Chapter 8 – Options and Opportunities

Lip tried to sleep but couldn’t get his conversation with Mandy to stop playing on a loop in his brain. She made it sound inevitable, like Mickey getting Ian was just the way it had to be, like he should stop trying to keep them apart. Like hell. 

If Ian was giving up on life and starting to think that life was Mickey was the best he could do then all he had to do was show him he was wrong. While their neighborhood might not be all that friendly to queers that didn’t mean there wasn’t anywhere that was, he could take Ian to the place of his people and watch the life come back to his eyes as he took in all the glitter and man bods. 

Plan in place he went downstairs to use the laptop for a little research, it wouldn’t help anything if he didn’t know where to go.

A quick search on google for gay chicago brought back a surprising number of results. Most of them were northside, of course, and most of the bar names made him snicker. White Swallow, FairyTale, Manhandler Saloon, The Closet apparently puns were the name of the gay game. 

He had never really looked into any of this when Ian first “came out” to him, and now he was regretting it. After hearing that his brother had already hooked up with at least one other guy he had just left him alone to make his own way like he was allowed to do with chicks. He thought he was being supportive by not sticking his nose in things that were so very obviously private.

Then he found out about him and his boss and he nearly lost it. It was sick and wrong and creepy and it took him far too long to earn back Ian’s trust after his blow up over the whole thing. If he could he’d lead a perv posse against Kash same as he would any other predator he found, but that would out Ian and he didn’t want to do that, especially not now. 

Grabbing his coat he headed back upstairs to get Ian dressed, if they were going to hit the clubs Ian needed to look his best. He was going to be the best damn wingman he could be and show him that there was more to life than Mickey. That there was better than Mickey. That he had options and the world could be full of glitter and rainbows if you really wanted it to be.


“What about him?” Ian was sure if he heard that question one more time he was going to snap and kill Lip. He wasn’t even sure why he had agreed to this, but in his defense when Lip had roused him from his nap and told him they were going out to live a little he hadn’t thought he’d meant here. 

The White Swallow was a darkened room with strobing multicolored lights that bounced off a glittered dark dance floor. There were half naked guys in their twenties gyrating to the heavy thump of the music covered in some kind of oil and while he knew that younger him would  have been drooling at the thought of coming here this him was just scared shitless that Mickey was going to appear from the crowd like a horror movie villain and punish him for not asking more questions when Lip dragged him out of the house.

“No, he’s too short.” The guy was barely average in every way, and while normally that wouldn’t matter to him the more excuses he could throw out there to keep from having to talk to anyone the better.

“This from a guy seeing someone who’s a good five inches shorter than him. Come on Ian stop being so snotty and pick someone. I can’t be a good wingman if you don’t put in the effort too.”

“I’m gonna go get another drink.” While it wasn’t as easy to get served here as it was at the Alibi they had managed just fine with their fake I.D. though the look the bartender had given Lip said it was more a personal choice than a professional one. If his brother got too obnoxious he could just point that out and watch him freak over it for a solid half hour. It would at least give him a reprieve if only a short one, and who knew maybe it would be enough for Lip to call the night a bust and they could go home.

“Fine.”

He was at the bar, not even bothering to flag down the bartender, the longer he could have an excuse to stay away the better off he would be. He didn’t need Lip constantly nattering on in his ear about how he could get with any guy in the room.

“Ouch, those look painful.” Turning to his right to face the guy who was brushing up against him he found himself face to face with something he had never really encountered before. An attractive older man. He was fit and well groomed, no dad body here. His skin was smooth and tanned, his clothes and accessories were top of the line and fit him well this was a man of means who was used to getting what he wanted in life with little to no effort. And right now what he wanted was Ian, and if his voice stayed that smooth he might just get that too.

“Not really.” He didn’t want to talk about his bruises with this guy. He didn’t want to think about them with this guy. Hell, he didn’t want to think at all.

He reached up and lightly brushed his fingers against the bruise across his right cheek before humming lowly as if he had just discovered something he had thought he already knew but hadn’t been sure of until just then. 

“You look like you could use something to take your mind off your worries. I know just the thing if you’re interested.” Jerking his head towards the back rooms his meaning was beyond clear. Ian didn’t know what to do, he was utterly transfixed by this guy, but doing anything with him would be against Mickey’s rules. 

Mickey wasn’t there, and they weren’t together anymore, and his idea or not this was why he was here in the first place. Nodding he let the man lead him away never once looking back to see if his brother was paying attention. If he was going to do this it needed to be his choice, and his alone.

The room was large but small cubbies had been carved out of the sides of it so there was some privacy, even if it was only an illusion of it. After he was led into one he dropped to his knees without prompting, Mickey hated it when he hesitated.

No! This wasn’t Mickey, he needed to stop thinking about him, this had nothing to do with Mickey.

Unzipping his fly he felt those soft hands running through his hair and waited for the impatient tug, the command that he get a move on, but it never came. Opening his mouth he let his tongue trail up the exposed cock taking a moment to get him all wet and slippery, Mickey had a habit of flipping him over mid-blow for an frantic fuck and he had learned early it was best to try and minimise the damage if the mood changed suddenly. As the fat tip slipped past his lips and the salty tang began to coat his tongue he remembered he didn’t need to bother. This wasn’t Mickey.

The guy started to thrust into his mouth, shallow at first before growing bolder when Ian didn’t protest. He knew he should, but he also knew it was easier to just relax his throat and take what he was given, trying to refuse just led to worse things in the end.

Worse with Mickey, but this guy wasn’t like that. Where Mickey would just do what he wanted this guy went slow with every change he made giving Ian plenty of time to back out or stop him. There was no anger here, only pleasure and it was so freeing he found himself enjoying the act far more than he would have before. There was nothing wrong with the guy, he was everything he used to think he wanted in a man, but he was something so different from anything else he had ever had he knew it would have taken a few goes to get used to it all.

When the cum began to fill his mouth he swallowed it all down with only a small protesting voice to be heard in the back of his mind. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand he leaned back on his heels and looked up at the man who had changed his night without even trying to.

“I’m Ned by the way, you were great, if I see you here again we’ll definitely go for another round. See you later.” Without a backwards glance he walked out, his needs already met, and left him to pull himself back together.

He had just cheated on Mickey. He was going to die. Lip was going to be thrilled. These three facts repeated on a loop in his mind until he rejoined his smirking brother at the front of the bar and quietly asked to go home. He saw the way his subdued response brought Lips energy down to match it but he couldn’t bring himself to care, he needed to think and he couldn’t do that here.

Ian called off work the next day, the fact that none of his siblings gave him shit for it was enough of a clue that things weren’t going to ever be the way they used to be, before Mickey. Before everything turned to such shit. 

He just needed a day, a day to sit in his room by himself and just think. Without Mickey. Without Fiona. Without Lip. Without anyone weighing in and telling him what he should think or feel. Last night hadn’t been ground breaking in any way, but at the same time it had rocked him back a step in every way that mattered. Every expectation that hadn’t been met had been both a relief and a disappointment, it was all just so confusing. 

He didn’t love Mickey and as much as everyone, namely Mandy, kept saying it he knew Mickey didn’t love him either. There was something there, he could feel it and he knew Mickey was feeling something too, but unlike everyone else seemed to be he wasn’t certain what that something was. 

He needed space and time to think it all through beginning to end, but he also knew that was going to be nearly impossible to find. Everyone wanted to help him so bad, they kept adding in their own opinion when really he was the only one who knew enough to make any kind of informed decision and the decision he was leaning towards now was one he wasn’t sure he was strong enough to follow through with.

Closing his eyes he tried to will himself back to sleep, maybe everything would be easier after a nice long rest. Maybe.


Mickey though Ian had learned his lesson by now, after their last time together there shouldn’t have been any more of this bullshit. Now, here he was trying to track the little bastard down after he didn’t show up for work. Running up the steps to the Gallaghers front door he pounded against the wood until his knuckles hurt and the door was finally wrenched open by Fiona Gallagher, the head bitch in charge of the Gallagher clan. Just the bitch he needed to talk to, if anyone knew where Ian was it would be her.

“Where’s Ian?” She looked at him with so much disgust it was like he was pissing on her shoes or something. Her body was braced against the door frame, obviously not wanting him in her house, but was that because it was him or because Ian was inside and she didn’t want him near him?

“Fuck off Mickey, Ian doesn’t want to see you.” Yeah, like that wasn’t fucking obvious. 

“That’s nice, is he upstairs?” They way her eyes darted away from his told him he was right, Ian was inside now all he had to do was get past the dragon at the gates. 

Using all the strength his body could muster he pushed past her, the surprise helping him as much as the push did, breezing into the house like he owned the place.

“Ian get your ginger ass down here!”

“He’s not here Mickey.” Yeah right, and when he found him they were just going to talk.

“If he really ain’t here then you won’t mind me having a quick look.” He was heading towards the stairs when his path was blocked by old loudmouth himself. Phillip.

“Fiona already told you Ian isn’t here Mickey, so why don’t you just fuck off back to your own house?” He was standing on the stairs arms crossed obviously intending on blocking his path. “You must have better things to do today than run around after Ian. Don’t you have some guns to run, Russian whores to talk to, drugs to buy?”

For a moment his mind went completely blank. No one on the southside knew about his dealings with Svetlana, so how did Lip find out? Only his family knew and they would never tell an outsider his business, especially not that business.

“Yeah, maybe I do. You tell baby bro I’ll catch up to him some other time. You hear me Ian! We’re not done!” Turning away from them both he rushed back out the door heading towards his house and hopefully some answers.

Mickey walked home trying to keep his anger in check but failing, every step towards his home had his mind spinning faster and faster and his anger rising just as quickly. He knew it hadn’t been his father, even the ballsy Gallagher clan wasn’t brazen enough to ask Terry for anything, even information. His brothers knew all about it, but Lip didn’t know any of them well enough to just walk up to one and start interrogating them. That only left one person who could have told Lip about his dealings, and the very idea of it made his stomach start to turn.

“Yo Mandy!” Slamming her bedroom door open he was greeted with a look of pure sibling hatred. Like fuck.

“God, don’t you knock asswipe?”

“Normally I would totally respect your privacy princess only it seems you ain’t respecting mine.” He locked eyes with her not wanting to miss it when realization hit and she admitted what she had done.

“Oh.”

“Oh is fucking right. Where the fuck do you get off telling Lip Gallagher of all people my fucking business. How much did you tell him Mandy? Why? Did he get you all hot and bothered so your brain stopped working.” He knew his sister was a bit on the boy crazy side but if brainiac was what did it for her at the moment he just might have to start vetting her fuck buddies. Just to make sure she never tried to sink so low again.

“Mick.”

“Don’t you fucking Mick me! I asked you a goddamn question and you better start fucking answering me. Why?” He knew she had a reason, they were a lot alike in that area, but whatever reason she had would never make it right.

“I just thought-” She started and stopped, biting her lip, before falling completely silent again. Apparently she realised her reason wasn’t good enough and now she didn’t want to own up to it.

“You thought what? Huh?”

“He came by asking about you and I thought if he understood better than maybe he would stop making everything so fucked up.” God damn it Mandy. Now she sounded close to tears, and she probably looked it too but he couldn’t tell since she refused to look him in the eyes.

“So you thought you were helping? By telling my private business to a guy who could spread it all over the fucking neighborhood. How is that helping me exactly? You could have just told him to fuck off.”

“But then Ian would-” She was helping Ian, he understood the impulse there was just something about the guy that screamed help me at the top of its lungs. He understood the impulse but what she had done was not okay, she would have hated it if he’d done something like that to her when it came to her personal dealings and now she turns around and offers up his whole life to someone neither of them really know. 

There was no way she told him about the whore and just skipped over the rest. 

“Oh so this wasn’t about me at all, it was about Ian. Why didn’t you just say so.”

“No I-” Now she was looking at him, her eyes watery and pleading with him. Any other day that would have been the end of it, she felt bad and that would have been enough. Normally he hated it when his sister cried no matter the reason, but not today. Today she needed to understand.

“No! No more excuses from you. You broke the fucking code Mandy. If you were anyone else you would be on the floor right now praying not to die under my boot. Damn it! What am I going to do with you now? Huh? You tell me. What am I supposed to do now?”

“I don’t know Mickey.” He knew what he should do, he also knew what he wanted to do now all he needed to know was what he was going to do. There was really only one option, she got herself into this mess, now she could work her way back out of it.

“Well I do. If you want to help so much then that’s exactly what you’re going to do. You’re going to help me. I want you to go to the Gallaghers and find out whatever the fuck Ian is hiding from me, he’s ducking me today which means there’s something he doesn’t want me to know and Lip was too damn smug not to know what it fucking is. If he knows then it’s a safe be the whole fucking family knows, they share and share alike over there. Find out for me Mandy or don’t bother coming back here.” It would gut him to lose his sister, even to something as mundane as a fight, but right now he didn’t trust her and he needed to trust the people he lived with. That was the only way this whole thing could ever work.


Mandy sat on the edge of her bed and held in her tears.  A beating would have been easier to take than that look of betrayal on her brother’s face. She knew he would be angry, she even knew he might be disappointed in her for telling Lip so much about the family. She hadn’t expected him to look at her like she was his enemy. She needed to earn his trust back and fast, if he had too long to stew about it all she knew there would be no changing his mind back. He was stubborn like that. 

Rummaging through her closet she sorted through all of her clothes until she found a more understated sexy combo to wear to go see Ian. She knew he wouldn’t be the one to tell her anything, he would be too on guard around her afraid she would tell Mickey everything he said. She would need to target Lip and for that she needed to look sexy without trying to look sexy, she couldn’t go looking for Lip right off or he would get suspicious but she could spend the night with Ian and just happen to cuddle up with Lip. If Mickey was right and Ian was avoiding him he would probably wouldn’t want her around either, but he would never turn her away leaving her with the perfect opening. 

She could do this for Mickey, she would do this, and he might even forgive her.

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