Chapter 4 – Family Concern

Mickey had Ian over at the crack of dawn, while he didn’t want to sleep with the little bastard that didn’t mean he didn’t deserve a nice morning wake up. Watching his red hair reflect the light while his greedy mouth worked its way up and down his dick was soothing in a way he never expected to feel. It helped him focus.

Lip knew about him and Ian and while the lesson was necessary he knew the bruises left behind would be enough to get the bleeding heart Gallaghers to start making trouble and that wasn’t something he wanted to deal with. Normally he would just give Ian a farewell beat down and just move on but he wasn’t done with the boy yet and there was no way he was going to let someone else decide when he stopped getting his rocks off with someone. Now he needed to make a plan so that whatever came next he wasn’t just reacting.

Their first obvious move would be to try and keep Ian away from him, so he needed to be ready for that and he knew just what to do to make sure that no matter what happened he would always be able to find Ian and get him alone for a while.

“Hurry it up firecrotch, you and me gotta go see your boss this morning.” Closing his eyes he let everything else drift away and just enjoyed the sensations washing over him. Life was good.

Lip woke up early the next day but Ian was already gone. A part of him was relieved, he didn’t want to see Ian before he had this conversation with Fiona. If he did he might just grab Fi’s baseball bat and go find himself a Milkovich instead.

Walking downstairs he helped his sister get all the younger kids ready for school the whole time trying to decide what to say. When it was finally just him, Fiona, and Steve he sat at the counter while she cleaned up the breakfast mess.

“Get a move on Lip or you’ll be late for school.” Fiona was always worried about him missing too many days and messing up his chance to graduate, the first Gallagher to actually make it through high school and get the prize of the diploma at the end.

“Yeah, I don’t think I’m going today. We need to talk Fi.” He watched her head snap back to look at him and horror fill her eyes.

“Please, just tell me you didn’t get Karen pregnant.” Well that explained the look.

“No, no, nothing like that. We need to talk about Ian.” That was a phrase not usually bandied about the Gallagher household, maybe if it had been they wouldn’t be in this mess now. He would deal with his older sibling guilt later, right now he needed to fill Fiona in so they could try to handle this together.

“What about him?” Glancing at Steve he thought about asking him to leave but then decided against it. The older guy might have some good ideas on how to handle this. For all that he wasn’t exactly a South Side hoodrat by nature that sometimes worked in their favor. The rest of the family all thought along the same lines, sometimes rich boy was able to pull them in a different direction.

“I know we’ve never actually talked about it but you know Ian’s gay right?” They had to all be on the same page before they could get anywhere. He knew he was a bit blindsided by the whole Ian liking dick revelation but Fiona had always been a bit more intuitive about this sort of thing so it was probably old news to her. Either way the question had to be asked.

“Yeah, so what? Did someone find out? Is someone hassling him? Ian! Come down here!” He watched the thought of someone messing with Ian make his sister turn into a fierce warrior and was glad. They were gonna need that fire soon enough.

“He’s not up there Fiona. He already left. Ian’s been seeing this guy who’s like so deep in the closet he couldn’t find the door if he wanted to. Ian told me about it to ask my advice on something and when this guy found out I knew he… Well he beat the crap out of Ian for telling me.” It still tightened his throat just remembering the way Ian looked the night before, the defeat in his eyes enough to make him want to cry.

“He did what? Who is this guy, do you know his name? Is Ian okay? He didn’t hurt him too bad did he?” Her concern made this so much easier but it was still hard to keep his anger out of his voice, and the tears out of his eyes.

“Ian wouldn’t talk to me about it but he had a black eye and a split lip like the guy hit him and uh there were all these bruises around his neck like the guy choked him or something. He waited until he thought everyone would be asleep before he came home last night and he left before we woke up this morning. I don’t know what to do Fi, I don’t want to make things worse but I’m worried for him.” Hell he was whatever was beyond worried at this point, but he was also in way over his head. He didn’t know what to do, he just hoped Fiona did.

As he described Ian’s injuries Fiona had clenched her fists tighter and tighter in rage until the end when he thought she must be cutting into her palm with her nails by now. A glance at Steve showed him just as concerned and angry as the rest of them. The guy really was an honorary Gallagher.

“Do you know who this guy is?”

“Yeah, but after I tell you, you can’t tell anyone. Just my knowing got Ian hurt this bad, I don’t want this guy thinking that his message didn’t take and that Ian’s still going around telling the rest of his family.” That was his main concern when talking to Fiona about this, not that she wouldn’t know what to do, but that they would all do the wrong thing again and get Ian hurt even more. Just asking Mandy vague questions about Mickey in general had gotten his brother hurt; he didn’t want to be the cause of anything else happening to him.

“I got it, Lip now tell me.” 

Taking a deep breath he pushed back his anxiety and did what he knew he had to do.

“Mickey Milkovich.” Even saying it didn’t make it easier to understand. If asked even a few days ago who the biggest homo hating hood rat in all of the South Side was he would have answered anyone with the last name Milkovich. 

“You’ve got to be shitting me. How the hell did Ian end up with that homophobic prick?”

“It’s a long story that has to do with Ian’s last boyfriend. What happened was …”

Fiona listened throughout the entire story of Ian’s love life of late and could barely keep from getting sick. Her baby brother went from one highly inappropriate relationship to another and she’d never even noticed, and she had a feeling that even Lip didn’t know the full story. He said he’d confronted Ian about his sexuality less than a year ago and had only been in the loop since, that was a lot of time left unaccounted for and she seriously dubbed Ian had volunteered everything right out of the gate.

She’d always sort of left Ian to his own devices. He’d always done better that way. He was the one who almost never got into trouble, the one she never had to worry about and now she realized she was wrong to think that. He was the one she should have been worrying about the most.

He was the one who’d needed her and she failed him.

She had known he was gay, probably before he did, and had just thought that if she didn’t confront him about it or talk about it it would be one less thing for him to worry about. The main fear of anyone growing up in this neighborhood with a secret like that was that someone else would find out cause that meant one more person who could potentially let something slip and get you into trouble. She had thought she was doing the right thing, she had even kept an eye on him over the years looking for any sign of someone hassling him about anything and she still missed it.

After a few hours they decided that Steve would take Liam and go pick up Debbie and Carl from school. He would keep the kids away from the house for a few hours so she and Lip could try and talk some sense into Ian. If that didn’t work then they would gather all their courage and go to the source. Mickey. She never thought she would see the day when she would have to a Milkovich about their relationship with one of her siblings. She thought she had raised them all to be smarter than that.

Mickey had Ian follow him into the Kash-n-Grab just after nine, sure it was a bit early for him to be out and about most of his usual dealings didn’t even start until after noon, but he knew early in the morning was their slower times. Just after school started they were dead quiet until the junkies and the bums woke up around noon, that left him with plenty of time to set everything straight with Kash. 

He thought about it for a bit after he and Kash had their little talk and while sure perv boy agreed to everything he wasn’t the one running things. It wasn’t his agreement he needed but his wifes. The sound of the bell over the door had Kash looking up from his magazine and a scowl of impotent rage sent his way. It must be hard being so weak. 

“What are you doing here?”

“Don’t worry towel head I come with a peace offering of sorts. Ian.” He already told Ian what he wanted him to do today and after a little refresher on the rules the boy had agreed. Watching Ian shuffle over towards the old fuck and drop to his knees filled him with an emotion he had never felt before, he had used his boys to close deals in the past but had never felt much of anything at the sight of them doing it before. He would have to think about it later, the clock had just started ticking down on their little visit and he had a conversation he needed to get through.

“You two have fun, I’m gonna go up and have a little pow-wow with Jihad Jane okay.” Running up the stairs while Kash was too occupied to even think to stop him he let himself into the apartment above the store. Wow, talk about gaudy what the hell this place made his eyes hurt.

“What the hell are you doing up here? Didn’t anyone ever teach you to knock?” She looked him up and down like she already knew the answer and while he would normally meet trash talk with trash talk now wasn’t really the time for it. He would have to owe her one. 

“You and I need to have a little chat.”

“We don’t have anything to talk about, you need to leave.” She was trying to come off forceful but he knew him being in her home was knocking her off stride. She knew who he was, she knew his reputation, and he was alone with her and had obviously blown by her husband to get there. She was nervous and scared, just the mindset he needed her in.

“Really cause I thought we could chat about how your husband has been fucking Ian Gallagher since he started working for you. How old was he when he started here again? Fourteen?” He watched the denial flash across her face followed by that soul deep knowing that wives always seemed to have. She knew, even if she didn’t want to know, she knew he was telling the truth. Now he just had to make her believe what her gut had been telling her all along. “If you don’t believe me you can take a peek downstairs and see hubby getting his rocks off in Ian’s sweet mouth.”

He watched the implications crash down on top of her, hard enough to force her to sit down before she fell down. Good. She understood a lot faster than her husband had and he was the one doing the illegal shit. She looked up at him with tears of rage and fear mixed in her eyes and what he was sure was an unintentional plea for mercy. He was a Milkovich if he sounded the alarm on a kid fucker not only would his family descend on this place ready to burn it to the goddamn ground but so would every other thug and banger in this shit hole of a place. They might not be able to agree on much but the one thing every low down dirty fuck in the South Side agreed on was that age did matter.

“I see you understand the situation you’re in here, but don’t worry I’m not in a destructive mood right now. In fact you and I are going to come to an understanding.” Sitting down across from her he started to outline what he wanted and what he was willing to offer in return, they both knew she was in no position to refuse but the gesture was nice.

Ian got home just after three when the house should have been a madhouse making it easy for him to slip in unnoticed and straight to his room. He wanted a shower so bad, he just wanted to wash this entire day away. What he found instead was Fiona and Lip sitting in the kitchen waiting for him.

“Sit down Ian we need to talk.” So much for that shower. 

He didn’t want to talk to them, he didn’t even want to think after the day he had. He knew Lip wouldn’t let this go, that he would have to go to Fiona at some point he had just hoped it would take him a few more days to get to that point, he should have known better. They were both looking at him like he was some cute little animal that needed to be rescued or something and he hated it. He wanted to turn around and just storm back out of the house but the only place he could go would be back to Mickey and that was the last place he wanted to be right now. 

Sitting down at the table he kept his eyes trained on his hands, he would hear them out he owed them that much but he couldn’t look at them while he did, it would break him.

Seeing his brothers injuries in the harsh light of day makes Lip sick. The bruises had all darkened and stood out against his pale skin making him look hopefully worse than he felt. Because if he felt as he looked he couldn’t help but wince at that thought. Looking over at Fiona he saw her on the verge of tears and knew they had to start this talk now or risk neither of them being in the right frame of mind to do it.

“You need help Ian.”

“I don’t..”

“Look man this isn’t some chick flick movie of the week where I point out you need help and you deny it. Then I say you’re in a bad situation and you make excuses for Mickey. We’re just not gonna do that okay. You are a smart guy, I should know I taught you most everything you know, and you know that this isn’t right. You know that what’s happening between you and Mickey is abuse and you know that you need to leave this relationship.

“Now that we’ve covered everything you already know let’s move on to the things you might have missed. Fiona and I know you, inside and out, and we love you. Debbie, Carl, and Liam love you more than anything. You’re the big brother who knows about all that outdoors-y camping crap and who helps them with their feelings. So since math isn’t really your strongest subject I’ll break it down to basics for you. That’s five siblings who love you unconditionally and who want you around for a very long time versus one prick of a boyfriend who makes it where you feel the need to sneak around and hide bruises from us. Now that we’ve done the math and laid it all out for you, now you tell us what comes next.”

Fiona waited until he was done before she jumped him with her two cents worth.

“If you decide to leave Mickey I will buy more baseball bats and we’ll stand guard until he goes away. We’ll have your back no matter what until you can walk out that door without fear of a Milkovich coming at you. We will stick with you through all of it. If you decide to stay with Mickey then Lip and I will hound you everyday until you change your mind and start seeing yourself for who you really are. A bright, funny, courageous, handsome guy who deserves way better than someone who hurts him. Before you decide though do me a favor and think about it like this for a minute. What if it was Debbie whose boyfriend decided she was just some punching bag huh? What would you do then?” Hopefully this would be enough to help him see things the way they were seeing it.

Their cards laid out on the table they both got up and walked into the living room giving Ian the space he needed to know that this decision was his to make. They would be there for him no matter what. As long as he knew that then this was a productive day, no matter what he decided. The sound of the back door closing had them both jumping up and racing to the kitchen. Ian was gone. Looking at each other they tried not to freak out. He would be back, they knew that, he always came back. Always.

Ian tried to stop crying but he couldn’t, all he knew was that he needed to get out of the house so he went for a walk. He knew they were waiting in the living room for him to tell them he was leaving Mickey but he didn’t know if he could. Beyond the fact that Mickey scared him, and what he thought Mickey would do to him if he left, he kind of thought he might just be in love with the son of a bitch. Now the only thing he had to decide was, was the love he thought he felt worth the pain he was in? 

Mickey could be sweet and caring at times but that part of him was buried so deep under who he was as a Milkovich that at times it was hard to remember it was even there. He was so intense and focused not only on what he wanted but how best to get it that at times it felt like Mickey forgot that he was a person at all. His rules were constricting at times but at the same time he saw the reasoning behind each of them and knew why Mickey had them in place. As a Milkovich if he came out as gay it would be like declaring open season not only on himself but on whoever he was with at the time too. He got it, but that didn’t mean he had to live with it. Not after today.

Decision made he got up, brushed the tears from his face and walked out of the house to go face Mickey… one last time.

Mickey was in his room when Gallagher opened the door and stepped inside. 

“What do you want Gallagher?” He hadn’t expected to see him until the next morning and was a little thrown to see him so soon after their afternoon adventure.

“It’s over Mickey.” Those words stopped him completely, every part of his body froze in place to wait for what came next.

“What the hell you talking about, over? What’s over?” He better not be saying what he thought he was. None of his boys had ever even tried to leave him before, he had no frame of reference for this. He had only just gotten a handle on his emotions after having everything flip on him after seeing him go down on Kash and here he was throwing him off center again. What was with this guy never doing what was expected of him?

“We’re over Mickey. I deserve better than this Mickey, better than you. We’re done.” With that Gallagher just turned and left. 

He could have stopped him if he wanted to, easily really, but he just let him go. As much as Ian seemed to think he was in charge of the situation there were parts he was overlooking or just didn’t know about and it would be his pleasure to enlighten the little fuck about all of it soon enough. Looking up as the door opened again he found Mandy standing in the doorway staring at him.

“Happy now Mick?”

“Shut up!”

She left just as quickly as she’d come leaving him sitting there. Alone. No, no way this was not over, not by a long shot. He was as happy as he’d ever been with Gallagher and he would get him back. They would be happy again. Together.

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