ian would give him what he wanted immediately. But not tonight, not right now. He wanted to take his time, get disturbingly intimate with spots he’s already acquainted with, make Mickey fully aware of all the things Ian loved and admired about him, pull Mickey apart until he couldn’t fucking speak, make it glaringly obvious that nobody got Ian’s motor running more than Mickey did. He wanted Mickey to feel better than he has in his entire fucking life, wanted Mickey to feel as loved and appreciated as he was.

Ian bunched Mickey’s tank top all the way up until he reluctantly had to pull away from Mickey’s lips to yank it over his head, immediately coming back down for more once the fabric was gone. Mickey moaned as Ian ran his hands over his fully exposed chest, tweaking his nipples and gripping at his hips.

Ian’s mouth travelled, exploring Mickey’s skin, nibbling at his jaw, kissing beneath his chin, licking at his neck, going lower and lower, following an invisible trail he blazed into Mickey’s flushed skin over months of exploration and conquering. He took Mickey’s nipple into his mouth, smiling around the nub as Mickey sighed out a moan, his fingers running through Ian’s hair.

Ian sucked and licked and bit at Mickey’s nipple until it was peaked and raw, goosebumps popping up all over Mickey’s chest and arms as he arched into Ian’s touch, his jaw slack and eyes clenched shut.

Ian kissed lower and lower, mouthing at Mickey’s chest, biting down onto the fleshy give of his stomach, sucking deep marks into the skin, moving centimeters at a time to make sure not an inch was left uncovered by his mouth. He hooked a finger into Mickey’s sweatpants, dragging them down minutely and licking at Mickey’s hipbone, kissing and nipping along the hem of his pants until he got to Mickey’s other hip, his hot breath ghosting over Mickey’s cock, Ian’s eyes lighting up as it twitched in the confines of the fabric.

Mickey grabbed onto Ian’s cheek, his fingers running delicately over his jaw before lightly pinching Ian's chin with his finger and thumb, forcing Ian to look up. Mickey already looked completely fucked out and Ian had barely even started, he could do this for hours.

Mickey pulled on Ian’s chin, jerking his head up with a sly grin, urging Ian towards him, lurching up to meet Ian halfway. The kiss was immediately frantic and heated, Mickey sucking on Ian’s lips, licking into his mouth, grabbing at his shirt and skin. Ian huffed out a little laugh but returned all of Mickey’s passion in kind, lifting his body up slightly to run his hand down Mickey’s body again, never getting enough of the soft pale skin that molded to Ian’s hands like clay. He cupped Mickey through his pants, applying a small amount of pressure to Mickey’s bulge.

Mickey ripped his mouth away from Ian’s but didn’t move to far, fisting both hands into the red strands of hair as he moaned, grinding up against Ian's hand. “Ian. Ian please. Please baby,” he slurred out.

Ian growled in arousal, those words igniting something deep in his gut as he recaptured Mickey’s lips again with his own. He sat up on his knees, pulling Mickey up with him until he was essentially sitting in Ian’s lap, their mouths never disconnecting, Mickey grinding down on him hard, so hard Ian gasped into Mickey’s open mouth. Ian ran his hands up Mickey’s back, grabbing at the muscle and scratching at his skin. He left one hand to rest on Mickey's shoulder, forcing him tightly against his chest as the other hand slipped under Mickey's pants and boxers to rest possessively on his ass. They made out on the couch for what felt like hours, grinding and thrusting together so erratically the couch creaked in protest.

Ian dragged the tips of his fingers teasingly from Mickey's shoulder blade and up the back of his neck, finally curling into the dark locks of hair to pull his head back, fully exposing his throat to an onslaught of sucking and licking.

“I missed you so much,” Ian mumbled into the crook of Mickey’s neck before going back to tasting his boyfriend’s skin. It may have been dramatic, seeing as they were only apart for a week, but that didn't make it any less true. He bit onto the skin underneath his mouth, sucking urgently as Mickey sighed above him. Mickey was going to be marked from head to toe before the night was over, Ian would make sure of it. He could feel Mickey’s legs trembling on either side of him in restraint, Ian assumed in an attempt to stop himself from fully dry humping Ian into the couch until he came.

As much as Ian wanted to stay like this forever, there was only so much he could take himself. He could feel his mind slipping into that fog of lust and passion where all coherent thought flew out his ears and he wouldn’t be able to hold back. They would end up fucking right here on the couch and that wasn't what he wanted. He wanted to pull Mickey apart for hours until his head was so clouded with arousal and pleasure that he couldn’t think, couldn’t even speak.

He pulled back from Mickey’s neck, wrapping his arms around his waist and standing up from the couch, effortlessly pulling Mickey up with him until they were both standing. Mickey groaned, rocking up to attach his lips back to Ian’s as Ian maneuvered them down the hallway, bumping into the coffee table and arm of the couch on the way. Frantic hands were divesting each other of any remaining clothing, a trail of breadcrumbs leading from the living room to the bedroom.

Mickey’s back collided with his bedroom door, the flimsy piece of wood swinging open effortlessly and slamming into the wall with a bang. They didn’t stop, hands groping and fumbling for the other as they both fell back onto the mattress, disconnecting briefly to get comfortable in the mass of sheets and pillows.

Mickey lay flushed underneath Ian, his chest rising up and down rapidly. Ian smirked, all predatory and heated, and ran his hands down Mickey’s arms until he got to his wrists, grabbing onto both of of them and raising them above his head, crossing them together so Ian could hold him down with one hand. He reclaimed Mickey’s lips, biting and harsh as Mickey moaned and propped his leg up to nestle Ian snuggly in between his thighs. Ian groaned, loving the feel of Mickey’s thigh hot and soft and reassuring on his hip.

Ian ran his hand down the outside of Mickey’s thigh, rolling his pelvis so their dicks rubbed together as he squeezed and scratched his nails down Mickey’s skin before trailing around to grab at his ass. He pulled back from the kiss, watching as Mickey opened his heavy lidded eyes, his lips bright red, his pupils blown out to the edge of the iris. God, he was fucking beautiful.

“How could you think I would want someone else when you’ve got this amazing fucking ass, huh?” he asked, dark and flirty, thrusting his hips against Mickey again as he pulled Mickey closer, Mickey biting down on his lips to stifle a moan.

“Pretty sure I’ve been fantasizing about this exact ass since I was fuckin’ fourteen,” he said with a smirk, squeezing the perfect fucking globe in his hand again before he went back to rubbing at Mickey’s strong and thick fucking thighs, encouraging Mickey to wrap his leg around his waist.

Mickey laughed, his smile stretching wide and unabashed, his tongue poking into his cheek. Ian squeezed his wrists, silently indicating that he shouldn’t move them if he knew what was good for him.

Ian rested his newly freed hand on Mickey’s cheek, rubbing his thumb against Mickey’s bottom lip, pulling it down briefly before letting it snap back up into place. “And those fucking lips, oh my god,” he said with a moan, rolling his hips against Mickey again before he dove in for another quick feverish kiss, biting down on Mickey’s lip before pulling away again. “So fuckin’ plump and smooth, feel so good wrapped around my cock, my fingers,” Ian sighed, slipping his thumb into Mickey’s open mouth.

Mickey didn’t miss a beat and immediately started sucking and licking at Ian’s thumb, moaning around the digit as his eyes slipped closed. Mickey’s arms stretched out against the pillow under his head until he could grasp onto the slats in the headboard, fingers curling over the wood in a white knuckled grip.

Ian was about to reprimand him for not following directions but couldn’t get the words out, his brain clouding up, shivering as Mickey flexed his leg against his back and dragged him down closer, their cocks sliding together with every breath, heavy and slick. Ian suppressed his urge to slip inside Mickey as soon as possible, he wasn’t done fucking writing sonnets and poems about this man with his lips, painting landscapes on Mickey’s skin with his fingertips.

He reluctantly took his thumb out of Mickey’s mouth, wiping it around his lips and moistening them further before going back in for more. He couldn’t fucking help himself, Mickey tasted and felt so good he could make out with him for hours, would gladly let Mickey steal all the air from his lungs.

Ian swallowed up Mickey’s moans, each breathy noise stoking the fire deep in his gut, the flames roaring higher and higher with each roll of their hips, with every pass of their tongues. Ian was going to burn alive, smoldering to ash beneath those tattooed fingers.

Mickey kept sucking at Ian’s lips, letting out deep moans that went straight to Ian’s cock. Ian clutched onto Mickey’s thigh fiercely, so fiercely there were bound to be finger shaped bruises on the pale skin come the morning. Ian pulled back, breathless, and just stared at Mickey’s prone form underneath him, his biceps bulging from how hard he was gripping onto the headboard, his face damp and flushed, lips swollen and beat red. Ian groaned.

“And your face, Mickey. You’re so fucking beautiful and sexy,” Ian said with a growl as he squeezed at his ass again, his fingers dragging dangerously close to Mickey’s hole. “When you’re fucking coming from my dick, the way your eyes screw up, your mouth hanging open, your face all flushed? Fuckin’ a I can come just from that look alone.”

“Fuck, Ian,” Mickey whined, his fingers constricting around the headboard again.

Ian hummed, this time rubbing the pads of his fingers over Mickey’s clenching hole. “You’re goddamn right ‘fuck Ian’. Ian’s the only one you fuck, and Ian only fucks you,” he said, biting at Mickey’s lips again before he slipped the tip of his finger dryly into Mickey, the brunette hissing at the intrusion. “Why would I want to fuck anyone else, hmm?”

Ian knew Mickey was gonna rib the fuck out of him for the comment later on, but right now all he could do was aggressively nod his head and delicately thrust down against Ian’s finger. Ian moved his hand, smacking Mickey on the ass roughly before trailing his way back up his thighs, his nails digging into the skin again.

“Nuh uh, not yet. I’m not done,” Ian growled, placing a gentle kiss on Mickey’s cheek that contradicted the heat of his voice. He reached over to the bedside table, searching blindly through the drawer before his fingers grabbed onto the familiar bottle, placing it on the bed for when he was ready to open his boyfriend up.

He moved down Mickey’s body, once again just worshipping every inch that he could, licking at the bite marks already there, sucking more bruises into the skin, hellbent on leaving as many marks as possible on the man he loved. He eventually settled between Mickey’s spread legs, lavishing attention to his thick thighs, moaning at how good Mickey tasted no matter where his lips landed.

He sucked deep marks into Mickey’s thighs, biting none to gently at the skin and soothing it over with his tongue, his nails scratching at Mickey’s chest, fingers pinching and rubbing at his nipples. He stopped sucking at Mickey’s thigh momentarily, pulling back from leaving a deeply satisfying bruise close to Mickey’s dick and instructed him to wrap his legs around his head, turning his attention to the other leg intent on making it look just as bruised and bitten as the other.

Mickey obliged with a groan, shuffling around until his legs were wrapped around Ian’s head, his calves resting hot on Ian’s back, so close Ian could feel every clench and tremble of muscle that Mickey tried to hide. Ian wanted to tell Mickey how much he loved his thick fucking thighs too, how good they felt wrapped around his head or his waist, but that would require using his mouth for something other than giving Mickey hickey’s.

All of his senses were completely engulfed by Mickey and it still didn’t feel like enough, it felt like nothing would ever be enough.

He kept nosing his way up until he finally wrapped his lips around Mickey’s dick, sucking at the head. Mickey moaned so loud Ian was positive it shook the fucking walls. He arched up, trying to get deeper into Ian’s mouth, trying to get more of that wet suction he so desperately craved.

Ian chuckled in the back of his throat, locking his hands onto Mickey’s hips and holding him down against the bed, plunging down on his cock and swallowing around him. Ian rolled his hips against the mattress, humming around Mickey’s dick as his own cock got some much needed attention, even if it was only from the coarse sheets.

Several minutes later, Ian had three fingers shoved up Mickey’s ass, his mouth still wrapped around his cock. Mickey had been so good the whole time, his hands never leaving the headboard, trying his damndest not to thrust up into Ian’s mouth or down onto his fingers, fully giving all of the control to Ian.

But Mickey had already gotten completely swallowed up by lust and pleasure and it was a beautiful thing. His filter was completely gone, moaning and yelling praises to Ian every few seconds, his eyes clamped shut as he begged for more, begged for Ian’s dick to fill him up, begged for Ian to pound him into the mattress. The filthy words floated into Ian’s ears and pooled in his stomach as he rubbed against Mickey’s prostate, licking a fat stripe up the length of his dick, flicking his tongue over the slit teasingly as he looked up the expanse of Mickey’s flushed and heaving chest, a deep moan ripping itself from Mickey’s lungs.

Ian snapped, surprised that he held out for that long and proud of his own restraint. But his dick was screaming out for attention, pulsing with every slight movement and the sheets weren’t gonna fucking cut it anymore. He pulled his fingers out of Mickey’s ass and removed his mouth from his cock, sitting up on his knees and leaving his boyfriend bereft of any and all contact, Mickey whining at the loss, a shiver rippling through his body.

Ian stared at him for a moment, admiring his handiwork before he surged in for a kiss, plastering his body on top of Mickey’s again and devouring his mouth, letting the other man taste himself on his tongue. Ian’s hand scrabbled along the mattress to find that discarded bottle of lube, almost crying out in victory when he found it. He wasn’t sure who was more desperate at this point, him or Mickey. Shit, probably both. Both of their bodies and minds were screaming out for the other, their skin on fire, sparks shooting through their veins.

Ian slicked himself up as Mickey wrapped his legs around Ian’s waist, hooking together behind his back, his heels digging into Ian. Ian kissed him feverishly the whole time, gasping hotly into Mickey’s mouth as he got a little carried away with stroking his neglected cock.

It took Mickey flexing his legs on Ian’s back and moving his ass closer to Ian’s moving hand for the redhead to focus. He pulled back from Mickey’s lips, encouraging the other man to open his eyes. Mickey did with a struggle, prying his eyes open to stare unwaveringly into Ian’s as he slipped into Mickey slowly.

Mickey gasped and arched off the bed, his mouth falling open in a silent moan as Ian fully settled into him, his cock hot and throbbing inside of him.

“Touch me,” Ian whispered with a stutter. He was proud of how well Mickey had listened, his hands clutching the headboard for the eternity that Ian spent worshipping his body. But now he needed his touch, needed Mickey’s hands running along his body and scorching his skin.

Mickey groaned and happily obliged, his hands uncurling from the headboard and immediately running down Ian’s back. Mickey’s hands were clammy and demanding, scratching and digging into Ian’s skin, pulling at his hair.

Ian moaned and pulled out of Mickey, only to snap forward again hard and deep, relishing in the choked moan that fell out of Mickey’s mouth. His legs tightened around Ian some more, his breathy sighs landing hot on the shell of Ian’s ear as Ian rested his face in the crook of Mickey’s neck, licking at the flushed skin.  

He adopted a slow pace, pushing into Mickey hard but keeping his strokes measured and precise, holding back from frantically driving in to Mickey like he knew the other man wanted. He wanted to treasure this, wanted to relish in every moan, every clench of Mickey’s legs, every little sigh and gasp for air, he wanted to fucking remember it all.

Because even if Mickey didn’t say it, Ian could fucking feel it. Mickey loved him too, this wasn’t just mind blowing sex they were having right now, they were making love. As cheesy and romance novel-y as that sounded it was true, and Ian was never going to forget it.

Mickey grabbed onto the back of Ian’s head, his fingers yanking at the red strands to pull him away from his neck. Mickey immediately started licking into Ian’s mouth, gripping onto what he could of Ian’s thigh and moaning as he pulled Ian in harder with every thrust, his ass bouncing against Ian.

Ian moaned into Mickey’s mouth, pushing into him real hard, hard enough to give Mickey pause for a moment before getting shocked back into action. He scratched his nails down Ian’s back, scrabbling against his skin as Ian’s cock dragged against all his sensitive inner walls, constantly rubbing against his prostate.

Ian picked up the pace, thrusting in and out of Mickey in short bursts, biting at his lips and grabbing at his thigh, holding onto him for dear life as he drove into him over and over and over again, crawling close to the edge.

Ian hunched over Mickey, grabbing onto both his thighs in order to shuffle them around on the mattress, hoisting Mickey’s ass further into the air so Ian could fuck into him easier, faster, his hips smacking against Mickey’s skin like music to his ears.

The new angle seemed to be Mickey approved. He tore his lips away from Ian’s and cried out, nails clawing at Ian’s skin, scratching him up with marks that would sting for days and Ian would smile every fucking time the cuts pulled and burned.

“Fuck. Fuck. Just like that, don’t stop, don’t stop,” he panted erratically, a moan ripping through his throat again.

Ian groaned, dropping his head against Mickey’s shoulder and biting at his skin as he shivered in pleasure, his cock pulsing inside his boyfriend.

“Goddamn Mickey, you’re so fuckin’ sexy,” Ian huffed out, licking up the sweat making it’s way down Mickey’s neck,  “you sound so good, lemme hear you, tell me more.”

Mickey hummed, his eyes firmly clenched shut as his fingers tugged on Ian’s hair again. With every push forward Mickey would let out these little whines, small breathy sounds that made Ian’s spine tingle with need and determination. Mickey only made those noises when he was completely and one hundred percent gone , where he can’t even focus on attempting to keep quiet and let’s these moans and sighs and whines flow free. It drove Ian wild, knowing he fucking did that for Mickey.

“So, so deep,” Mickey whined, bucking against Ian. “Your cock feels so good,” he whined again, biting down on his bottom lip momentarily, “love your cock, fucking love,” he paused, licking his lips, “love your cock,” he finished with a sigh.

Ian moaned, kissing Mickey deep and fierce before he backed off and sat up on his haunches, Mickey’s legs dropping down from his waist. Ian grabbed onto his ankles, raising his legs into the air and spreading him wide open, swinging his hips forward, fast and hard. The new position gave him to opportunity to gaze down the expanse of Mickey’s body and marvel at his own artistry. All those bite marks and bruises he meticulously painted on Mickey’s pale skin were standing out starkly, the deep reds and soft purples spattered across his body in a roadmap of landmarks.

True to his words, the look on Mickey’s face brought Ian to the edge real quick. Mickey had finally reached down to jerk himself off, his ass clenching around Ian tightly as his mouth hung open, face beat red and sweaty, pleasure stitched across every pore as Ian drilled into him.

“So fucking tight, gonna come. Fuck, I’m gonna come,” Ian moaned.

“Do it. Fuckin’ fill me up,” Mickey groaned, his ass clenching around Ian again, back arching off the bed as he pulled on himself faster.

“Look at me,” Ian pleaded, his own eyes heavy lidded and straining to stay open. He didn’t want to take his eyes off of Mickey at all though, wanted to observe every fucking second.

Mickey’s eyes popped open, his pupils so blown out there only the tiniest sliver of blue was visible around the edges. Mickey licked his lips, a salacious smirk spreading across his face as he bucked up into his hand and back onto Ian’s dick.

“Come in me. Fill me up. I want it, I fuckin’ want it,” Mickey growled, his toes curling on a particularly hard thrust.

Ian’s fingers gripped tighter onto Mickey’s ankles, spreading him wider and wider as he picked up the pace, his orgasm dancing closer and closer. He drove into Mickey a handful of times before he paused to the hilt and came so fucking hard it knocked the air from his lungs. He moaned loud as he continued to push into Mickey, looking down at where they were connected and watching himself push his come in and out of Mickey’s stretched hole.

He dropped his boyfriends ankles and fell on top of him, continuing to push his softening cock in and out of Mickey as Mickey got himself off. Ian captured his lips in a biting kiss and ran his hand up the expanse of Mickey’s chest, wrapping his hand around Mickey’s neck.

Ian pulled back from Mickey’s mouth, grinning devilishly as he tightened his hand around Mickey’s throat, pounding into him as he squeezed onto the sides of his neck to restrict the airway. “Come for me,” Ian breathed out, the demanding tone of his voice not getting lost on Mickey.

He gasped for air, his chapped lips falling open as Ian tightened his grip. Mickey’s free hand came up to clench onto Ian’s bicep fiercely as he came quick and hot, shooting onto his chest and stomach, unable to moan but the look in his eyes was good enough.

Ian released Mickey’s throat and rested that hand against Mickey’s cheek, the color rushing back into the areas where he was cutting off circulation. He kissed Mickey again deep and slow as he pulled out, both of them groaning simultaneously at the loss. Ian pulled back from Mickey’s swollen and bitten pink lips, his thumb rubbing over Mickey’s cheekbone as he looked at his flushed and smiling face.

Ian placed a kiss to one of Mickey’s freckled eyelids. “I love you,” he whispered. He moved onto the next eyelid, kissing it gently and breathing out those three words again. He placed a kiss to those beautiful  lips, whispering those words for the third time.

Mickey swatted at him as he laughed. “A’ight I fucking get it, get off me you giant.”

Ian smiled and pecked Mickey on the lips one more time before he flopped down next to him on his back, resting his hands across his chest. They both lay there for awhile, not speaking, not looking at each other, just trying to regain their breathing as they deflated from the high they’ve been riding for the better part of an hour and a half.

Ian was fucking exhausted, literally fucking exhausted and all he wanted was to curl up with Mickey pressed tightly to his chest and take a nap. He barely got any sleep the night before, his mind constantly stuck thinking about Mickey and their situation. But now he was at peace and ready to pass the fuck out.

He stood up from the mattress, walking on shaky legs to the bathroom to grab something to clean them both up as minimally as possible, just enough to be comfortable while they slept. When he came back to the room, Mickey was already on the precipice of sleep, his eyes closed, breathing slow and even. Ian smiled and kneeled on the mattress, cleaning Mickey up with delicate strokes before he laid down next to him as close as he could, resting his head on the same pillow as Mickey, breathing him in as he wrapped his arm around Mickey’s waist.

The last thing he heard was a mumbled “thank you” before passing out.

Mickey woke up just as the sun was starting to set, burnt oranges and pale blues streaking through the sky and distorting the color of the walls in his room from a boring white to a calming yellow. He stretched and groaned quietly, all his muscles aching in the most wonderful way, his body singing out with joy at the soreness.

He felt so refreshed and awake, that short nap was easily the most sleep he’s gotten in over a week and he knew the reason why, it was sleeping next to him on his stomach and snoring every so often. Mickey didn’t want to leave the bed, he wanted to lay here forever watching Ian sleep, his copper eyelashes fluttering against his freckled cheeks, his pink lips slightly parted as he breathed, easy and deep. The sunset shining through the window made his hair look a different color, a soft red instead of the muted orange. He picked his hand up and gently pushed the strands of hair out of Ian’s face, leaning in to place a chaste kiss on his forehead before he moved.

His stomach was grumbling loudly, the toast and bacon he had hours earlier had successfully been burned up and he needed more. He sat up in the bed, careful not to jostle the mattress too much and walked bare assed out into the hallway, picking up a random pair of boxers on the way.

He pissed quickly, shaking his head and scoffing at his reflection in the mirror as he took in the litany of bruises and bite marks that littered his torso and neck, pressing against the deepest bruise on his neck with a sated sigh.

Fuck, that had been good, probably the best he had ever had. Ian loved him, Ian fucking loved him and had made it so glaringly obvious that even Stevie fucking Wonder could see it. It was tangible, something that you could feel in the air, feel the heat between them like flames erupting from a campfire; warm and comforting.

And Mickey didn’t feel afraid, if anything he felt fucking invincible, like he could conquer the world with one hand waving the middle finger high the air while the other hand was firmly tangled with Ian’s.

Sure, the panic had gripped him for a moment, but as soon as his lips collided with Ian’s that panic and doubt flew out the window and landed on the street only to get run over by a truck. He could feel how sincere Ian was in his kiss, could hear it in the unwavering certainty of the proclamation and he could definitely fucking feel it all over his body every time he moved. What a pleasant ache to have.

Mickey believed Ian, he fucking believed him and that feeling had him floating on air.

He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but when had life ever been fucking easy for Mickey? He was willing to try, he was willing to fight his inner demons every fucking day if it meant that he got to wake up next to Ian for the rest of his life. It was going to be exhausting and a constant battle with himself but Ian was worth it, he really was. And for once...Mickey felt like he was worth it too, that he deserved this. He couldn’t stop smiling, couldn’t stop even if he tried, it felt like a natural instinct at this point.

He rummaged through the fridge and cabinets, trying to find ingredients that he could throw together to make something decent for them to eat. He hadn’t gone shopping in a while but he was gourmet fucking chef goddamnit, he would be able to whip something up.

The best he could come up with was some chili. He had the ground meat browning in the skillet and was busy chopping up some onions and peppers when Ian stumbled out of the bedroom, naked, hair a mess, rubbing at his sleepy eyes as he yawned. He grinned in Mickey’s direction, his smile so bright moths would flock to it thinking it was the sun.

“So, what’s for dinner?”

Chapter Text


Ian stood outside, knocking on the frosted glass door repeatedly as he shivered. It was fucking freezing outside, a chill running up his spine as his body shook and his teeth clacked together in an effort to generate heat. One would think that December and January would be the coldest months of the year, but February always came back to bite everyone in the ass, the winter frost having the time to fully form and latch it’s icy fingers onto every last inch of the city.

He rubbed his gloved hands up and down the arms of his jacket, trying fruitlessly to warm up as he waited. He had just spent the last two weeks in Los Angeles, so coming home to this arctic wasteland was an unwelcome shock. A whole foot of snow had suffocated the city while he was away, bringing a new bite to the air that wasn’t there before and he was losing his patience the longer he was out here. He knew they were cleaning up, but Jesus.

He hamfisted the door once more, swearing softly, the word floating out of his mouth in a hot cloud and dissipating into the dense air. Ian saw a cloudy shadow behind the glass, getting closer and closer. He perked up as he stepped back from the door, a smile stretching over his face as he heard the multiple latches begin to unlock.

“We’re fucking clos-,” Mandy started, the scowl melting off her face the instant she laid eyes on Ian. “Ian!” she yelped, bouncing out into the cold and wrapping her arms around Ian’s neck, squeezing tightly, “you weren’t supposed to be back ‘til tomorrow!”

Ian laughed into her neck, squeezing her back just as fiercely. “Changed flights. I didn’t need to be there another night.”

“Thank god,” she sighed as she stepped back, her hands still resting on Ian’s shoulders, “Mickey’s been an insufferable dickbag since you left, the whole kitchen staff is about to mutiny and toss his ass in the river.”

Ian grinned, reaching up to grab onto her hands to keep them warm. “Not surprising. He gets cranky if he goes without my amazing dick for too long.”

Her face rumpled up into a look of distaste as she pretended to gag. “Please, never talk about my brothers insatiable need for dick ever again.”

Ian nodded his head once, still grinning. “Duly noted. Can we go in now? I’m freezing my ass off out here.”

She rolled her eyes but turned around, opening the door to the restaurant and ushering him inside. Once the door was closed, she clicked all the locks back into place as Ian waited behind her, pulling his gloves off with his teeth, shoving them into his pocket before unraveling his scarf from around his neck and unbuttoning his jacket.

“You caught us just in time. Me and Debbie were about to go out for a drink and you woulda been shit outta luck unless you went around and tried the back door.”

“I always try the back door,” he smirked, shimmying his jacket off and hanging it on the conveniently placed coat rack next to the door.

“God, you and the fucking puns. Literally. Cut that shit out,” she groaned walking further into the restaurant and over towards the bar where Ian saw his sisters trademark messy bun bobbing around as she wiped down bottles with a damp towel and placed them back on the shelf, label out.

Ian followed Mandy over to the bar where she had a plethora of papers spread out, a calculator on hand and a glass of whatever the fuck she was drinking leaving a ring of condensation on one of her spreadsheets.

“Hey Debs,” Ian said, slipping into a stool at the bar, gazing into his reflection in the huge mirror behind the shelves that stretched the entire length of the bar, making the bottles of alcohol seem like an endless supply.

Debbie turned around, her smile bright and welcoming. “Ian! Hey!” she exclaimed, placing the bottle back on the shelf before leaning over the bar to give Ian a half hug. “You aren’t supposed to be home yet! Want anything to drink?”

He held up his hand, “I’m good, thanks. So how’s the week been?”

Mandy groaned from her position at the end of the bar, her head falling down to rest against her spreadsheets. “It’s been hell! End of the month means so much more paperwork for me. I want to die,” she whined, her voice muffled by the bartop.

“It’s been great for me! Everyone must have gotten their taxes back or something, leaving me massive tips,” Debbie grinned.

“Maybe it’s because your tits are always out like I’ve fucking told you a million times before isn’t acceptable,” Mandy said, resting her head on her hand as she glared at Debbie.

Debbie rolled her eyes as she scoffed. “Please, like you wouldn’t have your tits out if you were in my shoes.”

Mandy looked like she contemplated a comeback for a hot second before her mouth lifted up into a small grin, nodding her head in reluctant agreement. “Fine, but don’t come crying to me when the big boss finally reams you out for it,” Mandy chided.

“Speaking of the big boss, he out back?” Ian asked, pointing over his shoulder with his thumb towards the double doors that lead to the kitchen.

“Where else would he be?” Debbie asked with a roll of her eyes before she went back to wiping down bottles.

Ian chuckled before standing up, pushing his stool back into place before moving towards the kitchen. He walked through the dining room and took a second to soak it all in, to bask in the fact that Mickey actually fucking did it, that he achieved his dream and opened his own restaurant. It’s been four years since the doors opened but Ian still can’t believe it some days, the pride for his partner constantly overflowing in gross displays of appreciation and admiration.

And what a beautiful restaurant it was. The walls were a mix of tan wood and dark rust colored brick, the floors made out of soft pine but polished a deep chestnut color. There was only one window in the place, but it was a huge bay window that took up most of the front wall and had no problem illuminating the entire restaurant on sunny days. Chiffon grey curtains were tied off with thick black rope to the the sides of the window, accenting the paint chipped white frame which Mickey kept chipped for the aesthetic. A big stone fireplace rested along the back wall, warming the whole room on cold nights like tonight. Behind the stone fireplace was the kitchen, Mickey’s domain. The ability to build a wood burning stove into the kitchen off of the chimney was a big selling point to him when he was location hunting.

The tables were also made out of a dark wood, the chairs upholstered with a dark grey fabric to match the curtain. There were no candles on the table, no little vases of flowers, nothing to clutter the eating space. Mickey kept the decorations to a minimum, the only exception being the big mural of Chicago above the fireplace and the large potted plant behind the hostess stand. He said people were here to eat, not judge artwork and floral arrangements.

The bar Ian was just sitting at stretched along the back wall; it wasn’t too big, wasn’t too small, could seat about twelve people comfortably in the high backed stools. There were no televisions on the wall either, once again Mickey was adamant that people were here to enjoy “the fuckin’ food, not watch sports and shit.” They had some speakers installed in the corners to flood the dining room with soft music, but other than that there were little to no distractions from the food and the people you were sitting with.

It was all very quaint (Mickey fucking hated that word and scowled every time Ian used it), very comfortable, very warm. It was all very Mickey, to say the least. Minimalistic, but beautiful.

The restaurant stood prominent on a corner in the heart of Chicago’s Ukrainian Village. The building was old but well maintained and in a great location with accessibility to commuters and foot traffic alike. The rent wasn’t astronomically high and with Mickey’s unique blend of Ukrainian and American cuisine the restaurant had no problems appeasing the appetites of anyone who came through the door.

He named it Nadia’s Kitchen, after his mother. Ian was pretty sure Mandy cried for at least three hours when Mickey told her that one.

The first two years weren’t easy, as to be expected when opening a new restaurant, but Mickey had taken the hit pretty hard, his moods turning bitter and sour the more his success stayed stagnate.

He spent every waking second at the restaurant, sometimes working there for sixteen hours a day, running the whole place by himself to minimize spending. He waited tables, tended bar, washed dishes, cleaned everything and cooked all the food and was going to end up six feet under from stress before he even got the opportunity to reap the fruits of his labor. Ian helped when he could, spending just as much time as Mickey did at the restaurant, offering his hand wherever Mickey needed it.

But the long hours placed an unwelcome strain on their relationship, neither of them having the time or the energy for just them . Anything and everything had become about the restaurant and Mickey never learned to leave work at work and carried that shit home with him nightly. His whole life had dwindled down to that fucking restaurant that even their sex had turned stale and unimaginative, Ian knowing Mickey’s mind was in that fucking kitchen even when there was a dick buried balls deep in his ass.

And as soon as the one thing Ian thought would never change between them changed, Ian had a meltdown of epic proportions.

He felt neglected. He felt neglected and lonely and unimportant and his anger and pain boiled over one evening when Mickey creeped back into their apartment hours after he promised Ian he would be home and Ian didn’t take his tardiness lightly. They fought for fucking hours it seemed, never getting anywhere and revolving back to the same subject over and over and over, both of them screaming about how the other was selfish until they were blue in the face. Mickey eventually stormed out, Ian yelling at his retreating form to never fucking come back.

It wasn’t the first time that they had a blowout like that, where one person would leave the apartment to cool off, but it certainly was the first time that it stretched on for more than twenty-four hours.

It was three weeks until he saw Mickey again. Three, long fucking weeks of loneliness and anxiety until Mickey came back home with his tail between his legs and bags under his eyes.

Ian, stubborn prick that he is, refused to be the first person to say something. So he sat with his arms crossed as his eyes glared holes into the television screen. He could feel Mickey hovering behind him in the kitchen, his anxious energy rolling off him in waves as he opened and closed the fridge and cabinets a million fucking times like food would suddenly materialize.

He eventually plopped down next to Ian on the couch, his hands tightly clasped together in his lap. “I gotta show you something,” he said, softly.

Ian huffed out an annoyed sound and rolled his eyes before looking over at Mickey. He looked absolutely exhausted and Ian’s edges softened the smallest amount. Mickey pulled his wallet out of his back pocket, reaching into one of the folds and pulling out a small, rectangular piece of paper with blue writing. He ran his thumb over it a few times, trying to smooth out the wrinkles.

“You remember that Chinese place we went to the first time we went to New York together?” Mickey asked, still looking down at the paper.

“Yeah…” Ian responded, slowly, reluctantly. He had still been so fucking pissed at Mickey and this, this, was the first thing he had to say to him in three fucking weeks? What the fuck.

“Well, uh, I got this fortune that day out of that fucking cookie and it um, helped me a lot, I guess? Kinda felt like...fate? Fuck, that’s so fuckin’ stupid, I don’t know. But I’ve had it in my wallet ever since,” Mickey said, his voice getting quieter towards the end of the sentence as he handed the fortune over to Ian.

Ian took the paper out of Mickey’s fingers, staring at him oddly for a moment before looking down at the fortune.

Stop searching, happiness is right in front of you.

Ian’s breathing sped up a bit as his eyes started to burn and prickle. Mickey had kept this fortune for so many years, that tiny piece of paper always snug in his wallet, always resting in Mickey’s back fucking pocket. Never far from him. Ian couldn’t even fucking remember what his fortune had said that day and Mickey had kept his for years. Who knows how many times he took it out and stared at it when he felt like he needed a reminder, a reason to keep fighting.

“I’m sorry I’ve been such a fuckin’ asshole lately. The restaurant is killin’ me right now, but I-I just want you to know that you’re always my top fucking priority and I feel like shit that I’ve kinda forgotten that recently. I just need you to be patient, okay? Please. This will all get better soon, I fuckin’ promise,” Mickey said fiercely.

Ian was now dragging his fingers reverently over the fortune, tracing those nine little words over and over as he nodded his head at Mickey’s little speech and tried not to cry, he did enough of that the past few weeks.

“You’ve had this? The whole time?” Ian asked, his voice thick and painful sounding, like his throat had closed up with the tide of emotions running through his body.

“Yeah,” Mickey said with a small shrug.

“Put it back,” Ian said, thrusting the paper back at Mickey while he rubbed his eyes with his fist.

“Ian…” Mickey said, his eyes sad and panicked.

“Put it back,” he said again, waving the fortune at Mickey, “don’t want you to lose it.”

Mickey took the paper out of Ian’s hand, placing it back into the folds of his wallet. Safe. Once it was back in it’s place Ian grabbed onto Mickey’s cheeks and kissed him hard and deep, mumbling apologies and statements of love against his lips as they spent the next few hours showing the other how unselfish they truly were.

It took a lot of convincing, but Ian eventually got Mickey to agree to let Mandy help him out, which she was eager to do after having her insufferable brother crash on her couch for three weeks. She took a lot of the weight off of Mickey’s shoulders, taking over all of the front of house duties and banishing Mickey to the kitchen where he belonged. The change in Mickey’s attitude was palpable after that, the whole restaurant seemed to radiate a different aura now that he was back doing what he loved and staying away from the fucking customers and books.

Business those first two years was slow and even though they had enough customers to keep the place afloat they barely had their heads above water, hardly profiting anything after expenses. Even though having Mandy around eased a lot of the pressure and tension off of Mickey’s shoulders, the financial dread settled in deep and the realization that he could potentially fail at the only thing he ever dreamed of kept him up at night.

Despite working his ass off for years to save for the restaurant, all that money had only amounted to him actually purchasing the location. He still needed to take a sizeable loan out of the bank so he could remodel the interior and furnish the kitchen and dining room. The last thing he wanted was to default on his loan and become the failure everyone painted him to be.

But then two months into their third year a dazzling review was printed in the Chicago Sun Times and food snobs and casual diners flocked to the restaurant in droves and business had been booming ever since and showed no signs of slowing down. After that spark in popularity, the restaurant was listed amongst the top ten places to eat in Chicago and had gotten multiple rave reviews from food critics around the country, instantly becoming a go to dining location for tourists and locals.

The restaurant was also featured in a quick segment on a popular Chicago morning news station. Camera crews and a reporter came to the restaurant to interview Mickey and record him preparing some dishes and running his kitchen. That was a trip, Mickey was a nervous fucking wreck that day but the news segment ended up boosting their popularity and success significantly to a whole different subset of people who might not read the papers.

Mickey had turned the business into an all out family affair, sharing his success with both the Milkovich and Gallagher clans. He kept Mandy on as the restaurant manager, leaving her to deal with every fucking thing that didn’t involve the kitchen which included scheduling, staffing, payroll, bank deposits, anything and fucking everything. She did it flawlessly with an attitude that was just as strict and no bullshit as her brother, commending the respect she deserved.

Debbie had started as a part time bartender but worked her way up to bar manager in no time. No sip of alcohol was consumed without her watchful eye monitoring every drop. Fiona waited every so often when she needed the extra cash, Mandy allowing her to pick up swing shifts whenever she was needed. Lip was designated to keep a close eye on the books and make sure everything was squeaky clean for the tax man, something he only had to do once a month.

But the best addition to the team by far had been Carl.

When Carl was released from prison after serving his sentence for minor drug possession charges, he had no fucking options and no job opportunities to meet his parole. He had no direction, no motivation and had fully succumbed to the fact that he was going to be a street rat for the rest of his life. Mickey had casually suggested to Ian one night that he could take Carl in as a dishwasher, something simple to fulfill his parole and something legal to line his pockets with cash.

Carl begrudgingly agreed, his prospects not looking much better than this. He had enough respect for Mickey not to fuck him over and showed up to every single one of his scheduled shifts, even picking up some shifts he wasn’t scheduled for.

It happened slowly, but Carl started taking an interest in what Mickey was doing and would observe the hustle and bustle of the kitchen when he wasn’t washing dishes. He would constantly hover behind Mickey, watching his every move and listen to his commanding voice instruct the kitchen staff with unwavering authority. Fiona had even mentioned that Carl was watching cooking shows quite frequently at home, something that he had never done in the past.

Mickey snapped one evening. It was a busy as fuck Friday and the dirty dishes were stacking up because Carl was distracted, constantly shadowing Mickey when he should have been scrubbing food off of the fucking plates. Mickey cursed him out when his already thin patience eventually wore out, loudly and unapologetically yelling at Carl in front of the whole kitchen staff until Carl sheepishly admitted that he was just...curious.

Mickey must have saw something in Carl after his admission, something that probably reminded Mickey of himself, and slowly, so slowly, he started teaching Carl some things when he had the time. Carl would even come in on the slow days he wasn’t scheduled just to watch Mickey and try to soak in as much knowledge as possible.

After a few months of Carl constantly badgering Mickey, Mickey took him on as part of the actual kitchen crew. He didn’t have a big role in the kitchen at the time, they just threw him on salad prep where he would have the opportunity to hone his knife skills to absolute perfection. Flawless knife cuts were the first step in becoming an accomplished chef, at least that’s what Mickey always said, and there was no better way to achieve great knife skills than making endless amounts of freshly prepared salad throughout an entire shift.

Carl kept moving from station to station, perfecting each one quickly with ease. He had found a calling in the kitchen, discovered a passion he didn’t know he had and it was a beautiful thing to witness first hand. Cooking came almost as naturally to Carl as it did to Mickey.

Over time, Mickey had slowly started giving some of his responsibilities to Carl. It started with small, menial tasks like inventory and charting up cleaning schedules. Then it slowly changed into  Mickey allowing Carl to direct the kitchen for half the shift. After a few half shifts, he let Carl run a whole shift while he just sat back and expedited the whole evening like an executive chef is traditionally supposed to do.

Now here they were, at the end of the restaurant's fourth year and Carl was officially Mickey’s sous chef. A highly sought after and respectable position in the kitchen and Carl had fought for it tooth and nail. He was Mickey’s right hand man, his second in command. When Mickey wasn’t in the kitchen, Carl ran the place just as strictly and professionally as Mickey did. Mickey was a force to be reckoned with on his own, but with Carl by his side they were unfuckingstoppable.

Obviously Mickey was still the head honcho. He still came up with all the dishes and specials and had complete and total control over everything that went on the kitchen and the restaurant as a whole. But it sure was nice for him to have someone else to shift some of the responsibility off too. Someone who was competent work the kitchen without Mickey there, someone who Mickey trusted not to burn the place down so he could get a fucking day off every once in awhile.

Taking Carl on as his sous chef was one of the best business decisions that Mickey had made, in Ian’s opinion.

Ian pushed open the double swinging doors to the kitchen, peeking his head in before he just sauntered right in, making sure the coast was clear.

Mickey was hunched over the prep table, the pencil he held in one hand was paused in the air above his notebook as he scratched the back of his head with the other hand. Ian grinned and slowly slipped into the kitchen, making sure the double doors didn’t make any noise as they closed behind him. He slinked over to Mickey as quietly as possible, making sure his shoes didn’t squeak against the spotless tile on his journey.

Sneaking up on Mickey Milkovich would have been an immediate death sentence to anyone who tried it, but not Ian Gallagher. He stood behind Mickey and gently grabbed onto his ass with one hand while the other slipped around his waist, pulling him close. Mickey tensed at the first touch, but immediately melted into Ian once he felt that familiar heat.

Mickey stood up so he wasn’t hunched over and leaned back into Ian, one of his calloused hands reaching up to rest onto Ian’s freckled forearm.

“You weren’t supposed to be home ‘til tomorrow,” Mickey said. Ian could hear the soft smile in his voice, could see those tell tale lines crinkling in the corners of his eyes.

Ian leaned in, placing some light kisses to the side of Mickey’s neck. “Came home early,” he whispered, “missed you.”

Mickey laughed, his other hand coming up to rub the back of Ian’s head, encouraging him to keep kissing and sucking on his neck. Ian grinned against the smooth skin and did just that, licking a line down Mickey’s neck until he got to that infamous sensitive spot and started sucking lightly, gently, biting into the flesh every so often.

Mickey let out a relieved sigh and relaxed further against Ian. “Missed you too, shithead,” he breathed out.

Ian spun Mickey around until they were standing face to face, Mickey pressed up against the prep table, his hands curling around the edge of the stainless steel. Ian kept his hands on Mickey’s hips, diving down for an actual kiss, sighing as soon as he came in contact with those plump lips he’s been craving for two weeks. Mickey grinned against Ian’s mouth and returned the kiss in kind, reaching up to scratch at the back of Ian’s head.

They weren’t at it for more than two minutes before Ian heard the door to the walk-in fridge unsuction from the wall, only to slam shut shortly afterwards.

“Ugh, gross. No fucking in the kitchen,” Carl said.

Ian pulled away from Mickey and turned to glare at his younger brother as Mickey flipped him off, wiping his bottom lip with the thumb on his other hand before responding. “Fuck you, it’s my kitchen, I’ll fuck in it if I want too,” Mickey said.

Ian turned back to look at Mickey, his eyes wide, biting down on his flirty smirk as he raised his eyebrows in an oh yeah? gesture

Mickey rolled his eyes before he pushed Ian away from him, shaking his head. “And fuck you too, we’re not actually gonna fuck in the kitchen, Jesus,” Mickey bit out before grabbing his notebook from the table.

Ian turned to face his brother fully, the sight of him in his own personalized white chef jacket was always a sight to see. “What are you still doing here?” he asked, curious. The kitchen staff always left as soon as the cleaning was done, rarely sticking around longer than they had too on a good night.

Mickey snorted as he walked over to Carl and ripped the clipboard he was holding out of his hands. “This fuckhead here bought the wrong type of lamb when I sent him to the market the other day, so he’s doing inventory every fucking night as a punishment,” Mickey explained, grinning evilly at Ian.

Mickey prided himself on being a scratch kitchen. Absolutely nothing in his kitchen was premade and there wasn’t a heat lamp or steam well in sight. The kitchen staff came in a few hours before dinner to get everything that could be stored in the walk-in freshly made, and everything that needed to be cooked and served hot would be made to order. Mickey went shopping twice a week to ensure they had the freshest ingredients possible to work with, all of his product was bought from the most reputable and high quality sources.

During one of their many Skype sessions while Ian was away, Mickey explained that he had sent Carl food shopping for the first time a few days ago and apparently it did not end well. Lamb was expensive as fuck, especially the quality that Mickey purchased, and Mickey was apocalyptic when Carl came back with the wrong cut. Mickey would have to rework the special for that week, one that would work with the ingredients he already purchased in anticipation for having that specific cut of lamb. He was never one to waste a product.

Carl let out a scoff, accompanied by an eye roll of his own. “It’s not my fucking fault,” he started, immediately ready to defend himself before Mickey cut him off.

“Aye, yes it is! I wrote down exactly what we fucking needed and you still got the wrong kind. In what fucking world is ground lamb the same as a fuckin’ rack? Take responsibility and suck it the fuck up. Lucky I didn’t fire your ass,” Mickey quipped, flipping through the pages of inventory with furrowed brows as Carl hovered behind him with a scowl on his face.

“A’ight, looks good, you can get the fuck outta here. Be here tomorrow at noon so I can show you to butcher that pig I’m gettin’ delivered in the morning,” Mickey instructed.

“Yes, Chef,” Carl said as he sarcastically saluted Ian behind Mickey’s back. Thank fuck Mickey didn’t see that.

Ian gave his brother a quick wave before Carl tore through those double doors like a tornado, the only evidence that he was even in the kitchen three seconds ago was the whoosh of the doors as the swung back and forth. Ian snorted at his hasty retreat and crossed his arms, leaning against the table as he looked at Mickey, who was still flipping through the inventory.

It was a sight that Ian would never get tired of seeing. Mickey, relaxed and happy, standing in the quiet calm of his clean kitchen, in his restaurant, that he fucking owned and operated like he’s been doing it his whole life. It’s where he belonged, where he shined, where he fucking fit. Ian was so fucking proud of him.

Mickey looked up from the endless stream of pages, doing a double take when he noticed Ian was staring. He grinned as he looked down at the clipboard, his cheeks flushing a tiny amount, barely enough for anyone to notice. But Ian noticed, he always fucking noticed.

“The fuck you starin’ at?” Mickey asked, all defensive and rough even though Ian could see through his bullshit from a mile away.

“You,” he said simply, succinctly, shrugging his shoulders.

Mickey snorted, shaking his head as he finally, fucking finally, stopped looking over Carl’s inventory and walked back over to Ian. Ian uncrossed his arms and straightened up in anticipation, Mickey throwing the clipboard onto the table with a loud smack. Ian grabbed Mickey by the lapels of his jacket, yanking him closer until they were standing nose to nose. He started unbuttoning Mickey’s jacket, slowly sliding the buttons through the heavy fabric one by one to reveal the dark grey henley underneath, gazing into Mickey’s bright blue eyes the whole time.

Mickey licked his lips, his tongue poking into the side of his mouth before he spoke. “You hungry? Got some lamb I gotta get rid of,” he asked with a airy lilt to his voice.

Ian nodded, humming in affirmation as he slid the last button through the fabric, sneaking his hands inside the jacket to grab onto Mickey’s ribs. Ian leaned down for another kiss, one Mickey easily reciprocated, gently biting down on Ian’s bottom lip before sweeping his tongue into his waiting mouth.

Ian whined and spread his feet a little wider, bringing him down slightly closer to Mickey’s height as he pulled Mickey closer to him, Mickey sliding his knee in between Ian’s open legs. Ian trailed his hands down Mickey’s back towards his ass, holding the muscle tightly in his grip as he moaned softly into Mickey’s mouth.

Mickey’s own hands grabbed onto Ian’s waist, his fingers slipping under the fabric of his sweater. Ian shivered a little, the pads of Mickey’s fingers felt chilly against his warm skin. They kissed for awhile, tender and deep and slow. No need to speed it up, no need to have more because Ian had everything he ever wanted right in front of him, in the palm of his hands.

He was only gone for two weeks, two weeks that flew by in the blink of an eye but he still missed Mickey a disgusting amount. He always did, no matter how long they were apart he missed him like a fucking amputated limb. Ian didn’t know what home was until he met Mickey because Mickey was home. He was comfort and support and love. He was a warm blanket on a cold night. He was hot soup when you have the sniffles. He was ointment on a burn, a bandaid on a scrape, warm heat on aching muscles. He was everything.

He moved one of his hands from Mickey’s ass and pulled the collar of his jacket away from his neck. Just enough, just enough so he had some skin to lick and suck. He backed away from Mickey’s lips to do just that, gently nibbling at his jaw on the way. Mickey sighed, his hand coming up to tangle into Ian’s hair again.

“I know I said no fuckin’ in the kitchen...but I didn’t say nothin’ about fooling around in the bathroom,” Mickey said, biting down on his bottom lip while he smirked. Ian pulled back from Mickey’s neck, a huge grin spread across his face, Mickey wiggling his eyebrows suggestively at his partner. Ian grabbed Mickey’s wrist and lead him out of the kitchen at the same speed that Carl left not more than five minutes ago.

They were almost to the bathroom when Mandy yelled across dining room, “hey assholes! We’re leaving!”

Mickey flipped her off before yelling back, “lock shit up on the way out,” as the door closed on his grinning face.

Debbie, Carl and Mandy stood by the office door, all of them pulling on their various coats, gloves and hats to brave the Chicago winter in search of some cheap drinks and greasy food. Mandy scoffed as she saw the two men disappear into the bathroom with matching smirks on their faces, their fingers laced together.

“You think after seven and a half years the honeymoon period woulda fucking ended,” she said with a shake of her head.

“I don’t know, I think it’s kinda cute,” Debbie said with a shrug, tying her scarf around her neck. Carl and Mandy both shot her unimpressed looks, their eyebrows scrunching down to match their scowls.

“It’s gross,” Mandy deadpanned.

“You’re just a jealous bitch. Don’t hate on their love ‘cause you ain’t getting none!” she said with a grin as she sauntered over to the door.

“Don’t make me fire your ass,” Mandy chided as they all stepped out into frigid air, locking the door behind them.

The lamb was sizzling on low in the saute pan, simmering and browning in the garlic lemon cream sauce. Asparagus was steaming in a separate pan while the seasoned red potatoes were roasting in the oven. Ian sat on the prep table near the stove, sipping on his glass of whiskey while Mickey flipped the meatballs over with a pair of tongs, his legs swinging back and forth in the air as he watched his boyfriend make him dinner for the millionth time.

“So, the shoot went well?” Mickey asked, taking a sip from the bottle of beer he held in his other hand.

“Mhhm. Went pretty smooth, surprisingly,” Ian said.

Mickey huffed, checking on the asparagus as the meatballs sat in the sauce. “Well, that’s what happens when they hire a fuckin’ gay guy to shoot a Victoria’s Secret spread. You don’t spend forever oogling the models, taking extra shots of their tits and ass while trying to get into their pants like all the other fucking dickbag photographers. You do what they fuckin’ paid you for and that’s it,” Mickey said. Ian smiled, sipping on his whiskey again, shaking his head fondly at his boyfriend’s tirade.

As much as Mickey’s career had morphed and blossomed, it pretty much had stayed the same. Ian’s, on the other hand, had taken a very different turn in the last few years.

He knew he couldn’t model forever, it was only a matter of time until his age caught up with him and people threw him to the side like an archaic fucking machine. He was only thirty-one, which wasn’t ancient by any stretch of the imagination, his body was still in peak condition (if not better) and could still land modeling gigs if he really wanted to. But aging in a career that preached the importance of youth and vitality he knew that he wouldn’t be able to keep this shit going forever.

But he was happy with his career change. He had found a passion he didn’t know he had, a talent hidden deep in his bones that was just waiting for the perfect opportunity to show itself, like what had happened with Carl.

It had happened just as slowly as Carl’s progression. Ian had always been interested in the artistic side of modeling, where the photographers got their ideas and inspirations from was endlessly fascinating to him. He really appreciated and respected the creative eye that went into photography and the firm hand and gentle guidance that a lot of photographers displayed during sessions.

So, he picked up a few photography for dumbasses books and bought a not so cheap camera as a gift to himself and he might have taken a few hobby courses at the community college, just to test the waters. Those books and classes really helped Ian learn how to open his mind and eye to different things and really brought out a creative and unique nature that he could always feel burning in his chest but didn’t know how to express.

When he first started navigating the ropes of his new passion he took a lot of fucking pictures of Mickey, much to the other man’s disdain. But Ian couldn’t help it. He always thought Mickey was a work of art since day one, it only made sense to try and immortalize the man he loved through the lens of a camera. There were a lot of shots of him cooking and prepping food, close up’s of Mickey’s hands and trademark tattoos in action. A few of those shots were still hanging around their apartment.

But Ian took a lot of candid photo’s too, catching Mickey off guard and snapping shots where he looked the most beautiful; sparking a cigarette in the winter with his fingerless gloves, laughing with his eyes closed, taking a sip of his beer, brushing his fucking teeth and he even caught him sleeping a few times. Those shots, even though they weren’t risque, felt too intimate for Ian to plaster all over their apartment for guests and family to see, but that didn’t stop him from having a few of them framed and hung in the bedroom.

He didn’t delve into modeling photography until two years after he discovered this passion. He was content to explore and take photo’s of the life and city around him while still modeling for a paycheck. It was during one of his photoshoots that he tried it out.

The photographer was a buddy of Ian’s, they had worked on plenty of photoshoots in the past and Ian, out of curiosity, asked if he wouldn’t mind if he tried to take some shots of the other models working that day. The photographer agreed, stepping aside to let Ian take some off the book shots for practice.

It turned out that those were some of the best shots of the day, Ian really having an eye for this type of stuff since he had spent plenty of time on the other side of the lens. The photographer was impressed, so impressed that he asked Ian if he would be interested in a sort of mentor like opportunity, where Ian would shadow him on shoots and get experience being the director of the shoot instead of the focus.

It was a very fruitful and educational experience and now a few years later he was one of the industry’s most sought after freelance photographers, his popularity and reputation growing by the day. He even was a guest photographer on an episode of America’s Next Top Model.

And now, here he was, sitting in the kitchen of his boyfriend’s restaurant after spending two weeks in Los Angeles shooting the catalogue for Victoria’s Secret’s summer issue. Life couldn’t have been more fucking perfect.

“Here, taste this,” Mickey said, dipping a spoon into the sauce and blowing on it before moving away from the stove to hold it up to Ian’s mouth. Ian sipped the sauce off the spoon, humming in contentment as he nodded his head at Mickey. Mickey grinned and moved like he was going back to the stove but Ian leaned forward and grabbed onto his hips, pulling him forward to stand between his spread legs.

“You heard from Charles?” Ian asked, his thumb brushing back and forth against the skin on Mickey’s hip.

Mickey sighed, reaching up to scratch his eyebrow with his thumb. “Yeah, saw ‘em two days ago. Fucker is still pissed at me,” Mickey said.

“He’ll get over it, I promise,” Ian tried to reassure him.

Mickey scoffed, shaking his head with a small smile on his face. “You don’t know Charles like I do. He’ll hold that shit over my head for the rest of my damn life,” he said.

“Hey, it was the right move, okay? You care about him, he knows that,” Ian said. “He’ll realize it’s the best option when he survives this brutal fucking winter.”

Charles wasn’t the type to take handouts or rely on anyone for his survival and well being. His fierce independence was something that he was born with and carried with him every fucking day. But, he was getting old and his body and mind weren’t prepared to handle another Chicago winter, the temperature dropping into the negatives some nights and after barely making out alive last winter with an awful case of pneumonia, Mickey fucking had to do something for his friend.

As much as he didn’t want too, Mickey had to beg and plead with Charles to take a room that was open at housing center for homeless people. People like Charles weren’t high on the priority list, so Mickey had to pull some strings by offering to donate all of the unused food the restaurant had left over every week. Charles was adamantly reluctant at first, but when the first winds of winter started beating at the shore of Lake Michigan he begrudgingly agreed, taking the offer that Mickey had put effort into getting for him.

Charles was pissed at being backed into a corner and guilted into something he had avoided for years. But at least he was warm and alive so Mickey didn’t really give a shit about his wounded ego.

Mickey sucked on his teeth and nodded his head a few times in response to Ian trying to cheer him up. Ian smiled softly, placing a hand on Mickey’s cheek and urging the other man to look up.

“I ever tell you how amazing you are?” Ian asked.

Mickey rolled his eyes, placing the spoon on the counter so his hands could rest unencumbered on the top of Ian’s thighs, his fingers teasing the insides. “Yeah, about fifty times last night on Skype,” Mickey said with a smirk, his tongue teasingly poking out of his mouth.

Ian barked out a laugh. “Well, that was an amazing Skype sesh babe,” he said before leaning in to place on kiss on Mickey’s smiling lips, his body humming at the contact. Mickey’s hands grabbed a little bit tighter onto Ian’s thighs, spreading his legs a bit so he could get closer, returning the kiss with just as much passion and energy.

Ian had just reached his hand down to Mickey’s ass when his boyfriend jerked away. “Shit,” Mickey hissed as he walked quickly over the stove, turning down the heat on the meatballs and checking them with his tongs, turning the asparagus off completely.

“Almost burned dinner, stop fuckin’ distractin’ me,” he said.

“I’m just sitting here!” Ian laughed.

Mickey scoffed, picking his beer bottle back up from where he left it, glaring at Ian through the corners of his eye. “Just sittin’ there looking that,” he said, pointing at Ian accusingly.

Ian held his hands up and scooted further back on the table, leaning against the wall behind him, turning his head to watch Mickey affectionately as he fretted over their almost ruined meal.

A few minutes later their steaming plates were sitting on a table in the dining room, Mickey over by the fireplace fiddling with some logs and matches while Ian refreshed their drinks at the bar. Mickey had left his chef’s jacket in the kitchen and was just walking around in that dark grey henley and black jeans that hugged him in all the right places, especially when he was bent over tending to the fire, and Ian couldn’t stop fucking staring.

Talk about someone being a distraction, Jesus.

Ian got zapped back into the now when he heard Mickey say something, standing back from the fireplace where a cozy fire was just starting to catch on kindling.

“Whatcha say, hun?” Ian asked, just catching himself before the whiskey spilled over the top of his glass, whispering a terse shit under his breath.

“I think Carl is hookin’ up with the pastry chef, Arianna,” Mickey repeated, sitting down at the table.

Ian chuckled and grabbed both their drinks, delicately placing his overfilled glass up to his lips to take a few sips so it wouldn’t spill over the edges on his journey. “What makes you say that?” he asked.

Mickey snorted, placing a napkin over his lap in preparation to dig into his meal. “Pretty sure I caught them fuckin’ macking it in the walk-in one night. I opened the door and those fuckers jumped about five fucking feet in the air. She was all blushin’ and shit and ran out of there real quick,” Mickey explained.

Ian placed the glasses down on the table, pulling out his own chair once his hands were free. “Well, she is Carl’s type,” Ian said as he made himself comfortable, the warm flames from the fire licking his still chilly skin.

“And what’s that? Fuckin’ blonde with big tits?” Mickey said.

Ian laughed again, nodding. “Exactly. She checks all his boxes.”

“Fuckin’ low ass standards, man,” Mickey said, shaking his head before picking up his fork and using it to slice into one of the meatballs on his plate.

“Sometimes it’s better to have low standards, opens your eyes to people you wouldn’t have looked at before,” Ian said with a shrug.

Mickey scoffed, rolling his eyes as he waved his fork in the air. “Whatever. All I know is that if they bring that bullshit into the kitchen I won’t hesitate to fuckin’ fire ‘em both,” he said through a mouthful of lamb.

“We just sucked each other off in the bathroom!” he said incredulously.

My fuckin’ restaurant, I can blow my boyfriend wherever I want, ‘sides we weren’t in the kitchen, that shit’s nasty,” Mickey said, taking a sip of his drink.

Ian grinned and cut into his own meatball, putting a large bite in his mouth and moaning at the taste. “My God, I fucking missed your cooking, craved it the whole time I was away,” he said, taking another bite as soon as he swallowed.

“Yeah, bet that’s the only thing you missed,” Mickey said with a smirk, because he knew it wasn’t true.

“You’re right. It was,” Ian said with a smile, reaching over to squeeze the hand Mickey had resting on the table quickly, just to drive the point home that he was clearly fucking kidding.

They sat in front of the fire, talking long into the night, catching each other up on the minutiae of their two weeks apart. Mickey had to add more wood to the fire three times before they both decided they were exhausted and should probably head back home.

They stood outside, bundled in their jackets and scarves, Mickey fiddling with the keys and locking the multiple locks on the door, grumbling fiercely when the top one jammed a bit. He turned and slipped the keys into his pocket, pulling out his pack of smokes and lighting up before they started walking home.

Walking shoulder to shoulder, they slowly traversed the snow laden Chicago sidewalk. The snow was not pure bright white that most people probably expect snow to be. It was the color of concrete, dirt caked and ugly, packed down from countless pedestrians walking all over it, trash stuck into the wetness and unable to blow away. Snow was probably gorgeous in the countryside, but in a city it just made everything look bleak and miserable.

Ian looked up, the sky that dark grey color that happens with when there’s a thick passing of clouds that carry the threat of dumping more snow on the city.

Almost as if he summoned the white flakes themselves, the clouds opened up and released their build up of flurries, the flakes soft and dancing down onto the world. Ian grinned. As much as he hated the cold and winter in general, there was something incredibly soothing and comforting about snow fall. It just made everything seem so fucking quiet and peaceful, bringing the city to a halt to marvel at nature’s wonder.

He looked over at Mickey, some white flakes landing into that dark hair and sticking there like they belonged, small decorations to bring out the red tinge of his wind bitten cheeks. Almost eight years, eight fucking years, with this man and his heart was still so full of love it felt close to bursting at the seams with every stolen glance.

Ian reached over and laced his gloved fingers through Mickey’s bare ones, squeezing onto his hand. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” Ian asked with a gentle sound to his voice.

Mickey took the last drag of his cigarette before throwing the butt into the snow. “Oh yeah, fucking gorgeous. Exactly what we needed, more fuckin’ snow. Make Carl shovel the walk in front of the restaurant tomorrow,” Mickey grumbled.

Ian huffed out a laugh, the sharp expulsion of hot air puffing up in a cloud in front of his face. Mickey was always using Carl to do the mundane tasks he didn’t have the patience for. Ian stopped walking, pulling on Mickey’s arm a bit to make sure he stopped too. “Just, shut up and look at it,” Ian said.

Mickey huffed, but did as he was told, leaning his head back to look up at the grey sky to watch the flurries slowly swirl down to the ground, graceful and free. They stood there in silence for a few moments as the city remained asleep around them, calm and soundless as ever. Mickey took a deep breath, his shoulders hunching up around his ears before letting go. “A’ight, I guess it ain’t half bad,” he admitted.

Ian smiled wide, cocking his head to the side to look at Mickey’s profile, his neck still bent and inviting as he gazed up at the sky, flecks of snow landing on his cheeks and nose only to disappear shortly after.

Ian moved to stand in front of Mickey, his boots crunching against the snow. He reached his hand up to Mickey’s neck, commanding his attention. Mickey lowered his head, looking at Ian, soft and affectionate, a small smile cracking his usually hard demeanor.

“I love you,” Ian said, brushing his thumb back and forth against Mickey’s skin.

“I love you, too,” Mickey responded, reaching up with his bare hand to grab onto Ian’s cheek.

Ian shivered, partly because Mickey’s hand was so fucking cold against his warm cheek, but mostly because those words would always send a shiver down his spine no matter how many times he heard them fall from Mickey’s lips. He leaned forward and kissed Mickey slow and deep, sighing against those lips he adored and melting a little despite the frigid winter air.

Snow continued to fall around them as they stood there, alone and isolated and blanketed in the comforting heat of each other’s presence, cold lips warming the longer they stayed connected.

Ian pulled back soon, biting down on Mickey’s lip before letting go completely. “You taste like meatballs and cigarettes,” he said against Mickey’s lips, laughing a little.

Mickey clicked his tongue and pushed against Ian’s chest. “Man, get the fuck away from me,” he said, shaking his head as he stepped around Ian and continued walking.

Ian laughed, standing still for a second more before catching up with Mickey, slipping his hand into Mickey’s once again as they continued their walk home where they could watch the falling snow from the comfort of their own bed.

Happiness was in front of them all along.