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I Can’t Lose You

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Rick had managed to piss off an alien fortuneteller.


Not that Morty was all that surprised; half the galaxy was pissed at Rick, too.

Morty had wanted to check out their tent, wanting to get his fortune told just for the hell of it. He didn’t believe that anything the fortuneteller would say would be true, but it was fun to play along and see what happened.

After begging Rick for at least an hour, the old man’s resolve had finally broken, and he’d reluctantly followed Morty into the tent.

The fortuneteller resembled something close to female, but Morty couldn’t really tell. They had something wrapped around their head to hold their hair, and they had green skin, four arms, and three eyes— the one on their forehead never blinking, and never straying to look away from him.

Rick had stood behind him and huffed in annoyance the whole time as Morty had his palm read.

The fortuneteller told him many things, like “Your will is strong,” and “Your heart is made of gold, but sometimes it’s a struggle not to let it waver.”

Morty smiled, giggling throughout the whole exchange. He was genuinely enjoying the whole thing. It was fun to be told these things even though he knew they were probably just the same things the fortuneteller had told everyone who came by their tent.

His smile had fallen, however, when the fortuneteller had frowned, and the eye on their forehead had glanced subtly at Rick and then back at him, and said, “Your heart aches for something you cannot obtain.” They sounded sad, tilting their head slightly to the side sympathetically.

Morty pulled his palm away, avoiding the fortuneteller’s gaze. He bounced his leg anxiously. Maybe this had been a bad idea.

They payed the fortuneteller and then left the tent to see what the rest of the alien carnival had to offer.

What Morty hadn’t realized, however, was that while him and the fortuneteller had been distracted, Rick had stolen some herbs from them. And it turns out the fortuneteller had soon noticed, too, and had started chasing them.

The fortuneteller was faster than both of them had expected, and it had managed to tackle Morty to the ground, his body slamming hard against the rocks, completely knocking the wind out of him.

It spun him into his back so that Morty could face it and growled in his face, glaring down at him with all three of its eyes. It bared his razor sharp teeth at him and placed its hand firmly on Morty’s chest, a shockwave of what felt like static and electricity reverberating through the teen’s chest, paralyzing him where he was. He gasped, staring at them with wide, panicked eyes.

“I resent thee, for you have taken what is not yours,“ They growled, the static feeling never faltering in the slightest, so intense that Morty was screaming out in pain. “I set upon your shoulders a curse, one of which can only be lifted by conversing with the one you so deeply ache for, and telling them what your heart so strongly begs to obtain!” They screamed at him. “You will grow weaker and sicker throughout the the span of seven days, until your lungs fill with blood and your organs turn to mush— you must get the object of your affections to return your love to lift the curse!”

It smiled demonically at him, knowing that the task was something Morty could never do. And before he knew it, the fortuneteller’s head was exploding above him, splattering gooey purple blood all over him. He screamed as the rest of its body collapsed on him, though he felt relived that he was no longer in danger, and wasn’t being fucking electrocuted.

Rick helped pull him out from under the body, and he looked at Morty with a confused expression. “The hell were they spouting off about?” He asked genuinely, raising a brow.

Morty looked at what was left of the fortuneteller, frowning deeply, and struggling to catch his breath. He shrugged. “Probably just t-tryin’ ta scare me, or something.” He said, truly believing that everything the fortuneteller had said had just been a lucky guess. He shook his head, and crossed his arms over his chest protectively. “I-I-I think they tried to put a curse on me?” He looked up at Rick. “I-in summary, they told me I was gonna slowly die within the next seven days u-u-unless I tell my crush I like them and get them to like me back. P-p-pretty weird, huh?”

Rick took a long swig from his flask. “T-told you this would be a stupid idea.”

“Rick! Y-y-you’re the one who screwed everything u-up by stealing their shit!” Morty glared up at him. “They wouldn’t have come after us if you hadn’t stolen anything!”

“You h-have no idea h-how important these herbs are to my work, Morty.” Rick countered, pulling out a few containers from his lab coat to show them off.

Morty wrinkled his nose. “You always s-say that, Rick!” He groaned. “It’s like your favorite excuse!”

“I know,” Rick said, smirking at how exasperated Morty had gotten. He put the herbs away and pull out his Portal Gun. “What’d ya say we go home, yeah?”

Morty followed him though the portal back home without question.




Beep— Beep— Beep— Be—


The teen slammed his hand down hard on his alarm clock, pulling his covered up over his head to block out the sunlight coming in from the blinds of his window.

For the past two days, Morty’d been feeling worse and worse. He curled in on himself, trying his best to ignore the sharp pain he felt in his stomach. Maybe He was catching a bug or something? Like the flu, or maybe a cold? A fever? He definitely felt fervor-ish.

He had a sore throat, a cough, and his stamina had pretty much gone into the shitter. He found it to be much harder to keep up with Rick on adventures, and he kept falling asleep in class.

Maybe he’d ask Rick to whip up some medicine for him or something. Rick would know what to do.

He hit the snooze button three more times on his alarm before finally getting out of bed. Without changing out of his pajamas, he headed down stairs. The rest of the family was eating breakfast and he sat down in his normal place.

“Running a little late today, son.” Jerry commented.

“S-s-slept past my alarm.” Morty explained, shrugging. It wasn’t exactly a lie.

The pancakes on his plate made Morty’s stomach churn uncomfortably— he felt like he was gonna throw up just looking at it. He pushed his plate away with a grimace and looked up at his mom. “H-hey, mom?” He asked.

Beth looked up at him, giving him that generic caring ‘mom’ smile. “Yes, sweetie?”

 “I-I think I’m sick. Can I stay home today?” He asked. Even his voice sounded horse. He saw Rick glance at him curiously from the corner of his eye.

Beth reached across the table and placed her hand on his forehead, brushing some of his curls out of the way as she did so. After a moment, she frowned. “Sure, honey, I think you’re running a fever.” Her hand lingered a moment longer before she pulled her hand back.

Everything after that was kinda hazy to Morty. He sat at the table, trying to pay attention to all that everyone was talking about. His dad said something about a job interview, he thinks. Summer said something about how Brad was dating Jessica again. Morty rolled his eyes. He didn’t care about school drama. Then Beth asked if Rick could hold off on the adventures for the day, but Morty didn’t know why.

That’s when the old man placed a hand on his shoulder, and Morty jumped, turning to look at him. “How about a Ballfondlers marathon?” He offered with a smile. God, that smile looked good on Ri— ‘no, Morty, stop! Bad!’— “Y-y-you know, because I kinda have to be your babysitter since your sick?”

Morty smiled back at him weakly, finding it funny that Rick had referred to himself as a ‘babysitter.’ He didn’t know if he’d actually be able to sit through watching TV in his current condition, but he was sure Rick wouldn’t mind if he fell asleep. “S-s-sure, Rick.” He said, hating how rough his voice sounded.

The rest of the day was filled with Morty slipping in and out of consciousness. Rick, despite getting a little restless, had stayed with him throughout the whole day, even letting Morty fall asleep on his shoulder once or twice.

Morty did have to admit that it was a decent day, despite how much his insides felt like they were turning to mush.




The next two days were even worse. He hadn’t seen any signs of getting better— only getting worse. Most of it was spend lounging in the living room with Rick, or taking naps in his room. He hated that Rick kept giving him worrying looks every time he was around him— He was just fine, right? He’d be over this in a couple days. It would get better.

He awoke in the middle of the night to a sharp, searing pain in his stomach. He was sweating from head to toe, and he was so cold even though everything was too hot. He was shivering so fucking much.

Something’s really wrong. This isn’t normal.’ Morty’s mind screamed at him as the pain only got worse. He hugged himself around the middle tightly, curling into his pillow. ‘I need to get to Rick. He’ll know what to do.’

The teen managed to push himself out of bed, and he stumbled down the stairs. He tripped on the last step, falling down on his hands and knees painfully. The pain in his stomach grew worse. It felt like someone had stabbed him with a knife and was slowly twisting it around— and trust me, the poor teen had actually gone through that before; he had a faint scar just above his bellybutton to prove it. He had something to compare it to, and this was almost just as horrible. He had to muffle a scream that threatened to rip from this throat, tears pooling in his eyes from the pain. He felt like he was dying.

Maybe I am dying.’ Morty’s thoughts haunted him.

He hugged himself around the middle as he stumbled the rest of the way to the garage on increasingly shaky legs. He had to try at the handle three times, his hands too sweaty to get a good grip, before he could get the door open.

Rick was sitting at his desk, tinkering away on some device. When he heard Morty walk in, he turned around in his swivel chair. His brow rose high on his at the sight of him, alarm showing in his eyes. “Man, y-y-you look like shit, Morty.” He said.

“R-R-Rick—“ Morty was cut off by an itch in his throat that he couldn’t ignore, several violent coughs erupting from him. He covered his mouth with his arm. When he pulled back, there was blood, and his eyes widened. “I-I-I think s-some—some—something’s wrong w-with me, Rick...” He groaned and sunk to the floor, the stabbing feeling growing worse.

Rick was next to him in a second, pulling him up by his arms and setting him down in the swivel chair. “Morty, I-I need you to tell me your symptoms.” He said, kneeling in front of him and grabbing the teen by the shoulder.

Morty’s whole body shivered, and he coughed violently into his arm again. More blood came out and he showed Rick. “W-w-well, I’m coughing up blood,” He said, looking at Rick’s panic-stricken face. “M-m-my throat hurts, my b-body hurts,” He shivered. “I-I’m f-freezing, b-but I’m sweating.” He coughed into his arm again, wheezing— it was getting harder to breathe. “I-I-I-I f-feel like— m-my stomach... it hurts real bad, Rick, a-and—and— It’s h-ha-hard to breathe. I can’t... I-I just want the pain to stop...” He curled further into himself.

Rick ran a hand through Morty’s hair, brushing his curls out of his sweaty face. “I-I’ll figure this out, okay Morty?” He assured. “Just hang tight.” He patted Morty’s shoulder and then stood up, rummaging through a few boxes on his work desk.

Rick kept running around the garage, flipping through books he randomly found before closing them and throwing them to the side as Morty curled into himself, wishing that the pain would just go away.

After Rick exhausted every resource he had, he took a blood sample from Morty to study it. He put a couple drops of it on a slide and then used an alien microscope to study it.

A few minutes go by as Rick twists the many knobs on the microscope, trying to find whatever it was that was wrong with Morty. And the he saw it— an abnormality.

Relief filled him. It was an easy problem to solve.

“Morty,” He said, turning to the teen who was still withering in pain in the swivel chair. Rick had to admit it pained him to see Morty like this. The teen grunted to signal he was listening. “You r-remember that fortuneteller person, right?”

Morty nodded.

“S-she gave you Folklark Virus.” Rick explained. “I-It’s a virus that can only be made I-I-in a lab, or something. It lets the user set up the conditions of how the sickness works, what it does to your body, how fatal it is, and how you can cure it. W-what was the ‘curse’ it put on you again?” He asked.

Morty sighed. He didn’t like where this conversation was going. “I-I have to tell m-my crush I l-like them and g-get them to like me b-back o-o-o-or I’ll die I-in a week. W-w-well... in three days, because it’s been four days since then...”

“Huh,” Rick said, smirking down at Morty. All he had to do was take Morty to Jessica, and he’d be fine. “Looks like y-y-you’re getting a date with Jessica, Morty.”

Morty looked up at Rick with wide eyes. “N-no, Rick... I-I don’t like Jessica. It won’t work.” He looked defeatedly down at the ground.

Rick froze. That didn’t sound right at all. “Since when do y-you not like Jessica?”

Morty huffed, wincing as more pain ripped through his abdomen. Talking was really hard for him to do. “S-s-since I-I-I-I started crushing on s-someone else, okay?” He slumped. ‘So, this is how I fucking die?’ He thought to himself. After everything he’d been through, this was how he was going to go down? ‘This really frickin’ sucks...’

“So, who is it, then?” Rick pressed, feeling his panic return with a vengeance. Something about Morty’s tone wasn’t right— like he was excepting that he was going to die. But, he’s not gonna die, right?


Morty looked back up at him, giving a weak smile. “D-doesn’t matter,” He said brokenly. “I-I already know t-they don’t like me in that way, so... it’d be pointless anyway...”

Rick shook his head, feeling his heart pound in his chest. “W-won’t it be worth a try, though? Do t-they know you like them? M-maybe they’re just too shy to return those feeling, or-or-or something. You gotta try, Morty.”

Morty chuckled at the thought of Rick being shy. If only the scientist could understand why it’d never work— why he already knows, with a grim certainty, that he’d be harshly rejected. “N-no, they don’t know. B-But,” Morty frowned. “He’s... he’s uh, I already know he’s going to reject me.”

Rick paused. “He?

Morty looked away from Rick. “Y-yeah, Rick...” He said quietly. “Perfect timing to c-come out of the closet, amiright?” He joked darkly.

Rick frowned. “Morty, tell me who he is.”

Morty shook his head, biting his lip painfully. He couldn’t tell Rick. “N-no...”

“You’re going to die if you don’t tell me, Morty.” Rick turned around and put his hands on his desk. He had the urge to throw everything off of it. If Morty didn’t tell him who his crush was, there was no way he could save him.

“It’s a lost cause, Rick. I’m telling you I’m screwed.“ Morty shakily stood up from the swivel chair. “I-I’m sorry, Rick.”

“Who. Is. He.” Rick didn’t turn around, but Morty could hear the rage and heartbreak in his voice.

The teen felt tears build up in his eyes. He didn’t answer.

Rick let out a frustrated yell, swiping his hands across the desk. Random inventions went flying to the floor, breaking apart and sending sparks flying through the air. He spun around and grabbed Morty’s shoulders in a vice grip, and Morty cried out in pain. “T-tell me his fucking name, damn it! Fucking tell me! Now!”

Morty shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut as a few stray tears streamed down his face, from both the physical and the emotional pain that Rick was inflicting on him.

“Morty! I don’t care who he is, I will fucking make that boy like you!” He screamed, loosening his grip slightly once he realized he was hurting the teen. “I-I-I-I can re-make that serum! Y-y-you know, the one that made e-everyone turn into Cronenbergs?” He said. “I-I-I can lessen the effects, and— and— and make it— I can make it actually work, Morty, w-without all the unwanted side-affects! I-I rushed it before, but I-I can do it right this time!”

Morty pushed Rick away, coughing some more before clearing his throat. He was struggling to stop himself from full-on sobbing. “R-Rick, I don’t expect you t-to understand,” He sniffled. “Hell, I-If I were you, I’d never be able to figure it out. But... y-you gotta believe me w-when I tell you it won’t work. W-when I tell you I-It’s over. I’m screwed, and I’m g-gonna die, Ri-ick.” His voice broke has he exploded into tears. “I-I’m already dead, Rick...” He grabbed Rick by the labels of his lab coat, desperately wanting Rick to hold him, or something, but knowing it probably wouldn’t happen.

Rick pushed him away, anger and panic flowing through his veins. “No,” He said. “NO!” He said again, holding his hands in tight, shaking fists. He pointed at Morty. “M-Morty, you don’t have a choice in this.” He said sternly.

“I-It’s my life, Rick, a-a-and I don’t want false hope.” He said, trying to wipe the tears away from his face as he sobbed. It was a fruitless attempt, seeing as new tears quickly replaced the ones he’d wiped away. “I-I don’t want to spend m-my last d-days feeling ashamed of m-myself, a-a-and I won’t waste my time t-trying to get someone who could never love me to love me. N-not even that serum y-you we’re talking about could help...” He recalled Rick telling him that the serum couldn’t effect anyone that was closely related to him. Not that he’d want Rick to use it if it could. If Rick would ever be able to love him, he’d want him to love him on his own terms.

Rick couldn’t look at him. “Morty, I’m not giving you a fucking choice.“ He ground out. “I’m not asking, I’m telling you.” He didn’t stutter once as he spoke.

Morty saw black spots dancing on his vision and he had to sink down to the floor. “I-I can’t tell you,” He cried.

“Are you fucking insane Morty?!” Rick yelled. His entire body was shaking. “Do you want to die?!”

“Of course I don’t, Rick!” Morty yelled back. He regretted it, though, when it triggered another coughing fit. He distantly recalled the fortuneteller saying that his lungs would fill with blood. He could already taste the metallic flavor in the back of his throat. “But,” He wheezed. “I-I-I don’t want him to h-hate me for the last days of my life.”

“Why would he hate you?!” Rick started pacing, pulling at his hair frantically as he tried to find a loophole. ‘But there isn’t one.’ “W-why the fuck would y-you have a crush on someone y-you’re afraid will hate you?! Are t-they a dick?! A-are— does he hate gay people, or something?!”

“Yes—no— I-I mean...” Morty huffed. This was getting super complicated. “H-he is pretty mean s-sometimes, but he can be a good guy, too...” He blushed, thinking of all the wonderful memories he shared with Rick— his reminiscing was quickly interrupted, however, when he realized he’d never get to go on an adventure with Rick again. “A-a-and no, I-I actually don’t think he gives a f-fuck about sexuality. L-like, he’d probably fuck anything that can consent to it. W-well,” Except his fucking grandson. “Mostly everything, I mean...”

Rick groaned. “I-I don’t understand why y-you’d rather die than tell me who he is, Morty!” The scientist slid down to the floor next to him, grabbing Morty from under his arms and pulling him into his chest. “Y-you’re fucking— you’re really driving me insane right now, Morty. I-I-I need you to tell me. Please.

Morty whimpered, burying his face into the fabric of Rick’s blue sweater. ‘Rick never says please.’ He thought. ‘Never.’ He could feel the old man’s heart frantically beating.

“M-Morty,” Rick said, resting his head on Morty’s and running his hands through the teens hair. “I-I never say this, but I n-n-need you, Morty. T-the brainwave thing? T-that’s just a small benefit... y-you’re not a shield, you’re m-my companion— my partner in crime. Y-y-you know that, right?” 


Morty nodded.

Rick could feel the teen periodically shiver. ‘This can’t be happening.’ “P-please, Morty, please tell me who he is, you have no idea how much I need you.”

Morty wanted to tell him so bad. But he can’t. He can never tell Rick. “I’m sorry,” Morty sobbed into him. “I can’t.

Rick was filled with so many conflicting emotions in that moment. He was angry, he was panicking, he was filled with dread and fear. What would he do without Morty? How could he get the kid to tell him? He pulled Morty closer to himself, feeling tears sting his eyes. Maybe the kid was scared to tell him? “W-w-whatever, whoever it is, y-y-you know I could never h-hate you, right? Y-you c-can tell me anything. E-even if y-your crush is someone or something r-really weird. L-l-like some alien y-you met on another planet that has f-five dicks.”

Morty didn’t respond.

“A-and your grampa’s been around the block, y-you know?” Rick decided to ignore the tears that started to flow down his cheeks, his shoulders hitching as he cried over the teen in his arms. “I-I’ve literally fucked a being that controls an entire planet. I-I-I’ve dated a-a-a furry before, Morty. S-she was like a wearwolf, Morty. I-I won’t be angry at you, o-o-or ashamed of you for liking something weird, Morty. Please, just tell me. I can’t lose you.

Morty would rather die than ruin his relationship with Rick. And even though Rick said he wouldn’t be mad or ashamed, he knew the scientist didn’t know it was him. If he told Rick, not only would he die, because he knows Rick would never return his feelings, but he’d also lose the closest person to him in his last days of life.

What a slow, and painful death this was going to be. He was sure Rick was going to beg him up until his last moments, while his organs turned to mush and his lungs filled with blood— just as the fortuneteller had said.

Morty sucked in a breath, only to choke. He broke out into another coughing fit, staining Rick’s blue sweater with blood. When he managed to clear his throat, he pulled away from Rick, apologizing frantically for getting blood on him.

Rick shook his head and pulled Morty back into him. “I-I-I don’t care about that Morty, I care about you. Y-y-you’re breakin’ my heart, kid.”




Morty had remained stubborn, despite how quickly his body continued to deteriorate on him.

He was bed-ridden, hardly able to move at all at this point without an intense amount of pain rippling through his body. Rick set him up in the underground lab. The scientist had been working desperately to find another cure— anything to counteract the curse.

He’d cursed Morty out and yelled at him repeatedly over the last couple days, only to come back later and apologize. And then he’d continue with his work. Morty knew he was just frustrated that he wouldn’t tell him. He forgave the old man the second he started yelling.

Pain medication only helped the stabbing feeling in his gut for a short while before it started to become worse, and he’d have take some more. The pain had gotten so bad that Morty couldn’t help but scream, clawing at his chest and stomach, trying to find some fucking way to stop the pain. Rick had to restrain him a few times. He had claw marks from his own fingernails all over him.

Sometimes Rick would hold him, and he’d cry, and he’d beg Morty to just tell him who it was, to ‘please, M-Morty, please just stop all of this nonsense,’ but Morty couldn’t. And he’d tell him that over and over again.

His throat was raw, and each breath was a desperate wheeze for air. He was freezing, but Rick wouldn’t let him have more than two blankets, saying that he’d overheat himself. Rick had to hook him up to an IV just to get some water in his system so he wouldn’t become dehydrated.

Everything went by in a pain-fueled haze during those three days. Any medicine, excluding painkillers, went straight through the frail teen, leaving no helping effects at all.

He was too out of it to think, too out of it to move. Everything hurt. His stomach hurt, his chest hurt, his throat hurt.

And worst of all, it hurt to see how badly Rick was hurting for him. It hurt to see Rick cry, like he’d done a lot as of recently, and it hurt to watch Rick fail over and over again, trying to find something that would work. It hurt to watch Rick exhaust himself, working day and night without sleep, and chugging coffee after coffee.

But he knew Rick would be able to move on. Rick was strong— he just didn’t know that yet. Rick would be fine without him. Maybe not at first, but he knew in his heart that Rick would get better. And that’s the only thing that kept him from spilling the beans.

It was now the seventh day.

Morty was at the lowest point of his life. He was going to die today. He didn’t want to die. He really didn’t... but he didn’t have a choice— he had to protect the relationship he shared with Rick, because the scientist was the only one that truly cared about him. But if he told Rick, he’d die alone, and that’s what he feared the most. This way, he’d die with Rick by his side, instead of cold and alone, with no one to miss him when he was gone.

In his haze, he saw Rick descend down the latter that lead to the garage. He was carrying a vial of something in his hand, and he had a blank look on his face. Bags were under his eyes, and he was now just as drenched in sweat as Morty was. He’d hadn’t showered, or slept, or eaten at all. He looked horrible— almost as horrible as Morty himself.

Morty lifted his head up weakly, watching Rick approach him. The vial in his hand had a silver liquid inside. “Y-y-you’ll forgive me for this, Morty, I promise.” He said, and suddenly Morty’s anxiety spiked.

“W-wh...” He coughed violently, blood collecting on his bottom lip and his chin. “W-wha-what a-are you doing...?” His heart was pounding in his chest.

Rick poured the silver liquid into his IV bag. “I’m p-putting— giving you a-a truth serum, Morty.” He said blankly.

“N-no,” Morty protested. He lifted his arm up, going to reach for the IV line so he could rip it out before was too late. But Rick was faster and he held him down. “N-no, Rick, please“ He cried. Rick held him down, making him completely unable to move as he watched the silver liquid travel down the IV line and into his bloodstream.

The silver liquid was cool, making him shiver as it spread through him. He swallowed, feeling tears sting his eyes. This was the last thing he wanted to happen.

I have to stop him!’ Morty’s mind screamed. “N-n-no, no, n-no, please, Rick, y-you can’t do t-this, please.” He thrashed against Rick, trying to free himself. But, as he expected, he was far too weak, and exerting himself like this was making his head spin. “T-this— you can’t d-do this, please...” He sobbed.

“Who d-do you have a crush on?” Rick asked him calmly, still holding him down, and staring intently as he awaited Morty’s inevitable answer.

Morty froze, staring back up at him as his chest heaved. His mouth open by itself before he’d even made the command. “You.”

Rick took in a shaky breath, and Morty felt like his heart was shattering in his chest. He turned away from Rick, trying to squirm away from him. “I’m s-s-s-sorry,” He sobbed. “P-please— please don’t hate me— please—“ Morty cried, shaking his head. “I-I can’t have y-you hate me, Rick, I-I-I love you so much, I-I-I’d rather die than lose you— that’s why I couldn’t tell you— I don’t wanna die, but I have to s-so you don’t hate me— so I can die knowing you still care about me—“

Rick surged forward and pressed his lips against Morty’s in order to shut him up. He placed his hand on Morty’s cheek lovingly, stroking it with his thumb as tears streamed down his eyes.

Morty squeaked, freezing as Rick kissed him. It took a moment, but Morty managed to find it in him to kiss back. He couldn’t believe this was happening— he instinctively reached forward to grab at Rick’s lab coat, trying to pull him closer. His heart was beating so fast inside his chest— Was he already dead, or was this really happening?

After a moment, Rick pulled back. There was some blood smeared on his lips from when Morty had coughed some of it up, and the teen reached up with his hand to gently wipe it off. Tears were flowing from both of their eyes like waterfalls.

“R-Rick, I—“ Just like when the fortuneteller had put the curse on him, Morty felt that same staticky, electric feeling spread through his chest, and he gasped loudly.

Rick looked worried, and he ran his hair through Morty’s hair, trying to figure out what was wrong. “M-Morty?”

When the static feeling was gone, with it left all of his symptom. The pain in his stomach ceased to exist, the itch in his throat was no longer ever-present, and he didn’t feel so cold that he needed to shiver. And holy fuck, he was hungry. He hadn’t felt that feeling in a whole week. Right now, a big, greasy burger sounded like the best thing ever.

Slowly, he sat up. His body was still shaky and weak, and he was still drenched in sweat. He sniffed. Ew, was that how he smelled? He slowly looked up to meet Rick’s eyes. The scientist was waiting for him to say something. He sighed shakily. “I-I-I-It worked...” He trailed off, his eyes darting to look elsewhere.

Rick let out a relived sigh, pulling Morty into his chest. “Morty, d-don’t you ever fucking do t-this shit to me again.” He tried to sound stern, but it came out desperate.

Morty leaned into him. “Y-you don’t hate me?” He asked timidly.

“Morty, if I hated you,” Rick said, pulling him back so he could look him in the eyes. “D-do you really think I would’ve kissed you? And it w-wouldn’t have worked I-if... if I hated you...”They both knew what that whole thing implied.

Morty thought for a moment before shaking his head. He bit his lip, looking away.

“Morty?” Rick said, trying to get the kid to look at him. “H-hey, look at me. A-are you alright?” He asked, rubbing soothing circles into Morty’s back.

Morty hid his face in Rick’s chest, shame sweeping through him. Rick knows his biggest secret, he’d nearly gotten himself killed for selfish reasons, and now he can tack on the fact that his first real kiss had been shared with his grandpa to his memories.

Kissing Rick had been wonderful, even through all of the pain and haziness. And he was ashamed of himself to admit that it had felt so good. “N-no...” Morty stammered, silent tears still streaming down his face. Fuck, the truth serum was still affecting him. “S-shit, how long does the truth serum last?”

Rick shrugged, holding Morty against him. “A-about an hour.”

Morty whimpered, knowing now that Rick would be able to get any answer he wanted out of him.

“I-I’m sorry for making y-you tell me.” Rick sighed, planting a kiss on the top of Morty’s head. “I-I c-couldn’t lose y-you, kid.”

“I-I was scared,” Morty admitted. “I-I-I didn’t think— I thought you’d h-hate me, a-a-and I couldn’t— I couldn’t die with you hating me...”

“I c-could never hate y-you, Morty...” He said, holding on to the teen tighter. He’d come way to close to losing him.

Morty sniffled. “I-I’m sorry, Rick...”

“J-just... don’t ever scare me like that again, and we’ll call it even.” Rick told him, pulling Morty with him as he fell back into the cot Morty’d been dying on just moments ago.

Morty curled into Rick’s chest. “W-what now?” He asked hesitantly.

“W-well...” Rick coughed awkwardly, clearing his throat. “Wanna— do you wanna go out with me? I-I feel like we’ve already jumped ahead a couple steps.”

Morty actually laughed, and it felt so good. A warm feeling blossomed in his chest, and his cheeks felt warm. “Y-you mean you wanna be boyfriends?” He asked. “L-like, going on dates and stuff?”

Morty’s laugh was music to Rick’s ears, his cheeks tingling with warmth. “Fuck, M-Morty... if that’s how you wanna phrase it, then yeah, that’s exactly what I want...”

The teen sighed contently, relaxing against Rick. Maybe... he could just let himself be happy. Maybe he didn’t have to be ashamed of himself. “I-I-I’d really like that, too, Rick... I really like you...”

“I kinda figured, Morty.” Rick chuckled, running his hand through Morty’s curls. “H-how do you think we even got into this mess? I-I bet that damn fortuneteller knew a-about this...”

“They did...” Morty said sullenly. “W-when it was reading my palm, they glanced at you and t-then told me that my— that my heart wanted something I couldn’t have, or something... s-so I know they knew... I-I think that’s why they put that curse on me...” He trailed off for a second, taking a deep breath and inhaling some of Rick’s sent. “B-because it knew I wouldn’t be able to tell you...”

“W-well, it’s a good thing I figured out how to make that truth serum in time...” Rick said. He was so relived and super tired. He was ready to sleep, now that he knew Morty was fine. “...everything m-makes so much more sense now...” He trailed off.

Rick could now makes sense of Morty’s refusal to tell him. It wasn’t everyday that you discover you have the hots for grampa— Morty must’ve been so terrified. Heck, Rick had been scared himself when he’d found out he kinda liked Morty more than he should about a year ago— he’d immediately pushed those feelings far back into his mind, not wanting to think about it at all. 

Until now, or course.

He wondered how long the two of them had been secretly pining after each other, and dancing around the subject.

“R-Rick?” Morty asked.

“W-what’s up, Morty?” Rick closed his eyes. Sleep was finally catching up with him, the caffeine crash hitting him hard.

“I-I... I love you...” Morty whispered. He was in the same state as Rick was, feeling tired and exhausted. He may have only been sitting around the past couple of days, but his muscles had constantly been tense from the pain, and he’d been completely unable to fall asleep.

“I... I love you too, kid...” Rick whispered back as his breath evened out, and he was swept into the land of unconsciousness. Things were finally okay again.

Morty reached up to touch Rick’s face, running his hands along the faint wrinkles that seemed to nearly vanish whenever Rick slept— like this, he looked at peace. They were both finally at peace.

The teen let his eyes flutter closed as well, finally able to feel okay. He was still hungry, but he’d worry about that when he woke up. Right now, there was nowhere else he’d rather be than in Rick’s arms.

And soon, when the two of them woke, they’d put themselves back together again, and continue going on adventures— this time, not as two, but as one.