Ian tried to slow his breathing, but it wasn’t working very well for him the closer he got to the front of the line. He’d got there right when the doors opened that morning, and four hours later was finally able to see the small setup for a few of the stars in his favorite show. His feet hurt, his back hurt, his fingers were numb from his bag of merch, and his stomach had stopped growling and was now just a constant painful rumble. He had a headache. But none of that mattered now. He couldn’t feel any of it the second he set his eyes on him. His heart went in his throat because there was no room for it in his chest.
Mickey Milkovich, openly gay star of Steph and Repeat, was only ten feet away looking like a goddamn vision. He wore a simple tshirt and jeans, but damn did they look good. His lanyard swung from his neck with every move, and Jesus his smile was making Ian forget how to walk. Someone pushed him forward from behind and he didn’t even care.
“Okay, relax, Ian. He’s just a person. A human just like you. A regular guy.” Yeah fucking right. There was no way Mickey fucking Milkovich was anything less than a god. Ian took a breath and let it out, shaking out his limbs and rolling his neck and shoulders. “C'mon, Ian, chill. You got this. Don’t be weird. Don’t be creepy. Don’t be that fan that gets blasted on tumblr on behalf of all celebrities ever.” Christ, was it too late to get out of line? He took another breath. Was it hot in there? God, so many lights and noise.
Ian was right there now. The big security guy holding him back with one arm stretched across his path. Up close, Mickey looked visibly exhausted, but he still had his beautiful smile on his face. Ian remembered reading a bloggers account of meeting him at another event. The event had a set end time, but Mickey had stayed well past it to keep talking with fans and taking pictures. Ian had had tickets to the event, but found himself unable to get out of bed for three days. His online friends had sent tons of pics and stories to cheer him up. That wasn’t even the best part. When he was finally up and in the world again, the first thing he saw was a short video posted on Mickey’s twitter dedicated to a special fan that couldn’t make it to see him, and advocating a help hotline for anyone struggling with their mental health. He hadn’t said his name, but Ian knew that day that he was more than just a fan. He was in love.
“Go ahead,” the bulky guard turned to him, letting his arm fall.
Ian nodded and mentally had to make his legs move. Each step closer felt agonizingly long. He thought he would never get there then suddenly Mickey was right in front of him, no screen no barrier between them. He smiled at Ian.
“You’re shorter,” Ian said, immediately flushing red and realizing what he just said. His eyes went wide and his mouth dried up.
Mickey snorted. “Haven’t heard that one before.” It wasn’t mean, it was meant to take the pressure off the situation and make Ian relax. “How long you been waiting?”
Ian still couldn’t believe this was happening. “Uh, about five hours.”
Mickey whistled, “Just for me? You wasted your time.” Still not harsh, just lightening the mood.
Ian was starting to relax a bit. “Was worth it.”
Mickey seemed to really look at him, catching his eyes. He nodded and smiled almost bashfully, like a million people didn’t praise him every waking moment of his life.
Ian finally got his life together after seeing that odd moment of vulnerability. He could do this. They were just two people talking. “So is Steph finally gonna get help for his ocd this season?”
Mickey adopted a somewhat serious face. “I can’t say much beyond what was hinted in the finale, but I will say he does begin to take steps in the right direction.”
“Pun intended?” Ian was actually being fucking playful with a celebrity. He could die now.
Mickey laughed genuinely, then gasped dramatically. “Oh my god! I just figured out the title of the show!”
Now Mickey was playing back, being the actual big nerd he was in interviews and behind the scenes. Ian laughed easily. Why had he been nervous?
“Well, I just wanted to say I really admire you for your work. You know, playing a character with an illness and actually showing the ups and downs. And all the work you do outside of the show. It really means a lot to some of us more than others,” Ian said, suddenly feeling embarrassed for turning things serious.
Mickey nodded sincerely. “I appreciate you saying that. I don’t think I would work on a show that didn’t do that representation justice because that is a reality for some people. I’ve known far too many people who never saw themselves in media and never got the help, and it would kill me if I didn’t do something.” Mickey swallowed and seem to be thinking about something. He looked back up at Ian.
“There was someone who couldn’t make it to this thing because they were stuck going through a depressive episode, and I just felt awful. You hate to hear that stuff, but it happens. And for more important things than like…” He gestured to the chaos of the convention. “I never want anyone to miss out on anything because of their illness.”
Ian sniffed, not realizing he was about to cry. He quickly blinked the tears away. “It was me,” he admitted.
Mickey stopped, taking him in. “Oh fuck. Oh shit, I didn’t mean to…I’m sorry.”
Ian shook his head, ducking it because he felt like an idiot for getting so emotional. It was his meds, but also just everything Mickey said. That was the whole reason he loved the show and loved Mickey.
Mickey came from behind the table, ignoring the guards that gave him a warning look, and touched Ian’s arm, handing him a napkin. “You okay? What’s your name?”
“Ian.” Fuck, how did he fuck this up so fast? They were probably going to haul him off and he’d forever be the crying fan.
“Ian, it’s okay. It’s gonna be okay, alright?” Mickey squeezed his arm and was looking him in the eyes.
Ian couldn’t help what came out of his mouth. “Can I hug you?”
Mickey chuckled, “Of course, man. C'mere,” he immediately grabbed Ian into a hug. He stood on his toes and wrapped his arms around his shoulder and back.
Ian sank into it for only a moment, not wanting to cause any suspicion or backlash. Mickey had yet to get up for anyone else that day.
“Better?” Mickey asked, pulling away.
Ian nodded, smiling a little. “Not everyday you meet and hug Mickey Milkovich.”
Mickey waved him off, back to being goofy. “Psh, I bet you say that to all the celebs.”
Ian chuckled. “Could you sign this please?” He held out Mickey’s character’s signature mug from the show.
Mickey took it and signed it happily, handing it back with a smile.
Ian was back to almost passing out. It had been a roller-coaster and it had only been three minutes. Luckily he was towards the end of the line, so they were giving more leway it seemed. The guards had relaxed a bit when they saw Mickey wasn’t in immediate danger from the redheaded sap. He held up his phone, “And a selfie?”
Mickey laughed openly. “You’re really milking this aren’t you?” He teased, touching Ian again. Ian tried to contain the shiver that ran through him from the repeated contact between them. After the picture, Mickey brought out his own phone and recorded a quick video.
“Hey everyone, just saying hi from the con. I’ve really enjoyed meeting some of you and all the wonderful gifts and words are just too much. And look who made it!” He pulled Ian into the frame with an arm around his neck. “Just wanted to say that if you couldn’t make it this time, it’s okay. There’s always another day, another chance. Don’t worry. Keep looking up! Peace!” He ended the video by kissing Ian’s cheek and Ian promptly passed on into another life.
Ian was convinced it had all been a dream made up by his manic mind to taunt him. But it hadn’t been. It had been a whirlwind experience he would never forget. The rest of that day had passed in a blur. He couldn’t tell you what happened after Mickey whispered in his ear to assure he was okay with the kiss. So many deprived people might have taken advantage, but Ian hadn’t been expecting it and was just happy to be there at all. It was amazing. He’d felt great. He couldn’t wait to meet him again because he definitely wanted to. That day was everything to him.
Ian turned over slowly, body sore from being in the same position for so long. He felt tired and numb and hated it. But he reached for his phone and pulled up a saved video. And Mickey was in his vision, telling him it was okay to be like this, telling him there would be another day, a better one, and to keep going. Kissing his cheek.
Don’t mind me, just came to rip up your hearts and mine 😢
Would you have hired me if I had checked that box that said I had a mental illness? What kind of choice is that? Tell the truth, you don’t get the job. Lie, maybe they’ll never find out. What would you do? You’d lie.