For the first few weeks, he doesn't show, and Mickey is convinced he won't come at all. The bus fare ain't cheap, the ride ain't short; Mickey pissed him off last time he opened his mouth and Ian's the type to stay mad for a long time. So he doesn't expect him to come at all.

Which is fine. Mickey doesn't fuckin' need it. Like he fucking needs Ian Gallagher to show up and give him reprieve, like he fucking needs to be reminded that he's a colossal asshole.

But anyway, Ian shows up at the end of the first month, and the guard says, "You've got a visitor," and Mickey is so supremely shocked that for a second he thinks it could be Mandy if not for her extremely tight schedule of contracting STDs.

Ian looks pissed, because Ian can't help but look like whatever he's feeling at whatever moment. It's a good thing Mandy is totally fucking blind or Ian's fuckin'face would get them in way more trouble than it should.

The chair makes a rusty screech against the tile, and the receiver is cold. Ian doesn't say anything.

"Sorry," Mickey says, just to say something.

"I know," says Ian, and for a long second no one moves or says anything and Mickey thinks he might die from the silence. He wants to say something else. He wants to tell Ian that he says shit just to say it, that he doesn't mean any of it, that juvie seemed like a better option than his brothers and his dad kicking him out and taking knives to his throat. But he doesn't. He can't.

And Ian says, "I won't wait for you," and Mickey doesn't expect him to, didn't expect him to do it the first time even if he did, so he nods.

There's another couple seconds of awkward staring before someone says, "Your time is up," and suddenly there isn't enough time to say anything that Mickey wishes he could but can't, and so he just says sorry again, and Ian nods again, a tiny quirk of a smile flickering for a second on the corner of his lips.

Ian doesn't come back for the rest of the visit, and Mickey knows his place so he doesn't get pissed about it, just wallows in his anger and his self-loathing and prays seven times that Frank doesn't say a word, and Mickey wouldn't have to lose the shit he's scared of losing.