You think Lip sometimes looks at Ian and Mickey and just smiles a little to himself because who would've seen that coming?
Like, Lip's always been good with odds and numbers and back in the day, back when they started out a fucking lifetime ago, absolutely nobody would have bet on those two making it in the end.
He had been around back then, on the side lines catching glimpses from time to time. From 'Mickey's gay and we're doing it' and 'i know what he felt with me' to 'you think i should've?' and 'because i love him'.
And Lip hesitates in the doorway when he enters the living room for a moment and watches them lie on the couch in front of the TV, wrapped up in each other's arms, sleepy and content, for once neither bickering nor on the verge of fucking and he thinks that he's never seen Ian so happy and being himself this much at the same time before.
And maybe he shakes his head when he looks at the man in his brother's arms because holy fucking shit that's Mickey Milkovich right there.
That's 'someone's gotta get a beat down', it's 'oh shit is right', it's anger issues and russian prostitutes and attempted murder and escaping prison to fucking mexico.
But it's also the guy who pours Ian his coffee in the morning and makes sure he doesn’t drink it before he’s had something to eat, who used to count his fucking pills, who once bought a bag full of B vitamins as if they could fix it all somehow.
It’s who Ian lost sleep over, it’s who he made his best bad decisions for.
It's Franny's Uncle Mickey, it's Mandy's older brother and holy shit, it's Ian's fucking husband.
And isn't that so beautifully Ian, that he saw something in that dirty faced thug from ten years ago that no one else ever bothered to look for? that he found a love that proved itself to be stronger than whatever life or fate or Terry fucking Milkovich threw at them, that pulled them back to each other every time they fell apart?
Mickey has been a constant presence in Ian’s life in a way that nothing else but Lip himself ever had. Has been a witness, a catalyst, a victim of Ian’s epic highs and lows, has done insane things to and for and because of him. As fucked up as they always were, they seem to hold the balance, they somehow make it work.
Lip loves his brother with all his heart, has done so his entire life, he knows all the best and a lot of the worst of Ian and he knows that Mickey knows it too. Loves him, too. Signed up for it all, the whole package, good times and bad, sickness and health, Monica and Gay Jesus, mania and depression. Had probably signed up for it long before they stood in front of witnesses at the Polish Doll.
So Lip smiles sometimes when they bicker over breakfast cereal or when Ian can’t keep his hands to himself even when the rest of them is right there or when Mickey talks shit like he’s still big bad Milkovich, south side thug extraordinaire and not the boy who has been in love with Lip’s little brother for the last decade.
Because it’s nice to see they made it. Because if anyone deserves a happy ending and a gentle future, it’s them.
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