This is only short. And it's for Voices of Reasons who wanted a sequel. It can be taken as a sequel to Bullets and Books, or I guess you could read it on its own. It'd probably make sense either way. Enjoy. . .

Mickey showered, styled his hair the way he knew looked good and put on the new shirt he'd stolen earlier that day. He even put on deodorant, since he'd been doing so well up until then.

Mandy had already left by the time he was ready, which had been intentional. He didn't want her to see him like this, didn't want her to see him actually giving a shit about how he looked. Because he knew it was fucking stupid, but he couldn't help it.

They were holding the welcome home party at Kev's bar and Mickey was glad he had put on deodorant with how fast he had to walk to keep warm. It was as cold as fuck outside, the air stinging his throat every time he breathed in. As he walked, Mickey sucked on a cigarette frantically, lighting another when the last one burnt out.

He didn't know why he was nervous. He hated that he was nervous, but there was no other way to describe how he was feeling. Even if he did try and talk himself out of it all the way to the bar. He tried to find any other explanation, but he couldn't.

When he walked in, flicking aside what was left of his cigarette, he didn't know half the people there. Gallagher had always had friends, been nice to practically everyone, that had never been Mickey. It made him feel out of place.

It was only when he spotted Ian across the room, talking to Mandy of all people that he realised he was in exactly the right place.

He didn't go over because he didn't know what he wanted to say yet

He just took a seat at the bar and ordered a beer from Kev, who looked at him strangely, obviously wondering what the hell he was doing there. But Mickey didn't have to answer to anyone, didn't have to explain himself, so he just paid the man and guzzled down half the beer in one go to try and calm his heart down a little bit.

He watched Ian in a way that was surprisingly blatant. For some reason he didn't feel at all ashamed to be staring at the redhead. His mind catalogued the changes. He hadn't gotten any taller – thank God – but he'd bulked up more and he looked tired. His hair was still short and still red, but Mickey noticed that his smile wasn't quite as wide as it always had been. It had become ever so slightly forced.

Mickey hated that war had done that to Ian Gallagher.

He watched the people who spoke to Ian carefully, noting that he didn't know half of them, but the ones he did he kept an even closer eye on. He didn't know why. Maybe it was because having Ian this close to him had every single cell in his body screaming, "Mine!" At the same time though, he was watching the play of muscles in Ian's arms as he ran a hand through his hair. He was watching the way his throat moved as he swallowed down beer, the way his eyes didn't quite seem to shine anymore.

At the same time as he watched the other people, Mickey took in the way Ian's shirt fit tight across his chest, the way the white contrasted with his hair. The curve of his neck as he tilted his head to the side for some reason made Mickey want to run his tongue up the side of his throat, made him want to bite him, mark him, own him and let the world know.

He wanted to let everyone know that Ian Gallagher was his. But he never would, Ian knew he probably never would. Not while they were still in this neighbourhood, still near these people. A part of Mickey, quite a dominant part wanted to steal Ian away from it all. He wanted to throw him over his shoulder cave man style and cart him away.

Maybe he would one day.

If Ian was still his after all.

They'd shared letters while he'd been away. Ian's had been longer, his writing neater, Mickey's had just been filled with crap and the usual threats that he better come home in one piece. Mickey never knew what to write. He always thought he did, but then he sat down, pen in hand and his mind went blank. He hated that Ian did that to him. He hated that Ian had even gone in the first place, but who was Mickey to stop him?

He wouldn't tell Ian that he kept all of his letters, that he read them sometimes when he was high, or drunk or missed the redhead for some stupid fucking reason that he'd never admit to. It was just like he'd never tell Ian that in the time he'd been away, he'd only tried to fuck someone else once. Tried being the operative word. He hadn't been able to do it, it had made him feel sick.

Maybe that was why he was so nervous, because he was as horny as fuck sitting there on that bar stool and the way Ian was smiling even though it wasn't completely real was still making him hard inside his jeans.

When Ian finally looked at him, Mickey didn't think he could breathe. He knew it was stupid, but his heart did this sort of stutter in his chest, like it had suddenly forgotten what it was supposed to be doing for a moment. Ian looked at him and his eyes moved right on past, like he wasn't realising what he was seeing.

It made Mickey smirked when those eyes suddenly widened and snapped back to him.

Mickey wanted to smile, but he couldn't do anything other than smirk. Not even when Ian's face split into that wide shit-eating grin that for once was genuine. Not even when Mickey noticed that his eyes were shining again. Not even when it felt like there was an army marching through his chest and like he was going to be sick. He still didn't do anything other than smirk.

He didn't look away for a second as Ian walked towards him, as he slid onto the barstool next to him, he didn't look away. He couldn't, because what else would he look at? Why would he want to look at anything else? He knew that was fucking stupid, but it was also the truth.

"You actually came," Ian said softly, like they were in their own private little bubble. And maybe they were.

And Mickey understood, hated that he understood. He hated that Ian had been waiting for him, but that he hadn't thought he'd show up. He hated that Ian didn't expect anything of him, but wanted something of him at the same time. He hated that he cared. And he especially hated the feeling of electricity crackling between their bodies, setting him on fire inside.

"You didn't get your ass shot off over there," he replied, because he didn't know how to respond to Ian's comment.

He smiled, "No, I didn't."

"Good," Mickey said, taking another swig of beer, still not able to tear his eyes away from Ian. He knew that what Ian really heard when he repeated "That's good," was, "I missed you." Because he had done, but he wouldn't admit that. He couldn't admit that. His tongue wouldn't let him, the words were never going to come.

"Yeah," Ian replied, but Mickey heard, "I missed you too." Kev came over and Ian ordered a beer, making him the first one to look away. Kev tried to talk to Ian, no doubt tried to find out why he was over there talking to Mickey. Mickey didn't know, because he didn't listen. He couldn't concentrate on anything but the way Ian's lips were moving, on how he wanted to kiss him, but couldn't. Not then. He'd do it later.

Watching Ian, he wondered how he could tell whether or not he still belonged to Mickey. He couldn't tell. It was only when Kev turned away and Ian looked Mickey in the eyes again, a smile spreading across his face that Mickey knew. And when Ian subtly shifted his barstool closer and rubbed his thumb over the spot on Mickey's thigh where he knew the scar was. That was when Mickey knew, Ian was still his.

It made Mickey think that Gallagher would always be his.

"You cut your hair," Ian said, which Mickey hadn't even remembered he'd done, "I like it."

"Because of course I give a shit," he retorted, but they both knew that he did. Because Mickey knew that his feelings, maybe like they'd always been were hidden in plain sight. He knew that Ian could tell, had probably always been able to tell. Mickey knew he couldn't hide anything, not from Gallagher, not anymore.

It was all right out there for anyone to notice if they just opened their eyes and paid close enough attention.

He couldn't think of a better place to hide them, actually. His feelings that was. He could think of plenty of places to hide Ian Gallagher away so that nothing else in the world could ever touch him; and maybe he'd get to do that, one day.