Ian gets home from school and Fiona says, "Have you seen Lip?"

Ian says that he has not seen Lip and he waits for Fiona to tell him to put some ice on his face or ask him how it happened, and he already has his prepared answer about how he fell during ROTC and it's nothing to worry about, but Fiona's eyes are locked on paperwork, another one of Frank's mistakes that they'll have to fix again. Fiona tells him to let her know if he sees him and doesn't look up.

Ian doesn't say anything.


Mandy is being very quiet and this is the perfect time for Ian to tell her that he is in love with her brother. Mandy talks about how Karen got run over by that car and man, what a shame, but don't you think that cunt deserved it?

Ian says, "Yeah, she did," and he opens his mouth to say something else, but then he doesn't, because he knows it will make everything worse. Mandy is only here because she's waiting for Lip to get back from the hospital. She doesn't want to listen to Ian say a thing.


Ian walks through days very slowly. It is all methodical. He goes down to the place Monica showed him, and a drag queen blows him in the bathroom, and after he's done, he cries really quietly and softly, and the drag queen pats his shoulder and tells him, "Everyone's running from something." Ian wants to know if that's true. Ian wants to know if Mickey is running away or if Mickey has always been that far away.

"Fuck you," he tries to say, but it's never been in him to hate those who have never wronged him, and the drag queen really did give him a nice blowjob, and it was a good gesture even if it meant nothing.

"We've all got our demons, honey." And Ian wonders if his demons know how to play well with others. Ian wonders if Mickey even has any demons, or if Mickey has been consumed by them. And Ian wants to know why no one has asked him about it. He wants to know why the only one who cares is a man in a cheap wig and plastic heels.


Ian watches Mickey say "I do." Mickey looks like he's swallowing nails. Ian tries to think about how Mickey is feeling but he never knows how to guess with him. Mickey kissed him once but it could've meant anything. It could've meant nothing at all.


Afterwards, Ian is smoking his sixth cigarette in succession behind the Kash and Grab. And Mickey comes up to him and sits down. And Ian doesn't say anything because Ian hasn't spoken in a week and he wanted to see if anyone would notice.

Mickey's wearing the tux from the wedding and Ian wants to rip it off of him and taste his skin and lick the freckles along the sharp edge of his shoulders but he knows better than to touch him now. Ian wants to fall in love with someone who isn't as fucked up as he is. He drew the short end of the stick with Mickey Milkovich and now he hasn't been able to switch back.

"I love you," Mickey says.

Ian hasn't spoken in a week and he won't start now. Ian thinks about how Mickey can't even look at him, and how he couldn't even look at Mickey, so he deserves it. Mickey tries again.


Ian starts crying, very soft and quiet, and he doesn't know what he's feeling, because everything is jumbling together and all his thoughts can't form into words and when he says anything, it's choked out and he doesn't even recognize his own voice: "Fuck you."

Mickey doesn't even touch him. Mickey stands up and Ian hears his back crack with the motion. Ian won't look at him either.

"I know," he says. And he walks away. And Ian thinks about how he has destroyed Mickey Milkovich without even trying. He thinks about how they are both too explosive to ever love each other. They wouldn't be good together. Ian keeps saying that over and over in his head. They wouldn't be good together.

Ian finishes his ninth cigarette and counts the cracks on the pavement on his way home. No one asks him where he's been all night. His heart is beating a cacophony in his chest and he thinks he's going to go into cardiac arrest and no one will see it coming.

Instead, he falls asleep.