Ian jolted awake when Mickey slammed the door. He blinked a few times and rubbed at his eyes. His mouth was dry. It wasn’t dark yet, but he could see the sun disappearing behind some distant terrain.
"Didn't know I was tired," he says, yawning. Mickey doesn't look up from the map he's looking at. "Where are we?"
"Fuck if I know," Mickey sighs gruffly, turning the map sideways. "Fucker keeps moving the meet up spot." Mickey leans his head back and breathes deeply through his nose, giving up on the map. He rubs at his closed eyes. "Outside Saint Louis."
Ian nods, looking out the window again. There are a few cars around. He guesses they're somewhere near the expressway, but he's honestly never been this far from Chicago. Not even with Yev. He swallows the dryness in his mouth and looks back at Mickey. He's staring at the steering wheel, probably thinking of a million things.
"Want me to drive?"
Mickey snaps out of it and looks at him like he wants to say hello yes, but then he shakes his head and reaches to twist the wires together again. The engine roars to life, but Mickey sits back like it takes all his effort.
"Swap out. Let me drive," Ian touches his leg.
Mickey shakes his head again. "No. We need gas, gotta figure out the next move, get new phones, take another way--"
"Just let me fucking drive, Mickey," Ian says and he's already got his seat belt off and door open.
"Ian, get back in the fucking car. I got it," Mickey says, getting out when Ian opens his door.
"Why won't you let me help? I want to help!"
"Because I can handle it. It’s not your problem, alright?"
"It became my problem when I got in the fucking jeep, Mickey!" Ian shouts, but it gets lost in the open air.
Mickey's eyes go wide and he scoffs. "I didn't make your ass get in."
Ian sighs. This isn't what he wanted. It's chilly and he's tired. "I know. I know," he says quieter, calmer. "But I'm here."
They're inches apart, just like before only Ian doesn't feel the need to push Mickey away. He just wants to grab him and pull him closer.
"Why?" Mickey asks suddenly, his voice shakes with it.
"Why are you here? Why did you come?" Mickey blurts out like he wants to not be saying any of the things he's been thinking.
Ian stares back at him, wondering when this moment would come. The one where Mickey regrets letting him back in his life. The one where Mickey is finally the one to say enough, no more. But Ian takes a breath and tells the truth.
"You're here." He remembers saying these exact words that night when all Mickey wanted to do was get through the evening and know Ian would still want him. He'd been so stupid and selfish. Almost got Mickey killed because he couldn’t see past his own fucking face. He likes to think it was long ago, distance himself from it. And he tried so hard; rewriting history. But here Mickey stands again just wanting to get through, only he looks unsure if he'd rather be alone.
"You're here and I want to be here. With you. With everything. You've always been there more than anyone and I'm sorry." Mickey keeps looking at him, his eyes slightly wet. Ian steps closer and takes him by the waist, pressing him back against the car. "I'm sorry. I love you," he whispers, before kissing him.
Mickey makes a noise in his throat and kisses him back, cupping his face with both hands. It's not a needy kiss like at the docks. It's loving and promising.
They pull apart, foreheads resting together and hands touching everywhere.
"Let me help, okay? I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. It's you and me," Ian emphasizes it with three quick kisses.
Mickey melts against him, finally showing how tired he really is. Ian wonders just how Mickey is even here at all. He wants to know but he's afraid.
"We'll find a motel. Figure this shit out when we're not dead on our feet."
Mickey nods. "Yeah, yeah okay."
Ian kisses him again and holds him tight. A tension he didn't know was there seems to leave them on the wind.
They separate and climb back into the car.
They smile at each other before Ian pulls back onto the road.