”Hey,” he says, blinking up at the pale, round moon and for a split second thinking he kinda wishes they weren’t underneath this bridge, that the sky was wide and endless and full of stars, ”you ever think back in the day, this is where we’d be?”
Mickey feels removed, different, changed, altered, fucked around, pushed aside, the smell and sound and feel of the familiar body next to him the only constant he can count in his life since things really started going to shit.
”You running from the feds?” Ian hums, his low voice kinda reverberating through him, through the dry dirt ground under their laid out blanket, through Mickey where their shoulders brush. ”Yeah, I could’ve predicted that.”
Mickey holds up his hand and jerks his elbow towards Ian, as though he wants to slap him for being a smartass, but he never fucking wants to hit Ian Gallagher again in his life and Ian’s just chuckling like he thinks he’s being funny. Mickey rests his head back on the ground and drops his arm, smile pulling at his lips.
It slips. There’s so much shit he wants to know, stuff they never talked about but should have. Mickey’s tired of not talking, of not knowing. Of thinking he’s a sucker for believing, for loving. He’d just started feeling alright about opening up to Ian and then shit went to hell, a year and a fucking half of it. It was never fair, it wasn’t right, and he shouldn’t have been made to go through it alone.
No fucking shit it was hard for Ian, seeing him through that glass. But Mickey was the one stuck behind it, he was the one fucking stuck behind it.
”You ever think about me?” he asks, frowning at his own shaky voice. ”When I was in the joint.”
He’s not even sure if he wants to hear the answer, but then Ian says it and Mickey thinks he could spend the rest of his life getting Ian to tell him this shit, it feels like a lock unclasping in his chest.
Mickey lets out a deep sigh he thinks he might have been holding on to since he was waiting under the bleachers, sun sharp and mean and mocking him with every minute Ian was late.
”Fuck,” he huffs, ”I missed you.”
The beach. Us.
The confession still stings, not because he regrets saying it, he’s done lying to himself, to Ian, he’s done. But because he’s pretty sure Ian didn’t miss him at all. Thought about him, yeah, guy’s got a brain and a sweet heart underneath all that stubborn and calloused defense, but with Mickey gone he could focus on getting his shit in order; taking care of himself, having nice little square boyfriends that probably could be everything Mickey never was without breaking a sweat. Ian didn’t miss him, he’s sure of it. He’s heartache and dirt and bad memories, he’s fucking in freezers and under bleachers, he’s running away and running away and running away and lying in the dirt looking at stars they can’t even fucking see, it’s too dark.
Ian didn’t miss him, Ian was living just fine without him.
There’s the sound of a train in the distance, soon it’ll pass overhead and maybe it can drown all this shit out, maybe it can let him believe for a short second that this is gonna last.
Even though he knows it won’t. Ian’s changed his mind before and he will again. Going all out isn’t something Ian Gallagher does for Mickey Milkovich. Mickey can’t blame him for that, he’s spent so much time pushing Ian away that he never thought he had to ask to get it all back when they fell back together, until now.
He feels Ian’s knuckles graze across the back of his hand, sandwiched between their hips. He thinks it probably was an accident and he lies stock still, eyes stuck on Ian, when Ian turns on his side and placing his elbow by Mickey’s ear rests his head on his hand, looking down at Mickey with a solemn twist to his blank expression.
He doesn’t say anything as he holds out the still burning cigarette they’re sharing, hovering it between two fingers right above Mickey’s face so all he has to do is part his lips and hold on when he sticks it in. Hands free, Ian sets out to rearrange them, sitting up a little more and grabbing Mickey’s arm so he can move it in under his chest, and shuffling closer he leans back down on his elbow, whole body flat against Mickey’s side and gaze heavy on Mickey’s face, lips, cheek, nose, brow, but never exactly his eyes.
Mickey bends his arm and hooks it around Ian’s chest, readjusting himself a little so his shoulder isn’t strained under the weight, and he feels the coarse fabric of Ian’s jacket against his fingernails as he scratches absently at his back, swallowing heavily when he kinda wants to look away but can’t once Ian finally locks their eyes.
Ian reaches out for his face again and gently takes the cigarette off Mickey’s lips, and angling it away he carefully puts his fingertips to the side of Mickey’s jaw to pull him closer and hold him in place as he leans in and tenderly fits their lips together.
It’s aimless, like Ian’s kissing him just to kiss him. Mickey wants to enjoy it, or take it somewhere, give it an aim that makes some kinda easy sense. But he opens his eyes and doesn’t move when Ian leans back again and only leaving a couple of inches between them, rests his head down next to Mickey’s.
Every time Ian kisses him like that, Mickey thinks it’s goodbye.
”I’m selfish,” Ian says, his voice even lower and warm over Mickey’s ear when he turns his head to look back up at the sky, Ian’s hand and the quietly burning cigarette still resting next to his cold lips, ”you know?”
Mickey sighs and closes his eyes for a second, willing himself not to fucking cry and trying to get himself to audibly disagree. But he’s done lying, done, fucking done.
”Yeah, no I am,” Ian continues, his chest pressing against Mickey’s shoulder with a deep breath, the side of his thumb absently moving up and down his chin, ”was when I broke up with you, was when I visited you… when I didn’t. Am now, too.”
Don’t-, don’t do this.
Mickey feels himself move with him when Ian leans over him, side of his face hovering right over Mickey’s when he stuffs out the cigarette against the harsh ground on his other side. He follows him back, gaze locked to Ian’s and neck strained when Ian lies down again, eyes big and searching and one, two, of the many things that’d kept Mickey up at night in his cell. That had kept him going.
Please don’t do this to me again.
”Kinda… not alive without you,” Ian whispers, voice almost stuck at the back of his throat, ”didn’t see it, didn’t understand. But when I… when I saw you again it was like-”
He licks his lips and closes his eyes, corner of his lips quirking up right before they open again.
”I’m alive,” he says, like a confession, his brow furrowing and his voice falling into a mumble, ”I had my shit together, but-, but I can’t see it anymore, can’t fucking see past you.”
Mickey pulls in a sharp breath, and it’s all Ian. It’s all he can see, all he can feel, it’s all Ian.
”I love you,” Ian whispers, his hand moving up to cover Mickey’s whole cheek, ”you have me-, I got you. Ride or die. Ride or die, Mickey.”
He’s barely got Mickey’s name out before he’s being kissed, hungry and desperate and wet because-, fuck, Mickey thought he knew how badly he wanted to hear this shit but he didn’t fucking know.
And he’s kissing Ian until the tears dry out and his lungs are burning, the whole ground below and bridge above shaking and shrieking when the train rattles across, sparks fucking flying and the world drowning in noise and tremors and love and lust. Mickey thinks he hasn’t fumbled this much since their first time, a long long time ago in his old bedroom, bathed in morning sun and filling with the sounds of them, but their hands are shaking and their breaths are short as they open up their clothes just enough to get going and Mickey turns around.
Ian is gentle with him, he isn’t always but he’s so good at it. Mickey thinks on his feet, he managed to grab some lube before Damon pulled his gun at the gas station and they had to hightail outta there, and Ian uses it like it’s about to go out of style. He’s slow when he sinks himself inside, pushing his hips into Mickey’s ass until he’s bottomed out and groaning into the skin on his neck, kissing and mouthing up and down Mickey’s jaw, breathing into his hair, pressing his nose in right behind his ear.
Dick up his ass and Ian’s hand down his pants, surrounding him and holding him and moving him until he forgets where they are and how to make sense, Mickey burrows into Ian’s body and reaches back to blindly touch his cheek, pull at his neck and clutch at his hair. Ian keeps fucking him, slow and sweet, and he leans in closer when he’s being pulled, kissing down Mickey’s cheek and finding his mouth in the dark when Mickey turns his head up and meets him half way.
”Fuck, I love you,” Mickey mumbles into his mouth when he comes, moaning and shoving his ass back on Ian’s dick to get him all the way in there, pushing at his spot as he spills all over his helpful hand, ”keep goin’, Ian, fuck-, just keep doin’ that.”
Ian’s keeping his parted lips just out of reach and he’s looking at Mickey like he can see his fucking soul when he tumbles over and follows, one hand in Mickey’s hair and the other arm clamping on to his waist, fingers digging into his stomach through three layers of clothes. He doesn’t pull out before he sinks down, eyes screwed up tight and mouth melting against Mickey’s.
They’re curled up in each other when Ian falls asleep, arm still strong around Mickey and face buried against the back of his neck. Mickey lies wide awake for a long while before he drifts off, listening to the crickets and thinking he can see the sky slowly shifting into twilight.
”Just play it cool,” Mickey says, because he thinks it can’t hurt to remind Ian of this fundamental part of a good scam, his face is like a fucking puppy sometimes, ”tell ’em we’re going on vacation.”
He scoots forward and steps his feet out of the car, taking in his reflection in the wing mirror.
”Ah fuck,” he mutters, pushing at his freshly shaved cheek, ”can you see my stubble?”
He looks up when Ian doesn’t answer. They’re just a couple of minutes away from the border and they need to move fast. Mickey’s genius boyfriend here had gotten the brilliant idea when they drove past an outlet a couple of miles back, and they’d got out and spent a pittance of Ian’s money on a pair of sensible boots and a fancy-assed flowery frock. Mickey has a nice breeze going down there, the thing hanging comfortably around his body and the tights way less of a problem than he’d imagined, leaving the padded bra cutting into his chest the only thing he might not actually be digging right now about dressing up like a chick.
Make that the underwear, and the imminent threat of getting caught and thrown back in the slammer. Of putting Ian in the spotlight, of making him an accomplice to Mickey’s wild escape. But what else can he do, what else can they do? Mickey can’t stay in the states and he wants Ian with him. Fuck-, he wants it so bad, he’s pushing away any mean little thought that he shouldn’t. Ian chose this, he chose Mickey. They’ve finally got their one fucking shot at getting away and just being them.
Mickey’s a lowlife scumbag son of a criminal, born into a life no one expected him to do with any differently than his old man. They maxed out his penalty for his bogus charges because they knew, they knew just looking at him that he was fucked for life anyway, might as well just keep him off the streets. But Mickey’s not high on anyone’s list, no one’s gonna look for him in Mexico, he’ll be free there. They will be free there, together.
But Ian’s been quiet since the outlet store, after Mickey’d pulled him into the changing booth and kissed his lips sore and Ian’d paid for the clothes with cash, hood covering his glaringly obvious hair. They’d laughed about Mickey’s tights for a couple of miles, but the closer they got to the border the more Ian’s face seemed to shut down.
Don’t-, don’t do this.
Mickey gets out of the car and glances at Ian’s tense back, standing a good few feet away from him and staring out over the border.
”If they stop us, my name is still Mickey,” Mickey reminds him, just to have something to say as he stares at his reflection in the dusty car window and clips on a couple of cheap-ass earrings, ”chicks are called Mickey, right?”
Ian doesn’t answer and Mickey’s starting to feel the tension like a knot in his stomach. He can’t do this, he can’t deal with getting across the border and Ian leaving him again, lying to him again, choosing everything over him, again.
”Alright,” he says, trying to put off looking at Ian for as long as possible as he pulls the passenger side door open, ”you’re driving.”
Ian remains quiet. Mickey closes the door again and is about to start bitching, just to hide how truly fucking terrified he is right now, when he looks up at Ian and sees him holding his phone to his ear, still not moving.
”What’s the matter with you?” Mickey asks, stepping closer and cursing at himself for sounding so hostile. ”Let’s go.”
Ian lowers the phone from his ear as Mickey rounds him, staring at his bent profile until he can see his face and Ian looks up at him with red eyes.
”Fuck’s wrong-,” Mickey starts and feels like his heart is breaking when Ian blinks and looks up at the sky, his whole face crumbling into sadness for a second before he shakes his head and turns his pleading eyes on Mickey.
”Lip,” he says and holds up his phone instead of putting together the whole sentence, ”my mom’s dead.”
”Fuck,” Mickey whispers and feels like a fucking fool when Ian bends his head and sniffs. Mickey never cared for the bitch, but he knows Ian did. Probably still does, because that’s who Ian is. He doesn’t let go, he doesn’t give up, he doesn’t stop loving you.
”Mick,” he says and he sounds so broken Mickey isn’t aware he’s moving until he’s got his arms around Ian’s shoulders and hands in his hair, holding on to him as Ian’s clutching him closer. Mickey leans back and kisses him, holds on to his face and breathes into his mouth, noses still touching when he pulls back he can’t bear to create any more distance between them right now.
”I can’t,” Ian says, voice breaking before he gets any more of them out, ”I can’t-”
”Fucking Gallaghers,” Mickey sighs and tries to smirk, touching his lips to Ian’s and gently pushing his hair back from his temple, ”always gotta fuck with my life, huh?”
”No,” Ian insists, his head shaking but his eyes closed like he doesn’t trust them, ”no, no I’m not lettin’ you go alone, Mick, I promised.”
”Didn’t promise shit, Ian,” Mickey mutters and thinks he smiles for real when he feels Ian’s fingers dig into his dress at the small of his back, ”I need to cross, now, and you need to go home and be with your fucking family, alright? Gonna hate me if you get in that car now and you never get to see them again.”
”I love you,” Ian says it like a promise, staring straight at him, and Mickey kisses him for it.
”Take the money,” Ian tells him, his hand big and warm against his neck, fingertips playing absently with Mickey’s ridiculous fake earring, ”get started without me.”
”Yeah,” Mickey nods and tries to sound like he believes it, ”yeah.”
If it doesn’t happen now, Mickey’s pretty sure it never will. They’re so close to the finish line they could practically trip and fall over it at this point, but with Mickey in Mexico and Ian back in Chicago, who’s to say Ian won’t go back to his boyfriend and forget the things he only seems to remember when he’s got Mickey within arm’s reach, anyway.
”We’ll figure something out,” Ian says and touches their foreheads together, ”you gonna wait for me?”
Mickey could laugh, he could just fucking laugh. He would if Ian didn’t sound like he expects Mickey to say ’no’. He knows now that, in his own special way, Ian hadn’t been lying when he promised to wait. But he sure as fuck had tried to make it a lie, tried his hardest to get over Mickey, get over them. Joke’s on him, here they are. Joke’s on Mickey, here they are.
”Yeah, I’ll wait,” Mickey promises and leans back a little, looking up at Ian’s wet eyes and patting him none too gently on the cheek, ”I’ll always be fuckin’ waiting.”
He makes sure Ian’s got enough money for the bus home and then he gets in the car. He wants Ian to take all his fucking money back but the stubborn idiot won’t hear it and it’s not like Mickey’s likely to turn down the only thing that’s gonna physically keep him alive on the other side.
He’s got his heart in his throat when he puts on his cheap wig and drives up to the border control, fucking convinced that he’s at the end of his line. Heart ripped out one final time, promises that were never meant to be honored but for fucking sure’s gonna haunt him until the day he dies, thrown back inside with at least another ten years slapped on to his sentence.
He drives across the border without anyone stopping him or even really looking at him twice, it’s almost a little insulting. He drives for about half an hour before he pulls over to the side of the road and cries, tears streaming down his face and snot blubbering out his nostrils, getting stuck in his wig when he tries to wipe some of it off and pulls his hands through his hair.
He knows he’s never gonna see Ian again and he thinks it’s probably for the best, for both of them.
But he’s wrong. He’s oh, so wrong.