Disclaimer: The television show Shameless, US version is the property of it's creators, yadda yadda.

Author's Note:

Rated for language, potty mouths those Milkoviches be.

This is my first attempt at this so please be gentle.


"Hey fuckwit, you got a visitor."

He didn't look up from the outdated People he was half-assed flipping through. His bunkmate, Dustin or Daniel or whatever the shit his name was always had visitors, had family and friends and all that shit. The fucker rambled on about how much they missed him and how he couldn't wait to get out of here to love them and be loved back and a bunch of other shit that Mickey didn't care to pretend to listen to. Why would he?

Mickey never had visitors.

"I'm not talking to you because your fucking interesting Milkovich, someone's here to see your ugly mug. Get your ass in gear."

The sound of his cell opening made Mickey look over the top of the magazine he swiped from the library the day before. The guard, McAllister, stood over him looking just as put out at having to talk to Mickey as he felt at having the doucher speak to him.

He told himself that he took his time getting up and straightening his shit and leaving the tiny room that was his home for however long he could drag this stint out was because someone made a mistake.

Mandy was freaked out by the dyke guards and their too thorough pat-downs to brave the trip, his brothers probably hadn't even noticed his absence, let alone his father. The elder Milkovich was more interested in his next score than his youngest son, and if Mickey was the type to pray the only thing he would ask for would be to keep it that way.

That was why he was in this shithole to begin with, to keep Terry Milkovich off his faggy son's scent, to keep him out of the grave for just a little while longer.

He told himself that the reason he felt like he wanted to puke was because he hated McAllister and his greasy overweight body so near his, because no one was allowed in Mickey's space.

Not anymore.

The walk to the visitor's station was a short one, and Mickey tried to focus on the bald spot on the back of the pasty excuse for a guard's head to distract himself from the feeling in his stomach that he was too afraid to define as hope.

One of the few memories of his mother before she stopped giving a fuck about anything but the drugs that made her forget her children or anything having to do with being a real mom was of her reading to him.

"Hope is a thing with feathers…" He would never admit it but he remembered every fucking word she had ever spoken to him, because in the end she had stopped talking to him altogether. Mickey would sit there and watch her, blissed out on whatever the fuck she had scored and he would hope.

He would sit there and stupidly hope that she would just remember he was there long enough to say something.

Anything.

He remembered his father yelling at her to fucking quit with the poetry and shit, did she want him to turn out to be some kinda cock sucking fairy?

He told himself to forget about red hair and freckles. About sad fucking cow eyes when he thought Mickey wasn't looking, and hot panting breaths whispering his name on the back of his neck in the cooler at the Kash and Grab.

Forget how completely fucking gay it was to secretly hope that Gallagher would just say the words that he could see so clearly wanting to be said, and wondering just how shocked he would be when he didn't get his tongue cut out afterward.

He wanted to forget just how much he liked hearing the younger man talk. He talked about anything and everything like Mickey really gave two shits about what the fuck was happening in the life of Ian Gallagher.

He wanted to forget how sometimes he would look at his ginger coworker after getting drunk or stoned under the L and think the same things as he did with his mother. Please just look at me; just say something to let me know you're really here.

It was a secret he would never share with anyone, 'cause he wasn't so gay that he would admit to the feeling in his chest when Gallagher would suddenly look up like he was a fucking mind reader or some shit and start blabbing about some drama at school he thought Mickey might actually care to hear about.

McAllister stopped at the door to the visitors' entrance. "You've got one hour Milkovich."

Why did his stomach hurt even more when he recognized Mandy's long multicolored locks rather than the short auburn hair that he had hoped for? She looked uncomfortable, picking at her chipped nail polish in an obvious attempt at his sister's version of bravado.

He dropped himself onto the bench opposite his sister, trying not to show the slight hitch in the leg he'd been shot in. He snorted, dragging a thumb across his bottom lip. "Way to skank up the place, wear some fucking pants next time bitch."

His sister cocked her head and smirked in a way that was purely Milkovich. "Missed you too assface." He could see it, the way she threw her hair over her shoulder, not looking him in the eye. Mandy always looked him in the eye, she wasn't afraid of him like the rest of the world. "You're lucky I'm even here dickshit, think I just lost my prison virginity in a pat-down."

He could see right through her bullshit, something was wrong. He tried to ignore the sound of blood rushing in his ears. "The fuck, did someone die or some shit?"

She fidgeted, eyes still refusing to meet Mickey's. He refused to admit the reason his chest tightened painfully at the sudden redness in her eyes.

I like a look of agony, because I know it's true-…

"Mick, it's bad." He heard his sister choke back a sob. "I—I just need someone to talk to…I need you to know." Then she just shut up, just stopped talking and turned her gaze away from him. Hot tears dripping down her cheeks, god she was always so fucking ugly when she cried. He told himself time and time again after he beat some guy into a begging, mewling twat on the ground that it was just so he wouldn't have to live in the same house as her with her red, splotchy face moping around.

Impossible to feign…

"Spit it out, it's not like I don't have better shit to do here." He knew she saw through his shit, understood he cared. Maybe she was the only one who understood him after all this time, even though he could never truly let her in. Never let her know why her little boyfriend tolerated his presence, even though nobody tolerated Mickey.

Nobody but Mandy wanted him around, not anymore. He made damn sure of that with one sentence.

He kept telling himself it was better that way.

"It's dad, he—he went after Ian, it's all my fault." He barely made out what she was saying between her snorting, gasping tears. She finally looked him in the eye, his heart dropping with every rattling breath from his sister's throat. Mickey felt the blood drain from his face as panic set in and he couldn't stop his own lungs from hitching at the thoughts like rapid-fire in his brain. He felt himself shutting down, drowning out Mandy's sniffles.

"I should have killed Frank when I had the chance." He barely registered Mandy's anguish turning to confusion as the numbness set in.

"Frank Gallaher?" She looked fucking retarded in her confusion, of course she wouldn't know what the fuck he was talking about, she couldn't know.

He hadn't even realized that he had stood up to walk away until Mandy slammed her hands on the table across from his, standing to stare at him "Mickey, what the hell? I didn't come here to talk about Frank fucking Gallagher's drunken ass. Dad went after Ian-."

"Because of Frank's big, fat cock sucking mouth!" Mickey never yelled at his sister, not for real. Not out of anger, they just preferred to communicate at a higher decibel compared to normal, non-dysfunctional people. Jesus, he was losing his control, red hair and sideways glances clouding his mind. His hope, the last of his hope leaching from him like blood from a deep gut wound.

Mickey had never thought of anyone but himself. Maybe Mandy, sometimes, when he wasn't so obsessed with covering his own tracks. The night he followed that waste of space elder Gallagher down the sidewalk, gun gripped in his hand so tightly to stop the shaking, all he could see was long eyelashes holding back tears that he knew would never fall while he was watching. Lips trying so hard not to say the words that Mickey so desperately in the deepest, most repressed part of his heart wanted to hear. You're nothing but a warm mouth to me.

Had he really said that? Fuck, had he only thought of himself like always? He hadn't though farther than how safe he would be behind bars away from Terry Milkovich when he found out how much his youngest son loved a stiff dick up his ass and teeth marks on pale, freckled shoulders.

He hadn't thought about leaving Gallagher alone, with his father.

Mandy grabbed his arm across the table and it was the touch, human touch that stopped him. How long had it been, weeks?

"Jesus Mickey, it's cool, Dad backed off when I got the shotgun out and told him to leave Ian alone, that what happened to me wasn't Ian's fault." It was his turn to look her in the eye. She looked so freaked out by his reaction, of course she wouldn't understand. She wouldn't know that every fag bashing comment he made was self-deprecating.

He sucked in a rasping breath between his teeth, running his fingers through his hair. He saw McAllister making his way over, hand on his billy club. Mickey threw up his hands, the adrenaline draining from his body as he sat back down. Mandy stood there, wide-eyed for a minute before she turned to the guard.

"Hey, Paul Blart, why don't you fuck off somewhere and pretend that being a juvie guard was a positive career move or something, asshole." Just hearing the Milkovich sneer in her voice was enough to remind Mickey of the person he was supposed to be.

He was Mickey fucking Milkovich and he had a role to play.

"Sit your boney ass down bitch and quick making a scene." Mandy stood there frowning at him for a few seconds before she sat back down on the bench. He snorted and spat on the floor because that's the classy kind of guy Mickey was, he was settling back into the role he was meant for.

"What the fuck was that douchebag, are you high or something? What's the preoccupation with Ian's dad, does he like, owe you money?" The question sounded innocent enough to anyone listening, but he and his sister had built an entire relationship on a foundation of reading between lines.

She was giving him an out.

"Something like that, fuck it though. I'm gettin cabin fever or some shit, whatever. So why'd you drag your skanky ass up here to see me, did you feel like putting on a show for the natives?"

Then she was touching him again. Her hand touching his, unsure, like she was afraid he would bite it off or some shit. Maybe he would, Milkoviches didn't do comfort or hugs. Bruised knuckles and split lips over an Xbox controller, getting slammed into a wall or the kitchen counter for jacking smokes or dad's beer, that's what Milkoviches did.

He saw it then, someone else's pain besides his own. Saw the cracks in Mandy's mask behind the layers of eyeliner and home dye-jobs. He listened to her for once, while she told him in fractured whispers everything that had happened while he was locked up in his safe little cell.

He held his sister's hand until the hour was up.

When Mickey got back to his cell he wished McAllister farewell with a well-rehearsed fuck off, and told his roommate to keep his fucking twat shut for once about his bullshit wonderbread family.

For the first time since he started this last round in juvenile detention Mickey Milkovich sat and thought of someone other than himself. Thought of the people he had left behind, and all the pointless high school drama he didn't want to hear and all the accidental touches he didn't want to feel.

Mickey knew he could never change who he was, both nature and nurture had seen to that. He knew that would always be that dirty, fag bashing, bruised knuckled emotionally deficient asshole.

But he could hope.