Last chapter, last chapter!!! -flail- And it's kind of epilogue-y, so . . . basically you've done with them! Thanks for sticking with me through this sucker. Working on, like, ten bazillion other things right now, so hopefully something'll get posted, you know, at some point.

-shifty eyes- Yeah, we all know I suck at that one. :D

Anyway.


Mickey stared at me as I stood at the window near our gate, clenching and unclenching my fists nervously as I watched what was going on outside the window. "You've never been on a plane before?" he asked incredulously.

I shook my head and moved my hands to start nervously tapping out a rhythm on the steel bar the held the windowpanes together. "Nope. I'm a driver—always have been. This is. New." I swallowed hard and turned suddenly so my face was pressed into Mickey's collar; he started tracing soothing lines up my spine.

"It's not even that I'm so afraid," I confessed. "It's more just…confusing, you know? I'm going to get on this giant metal thing and be sitting in a seat up in the sky and when I wake up tomorrow morning I'm going to be on the other side of the world. Well, not exactly the other side, but close enough. Far enough away that…I couldn't even drive there."

Mickey laughed low in his throat. "So you're excited is what you're trying to say?"

I turned my face to the side so I could still look out the window but could keep my cheek against the soft fabric of his sweater. "I dunno, maybe," I said doubtfully. "Excitement's usually more tame than this."

"Mmm. I still can't believe you agreed to this," he said quietly, fingers gently carding through my hair.

I snorted. "I like to think I'm not stupid—when someone g-gorgeous offers you a short trip to Italy and you've got to kill time in between projects anyway, well. It's not like I had a reason for saying no." I hardly stuttered, something I was proud of. Maybe I was getting better at this.

"I'm not sure which part to address," Mickey said ruefully, "the fact that you called me gorgeous or the actual point of that." He paused. "You could have said you didn't think we'd known each other for long enough yet. That's what I thought you'd say."

I shrugged and slipped my arms around him so I could press momentarily closer to him. "Yeah, well. I thought I might have too. But it's only five days, right? And I guess maybe a lot of it…" I took a deep breath and said hurriedly, "I guess I'm thinking of it more as a research trip for my art right now. Not that I don't want to…you know. Um. But. I just. If I think about it as a trip just to be with you, um. Even thinking about going to your sister's wedding. It's. Um. Scary. Really scary. Um." I pulled away. "And yeah," I added, running a hand back through my hair, "I know I sound like an ass—sorry."

Mickey chuckled and reached out to ruffle my hair. "There's the uncertainty I was expecting," he said, sounding altogether too cheerful about it. He leant in, lips brushing against my ear as he said, "But I hope you know you don't have to worry." He stood behind me, arms around my torso as we both looked out the window, his chin resting on my shoulder.

"Hey," he said suddenly, and I glanced back over my shoulder slightly to see him. "Would it totally freak you out right now if I said I thought I might love you?"

He was looking all insecure and nervous, and I couldn't help but smile at that, even though my heart was pounding and I wasn't sure I was ready to say it back. I blushed and ducked my head, turning back to look out the window. "Well," I said half under my breath, "it's actually generally considered a good thing when this guy that you think you might care way too much about says he thinks he might love you, so yeah, that's all right. Really all right. Um."

"Our flight's boarding," Mickey said, sounding almost relieved. He tugged me after him towards the line that was beginning to form. "No second thoughts?" he asked softly as we stopped behind a couple with a pair of young children.

I nudged him lightly with my shoulder. "No second thoughts unless you're having second thoughts," I teased. "Because if you don't want to do this, we can always leave."

He grinned and turned his face so he could rest his cheek on the top of my head. "Awesome. This is going to be great. I can't wait to see you back in the studio after this."

"So you keep telling me," I said wryly.

~*~*~*~

The plane ride was long, and it wasn't really very interesting after a certain point—not when most of the ride was spent flying over miles and miles and miles of ocean. Every once in a while I thought I might see a boat down below us when we hit a break in the clouds, but even watching for those got boring. This was nothing like driving, where there was always something to look at, even if it was just sky—we were flying above the clouds, so everything above us was pure blue and everything below us was pure white. Then I slept.

Mickey woke me up as we were descending, and I had to admit that that part was neat—I felt like I could see all of Italy (all of Europe, maybe) stretched out underneath us. I kept craning my neck to get a better view and then yanking myself back to make sure Mickey could see as well. His hand found mine and started rubbing circles into the back of it. "Relax, you goof," he said amusedly. "I've seen it before—you need to move to see better, go ahead and move."

I blinked back at him and then leant in to kiss him, and that's how I missed the actual landing part of the descent. But it was well worth it. Mickey ruffled my hair and laid his head on my shoulder as we waited for the plane to stop; I slung an arm around him. "I can't believe it's only the middle of the afternoon here," he sighed.

"Jet lag, right?"

"You know it."

I hummed an acknowledgement but was busy watching out the window again. "It's all so…green," I said finally, turning back to him. "I mean, it's not like I've been living in a desert, but even that…" Something suddenly occurred to me and I groaned, shaking my head. "Which means I'm going to have to do another show that features all shades of green, won't I? Why are you doing this to me?"

Mickey laughed. "Maybe you just need to be more creative about it," he suggested. "Like…I don't know, make it all pink. Pink trees, pink grass, yellow sky. All surreal-like."

I frowned and leant my head against the window. "Last time you suggested something to me," I said after a moment, "I followed through with it. Maybe not this time, though. Because I am not telling the next gallery we're setting up in that we're going to paint their ceiling yellow."

He snickered and tugged me to my feet so we could get our overhead bags down. "Yeah, okay, so no yellow sky. But you could still make pink trees."

"Do you want me to make you a pink tree?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

He blinked and shrugged, looking abashed. "Well, I mean, I didn't say you should make a pink tree for me, it was just a suggestion for something you could do if you didn't want to make all of Italy green. That's not to say I don't think it'd look cool, but…" He trailed off, looking like he didn't know what else to say, and I mentally filed away that as soon as I was back in the shop I was going to make him a little pink glass tree. I'd give it to him for his birthday or something.

I smiled at him and led the way off the plane, humming under my breath because I was in Italy with my boyfriend and I was happy.

"So we have the rehearsal dinner tonight," Mickey mused, studying his little index card on which he had written out the schedule of things we had to do while we were there—things related to his sister's wedding, which was the main reason we were there in the first place. He had another one that was things he thought we should do just for fun, and I had another one (currently unbeknownst to him) of my own places that I wanted to show him that I had found online and in grungy little tourist books that were the farthest from mainstream you could get. It was going to be a helluva five days, that was for sure.

I found myself wishing wistfully that we could stay there for longer, but Mickey was already cancelling classes to be there for five days, so he really couldn't cancel more than that. Maybe in the summer though…

"Cripes, you sound like Kelly, the way you're humming" Mickey said, throwing an arm around me. He gave me that look, the one that was becoming so familiar but that still made my heart ping a little. "It's not a bad thing," he clarified, like I might have been uncertain—but with a look like that, such a thing was impossible.

~*~*~*~

Mickey leant back against the door to our hotel room as it closed later—late—that night after the rehearsal dinner. "Cripes," he sighed, rubbing a hand over his face, "I'm exhausted."

I grinned at him. "Should've slept more on the plane—I feel fine." I frowned. "Okay, so maybe I'm a little tired, but I don't feel half as tired as you do, I don't think."

"Gloat," he muttered. He snagged me around the waist. "Let's go to bed."

I giggled—actually, literally giggled, like I was some schoolgirl or something…or like I was kind of tipsy, which I was. I blushed a little, but that didn't stop me from catching Mickey and tumbling him down on the mattress with me. I pushed him on his back and leant over him. "So exactly how exhausted are you, then?"

He raised an eyebrow at me, looking like he didn't know whether to be amused or reproachful. "Someone let you have too much to drink," he accused.

I frowned a little and then sat back and nodded, cocking my head to the side. "Is that bad?"

He sat up and cupped my face in his hands. "I don't know," he said slowly, "is it?"

I leant forward and kissed him boldly. "No," I said breathlessly as we pulled away, laughing a little. "No, I don't think it's bad. I mean, I think it would be bad if, I don't know, you were the type to take advantage of me. But I trust you."

I frowned and thought back over the words, sitting back for a moment. "I trust you," I said more slowly, looking quizzically up at him. He was looking surprised; I blushed a little and shrugged self-consciously, giving a bit of a laugh like this was any sort of funny. "So maybe I guess I like you a little more than I've been letting on to myself," I said, rushing all the words together like he might not understand me if I did. "Um."

"Cripes." Mickey's fingers combed through my hair lightly; he wore a goofy grin on his face. "You want to say that just one more time for me, please? I don't know if you have any idea how attractive that notion is, but…"

The next thing I knew, I was in his lap, straddling him and curled against his chest, holding him tightly. "Mickey," I whispered, suddenly realising things I had been concealing from my sober mind, "I think I might love you too." My words unconsciously echoed the hesitant manner he had said them in earlier, but that was all right for then—and that might have been all I could manage then, alcohol or no.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, wondering how I could have come to love someone so quickly—we'd only known each other for, what, a month and a half, two months? And I hadn't even seen him for two weeks of that time, even if he had been dropping by the studio and watching me while I'd worked.

But the past two weeks between the opening of the show and the flight to Italy we had seen each other almost every day—were practically living together over at his place, even—and I couldn't imagine not being around him anymore. He knew when to give me space, but he also kept me from overworking myself and kept making me talk, even when we were just talking about stupid nonsense like something particularly ridiculous a student had written on one of his exams or some crazy idea I had had for my art where there was no way it would ever work but it was fun just to imagine. I liked him; we had fun.

And it was considerably more than that.

Mickey hummed deep in his chest and lay back on the bed, pulling me down with him and keeping me nestled safe in his arms. "Is that drunk-Jamie talking or is that…do you really…" He paused and exhaled noisily. "That sounded more dickish than I had intended it to," he muttered. "Never mind."

"That's…that's sober-Jamie talking," I whispered into his shirt. "That's drunk-Jamie giving sober-Jamie the balls to say something he's been wanting to say for a while now. Um."

"Hmm." Mickey tilted my chin up so I was looking towards him; he was smiling hugely. "Well, I guess drunk-Jamie might be okay, then, every once in a while." He sighed and dropped his back on the bed. "But lying here like this is going to make me fall asleep in two seconds flat, so I don't think I can capitalise on it, unfortunately."

I giggled and cuddled up closer to his side. "Old man. At least we have five days."

There was a brief pause, then Mickey said, "I'm actually hoping we have a lot longer than that. See, I had this crazy idea and this really romantic way that I wanted to present it to you while we walked the streets of Italia or something, but I think now would be the perfect time to…oh, what the hell." He rolled so he suddenly wasn't my pillow anymore—was, in fact, on the other side of the room, fishing in his suitcase.

"So, see," he said, turning back around and bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet, looking anywhere but at me. "I know it's this crazy idea and I wouldn't be surprised if you said you didn't want to because, you know, we haven't known each other all that long. But then again, you agreed to fly out here to Italy with me to go to my sister's wedding, so I guess maybe I'm hoping that streak of luck will continue.

"Anyway, I had a spare key to my apartment made up and I was hoping maybe, you know, once we went back we could move in together. And I'm not saying we have to move into my place, but I couldn't really have them make a spare key of your apartment and offer it to you, you know? So, yeah."

I blinked at him and then tumbled across the room to him, pressing against him and leaning up as best I could to kiss him, arms pressed tight around his lower back. "Fuck," I muttered, pulling away, "yes. Yes, yes, yes. Then I don't have to worry anymore about entertaining."

Mickey snorted. "That's all you're getting out of this, is it?"

I opened my eyes wide and innocent and looked up at him. "Well, I don't know," I said demurely. "Maybe you could show me what else I'm getting out of this—or is it your bedtime?"