Ian's crying, like a little pussy, when Mickey gets in for his afternoon shift.

The first immediate reaction is to run, because something about tears and estrogen trigger Mickey's gag reflex in the worst way, but Ian really fought to get him this job and thanking him by skipping out didn't seem the best course of action. Mickey may be fucking stupid but he's not totally retarded.

So he's like, "What the fuck?" and Ian sniffs like a fucking girl and drops the mop back into the bucket. Mickey steps over a watermelon rind and kind of wants to ask, but doesn't.

Ian says, "Hey," and acts like he wasn't crying or anything, which is totally fucking stupid because Mickey can see the red tracks on his face.

"You okay?" The question is mumbled but sincere and maybe there's a pinching sensation of worry in Mickey's gut, but fuck you, spending every single goddamn day with this kid would make anyone give a shit when he's crying. Fuck.

Ian hesitates, shifting his weight from one side to the other. Finally, quietly, "Yeah, uh, Lip came by."

Mickey wordlessly takes the mop and drags the bucket towards him, motioning for Ian to get the fuck out of the way. So maybe Mickey's worth ethic isn't fucking stellar but he worked as a janitor at the Walgreens down the street for almost a year before they caught him stealing Sudo. He knows how to clean shit, and Gallagher is way too much of a mess to even focus on anything but his brother issues.

"You two still not —" Mickey stops that question before it even starts, because it's dumb and unnecessary, and Mickey really hates asking dumb, unnecessary questions. The answer is in the way Ian's back hunches forward and the way he rubs at his eyes inconspicuously (but not really, because of his total lack of self-preservation skills).

Instead, he mutters, "So he like, threw fucking fruit and shit?" It's not as dumb as the other one.

Ian shrugs a little, grabs the rag hanging off the side of the plastic bucket and scrubs at the door. Mickey didn't even notice the smashed tomato making a bloody mess on the welcome mat.

"When I was a baby," Ian starts, softly, "and my mom and dad were fighting — you know, Lip used to like, sneak us out and he'd steal me ice cream from the gas station down the block." He sniffs again, loudly and obnoxiously, and Mickey barely breathes. "And when we got back, it was always… smart Lip, who did shitty things, and me. Who did like, nothing. Except drag behind him."

Mickey tosses the last rind into the trash can, shoving the mop bucket behind the counter because he really can't be fucked to get rid of the dirty water, flopping onto the chair. He makes a grunting noise that sounds kind of like an apology, sorry that your brother can be a shitty fucking asshole, but get used to it, kid.

There's a moment where his stomach does the girliest fucking swoop when Ian turns around, and Mickey almost punches himself. Fuck, fuck, fuck — he really needs to get laid.

But Ian doesn't even look like he wants to fuck, which is so supremely not-Ian that Mickey can tell this shit is serious, and there's nothing he can do to remedy it, considering it would be a really boyfriend-y type of deal and Mickey cannot even handle being thought of as anyone's boyfriend. Much less this fucking idiot.

"I don't want to be Lip's shadow for my whole life. Y'know?" Ian presses his palms to the counter, stretching his ridiculously bony fingers out spread. He kneels down until he's at eye-level with Mickey and his chin is touching the tile that probably hasn't been cleaned since Kash bought the fucking place.

When Mickey was a kid, he was nobody's shadow, because no one really bothered to take him anywhere to steal him fucking ice cream or some shit. Ian is lucky in ways he doesn't realize, not really. When Mickey was a baby his brothers gave him alcohol and laughed when he puked for the rest of the night and cried on the floor of their bathroom.

"Fuck 'em, he's a fuckin' smartass." Mickey is extremely glad he beat the shit out of Lip when it was still kind of relevant. If he did it now, it'd be really gay, defending Ian's honor or some shit. And fuck if Ian needed anyone to fight his battles.

Ian laughs, a little, and Mickey's whole entire being turns into mush. This kid makes him want to set himself on fire 99% of the time; the other 1% of the time is when he isn't even talking.

"Quit fuckin' looking at me like that."

Ian grins and doesn't listen at all, and Mickey realizes he's totally fucking fucked up the fucking ass and not in the good way.