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Chronically in Love

Chapter Text

Ian sat at the kitchen table with a glass of orange juice and five pill bottles set out in front of him. He sighed and took a pill from each. He listened to his family getting up and ready for the day upstairs. The toaster dinged and he removed his toast, but sat picking at it instead of eating it. Taking out his phone, he started to check through his various emails. He had just finished going through his personal emails when he heard his husband’s voice.

“Wow, you look like shit.”

Ian looked up and groaned. “That’s so sweet of you, Mick.”

Mickey snorted and walked to the refrigerator, pouring out a glass of cold water. He went over to the counter corner where they kept the coffee pot, but it was empty.

“Where the fuck is the coffee?”

“If I can’t drink it, I’m not makin’ it,” Ian replied. “Make your own damn coffee”.

“Asshole,” Mickey said back while he started making coffee. “You’re using this as an excuse to not have to clean out the pot”.

“Well, why the fuck should I be cleaning out the pot of something I don’t use anymore?”

“Ian, it’s been like three days. You’re acting like it’s been fucking months.”

Ian laughed. “Not cleaning it, asswipe”.

Footsteps clattered down the stairs and Yevgeny and Sarah bounded into the kitchen.

“Jesus, it’s like 7 in the morning and you two are already bickering like an old married couple,” Yevgeny teased while making a beeline for the cabinet with the cereal. “Oh wait! I forgot, you are an old married couple!”

Sarah laughed at her 16 year old brother’s antics, and turned her attention to her dads’ reaction.

“I’m not fucking old. I should ground you for that, you little shit,” Mickey said while smacking the back of his teenage son’s head playfully.

“Get me a bowl and a spoon, jerkface,” Sarah said to her older brother as he set down the cereal on the kitchen table.

Ian snorted. “That’s such a nice way to address your brother while asking him for a favour, Sarah”.

Sarah shrugged. “Dad talks like that all the time. Plus, he’s my brother so he’s always a jerkface. And at least I didn’t say fuck.”

Yevgeny rolled his eyes at his 11 year old sister. “Well now you just did.”

Mickey and Ian laughed into their cups. Mickey was now sitting next to Ian at the table. Ian turned to him and slapped him playfully on the arm. “You’re such a bad influence on the growing young minds”.

Mickey shook his head. “Alright, alright, enough everyone shut up and eat your breakfast. It’s too early for this much talking.”

Sarah and Yevgeny hid their smiles behind their hands, and Ian winked at them from across the table. They silently ate.

Yevgeny looked up at Ian and scanned him up and down. He was in in a button up and nice pants. “Hey, Pop. Are you going to work today?”

“Yep.”
Yevgeny looked at Mickey with raised eyebrows and then back at Ian. “Pop…you don’t look like you’re feeling better at all…”

Mickey held his breath and glared at his son. Ian was rarely sharp with his children, but when he was, it had to do with being pestered about his health.

Ian smiled tightly. “I’m fine, Yev.” He checked the time on his phone. “You guys need to get going, the bus will be here any minute.”

“But—“

“Yev, go get your shit,” Mickey cut him off with raised eyebrows. He knew his son was concerned but sometimes Yev, didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.
Sarah looked between her parents and her brother. She grabbed her brother’s arm and led him away from the kitchen.

Ian and Mickey were silent in the kitchen. Mickey ran the kid’s cereal bowls under water in the sink and rinsed them off. He placed both hands on the counter and leaned on them, listening to closing of the door and watching his children get on the bus from the window.

“I have to go back to work, Mick,” Ian broke the silence.

Mick snorted and crossed his arms. “No, you don’t. That’s the perk of owning the company with your brother and already making decent bank. You get to take care of yourself.”

“But Lip needs—“

“Lip wants you take it easy. I don’t think your brother is going to be too pissed off.”

Ian shook his head and put his head in his hands. Mickey walked over and sank into the chair next to him. Placing his hand on the back of Ian’s neck, he asked softly, “What’s going on?”

Ian remained still and didn’t answer. Mickey moved his hand to stroke the nape of Ian’s neck.

He sighed. “Fine. Answer me this then, do you honestly feel better?”

Ian remained quiet and Mickey was about to let out a frustrated “Ian” when Ian took a deep breath and let it out. “No,” he said quietly.

“Exactly, so—“

Ian lifted his head up, spoke in an increasingly rising, frustrated tone. “So, I’m waiting for the side effects to go away from the fact we had to up one of my bipolar meds so I could take this migraine medicine, and not have the two counteract. And there’s no guarantee this migraine shit will work anyway. I’m going to be miserable here doing nothing, or I can be miserable at work doing something. I like the second option, thanks.”

Mickey studied his husband. There was something else going on here. He had an idea of what it was, but he needed to talk to Ian about it. He sighed internally because while they needed to talk, this just wasn’t the time to start that discussion.

“Fine. But I’m driving you. I’ll drop you off on the way to work,” Mickey said firmly. He kissed the top of Ian’s head and went upstairs to get his work bag.
--
Lip walked into the office area that he shared with Ian. It was pretty sweet, if Lip could say so for himself. It was a large room, with fancy ass furniture and sleek walls, with a divider door. They each had their own side but they usually left the door open. He stopped in his tracks when he saw his brother sitting at his desk, typing something out on his laptop.

“Hey bud, what are you doing here?” Lip said entering the office and walking through the divider. He perched himself on the side of Ian’s desk.
“Um, I work here, idiot.”

Lip bit his lip. “Well no shit, but…”

Ian turned around in his chair to face his brother. “Look: No, I don’t feel better. But I’d rather be miserable and busy than miserable and alone at home on the couch. So just let me be miserable and busy, alright?”

Lip furrowed his eyebrows and stared at his feet. But Ian was staring intently at him, waiting for his answer. Lip looked up at his brother and searched his face for a few seconds.
“Alright.” He got off and patted Ian on the shoulder before heading to his desk.

To: Mickey 8:47am
What the hell?

To: The Worst Gallagher 8:49am
I don’t know. Just fucking watch him or something. I’ll talk to him later.

To: Mickey 9:01am
Ok. I’ll let you know how the day goes.

To: The Worst Gallagher 9:04am
Thanks fucker.
--
Lip stood with his arms crossed, leaning against the entrance to Ian’s office.

“You just puked in the toilet didn’t you?”
“Uh…”

“Gross man. You can’t be puking in my palace of riches.” Lip joked it off but Ian saw the nervous twitch of his noise and the slight pull on his smile that said he was worried.

“This is a fucking standardized test prep center, Lip.”

“Nope, it’s the number one standardized test and college prep center in the country with consistent and guaranteed results. Which isn’t even a marketing lie! And coming soon branches across the country,” Lip grinned. “All the rich yuppies eat this shit up for their precious kid.”

Lip threw Ian his jacket.

“You’re kind of bordering on a rich yuppie, Lip.”

“Fuck you. Let’s go, I’m taking you back home. Text your fuckbuddy in the car telling him what’s going on.”

To: Mickey Husband!!!
Lip says to tell my fuckbuddy that he’s taking me home. I’m fine. I’ll see you when you get home.

To: The Fucking Husband
Alright. Take it easy. I’m gonna be calling to check up on you so you better answer.

To: Mickey Husband!!!
Copy that. Love you.

To: The Fucking Husband
Love you too.
--
Mickey opened up the door to their house as quietly as possible. The last time he had called to check up on his husband, Ian had said he was planning on going to sleep. Mickey set his keys on the table by the door, and kicked off his shoes. He padded to the living room where a blanket lump with red tufts of hair sticking out resided on the couch. Smiling softly, Mickey really wanted to run his hand through Ian’s hair but he was afraid Ian would wake up, and he needed to sleep.

Mickey sat down on the other half of the couch, and pulled out his phone. He fucking hated this thing, but right now he was thanking whatever the fuck was out there for the ability to order a pizza without having to make noise. He set for the pizza to be delivered at 6:30. The kids would be home at 7. That gave Ian another hour and a half to sleep in peace.

Hours later found the kids upstairs. Sarah should be in bed, and Yevgeny should be getting ready for bed or finishing up the last of his homework. Mickey came out of their master bathroom rubbing his hair with a towel, and looked worriedly at his husband. Ian was sitting with his back against the headboard of their bed, with his legs straight out in front of him and his arms hanging lifelessly on his sides.

Throwing the towel into a corner, Mickey crawled into bed, and sat crossed legged on the side of Ian’s legs. “Ian?”

Ian sighed and pulled his legs up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. His hair fell in front of his face. “This isn’t working, Mick.”

“It’s barely been a week. I’m not you so I don’t know how shitty it is, but we both know it’s gonna take a bit for the side effects to fade out.”

Ian turned his eyes to Mickey’s. They were tired, and lifeless. His voice sounded the same when he spoke. “No, I mean….I mean they’re doing something bad to me. I can feel it. It’s not right. It’s bad. I have to get off this combination of meds!”

He had started tonelessly and ended in a desperate voice Mickey hadn’t heard in a long time. Mickey scooted over, and went on his knees. He cupped Ian’s face, searching his eyes.

“Please,” Ian whispered.

Mickey nodded. “Okay, okay. We’ll call the doctor first thing in the morning. As soon as they open. We’ll be the first callers of the day.”

Ian nodded, his shoulders sagging. Mickey leaned over and kissed the top of Ian’s forehead. “Come on, let’s get some sleep.”

Ian slid down the headboard, and onto his back, staring at the ceiling. Sighing, Mickey turned off the light and slid down on his back too. Their shoulders were touching. After a few minutes, Ian shifted so his face pressed against Mickey’s bicep, and Mickey shifted to his side to wrap his arm around Ian.

Chapter Text

They had called Ian’s doctor the next morning, and she had said to stick with it until a full week had passed. If things didn’t change, they would push their appointment date up to next week instead of two weeks. Ian had been frustrated but agreed but by the day after they had called the doctor, Ian was angry.

“Why don’t you listen to me? I know something is wrong! It’s my body! My brain! I’m the one fucking stuck in this hellhole of skin all the time. Not you. Not her,” he had shouted pacing around the kitchen. He kicked the bottom of the kitchen cabinets, causing some of the pots inside to rattle. “Fuck!”

Ian stomped to their bedroom, slamming the closet and dresser drawers. Mickey was glad that the kids were already at school, as he ran his hand over his face. He walked into the bedroom to find Ian putting on his shoes for work.

“Where are you going?”

“Work,” Ian replied shortly. He looked up and glared at his husband, and spoke in a tone he hadn’t used for years. It was vicious and aimed to push him away. “Don’t try to stop me.”

Mickey tried not to feel stung by Ian’s tone. He let Ian go out the door and when it slammed, he felt a few tears fall down his face. Maybe Ian was right. Maybe he did know better than a doctor about if something was bad for him. He sighed and took out his phone to text Lip.

To: The Worst Gallagher 9:00am
He thinks the new med combination is fucking with him. He’s gonna show up at the office any minute. Just watch him. Don’t let him do anything stupid.

To: Mickey 9:01am
You got it.

To Mickey: 10:32am
He’s been here for like an hour, and has been strangely productive.

To The Worst Gallagher: 10:33am
Anger has always made him intense and focused like that.

To Mickey: 10:35am
Yeah, well it’s kinda working in my favour right now.

After texting Lip, Mickey scrolled through his contacts and hovered his thumb over the doctor’s number. It had been basically a week. And it wasn’t getting better. By the time Mickey needed to head to work, he had set up an appointment for Ian on Tuesday. He wanted Monday, but that was the best the office could do.

Lip gave Ian space most of the day. He looked in to check on him, but didn’t go over to him or bother him except for work related things. He talked as if this was just any other day with daily tasks to sort out.

Around three in the afternoon, Lip checked in on Ian and sighed. Ian was sitting in his office chair just staring at his hands. He quickly went back to his office door that lead to the outside, and locked it before slipping in quietly to Ian’s, and doing the same to Ian’s leading door.

“Ian?” He asked. He walked slowly towards Ian until he was about two feet away from Ian’s chair. “You alright?”

He waited for Ian to respond longer than he would if this were a normal conversation. Ian had explained a long time ago that when he felt depressed it sometimes felt like he was under water and he had to push the water away to do anything, but the water didn’t want to move.

Ian shook his head. He was too tired to talk.

“Are you feeling depressed? Are you feeling physically sick?”

“Both,” he mouthed.

Lip sighed and closed the distance between them. He put the back of his hand on Ian’s forehead. Ian looked up at him with a muted, tired, “what the fuck” look.

“You don’t have a fever,” Lip supplied. He sighed again and walked back to his office, and pulled a water bottle out of the mini fridge and brought it back to Ian. “Drink this while I go tell Jane we’re leaving early.”

Ian’s hands shook while he took small sips, spilling water on himself. He felt embarrassed somewhere underneath the weight pressing on him. If Lip noticed when he came back, he didn’t say anything. He already had his coat on and was shoving his car keys into his pocket. He took the water bottle from Ian’s loose grip, and screwed the cap back on. He placed it on Ian’s desk. Reaching behind Ian’s chair, he pulled Ian’s coat off the back and held it out to him. Lip didn’t know if Ian would need help with it or not, but the best route was to always just go with that Ian could do it himself but stick around in case that wasn’t true. Ian pulled on his coat slower than an 80 year old with arthritis. Lip still didn’t say anything. He just helped Ian up, put his hand on Ian’s back, and lead him out the backway where no one could see them.

--

Several hours later, Mickey was sitting at the kitchen table bouncing his leg up and down. Lip had brought his husband home, and the brothers had sat on the couch watching TV until Mickey came back. Then Lip had squeezed Ian’s shoulder, clapped Mickey on the back, told them to say hi to the kids for him, and went out the door. The kids had gone off with friends for the night. Ian had gotten a strange look on his face at the fact that both of them were going out, but had just reminded them to be safe and take their phones.
It was around 9:30, and Ian was taking a shower. Mickey kept glancing at the clock on the microwave. Ian had been in there for 20 minutes. Ian liked to take long showers sometimes but Ian’s state of wellbeing was not good at the moment, and he felt anxiety coiling in his stomach. He waited another five minutes before knocking on the bathroom door, and stepping in.

Ian was sitting on the floor of the shower with his knees pulled up to his chest and was staring blankly at the wall and through Mickey. Mickey nearly cried in relief when he realized there wasn’t any blood. Ian was just sitting.

He quickly moved to the shower and grabbed all of the razors the family used and shoved them into the cabinet under the sink. He glanced around the room looking for anything else Ian could immediately grab to hurt himself, and was satisfied that he had done the best he could. Stepping up to the shower he placed his hand under the water. It was freezing.
“Jesus Christ, Ian.” Mickey reached over and turned off the water. Ian hadn’t moved the entire time Mickey was in the bathroom.

Swallowing hard, Mickey tore of his socks and sweatpants so he was just in his boxers and t-shirt, and stepped into the shower. Cursing at the cold water going down the drain. He tried not to think of all the other times he had found Ian like this. He tried not to think about the times where there was blood or puke. He tried not to, but it had been nearly two years since he’d seen Ian like this. His meds had crapped out on him but they had gotten him balanced again Ian had been pretty good and was happy with things. Until the migraines became more frequent. Until the pain was so bad he couldn’t move. Until Mickey was dragging him to the emergency room because he couldn’t help and Ian needed it to stop. He needed hospital grade pain killers. Ian started missing work, missing things for the kids, missing time with Mickey that wasn’t spent sharing a bed while Ian was lying in the dark in pain. It had started to go down from there. But he was staying afloat, not sinking with the help of the therapist and doctor. Maybe treading harder than usual, but he wasn’t sinking but now it looked like he had sunk, maybe even to the bottom.

Mickey squeezed his eyes shut and let out a breath. He was terrified but he needed to remain calm. He could do this. He would do this. He had to do this. For Ian. He lowered himself along the shower wall and sat on the freezing floor. His boxers soaked through, and his shoulders lightly touching Ian’s freckled ones.

“I got you an appointment for Tuesday,” he said quietly.

Ian was silent for a few seconds and then mumbled, “Tired.”

Mickey turned towards Ian. “I know,” he said gently. “Let’s get you up and in some nice, warm, dry clothes.” Pushing himself to his knees and placing his hand on Ian’s shoulder he waited for Ian to process. He started to rub circles with his thumb on Ian’s shoulder and tried again. “Let’s go to bed okay?”

Ian dropped his gaze from the wall in front of them, and hung his head. Mickey sighed trying to think of a different tactic to get them off this freezing ass floor. Small sniffles and hitches of breath started coming from Ian’s bent head.

Shit. “Hey, what’s going on?” He sat so he was sitting on his heels, and tried ducking his head to see Ian’s face. “Talk to me.”

Slowly lifting his head up, Ian sniffed and met Mickey’s eyes for a second before looking away. Mickey felt his heart snap in half at the hopeless look in Ian’s eyes, and blinked back his own tears. Ian took his arms from being wrapped around his legs to being wrapped around his stomach, and tears welled up and spilled over slowly and silently. He shook his head and looked back down.

“Ian,” Mickey said with his voice cracking. He cleared his throat. “Man, you’re scaring me. Talk to me. Please.” He dropped his hand from Ian’s shoulder and placed it on top of his knee, shaking it slightly.

At Mickey’s words Ian’s head snapped up, his breath hitched, his eyes watered until his eyes were distorted, and a full blown sob escaped from his mouth. “Sorry,” he choked out.
Fuck. He hadn’t meant to make Ian feel guilty but Ian was scaring the shit out of him. He pulled Ian to him and wrapped his arms around him, so that Ian was sobbing against his chest. Mickey dropped his head and rested it on top of Ian’s.

“Don’t be,” he said softly. “I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. I’m just worried about you.”

He felt Ian nod against his chest but his sobs got louder. Mickey tightened his grip and started rocking them back and forth. All thoughts of getting off the hard floor were forgotten. He just wanted Ian to tell him what the fuck was going on. Give him something to go off of.

Ian’s sobs were starting to quiet and slow down, but he kept rocking them gently. He pushed his hand through the hair around Ian’s neck. “Please,” Mickey begged unable to hide the fact he was crying from his voice now. “Talk to me. I just want you to feel better.”

Ian pressed his face against Mickey’s chest and mumbled “Cold. Bed.”

Mickey nearly groaned in frustration. “Will you tell me what’s going in bed?”

Ian lifted his head up. His face was puffy, and red. He was shivering even with Mickey’s body heat. “I’ll try.”

Mickey nodded and kissed Ian’s forehead. “That’s all I want.”

--

Once Ian was dressed in warm clothes and wrapped up in a blanket on the bed, and had drank half of the water bottle Mickey handed him, Mickey looked expectantly at him.
Ian took a deep breath and wrapped the blanket tighter around himself. He forced himself to look Mickey in the face. “I’m a terrible person, Mickey.”

Mickey’s mouth dropped open. “The fuck?” He gasped.

Ian flinched. Mickey reminded himself that shouting at Ian or trying to implore him with logic wasn’t going to work right now. He needed to let Ian talk. But seriously what the fuck? Where was this coming from?

Lowering his voice and using a gentler tone, Mickey asked, “Baby, what are you talking about?”

“They don’t want to be around me,” Ian whispered.

Mickey was really confused, frustrated, and scared. Usually Ian was more coherent than this when explaining what is wrong. His automatic response to those feelings was yelling so he took a second to make sure he wasn’t going to yell.

“Who?”

“The kids,” Ian said still whispering.

“Because they went out for the night?

Ian nodded.

Mickey sighed and took Ian’s hand, squeezing it. “Ian, Yev is a teenager and Sarah is a…what do your stupid parenting books call it?” Mickey paused. “Oh, yeah, a preteen. They’re going to go off and do their own shit. That’s what they should be doing. They don’t want to be around you for the night for the same reason every other teenage kid does on a Friday.”

“No, no.” Ian shook his head, tears starting again. “They don’t want to be around me because I’m crazy and ruining their lives.”

Squeezing Ian’s hand again, Mickey leaned forward so he was closer to Ian. “I know that’s how you feel right now, but I don’t think that’s true. And I don’t think the kids think that either. And you aren’t ruining their lives, not even close.”

“No, Mick. Listen! I’m always fucked up! There’s always something wrong with me! I’m always missing their things. They look at me like I’m made of glass, and if they do the wrong thing they’ll break, and they’ll get cut,” Ian was yelling.

Mickey smiled sadly. “They’re not scared of you, babe. They’re just worried about you because they care. And they may be disappointed that you can’t do stuff with them right now, but they don’t hate you. None of this is your fault.”

Ian yanked his hand from Mickey’s grip and drew his knees up to his chest. “I’m a bad parent. I’m a bad person, bad, bad, bad,” Ian was muttering to himself into his knees.

Running his hand through his hair, Mickey blinked back tears. “Ian,” he said softly. “We both know exactly what bad parents look like. You haven’t done any of the fucking things your parents or my father did. You haven’t messed up anymore than the average parent.”

Ian choked on a sob and brokenly said, “No. I did. I kidnapped Yevgeny while manic. I left him alone in a car!”

“You were a goddamn kid!” Mickey yelled. He couldn’t help it. The frustration had bowled to the top. Ian still feeling guilty about that was ridiculous. They had settled this a long time ago. His stupid fucking disorder liked to pull up all of Ian’s worst shit and dangle it in front of his face. “Fuck. You were almost the same age as Yevgeny! It was years ago. You’ve never done anything like that since.”

Ian was shaking his head so hard Mickey was considering grabbing it between his hands but Ian stopped. He wailed. “I yelled at Sarah last week! I made her cry.”

Mickey pushed himself off the bed and started pacing. “And I’ve never made her fucking cry? I’ve never yelled? I’ve never hurt them? I’ve done all of those things, Ian!” He shouted.

“But, you didn’t do it to hurt them on purpose, and—“

“Neither did you!” Mickey threw up his hands in frustration.

Ian looked up. Tears spilled down his cheeks as he watched Mickey walk back and forth in front of the bed, breathing hard. Mickey stopped tugged on his hair, trying to slow his breathing down. He approached the end of the bed so his knees were touching the mattress.

“I’m sorry,” Mickey said. “I don’t like when you feel bad about yourself, especially when you don’t have to.” He sat on the edge of the bed.

Ian dropped his knees, and started to pick at the end of the blanket. “All I do is hurt you,” he said lowly. “And I hate myself.”

“I’ve hurt you before, haven’t I? I’m going to hurt you again and you’re going to hurt me again. It’s just the way life is.”

“No,” Ian insisted. “I’m always hurting you.”

Mickey dropped his head. “How?” He said tiredly.

“I’m scaring you right now, and—“

“Stop,” Mickey interrupted. “Remember when some kids beat up Yevvie a few years ago and how upset you were about it? How scared you were that he would spend his childhood getting beat up by other kids?”

Ian nodded but looked confused. “That hurt you, but it was the situation that hurt you. It was because you cared. It’s the same thing.”

Ian remained silent. Mickey sighed and pushed himself further onto the bed. Brushing a gentle hand through Ian’s damp hair, he whispered gently, “You’re not hurting me, okay?”

Ian didn’t move or respond. Mickey blew out a breath and opened his arms. “Get the fuck over here.”

Looking hesitant, Mickey waved his arm and Ian crawled across the space and let Mickey wrap his arms around him. Mickey thought maybe they had reached the end of this battle but Ian started talking into Mickey’s sweatshirt, playing with the strings. “I put you in danger.”

Mickey didn’t say anything. He was tired of arguing with Ian’s thoughts, so he just hugged him tighter.

“When your dad found us, and, and… when I made you come out, and that time I wouldn’t get off the roof…”

Putting his hand on the back of Ian’s head, he pushed it so Ian’s face was lightly pressing into his chest. “Shhh. That’s in the past. Okay? It’s all the fucking distant past.”

“Doesn’t matter, “Ian mumbled.

Mickey started lightly scratching Ian’s head while still keeping him pressed against him. “It does to me.”

Mickey paused and collected himself. They needed to go to bed. He needed Ian to just go to sleep and it’d be better in the morning. They just needed to go to sleep.
“I know you think your new meds are messing with you right now, and I think you’re right. The meds are messing with you. Your disorder is messing with you. It’s bringing up old shit to make you feel bad. We’ll get it straightened out, okay? We’ll get it adjusted. Why don't we just rest now?"

Ian lifted his head up so only his forehead was on Mickey’s chest, and trailed his hand down Mickey’s arm. “I’m so tired of adjusting, Mickey.”

Mickey’s heart skipped a beat and not in the way Ian usually made it skip. Ian sounded so tired.

“I’m tired of hurting. I’m tired of not being able to do what I want to do. And having to wait. Wait and see. I’m tired of being a burden. I just want it to stop.”

Starting to panic, Mickey pulled Ian away from him so he could look into his eyes while still keeping a grip on the sides of Ian’s arms. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Ian seemed to be oblivious to Mickey’s panic and it was like he muttering to himself in his own world. “I don’t wanna do this anymore. I don’t wanna try anymore. It’ll be better for everyone. No more problems.”

Ian was looking somewhere to his left and didn’t move even when Mickey shook his arms. “Ian!”

His shouting seemed to have caught Ian’s attention somewhere in his muttering, “No more problems, Mick.” Ian said earnestly, like he was holding the cure to cancer and the ability to stop wars. He blinked his watery green eyes at his husband, and smiled. “Better this way.”

Mickey sat frozen, all thoughts rushing out of his head and all his felt was cold. He couldn’t remember what he was supposed to do in these situations. He couldn’t remember their plans. He couldn’t think. They sat there for a while with Mickey not moving and with his eyes closed. He felt Ian’s hands on the side of his face, rubbing his thumbs gently. Mickey grabbed Ian’s wrists and let tears leak from his eyes.

“Ian, no.” He squeezed Ian’s wrists. “No. It won’t be better if you hurt yourself.”

Ian was blinking at him in confusion. Mickey released his grip from Ian and pried Ian’s hands away from his face. Instead he grabbed Ian’s hands and leaned forward so his eyes were directly in front of Ian’s. “You know that won’t make things better. Come on,” Mickey begged. “I know you know this. Somewhere in that head of yours, you know it won’t make things better. You know.”

Ian was silent and Mickey just kept staring into Ian’s eyes refusing to allow them to break eye contact, as if he could bore his knowledge into Ian’s brain just by looking intensely at him. Mickey didn’t know how long he was staring into his husband’s eyes, willing and praying to whatever god might actually fucking exist for Ian to remember. It felt like hours before Ian started blinking and slowly pulled away from Mickey.

Mickey held his breath. Ian was looking down with his brow furrowed. Please. Please. Please.

“I…,” Ian cleared his throat and looked up. “I know….it’s just….the feeling…” He closed his eyes and sighed. “I’m sorry.”

He couldn’t help himself, Mickey let out a sob of relief and when Ian moved to wrap his arms around Mickey from behind, he gripped Ian’s arms like they were a safety bar in front of them.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered over and over into Mickey’s hair until Mickey forced himself to stop crying. This wasn’t about him what the fuck was he doing? He was supposed to be there for Ian right now. Ian wasn’t supposed to be comforting him about Ian, fuck. He cleared his throat and gently removed Ian’s arms and turned around so they were sitting face to face.

“Mickey….” Ian hedged. “I think….I think I need a-a-….”

Mickey’s eyes widened and he didn’t know if he was more upset at the realization of what Ian was trying to say, or utterly relieved. “A hospital?” Mickey finished quietly.

Ian nodded.

Taking a deep breath Mickey ran his finger lightly down Ian’s cheek. “Okay. Okay.”

Chapter Text

Lip was in bed blissed out from orgasm with his girlfriend resting her head on his chest. It was peaceful and relaxed, and he was starting to fall asleep when his phone rang. He groaned and reached his hand out to the nightstand, blindly grabbing for his phone. When he finally grabbed the phone and looked to see who was calling, he shot himself upright, knocking his girlfriend off. Mickey never called Lip without Lip knowing that it was going to happen, especially at nearly midnight. Fuck.

“What’s-“ Lip started but Mickey had started speaking as soon as Lip picked up.

“I need you to go back to our apartment and get his insurance information. I forgot it. His card is in his wallet. On the dresser.”
“Okay. Why? Where are you?”

“In the car driving Ian to the hospital.”

Lip had heard the combination of the words “Ian” and “hospital” more times than he wanted to think about, but it always caused his blood to run cold.

“Fuck. Did he hurt himself?”

“No, just talking about it. Look, I’m here. Just get the card and meet me, please?”

“Alright, alright. I’m on it.”

Lip had crashed through his brother’s apartment and was back in the car with his insurance information. He dialed Mickey. “I got it. Where are you? Where are the kids?”

“ER. Kids are at friends’ houses for the night. Thank god.”

“Be there in 10.”
--
He jumped out of the car and ran through to the emergency room. He ignored the receptionist, and scanned the room for his brother. They were in a corner that was the least crowded area of the room. Ian was bunched up into a ball on a chair, and Mickey was next to him running his hand through Ian’s hair.

Lip practically ran to them, and crouched in front of Ian. He put a hand on Ian’s knee and shook it lightly. Ian took his head out of his hand where it was resting and looked up. “Hey,” he greeted Lip quietly.

Lip nearly choked on how relieved he was that Ian was somewhat alert and talking. “Hey, how you doin’, kiddo?”

Ian shrugged before putting his head back in his hand and closing his eyes. Lip sighed and pushed himself up, knees cracking. He dropped next to Mickey. “What happened?”

“Here, read what I wrote on the form. It explains. Talking isn’t always enough to bring him here, but he hasn’t mentioned hurting himself in over a year. He thinks his new medication combination is fucking with him. Been saying it for days but the doctor said to stay with it. I’m starting to think he’s right.”

Lip flipped through the paperwork reading, and filled in the parts that were left blank because the information was on Ian’s insurance card. “I’m gonna go take this to the receptionist.”

Mickey let out a quiet “thanks” that sounded more like a sigh.

The receptionist glanced through the paperwork and looked sympathetically back up at Lip. It annoyed him. “You’re his….?”

“Brother,” Lip filled in.

“Okay. We’re going to call the psychiatrists on call and one of them will be down as soon as possible. It might be up to fifteen minutes.”

Lip wanted to curse her out, but it wasn’t worth. It wasn’t her fault. He nodded and went back to his brother and his brother-in-law.
“They said they’re getting a psychiatrist but it might take 15 minutes.”

Mickey groaned. “Fuck.” They sat in silence for a few minutes before Mickey said fuck again, but louder. “Fuck. I need to call his doctor. Shit.”

“It’s one in the morning. Is she going to answer?” Lip asked.

Mickey stood up. “Probably not. But I’ll leave her a message, and she’ll get it by 8.” He walked away, dialing his phone.

Lip got up and dropped into the seat Mickey was in previously. He nudged Ian’s arm that was propping his head up with his elbow. Ian opened one eye and stared at him.
“You want something to eat? Water? There’s a vending machine.”

“No,” Ian mumbled. Something about food and water must have reminded him of his kids, and he pushed his head out of his hand and looked directly at Lip with both eyes. “Sarah and Yev?”

“They’re at friends’ houses for the night, remember? They’re fine. We’ll talk to them in the morning.”

Ian nodded and muttered, “I’m such a shitty father.”

Lip nudged Ian again. “Come on, this isn’t your fault. And you’re a good father.”

Ian ignored him and groaned pushing his hands against his eyes. “I’m so fucked up.”

Lip considered this. I mean, Ian was fucked up, but so was Lip and the rest of their fucking family. Gallaghers were the gold stars of fucked up but he knew that Ian meant crazy and broken. “It sounds like your meds are more fucked up than you right now. We’ll get ‘em fixed.”

Mickey came back before Ian could say anything else. “Got the answering machine, she’ll contact us in the morning.”

He sat down on the other side of Ian. “Hey,” he said gently. “You should drink some water, you know they’re gonna make you do a piss test.”

They had done this too many times and they knew the drill. Ian needed to get his blood drawn and pee in a cup so they could look for physical things that were wrong that might affect Ian’s mood. Lip got up without being asked and bought Ian a water bottle. He opened it and handed it to his brother, who stared at it.

“You don’t need to chug it, babe,” Mickey told him. “Just take a few small sips. Can you do that for me?”

If Mickey was playing dirty he must be desperate and scared shitless. Lip cringed. They usually avoided the “do it for me” rhetoric because it was ultimately unhealthy for Ian, but in desperate situations like this, sometimes it was the only thing that worked. Ian would do just about anything for Mickey, or try. Especially if Mickey’s voice was choked with tears like right now. Ian sat there taking a few sips and a few minutes later, a nurse called “Gallagher” out into the waiting room, and Mickey and Lip immediately jumped up. Ian just sat there, staring ahead.

Lip took the water bottle from Ian and then Mickey leaned over him and practically picked Ian up like a child and set him on his feet. He wrapped his arm around Ian’s waist and they walked towards the nurse. This was always the hard part. Not the getting to the hospital. Not the waiting. It was always the part where Ian had to go back because he knew that he might get admitted, which would make him alone for who knows how long. Hospitals were always cold, and being without Mickey or a sibling just made him feel colder.
The nurse asked him to hold out his wrist so she could put the hospital bracelet on him. Then she took the three of them into a room and took a vial of Ian’s blood. Lastly, he was sent to the bathroom to pee in the cup and change into a hospital gown. Ian also hated this part. It was humiliating. You had to be completely naked underneath the gown except for the socks you were given. Mickey helped Ian change in the bathroom, and when they stepped out, Ian had his arms wrapped around himself.

“I’ll take his clothes for later,” the nurse said. She put them in a bag with Ian’s name written in sharpie on it. She handed them another bag. “He can’t have his shoes here. They have laces. ”

Mickey put the shoes inside the bag and Lip held out his hand to hold it. Mickey was the one who was mostly guiding Ian through it, he needed his hands free.
They were put in another room. The nurse said something to another nurse, and then came back into the room. “A doctor will be with you shortly. Because Ian expressed thoughts of harming himself, he is effectively on suicide watch unless the doctor decides otherwise. I have to sit in here with you until the doctor comes to make sure Ian stays safe.”

--

The doctor sighed and closed Ian’s chart. He took off his glasses and leaned back. If it were any other situation, Lip would have laughed at how stereotypical it all was.

“Ian, I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think we should admit you for the night. When we get ahold of your doctor tomorrow, we can decide what the next steps should be. Until then, I think you’ll be safest here.”

“No mandatory 24 hour hold?” Lip asked.

The doctor shook his head. “Ian came voluntarily and he has a doctor that can talk with me in the morning. He didn’t express any intent or plan to hurt himself. However, it is highly likely he will be staying for 24 hours. Let’s just start with admitting for the night. Alright?” He looked over at Ian. “One step at a time.”

The doctor stood up. “I’m going to go get the necessary paperwork.”

Lip sighed and glanced at the pair. Mickey was staring at the floor, hard, with his hand on Ian’s shoulder. Ian was twisting his fingers in his hands. Lip moved closer to his brother with his hands in his pockets and shoulders hunched so he could look at Ian’s face. He’d deal with Mickey later.

“You okay with this?”

Ian shrugged and crooked the tiniest of wry smiles. Lip felt a lump form in his throat but he swallowed it back down. “As okay as I’ll ever get with this,” Ian said.

--

Ian had his face pressed into Mickey’s shoulder and Mickey was holding him like he would never see him again if he let go. The nurse stood there awkwardly glancing at Lip. After about five minutes Lip cleared his throat and tapped Mickey on the shoulder. “Come on, you gotta let him go.”

Mickey sniffed and nodded, backing up.

Lip moved forward and brought Ian in for a hug.

“Mickey,” Ian whispered in his ears.

“I got him. And the kids, okay?” Lip murmured.

Ian nodded against Lip’s shoulder, and Lip released him with a ruffle to his hair. “We’ll see you in a few hours.”

Ian nodded again and wrapped his arms around himself as the nurse gently put her hand on his back and walked him forward to an elevator, to take him to the sixth floor.

--

Mickey stood there numbly while Lip put his jacket on. Lip was about to say something to his brother-in-law when the doctor knocked on the door frame.

“I’ve been thinking…. Ian would benefit from seeing a neurologist to get some tests done.”

“He’s had fucking tests done and nothing useful came up.” Mickey shot back.

The doctor didn’t react to Mickey’s frustration. “We have a specialist here that deals with headaches. Most people with chronic head pain have a mental illness as well. It won’t hurt for Ian to be seen by him.”

Mickey just stared at the doctor. This was way too much information at once. Way too much had happened in the last six hours. Lip noticed and took over. “Uh, yeah that sounds like a good idea.”

“It’s ultimately up to Ian but I just wanted to let you know the option is there,” the doctor said. “In the meantime you should go home, get some rest. It’s nearly 3am. We’ll call you in the morning as soon as Ian, his doctor, and I discuss options to inform you what’s going on.”

“I can’t be there?” Mickey asked.

“It’s usually best if it’s just the patient but we can, however, have a meeting with you and Ian. if Ian okays it.”

“He will,” Mickey said immediately.

The doctor smiled sadly at him. “One step at a time Mr. Milkovich. Go home. Get some sleep.”

“Thank you,” Lip said while grabbing Mickey’s elbow and pulling him towards the exit.

“Get off me,” Mickey pulled his elbow away from Lip. “I’m not going to fucking bed while he’s in here.”

“Look man. It’s gonna be at least six hours. Go rest even if you don’t sleep. You’re not going to be able to help Ian if you’re running on nothing.”

“I have two kids Gallagher!”

“You can still fucking go home and rest until they come home,” Lip stared hard at Mickey. “And if you would fucking let me, I can help out.”

They stared at each other as if one of them could win just by sheer stubbornness. Lip sighed. “What would Ian want you to do?” He asked softly.

Mickey looked away and crossed his arms. “Fine.”

Lip patted his back. “Good man. I’m going to drive you back and you call me in the morning when the kids get up.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Mickey rubbed the back of his head uncomfortably. “Uh thanks.”

Lip shrugged and started walking ahead of Mickey leaving Mickey to catch up, “Somehow I ended up being family with you asshole, and this is what family does.”

--

Mickey stood in the dark empty apartment listening as Lip’s car drove away. He kept running his hands over his face before dropping his coat on the floor, and stomping to the kitchen. He turned on the light above the Ian and stood there. There was an empty glass next to him on the counter.

He threw it against the wall.

--

Lip let himself quietly into the bedroom and started taking off his shoes. His girlfriend rolled over. “Hey,” she said softly.

Lip jerked up in surprise. “Hey.”

“Everything okay?”

Lip finished undressing himself down to his boxers and walked over to sit on the bed. He let out a breath. “Uh, my brother, is in the hospital.”

She sat up. She had put on an old t-shirt of Lip’s. “I’m sorry,” she whispered gently into the darkness.

“Sorry for taking off like that,” Lip said back quietly staring down at his hands.

“It’s okay. Family emergency.”

Lip looked up at her and smiled slightly and nodded gratefully that she got it. He cleared his throat. “Uh look Sophy… I’m gonna be caught up in helping my brother and his husband and their kids out for at least a couple of days.” He shifted uncomfortably at her intense stare. “I like you…. A lot. But I think it’s too early in our…relationship…for you to have to get caught up into my family bullshit. It’s not fair for you. You should go home in the morning, and I’ll call you.”

Holy shit Lip thought to himself. Did he just say the word “relationship”? Lip held his breath while a tense silent sat between them. “Okay,” Sophy nodded. “If that is what you want.”

“Yeah,” Lip said as he climbed under the covers and laid out on his back. Sophy rolled over and kissed him on the forehead.

“But if you need someone to talk to or anything, you can call me. Hm?” She said running her hand through his messy blonde hair.

Lip closed his eyes and swallowed hard. How was this girl so fucking perfect? If Ian were here he’d probably tease Lip and point out that maybe Lip’s matured communication skills had something to do with it. Lip was still kind of a tool. He would probably always be. But he was becoming less of one and realizing that It actually worked in his favour. So far.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

Chapter Text

Lip woke up to his phone buzzing and an empty bed. Fiona’s name was flashing across the screen. He contemplated not picking up but she’d probably have a conniption. He swiped the phone.

“Hello?” He said glancing at the clock on the nightstand. 8:45am.

“Hey!” She said brightly. “Soo….how was stuff with Sophy last night?” He could practically hear her smirking on the other end.

Lip gulped. He really didn’t want to stress Fiona out but he couldn’t lie to her either. But Ian also didn’t need her storming the barracks in all mother bear glory.

“Hello? You there?”

Lip cleared his throat. “Uh, yeah. Yeah. Sorry.”

Fiona sighed. “What’s wrong?”

Lip paused and took a deep breath. “Mickey took Ian to the hospital last night and I met them there.”

“What?” Lip pulled his phone away from Fiona’s voice that was pitched with fear.

“He’s fine. Well, he’s not dying or anything--”

“That’s real comforting Lip,” Fiona shot back.

“Well if you’d let me fucking finish—“

“Sorry, sorry.”

“You know how he was trying that migraine medicine? He’d been saying all week that he thinks it’s been fucking with him. Ian’s been getting lower and lower all week. Last night Mickey found him in the shower and broke down on him. Said Ian was expressing suicidal thoughts. Not like super bad ones with intent and shit. But….”

“It’s been a while since he’s done that,” Fiona finished quietly.

“Yeah,” affirmed. “He was admitted for the night. His doctor, like his doctor, is gonna talk to the hospital doctor. They also said something about a neurologist. I don’t know.”

“Are you…are you okay?” Fiona asked. Lip imagined her biting her lip.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

Fiona sighed. “Really?”

“Jesus Fiona, I’m not really thinking about myself at the moment.”

Fiona was silent on the other line but Lip could hear her worried breathing. He glanced at the clock again. “Mickey’s supposed to call me when the kids are coming back. They were staying over friends’ houses last night, luckily.”

Fiona cleared her throat. “Okay, I’ll—I’ll let you go then. Tell Ian I love him and you keep me updated.”

“You don’t wanna visit him?”

Fiona chuckled wrly. “Of course I do, but I think I’ve learned storming over there mama bear style isn’t gonna help him. He’ll let us know when he wants us to visit….right?”

“Yeah Fi, he will. Don’t worry.” Lip reassured her gently.

He hung up and started looking around for clean clothes when his eyes fell onto the pillow on the other side of the bed. There was a note on the pillow. “Call if you need anything. Take care. –S” When he’d found pants, he slipped the note into a front pocket with a small smile.

--

The kids had texted that they weren’t coming home until later in the morning and Mickey had debated whether or not to tell them to come back early anyway. He decided against it. They were happy and there was no reason to drop bad news on them any earlier than was necessary. Especially since they couldn’t really do anything about it, and Mickey was best able to be there for Ian if he didn’t have to worry about how he reacted around the kids on top of Ian. He went back to the hospital.

Lip was sitting in his brother’s living room continuously looking at his phone for a text updating him about Ian. It was a little after 11am. He hadn’t gotten anything since Mickey left other than “meeting with doc” which Lip tried to take as a good sign. Ian was getting help and Mickey was with him, and they were focused on that so that’s why he hadn’t gotten an update in a while…

Lip’s nervous thoughts were interrupted by the front door opening and slamming, accompanied by the sound of bickering. His niece and nephew came into view and dumped their stuff at the bottom of the stairs.

“Hey, dads….we’re home!” Sarah called out.

Sighing Lip spoke from the living room, “Hey guys, your dads aren’t here right now.”

Sarah and Yevgeny came into the room.

“What? Where are there?” Sarah asked panicked. Her brother put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her to his side.
“Mickey is with Ian in the hospital.”

Yevgeny dropped his arm, stepped forward, and crossed them in front of his chest. “Since the fuck when?”

In all of the stress of the last hours, Lip had forgotten that Yevgeny would probably react hostilely to the news. Lip rubbed his eyes, preparing to deal with an angry 16 year old and terrified 11 year old.

“Since around midnight,” Lip stated simply and quickly realized he better start giving out more information soon because Sarah looked like she was going to cry. “Ian…um.”

“He’s in the psych ward isn’t he?” Yevgeny questioned. Sarah’s eyes widened.

“Yeah, bud. They took him for the night. Your dad hasn’t updated me for a bit but the last time I heard they were both going to talk to a doctor.”

Sarah came over and sat next to Lip on the couch, blinking back tears.

“Hey,” Lip said gently. “Ian’s also gonna see a neurologist too. A specialist for headaches. He’s gonna be fine….”

Neither sibling said anything.

“They’re figuring stuff out…it’s….this is a good thing.”

Yevgeny turned red. Fuck. Wrong thing to say.

“This is a good thing?” Yevgeny through back in his uncle’s face. He laughed bitterly. “Oh yeah this is great. I also love not being told Pops was in the hospital until nearly 12 hours later!”

Lip got up and reached for Yevgeny but Yevgeny drew back. Lip dropped his hands. “I’m sorry. That’s what your dad wanted.”

Yevgeny stomped back to the door and grabbed his coat. “Of course it is,” he said sarcastically and slammed the door.

Sighing Lip got up and opened the door to yell for his nephew when he saw his car driving away. He was so tired he hadn’t noticed that Yevgeny had taken his keys off the table by the door.

“Shit!”

Lip dialed Yevgeny’s number. The phone went off by the stairs. Sarah ran over and held it up. Canceling the call, Lip did his best not to hit something.

“Come on Sarah get your coat.”

“He probably went to the hospital,” Sarah said.

“Yep, so let’s go find your pain in the ass brother,”

The Milkovich brand of Gallagher was going to be the death of him.

--

The house wasn’t that far from the hospital but taking the L added another 20 minutes. By the time they got to the hospital and figured out what floor Mickey could possibly be on, Yevgeny was yelling at his father when Lip and Sarah ran into the waiting room.

“Jesus. Fucking. Christ. Yev!” Lip shouted. He ran over to his nephew and held out his hand. “Give me my keys.”

Mickey raised his eyebrows. “You did not….”

“How do you think he got here?” Lip said to Mickey.

“Are you shitting me right now?” Mickey yelled. “Give him the keys. As if we don’t have to worry about enough without you pulling some teenage douchebag stunt of taking your uncle’s car!”

“You didn’t tell us about Pops! We had to wait until 12 hours later! What kind of asshole father stunt is that?”

“It was better for everyone. You didn’t need to be worried and I could help Pops knowing you guys were okay.”

“Were being the operative word,” Yevgeny spat. “I’m not fucking okay now.”

“Yev! Yevvie! Yev!” Sarah got inbetween her father and brother. She was only up to their stomach’s though. “Stop!” She poked them.

“What Sar-“ Mickey stopped dead.

Ian and a nurse were standing behind them. The receptionist was rushing over.

“Sir, please stop shouting.”

Mickey was just staring at Ian. Yevgeny was looking nervously between his two parents, with guilt sitting heavy in his stomach. His Pops didn’t need to see them yelling like that. He didn’t need to hear his son shout he wasn’t okay because he was upset his father was in the hospital. Dammit.

“We’re sorry ma’am,” Lip said. “Won’t happen again.”

“Thank you,” the receptionist said and went back to the desk.

All attention was back onto Ian and the nurse now. Ian was twisting his hands together. He choked out. “You’re…fighting…because of me.”

“No, baby. It’s about Yev’s actions. Yevgeny’s actions aren’t because of you.”

Ian’s eyes drifted to his son. “I’m sorry Yevvie,” he whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

Yevgeny was staring at the floor.

“Ian, this isn’t—“

Mickey was interrupted again by the nurse.

“Mr. Milkovich? I’m sorry but we need to take you and your husband back downstairs. The doctors want to speak with you.”

“Right,” Mickey cleared his throat. “Um,” he glanced at his children, before hurrying over to his husband. Everyone was silent as Mickey, Ian, and the nurse stepped into the elevator and the doors shut.

Sarah whirled around at her brother. “Nice going Yev,” she said choked with tears and anger.

She stomped over to sit in a waiting room chair, pulling her knees upto her chest and picking at her fingers. Lip ran his hands through his hair and looked between the siblings before going to sit next to Sarah, leaving Yevgeny standing off center.

“Guys,” Lip said awkwardly. “I know this is tough, but it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just a shitty situation all around. Okay?”

“It’s dad fault we didn’t know,” Yevgeny said hotly.

Lip was losing patience. “Yeah, well you know what Yev?”

Yevgeny glared at him.

“Your attitude is not helping right now. So do us all a favor and cool it. Because your shitty behavior is your fault.”

Yevgeny stared at his uncle. His uncle had never really scolded him before. It made the guilt in his stomach heavier.

“We understood?” Lip said.

“Yes,” Yevgeny said quietly.

“Good,” Lip said and leaned back in his chair with his arms crossed.

He closed his eyes for a few minutes. He felt a tug on his sleeve. He opened them. “What’s up Sarah?”

She was looking down. Now sitting on her bottom with her legs swinging back and forth. “Is Pops gonna come home today?”

“I don’t know,” Lip said honestly. “Probably not, kiddo.”

Sarah considered this for a few seconds and then looked up at her uncle with tears spilling over her eyes. Lip silently opened his arms, and Sarah scrambled off her chair. Lip put her half on his lap and half on the chair. She turned to curl towards him. He hugged her while she cried.

“It’s gonna be okay,” he whispered to her.

He glanced up and saw a clock on the wall. It was only 1:30 in the afternoon. This was going to be a long day.

Chapter Text

The nurse stood in the elevator with a calm, professional, neutral look on her face while Ian and Mickey stood silently next to each other. Mickey tried to meet Ian’s eyes, but Ian wouldn’t look at him.

They were back on the psych floor and lead to an office with the name Dr. Nadler on the door. The office was empty. “Just sit here, and wait for a few minutes. It gets busy around here sorry.” She left with the door open.

“Ian,” Mickey said as soon as the nurse was out of sight. “Yev is angry at me, not you.”

He got no response.

“Please,” Mickey pleaded. “Will you just look at me? So we can talk about this?”

Mickey was pretty sure this was some self-hating bullshit Ian's brain was putting him through.

He got no response again. Mickey felt his stomach tighten. If Ian was pulling the Ian Gallagher Great Wall of Silence, he was well and truly pissed off.

Ian stared straight ahead, with a stony face. With a toneless voice, he asked, “Are the kids ok?”

“I…”, Mickey stopped himself from saying “I don’t know.” He cleared his throat. “They’re uh, they’re with Lip. He’ll take care of them.”

“Good,” Ian nodded and kept his eyes focused on the same spot in front of him. Ian knew that his kids aren’t exactly okay right now because of the situation. But seeing them fighting...because… he… Ian stopped himself from thinking. They were with Lip. Lip can handle shit. He’s the second oldest of five other siblings. At this point, the Gallaghers had to have seen it all in terms of child-rearing hiccups.

Mickey sighed. “I get it. You’re pissed on top of everything else. But are we not gonna talk about this?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Ian said coldly.

Mickey was about to reply when there was a knock on the door frame and two doctors from the hospital, and Ian’s personal doctor stepped in.

They rearranged the chairs so they were more siting in a circle, and the desk was ignored. “Hi, Mr. Milkovich, I’m Dr. Nadler. I’ll be the psychiatrist Ian will be working with during his stay here.”

Dr. Nadler pointed to the doctor next to here. “This is Dr. Aaron. He is the neurologist Ian will be working with and with me.”

Dr. Aaron smiled politely, and nodded to Mickey. “Nice to meet you.”

Mickey sat back and crossed his arms. “Okay.”

“And you obviously know, Ian’s personal doctor,” Dr. Nadler said.

Mickey just stared. Ian shot his doctor a quick, forced smile. If the doctors were bothered by Mickey’s attitude they didn’t show it.

Dr. Nadler started speaking again. “Ian has bipolar disorder I with acute mania and psychotic features. We understand that Ian’s migraines have become debilitating. And that he feels the medication he was on to try to treat the migraines and still treat his bipolar disorder, could possibly have caused a bad reaction to the medication. He expressed suicidal thoughts. So he asked to be brought here. Is that what you understand, Mr. Milkovich?”

“Yeah. I fucking live with him. Tell me something new. What are you doing for him?”

Dr. Aaron answered, “We completed a full intake with Ian of his medical history both physical and psychological. We took information on his diet and exercise habits, sleep, and daily routine. we did tests just in case Migraines are difficult to treat because it is hard to pin down exact causes. They aren’t like brain tumours where you can see them on a scan. However, as you know, Ian just came back from getting some various brain scans. We decided to do this to cover all the bases. At a preliminary glance, there is nothing unusual aside from his bipolar, and how that affects his brain activities. There is no tumour. I will look at them more closely though, and let you know if that finding changes. Ian’s doctor, Dr. Brass, has given us full access to her notes and records with Ian’s, upon Ian signing a release form.”

Mickey scoffed. “So you just been sitting here taking in fucking information like he’s a study instead of actually doing something to help him?”

“Mick,” Ian interjected. “They need to do all of that.”

“Ian is right,” Dr. Nadler said. “In treating migraines and mental illness we need to know everything we can possibly know about Ian’s body so we can work on finding him the right medications. There is also extremely strong evidence that changes in diet, exercise, daily routine, and sleep can reduce migraines if new regimens are kept consistently.”

Ian finally turned his head to look at Mickey. Mickey glanced at him and then looked back at the doctors. He couldn't take the upset in Ian's eyes. Running his hand down his mouth, he asked, “So what now?”

Dr. Nadler looked at Ian. Mickey just wanted her to shut the fuck up and stifled groaning when she started talking again. “We talked with Ian earlier about his options. He hasn’t made an official decision yet.”

“Yeah, and what are those options?”

“Are you okay with us disclosing that information?”

Ian nodded. “Alright, we will assess all the information we got today, regardless. But Ian can come off the migraine medication and go back to his normal dosage of his bipolar meds, for at 24 hours. 36 Hours is usually best but we’ll start at 24. This will help determine if any the original migraine medication he was prescribed did indeed play a role in the onset of his current depressive episode. The other—“

“He’s not in a fucking depressive episode. He’s not a zombie in a bed. He’s just off.” Mickey interrupted brashly.

“Depressive episodes do not always look the same. Especially since Ian is on medication that works fairly well for him. It does not cure him, episodes will still bleed through, but less acutely, Mickey," Ian’s doctor said calmly. She had dealt with this version of Mickey before. The one that forgot things he already knew, like how depressive episodes work, when he panicking.

Mickey nodded. “Fine,” he said to Dr. Brass and turned back to Dr. Nadler. “What’s the rest?”

“Or Ian could go off the original medication and back to his normal bipolar dosage, but try a different medicine for migraines right away.” She turned to Ian and smiled kindly.

“Have you come to a decision on where you’d like to start?”

“Wait. You’re asking him to make a choice. You’re the doctor!” Mickey shouted.

If Ian was stony with Mickey before, it was like he had hardened to marble right there and then. He didn’t look at Mickey when addressing all three doctors.

“I want to do the first one, go back to normal meds for at least 24 hours. I want to know if that medication could have a role in what fucked things up.”

“Alright then,” Dr. Nadler said brightly. “We’ll inform the night nursing staff on the medications they should dispense to you.”

Mickey sat there looking like he was ready to explode. Dr. Aaron spoke up before this man flipped something over, “We have made decisions, and a decision was to give him options. He was extremely insistent in having a say in his treatment. He has been cooperative and open, and some choice is not an unfair, or unheard of, thing to give him.”

Dr. Nadler took off her glasses and placed them on the folder in her lap. She leaned forward. “Mr. Milkovich, you have to understand that this may take a while. We may need to alter his bipolar medication as well, but we need a starting point. Ian’s chosen where he’d like to start. Due to how long this could take, we are recommending he stay at least three days, preferably a week. Ian would be free to check himself out anytime though. You and your children would have visitation access during visiting hours. Ian will attend therapy in group and individual settings, and family sessions can be set up.”

“A…a week?” Mickey stammered. “Are you okay with this?” He turned to Ian incredulously.

“If that’s what it takes,” Ian said quietly. “I’m not thrilled but I’m okay with it.”

Mickey sighed and ran his hands over his eyes. “Fine. Yeah. Whatever.”

The rest of the meeting they prattled about visitation hours and rules, and what items Ian could have from home. Ian smiled at the doctors and thanked them. A nurse came to the door.

“Can I talk to Mickey in private for a minute?” He asked her.

She sighed. “For a very brief minute. I’ll take you to an empty meeting room. The door must remain open and I will be within three feet of it.”

She lead them to the room and left. “So much for private,” Mickey muttered.

Ian sat on top of a table and picked at his pants. He thought about what to say. “What the hell was that when you shouted at the doctor for giving me a choice?”

“What do you mean, what the hell?” Mickey asked bewildered.

“You don’t think I should have a say in the treatment of my own body?” Ian said back hotly.

“I—no that’s not what I said. No. I just meant that the doctors usually have better judgement and your judgement is a little shaky right now so—“

“Fuck you, Mickey.” Ian said lowly. “Just because I’m bipolar or in an episode doesn’t mean my judgement is completely and utterly stupid and not worth considering. I was right about the fucking migraine medicine! Look where we are,” he finished calmly and steadily. Mickey hated this Ian. The Ian that controlled his anger because he was too pissed to let it all out.

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying, I wish you and Dr. Brass had listened to me. And I wish I had known better and listened to myself, instead of this constant bullshit about my impaired judgement.”
Ian got up and stood in front of his husband. “You know I talked with the doctors here, and a therapist. They think my judgement shouldn’t be ignored so much.”

Mickey stared at him. “Then you should talk to Dr. Brass about it and fuck, maybe some other doctors for more opinions.”

Ian laughed humorously. “I will talk to her about it and I will ask for other opinions but my judgement isn’t so impaired that it doesn’t matter. And if you can’t accept that, then get out of my way.” Ian drew in a shaky breath. “I like the doctors. If you won’t support my treatment then don’t come here. Don’t visit me. Don’t talk to any fucking doctors, until you do.”

Ian was full out crying now. Mickey had tears running down his face.

“And if you never do…well…I-I don’t know, Mick. I don’t know.” Ian looked up at Mickey’s shocked and sad eyes, with his confused and hurt ones.

They just stood there staring at each other brokenly, trying to figure each other out, trying to figure the situation out, and coming up empty. The nurse knocked on the door frame.

“Times up, I’m sorry.”

Ian wiped his eyes. “If you or someone can bring me some clothes and my notebook, and the book I was reading. It’s on the nightstand…I’d appreciate it.”

Mickey nodded.

Ian started to walk away when Mickey turned him around and pulled him in for a hug. Ian was stiff for a second before immediately returning the hug and burying his face in Mickey’s shoulder.

“I love you,” Mickey whispered.

Ian pulled away from his shoulder. He nodded. “I love you too. But I want you to think about what you mean when you say that to me.”

He kissed Mickey’s forehead lightly and then followed the nurse out. Another staff member met them outside and escorted Mickey out of the locked floor. Ian went down a long hallway and was placed in a room he was told was his. There was another empty bed but no roommate. He was warned that was subject to change anytime and probably quickly.

“Since you just got here and spent most of the day in intake, you can skip group and night activities. You will take your medicine though, and eat dinner. Tomorrow you will follow the program.”

Ian nodded. “That’s fine. Thanks.”

She nodded and left. He stared at the bed and crawled on top of it. It smelled like bleach. The blanket was thin and scratchy. He curled in on himself, and let his body finally crash into sleep after almost a whole day without any.

--

Lip felt his phone go off and pulled it out of his pocket. They had been sitting in that waiting room for hours, unsure of what to do.

“Hey guys, I’m gonna take you home and stay with you. Your dad will be there later. You should get started on some homework or something. Watch a movie, maybe.”

Yevgeny slowly pushed himself out of the chair and groaned as he stretched.

“I’m starving.”

“We’ll get pizza, if that’s cool.”

Yevgeny nodded. Sarah pulled herself out of the chair and rubbed his sore eyes from crying. “Is Pops staying here?”

Lip nodded. “Yeah sweetie. I don’t know anything else right now though, okay?” He turned to his nephew. “I’m sorry that I don’t know.”

Yevgeny shrugged and gave him a small smile to let him know he didn’t hold it against Lip.

They started walking down the halls, and into the parking lot. Yevgeny was leading them to the car. Sarah slipped her hand into her brothers and he looked down at her in surprise. She had told him to stop holding her hand because she wasn’t a baby anymore a few months ago. He said nothing, and just squeezed it.

“Hey, Uncle Lip?” Sarah asked while they settled into the car. Sarah hadn’t let go of Yevgeny’s hand which meant he was stuck in the backseat with her. If he was honest, he didn’t mind. If that’s what his little sister wanted right now, then fuck it.

Lip turned around in the driver’s seat. "Yeah?"

“Can we get the fancy pizza? Please?”

Lip snorted and started the car. “It’s not fancy, Sarah. It just has spinach and tomatoes on it with the sauce and cheese.”

Sarah shrugged. “I like it. And dads’ don’t get it a lot so, it’s fancy.”

“You know you’re the only kid who fucking wants vegetables on their pizza,” Lip said while he pulled onto the road.

Sarah rolled her eyes even if her uncle couldn’t see. “So can we?” She asked again.

She had been doing a lot of growing up but right now Lip heard a six year old Sarah asking him to pick her up and spin her around again.

“Yeah, kid. Who am I to stop you from eating your vegetables even if they’re on junk food?”

Yevgeny was silent the entire conversation.

“Hey, Yev.” Lip looked in the front mirror at the backseat. “You good back there?”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever. Fancy pizza is fine,” he said tiredly. He’d rather have normal pizza but he was too tired to argue about something so stupid.

“We can get two. Get some for your dad. He’s not gonna eat anything with spinach on it,” Lip said as if reading his mind.

Yevgeny smiled a little. “Thanks, Uncle Lip,” he said sincerely. More sincerely than someone should be for gratitude over pizza. But Lip got what he was actually saying.

“You’re welcome, buddy,” he said just as sincerely and kindly back.

--

They had gotten the pizza and Sarah happily ate her “fancy pizza”. She smiled in the warm glow of the kitchen light, amplified by the dark sky outside. “This is the best thing that has happened all day.”

Lip laughed. “Glad I could be of assistance with your wacky pizza.”

Sarah grinned. “Hey! You’re eating too.”

“Shit. I am!” Lip joked back.

Sarah got up and put her plate in the sink. Lip glanced at Yevgeny who was mechanically eating his pizza and staring at his plate. He had been uncharacteristically quiet since the fight with his dad.

“Hey..uh, Sarah,” Lip said as he slid his eyes off his nephew. “How about you go pick out some movie options on Netflix?”

“Sure!” She scampered off to the living room and booted up the laptop that sat on the coffee table.

Lip waited for Yevgeny to say something like “Don’t pick a fucking princess pony movie, because we aren’t watching it” but he didn’t. Lip checked to see if Sarah was engrossed in her task and then motioned for Yevgeny to help him with the dishes and storing the leftover pizza.

“You alright?” Lip asked while handing Yevgeny a plate to dry.

Yevgeny shrugged.

“Wanna talk about it?”

Yevgeny shook his head.

Lip sighed and ruffled his black hair. “At some point you’ll have to. Otherwise you’re going to do a full blown Yevgeny Gallagher-Milkovich blow out,” he teased but was also serious.

“Fuck off,” Yevgeny laughed a little.

“Whatever. Dry the dishes, dude.”

--

Sarah had picked out some action movie Lip had never heard of but it wasn’t half bad. Yevgeny was actually engrossed in the movie instead of staring tiredly ahead like he’d been doing all day. Lip figured it was time he needed a break from what was going on. Yevgeny was leaning far down on the couch with his feet on the coffee table. Sarah starting to fall asleep on her brother’s shoulder. Lip was honestly ready to crash himself but he had to wait until Mickey came home.

Pulling out his phone, Lip texted him.

To: Mickey 9:37pm
Where are you?

To: The Worst Gallagher 9:39
At the Alibi.

To: Mickey 9:41
You need to come back soon. The kids need you. And don’t fucking come back drunk. Don’t do that to them.

To: The Worst Gallagher 9:43
Jesus Christ. I’m not a deadbeat father, fuck off.

--

Mickey opened the door slowly as the credits had just finished rolling, and Yevgeny had reached over to turn on a table lamp. Sarah sat up blinking in the light and her gaze landed on her father taking his coat off.

“Daddy!” She ran over to him.

Lip followed, just to make sure he wasn’t drunk off his ass. He didn’t stink like a distillery so Lip took that as a good sign.

“Hey, sweetpea,” he said kneeling down and hugging her. “How you doing?” He said pushing her long hair back from her face.

No slurring either. Lip was satisfied and shuffled back to the couch and dropped onto it, exhausted. He stopped paying attention to what Sarah was saying. Mickey took her hand, and lead her up the stairs.

Yevgeny was still at the couch, looking nervous.

“Your dad doesn’t hate you, Yevvie. Just go apologize or if you’re not sorry, or not ready to work that shit out just hug him goodnight.” Yevgeny made no move to get up. “You’re beat. You need to go to sleep and we’ll work out stuff in the morning.” Yevgeny nodded and slowly trailed up the stairs.

Lip followed and went to say goodnight to a tucked in Sarah. He paused by Yevgeny’s room. He couldn’t hear what they were saying but there were no loud voices, and Mickey was speaking in a comforting tone so Lip went back downstairs. He rubbed his eyes, and let himself start to drift off to sleep on the couch.

Mickey came down the stairs and dropped into the armchair after a few minutes. “I’m gonna call, and see if Ian’s up for them visiting tomorrow.”

Lip forced his eyes opened and sat up. He leaned his elbows on his knees. “How is he?”

Mickey shrugged. “He is optimistic. Likes the doctors and shit. They let him have some sort of choice in what he wanted to do,” Mickey laughed sarcastically. “He’s pissed that no one listened to him about that migraine med fucking with him. Said we didn’t value his judgement…in so many words.”

Lip grinned. “Nice. It’s good to know the Great Stony of Wall of Ian Gallagher still exists.”

Mickey rolled his eyes. “What do you think?”

Shrugging Lip leaned back. “I think he’s validly pissed for the most part.”

Mickey glared at him. “I said for the most part,” Lip defended himself.

“They’re gonna return him back to his normal med cocktail for at least 24 hours and then try something new. Ian wants to know if it really was the migraine medication or just the bipolar acting up. He is gonna be there for at least three days, if not a whole week.”

“Shit,” Lip whispered. “That’s gonna be rough.”

“You’re tellin’ me?” Mickey said sarcastically.

Lip considered Mickey for a minute and dropped the usual teasing but serious tone he took with Mickey.

“Yeah, and what do you think?” Lip said crossing his arms.

Mickey sighed and threw up his hands, and let them land loudly on his lap. “I don’t fucking know. The doctors did suggest the option so, why not? Right?” Lip nodded and Mickey continued. “Ian said that if I won’t support his plan he doesn’t want me to see him until I do. And if I never do…I don’t know. Neither of us do. I don’t wanna found out.”

Mickey blinked back tears and cleared his throats. He was not gonna fucking cry in front of Lip Gallagher.

“Then support him,” Lip said as if this was the simplest thing in the world.

Mickey looked at him like he was an idiot.

“Listen man, what do you want to happen from this entire situation?”

“I want him to get fucking better, ya know? Obviously that doesn’t mean cured but fucking better,” Mickey said immediately.

“Right,” Lip nodded. “So, if you want him to get better…and this is what he wants to do and the doctors aren’t against it…then support him.” Lip reasoned.

Mickey shook his head. “I don’t know, man. Why can’t he just let the doctor decide everything?”

“The doctor decided to give him a choice, didn’t he?”

“Because Ian insisted, yeah,” Mickey shot back.

“He didn’t have to listen to Ian, Mickey.” Lip sighed and leaned forward.

He spoke about as gently as he could ever remember himself speaking to Mickey all these years. “He’s gonna get better a hell of a lot faster if his husband, his partner, his life companion, true love…whatever…. He’s gonna get better faster and be happier if you make the effort to back him up and love him, even if it blows up in your face.”

Mickey didn’t say anything but Lip could tell that that Mickey was letting the words sink in. He got up off the couch. “I’m gonna go crash at my apartment for the night, and I’ll be back in the morning. Call if something comes up. Okay?”

Mickey nodded.

Lip sighed and lightly squeezed his shoulder for a second. More like a nanosecond. “Make the right choice, here, man.” He got to the door. “And don’t let Yevgeny steal anymore cars.”

Mickey chuckled. “Yeah, ok.”

Chapter Text

Lip turned the key to his brother’s apartment in the lock and then took a breath before opening the door and stepping inside. Yesterday had been the longest 24 hours Lip had in a while, and today probably wasn’t going to be much better. Despite how tired Lip was, he couldn’t sleep so instead of anxiously pacing around his apartment he left early and got to Ian’s apartment at around 8am.

“Hello?” He called quietly while taking off his coat. He walked into the living room, and saw Yevgeny in the kitchen. Lip pulled out a seat across from Yevgeny who was buried in a textbook and notebook.

“Hey, Yev,” Yevgeny jumped and looked up in surprise.

“Hey, when did you get here?”

“Like 30 seconds ago, don’t worry.” Lip said. “Where’s your dad and sister?”

Yevgeny shrugged. “They’re upstairs, sleeping I guess.”

“It’s kind of early for a 16 year old kid to be up on a Sunday morning. When did you get up?” Lip asked.

Yevgeny shrugged again. He’d been doing a lot of shrugging in the last day or so. Shrugging instead of talking. “I don’t know, like 6?”

Lip whistled. “Why the fuck would you do that?”

“Couldn’t sleep,” Yevgeny said while tapping his pencil.

“And so you get up and do math homework?” Lip teased.

“It’s distracting and has to get done anyway,” Yevgeny stated dismissively. As if it were perfectly normal for him to be up so early on a Sunday morning doing homework to distract himself from what was going on, instead of in bed sleeping like every other teenager on the planet.

Yevgeny looked up and still tapping his pencil on the notebook paper. “What are you doing here so early, then?”

Lip sighed. “Couldn’t sleep either.”

“Oh,” Yevgeny said and went back to his homework.

They sat in a comfortable silence for a while, with just the scratching and erasing and punching of the calculator from Yevgeny. Lip watched him erase the same problem three times. He glanced over and read the work upside down.

“You need to check the equation you’re using,” he said.

Yevgeny glanced up. “It’s kind of freaky when you do that. Read everything, even math problems upside down, and instantly have an answer.”

Lip grinned. “Yeah? Well try checking your equation and see what happens.”

Yevgeny flipped through his textbook, copied a different equation and tried the problem again. He finally got an answer that would actually make sense for the problem, and slid the notebook over to Lip. “Is that right?”

“Yep, good job.”

Yevgeny rolled his eyes, “Thanks.”

The stairs creaked with a voice mumbling and groaning came into the kitchen.

“Yo,” Mickey said hoarsely from not having used his voice for a few hours as he came into the kitchen. His black hair was sticking up all over the place like Yevgeny’s.
Mickey went straight to making coffee. “You want some?” He asked Lip.

“Sure, thanks.”

Yevgeny glanced up. “Can I have some?” He asked hopefully.

They stared at each other, some weird father son battle of the wills thing that Lip shook his head at. Mickey sighed. “Yeah, fine. One cup. Just this once.”

“Awesome, thanks!” Yevgeny grinned.

Lip raised his eyebrows. If he had known Yevgeny was gonna smile like that from being allowed to have coffee, he would have given it to him in secret yesterday just so he didn’t have to keep staring at his nephew’s glum face.

“What are you two doing?” Mickey said grumpily as he put two mugs of coffee down on the table.

“Freaking your son out with my super upside down reading and math skills.”

Mickey rolled his eyes and took a sip of his coffee.

Yevgeny glanced at his uncle and father, and then put his notebook into the textbook to mark the page, and shut the textbook. “So…um, can we go see Pops today?”

“Maybe, Yevvie. I’ll have to call the hospital and see if he’s up for it,” Mickey said.

“Oh,” Yevgeny’s face fell.

Mickey watched his son’s face fall and scrambled, “But….I need to drop some clothes and stuff off for him so you could probably see him for a few minutes then.”

“Okay,” Yevgeny said, grabbing his stuff and the mug. He trudged back upstairs.

Mickey finished his coffee and put his cup in the sink. “There’s still an hour before I can call them. I’m gonna go pack up Ian’s shit for him.”

He left Lip alone downstairs. Lip took out his phone to scroll through the news or something when he got a text.

From Sophy 8:40am:
Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you, and offer is still there if you need anything. Hope things are going better. :)

Reading the message Lip smiled, and exited out of his texts. He’d answer it later. Maybe later he could actually say something more substantial than “thanks” to her.
He rubbed the side of his phone with his pointer finger and got an idea. Opening the messaging app back up, he tapped Fiona’s name.

To Fiona 8:45am:
Hey. Do you think Liam can come by to Ian’s house today? Yev could probably use a friend even if he thinks he doesn’t.

Lip sighed, satisfied with this potential plan when he realized he kinda wanted his sister too.

To Fiona 8:46am:
You can stop by, too. Obviously.

--

It was around 10:30am, and Sarah was sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons with a drawing pad in her lap and a pencil in her hand. Yevgeny was sitting next to her but doing the last problems of the math homework. Lip scrolled through endless social media newsfeeds that didn’t really interest him. Mickey came downstairs, dressed with a duffle bag in his hands.

“Alright guys here’s the deal,” he said as all eyes turned to him. “I’m going to go to Ian and drop this stuff off and we’re gonna talk for a bit.”

“What about us?” Yevgeny said angrily.

“Well, if you held your fucking horses you’d know that I was about to tell you that you guys can come later. Probably around 1.”

“Will there be enough time to really see him though before visiting hours are over?” Sarah asked worriedly.

“Visiting hours are 11am to 4pm on the weekends, kiddo. You’ll have plenty of time,” Mickey answered. He turned his attention back to both of his children. “Sound good?”

“Yeah,” they both said at the same time.

“Don’t bother asking me what I think or anything. Not like I have to drag their big butts anywhere,” Lip said sarcastically to Mickey.

“My butt isn’t big,” Sarah said getting upset.

Yevgeny rolled his eyes. “He was kidding, chill.”

Mickey sighed exasperatedly. “Like you’d disagree? If someone to told you to go burn down all of Chicago for your family you’d do it without questioning it.”

Lip sighed. “Whatever.” He leaned back into the couch tiredly. “And your plan sounds fine, by the way.”

Mickey rolled his eyes. “Why are all you Gallaghers so fucking annoying? Jesus. I thought you were supposed to get less annoying with age or something.”

Lip pretended to consider it and replied with an academic voice. “I believe it works in the opposite direction for us.”

Mickey shook his head. “Okay, I’m leaving. I’ll see you guys later.” He pulled on his coat and hat. “And if you do anything stupid again Yev, you’ll be the sole person shoveling snow until it stops snowing.”

Yevgeny looked down sheepishly and nodded. Mickey had his hand on the door knob when Lip called out, “Hey Mick!”

Mickey turned around and met eye contact. Lip gave him a meaningful look. Mickey huffed. “Yeah, yeah don’t worry about it. I know.”

He let the door slam.

--

Mickey got there at 11:05am and still wasn’t the first person in line at the door. Fucking figures. Ian would have rolled his eyes and told him at least he was still third. His throat tightened thinking about Ian talking to him. They needed to sort out what happened yesterday but…there was so much so fast…

The door opened and the line started moving. Each visitor presenting ID.

Mickey pulled out his ID. “I’m here for Ian Gallagher.” He lifted up the duffle bag and dangled it in the air. “I have some stuff for him.”

The receptionist smiled at him, and motioned for him to send it over the counter. “We’ll make sure he gets it after a nurse checks the contents in case there is anything inappropriate you’ll need to take home.”

Mickey nodded. He doubted they would find anything. She handed him a visitors pass to clip onto his clothing. “Your pass must be visible at all times. Hours are until 4pm. You may bring in outside food but it has to be eaten in the rec room.”

He moved along until he was past the receptionist. A nurse was at the next door. “Who are you here for, sir?”

“Ian Gallagher.”

The nurse pulled a walkie-talkie off her pant waist. “One visitor for Ian Gallagher. Know where he is?”

The walkie-talkie crackled. “Rec room.”

The nurse opened the door and Mickey was greeted with another staff member who told him the directions to the rec room.

Mickey went down the hall and made two rights, and walked into a big brightly window lit room, with tables and chairs. There were some couches and a TV in one corner. There were weird toys things and games in locked boxes. Mickey scanned the room and found Ian in the clothes he’d been wearing the other day. His hair was slightly greasy. He sat at a table with some other guy playing cards.

Mickey nervously walked over so he was next to Ian but not too close. “Hey,” he said quietly.

Ian looked over and up, and smiled. “Hey!”

The guy Ian was playing with looked at the two of them for a minute before going back to staring back at the cards.

“Hey Rob?” Ian asked. “Can we pick this up later?”

The guy named Rob had a really long brown beard. He shrugged. “Sure. I’m gonna go give these back to the nurse now though. Lizzy said she would play but I have to give them back to the nurse, just for them to hand it back to me. Stupid fucking rules,” Rob muttered. “See you later,” Rob said collecting the cards and walking away.

Mickey waited until the Rob guy was all the way back to wear a nurse was, handing the cards over while beckoning some other lady to join him. He took his eyes off them and gulped. Pushing out the chair closest to Ian, he dropped in it awkwardly.

Ian was looking at him with a neutral expression.

“So, huh,” Mickey cleared this throat. “Makin’ friends with the other crazies?”

Ian smiled a little and shrugged. “Not much else to do in here. Most of them are alright. Nice. Not gonna take your toothbrush and stab you with it.”

Mickey laughed softly. “Wouldn’t count on that, Ian.”

Ian rolled his eyes but said nothing back.

Mickey sighed. Damn Ian for making him do all the work here. But then again, Ian was mad at him and was waiting from something from him, not the other away around.

“How are you feeling?” Mickey asked, looking directly into Ian’s eyes.

Ian looked away for a second before meeting Mickey’s eyes again. “I don’t know. Better I guess. Tired.”

Mickey nodded. “Are you back on your normal dosage for now?”

Ian nodded. “You gonna try a new migraine med tomorrow?” Mickey asked.

Ian raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms. He leaned back into his chair, staring hardly at his husband.

Mickey’s stomach tightened for the millionth time in the last 24 hours. And there they were, in front of the problem and Mickey had to do something about it.
“I-I…I don’t know what to say”, Mickey said staring at his hands flat on the table.

Ian considered him for a moment and then quietly said, “okay.” He pushed his chair back and got up.

“Wait! I mean I don’t know how to say it,” Mickey said hurriedly. “Just, just like, give me a minute and stuff, okay?” Mickey pleaded.

Ian sat back down. “Sure,” he said quietly but with no real indication of what he was feeling.

Mickey dragged his chair so his knees were touching Ian’s. “I want you to be okay.”

Ian said nothing and waited for Mickey to continue. He was looking at Mickey though in the way that he always did when he was listening intently though, so Mickey tried to not let Ian’s lack of response bother of him.

“That’s-that’s all I want. But I never seem to get it, and I’m scared Ian. Okay? I’m scared,” Mickey confessed.

Ian swallowed hard. “Me too,” he whispered.

“And all these doctors, they’re supposed to know things right? But shit keeps happening. And I know, I know that doctors aren’t like miracle workers or know everything but they know more than you and I. I don’t know who else to trust. I don’t really have anyone else to trust, here. Ya know?”

Ian looked down. “You could trust me.”

“I do trust you. I don’t trust your illness. But your judgement is really off sometimes because of it, and you’ve got the doctors doing what you want. It’s confusing."

Ian sighed in frustration. “Mick, I didn’t just give them orders and they blindly followed them. I talked about how I wanted stuff to go and then they added their input. They’re still running the whole thing. And if things go really badly or something, they’re not just gonna stand there and be like: ‘So Ian, what do should we do?’ It’s called working with the doctor and the doctor working with you.”

“I just don’t want something really bad to happen that could have been prevented if you had just listened to the doctors,” Mickey explained.

“I do listen! I’ve been listening ever since Yevgeny started walking around,” Ian said angrily. His eyes flashed with hurt. “That’s why I kept taking the meds even though I knew they were bad for me!”

“Ian,” Mickey started trying to placate him but Ian kept going. He glanced around and dropped his voice to an angry hiss.

“How dare you fucking accuse me of not doing everything I possibly can when I can to manage this shit? I can’t believe after all this time you still think I have the same mindset as I did when I was 17. When I was basically Yevgeny’s age!”

Mickey stopped himself from yelling because he didn’t want their conversation to have more ears than it probably already did in this place. He dropped his voice so he was speaking lowly too. “I mean you were telling me I’d be better off without you the other night. Can you blame me for not being kind of concerned about trusting your judgement right now because your disease is clouding it? Can you blame me for being scared?” He finished whispering, blinking back tears.

Mickey watched as Ian’s anger deflated from him as if he was a pricked balloon. Ian slumped forward on the table. “No. I can’t,” he said softly.

Ian took a deep breath. “But, the doctors are also the ones still in charge here. So we’re going to have to trust them,” Ian said. He looked imploringly into Mickey’s eyes. “I-I can ask them to talk with you so you can understand better, if that helps….”

Mickey said nothing. They sat silently for a few minutes while Mickey thought. Ian started to fidget in his seat nervously.

“I don’t think you have the same mindset as you did when you were 17. I’m just scared, but…,” Mickey stopped and took a deep breath. “I’ll try, okay? I’ll go with you on this one. And if you could let them talk to me, that’d help, yeah.”

Mickey stared at his hands nervously, waiting for Ian to react. He felt Ian pull his hands off his lap and hold them.

“Thank you,” he said so softly and so sincerely Mickey’s chest ached. He looked up and saw Ian’s soft smile and a tear rolling down his cheek.

Mickey squeezed their hands, and they sat rubbing each other’s thumbs over each other’s hands in silence for a while.

“I’m sorry, Mick. For scaring you. For saying that you’d be better off without me…,” Ian choked out. “But, and please don’t hate me, that’s how I feel sometimes....and I’m sorry.”

Mickey pulled his hands away and moved his chair so they were sitting side by side. He wrapped his arms around his shoulder. “I don’t hate you. I know. I hate that you feel that way….but this isn’t your fault. None of this is your fault, okay?”

Ian dropped his head so it was resting on Mickey’s shoulder but said nothing. Mickey sighed. “I know you don’t believe me but I’m going to keep telling you, okay?”

Ian nodded slightly with his head still on his shoulder. Mickey kissed the side of his head. He looked up to see some old lady staring at them from across the room. He scowled and flipped her off.

--

Lip was waiting at the door for the kids to come down so they could head to the hospital. His phone buzzed in his coat pocket. He pulled it out and smiled in relief.

From Fiona 12:33pm:
Liam and I can come for dinner. I’ll cook. 6:30 okay?

To Fiona 12:34pm:
That’s great. Thank you, Fi.

To Mickey 12:35pm:
Fiona’s coming over later with Liam. She’s gonna cook dinner for you and the kids.

To The Worst Gallagher 12:40pm:
Ugh. More Gallagher’s in my house? Fine. But only because she’s cooking.

Chapter Text

Sarah sat with her uncle, brother, and both her dads at the table Ian and Mickey had talked at earlier that day. She twisted her hands in her lap while she glanced around nervously. Lip, Ian, and Mickey looked nervously at each other. In all that was happening they had somehow managed to forget that Sarah had never been in here before and forgot to prepare her for it. The last time Ian was in the hospital’s psychiatric section she was too young to visit or really understand what was going on.

“Do they yell at you? Do they do scary things to you? Do the other patients bully you?”

“No, sweetie. Most people who talk to the others are nice. The not so nice ones are just people to ignore, and the nurses keep an eye on them. Mostly though, people just keep to themselves. No one is hurting me. I am okay,” Ian said reassuringly to her. He smiled softly and squeezed her hand. “Okay?”

“Then what do you do in here all day?”

“Therapy, med checks, talk to doctors, do activities, talk to other patients,” Ian listed casually.

“That sounds boring,” Sarah commented.

Ian shrugged. “Sometimes it is.”

Sarah nodded. She considered something for a minute and then said, “I think Yev needs therapy.”

Lip and Mickey’s eyes went wide while Yev turned red. He kicked his sister under the table. Ian looked somewhere between amused and concerned. “Does he?”

“Yep!” Sarah popped the “p”. “He stole a car.”

Ian’s amusement dropped and turned dark. He looked at Yevgeny. “You did, the fuck, what?”

Lip stepped in, he didn’t want to risk another yelling match. “He stole my car.”

Ian stared at Lip blankly, looking between his son and his brother before he burst out laughing.

“The fuck, Ian?” Mickey said.

“Sorry,” Ian said inbetween laughs. He was so relieved he couldn’t help himself. “But I thought he stole some stranger’s car and like broke into it. It was just Lip’s.”

“He stole the keys, Ian,” Mickey said, glaring at his husband. “It’s not okay even if it was just his uncle’s car.”

Ian bit his lip and turned away. “You’re right. Sorry. But at least it was just Lip’s.”

“Geez, thanks Ian.” Lip said sarcastically.

“Alright enough with this bullshit,” Mickey stepped in. This wasn’t a discussion to have in front of Sarah or with his uncle. It wasn’t between them. He was irritated. “We’re going to be talking to you later about this.”

Mickey directed this at Yevgeny and then gave a meaningful look at his husband.

“Yeah, we are.”

The family sat in awkward silence. Sarah was glancing around and staring at things again. Yevgeny was swinging his feet under the table while staring at his crossed hands. Lip was watching Ian watch Mickey.

Ian cleared his throat and slapped his hands lightly on the table. “Uh, who wants to play a board game? Hopefully they have something decent left.”

They played the game for about forty minutes. Sarah was starting to look like she had enough and Lip looked at his watch. The kitchen was a mess. Fiona didn’t need to clean it on top of cooking. It would also give Ian and Mickey a chance to talk to their son together.

“Hey, why don’t Sarah and I head back now?” Sarah looked confused and slightly relieved. “We can be Aunt Fiona and Liam’s welcome party,” Lip said.

Sarah looked him up and down as if knowing he was trying too hard to be cheerful but got out of the chair and went over to Ian. She hugged him.

“Bye, Poppy.”

“Bye, honey. Just so you know, I’m trying some new medicine tomorrow,” Ian said gently “Ok? So we’ll see if that helps?”

Sarah nodded at the attempted reassurance. “Okay. Be good.” She smiled and stuck her tongue out at him.

“Hey, you be good!” Ian smiled and stuck out his tongue in return.

After they were gone Yevgeny muttered something about the bathroom and allowed a nurse to direct him to one.

Ian turned to Mickey, and said lowly. “It’s my fault he took Lip’s car. It was because I’m in here, right? He was scared?”

Mickey sighed and rubbed his face. “No, it’s his fault he took Lip’s car. That was his choice. He is 16. He can comprehend other ways of dealing with things.”
Ian groaned in frustration. “Mick, that doesn’t answer the other part of the question?”

Mickey looked up to see their son walking back towards their table. “Well, let’s find out from the source itself,” Mickey said flicking his eyes pointedly in the direction of Yevgeny.
When Yevgeny reached the table he pulled out a chair, and dropped into it like he was waiting for his execution. “Do we have to do this? Now?” Yevgeny asked Mickey.

“N-“ Ian started to say but Mickey said “Yes,” loudly over him.

A heavy silence fell as Yevgeny tried to gather his courage. Ian spoke first. “I’m sorry, Yevgeny.”

Yevgeny’s head snapped up and he looked at Ian in confusion. “What? Why?”

“That your whole life has been tainted by my illnesses.”

Yevgeny was still confused. “What?”

Ian sighed. “I’m sick. You are always worrying about it. You’re scared right now,” Ian said. He paused to see if Yevgeny was going to refute the scared part but his son stayed silent and he continued. “That’s…..that’s not fair for you. You’re just a kid. You shouldn’t have to worry about this shit.”

Mickey was looking at Ian with sadness and had put his hand on Ian’s arm.

Yevgeny considered this and then shrugged. “Well…it doesn’t seem fair for you either. You’re the one whose sick.”

Ian smiled a little bit. “Rather me than you, or anyone else.”

Mickey’s expression got sadder and now squeezing Ian’s arm. Yevgeny leaned forward and broke the silence that had fallen. “I don’t think you have to say sorry for anything. It’s not your fault you’re sick. That’s bullshit.”

Mickey raised his eyebrows and smiled at his son. “Yeah, exactly what Yev said. It’s bullshit,” Mickey told Ian.

Ian was staring at Yevgeny now with wide teary eyes. “Uh okay….Thanks, Yevvie,” Ian said softly.

Yevgeny smiled at him and nodded in response. Mickey was pretty sure that Ian didn’t actually believe Yevgeny but it was a start. Even if it was just a show for their son, Ian had thought of his response himself. The idea was somewhere in his head.

Ian cleared his throat and directed the conversation away from himself. “So, what’s this about stealing Lip’s car?”

Yevgeny shifted uncomfortably in his seat and looked at his dad. Mickey wasn’t giving him anyway out though, he was staring at him expentently. “I um…I- I was mad.”

He glanced at his dad and was met with raised eyebrows. Yevgeny sighed. “I was mad at Dad.”

Ian kept his expression neutral. Mickey watched him slip instantly into parenting mode with slight amazement. Mickey had been struggling with putting himself in the parenting role, and he wasn’t even sick.

“Why?” Ian asked as if he were curious and he was about to learn an interesting fact about dogs or something.

“He didn’t tell me you were here. Uncle Lip told us in the morning when we came back.”

“They were happy where they were. It was easier for me to help you at the time if I didn’t have to worry about them too. It was the best option at the time,” Mickey explained to Ian.

Ian nodded. “Okay….but why were you mad about not being told?” Ian asked.

Yevgeny scoffed and crossed his arms. What did his Pops mean by this fucking question. Wasn’t it obvious? “Isn’t it obvious?” He said sullenly.

“Apparently not,” Mickey said in his “quit the attitude” voice.

“Well I don’t know,” Yevgeny said scathingly. “How would you feel if no one told you if I were in the hospital? Like what kind of shit is that? Am I going to come home one day to Uncle Lip saying Pops was found dead on the floor!”

Yevgeny realized what came out his mouth and snapped it shut, and looked down. He hadn’t meant to reveal that last part. He wasn’t going to tell anyone about that.
Ian and Mickey looked at each other, and shared an “oh fuck” eye conversation.

Ian got up and sat down in the chair next to Yevgeny. He put his hand on his son’s shoulder and squeezed it gently. “That won’t happen.”

Yevgeny shook his head. “What won’t? You dead on the floor or Dad not telling us?”

Ian sighed. He was starting to get emotionally drained on top of physically tired. “Both.”

Pulling out of Ian’s touch, Yevgeny rolled his eyes. “I’m not a kid. You don’t know that.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry. But we can figure out a better system of how stuff should be handled the next time there’s a problem, okay?” Ian asked Yevgeny while glancing at Mickey. Mickey nodded slightly in confirmation that he was with Ian on this plan.

“Promise?” Yevgeny asked Ian, looking at him with big puppy eyes.

“I promise.” Ian said.

Yevgeny looked at his dad through his eyelashes. “Promise?”

Mickey got up and kneeled in front of his son and husband. “Yeah, I promise, buddy.” He placed his hand on Yevgeny's leg.

Ian gently ran his fingers through Yevgeny’s hair, who for once, didn’t pull away complaining about it getting messed up.
They fell into silence, but this time it was comforting. It had to be broken though. Mickey could tell that Ian was out of energy. He glanced at his watch. And visiting hours were over in 10 minutes anyway.

He stood up, wincing at his knees cracking. “Hours are almost over. Come on, Yev. Let’s let Pops rest.”

Yevgeny nodded. Ian stroked his hair one last time. He spoke quietly with a soft smile. “We’ll talk again later. I’ll see you soon.”

Yevgeny got up and hugged Ian. Ian froze in shock at first because Yevgeny was on a “I’m a teenager I don’t hug my parents” kick, but he returned it quickly. “I hope your new meds work.” Yevgeny said, pulling back.

“Thanks, me too.”

Mickey shoved his hands in his pockets. “Yev? Go wait over there, for a sec, yeah? Then we’ll go home.”

Yevgeny didn’t argue and trudged over to the nurse’s station, and let his parents speak alone.

“You okay?” Mickey asked Ian.

“It was a lot.”
Mickey agreed. “Yeah… I um, I think Sarah might be right….”

Ian turned his eyes away from where he was looking at Yevgeny to look at Mickey. “About therapy?”

Mickey nodded.

Ian sighed and pulled Mickey to him so Mickey’s face was on his chest. “Me too,” he whispered.

--

As soon as the door to the apartment open, Yevgeny ran up the stairs without talking to anyone. Mickey sighed and shook his head but let him go. He discarded his coat and went into the kitchen where Lip, Fiona, Liam, and his daughter were.

“Hey, Liam, what’s up?” Mickey said. He held out his fist. Liam smiled and bumped it.

After he greeted Liam, he walked to the fridge for a bottle of water.

Fiona scoffed. “I don’t get a greeting?” She said with mock hurt.

Mickey flipped her off. Fiona laughed and walked over, and pecked Mickey on the cheek with a kiss. Mickey grumbled and wiped his cheek, but Sarah knew he wasn’t actually bothered. She thought it was kind of stupid actually, that her dad decided to keep up so many appearances.

“Yo, Liam,” Lip said. “Why don’t you go check on, Yev.”

Liam shook his head and said, “nah.” All the adults turned to stare at him. “Leave him alone for a bit. Give a guy some alone time, jeez.”

--

Upstairs Yevgeny lay on his bed, put his headphones in, and turned the volume of the music up until his ears hurt.

Chapter Text

Lip glanced into the living room from where he was sitting at the kitchen table cutting up vegetables. Making sure that Mickey and Sarah were fully engrossed in the new video game Liam brought, he turned to his sister. “Do you ever get tired of this?”

Fiona snorted from where she stood at the stove. “I get tired of a lot of things.”

“Like, why couldn’t Frank have been the one to cheat on Monica so Ian didn’t have her DNA?”

“Frank’s DNA is just as fucked,” Fiona said.

“It should have been me,” Lip muttered into the table.

“What?”

“I should be the one that’s bipolar.”

Fiona shook her head at him in confusion.

“Ian had a plan, right? He knew what he wanted to do with his life. He worked so hard for it, and it got fucked up. Me? I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. Nothing to ruin,” Lip ruminated for the millionth time.

“Lip, we sorted this shit years ago. Why are you bringing it up again? What’s going on?”

Lip sighed. “I don’t know.”

Fiona evaluated him with the classic big sister scan, and then turned back to the pot she was keeping an eye on. As she stirred she spoke. “You’re tired of this, huh? Ian bein’ sick?”

“Yeah, but as in tired of watching him go through this.”

“And you’re tired of dealing with it.”

“It’s not his fault.”

“You don’t have to blame someone to be tired of it. It’s exhausting,” Fiona stated as if it were simple.

“That makes Ian sound like a burden.”

“Jesus, Lip. He’s not. I’m saying that we’re all tired of the shit. Not that he’s a problem or we don’t want him or love him, but it’d be nice if shit just stopped.”

“I don’t think we’ve ever been on Santa’s nice list to get that,” Lip said.

Fiona chuckled lowly. “Guess not.”

Mickey walked in and they dropped the conversation but Fiona gave him a “we’re finishing this later look”. Lip groaned internally. Even at 38 and 34, she was still on his ass.

--

Liam stood outside Yevgeny’s bedroom door and knocked it. Yevgeny didn’t answer nor did he hear it since he had his music up so loud in his ears. Liam knocked harder. Yevgeny sat up and pulled out a headphone waiting to see if the knock would happen again or that was just something else in the house. The knock came again. He pulled out both of his headphones.

“What?” He said from his bed. He wasn’t getting up and opening the door. Especially if it were his dad or his Uncle, or worse his Aunt trying to get him to talk. Fiona was the worst. All she had to do was stare you down before you started spilling your guts. He had told Ian this once, and Ian laughed saying it didn’t always work that way but raising five kids would give you a leg up on things.

“It’s Liam, can I come in?”

Yevgeny sighed. “I guess,” he said. Liam waited for him to come to the door. “Just let yourself in already,” Yevgeny said irritably.

Liam stepped in the room and shut the door, with a soft, “Hey.”

Liam was technically Yevgeny’s uncle but Liam was only two years older. Fiona used to watch Yevgeny when he was younger so Liam and Yevgeny were around each other a lot. They told people they were cousins.

“Hey,” Yevgeny said back. He glanced at Liam who was leaning against the door with the hands in the pocket of his hoodie.

“They send you up here to make me talk?”

Liam smirked and moved so he was sitting on the edge of the bed. He scuffed the toe of his sneakers on the carpet and spoke, “Yeah, but I’m not gonna make you do anything. Come on, man.”

Yevgeny smiled slightly. “Right, right. Sorry.”

They had an unspoken rule that unless one of them was about to die or some shit, they didn’t push each other to talk or do anything. At least, not right away.

Liam shrugged. “It’s cool.”

Yevgeny got up off the bed, and opened his desk drawer. He rooted around the bottom of it before procuring his secret stash of M&Ms. He popped a few in his mouth before handing the bag over to Liam. Liam grinned.

“Better not let Fiona catch us eating chocolate before dinner,” Liam said.

Yevgeny rolled his eyes. “It’s not like it’s alcohol. She’ll get over it. Live a little.”

Liam put his hand back in the bag and drew out a handful before handing the bag back to Yevgeny.

“Ian told me that Fiona said you might pass the 11th grade this year. Get to be a senior,” Yevgeny said with his mouth ful of M&Ms.

Liam smiled slightly and sighed. “Yep. Fucking retard might actually get to graduate on time with everyone else.”

Liam struggled through school and some other stuff because he had learning disabilities “up the wazoo”, as Carl put it. He had some other issues too, but the motor issues weren’t really a problem anymore. Liam had grown up, and figured it out. It was harder when he was a kid. Yevgeny and Liam didn’t go to the same school because Fiona had moved so they could get Liam into a better school district with disability accommodations for students. But it was still South Side and still Chicago, so the accommodations were pretty much crap. Therefore, he was 18 years old and in his second round of 11th grade.

Yevgeny reached over and wacked his elbow. “Stop calling yourself that shit.”

Liam said nothing.

“I bet Fiona’s really proud,” Yevgeny said.

Liam shrugged. “If I don’t fuck it up. Maybe if I actually graduate on time…or at all she’ll stop looking at me all guilty. She thinks I don’t see it, says she’s fine now. Liar.”

Yevgeny threw the bag into the middle of the bed. “That’s not your fault. That’s Fiona’s shit. Pops does that too with me. Ya, know with the whole trip to Florida thing? Shit he said earlier….”

Yevgeny stopped himself. They weren’t talking about him and he didn’t want to talk about himself anyway. “Anyway,” he started again. “If you fuck it up, you fuck it up. You try again.”

“Yeah, but it’ll still feel shitty,” Liam countered.

Yevgeny stretched his legs out in front of him. “Yeah.”

They lapsed into silence for a few moments. Liam kicked off his shoes and swung his legs onto the bed. He crossed them and started to pick at a loose string at the bottom of his jeans.

“It was an accident,” Liam said quietly. “I was a dumb kid. When is she gonna realize that?”

Yevgeny considered this and then shrugged. “It’s some stupid parent thing. They think everything is their fault and if they feel bad about it forever, they think they’ll feel less guilty in the future but they don’t.”

Liam smirked and nodded. “Fiona’s not my parent.”

“She kinda fucking is,” Yevgeny countered.

Liam rolled his eyes. “Whatever.”

“I’ll help you know, with school?” Yevgeny said casually. He had done it their whole lives but Liam still had this idea in his head that he shouldn’t have to anymore.

Liam twisted the string on his jeans and broke it off. “Will you help me with my English paper?”

“Yeah, come over tomorrow after school.”

“You sure, your dad…” Liam trailed off.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Yevgeny said a little more forcefully than necessary. Liam didn’t comment on it. “They don’t have visiting hours at night on Mondays anyway.”

“Thanks,” Liam said quietly. “You always help my retarded ass.”

Yevgeny raised his eyebrows. He was actually getting angry now. “Seriously, if you call yourself that one more time I will smack you into tomorrow.”
Yevgeny got off the bed and started pacing. “I mean, what is with this? Huh? I thought we established that calling yourself a retard is absolute bullshit.”

Liam stared at the floor. “Don’t worry about it,” he said quietly.

Yevgeny stopped dead. “Are those kids that live next store to you giving you shit again?”

Liam shrugged. “It’s no big deal.”

Yevgeny rolled his eyes. It obviously was. “I’m gonna fucking beat up their asses tomorrow so bad they—“

Liam got up off the bed and stood in front of Yevgeny. He crossed his arms and spoke loudly. When Liam spoke loudly though, it was basically the equivalent to him yelling. It didn’t happen a lot. “Yevgeny, stop! Don’t do—“

He was cut off by Fiona yelling “dinner” up the stairs.

Liam sighed in relief. “Don’t do it,” he said sternly and then walked out of Yevgeny’s bedroom.

Yevgeny heard him scuttle down the stairs. He kicked his desk chair and followed. He dropped into the chair next to Liam at the table and avoided looking at him. Everyone was preoccupied with laying food out and getting settled so Liam leaned over and said lowly in Yevgeny’s ear, “I heard you kick the chair. I know you took Lip’s car. I’m not gonna make you, but you need to talk about your shit.”

Yevgeny glared at him. “Fuck off.”

Liam held up his hands. “Okay then.”

Yevgeny narrowed his eyes but was distracted when someone put a bowl into his hands with the instructions to take some and pass it. Conversation started, loudly, as always. Food was chaotically passed around. Liam was right. Yevgeny leaned over to Liam. “Sorry.”

Liam smiled at him. “Give me the peas,” he said in response.

--

They made it to dessert without incident, which was pretty impressive considering the family that was in there. But Mickey said something to Yevgeny, that basic father stuff, and Yevgeny lost it. He dropped his plates into the sink with a loud clank, knocked over his chair, and then went out of the backdoor with a slam.

“Fuck,” Mickey muttered.

Liam pushed his chair back and walked to the front of door of the apartment. He grabbed his and Yevgeny’s coats. He went to Fiona but was looking at Mickey. “I got this.”

Then he turned to Fiona with his hands out. They had a staring match before Fiona relented, and dropped her car keys into his hand.

“If either of you even move that car an inch, I will kill you both and then bring you back to kill you again.”

Liam rolled his eyes. “We’re just gonna sit in it. Maybe turn the heat on for a second.”

Fiona sighed. “Don’t leave it running. It’ll use up gas.”

“Why don’t I just drag him inside instead,” Mickey said, standing up.

“It’s fine,” Fiona sighed. “He probably wants to get out of the house for a minute but it’s fucking freezing.”

Mickey sat back down with a sigh and rubbed the back of his neck.

Liam moved towards the back door and opened it. “Not a fucking inch,” Fiona said as Liam shut the door.

--

Yevgeny was pacing on the sidewalk. Liam went over, threw Yevgeny’s coat at him, and unlocked the car. He got in and waited for Yevgeny to get the hint and climb into the passenger seat. He heard Yevgeny huff before he got in and slammed the door. Yevgeny leaned back and closed his eyes with crossed arms.

“You got it out for chairs today? They do something to you?” Liam teased.

Yevgeny didn’t say anything but Liam didn’t expect him to. He started the car and let the heat run for a few minutes before turning it off. He was just going to have to wait Yevgeny out.

“What if he leaves?” Yevgeny blurted out in a terrified, hushed voice.

Liam turned in his seat to look at Yevgeny. “Who…what?”

This was not what Liam had expected and that question made no sense.

“What if he dies or has to go away some place? Maybe he’ll realize that it’s my fault and leave like my mom!” Yevgeny said getting increasingly upset.

Liam looked him up and down before speaking very slowly, “What, the, actual, fuck, are you talking about?”

“Pops,” Yevgeny said irritably. Who else would he be talking about it?

“I’m still lost,” Liam said. When Yevgeny didn’t seem like he was going to clarify, Liam continued. “First of all, I don’t think he’s going to die from this anytime soon. Second of all, if he has to go someplace to get better or be taken care of or some shit, he’ll still be in your life more than you’ll want. Third of all, what the hell is your fault?”

“Everything,” Yevgeny muttered darkly. “I need to stop being such a brat. He’ll leave if I keep doing that…”

“Who?”
“Pops or dad…both….but I can’t stop. It’s like if I don’t hit something I’ll explode.”

“I’m pretty sure your parents are not going anywhere. Your dads aren’t like your mom. Both of your dads have done some pretty serious shit and they didn’t walk away from each other. They’re not gonna do that to their kids.”

“She said I was a headache.”

Liam sat there in confusion mulling over what Yevgeny had just said. She said I was a headache….Ian is in the hospital partially because of headaches….oh.

“Yev….I….” Liam didn’t know how he was supposed to handle this. He needed Fiona for this sort of shit.

Liam sighed and tried again. “His headaches aren’t your fault. It’s just shit luck. What your mom said….she meant it as an expression. Not literally. I don’t think can literally give someone a headache as bad as Ian’s just by being an annoying kid.”

Yevgeny blinked rapidly and then turned to look out the car window so Liam couldn’t see his face. If he was going to cry, he wasn’t going to have someone look at his face while he did it.

“That’s the last thing she said to me,” Yevgeny said in an unsteady voice.

Liam tentatively reached over and squeezed Yevgeny’s shoulder. He didn’t turn around but he didn’t push Liam off either or stiffen.

“She said that because she was a bad mother and a bad person who only cared about herself,” Liam said.

Yevgeny kept staring out the window silently but his shoulder was shaking slightly. “Are you hearing me?” Liam prodded.

Yevgeny nodded. Liam let his hand drop. He stared out the windshield window and listened to a dog bark a few streets over. He turned around what Yevgeny had been saying to him when a burst of logic came through.

Liam turned around to face Yevgeny, or the back of his head, again with excitement. “Sarah’s a pretty annoying kid, right?”

That got Yevgeny to turn around. “Yeah….so?” He said in confusion.

“So I guess Sarah is responsible for Ian’s migraines.”

Yevgeny turned around fully in his seat so he was staring into Liam’s eyes in the dark. “What the hell is wrong with you? No she’s not.”

Liam leaned back so his back was against the car door. “Exactly,” he said simply.

Yevgeny’s face contorted into anger even more and then slowly morphed into confusion, and then understanding.

“Fuck you,” he muttered.

Liam grinned. “Fuck you too.”

Yevgeny huffed a laugh and swiped at his eyes.

Liam watched him and then opened the car door partially. “I think you need to talk to your dads about this,” he said quietly.

Shaking his head, Yevgeny said, “My dad doesn’t like to talk about that.”

“Doesn’t mean he won’t talk to you if you’re upset about it.” Liam opened the door and stepped out of the car all the way. “You got ten minutes to come inside, and then I’m sending someone out to get you.”

He shut the door and trudged back to the house. He sighed in relief when warmth hit his face, and his practically numb hands.

Chapter Text

10 years ago:

 

“Ian, we gotta go back to the doctor.”

Ian tucked his feet underneath himself, and curled up even more on the couch. “I don’t want to, Mick. They work fine. Just give it more time. They work.”

Mickey sighed, frustrated. “Ian, we both know they aren’t working as well as they could be. You need to try some new meds.”

“Please,” Ian pleaded. “I’m not in bed. I’ve been eating. I cooked us dinner yesterday. They’re working.”

“So, you’re just willing to settle and call this as good as it is gonna get?” Mickey threw his hands in the air and shook his head while pacing.

Ian stared at the carpet in front of him. “This is as good as it gets,” he whispered.

Mickey stopped pacing and just stared at the top of Ian’s head. What the hell? What happened to the kid that chased him for years without ever settling? What happened to the kid that pushed Mickey to strive for something better? What happened to the kid that pursued his goals tirelessly? That kid got sick. And now, it’s Mickey’s turn to believe in something better and be a giant pain in the ass about it. Mickey swallowed and strengthen his resolved. He walked over to the couch and sat down beside Ian.

“Why do you keep saying shit like that?”

Ian shrugged. “Because it’s true.”

“No,” Mickey said quietly and put his hand on Ian’s shoulder. “It’s fucking not. You don’t have to see it right now. That’s okay, I’ll see it for you.”

Ian looked up at his boyfriend and smirked. “You totally watch soap operas when I’m at work.”

Mickey scoffed. “I fucking do not, Gallagher.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ian chuckled and wormed his way under Mickey’s arm, so he was leaning against his side.

Ian sighed contently as he put his head on Mickey’s shoulder. Mickey kissed the top of his head. They sat there in silence, taking in the comfort of each other when they heard angry footsteps walk up the steps to the front door and crying. Someone pounded on the door.

“What the fuck,” Mickey grumbled, removing Ian from him. He padded to the door shouting, “Alright, alright. I’m coming. Chill the fuck out.”

He swung the door open. Svetlana was standing there with a giant duffle bag at her feet, looking stone cold. Yevgeny was gripping her leg and crying hysterically. Mickey looked between the two of them.

“The fuck, did you do to him?” He glared at Svetlana and kneeled down to look at his son.

“Yevvie, what happened?” He asked Yevgeny gently. Yevgeny pressed his face further into his mother’s leg.

Svetlana scoffed above them and crossed her arms. “What I do to him? What about what he do to me?”

Mickey rose up to be on the same level as his ex-wife. “The hell can a 6 year old to do you?”

Shaking her leg, she yelled at Yevgeny to get off her. But he just shook his head, and cried harder into her leg. “No, no mama, I’ll be good.”

He’d had enough. “You are going to tell me what the fuck is going on, right now. I won’t ask again,” he growled at Svetlana.

Ian came up behind Mickey in the doorway. “What is going on?” He asked with wide eyes.

“He too much. Clothes. Food. School. Demanding brat. Sick. Vomit everywhere!” Svetlana listed off.

At that Yevgeny, wailed, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to!”

Ian stepped forward. “He’s a kid, Svetlana. That’s what kids do.”

“Well, enough!” Svetlana shouted, and shoved Yevgeny off her leg.

Ian rushed forward and picked him up, holding him protectively in his arms.

“So, what? You just gonna dump him and leave him here? For being a kid?” Mickey shouted back.

“Yes. Exactly.” She smirked.

Yevgeny started screaming, “No! No! Mama!”

Mickey started yelling but was cut off by the intensity of the anger coming from Ian. He always had the ability to make his anger fill the whole air, and freeze it until it shattered.

“Are you insane, Svet?” Ian said lowly to her. His eyes were flashing. “You can’t do this to him!”

She stepped forward and shoved Ian back before he could react. He turned his body around so Yevgeny wasn’t facing her. “Me? Crazy? You are crazy.” She stepped closer and grabbed Ian by the hair, and pulled his neck back. “It’s your fault Yevgeny exists.”

Ian and Mickey both flinched.

Mickey grabbed her around the waste and pulled her away, and threw her to the floor hard. He was shaking and panting with anger. He moved in front of his boyfriend and son. “Don’t touch them.”

Svetlana stood up from the ground, and shook herself off. She rearranged her coat and hair, and pulled herself to stand up right. “Take him. He make me sick. He give me headache.”

She stalked down the sidewalk. Mickey turned around to check on his boyfriend and son. Yevgeny had hit the kind of crying where you can’t make anymore noises except to shake and hiccup. Ian was standing there with a blank look on his face, not really seeing in front of him. Mickey reached out and took Yevgeny from Ian’s arms. Once he wasn’t holding Yevgeny anymore, his arms fell limply at his sides.

Mickey kissed Yevgeny’s hair and rocked him back and forth in his arms. “I’ve got you, kid.” He kept comforting him like this, until Yevgeny looped his arms around Mickey’s neck and pressed his face into Mickey’s shoulder.

Chapter Text

 From where chapter 8 left off...

Fiona and Lip had shooed Mickey, Sarah, Yevgeny, and Liam into the living room while they did dishes. Sarah was leaning on Mickey, while he ran his fingers through her hair. Fiona glanced toward the rest of her family to make sure they were all preoccupied before turning back to her brother.

“You gonna tell me what you were talking about earlier?”

Lip sighed and rubbed harder at the dish he was drying until it squeaked. Fiona put down the plate she was holding and put her hand on her hip and fixed him with a glare. Lip glanced toward the living room, and sighed.

“Fiona, this isn’t really something to talk about…here,” Lip said in a hushed voice.

Fiona stared at him for a minute with her eyebrows crinkled.

“Fi,” Lip gave him an imploring look. “It’s about what we all think could have triggered Ian’s bipolar to surface all those years ago.”

Fiona’s eyes widened. “Oh.” She picked up another plate and started washing it. “Yeah, definitely not talking about that here.”

 

--

The next morning Mickey had managed to get Yevgeny and Sarah go to school with notes about the circumstances and how they might have to leave in the middle of the day. Mickey pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, straightened his hair, readying himself to go inside.

When he entered the hospital’s psychiatric unit, he found Ian in the rec room with the book from home he had asked Mickey to bring him. It was open but Ian wasn’t looking at it. He was staring straight ahead but not really seeing anything. Mickey stepped into his line of vision.

“Yo,” Mickey said, hesitantly grinning.

Ian blinked and startled a little bit, before looking up to see who was standing in front of him. At the realization it was Mickey, his face fell into a smile.

“Hey,” he said back.

Mickey sat down next to him on the couch. “If that book is boring, I can bring you a different one.”

Ian’s eyebrows crinkled. “Hm?”

Mickey took the book from Ian’s lap and held it up.

“Oh. No, it’s fine. Just couldn’t focus.”

Ian scooted so their thighs were touching, and wormed himself under Mickey’s arm. Mickey squeezed him.

“How are you?”

“How are you? How are the kids?”

They both spoke at the same time. Ian rolled his eyes. “You go first.”

“The kids and I are hanging in there. Fiona and Lip are helping,” Mickey answered.

“Fiona knows I’m here?” Ian asked turning his head up to look at Mickey.

“Yep, but I guess she’s learned to wait for you to call the shots.”

“Hmm. Tell her she can come and visit,” Ian said.

“Sure,” Mickey said. “Now, you’re turn. How are you?”

Ian’s eyes had slid to look across the room again, unfocused. Mickey gently shook him.

“Hey, you with me?” Mickey asked him worriedly.

Ian rubbed his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. Sorry.”

“Can you answer my damn question now. How are you?” Mickey asked trying to keep the panic disguised as irritation out of his voice. He knew this was normal for Ian to be kind of out of it with the med change, but they hadn’t even changed that much. They just took away one. Maybe this was the start of his depressive episode getting worse?

Ian put his head on Mickey’s shoulder. “Tired, spacey. Feel better than before though. I hate that shitty migraine medicine.”

Mickey bit his lip. “You gonna try a new one?”

“Mhm,” Ian hummed. “At 11 I see the doctors, and I try a new migraine pill.”

“Good,” Mickey said.

“You can come to the one tomorrow, there will be more to talk about then probably,” Ian said. “I’ll call you tonight, and tell you the time.”

“And how this one went,” Mickey hedged.

“Yeah, I’ll tell you how it goes today, don’t worry,” Ian kissed Mickey’s cheek.

They spent the next 10 minutes just leaning on each other until a nurse came by to let Ian know it was time for him to go to a group therapy session. The husbands hugged goodbye and Ian promised again to call Mickey later.

Dragging his feet to his car once in the parking lot, Mickey felt his phone buzzing in his pocket. He took it out and looked at the screen. “Yevgeny’s school” flashed across it.

“Aw what the fuck,” he muttered before picking up. “Hello?”

 

--

 Yevgeny said in the front seat of the car, staring out the passenger door window silently. Mickey took a deep breath and blew it out, before getting into the car. He sat in the front seat in silence for a few seconds. His son was fucking suspended. Just icing on the cake to this already fantastic week.

“I’m sorry,” Yevgeny said quietly and looked down into his lap.

Mickey continued to stare out the window. Without looking at his son he asked, “Why did you do it?”

“I…I don’t know,” Yevgeny said. “It just…just happened.”

Mickey scoffed and turned around in his seat to look at his son. “What?”

Yevgeny sighed and slammed his head onto the headrest of the seat. “You asked, that’s my answer,” he shot back.

“Jesus Christ, Yev,” Mickey groaned and put his head in his hands. “Punching someone in the face doesn’t ‘just happen’. Just like when people get pregnant it doesn’t, ‘just happen’. The fucking baby didn’t ‘just happen’ to appear.”

Closing his eyes with his head still resting on the headrest, Yevgeny sighed. “I really don’t know, okay? One second I was just annoyed with Connor for fucking up our lab report…again. He made up some bullshit excuse. It felt like something snapped in my head, and the next second I had punched him in the face before I could even process what I was doing.”

Mickey chewed on his lip. He needed Ian for this sort of shit. “I’m the last person to be telling anyone not to punch someone in the face, but…that wasn’t even worth punching him in the face over, damn.”

Yevgeny rolled his head to look at his dead. “Yeah, I know.”

Mickey shook his head, and took his keys out of his pocket to start the ignitation. Before he could put the key in though, Yevgeny spoke again.

“I really didn’t mean to dad. It just keeps happening. I suddenly get really angry and then I’ve kicked a chair or punched someone in the face. I don’t know what’s happening.” Yevgeny gulped. “Am I going crazy?”

He whispered the question and blinked his eyes rapidly to prevent tears from falling. Mickey froze and stared at his son, before sighing and slumping.

“Come here,” he said, waving his hand at Yevgeny.

Yevgeny scooted over so his dad could wrap his arm around his shoulder.

Mickey considered his answer, and said carefully, “I don’t think you’re going crazy. I think you have some shit you need to deal with….we’ll….figure it out….okay?” He lighly jolted Yevgeny with his hand.

“Okay,” Yevgeny said quietly.

Mickey squeezed Yevgeny closer for a few seconds, and then kissed the top of his head before removing his arm. Yevgeny cleared his throat. Mickey put the key in the ignition. As they drove home, he watched Yevgeny from the corner of his eye. Yevgeny was rubbing his eyes with his palms out like he did when he was a kid and was exhausted. None of them had been sleeping that well. Yevgeny’s eyes drooped shut, and Mickey elbowed him.

“Yo, don’t fall asleep in here. I can’t carry you to bed anymore. We’ve got like ten more minutes until we’re home. Then you can crash,” Mickey said.

Yevgeny pulled himself up and rubbed his eyes again. “I’m fine.”

Mickey rolled his eyes. “Just do all of us a fucking favour, and take a nap. You’ll feel better after.”

Chapter Text

When they entered the house, Mickey slammed the door and shooed his son upstairs. He checked on Yevgeny 30 minutes later, and he was passed out fully clothed on top of the covers with his shoes on. Mickey took them off, muttering, “idiot”.

Three hours later, the door opened and closed again. Mickey glanced at the clock, confused. Sarah wasn’t supposed to be back until 7. She had play practice and then she was going to carpool with her friends. Mickey downed the last of his drink, and stood up to see who it was.

Fiona and Liam were by the door taking their coats off. There were grocery bags around their feet.

“The fuck are you doing here?”

“Making dinner. And Yevgeny was going to help Liam with some homework,” Fiona replied.

“He’s fucking sleep, don’t wake him up,” Mickey said annoyed.

“Okay,” Liam replied quietly. “I’ll work on something else until he wakes up.”

Fiona gathered the grocery bags and headed toward the kitchen. Liam hauled his backpack over to the couch and started to take out his homework.

“Yes, please, just make yourself right at fucking home.”

Fiona rolled her eyes, and her eyes fell on the whisky bottle and the empty glass next to it on the kitchen table. She glanced at Mickey.

“You drunk?”

“Not yet,” Mickey muttered.

He took the whisky bottled and poured more into his glass. When he set the whiskey bottle down Fiona picked it up and put it on the counter, and tried to take the glass from his hand.

“Mick, come on. You can’t do this,” Fiona said.

Mickey backed up and glared at her. “Fuck you. Why are you even here?”

“I’m helping,” Fiona said taking a step forward.

Mickey laughed bitterly. “I didn’t ask for your help.”

“You don’t have to ask. It’s just what family does.” Fiona shrugged.

Mickey stepped up so he was in her face. She could smell the whiskey coming off his breath. “I don’t need your help. Get the fuck out of my house.”

Fiona crossed her arms and stared at him with the “big sister” stare.

“Get. Out!” Mickey yelled.

Fiona made no movement to leave. So Mickey groaned in frustration, and stomped upstairs with the glass of whiskey in his hand. The bedroom door slammed shaking the light fixture in the kitchen.

Liam was looking at Fiona from the couch. Fiona met eyes with him, shook her head, and went back to unpacking the bags.

“Have you ever noticed how much Yevgeny and Mickey are alike?” Liam asked.

Fiona snorted. “Yeah, kid. And it’s not just the hair.”

Liam smiled. “Yeah. I know.”

--

Fiona glanced at the time on the oven. It’d been about thirty minutes since Mickey had gone upstairs.

“Liam? Watch the pot for me for a bit.”

Liam got up and walked into the kitchen. “Why?”

“I’m gonna go talk to our idiot brother-in-law,” she muttered.

--

Yevgeny padded down the stairs, with his hands shoved in his sweatpants. His hair was sticking up all over. He heard movement into the kitchen.

Liam was stirring a pot, lightly humming to himself.

“Hey,” Yevgeny said.

Liam jumped.

Yevgeny winced. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Hey yourself,” Liam said.

Yevgeny looked around the kitchen. “Where is everyone?”

“Sarah’s at play practice. Lip’s at work I guess. Mickey and Fiona are upstairs,” Liam listed off.

“They’re what?” Yevgeny shook his head confused and dropped into a kitchen chair.

“Yeah, your dad kinda flipped out on her earlier.”

Yevgeny’s eyes flicked to the whiskey bottle on the counter. Liam waited for him to ask more questions or go on a rant, but instead all Yevgeny said was, “Oh.”

Liam stirred the pot a few times before turning around and leaning on the counter with his arms crossed. “Why were you home from school so early?”

Yevgeny glanced up at Liam and then looked back down at the table, looking at blankly. Liam waited. Yevgeny cleared his throat.

“Where’s your essay prompt? Let me take a look at it.”

Liam sighed. “It’s on the coffee table.”

Yevgeny sat at the couch and looked through the prompt. Liam went back to watching the pot, and muttered under his breath “Damn Milkovichs.”

--

Fiona sat next to Mickey on the bed. He hadn’t acknowledged her coming in. He glanced sideways at her.

“Fuck you,” he said lowly.

Fiona glanced back at him. “Mhm, fuck you too.”

They didn’t say anything for a few moments. Mickey took a sip of his whiskey and then held the glass out to Fiona. She raised her eyebrows and took it from him, taking a sip, and making a point not to give the glass back to him.

“Yevgeny got suspended today.”

“What?” Fiona gasped.

“Yeah, punched some kid in the face because he was annoying him or something…. Yevgeny said it just…happened…like one second he was just annoyed and the next he was punching someone in the face. He’s freaked out,” Mickey told Fiona.

“Shit,” Fiona sighed.

“Yep,” Mickey said popping the p.

Fiona turned around so she was facing Mickey. She put her hand gently on his knee. “He needs help, Mick.”

Mickey shot up, and her hand fell. “I know, alright? Jesus fuck, I know.”

Leaning against the bedroom wall, he said quietly, “I’m gonna get him it.”

Fiona nodded and let the subject drop.

“How was Ian?” She asked hesitantly.

Mickey pushed himself off the wall, blew out a breath, and started pacing.

“He was kind of out of it when I was there. Spacey, but like he was aware he was spacey and talking to me. So I guess that was….good? He’s gonna start the new migraine med today. He’s supposed to call me to tell me about it, and if I can come in tomorrow to his appointment….if he calls me….,” Mickey trailed off.

He didn’t think that Ian would just forget. But maybe Ian was too out of it to remember, or just not well enough to even make a phone cal. Maybe something really awful happened. Maybe…

Fiona interrupted his thoughts and pacing by standing in front of him. “He’ll remember. He’ll be okay. He always is eventually.”

Mickey smiled sardonically. “Yeah, at what cost? When?”

“Mmm,” Fiona agreed. She patted him on the shoulder. “Positive thinking, Mick.”

Mickey rolled his eyes. “He said you could visit by the way.”

Fiona smiled softly. “I’d like that.”

“I’ll talk to him about if….when he calls.”

Fiona squeezed his shoulder and ruffled his hair. “Get yourself together and come downstairs. I’m making coffee.”

She walked out of the room.

--

Fiona was cleaning up in the kitchen, Yevgeny and Liam were upstairs working on homework, Sarah was at the kitchen table doing homework and talking to Fiona, and Mickey was sitting on the couch watching TV. More like staring at the TV. With his knee bouncing and his hand sweating on his phone, waiting for it to ring.

The second his phone started vibrating he shot up like a bullet. He went into the bathroom and turned the ventilation fan so no one could hear him.

“Hello?” He said breathlessly.

“Hey Mickey,” Ian said on the other side of the line.

Mickey felt his eyes sting with tears of relief. “How are things going?”

“Same for the most part. I’m on the new med. No awful side effects yet, except food tastes disgusting. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine,” Mickey said shortly.

Ian sighed. “Mick—“

“Don’t worry, Fiona is keeping me in check. Your sister is a pain in the ass,” Mickey tried to placate his husband. “She wants to visit, by the way,” Mickey added before Ian could press it any further.

Ian sighed again. “You’re a pain in my ass….but yeah, she can come whenever, I guess.”

“What about me coming to your appointment tomorrow?”

“Yeah, all set. 10:30am. Okay?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there,” Mickey said firmly.

“Seriously, Mickey,” Ian said gently. “Are you okay?”

Mickey hesitated. “Would you be if the situation was reversed?”

“No,” Ian said in a hushed voice. “I’m sorry.”

“There’s nothing for you to be sorry for…. I miss you,” Mickey admitted.

“I miss you too… Look the nurse is making a 1 minute sign at me. My time is almost up. Tell me more about what’s going on with you tomorrow. Tell the kids I love them. I love you.”

“I love you too,” Mickey said back.

Ian hung up.

--

Lip sat in his car after work and looked at the text Sophy had sent him the other day. He hadn’t responded to her. He hit call.

“Hey, I’m sorry for just getting back to you. Lots of crazy stuff happening. You free tonight?”

Chapter Text

Fiona 8:05am
You gonna come visit Ian with me this afternoon?

Asshole Brother #1 <3 8:06am
Wasn’t planning on it.

Fiona 8:07am
Lip….

Asshole Brother #1 <3 8:09am

I don’t like going. Don’t wanna see him in there like that.

Fiona 8:10am
I know. Me either.

Fiona 8:10am
Yev was suspended. Mickey’s losing it. Ian’s gonna find out this morning…he’s gonna need you.

Asshole Brother #1 <3 8:13am
He doesn’t need me.

Fiona 8:15am
Bullshit. Ha. So much bullshit. This is about the thing you won’t talk to me about.

Asshole Brother #1 <3 8:17am
I can’t, ok?

Fiona 8:19am
Yes. You can. And you’re gonna tell me about whatever the fuck is going in your freaky head later.

Fiona 8:20am
I better see you there Lip.

Asshole Brother #1 <3 8:21am
Fuck you.

Fiona 8:22am
Great! See you at 1. J

 

Lip put his phone on the bedside table and shut his eyes. He felt them water underneath his eyelids.

“Fuck,” he muttered, blinking rapidly and throwing himself out of bed.

--

Mickey and Ian were sitting in the rec room of the hospital as usual, waiting for it to be 10:30 and for someone to call them back. Ian looked Mickey up and down, and the second Mickey sat down he told Mickey, “You look like shit.”

Mickey rubbed at the dark circles under his eyes as if that would make them go away. “Wow. Thanks, babe.”

Ian slid his hands through Mickey’s hair until his hand was laying at the nape of his neck. “What’s going on, Mickey?” He asked gently.

Mickey closed his eyes and shook his head. “Not having the greatest week.”

Ian started rubbing circles on Mickey’s neck with his thumb. “Tell me why it’s so bad,” he said softly.

Mickey snorted. “Do I need to state the obvious?”

Ian said nothing knowing that if he waited Mickey would keep talking.

“Also,” Mickey sighed and turned so he was looking Ian in the eye. Ian dropped his hand from Mickey’s neck. “Yev got suspended yesterday.”

Ian froze and for a second, Mickey saw a flash of guilt on Ian’s face before Ian tucked it away. This was about Mickey, not him right now. Mickey didn’t know how he managed to do that. He didn’t know how Ian managed to parent Yevgeny and support him even though he wasn’t the one in the hospital. He wasn’t the one who was talking about suicide a few nights ago. Mickey didn’t understand how Ian did it and it made him feel like shit. He needed Ian to be all the things he can’t be, but Ian wasn’t able to do that right now. Mickey was lost.

“Shit,” Ian cursed. “Why?”

Mickey told him everything Yevgeny had told him and the things he had noticed about their son recently. He ended with, “He needs help, Ian.”

Ian took Mickey’s hand and squeezed it. “We’ll get him some,” he said soothingly. “They do family sessions here, we can start there.”

“I fucking hate those,” Mickey muttered.

“I know,” Ian said, smiling a little bit.

“How’s Sarah?” Ian asked.

They were interrupted by a nurse coming over to them. “Ian? It’s time for your appointment.”

--

“Well,” Dr. Nadler said putting his pen down after recording everything they had just been talking about. “It seems like Ian is doing really well. His symptoms have evened out and he doesn’t seem to be having a bad reaction from the new medicine. If things continue to go this well, Ian might be able to come home in a day or so, and continue to monitor his progress from home.” He smiled at Mickey and Ian.

Ian and Mickey briefly grinned at each other but there was still one more thing to talk about. Dr. Nadler was starting to close Ian’s file folder.

“For two people who just got some good news you don’t seem very happy,” he said looking up and pausing.

“Uh, it’s our son,” Mickey said.

“He’s having a lot of trouble coping. He’s been very angry and he feels out of control. He needs some help. I know you’ll see my therapist before I do today, so could you possibly mention it to her when you meet with her?”

Dr. Nadler looked sympathetic and nodded. “Sure thing.”

Ian breathed out. “Thank you.”

Dr. Nadler jotted something in Ian’s file, and then officially closed it and stood up. “Have a good rest of your day, Ian. You too, Mr. Milkovich.”

Ian and Mickey stood up and followed him out. “It’s gonna be okay,” Ian said trying to get Mickey to look at him and smile back. He reached out and touched Mickey’s arm when Mickey kept walking. “Positive thinking.”

Mickey rolled his eyes. “You and your fucking sister, man. Positive thinking my ass.”

--

As soon as Mickey was gone, Ian let the helplessness and the guilt wash over him, threatening to drown him. There was still 20 minutes before a group session. He went back to his room which was still blessedly devoid of a roommate. He sat heavily down on the bed, and leaned over so his elbows rested on his thighs, and his head hung in his hands. A few tears dripped out.

He must have been like that longer than he realized, because there was a knock on the door frame.

“Ian? It’s time for group,” a nurse said. She came closer into the room. “Honey, what’s wrong?”

Ian sniffed and sat up. The nurse came closer, looking him up and down. “Do you need me to get your therapist? You have Olivia, right?”

Clearing his throat, forced himself to stand up. It was like lifting a thousand pound weight. “Yeah, I have Olivia but it’s okay. I’m coming.”

She followed him out of the room, and matched his pace walking side by side with him. She was significantly shorter than him. She looked up, and smiled gently. “How’s the migraine situation going up there?”

“It’s going okay, actually,” Ian said with a life in his tone of voice.

They got to the meeting room. “Good to hear. Let me know if you need anything, okay sweetie?”

Ian nodded before taking a seat in the corner of the room.

Chapter Text

Lip stood nervously in the parking lot of the hospital, leaning against his car. He flicked some ash from his cigarette onto the ground, staining the white parking lines. He stomped on them with the toe of his boot and slid it across the white line even more.

“Thought you quit?” Fiona said coming up to stand beside him, pointing at the cigarette.

Lip shrugged. “For the most part.”

Fiona refrained from commenting that the only time Lip smoked anymore was when things really weren’t going well in life.

“You okay?” She asked him.

He looked up into his sister’s critical look knowing she was reading all of the things he thought he was hiding so well. He stubbed out the cigarette and threw it on the ground.

“No,” Lip answered shortly.

Fiona stepped closer to him and grabbed his gloved hand and squeezed it.

He squeezed back. “Are you okay?”

Fiona shrugged. “I think I’m doing better than anyone else right now.”

“Mmm,” Lip acknowledged.

Fiona sighed and tugged on his hand. “C’mon, let’s do this. I’ll buy you a drink later.”

--

“We’re here for Ian Gallagher,” Fiona said. She held out her ID. Lip dug in his pocket to do the same.

“Oh good, he could use some love right now,” a lady said brightly as she walked behind the front desk and placed a file folder in a drawer marked “billing”.

Lip and Fiona looked at each other. The lady smiled, and came back around the desk with her hand extended. “I’m Olivia. Ian’s therapist.”

Fiona shook her hand while Lip’s  hands were shoved into his jacket pockets. He anxiously bounced on his toes.

“I’m Fiona, his sister. And this is Lip, his brother.”

“Ah yes, Ian has told me about you two and how lucky he is to have you,” Olivia said. Lip looked at Fiona with his eyebrows raised but Fiona was focused on Olivia. “It’s nice to finally meet you both.”

Fiona smiled. “Can we uh, go see him now?”

“Yes of course, let me take you to him. He’s in his room. A nurse is stationed in the hallway for supervision but she’ll try to grant you as much privacy as possible. It’s a safety measure.”

Fiona nodded. When they got to Ian’s room Olivia knocked on the door frame. “Ian, you have some visitors.”

Ian was lying on his side with his back to the door. He didn’t move or acknowledge the presence of his siblings. Olivia smiled sadly at the siblings and left.

Fiona stepped into the room. “Hey, sweetface.”

She turned around to look at Lip imploringly and waved her hand at him to come in the room.

Lip stayed frozen in the door. He hated seeing Ian in the hospital, but he especially hated seeing Ian in the hospital like this. There was a hard lump in his throat. He wanted to run back down the hall and back to his car. He couldn’t do anything for Ian anyway. He was useless. Just another sad body in the room. He shook her head at her and started to back out but she moved forward and grabbed his arm, pulling him into the room.

“It’s okay,” Ian spoke dully. “You can leave. I understand Lip.”

Lip and Fiona stopped moving. Ian turned over slowly so he was on his side facing them but his eyes were closed.

Lip cleared his throat and dragged a chair from the corner of the room so it was beside Ian’s bed. “N-no. It’s okay.” He reached out and squeezed Ian’s shoulder briefly as if to prove his point.

There was no other chair in the room, leaving Fiona to sit on the foot of the bed. Ian opened his eyes but didn’t look at either of his siblings.

“Not feelin’ great right now, huh?” Fiona said.

“That would be the understatement of my life,” Ian said sarcastically back.

Lip quirked a smile. Sarcasm was good. Fiona snorted. They fell into silence.

“Yevgeny got suspended,” Ian said quietly. “Mickey is a mess. I saw it.”

“I know,” Fiona replied gently.

“And god, I didn’t get to ask about Sarah!” Ian rolled onto his back and covered his face in distress.

“Hey, she’s okay,” Fiona said. “She’s getting real excited about her play.”

This made Ian’s eyes fill with tears. He probably wouldn’t be able to see her play. She worked so hard for it. She would be devastated.

“It’s all my fault,” he said brokenly.

Lip shook his head. “No, it’s not.”

Ian groaned. “Don’t even try to tell me it’s not.”

“Yeah, well too bad for you, because when someone tells me to not try, it makes me try harder,” Lip quipped back.

Ian sighed.

“Did you actively choose for this to happen, Ian?” Lip asked.

“No,” Ian said warily.

“Are you doing the best you can?” Lip fired off.

Ian hesitated. “I…I guess so…I don’t…don’t know what else to do but I could do more I just—“

Lip cut him off. “Then it’s not your fault.”

He watched Ian to see how he took in this information, but Ian winced and rubbed his forehead.

“Your head hurtin’?” Fiona asked.

“Just a little bit,” Ian said quietly.

“Maybe we should get someone,” Lip said standing up.

“No, it’s fine. It happens sometimes. They know about it,” Ian said hastily.

Lip slowly sat back down, but remained on the edge of the seat in case he did need to go get someone.

They fell into silence again. Usually, when silence fell it was natural and didn’t feel weird. But Lip was practically squirming and Fiona was trying to figure out something to say. Ian had his eyes closed again. Fiona seemed to have finally found something to say because she stopped picking her fingers and took a deep breath, but she was cut off but the sound of Ian sniffing.

Fiona looked over at Ian’s face and saw a few tears trickling down his face. It made her stomach twist. No matter how many times she had seen Ian cry, it still made her feel sick. Ian had never been much of a crier. By the time Debbie was born, it was like he had figured out how to not let anyone see what he was feeling and put on a stoic face for everyone else. The calm, collected, reliable sibling. For the most part. She made eye contact with Lip and she could tell that he felt the same.

Ian turned his head so his face was buried in the pillow so his siblings couldn’t see him cry. Lip looked down at his lap, while Fiona made a sympathetic noise in the back of her throat before standing up. She sat down next to Ian’s head and gently pushed it into her lap. Ian froze for a second.

“It’s okay,” Fiona said softly. “It’s okay.”

As if he was waiting for permission from his big sister for it to be okay to cry, he unfroze and pressed his face further into her thigh, and gripped her jeans. His shoulders started shaking and his cries gradually grew louder. Fiona ran her fingers through his hair, and down his back while repeating comforting nothings at him.

Lip dragged his chair over closer to the bed, and put his hand awkwardly on Ian’s ankle, just trying to find a way to say that he was there. He stared determinedly down so Fiona wouldn’t see his eyes water, but he knew her probably saw anyway. He fought to not blink and let any tears slip out.

After what felt like a lifetime, Ian eventually stopped crying and immediately fell asleep. Fiona and Lip sat there for a few more minutes before Lip stood up. Fiona ran her fingers through Ian’s hair a few more times affectionately, and gently eased his head back onto the pillow. She stood up and looked at her other brother. Lip looked like he was about to throw up.

“Hey, why don’t you go wait outside by your car? I’ll let them know that Ian fell asleep,” she told him.

He nodded mutely. Fiona sighed and ran her fingers through her hair.

--

Fiona got outside and went over to where Lip’s car had been. The spot was empty.

“Fuck,” she said under her breath and pulled out her phone.

She hit call by Lip’s name, and ran her fingers through her hair and left them on her head.

Listening to the dial tone, she tapped her foot anxiously. “Come on, pick up.”

Chapter Text

Flashback 2013

 

Lip’s phone buzzed in his back pocket. He pushed the ridiculous orange vest out of the way and pulled his phone out, hoping it wasn’t Mandy again.

From Ian 4:04pm

Code X. Under L.

“Fuck,” Lip swore harshly. This is was a lot worse than another annoying text from Mandy.

To Ian 4:05pm

Coming. Don’t move.

Why did the universe like to shit on them so much? If it wasn’t bad enough that they were all in the foster care system, separated, and unsure when they’d get to go back home, now there had to be a Code X? And that wasn’t another issue surrounding the whole Child Protective Services thing, no, a Code X was an Ian or Lip thing. It was only a thing between him and Lip. The signal for “Emergency I need you right now”, actually came from a game they used to play when they were little. They used to pretend to be spies and Lip had just learned the word “extreme”. So whenever there was a big situation they had to take care of in spy world, they would yell Code X. Somehow it had developed into a way of alerting the other for emergency. They hadn’t had to use it in a while. Lip couldn’t remember the last time he had used it to tell Ian he needed help. Maybe two years ago? Three? Was it from that fight he got into that went sour on him? Where he couldn’t move?

He didn’t know. Lip thought about all of this while he left community service at a fast run. He tore down the sidewalk and across the streets, in a blaze of car horns, he made it to the L. He scanned for Ian and saw part of Ian’s sweatshirt from where he was leaning against one of the pillars. He started to run again, and ended up skidding to a halt in front of Ian, almost as if he were trying to get to home base.

Lip did a fast scan of his brother while he caught his breath. Ian had blossoming bruises on his face, and dried blood running from his forehead and down his neck. He was sitting with his legs out and back against the pillar, with his arms lose at his sites. His phone was on the ground next to him flashing an alert from Lip’s text back. And he was staring straight ahead, dazed, as if he weren’t really there or seeing what was actually in front of him. He didn’t give any indication that he knew Lip was there.

“What happened?” Lip asked somewhat breathlessly. Running was Ian’s thing.

Ian didn’t react. “Shit,” Lip mumbled to himself.

“Ian?” He asked louder, and waving his hand in Ian’s eye line.

Still no reaction. Lip sighed. “Yoo hoo? Ian!” He said even louder, while lightly tapping Ian’s knee.

Ian startled. His eyes moved wildly around until they focused on Lip.

“Lip,” he breathed out shakily.

“Yep, that’s me,” Lip joked lightly but his face was full of concern. “What’s going on? What happened to your face?”

Ian’s eyebrows crinkled in confusion, and he slowly brought his hand up to his face. He winced as he patted around. He rubbed his finger on the dried blood and stared at the flakes on his fingertip.

“You hit your head real hard or something? You’re kinda freaking me out, man.”

Ian shook his head. “I—I didn’t hit my head….I don’t think.”

Lip plopped himself so he was sitting crossed legged in front of Ian. “Okay….”

Ian reached up to touch his face again, and pressed down on a bruise on purpose.

“Hey, stop that,” Lip said. “I’m gonna get you cleaned up.”

Lip started to stand up as Ian started to mutter to himself. “It’s my fault, my fault, all my fault, fuck…”

Lip kneeled back down. He was seriously considering dragging Ian to a hospital at this point. His brother had never acted like this before.

 “What is your fault, Ian?” He asked loudly and clearly, but not harshly.

Ian met his eyes, wide and terrified. His hands starting shaking and his breath was getting shorter and harsher.

“Fuck, Ian.” Lip reached out and grabbed his brother by the shoulders and shook him a little bit. “You don’t need to tell me, okay? I need you to breathe.”

“…can’t…,” Ian croaked out as he started to sweat.

Lip grabbed Ian’s hand and put it against his own chest, and held it there. Then he put his hand on Ian’s chest. He couldn’t remember the last time he had to do this with Ian either, but what to do came flooding back to him.

“Okay, okay, look at me,” Lip said sternly. “Look at my face.”

Ian’s eyes stuttered over to Lip’s face. “Good,” Lip said more gently now that he had Ian’s attention. “You’re gonna take a really deep breath with me, on the count of three okay?”

“1…2…3.”

Lip felt Ian’s chest rise in an attempt to get a deep breath. “Again. Breathe with me.”

Eventually Ian’s chest started rising and falling less frantically, and Lip dropped his hand from Ian’s chest. Ian stared at his hand being held to Lip’s chest. He was squeezing Lip’s hand. It was turning red.

“Sorry,” Ian said, withdrawing his hand.

Lip ignored the apology and wiped some of the sweat off of Ian’s face with the ugly orange vest. At least it was useful for something now.

“You good?” Lip asked.

Ian nodded.

“We’re just gonna sit for a minute,” Lip said. They sat while Ian kept focusing on breathing and the weight of his brother’s hand on his shoulder.

Lip stood up and reached his hand out to Ian. Ian took it and Ian tried to help pulling himself up but he just fell back to the ground. Grumbling about the disadvantages of being the oldest but the shorter one, he reached under Ian’s shoulders and got him up slightly. Lip moved his hands to wrap around Ian’s waist, and Ian was off the ground. Lip shifted their weight so Ian wasn’t leaning back into him by putting Ian’s arm around his shoulder.

“Where we going?” Ian asked with the words slurred together. He felt like he was getting hit by exhaustion in the form of a sack of bricks.

“Home. To clean you up.”

“But—“ Even in his state Ian was aware of their situation and he didn’t want to fuck it up.

Lip started moving, as fast as possible with Ian leaning on him, which wasn’t really very fast. He wished Ian were still smaller so he could lift him up and get them home faster.  Ian had started out the short one, small for his age. So much for that now. “I’ll get us back before they do head checks. Just trust me.”

“Fiona?” Ian mumbled.

“She’s visiting Debbie. She’s not gonna see you.”

--

He lowered Ian onto the couch. Ian groaned.

“Take off your shirt,” Lip commanded while walking to the kitchen to get a wet wash cloth.

Ian was still struggling with his shirt when he got back so they slowly got it off of him, and Lip took in a sharp in take of breath. There were bruises all over Ian’s torso, big and darkening. There was a cut on the side of Ian’s neck which must be where the blood was from, and dripped down onto his chest.

Lip gently ran the cloth over the blood. Ian had his elbow on the couch arm, with his head his hand. His eyes started drooping.

“Yo, no,” Lip snapped his fingers in front of his brother’s face. Not only was there not time for Ian to sleep, but if Ian had a concussion he shouldn’t be asleep anyway.

Ian grunted. “Sorry.”

When Lip finished cleaning Ian up, and had Ian icing his bruises, he sat down next to him on the couch.

“You gonna tell me what the fuck happened?” Lip asked more harshly than he intended. But he was really flipping the fuck out right now.

Ian flinched. “Man, you’re scaring me,” Lip said softer this time.

Lip watched Ian swallow hard a few times. “Later,” Ian croaked out.

Lip nodded, already formulating a plan to get them out of the group home after night head checks so they could talk somewhere private.

Standing up, Lip threw Ian’s shirt back at him. “Put this on. I gotta take a piss. Then we gotta start heading back.”

Locked inside the bathroom, Lip gave himself two minutes to flip the fuck out before he had to be calm and strong for Ian. For whatever fucking reason this time.

Chapter Text

Liam and Yevgeny sat on the floor of Yevgeny’s room. The laptop glowing brightly on Liam’s face while he scrunched his eyes. The prompted for his essay and all the notes he and Yevgeny had made were sprawled out all around them. Liam finished up a paragraph and side glanced at Yevgeny. He was reading a book for class. Being suspended definitely did not get you a pass on homework.

Liam shut the laptop. “So…how is Ian?”

Yevgeny looked up but didn’t look at Liam. “Um, Dad says he might be able to come home soon.”

“That’s great!” Liam said happily.

“Yeah,” Yevgeny said flatly, and made a show of turning a page in his book.

Liam frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“Tomorrow Dad is taking me to the hospital to see Pops and we’re going to have some sort of family session with a therapist,” Yevgeny told him.

“Oh, well you’ve done those before,” Liam said, still confused as to what exactly the issue was.

“Yeah, but not with something as big as this,” Yevgeny replied.

“As big as what?”

“Me being suspended. Me probably having to tell them what I told you about the other night in the car,” Yevgeny said. His words hung in the air silently for a moment.

“Well, you’ve gotta talk to them about it, Yev. It’s messing you up,” Liam reasoned.

“No shit. I know,” Yevgeny snapped.

Liam didn’t say anything and silence fell again. Yevgeny finally closed the book and put it next to him on the floor. He started playing with a loose string on the cuffs of his jeans.

“It’s not something Pops and dad like to talk about. I don’t wanna upset them and make things worse than they already are,” Yevgeny confessed quietly.

Liam nodded. “Yeah, I get that…but if you don’t…things aren’t going to get any better than they are now either.”

“Yeah,” Yevgeny agreed. He cleared his throat. “Let me see what you’ve got so far on your essay.”

--

“Hey, dad?” Sarah asked hesitantly, setting down her fork. They were eating pasta that Fiona had made. At this point, Fiona and Liam were practically living with them. Fiona still didn’t know where Lip was but she got a text that said “fuck off”, so she figured he had to be at least not dying. She’d have to deal with him later.

Mickey looked up from his plate. “Yeah, babe?”

“Is….is Poppy gonna come to my show?”

All eyes swiveled to look at Mickey. Yevgeny squeezed Sarah’s hand underneath the table. Fiona looked pained.

“Honestly, Sarah, I don’t know,” Mickey sighed and then made a point to make eye contact with his daughter. “What I do know is that he really, really wants to go. I know that he is so excited for you and that he knows you’re gonna be great. I know that he’s gonna try. You know he wants to be there, right?”

Sarah nodded. “Yeah, I know,” she said but her buttom lip was still starting to tremble.

“And we’re all gonna go,” Yevgeny piped up. Sarah sniffed, blinked her eyes rapidly, and picked her fork back up. She shot them all a grateful smile. The rest of the meal was quiet and subdued after that, all of them thinking about Ian.

--

Fiona
10:00pm

Sarah is asking where you are. She’s not having a good night.

Asshole Brother #1<3
10:05pm

Nice, play the guilt card.

Fiona
10:06pm

If you’re feeling guilty you put that on yourself, not me. She told me to ask you where you are.

Asshole Brother #1<3
10:07pm

Tell her I’m sorry she isn’t having a good day. I’m not having a good day either so I needed to go home. Tell her I’ll see her tomorrow.

Fiona
10:08pm

What about me? Will I see you tomorrow?

Asshole Brother #1
10:15pm

Yeah. Come to my apartment at 11am.

--

Yevgeny stepped into Olivia’s office with Mickey behind him. Ian was already seated in a chair, but he got up when his family entered the room.

“Yevy!” He walked over and hugged his son.

“Hi, pops,” Yevgeny said quietly into Ian’s shoulder.

Ian let go of Yevgeny and hugged Mickey too, kissing the top of his head. After they had greeted each other they all sat down and finally seemed to remember that Olivia was also in the room.

“Uh, this is Olivia, my therapist,” Ian told them.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you both. I’ve heard so much about you. Especially you, Yevgeny,” Olivia said kindly.

Yevgeny flushed. What had she heard about him? How he stole his uncle’s car? How he was suspended? That he was probably going crazy?

“Your dad, here,--“ Olivia started.

Ian interrupted. He pointed at Mickey. “That’s dad. I’m pops.”

Oliva smiled apologetically. “Your pops here, has told me all about how smart you are and how you have big plans to go to college.”

Yevgeny didn’t know what to say this, so he just smiled and nodded. What was this a way to build him up before she tore him down? Was this some weird psychoanalytical trick?

Olivia didn’t seem to be bothered by Yevgeny’s lack of response. “However, it sounds like they’re worried about you. Maybe your dads can tell us more about why,” Olivia prompted looking between Ian and Mickey.

“He’s been acting out a bit recently. Stole his uncle’s car. Got suspended from school. He told me in the car the other day that he keeps feeling angry, and doesn’t always feel in control of it,” Mickey explained.

Olivia looked at Ian to see if he had anything to add. “We know that this situation is hard for him, on top of normal growing up. We just want Yev to be happy.” Ian turned to look at Yevgeny and said gently. “Sometimes, that requires help.”

--

Fiona knocked on Lip’s door at 11am, sharp. Lip rolled his eyes as he opened the door. He felt a quick smack to the back of his head from Fiona’s gloved hand.

“You fucking asshole,” she spat.

Lip smirked. “Well good morning to you too.”

“Yeah, whatever good morning,” Fiona snapped. “I think I’m entitled to be a little bit pissed off and worried right now.”

Lip looked at the floor sheepishly and walked further into the apartment until they were both in the kitchen. Fiona sighed and took off her coat and gloves, and put them on the couch before joining Lip in the kitchen.

“You want coffee?” Lip asked not turning around.

“Depends,” Fiona said crossing her arms. “If you’re gonna tell me what the hell is going on or not.”

Lip took a mug out of cabinets above him and poured some coffee into it. He turned around and put the mug loudly on the table by Fiona, staring at her while he did it.

“Okay….” Fiona said getting the message, and sat down in front of the mug.

Lip went back to the coffee to pour himself a cup. “You could be less pushy. It’s not like this is easy.”

Fiona nodded. “Ok. I’ll be patient….or pretend to be.”

Chapter Text

Olivia smiled kindly at Yevgeny. “Your pops is right, it’s okay to need help.”

“Yev,” Mickey sighed. “Please just tell us what the fuck is going on. I know you don’t like talking about stuff. I don’t either but it has to be done. I’ve done it a lot of times. It’s scary and hard, but we just want to help.”

Yevgeny nodded and twisted his hands in his lap.

“Take a minute to think if you need to,” Olivia said.

Taking a deep breath, Yevgeny said, “It’s about mom.”

The air in the room turned very tense. The kind of tense where you could cut it with a knife and chop it into little pieces and stab each other with it. Mickey’s eyes were frozen in wide-eyed shock. Ian’s face was confused and looking concerned. His eyes were going back and forth between Yevgeny and Mickey.

Olivia looked around the room and spoke hestinatenly. “Okay, it sounds like this is something that has a lot of painful history. The goal is to help Yevgeny right now. Can we all do that?” She looked between Mickey and Ian.

“Yes,” Ian said immediately, giving a prompting look to Mickey across the room.

“Yeah,” Mickey replied giving Ian a meaningful look. Ian smiled gently and got up and joined Mickey on the other side of the room and squeezed his hand. Mickey could help Yevgeny if Ian was there. He could do anything if Ian was there.

“Alright, can you tell me more about your mom, Yevgeny?” Olivia asked turning back to look at Yevgeny.

Yevgeny told Olivia the story of his mom leaving with slight interjections and additions from Ian and Mickey. By the time he was done, Mickey was looking pretty pale and Ian’s eyes looked suspiciously watery.

“I…I’m scared you’re gonna leave, pops,” Yevgeny let out in a rush. He finally said it. It felt like throwing up. You don’t want to but it’s all going to come out of your mouth anyway so you might as well get it over with.

Ian looked stunned. “Why on earth would I ever leave you willingly?”

Yevgeny’s eyes started to fill and he felt a tear drop hit his thigh, darkening a spot on his pants. “The last thing she said to me was that I was a headache. That is why she left You’re here…for headaches.”

“Oh Yevy,” Ian said with tears in his eyes at the same time that Mickey said, “that bitch” harshly under his breath.

In a way, Yevgeny kind of wanted to roll his eyes because their responses were just so….typical of them. If Olivia was surprised by Mickey’s language she didn’t show it.

“This seems to elicit a lot of emotions in you, Ian and Mickey,” she said.

“Of course it fucking does,” Mickey spat. “My bitch of an ex-wife traumatized my kid for life with her shit.”

Ian elbowed Mickey lightly. “Mick,” he said warningly. This wasn’t the place for Mickey to be doing that. Maybe in a therapy session with just Ian, but not when this one was about their son.

“I…I’m traumatized?” Yevgeny stuttered out. *

“Trauma is a very complicated thing. It’s different for everyone and it can be from different things. What might traumatize one person, might just upset another. I don’t know you well enough to say if you are or not, Yevgeny,” Olivia said.

“I think what dad meant was that he is upset that she hurt you and that she still hurts you even though she’s been gone for a long time,” Ian supplied gently. He looked at Mickey for confirmation that he was correct.

Mickey sighed and nodded. “Yeah, sorry. That is what I mean, Yev.”

“Oh—okay…,” Yevgeny said slowly. He still felt pretty shaken at his dad’s words.

“Trauma is something that you could explore with your own therapist, or in another session. Right now, let’s go back to what you originally said. You expressed that you’re afraid of your pops leaving because it reminds you of what your mom said to you when she left. She said that you were a headache, and your pops is here partially for headaches. It makes sense why you would connect that. It sounds like you are feeling a lot of hurt right now from the past and the confusion of how that interacts with the present,” Olivia said, steering the conversation back to the point.

 Yevgeny nodded. “Yeah, that sounds right.”

“Yevy,” Ian spoke up. “I’m not leaving and my headaches are not your fault. What your mom did was not your fault either. You were a kid. You are still a kid. Kids are supposed to frustrate you, but you are supposed to love them anyway. She couldn’t do that…I’m sorry she couldn’t do that for you. You deserved for her to love you unconditionally. But…your dad and I, we can love you like that. We always have. If there’s something that happened that makes you feel otherwise, please tell us so we can fix it.”

“Yeah, what Ian said,” Mickey said.

Yevgeny laughed, taking himself by surprise.

“He’s always better at talking than me, and I agree with them,” Mickey said shrugging and smiling a little.  

“You haven’t. You really haven’t, I just…I don’t know. I don’t want you to be sick. I don’t want you to leave me,” Yevgeny struggled to get words out. “I know it is dumb, that she didn’t mean I literally gave her headaches. I know it can’t really be my fault, but what if I’m annoying and bad? I’ve been annoying and bad a lot recently,” Yevgeny choked on the last few words.

“Fuck Yev,” Mickey groaned. “You’re not bad. We all do stupid shit. Do you know how much stupid shit I do? Am I bad? Should I be left?”

Yevgeny went to reply but Ian cut him off. “Or what about Sarah? She is annoying. She doesn’t always listen. Does that mean it’s okay for us to just leave her and not love her anymore?”

“No!” Yevgeny objected. “It doesn’t.”

Ian had leaned forward while speaking to Yevgeny, but now he leaned back. “Exactly.”

“Your fathers have a point, Yevgeny,” Olivia said. “It will take time to believe, but this is a start.”

Mickey and Ian nodded in agreement.

“Was that what was bothering you?” Ian asked.

Yevgeny hesistated and then nodded. Everyone caught it.

“Is there more?” Olivia gently prompted.

“It’s okay, if there is, Yev,” Mickey said.

“No matter what it is,” Ian said.

Yevgeny swallowed hard and looked back and forth between them. “You won’t like it. It will make you sad,” Yevgeny whispered. He shook head as if answering no to the question of if there was anything else that was bothering him without actually saying it.

“It will make us sadder and for a long period of time if we don’t talk about it right now, so we can put it behind us,” Ian replied. “We love you no matter what.”

Yevgeny was full out crying now, shaking his head back and forth.

Mickey was starting to panic. “What’s wrong?!”

“Why do you even want me around? She hurt dad and now I exist!” Yevgeny burst out and then sobbed.

The whole room went silent in shock. Yevgeny was shocked at that he had even said that. He had planned to never tell anyone about that. Mickey had gone pale and was sweating. Ian had taken his hand, and rubbing circles on it even though Mickey was crushing it.

Olivia let the silence sink in for a minute. “Okay, let’s all take a deep breath before we can continue. Can we all do that?”

The family in front of her nodded.

“Good.”

Ian looked at Mickey. “Mick?” He said quietly.

Mickey let out a huge breath. “Yeah, I’m good.”

“I’m sorry,” Yevgeny cried.

To Ian’s surprise, Mickey got up and hugged Yevgeny.

Mickey started talking quietly into Yevgeny’s ear. “That was not your fault. You didn’t ask to exist that way. But I’m so glad you do exist. I didn’t know how to feel about you when you were an infant. I was hurt and I regret not spending as much time with you when you were a baby. I regret it all the time.”

Yevgeny took in a sharp intake of breath. “Why do you regret it?” 

“Because…you’re amazing,” Mickey choked out. “And I love you, no matter how you got here because you are your own person. You’re not how you got here. None of it was your fault.”

This only made Yevgeny cry harder which made Mickey hug him tighter. Ian watched their interaction with a sad smile and tears streaming down his face. Mickey had come so far but the situation was less than ideal for Mickey’s progress to show. Ian got up and wrapped his long arms around both of them.

They all forgot that Olivia was in the room until she cleared her throat. “Our time is up,” she said gently. “I hope this was helpful and it cleared the air.”

They all nodded and tried composing themselves. Mickey and Yevgeny had gone slightly red at the realization that they had just had that exchange in front of a stranger.

“I just want to remind you Ian, that you’re up for review tomorrow,” Olivia said.

Mickey and Ian glanced at each other and smiled. Yevgeny looked between the two of them confused at the sudden mood change.

“What’s that mean?” He asked.

“It means they’re going to determine if I’m well enough to go home, and only have to come here during the day sometimes,” Ian explained.

All Yevgeny could manage to say was “oh”, but he smiled too.

--

When they got home, Mickey immediately went up to the master bathroom, and threw up.

Chapter Text

 Yevgeny spent the rest of the day catching up on all the homework he had been missing due to his suspension. He was due to go back to school tomorrow, if he showed up with a parent. Mickey was planning on going with Yevgeny to school before seeing Ian at the hospital.

Sarah was at school. Yevgeny was engrossed in homework. Mickey knew he shouldn’t be doing what he was doing, but fuck it. What else was he supposed to do? He carried a bottle of whisky from the kitchen into his bedroom. He shut the door behind him. He sat on the bed, leaning against the headboard and took long drinks from the bottle. He let the burning sensation replace the one that was in his eyes, and angrily swiped at the few tears that did fall.

Ian would be so disappointed and worried if he could see Mickey right now. The thought made Mickey’s stomach twist with guilt. He had two kids to look after today. He had Ian to worry about. He had to get images of Svetlana out of his mind and the only way he knew how to do that without Ian there to help was drink himself to sleep. He couldn’t take it anymore. He took a few more long drinks from the bottle before clumsily slamming it down on the nightstand. He flopped onto the bed and pulled Ian’s pillow towards him so he was hugging it, and passed out.

--

At the hospital, Ian knew he shouldn’t sit alone his room with the places his mind was at right now. He sat in the rec room and played Uno with another patient. He was pretty out of it, but then again so was the other patient. It gave him something to do with his hands and provided his mind the option of something else to think about other than the session he had just had with Mickey and Yevgeny. There was no way Mickey was okay right now...

--

Fiona was slowly sipping her coffee while she watched Lip who had his elbows on the table with his head in his hands. He was gripping his head and threading his fingers through his hair anxiously, and he was so tense he was practically vibrating. She fought the urge to try to comfort him physically or emotionally. Fiona knew that when her younger brother got like this, it would do more harm than good. He’d talk and calm down, and Fiona could do all of that later.

Lip’s coffee grew cold while he got lost in his thoughts and memories, almost forgetting that Fiona was sitting across from him.

 

Ian had always shown some symptoms but they weren’t big enough to be abnormal but they are clear as day when he looks back. Ian not getting out of bed after Mickey married Svetlana is the biggest one. And now he steals a helicopter? This wasn’t Ian. This was mania. And Lip…didn’t want this to be happening to his brother because as much as Monica was a fuck up, Ian wasn’t. Lip knew that bipolar was no joke, no walk in the park, and no fun. This wasn’t supposed to happen to Ian. He was supposed to get out. But Lip got out. And he doesn’t even really want it. He’s drinking it away.

 

He must have been silent for too long because Fiona’s soft voice broke him out of his thoughts. “Lip?”

He dropped his hands from his head and let them relax on the table, and looked at Fiona. He took a deep breath, and sighed. “I know they are the ones who actually had to deal with the situation, but every time this happens…I see part of it too. How am I supposed to deal with that?”

Fiona felt some of her coffee come back up in her mouth. She swallowed thickly. She thought she had an idea but… “What situation?”

Lip shut his eyes and grimaced. “What Terry…what Svetlana did to Mickey…”

Fiona didn’t garner any pleasure for having her suspicions confirmed. Her breakfast now felt like a rock in her stomach.

For all the work Ian and Mickey had done on dealing with their past, Mickey’s assault was not something they ever truly discussed and dealt with it. They dealt with it in bursts. In nightmares and flashbacks, and then never talked about it after. They didn’t know how to deal with it, and it was too painful to talk about so they just didn’t. As a result, the rest of the family didn’t either.

Fiona had no idea what to say in response, but it didn’t matter since Lip continued to talk. “I didn’t help him. I barely tried. I didn’t know that to do, but I could have tried harder… after I found him by the L and he scared the crap out of me….everything else happened. We got to go home, and he seemed to be okay again. He never brought it up, so I didn’t either. I was too afraid to ask him about it because I didn’t want him to go back to the state he was in at the L. He was so out of it and broken, Fi. He seemed fine…so I let it go. I went back to worrying about my own shit. Until Mickey got married….”

Fiona nodded. “And then shit hit the fan real bad, I know all of this Lip. I don’t know what else you could have done for him in the circumstances with what you knew and what you had. You were both just kids when it came down to it. You both had to grow up so fast, but you were still just kids in kid bodies and kid brains and kid hormones.”

Lip made a frustrated noise in his throat and pushed himself out of the kitchen chair. “You don’t get it.”

Fiona got up too and chanced stepping forward closer to her brother. He didn’t back up or look like he was ready to wind up for a punch, so she kept walking closer until she was close enough to touch his shoulder. She reached out and squeezed his shoulder. Lip let out a sigh that was suspiciously shaky. Fiona ducked her head down so her brother would meet her eyes. She spoke so softly and gently it made Lip want to finally cry. “Okay, love. Then explain it to me. Hm?”

He backed up and turned away from her. Her hand fell to her side. He composed himself as best as he could before he turned around to look at his sister. “Bipolar is in his genes. But traumatic events are known to trigger it, to sort of flip the on switch in the DNA.”

“Right,” Fiona nodded, knowing this already.

“Ian didn’t tell me what happened until I was in college,” Lip stated.

Fiona’s eyebrows furrowed. “What? I thought he had told you earlier than that?”

Lip shook his head. “We never said that.”

“I guess, I just assumed, then. He always told you everything when you were little kids.” Ian had told Fiona one night years ago. Lip had been there the whole time, his shoulder touching Ian’s. It was so horrifying to learn that it never crossed her mind that Lip had to have been told too, before she was.

“Why haven’t you ever told me this?” Fiona tried to stop herself from feeling hurt. She thought she knew everything, but she clearly didn’t. Why hadn’t her brother told her this years ago?

Lip backed up so his back was on the kitchen wall and slid down. “Because…. I haven’t told anyone. I have never told anyone ever, about how he told me.”

Fiona felt her heart break for her brother. She walked over to him and slid down the wall, so she was sitting on the kitchen floor next to him. She didn’t need to ask why. Lip didn’t ever talk about things that killed him with shame and regret until it was too much for him to hold onto anymore.

She wrapped her arm around Lip’s shoulders and pulled him closer to her. He let his head fall onto her shoulder like they were little kids again waiting for Frank or Monica to come back, while they watched Ian sleep.

“You can tell me about it, I’m listening for as long as you need,” Fiona said softly.

Lip turned his face so his forehead was against her shoulder. “I’ll try.”

Lip took a deep breath in and gripped his hands together to try to get them to start shaking, and began to talk. “I just wanted to take him and jump off the top of the science building. It was when I was in college. You know, when, the drinking…got bad? Some guy looked like Terry Milkovich at Ian’s work and he ran back to my dorm. It wasn’t actually Terry Milkovich but Ian was a mess. He finally told me what had happened a year or so before. He didn’t get up for three days. I called in sick for him at work, made excuses, played every card so he wouldn’t lose that job. He didn’t. But it was bad. It was worse than his worst episodes. I went and got so drunk I don’t remember what happened. I woke up outside on the streets somewhere. I wondered back to my dorm and Ian was still in my bed but he was sitting up. And he was holding a razor over his wrists and dragging it across it. I threw up. Right then and there. I don’t remember what happened after that. Mickey says I called him which makes sense because I woke up with a pillow under my head. The puke was gone. Mickey was in my bed with Ian. He had taken care of Ian’s arm. It wasn’t as bad as it looked when I walked in. Mickey was able to finally get Ian to get up and Mickey took him home. I didn’t talk to them for over a week after that. I should have….”

Lip started swallowing convulsively as he if he was about to throw up just from telling the story. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to even his breathing out, but it wasn’t working. He bolted from the floor and ran to the sink, and did threw up. It felt like he was throwing up everything he had eaten all week. It didn’t stop when there was nothing left but bile. Lip was shaking, he could barely hold himself up on the counter.

Fiona came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist, and supported him so he didn’t fall. She kept repeating “it’s okay, you’re okay” into his ear and kissing the back of his head, until he was simply dry heaving. She couldn’t tell the difference between that and his crying. She’d never seen him lose this much control over himself, and it terrified her. She had to hold herself together though, she had to find a way to get him to calm down.

She reached around him with one hand and turned on the sink, and turned the water to as cold as it would go. Grabbing a dish towel, she ran it under water. Then she took it and pressed it sloppily against Lip’s forehead, and held it there. She heard Lip gasp. The cold and the wetness of the towel had interrupted his hysterics long enough for her to somehow get him to sit on the ground. She got up and wet another towel and this time she wrapped ice inside, and stuck it on the back of his neck.

When they were younger, waiting for Frank and Monica, Ian used to get panic attacks. Lip was the only one who could ever get him to truly calm down. Fiona wished Ian were here because he would know what to do, but she took a shot in the dark, and grabbed his hand. She placed his hand on her chest where she purposefully slowed down her breathing.

“Lip, look at me,” she commanded. “Match my breathing.”

It felt like an eternity but Lip finally seemed to calm down. She removed the the clothes from Lip's forehead and neck. She let her hand drop and stood up. Lip was panting on the floor while she filled a glass of water. Fiona crouched down and murmured, “Drink this.”

Lip tried to take the glass but his hands were too shaky to hold it still. Fiona didn’t comment and held it for him. “Slow sips,” she gently instructed.

When she was satisified that he drank at least half the water, she took the glass away. “That’s enough talking for today. You need to take care of yourself.”

Lip shot her a scowl but otherwise, didn’t have the energy to argue with her. Fiona pulled him up and maneuvered him into the living room, and pushed him down on the couch.

She pointed her finger at him. “Don’t move.”

Lip was starting to feel better enough to actually roll his eyes. Like he had the energy or will to move, she didn’t need to worry. He wasn’t planning on going anywhere for a while. Fiona returned with a blanket and plopped herself down on the couch. “Move over,” she told him.

She moved so she was laying down behind him and he was resting on top of her. Fiona threw the blanket over her and Lip. She wrapped her arms around him and murmured into his hair.

“I’m sorry I pushed you so hard to tell me that. I’m so sorry…”

“It’s okay,” he croaked out.

He felt her shake her head above him. He squeezed one Fiona’s hands that was lying on his stomach and closed his eyes. They used to do this when Lip had nightmares when he was three.

“I feel like a little kid again,” he whispered.

Fiona tightened her arms in response. “Go to sleep.”

She grabbed the remote and turned the TV on. She kept flipping channels until she landed on some documentary about fish. Fiona started to run her hands through his hair, and he fell asleep to his sister’s warmth and the sound of a deep voice narrating about the ocean.

When she was sure Lip was truly asleep, Fiona let herself cry.

Chapter Text

Mickey woke up with a bad taste in his mouth and groaned, running his tongue along his teeth. He glanced at the clock and sighed in relief when the numbers read 6:00 AM. He wasn’t late to taking Yevgeny to school where he needed to have a parent come with him to be allowed back in. He wasn’t late to Ian’s appointment. God, he’d been so stupid drinking like he did. Fuck.

He got up and brushed his teeth, and stood in the shower with the water as hot as it would go, and pretended it didn’t hurt and that he wasn’t crying. As soon as he got downstairs he made a beeline for the coffee machine and started brewing a batch. He sat down at the table waiting with his head in his hands.

“Daddy?”

Mickey looked up and saw Sarah standing in her pajamas in the kitchen. She was chewing on her bottom lip nervously.

“Hey baby, what are you doing up so early?” Mickey asked trying to sound normal.

Sarah shrugged. “I’m hungry,” she half lied. Mickey raised his eyebrows but said nothing about it.

“What would you like for breakfast?”

“I’ll just get some cereal, thanks,” Sarah said. She sighed heavily and poured herself some cereal and a glass of orange juice. Mickey filled his coffee mug and had to stop himself from chugging it. He didn’t need to burn his throat on top of everything else.

“Daddy?” Sarah said hesitantly a few minutes later, putting down her spoon.

“Hmm?” Mickey looked up.

“Why is everyone so sad lately?”

Mickey internally grimaced. He knew Sarah was going to start talking about what was bothering her so he didn’t push it, but he almost wished she hadn’t said anything. He cursed inwardly at himself for being so shitty.

“Who’s sad, Sarah?” Mickey asked.

“Poppy, Yevy… Aunt Fiona said Uncle Lip is sad, which is why he didn’t come over yesterday. Aunt Fiona and Liam look kinda sad sometimes too… and… you… you’re sad, Daddy.”

Mickey sighed and got up to sit next to his daughter. He put his arm around the back of her chair and looked at her. “What about you, hm? Are you sad?”

Sarah bit her lip and nodded.

“What are you sad about?” Mickey asked gently.

“Poppy is sick and not here, and I miss him. I don’t like when he’s sick because he hurts. You’re sad. Yevy’s sad and angry. I don’t know. Everyone else is sad,” she said, trailing off.

Mickey wrapped his arms around her and pulled him into his side. “I know. Sometimes people and things are sad so they can figure out how to be okay again. It’s just life. Things will get better, Sarah. It just takes time.”

Sarah nodded. Mickey kissed the top of her head and moved to get up when Sarah asked another question. “Is poppy always going to be sick?”

“Sick how, sweetie? His headaches or his bipolar?”

Sarah shrugged. “Both?”

Mickey sighed. “I don’t know about his headaches. His bipolar? Yes. He will always have that and he will always need medicine for it, and there will always be times where his medicine doesn’t work anymore.”

Sarah furrowed her eyebrows. “That’s not fair.”

“Yeah, baby, it’s not,” Mickey replied.

“Are you always going to be sad?”

Mickey’s breath caught in his throat. “No, I won’t always be sad. I’m going to be okay, promise.”

He could hear Yevgeny moving around upstairs and knew he’d be down soon. “Finish your breakfast,” he said. He stood up and ran his hand through her knotty hair before going back to his coffee.

--

He dropped Yevgeny off at school without a hitch, and then Mickey drove to the hospital. Ian’s evaluation to see if he could come home was today. An hour later, Mickey was outside the room where Ian was getting evaluated bouncing his knee up and down so hard he shook his whole chair. Finally, the door open and Ian stood holding the door open with a smile on his face.
Mickey lept up out of his seat. “You can go home?” He asked eagerly.

Ian nodded. “Yeah!” He let Mickey into the room and shut the door.

Dr. Nadler spoke from his desk, “We just need to discuss somethings about Ian’s care and then he should be good to go.”

After thirty minutes of discussing medication, diet and lifestyle changes to help with Ian’s migraines, and outpatient therapy information, Ian and Mickey were outside holding hands walking to the car.

As they got in, Ian took the time to try to discreetly look over his husband. Mickey’s eyes were slightly red on the bottom and there were dark circles. He didn’t smell like alcohol or seem drunk or hungover, but Ian could tell he had been drinking the night before. He just knew after all of these years.

Mickey slid into the driver’s seat.

“Mick?” Ian asked quietly.

Mickey turned to him, and dropped the keys into his lap instead of putting them in the ignition. “Yeah?”

“I… yesterday….uh, it was hard I know for you. Hearing Yevgeny talk about it… did you get through the night okay?” Ian asked.

Mickey stared at him. There was no judgement in Ian’s voice, just concern. Mickey knew Ian knew he had drunk himself to sleep, but Ian was giving Mickey a chance to talk about it on his own terms.

Mickey shrugged. “I drank and fell asleep,” he said without looking at Ian. He fiddled with the keys in his lap.

“Aw, baby,” Ian sighed. “Come here.” Ian opened his arms.

Mickey awkwardly leaned into Ian’s hug in the car. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I just… couldn’t… I couldn’t.”

Ian tightened his hold around Mickey. “Hey,” he said gently in his ear. “You don’t have anything to be sorry for. It’s okay. I’m sorry you dealt with that alone.”
Mickey nodded against his shoulder, pulled up to kiss Ian’s cheek, and untangled himself from Ian’s arms. Ian was watching him closely.

Putting in the key into the ignition and waiting for the car to start, Mickey turned to Ian. “Please, Ian. I…I don’t wanna fucking talk about this right now? Okay? Later. I swear,” Mickey purposefully held eye contact with Ian while he said that so Ian knew he was serious and would talk later. “I just wanna feed you food that doesn’t come from a hospital and take a nap with you. I just wanna be with you, okay?”

Ian smiled. “Okay.”

Mickey let out a sigh a relief and took them away from the hospital as fast as he could. Mickey realized he didn’t really know how Ian was doing because the annoying fucker had somehow made it about Mickey when Mickey wasn’t the one just released from the hospital.

“How you feeling?” He asked with his eyes on the road.

“Better than a few days ago,” Ian replied. “I’m just… tired. Still adjusting.”

“We’re gonna nap when we got home, in like three minutes,” Mickey replied.

“Yeah, it’s just… I don’t mean only that kind of tired.”

Mickey parked outside their house. He got out of the car and went around to Ian’s side and opened the door. He brought a still sitting Ian into his arms and crushed Ian against his chest. “Yeah, I know. But let’s start with a fucking nap first, okay?”

“Okay,” Ian said again into his chest. Mickey kissed the top of his head, and moved to help Ian get out of the car. Ian didn’t have a lot of strength back. Mickey wrapped his arm around Ian’s waist and guided him toward the house. Ian just kept smiling stupidly at him. Mickey rolled his eyes and smiled back.

Chapter Text

Yevgeny and Sarah pushed open the front door and dropped their school bags on the floor. Yevgeny threw the key onto the table beside the door.  It was oddly quiet and it didn’t seem like anyone was home. Usually his dads would tell him if they wouldn’t be home when he got home from school. Had something happened? To both of them? His hands started shaking in.

“Hello?” He called out.

Sarah tugged on his arm. “Look Yev, Pops over night bag. Do you think he’s back?”

“Well if he is where is he,” Yevgeny questioned running his hands through his hair. He turned and started rooting through his backpack for his phone. Sarah ran up the steps and just as Yevgeny started panicking more, she yelled, “They’re up here!”

He ran up the steps and into his parent’s room. They were both in bed. Mickey was blearily sitting up but Ian had only rolled over.

“What the fuck?” Mickey asked rubbing his hand over his face.

“We came home from school and couldn’t find you,” Sarah explained simply.

“Yeah, I see that. What’s with the yelling? Jesus kid.”

“Yevgeny was worried about where you all were,” Sarah answered and then turned to look at her Poppy sleeping. “Is he back? Is he staying here? I want to wake him up!”

Yevgeny stared at his dad hopefully. “Is he? Can we?”

“Yes, he is home and staying. And I don’t know about waking him up…” Mickey trailed off. The kids looked disappointed and Mickey turned to look at Ian. Ian would probably kill him if he didn’t wake him up if Ian knew that the kids were standing there desperate to talk to him. But Ian also needed to sleep…

“Okay, yeah, let’s wake him up,” Mickey relented.

Sarah flew onto the bed and started bouncing around her knees. Yevgeny went around to the other side of the bed and stared at Ian, as if trying to contemplate the best way to wake him up.

“POPPY! HI!” Sarah shouted and Ian blinked up at her.

“You could have done it a little bit… quieter than that,” Mickey grumbled.

Yevgeny shook Ian’s shoulder. “Pops!”

“What...?” Ian sat up and was immediately attacked with hugs from Sarah and Yevgeny.

“Ow, Sarah, ow,” Ian said while trying to hug her back. “You’re kneeing me in the ribs!”

Ian moved around and almost butt heads with Yevgeny.

The kids backed off and Ian was allowed to situate himself so he could open his arms for both of his kids. He was smiling so brightly it made Mickey’s stomach flip like he was a teenager again. The kids clung to Ian and Ian kissed their heads while looking over at Mickey who was now standing at the end of the bed, shaking his head but smiling. Mickey suddenly remembered something he and Ian used to do with Yevgeny and Sarah when they were a lot younger. He grinned mischievously at the group and then pounced on the bed and wrapped his arms around Sarah and Yevgeny. Ian held them in the front and Mickey held them back.

“Stinky kids sandwich!” He yelled.

“Ow dad! You’re too heavy!” Yevgeny shouted as his face was smushed into Ian’s chest.

In response Mickey knuckled the top of his head while they all laughed.

“Alright you’re all crushing me. I’m gonna be a pancake,” Ian said breathless from all the laughing and from having his family basically on top of him.

--

Despite Lip’s protests, Fiona stayed the night at his apartment. Lip scared the shit out of her earlier and she was so worried that if he went out of her sight she would probably also have a nervous breakdown.  Liam was 17 and he was old enough to spend a night by himself. Not that she didn’t call him 80 times.

Around 3, Fiona and Lip each got a text message from Mickey saying that Ian was home and if they wanted to see him, to stop by around 6. They had picked up Liam and headed over.

Mickey, Ian, and the kids were setting up another round of Uno when there was a knock on the door. Ian opened it and smiled at Fiona and Lip.

“Hey!” He said hugging his sister and younger brother. “You came just in time to be dealed in.”

She kissed the top of Ian’s head. “Oh yeah? Into poker? We gambling?”

“Fuck no, this house is PG!” Mickey said as Fiona sat on the floor around the coffee table.

“Uh, yeah, the use of ‘fuck’ really convinces me,” Fiona said back.

“We’re playing Uno!” Sarah said.

Liam settled down beside Yevgeny who gave Liam a gentle pat on the back and a smile.

While all of this was going on, behind them, Lip had given Ian a small smile. As soon as Ian had shut the door though, Lip had pulled Ian for a hug. Ian surprised at the fierceness, reached behind him and patted Lip’s back.

“Uncle Lip? You playing?” Yevgeny asked.

Lip kept gripping the back of Ian’s shirt with his face buried in Ian’s shoulder. Ian felt a few drops of wetness. He looked alarmed at Fiona who was staring at them. They shared a worried look. Fiona stood up but Ian shook his head at her. “I got it,” he mouthed.

Ian’s stomach was doing flips while he led them to the back of the house where the backdoor was with the washer and dryer, and a bunch of shoes and coats. This was so uncharacteristic of Lip. What the fuck was going on? The rest of the family was silent before he heard Fiona said a little too loud, “Okay who is going first?”

Keeping his hand on Lip’s shoulder Ian guided him to learn against the dryer, and tried to catch Lip’s eye.

“What the hell is going on, man?” Ian asked gently. Lip shook his head and more tears spilled out. Ian shook Lip’s shoulder a little bit. “You’re scaring the fuck out of me. What happened?” Ian said his worry bleeding into his voice more than he wanted it to.

“I’m sorry,” Lip finally choked out.

“For what?” Ian asked bewildered.

“Everything,” Lip said looking up and meeting Ian’s eyes. “Everything.”

“What?” Ian asked even more confused.

“For…for not being there when this all started years ago… for what happened with you, Mickey, and Svetlana….for…” Lip was shaking.

Ian was freaking out. Where was this coming from? Hadn’t they gone over this before? He cut Lip off. “Hey, hey. It’s okay. We’ve talked about that before. It’s okay. It’s not your fault.”

Lip shook his head. “No, we never talked about what happened with Svetlana…not really.”

Ian swallowed hard and gripped Lip’s shoulder harder. “Look at me,” he said harsher than he intended. Lip looked up. “That wasn’t your fucking fault either. None of it. Okay?”

Lip just stared at Ian, tear tracks starting to dry but the rest of him was still shaking.

“Okay?” Ian pressed again.

“Okay,” Lip said quietly. “Okay.”

Ian let go of Lip’s shoulder and sighed. “Look, I don’t think now is the best time to get into this. Let’s just go calm down, alright?” Ian pulled Lip in this time for a hug, but purposefully pulled them out of it much faster. “Let’s go chill out,” he said.

Lip nodded and swiped his eyes, steadied his breathing, and shook out his hands. Lip followed Ian into the kitchen where he sat at the table. Ian started boiling water for tea. The rest of the family in the living room didn’t notice them yet because they were all distracted. “Yevgeny cheated!” and “No I did not!” was thrown back and forth between Yevgeny and Sarah.

Sarah stood up in a huff and noticed Lip at the table. She ran over to him about to tell him to come mediate their game when she saw that he had been crying. She stopped short in front of him. She’d never seen her uncle cry and it worried her. She crinkled her eyebrows and touched Lip’s arm.

“Uncle Lip? What’s wrong?” She asked. Lip looked at her and shook his head, not trusting himself to speak. Sarah walked around the chair and hugged him. “Are you not happy that Pops is home?”

Lip pulled her into his lap and had her face front so she wouldn’t be able to see his face. He rested his chin on top of her head. “No, I’m happy he is.”

Ian came over with tea and instructed Lip to drink it. Ian sat down next to them and turned to his daughter. “Uncle Lip is just having a bad day. Okay? He doesn’t want to talk about it right now.”

The rest of the family had stopped their game. Liam and Yevgeny were climbing up the stairs. Mickey and Fiona came into the kitchen. The adults and Sarah sat around the table in silence while Ian made more tea. Eventually, Sarah was told to get ready for bed.

“Thanks for making me feel better,” Lip told her while she said goodnight. She smiled at that and then ran upstairs. Fiona took that as their cue to leave. She walked over to the steps and yelled up. “Liam? Let’s go!”

Yevgeny and Liam came down the steps. “Can Liam spend the night?” Yevgeny asked Fiona, Ian, and Mickey hopefully. Fiona looked over at Ian and Mickey who looked dead on their feet and emotionally drained. They didn’t need to worry about an extra kid right now.

Fiona shook her head. “No, another night.”

They all left and Mickey shut the door. So much for a nice evening with their family to be happy that Ian was back home. Ian didn’t need that. He knew Lip didn’t do it on purpose, but Ian had enough on his plate and he just got home. Mickey turned around and sat next to his husband on the couch.

“You okay?” He asked gently.

Ian sighed leaned into Mickey. “He’s never done that, ever,” he told his husband, referring to Lip. “He just kept saying sorry over and over…I’m worried.”

Mickey wrapped his arm Ian’s shoulders. “Yeah, that was a lot. He’ll be okay. Fiona’s got him. Try not to stress about it too much,” Mickey said gently but his knee was bouncing anxiously. The doctor said stress could trigger Ian’s migraines. Even though the medication seemed to be working, they couldn’t really be sure after only 5 days.

Ian put his hand on Mickey’s shaking leg and Mickey stilled. “I’m worried about you too,” Ian said quietly.

Mickey sighed and let go of Ian to lean forward on the couch and put his head in his hands. “Ian…”

“Mick…you said-“ Ian started but Mickey cut him off.

“I can’t!” Mickey yelled. He lifted his head up and looked at Ian. “I can’t,” he said again quieter. “I can’t do this now. Everything is so tangled up and tight, and I just can’t make it come out. Okay? I know how to deal with this. I don’t know how to deal with it out in the open, what if I can’t handle it?” Mickey finished, his voice shaking.

Ian started rubbing his back. “You can handle it. You’re not going to be alone.”

Mickey said nothing but squeezed Ian’s hand. Ian squeezed back. “We don’t have to do this tonight. Baby steps. I gotta take my meds and those are gonna knock me out on my ass.”

“Yeah,” Mickey said clearing his throat. “Let’s go to bed.”

Mickey got into bed and Ian swallowed his night meds and turned off the light. He climbed in next to Mickey.

“I’m worried about you too, you know?” Mickey said as Ian started to lie down. Ian sighed and tugged on Mickey to come lie down with him.

“This is a mess,” Ian whispered and felt a tear fall down his cheek. He swiped at it, annoyed. Mickey noticed.

“What can I do?” Mickey asked.

Ian’s meds were definitely starting to kick in. “Hold me…just hold me,” he said before falling asleep.

Chapter Text

Ian blinked his eyes and swiped the gunk from them with his fingers. He glanced at the clock on the bedside table. It was only 5:00am and still dark outside. He groaned and rolled over expecting to find Mickey beside him in bed but the space next to him was empty. He pushed himself up on his elbows to look at their bathroom door to see if there was a light underneath. It was dark. Now fully awake, Ian sat up and pushed himself out of bed like a rocket. He walked out of their room and down the steps where there was a small light coming from the kitchen.

“Mick?”

Ian approached his husband as if he were a spooked animal. Taking in the way Mickey sat rigidly with bloodshot eyes in a kitchen chair with an empty glass and a bottle of whiskey It was clear to him that Mickey had a nightmare and Mickey didn’t always want to be touched or talked to after those. Mickey’s hand twitched lightly on the table at the soft sound of Ian’s voice. Ian approached the table and slid the bottle of whiskey to the other end, his heart breaking.

Mickey looked up then, looking at Ian with eyes pleading for forgiveness. Ian smiled gently at him. There was nothing to forgive. He plopped himself in the chair next to Mickey
.
“Nightmare?” He asked.

Mickey nodded.

“Why didn’t you wake me up?” Ian asked.

Mickey shrugged. “You were sleeping. You need sleep,” he said hoarsely.

Ian scrubbed his hand down his face. “Shit. I’m sorry. My meds really pull me under. I would have noticed you getting up. You could have gotten me up.”

Mickey shrugged again but said nothing. Ian waited for a moment to see if Mickey would talk but he remained silent, so Ian got up and got him a glass of water. His husband mechanically drank it. Ian was getting his own glass when Mickey spoke, his voice cracking and hushed.

“I was raped.”

Ian turned around from the sink and felt his heart both freeze in shock and break again. In all of these years Mickey had never admitted that out loud. Not so bluntly. Never willingly. Never unprompted. Ian had been hoping for this moment for years but now that it was here, he wasn’t sure what he should do. What could you say back to that? I know, I was there? I know, I’m sorry? I’m sorry? It’s my fault? You didn’t deserve that?

Ian opted to say nothing but sat back down at the table and held his hands out for Mickey to take if he wanted to. Mickey grabbed his hands and Ian squeezed them. Mickey squeezed back hard and didn’t let go. It was going to cut off Ian’s circulation after a minute but he didn’t say anything.

Mickey looked up and stared into Ian’s eyes. He looked so lost. “What do I do?”

Ian swallowed hard. He didn’t really know but Mickey was staring at him, pleading for some direction or help or anything to hold onto. Taking a deep breath, Ian said, “You let yourself process it. You talk about it. You cry about it. You rage about it. You feel numb about it. You just… feel and talk or write or something… and eventually, it’ll start to heal.”

Lessening his grip on Ian’s hands, Mickey cleared his throat. “So…go to therapy?” He asked in a small voice.

Ian nodded. “Yeah, that’d probably be a good idea, love.”

Now Mickey looked downright terrified. Ian squeezed Mickey’s hands again and soothed him. “We don’t have to figure it out all right now. It’s just an option on the table. There are others we can look at. Okay?”

Mickey nodded tightly once.

Ian let go of his hands and stood up. “How about we try to sleep more?”

Mickey mutely shuffled behind Ian up the stairs and crawled into bed. Ian got in and opened his arms, even though he just wanted to pull Mickey into them, it was up to Mickey if he wanted to be held. Mickey immediately fell into them and Ian held him tightly. Ian said nothing as he felt hot tears fall onto his chest and Mickey’s hands twisting in his t-shirt. He just ran his hands through Mickey’s hair, and up and down his arms and back. Eventually, Mickey seemed to have exhausted himself and fell asleep with his eyebrows crinkled. Sighing, Ian ran his thumb across Mickey’s forehead to try to smooth them out but they wouldn’t budge. He looked at the clock. It was now 6 in the morning. He tried to push down a rising sense of panic now that he was able to think about what happened. He pressed his cheek against Mickey’s hair and tried to go back to sleep.

--

Mickey didn’t get out of bed later in the morning. He didn’t say much to Ian but let himself be physically comforted and covered in blankets. Ian went in and out of the bedroom trying to regain a normal routine after the last week. He made breakfast. Fielded questions from Sarah and Yevgeny about their dad. The whole house was oddly silent. Sarah leaned against Yevgeny reading a book while Yevgeny stared blankly at the TV watching cartoons with his arm around her. Ian appreciated the sweet sight but it was hard to be happy about it when he knew it was just because his kids were scared and he didn’t know how to fix that. Especially when his new meds still left him feeling sluggish. Normally he would have texted Lip for support but after last night that didn’t seem like a good idea. Lip was also scarily fragile right now. So Ian just sat on the other couch staring blankly at the TV with Yevgeny and getting up to check on Mickey every so often. He’d never felt so lost and like he was sinking in his entire life.

--

Ian had slipped into sleep, slumping on the couch while Yevgeny stared at the TV trying to figure out what to do. He could text Aunt Fiona but she seemed to have her hands full with Uncle Lip. He could text Liam but Liam couldn’t fulfil the role of comforting adult who could take the reigns. So he sat there trying to remember if he’d ever felt so lost and terrified in his whole life.

Around noon Yevgeny heard movement from upstairs and the shower running. He sat upright and felt a mixture of relief and anxiety. Sarah startled underneath him. She’d also dozed off.

“Dad’s up,” Yevgeny whispered.

Sarah looked over at Ian who was still asleep on the couch and then back to her older brother. Yevgeny tried to school his face into calm and not scare his sister more.

“Should we wake up Poppy?” she whispered back.

Yevgeny shook his head. “Let dad figure that out.” Feeling helpless and sensing his sister also staring at him helplessly he had an idea.

“Hey, why don’t we make lunch for everyone?”

Sarah nodded eagerly and they headed to the kitchen. Trying to be as quiet as possible as they pulled out bread, condiments, and lunch meat.

Chapter Text

Ian and Mickey felt their hearts warm and pride well in their stomachs when they saw that the kids had made lunch. Neither of them were very hungry but they did their best to eat most of it. After lunch, they disappeared upstairs to talk privately.

Ian sat in the middle of the bed. Mickey paced in front of him. Both of them silent and unsure how to start this conversation. Mickey turned around and halted. “How are you feeling?” He asked Ian.

Ian was silent for a moment, before responding, “I should be asking you the same question.”

Sighing, Mickey sank onto the edge of the bed and twisted to look at his husband. He scrubbed his hand down his face. “What….what are we gonna do?”

“We…. I…. we can start by answering each others questions,” Ian said but it sounded more like a question than a statement.

“Okay,” Mickey said, grateful to have some direction for at least a minute. He moved further onto the bed and leaned against the headboard. “I asked first you first, so you go first.”

“Shitty. Your turn,” Ian said.

“Shitty,” Mickey said back. They were silent for a moment. Neither sure if they were going to push the other to elaborate or not.

“Your head hurt?” Mickey asked, breaking the silence.

He watched Ian blink a few times and then look into Mickey’s eyes as if asking if it was okay to say the real answer. Mickey nodded.

“A little bit,” Ian said. “It’s nothing like before though. And I go to the doctor tomorrow. We’re gonna talk about giving me meds to take for when I start to get a migraine.”

“Sounds like you need them now,” Mickey said.

“It’s just a twinge. It’s just because I’m…” Ian trailed off, not wanting to say “stressed or worried” about Mickey and Lip, but mostly Mickey right now.

“Stressed,” Mickey finished in a strained voice. Ian had no choice but to nod.

Mickey stared down at the comforter. “I’m making you sick,” he said lowly, angry at himself.

Ian sat up on his knees and spoke firmly. “No, Mick, no. You’re not. No one can make me sick.”

Mickey continued to stare down at the comforter and started shaking his head frantically back and forth. A loud sob escaped his mouth which prompted another one because he failed to keep the first one in, his hand clamped over his mouth.

Ian was slightly shocked. He should have expected this. I mean how is anyone supposed to react after they’ve admitted they’ve been assaulted but to cry? It’s just, Mickey wasn’t the biggest crier in their relationship. That was Ian. So it always startled Ian some when Mickey cried. He crawled to his husband so he was sitting in front of him kneeling, and wrapped his arms around him. Mickey tried to push Ian away, but Ian only held him tighter and brought him closer until Mickey’s face was on Ian’s chest, making his shirt wet. Ian cupped the back of Mickey’s head and rested his own head on Mickey’s hair, muttering stupid nothings like “it’s okay”, “let it out,” and “I got you.”

Eventually, Mickey pulled away, his face completely red and sticky with tears. “I have such bad timing. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, I’m sorry,” he wailed brokenly before clamping his hand over his mouth again, shocked at how loud he had been.

Ian pulled back and took Mickey’s face into his hands, forcing him to look at Ian. “There’s nothing to be sorry about. This is not your fault. This needs to be dealt with, and it’s not good timing. I’m not happy you have to go through it. But I’m hopeful this time will be the time you let yourself heal,” Ian said tenderly. He kissed Mickey’s forehead and continued, “This just the way our life goes. When has the shit hit the fan lightly? If anything…. I should be the one saying sorry. I started this mess,” Ian said in a hushed tone. The conviction from reassuring Mickey completely gone from his voice.

No Mickey was grabbing Ian’s face while Ian was still holding onto Mickey’s. “Jesus Christ, Ian. It’s not your fault.”

They searched each other’s eyes for a while before dropping their hands to their laps. “Okay,” Ian said hesitantly. “It’s not my fault if it’s not your fault.”

“What?” Mickey asked bewildered.
“If you’re gonna tell me that none of this is my fault, then you gotta at least entertain the idea that none of this is your fault either,” Ian replied.

Mickey huffed out a laugh. “Yeah, fine. Whatever.”

Ian reached out wiped the tears off Mickey’s face and palmed his hair. “I gotta go to the doctor tomorrow anyway. I think I should make an emergency therapy session. For both of us.”

Mickey’s eyebrows crinkled and his lip curled. Ian held up his hand placating him. “I’m not saying you have to spill your guts. I’m not saying to get your own therapist. But we have no idea what the fuck we’re doing. We need help, Mick. We need someone to guide us.”

Deflating, Mickey nodded. “Yeah. Yeah we do.”

Ian got out of bed and went to the bathroom, returning with a glass of water and some ibuprofen. “Drink this and take this now,” Ian said. “You always get a headache after being so upset.”

Mickey flushed slightly but took the medicine and drank the water. His eyes were starting to droop. He’d exhausted himself and he hadn’t slept well the night before.

Ian gently pushed his shoulder so Mickey slid down onto his back. “Take a nap, Mick.”

“Was just in bed all morning,” Mickey mumbled.

“It’s okay,” Ian said softly, bringing the blanket up to cover Mickey’s shoulders, smilingly fondly as he watched Mickey slip into sleep.

He rubbed his temples, willing the ache to not flare before heading downstairs to check on the kids. Both of them had fallen asleep on the couch, the TV still on. Ian switched the TV off and then went upstairs into the bathroom. He turned on the shower, stripped, and got in. With everyone asleep now he could fall apart about what had happened with Mickey. At least for a little bit. And no one would hear him sniffle over the running water.

--
Mickey woke up a few hours later to hear his family lightly bickering about something downstairs. It was the most normal thing to have happened in days. He rolled his eyes and headed downstairs.

“We can’t watch that!” Yevgeny declared. “You’ll be up with nightmares and begging to sleep in my bed. And you fucking snore!”

“I do not, jerk!” Sarah shot back. “It’ll be you up with nightmares. You’re always the scaredy-cat.”

Ian opened his mouth to interject loudly, “Or how about we just pick something else?”

“No!” Both Yevgeny and Sarah said at the same time before looking at each other and giggling a little bit.

Mickey made his presence known, smiling some at the pure normalcy of this moment. “What the hell is all this about?”

Sarah ran over and hugged Mickey around the middle while staring up at him. He hugged her back. “We’re having an ice cream party! And a movie night! Ice cream was my idea. Yevgeny thought of the movie night.”

Mickey looked over at Ian confused but amused.

“I think it’s time we had some fun around here, don’t you think?”

Slowly Mickey broke into a slow smile that made his eyes glow.

--

Mickey took Sarah and Yevgeny to get ice cream while Ian stayed home, still not well enough to take the chance to go out of the house. They had a ridiculous amount of ice cream with disgusting flavor combinations, and settled in front of the couch. Stomachs uncomfortably full but happy.

They ended up watching the movie Sarah and Yevgeny were fighting about, even though it was a horror film. Ian said that if Sarah sat with him she’d make sure she didn’t have nightmares, so they were cuddled on one end of the couch. They both fell asleep twenty minutes into the movie, despite sleeping all day and the screaming coming from the TV.
Mickey and Yevgeny were the only ones still watching. Yevgeny’s eyes were glued to the screen and his mouth open. He was totally wrapped up in the movie. Something jumped out and someone screamed on the screen, and without meaning to, so did Yevgeny. This shocked Sarah and Ian awake but their shock quickly melted away as Mickey burst out laughing.

“You should have seen your face, man!” He said to his son. Yevgeny was scowling but there was a hint of a smile. Sarah and Ian started laughing too. Mickey and Ian met eyes across the room and laughed harder. They were both so relieved to see each other and their kids laughing again.

“I told you that he’s the scaredy-cat,” Sarah said once she finally stopped laughing.

Chapter Text

Ian shut the door after waving buy to the kids heading to school. He turned around to find Mickey tugging on his jacket.

“Hey, relax. The appointment isn’t until 11,” Ian reminded his husband.

Mickey gave no indication that he heard him and his mouth was set in a hard line.

“Mick?” Ian asked stepping closer to him. “You okay?”

Mickey continued to concentrate on putting on his jacket, taking an absurdly long time with it. “I’m not going,” he bit out lowly.

“What?” Ian asked.

“I said,” Mickey finally looked up. “I’m not going.”

Ian sighed. “Babe, I know you don’t like it and this all really sucks. But we talked about this yesterday and you agreed we need help with how to deal with this.”

Mickey shoved his hands into his jacket pockets. “I’m fucking fine. There’s nothing to deal with except for you getting better.”

Ian went over and put his hand on Mickey’s shoulder, and cupping his face. “You’re not fine,” he said gently. “And you don’t have to be right now. But we need to find a way for you to be okay. That’s all I want.”

They stared into each other’s eyes. Mickey’s eyes welled up for a second before he swallowed harshly, blinked, and set his jaw. He stepped back so Ian’s hands fell away from him.

“I’m not the one who’s sick here, Ian,” he bit out harshly. “Worry about yourself.”

Ian felt like he’d been punched. “I didn’t say you were sick, Mickey.”

Mickey walked around Ian and picked up his bag. “I’m going to work,” he said flatly.

“Mickey!” Ian yelled desperately. “What the fuck?”

“Go to your fucking appointment! I’m fine!” Mickey shouted as he opened the door. Ian ran over and grabbed his arm.

“Let go of me! Somethings never change, huh? Still pushing me into shit I don’t want or need to do! But Ian Gallagher is always right!” He shoved Ian’s arm off and the door slammed behind him.

--

The Fucking Husband 9:48am
Please just tell me that you got to work safely, okay?

The Fucking Husband 10:04am
I’m two seconds from a panic attack here, Mickey. I just want to know if you got to work alive or not.

The Fucking Husband 10:05am
MICKEY

The Fucking Husband 10:06am
Don’t do this to me. You can be mad just… don’t do this.

The Fucking Husband Missed Call 10:08am

Mickey walked out of the meeting to his phone blowing up. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about what happened despite the sinking feeling in his stomach. Just got to work and got down to business. Staring at his phone now, he felt so guilty. He shouldn’t have said those things. Those were low blows and all Ian wanted to know if he was okay. He started to text back “I’m okay. I’m at work. Was in a meeting” but that was the easy way out. He sighed, went to his office, and shut the door. He pressed call.

It barely rang once before the call was picked up. “Mickey?” Ian choked out.

Mickey cleared his throat. “Hey… uh was in a meeting. I’m at work. I’m okay,” he said awkwardly.

All he heard on the other line was Ian breathing harshly but no other response. “Ian?”

“Fuck you Mickey,” Ian said angrily but it sounded like he was being choked at the same time.

Mickey winced. He deserved that. He knew this is where he was supposed to say he is sorry. He is sorry. He just…can’t say it yet. He just… can’t.

“I love you,” Mickey said instead. The next best thing. Ian always needed an actual apology though. That usually annoyed the shit out of Mickey but this time, he knew saying I love you couldn’t be enough to fix this.

“I….I love you too,” Ian said back, still sounding like someone was strangling him to death.

“Are you breathing?” Mickey asked gently.

“No!” Ian sobbed. “Fuck you.”

“If you can talk, you can breathe,” he said. Usually this would make Ian huff out a laugh but he got nothing. He sighed. “Come on, in and out”.

He listened as Ian got his breathing back under control and his sobs didn’t to sniffles. There was something twisting in his gut. He really should say sorry now but… he couldn’t.

“Better?” Mickey asked.

“Yeah,” Ian answered. There was silence. Ian seemed to be waiting for him to say something. Mickey didn’t know what to say to fill the silence. Ian realized he wasn’t going to get anything out his husband.

“Jesus Christ,” Ian spat out. “Fuck you”. Ian hung up.

--

As soon Ian got home from his appointment, he crawled back into bed. Throwing all of the blankets over himself so he was underneath them like a dark, warm cacoon. He though about what his therapist had said. While what Mickey was hurtful and unfair, Mickey was lashing out because he didn’t know what else to do. He didn’t know how to deal with his realization and probably didn’t know if he wanted to deal with it at all, but pushing it away wasn’t working. Falling back on old coping mechanisms and emotionally raw stuck in the past, he’d done the only thing he knew how to do. Mickey not even understand why he was doing it. Or if he was even aware that he was doing it until it was done.
Olivia was right. Ian understood. It only made Ian more worried about Mickey. But, using his disorder against him in argument and their past that he thought they’d resolved for the most part, left him reeling in hurt. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt so hurt by Mickey.

It was getting too hot underneath the covers, he could barely breathe. He contemplated just letting himself suffocate underneath the blankets, but pushed them off his head so he was staring at the night stand with his medication on it. He looked at his “as needed” anxiety meds that he didn’t really feel like taking because they made him feel out of it, but not feeling sounded nice. After describing what had happened this morning with the texts and the phone call, Olivia and Ian had discussed using the medication today if that’s what Ian needed to be safe. With the proper dosage. Max two. Ian sighed, and shook out one pill into his hand and dry swallowed it before muttering, “fuck it,” and shaking out another one even though he hated doing it. He dry swallowed that one too and sunk back into bed.

--

He woke up with his head pounding. No that was an understatement, it was screaming. His stomach was rolling. Without thinking about it and with his eyes still half closed Ian stumbled to the bathroom and made it to the toilet just in time.

He pressed his forehead against the cool ceramic of the toilet seat. He knew it was disgusting. He didn’t care. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to block out the pain and settled his stomach enough to get back to the night stand where the prescription they’d given him to try for if he actually got a migraine. It wasn’t going to halt it. It was too late. He hadn’t gotten it in time. But it still would help something. It had to. He needed it to. He was so caught up in trying to lift his head up to crawl back to his medicine, that he didn’t notice there was someone else in the room until he felt a hand lightly touch his back.

He opened his eyes. Mickey was crouching beside him still in his work clothes, looking worried and guilty. “Mick?” He rasped out.

“Shit Ian,” Mickey whispered. “I’m so sorry.” There he had said it.

Ian just stared at him with his head pillowed on his arm resting on the toilet seat. “For what?” He said back tonelessly.

Mickey sighed. Trust Ian to be in agonizing pain and still manage to be pissed.

“Everything,” he said while pushing the hair that was falling in front of Ian’s eyes away.

Ian suddenly lurched up and vomited again. Mickey moved to kneel behind him and wrapped his arms around Ian’s sharply contracting stomach. He put his forehead on Ian’s sweaty back. Ian spat into the toilet and rocked back onto his heals. Mickey lifted his head up and started rubbing Ian’s stomach gently. Ian titled his head back onto Mickey’s shoulder so he was looking up at his husband through bleary eyes.

“You done?” Mickey asked.
“Think so,” Ian mumbled, eyes slipping shut. “We still gotta talk.”

“I know, but not right now,” Mickey said back. Seeing Ian like this reminded him as to why he’d agreed to go to the appointment in the first place last night. Shit. He’d fucked up. Fucked up bad.

Ian opened his eyes and narrowed them at him.

“We will, I promise. You take those meds yet?”

“No,” Ian said rolling his head so it was lightly touching Mickey’s neck.

“Let’s get rid of this migraine first. Then talk,” Mickey said. He looked at their position on the floor and tried to think of the best way to get them up and into bed without jostling Ian too much.

“You better,” Ian said lowly. “Or I’ll fucking puke on you.”

Mickey cracked a slight small. “Fair enough.”

Ian pressed his face further into Mickey’s neck. Mickey felt Ian’s dry lips quick into a small smile too.

Chapter Text

Ian woke up on his stomach, his cheek pressed against the pillow, with drool coming out of his mouth. He went to roll onto this back and wipe the drool off this chin, but was stuck with his cheek still on the pillow staring up at Mickey in shock.

“What… what are you doing?” Ian asked. His gravely voice did nothing to hide his surprise at what he was seeing.

Mickey jumped, not having realized Ian was awake. He watched Ian wipe drool off himself, and then looked down at his lap. He flushed slightly.

“Writing,” Mickey replied shortly like it was the most normal and obvious thing for him to be doing.

Ian sat up, “Writing what?”

“I don’t know. About… stuff… feelings,” Mickey squirmed, embarrassed at having been caught even though there was really nothing to be embarrassed about. It was just… Milkoviches don’t write, let alone about their feelings.

“Oh,” Ian said dumbly. “I didn’t know you journaled.” He felt stupid. How could he not have known this after all these years?

“I… I don’t… only sometimes…,” Mickey flushed. He snapped the notebook shut and stuffed it under the bed, and then sat with his hands in his lap avoiding Ian’s gaze.

Ian didn’t reply but squeezed his wrist lightly, and changed the subject. “What time is it?”

Mickey took his phone off the nightstand and clicked the homescreen on. “12:30.”

Ian pulled the covers off himself and ran his hands through his messy hair. “In the morning? Shit! What about the kids? Did you all eat? Did they do their homework?”

“Slow down Rambo, yes to both,” Mickey said smirking slightly.

Ian calmed a bit, and hunched over himself rubbing his temples.

Mickey frowned. “How’s your head?”

“Better,” Ian said and started to push himself off the bed as if to prove the point but immediately fell back on his butt. “Dizzy,” he added.

“Probably because you haven’t fucking eaten in hours and you puked your guts up. Your blood sugar is low,” Mickey responded and stood up. “Think you can make it down the stairs to eat?”

Ian groaned. “Don’t think so. Don’t wanna eat.”

“Yeah, well, you gotta. I’ll be back in a minute,” Mickey responded.

Mickey came back up with a can of coke and some toast. He handed Ian the coke. “Chug half of it. That’ll bring your blood sugar back up real fast.”

Ian stared at the coke in his hand like it was poop. “I don’t like Coke. Orange juice would work just as well,” he said petulantly.

Mickey rolled his eyes. “We’re out of OJ tough guy. Now, chug!”

Ian did as instructed with the most dramatic grimace on his face and his eyes closed. He handed the half empty can back to Mickey, and felt his stomach expand with all of that carbon dioxide.

“Ugh,” he said to himself right before he burped loudly.

Mickey chuckled a little bit, but Ian didn’t join in. Right. There was still stuff they had to talk about. Ian was still upset with him. He wordlessly handed Ian the plate of toast who took it just as silently and slowly ate it. Mickey stood there watching him awkwardly for a minute before realizing Ian probably should drink some water. He grabbed a glass from the bedside table and went to the bathroom to fill it up.

When he handed it to Ian in exchange for the half eaten toast, Ian muttered a soft, “thank you.”

Mickey put his hand on Ian’s head for a second in response. Now that Ian had eaten, there was nothing to distract them from what really needed to be dealt with right now. Mickey’s insides clenched and he sat down on the bed, unsure how or where to start.

“I’m really worried about you,” Ian said quietly, cutting into the silence.

Mickey half laughed. “Says the guy who didn’t hold down any food today and was passed out for 6 hours.”

“Mickey, please!” Ian said in frustration.

Mickey sighed. “What do you want me to say?” He asked slightly more harshly than he meant.

Ian sat up on his knees, and threw his hands up in the air, losing any calm composure he had two seconds ago. “I don’t fucking know! Something other than saying you’re fine! Something other than throwing old shit in my face when I didn’t do anything at all to deserve it! Something other than lashing out at me because you’re hurting! I love you but I’m not a punching bag, Mick. What you said….today. Fuck, Mickey, that really hurt. Mickey you haven’t hurt me like that since were kids.”

Mickey just stared at Ian after his outburst. How was he supposed to fix this? His stomach was twisting painfully with so much guilt. “Is that why you got sick?” He whispered.

“I…I don’t think it helped. Let’s put it that way,” Ian responded.

Mickey turned away from his husband and dropped his head in his hands. He didn’t know if he did it out of shame or because he was trying to hide that he was starting to cry when he was the one who was an asshole here.

“I’m so sorry,” He choked out.

Sensing that Mickey was still gathering himself to say more, Ian remained silent and waited.

“I don’t wanna hurt you. I could see what I was doing and I couldn’t stop it, you know? It’s like I was in the room but tied up against a wall and all that was left was my teenage self.”

“Yeah,” Ian said understandingly. Knowing all too well how that feels. He moved to sit on the edge of the bed next to Mickey who still had his head in his hands. Ian placed his hand on Mickey’s shoulder. “I know,” he said gently.

Ian tugged on Mickey’s t-shirt sleeve. “Come here,” he said while backing up against the headboard. Mickey took his head out of his hands, his eyes red and uncertain. “Come on,” Ian said again.

Mickey slowly crawled over and tried to figure out what Ian was doing. Ian spread his legs out, and then held up his arms. Mickey hesitated. He got the message but he didn’t deserve this. “Mick,” Ian said so gently Mickey’s heart hurt.

Mickey crawled over and situated himself between Ian’s legs before leaning his back on Ian chest, and then slumping so his head was below Ian’s chin. Ian’s arms came up around his waist. Mickey placed his hands on top of Ian’s and traced his fingers on them lightly.

Ian let them sit there comfortably for a few minutes, just being together, trying to get the conversation away from Ian being angry since that wasn’t even the issue here.
Ian dropped his chin onto Mickey’s head. “I know this is fucking hard. I know. You gotta talk to me, though, please baby.”

Mickey sighed and Ian felt Mickey’s hands tighten around his own. Ian waited for Mickey to gather himself.

“I…I wrote earlier that I feels like I’m slipping on a hill that has an avalanche of rocks tumbling down it and I keep trying to scramble back up but all I get are rocks in my hands so I just….throw them,” he said timidly. He felt more vulnerable than he had in a long time. Ian hugged him tighter.

Ian was honestly shocked at Mickey’s metaphor, that he used one at all. Sometimes he forgot how much went on inside Mickey that Mickey didn’t share with anyone. He was floored by the realization now. Ian didn’t realize he had been silent because Mickey squirmed, nervous that Ian hadn’t answered.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he told Ian again.

“I know,” Ian said firmly and twisted around to look at Mickey’s face. “I know.” He continued, ”I’m not mad at you. Anymore. At all. I’m scared for you. It hurt like hell, but I’m not mad. But you can’t…”

“I can’t keep doing that. I know. I’m just scared,” Mickey finished.

“I know. It’s okay to be scared,” Ian said tenderly, running his hands through Mickey’s hair. He could basically see the wheels turning in Mickey’s head as he processed. Mickey gently removed himself from Ian’s hold and turned around to face him. As much as his bravery would allow. He spoke with his eyes on the blankets.

“I’ll go to therapy or whatever… I’ll go…for you.”

This made Ian smile sadly. He lifted Mickey’s chin up so he could see his face. “I’m glad you’ll go but… I don’t want you to go for me. I want you to go for you.”

“I don’t know how to do that,” Mickey whispered back, shutting his eyes.

“Then I hope you do someday,” Ian said enveloping Mickey back into his arms.

Mickey’s face was pressed into Ian’s neck. Ian could feel hot tears rolling down his chest.

“Who the fuck cares if that happens or not?” Mickey said brokenly.

“I do. Yevgeny does. Sarah does. Us, your family does.”

“Well, you shouldn’t care about me, ok?” Mickey wailed.

Ian kissed Mickey’s forehead. “I do a lot of things I shouldn’t.”