Anonymous asked: “prequel to Anytime?”
Rating: T, for language
Word Count: 4,326
Summary: No one fucks with what’s Mickey’s. Even if that means that Mickey’s got to leave home.
When Mickey walked in the house, Mandy was visibly upset. At least, to Mickey she was visibly upset. Mickey knew Mandy better than anyone else did. Mickey didn’t give a shit what Lip thought, he knew his sister the best.
At the thought of Lip, Mickey looked around, wondering where he was. “Where’s Gallagher Douchebag Number One?” He asked, Mandy didn’t say anything. She just chewed on her thumbnail and stared at their broken-ass TV that wasn’t even on. She wasn’t crying, she never cried, but Mickey could see that she wanted to. Mickey changed his course from his bedroom to sit down next to her. “Earth to Thundercunt.”
“Ian’s been hurt,” she said softly. That definitely got his attention. He clenched his fists. “Some guys beat the shit out of him because—”
She cut herself off. Mickey had been one of the people to kick the crap out of someone being gay, and everyone knew it. Mandy knew it. Hell, even Ian knew it.
“Because he’s gay,” he finished for her. He paused, looking away from her, glaring at some garbage that had been carelessly tossed on the floor. “I know.”
You see, Ian and Mickey had been carrying on their relationship in secret for two years. Ian had a military career to focus on, and Mickey had a reputation to uphold. He “kicked people straight” to assert his dominance; he knew first hand it didn’t work.
Mandy swallowed before she continued. “He’s got three broken ribs and his arm is broken,” she said. He clenched his jaw, trying to push away his anger. “They shattered his kneecap. He’ll never be able to walk right again.”
Mickey didn’t need to be told what that meant. He’d be thrown out of West Point. They’d never make an officer out of a cripple; even Mickey knew that.
“Where are they keepin’ him?” He asked.
“Mercy,” she supplied.
Without so much of another word, Mickey was out the door and on his way to Mercy. Usually, when he walked places, people called out to him, asking to make some deals. He must have had the look of a mad man in his eyes, because when people saw him coming, they looked the other way.
He asked the woman at reception as nicely as he could manage which room Ian Gallagher was staying in. She told him the number and how to get there with a polite smile. He thanked her gruffly and tried to think of a time when he’d ever said those words before as he walked to Ian’s room.
Lip was the only one there. Debbie and Carl were at school, and Fiona was at work. Lip had opted to keep Ian company. When Mickey stepped through the door, he’d never seen Ian quite so pathetic before. He flashed Mickey a bright smile, and didn’t even flinch at the obvious pull of his busted lip and his black eye.
Lip looked between Ian and Mickey, then stood up from his chair. “I’m gonna go find the can,” he said. By the time Lip was out of the room, Mickey was in his chair.
“Thanks for coming,” Ian said, softly. His smile was still soft on his face. Mickey put his hand on top of Ian’s just for a moment and returned the smile as much as he could manage. He hated this. He hated looking at Ian, the fuckin’ strongest person he knew, lying in some sterile hospital bed because some assholes were afraid of him. But Ian got that loud and clear. “It’s okay,” he assured.
It wasn’t okay. But Mickey wasn’t going to dispute Ian.
After a long moment of silence, Mickey spoke up. “Who did this?” He asked, getting serious. His voice was low.
The smile on Ian’s face faded. “Mickey, don’t,” he said. “It’s not worth it.”
Mickey just shook his head. “No, Ian,” he said, his voice very firm. “You’re hurt. And everyone knows you don’t fuck with what’s mine.” He stared at Ian expectantly for a moment. “Who did this to you?”
Ian sighed and hung his head, knowing he was fighting a losing battle. “Charlie Faulkner and Jeff Renner.”
Mickey stood up and leaned down to kiss the top of Ian’s head. He didn’t miss the way Ian’s eyes closed and the way he leaned a little into Mickey’s touch. “I’ll be back later,” he said.
“Be careful,” Ian instructed. “I don’t want you in here, too.”
Mickey snorted as he took a step back. “You forget who you’re talking to?” he asked, arching an eyebrow. Ian shook his head in exasperation as Mickey stepped out of the room.
Mickey, with a bat slung over his shoulder, knocked on Charlie Faulkner’s front door. He knew Jeff would be there, too. He always was. It was sort of like Ian and he, where they were always together but just saying that they were friends. It wouldn’t have surprised Mickey if he learned they were fucking.
Charlie opened the door, a cigarette hanging from between his lips. “Mickey Milkovich,” he said with a smirk. He took a step to the side to let Mickey through.
Mickey walked in, looking at Charlie. He was considerably taller than Mickey, but that really didn’t matter. “Jeff here, too?” He asked. He walked into the living room, covered in more trash than his own, and got his answer.
“Mickey!” Jeff called. He was probably a little drunk. Mickey knew he especially liked his whiskey after beating guys up. “You hear about the little faggot we put in the hospital?”
Mickey let the baseball bat slide off his shoulder and onto the floor; the soft thunk could have been heard anywhere in the room as the end of it hit the ground, landing on a chip bag. “Yeah, I heard,” he said. “Ian Gallagher.”
Charlie snorted as he walked around Mickey. He picked up his beer and took a sip of it. “Right,” he noted, nodding. “Your friend. Didn’t know he was a faggot?”
Mickey’s lips twitched. “Not your fuckin’ business, Faulkner,” he said, evenly.
Jeff let out a loud belly laugh, looking over at Charlie. “He didn’t know!” He called. He started to stand up, stumbling along the way. “Little Milkovich didn’t know his friend was a giant homo.” He turned to look at Mickey. “You ashamed, man? I would be.”
Mickey tossed his bat up and snatched it, getting a better grip on it. “It’s the opposite,” he said, keeping his voice just as even. “I’m not even a little ashamed.” With that, he swung at Charlie, who was closer to him, hitting him in the knee. He heard a crack and hit him again, this time in the ribs. He smirked while doing so.
He then turned to Jeff, who was staring at him, wondering if he was imagining it, or if this was really going on. He hit Jeff five times, knocking him unconscious after a while and sending him to the ground. He dropped his bat and returned to Charlie. He punched him a few times in the face before stopping.
Mickey looked down at his work and almost grinned at him. He leaned right into Charlie’s ear. “You don’t fuckin’ go near the Gallaghers,” he gritted out. “None of them. You hear me?”
“What the fuck, Mickey?” Charlie moaned out.
Mickey stood up and kicked Charlie’s already broken ribs. “You don’t fuck with what’s mine,” he said. He grabbed his bat, picked up a shirt to wipe off any blood that was on it, then walked out of the house.
When Mickey arrived home after leaving the hospital, it was very late. None of the lights were on, and the whole neighborhood seemed eerily silent. He figured that everyone had been long since asleep.
He really debated going in. She may not have liked him very much, but Fiona had offered to let Mickey crash on their couch. Apparently, Lip had a bit of a big mouth when it came to Mickey and Ian’s relationship. But Fiona was so grateful to Mickey for what he did, he couldn’t bring himself to care about what Lip had said to everyone.
He finally walked into the house and immediately realized what a huge mistake he’d made.
First off, Terry was awake, and he was mostly sober. Nothing good ever came along with Terry being sober. He was staring at the muted television, not looking at Mickey as he spoke to him. “Where the fuck have you been?” He asked. There was no slur in his even voice and it made Mickey even more terrified.
“None of your damn business,” he said, straightening out his posture.
Terry started to crack his knuckles. “From what I heard,” he said, finally looking over at Mickey. “You went and paid Charlie and Jeff a visit. Broke their kneecaps with that bat of yours. I’d be proud if it weren’t for the goddamn reason behind it.”
Mickey refused to show just how afraid of his father he was. “You don’t know know anything,” he said, about as evenly as Terry had spoken. “They owed me money.”
“Bullshit,” the older man spat. “Those two put that faggot Gallagher in the hospital, and you just so happened to think it was time for them to pay up?” Mickey didn’t say anything as his pride battled with his fear. “I hear you and Gallagher are pretty close. You two fucking?”
Terry took his son’s silence as a confirmation. Mickey really should have seen that punch coming.
He crashed to the floor from the force of the punch, every bit of trash around him shuttering and clattering beneath his weight. He didn’t even bother trying to fight back as Terry started wailing on him. Each hit was harder and faster than the last, and Mickey hadn’t even bothered to try and fight back or block any of the hits.
It could have been a minute or an hour before Terry was pulled off of him. Mickey was in no rush to stand up. He could feel himself aching everywhere, and he knew that if he moved, it would provoke Terry more.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Mandy yelled at their father.
“He’s a goddamn faggot,” Terry accused, spitting in Mickey’s direction.
“He’s your son,” she urged.
“I ain’t havin’ no faggot for a son,” he said, his voice very firm. Mickey could hear Terry start to come back to him, and Mickey didn’t even bother to prepare for the beating. Mandy stopped Terry, though.
“I swear to God, Dad,” she said. “I will rip your dick off and shove it down your own throat if you don’t lay the fuck off.”
That seemed to stop Terry. He kicked Mickey once more, for good measure. “If I ever see your fucking face again, I’ll kill you,” Terry threatened. And Mickey believed him.
Fiona Gallagher opened her front door, ready to fight. It was one in the morning, and her younger brother had just been assaulted, and she was in no mood to play games. She was taken aback, though, at the sight of Mickey at her doorstep. He had a bag slung over his shoulder, and he was bruised from head to toe.
“Too late to take you up on that offer of crashing on your couch?” He asked. Fiona had known Mickey Milkovich for close to his entire life, and she’d never seen him looking quite so pitiful. He sagged. He visibly ached. He was broken. But he was there because he trusted Fiona.
And in their world, trust was huge. Bigger than love.
She shook her head and stepped aside to let him through, no questions asked. “Come in,” she said, her voice soft and warm. It was a lot nicer than anything Mickey was used to.
“Thanks,” he said, quietly. He stepped into the house and heard the door close behind him.
Mickey quickly explained to Fiona what had happened while she got him some ice and a blanket. She told him he could stay as long as he needed to. Mickey couldn’t even verbalize how thankful he was for that.
Part of him kind of wished he really was a Gallagher.
He quickly fell into their routine. At Fiona’s request, he stopped dealing heroin, and got a good job to pay his dues. He started working at a construction site, and it was good for him. He got to wreck things and get out his aggression, but at the same time, it helped him out a lot. Building a house was like building character, he thought; they both took time, and a lot of hard work, but he’d end up proud of what he’d done.
Ian came home after a few weeks. While he was in, Mickey visited him every day. He liked the way Ian’s whole face lit up when he walked in. But, a little less than a month since his assault, Ian had been brought home.
Mickey would take Ian to physical therapy three times a week. After just a few weeks, he could walk on his own. It hurt like hell, and it took a long time to get anywhere, but Ian was strong. And, honestly, Mickey couldn’t have been prouder. After two months, Ian was up and moving around all by himself. He was a little slower than everyone was used to, but that was fine. He could walk.
It was like some big, fuckin’ miracle in Mickey’s eyes. He’d had it in his head that Ian would never stand alone. But there he was, able to walk and run and do everything again.
Mickey was happy. He felt like he belonged. He really felt like he was part of a family. The Gallaghers liked Mickey, and he liked them, too. It was all seeming to work out for Mickey.
One particular day, Fiona asked Mickey to go down to the Alibi and get Frank to give their money back. He’d been taking a few bucks every week out of the squirrel fund, but it was starting to add up, and they weren’t going to make it through the winter if it kept up. Frank didn’t take any of his kids seriously, but he was dead terrified of Mickey.
So, on his lunch break, he entered the Alibi Room and no one gave him a second glance as he walked straight up to the Gallagher patriarch and clapped a hand on a shoulder.
“Hey there, Frank,” he said, blankly. “You know I hate coming down to this fuckin’ dump and take time off the job, but I’ve got to ask you for a little money.”
Frank jumped a little at the realization that it was Mickey, of all people, talking to him. “Hey, Mickey,” he stammered. “It’s good to see you, son. You look good. Healthy. That’s good.” He nodded, along with his words, trying to buy himself more time, but Mickey wasn’t going to have any of it.
“The money, Frank,” he said, impatiently. “Fiona’s gonna have your ass if you don’t fork it the fuck over.” He held out his hand for Frank to hand the money over. He raised an eyebrow, not wanting to be here longer than he needed to be. He had to get back to work.
Finally, Frank fished into his pocket and pulled out a couple of ones and a five. Mickey took a glance at it, then glared. “You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kidding me,” he said. “Eight bucks? You can do better than that.”
“On my life, Mickey,” Frank swore. He raised a hand, and used the other to cross over his heart. “Hell, on Ian’s life. And I know what happens when people threaten Ian’s life.” Frank let out an amused chuckle at his verbal play, but Mickey just narrowed his eyes.
“You owe us fifty-two more bucks, ya hear me?” Mickey demanded.
“I hear ya.” But it didn’t come from Frank.
Mickey straightened his back, but didn’t turn around. It was Thursday, wasn’t it? He should have paid more attention. Pool Thursday. It was a ritual.
“Fuck,” Mickey whispered to himself.
A hand came down on his shoulder and he was spun around. Mickey didn’t even get a good look at Terry before the older man’s fist collided with his son’s face. The second hit sent him to the floor.
Mickey lost count of how many times he’d been hit after five. He wasn’t going to bother fighting back; Terry was twice his size and a hundred percent more drunk. But, after just a short while, Terry was pulled off of him and being restrained. Mickey pulled himself off the ground and wiped at his face with his sleeve.
“I swear to fuckin’ God, Mickey,” Terry spat. “If I ever see your faggot face again, you’re dead. You think I’m playin’ around? I’ll kill you with my own bare hands.”
Mickey didn’t say anything. He just looked up at Terry from his sleeve and glared at him. “Someone get him out of here,” Kev called. Immediately, those restraining Terry pulled him out of the bar and tossed him out on the street.
It was official. Mickey had been outed. Sure, it was probably speculated around town, considering Mickey lived with the Gallaghers, but it was real now. Everyone stared at Mickey. Not because his father had just spouted out to everyone in the bar that he was a faggot, but because they were genuinely concerned for his life.
“Shit, Mick,” Kev said, breaking the silence. “I… What can I do?”
Mickey looked over at Kevin and shook his head. “Can I use your phone?”
By the time Mickey got home, Frank had already told the Gallaghers everything. He’d spent the afternoon making arrangements to leave town. The Southside wasn’t all that big, and he knew he’d eventually run into Terry again. He didn’t want to risk that.
He’d called his boss and told him he wasn’t coming in after his lunch break because of a family emergency; it wasn’t exactly a lie, per say. After that, he talked with a cousin of Kev’s up in New York, making a deal on a shitty apartment. Six hundred bucks a month was a steal, especially in New York.
He made arrangements to go as soon as he could. He wasn’t about to risk his or Ian’s safety because of Terry. He needed to go. Whether anyone else wanted to go with him was up to them. The Gallaghers were family to Mickey; they may not have been his blood, but in the few short months he’d been with them, they’d been better to him than anyone else in the world had. He wasn’t about to get them hurt.
As soon as he walked through the door, he was bombarded with words from the Gallaghers.
“Woah, look at his face!” Carl exclaimed. Mickey actually had to stop himself from rolling his blackened eyes.
“Are you okay?” Debs asked, like the little fuckin’ mother hen she was. Mickey just patted her on the head and almost smiled at her, wincing at the slight pull of his wounds.
“I shouldn’t have sent you down there,” Fiona apologized. Mickey waved her off with a shake of his head.
“Shit, Mick, do you need to go to the hospital?” Lip’s concern seemed genuine, which surprised Mickey for some reason.
But Ian, unlike his family, just hugged Mickey. And that was a lot more comforting than anything else. And, after a moment of shock, Mickey hugged Ian back. It felt good to hug Ian. He couldn’t think of a time when he’d done that before. They’d done a lot of stuff, but never hugged. And Mickey, at the moment, wasn’t really sure why that was.
The rest of the family backed off, and just let Ian and Mickey be. Mickey was glad they did, because what he needed was to just be okay. And, as he was slowly starting to realize, Mickey was really only okay when he was with Ian. He hated it, and he knew it made him the most whipped person on the face of the earth, but he wasn’t about to let Ian go.
“You’re leaving,” Ian said, his voice low and muffled into Mickey’s dirty shirt. “Aren’t you?”
Mickey pursed his lips and held Ian a little tighter, just in case he’d have to say goodbye. He knew that once he was gone, he wouldn’t come back; not for a long time, at least. “Yeah,” He whispered. “I’ve gotta.”
There was a long pause. Ian trembled as he clung to Mickey in a way that the latter would never admit that he liked. Mickey would never ask Ian to leave his family. Family was all anyone had. But Mickey didn’t even have to ask.
“I’ll go with you,” Ian promised. “When and where, and I’ll be there with you.” Mickey smiled faintly at that and hugged Ian a little tighter. He wasn’t really sure if he wanted to laugh or cry. “It’s okay,” Ian whispered.
And it felt okay. Mickey ached, and he felt his imminent death looming over him, and he was leaving in just a few short hours to never see his home or his family again. But everything felt okay. Because Ian was going to be there with him. And if that wasn’t the most fuckin’ pussy thought he’d ever think in his life, he’d probably just come back and let Terry kill him.
Ian pulled back after a while and smiled at Mickey. “I love you, you know that?” Ian asked rhetorically.
“Fuck off,” Mickey croaked. But they both knew that he really meant ‘I love you, too’.
Just as the sun was starting to rise in the city, Mickey stepped out of the train station with Ian at his side and their bags in hand. They walked slowly, but it wasn’t a big deal. They weren’t in any rush.
On the train, they’d gotten a lot of odd looks. Mickey kind of got that, though. He was bruised all over his face and body, and that was probably the first thing they noticed. The second thing was that Ian stood twice: when he got on and off the train, and even then, he sort of hobbled along, because he knew that he couldn’t take a lot of time.
Mickey couldn’t imagine what they thought. Maybe that they’d gotten into a big fight and that one was forcing the other to come to New York. Maybe they were running from the law. Mickey figured no one guessed right. But he honestly couldn’t give two shits. There were a lot more important things going on that he had to think about over the judgement of some fuckers he’d never see again after he got off this train.
“Twenty fucking hours,” Ian complained a few hours in. “We could have flown in under three.” He leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
“Yeah, for twice the fuckin’ money,” Mickey muttered. “You ain’t catchin’ me in no fuckin’ airborne death cage. You know fuckin’ birds get sucked into those big-ass turbine things? What if they stop the propeller or whatever? I’d take twenty fuckin’ hours in a comfortable train over falling to my death because of some fuckin’ bird.”
Ian chuckled and shook his head, but smiled good-naturedly at Mickey. Mickey smiled back a little, too. He reached over and put his hand on Ian’s leg for a moment. He liked that he could just do that without worrying. It hit him that they wouldn’t have to hide in New York. He’d be able to do all the couple-y bullshit that Ian wanted to do (and Mickey kind of wanted to do, too, fuck you very much), like holding hands or going out on dates.
Sure. Mickey was currently covered in bruises. He was dirty. He pretty much always had a scowl on his face. Ian was an ex-military geek who could barely walk. But they were together, and they were in a place that no one could even touch them.
So, when they reached their final destination and got off the train, the city was still asleep. They were really able to look at everything without people being in the way. Ian looked at everything with big eyes and little smiles, like it as the most fuckin’ magical place he’d ever seen. But Mickey? He just looked at Ian. Ian pretended he didn’t notice, but Mickey knew he did. He didn’t care.
Their apartment was bigger than Mickey expected. All the same, it wasn’t much. But it was good; at least, it would be eventually. They’d make it their own place. Their landlord had given permission for a lot of things, like painting the walls and hanging things up. They could even get a dog if they wanted to.
There was still that lingering feeling, though, of Mickey feeling selfish. Mickey had stolen Ian away. And for what? Because he was afraid of dying? He was afraid of Terry killing him because of who he was? That didn’t seem fair to Ian.
But Ian could sense that. He put a hand down on Mickey’s shoulder and smiled at him. “It’s okay,” He promised. Mickey gave him a hesitant look, as if he were afraid to accept that. The last thing Mickey wanted was for Ian to resent him because he stole him away from his family. “Mick, I want to be here. With you.”
Mickey’s lips twitched up in a smile. “Don’t give me that gay shit, Firecrotch,” he smirked. Ian just rolled his eyes and shoved Mickey a little before he turned to walk away. Mickey took that as an invitation to wrap his arms around Ian’s middle from behind.
It was okay. Ian always made it okay.