Author: ShamelessQuestions (KageKitsuneXXX)
Word Count: 309,833
Summary: "It's fuck all about heat or chemistry or any such shit, Gallagher. You and me...it's just a thing that cannot happen. The sooner we both accept that, the better off we'll be."
For a long time, "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Ian Gallagher" held both the title of my favorite fanfic and the longest one I'd ever read, and I've read it at least five times over. Though the record-length has been recently beaten, it still holds a position in my top 10 fanfics ever, which is pretty impressive since it's competing with thousands of others.
The only complaint I could raise about this fic is that it doesn't represent itself well. Between the almost silly title and the vague summary, I almost didn't read it. But since it is the second-highest-rated Gallavich fic—second only to another ShamelessQuestions fic—I decided to give it a shot and found myself wishing I could read it for the first time all over again when I reached the last page.
For an AU, the story of "TIPDOIG" feels like something that could have occurred in canon if Mickey and his siblings weren't raised by his awful father and were instead taken in by a member of the Chicago mob. Maybe that seems like too big a change to canon to make sense, but the way ShamelessQuestions writes Mickey makes it make sense. He's not that different than the canon Mickey we all know and love (because we love Mickey Milkovich on this blog), but rather more evolved due to the changes in the way he was raised.
Ian's situation is also one that makes sense as a slight alteration to his canon characterization. This Ian has barely any contact with his canonically close family, which has also allowed him to change and mature on his own. His attempts to support himself and handle his bipolar disorder on his own feels true to original Ian, including how he meets Mickey's boss and quasi-foster-father Sal—a capo in the Chicago Outfit—at a strip club and becomes his sugar baby.
Explaining anything about this fanfic makes it seem like the most cliche, ridiculous mob/gang AU circa 2012, but it is so much more than that.
The story is crafted so well that you don't realize how important the small details or random scenes you thought were odd at first are until the end. Nothing in this fic is superfluous. And though it's fairly slow burn, the build up to the inevitable Gallavich crash is satisfying in a way that makes you really believe in their relationship once it does.
As someone from Chicago who has a fascination with the dark points in the city's history and culture, I really appreciated the dedication to representing the city and the Outfit as accurately as possible. It didn't read like those gang fics we all read once upon a time (c'mon, we all did, right?) that romanticized the characters being in the dangerous mafia world, but rather took the precarious situation Ian and Mickey were in seriously.
With the problems their relationship caused for them, I wasn't sure how or if Ian and Mickey were going to make it out alive and was very worried about them, despite the lack of a Major Character Death tag. But the way ShamelessQuestions wrapped up the story will forever be on my list of favorite fanfic endings, which doesn't really exist but definitely should.