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(Un)Calculated Risk

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An ominous sense of foreboding sat heavily in the back of Morty's mind as he alternated between staring at his computer and glancing down at his lap every once and a while. 

The over-exaggerated moans of some nameless woman filtered quietly through his ear buds. The sound was feeding itself directly into brain, caressing his thoughts with loud moans and the occasional soft, airy whimper. Morty couldn't help but think that the softer sounds seemed more real than all the rest, but even that wasn't having the desired effect. Instead of getting turned on, imagining he was the one forcing those noises out of her mouth, or even that he was sitting in a chair watching it happen in real time, Morty sat wondering just how much of her performance was faked and how much was actually real. He wondered if the guy pounding away between her legs would actually manage to get her off or if she'd just fake it, arching and squealing with her legs wrapped around his hips like she'd die if he stopped. 

Morty wondered if the guy would notice if she faked it. Or if he'd even care. 

Indifference settled even more heavily over the teen's features and he fell deeper into his mindless ponderings. He watched as the man pulled out, grabbed his partner by the hips, and casually re-positioned her. He guessed it was supposed to be sexy, the show of strength alongside an edge of rough handling, but all Morty could think about was how uncomfortable the actress must have been. He should've been watching the man's dick as it slid in and out of her body, wishing they could trade places, but Morty couldn't get past how, every time the actor flexed his hips and drove in deep, a small wrinkle appeared between the woman's eyebrows. Like she was trying not to grimace.

Hazel eyes glanced toward her feet, taking note of the fact that her toes weren't curled and the muscles in her calves were limp and relaxed.

The sight dropped Morty's interest down another notch and the teen started to zone out. Little to no expression crossed Morty's features as he sat there, thinking about the realism behind the camera as the actress' breasts bounced like jello on the screen.

By the time the video stopped, ending right before the actor supposedly shot a load all over her face, Morty still wasn't even remotely hard.

Not that he was surprised.

The brunet sighed and tugged his earbuds out, closing his laptop a little harder than necessary and shoving it further down the bed with a resigned attitude.

He'd tried everything so far, all of his favorites. Lesbians with red hair, bisexual threeway, twinks, facesitting, rimming, even hentai, and none of it worked. No matter what he pulled up, no matter what he imagined or conjured up to fuel his fantasies, his dick refused to do more than chub up. He could've been standing at the front of his math class in skin tight jeans and nobody would've noticed a thing.

Which was the exact opposite of what he was aiming for.

Morty made a frustrated sound and flopped back onto his bed, throwing an arm over his eyes.

He was supposed to be a normal teenage boy, one that sat alone in his room and beat off until his dick was too sore to continue, but that wasn't happening. It wasn't happening and it hadn't since–

Morty swallowed sharply and tried to stop that thought in its tracks, feeling the muscles in his esophagus carry that meager bit of saliva all the way down to his knotted up stomach.

A flash of poorly contained memories from the end of his last adventure with Rick skated across the forefront of Morty's mind, even as he tried to block them out.

A remembered glimpse of his grandpa's face; Rick's lips twisted in a scowl, prominent frown lines on display, accentuated by a sense of annoyance at his grandson's apparent inability to follow even the most basic of instructions while they were adventuring. His skin hot. His fingertips tingling where he'd touched the vibrant yellow petals from the planet they left behind. Rick's frown deepening when he started to really squirm in the passenger's seat, no longer able to ignore the strengthening sensation. His own failure to hide a blatantly obvious erection behind embarrassed hands and a tell-tale blush. Rick snapping at him to just get it over with and not beat around the bush like a pussy. His fingers trembling as he fought with the button of his jeans. The sound of his zip being lowered like a scream in the thick silence between them. Performance anxiety. The choked off gasp of both alarm and pleasure as Rick reached over without looking and took him in hand.

Morty bit his lip as he thought about it. Every ounce of self preservation he possessed screamed at him to stop but, as someone that'd never been blessed with much self control to begin with, Morty couldn't stop himself from reaching down to wrap his fingers around his length. His cock still wasn't fully hard, not anywhere close, but it was perking up more than it had all night. Morty whimpered quietly to himself and that initial sense of foreboding grew.

But he was quick to push it away, swallowing down that sense of worry with all the ease of someone that'd suppressed far worse.

The nervous words of hesitancy he'd stuttered out as Rick started to move his hand were unimportant and quickly skipped over as Morty relived the memory. He didn't give much thought to the way he'd fretted, balls deep in a silent sexuality crisis while Rick stared straight ahead and rambled on about some explanation that Morty couldn't really remember. Maybe it had to do with the flowers he touched, or about the multiverse and their infinite selves. Maybe both. Either way, it didn't seem important now.

Instead, Morty thought about the way it felt.

Awkward at first. The positioning wasn't ideal and, even with his foreskin sliding up and down along the head of his cock, there wasn't enough moisture to make it entirely pleasant. Rick's fingers were warm. Far warmer than he thought they would've been considering how many times the old man grabbed the back of his neck with icy hands just to be a dick. Not that that was really all that unexpected. Morty was used to his grandpa being a total asshole just for the sake of–

Morty shook his head at the distracting train of thought and gave his hardening cock a squeeze to get himself back on track, hissing at the sensation that jolted his system.

The way it felt. Dry, papery skin that was far more pleasant against his own than he'd ever expected. Those skilled, nimble fingers stroking his length, making his belly clench every time they slipped over the head of his cock to gather more precome. His stomach rolling in both arousal and confused uncertainty. His moral compass trying to figure out which way to point, spinning around and around without a hope of direction. The release he experienced when he gave in and just let whatever was going to happen, happen. He'd laid back against the seat then, his eyes falling closed, head lolled to the side as he focused on the feelings and tried not to think about who was doing it to him.

Morty squeezed his eyes shut in a pathetic mimicry of the other night and reached down to cup his balls with a loud groan. He tried to copy Rick's movements as well as he could from memory, loosely cork screwing his wrist even though it was far more lazily than Rick had done it back in the ship. The fact that he was trying to be even remotely similar was enough to make the brunet that much harder.

Morty wished he would've paid a little more attention to what was going on when it happened. He wished he had more to fuel his fantasy but it felt so dirty then. It felt dirty now, too, he forced himself to remember, but after watching hours of porn without the slightest bit of interest, it was easy to ignore the morals that should've kept him from enjoying it. Instead of thinking about the fact that, in the eyes of society, they'd done something unforgivable, he was still thinking about Rick's fingers. He was thinking about the near clinical way they slid up and down his shaft; efficient and so much more experienced than his own hand even though he'd masturbated at least twice a day since he turned thirteen. Instead of flipping the fuck out about his mother's father telling him to get off in front of him in a confined space, Morty was letting blissful humiliation coat his tongue. He was re-imagining the way he pushed his hips up, his pathetic little whines echoing in the ship as Rick tightened his grip just a step beyond comfortable.

Morty started to pant. His cock was dripping by now, fully hard and sensitive as hell. The teen looked down his body, groaning at the sight of his dick in his hand, flushed and slick with his own arousal. The experience in the ship only lasted a few minutes, maybe five at most, but Morty wanted to pretend it was longer than that. He wanted to imagine that Rick had drawn it out a little, letting his aching cock slap up against his belly right before he could come.

As he continued, Morty filled the silence of his own memory, replacing the sound of his broken, panting breaths with imagined pleas. For the sake of his fantasy, Morty let himself believe that he would've begged. He pictured moaning out his enjoyment, begging Rick to take him back in hand, to make him come, and, in his fantasy, his grandpa obliged.

Swiping his thumb back and forth over the weeping slit, Morty clenched his teeth and threw his head back against the pillow with a quiet grunt.

It was too much and not nearly enough, every touch leaving Morty more strung out and desperate to come than the last, but he just couldn't reach it. He was racing along the top of a plateau, not getting any higher no matter how much he tried, and his fantasy had reached its end. There was only so much he could imagine, only so much he could add to his mental re-imagination without having a full fledged panic attack in the middle of his jerk off session, and everything he'd already added in had become nothing short of unhelpful. The teen whimpered helplessly.

He needed it. He needed to come. He was so fucking close. All it would take is—

"Morty, come on!"

The rest of whatever Rick hollered up the stairs went entirely unheard as Morty exploded in his hand with a choked off gasp. Orgasm ripped through the teen's body with unexpected ferocity. It pounded through him, every pulse making his toes curl and his muscles tighten up that much further until his straining body finally collapsed back into sweat dampened sheets. Chest heaving and blissed out, skin splattered with the evidence of his release, Morty could do nothing but let his memories wash over him however they wished, lapping at his toes and taking him full circle.

He'd done nearly the exact same thing in the ship with Rick, after all, coming hard and going boneless mere seconds later. Somehow that just added to the fantasy. Even though he'd already finished, even though he was going soft and the come was cooling on his skin, the parallel between the past and the present just made it that much more real. It was like he was reliving it inside his head. Behind his eyelids he was watching Rick wipe his hand nonchalantly on his lab coat, watching those long fingers grip the steering wheel as Rick looked straight ahead into the far reaching depths of space. Like nothing had happened. Not speaking.

And, in the final moment before he fell asleep, Morty found himself wishing that Rick would've looked his way.


In the four days since Morty came thinking about what happened with Rick, he couldn't stop feeling sick to his stomach.

Everytime he thought he was past it, or at least that he was ready to move on, he'd succumb to all the things he tried not to think about, effectively slamming himself with self loathing and disgust all over again. He'd see Rick, or the ship, or his fucked up memories would make another appearance in his fantasies while he was trying to get off, and suddenly the whole thing would crawl right back up his throat like hot bile — ready to spill out and leave a sour taste in his mouth.

It was starting to become an issue, a real one that Morty couldn't ignore as easily as he did any of the other fucked up things he did with Rick. He couldn't just lock it all away and not think about it because, despite what he wanted to believe, Morty was starting to realize that it wasn't the memories or even the fantasy itself that was fucking him up. It was the fact that he wanted it to happen again.

Morty tightened his grip on the pencil in his hand as that thought crossed his mind, digging the graphite point into his scantron sheet harder than necessary.

He should've been thinking about the math test, worrying about the questions or how failing it would affect his already abysmal grades, but Morty's thoughts refused to sink into the mundane muck that was normality. He was never particularly good at thinking about the things he was supposed to. That's what'd gotten him into the whole fucked up situation to begin with.

That alone was bad enough but, in addition to having a wandering mind, the teen's motivation was also plagued by the sheer futility of it all. Morty knew letting his thoughts run away from him wouldn't make a difference one way or another. It wasn't like thinking about Rick was going to distract him in any way. He hadn't even been to school for the past two days, let alone studied for the quiz, so letting his mind wander wasn't really all that likely to change anything. However, he had hoped that it'd provide some sort of distraction.

He thought that, by sitting a few rows away from Jessica and the rest of his class, that maybe, just maybe, he'd be able to stop thinking about the incestuous poison burrowing into his brain like a parasite. He thought it'd be a realistic, if not overly dull, solution to his issue, that being around normality would remind him of who he really was and what sort of life he was supposed to have, but that didn't seem to be the case. If anything, being surrounded by his peers was only making it worse. Sitting with them, watching them, listening to the monotonous drone of his math teacher and the whisper of voices that suddenly fell silent the moment Mr. Goldenfold started passing out tests, just made Morty realize how alone in his issues he really was. How alone in his life he really was. Being surrounded by kids with normal lives, normal parents, normal problems, it made him realize how little they had in common and how far removed from them he'd become in his time with Rick.

Even without the incident in the ship.

Their chatter, the scratch of pencil on paper, the knowledge of just how little he cared, it only served to solidify his place as an outsider. It made Morty want to go back home to Rick and their adventures, to the place where he belonged, to the things he knew. He didn't know math, or history, or even social studies, but he did know how to locate a Shabernese dwindle-dorf in the dead of night. In the Shikirian desert. Without Rick's optic enhancing goggles. And that was way more useful in his day-to-day life than the Quadratic formula had ever been.

He didn't need to think about that sort of thing. Thinking, in all actuality, was Rick's job. He didn't need to calculate complex equations or figure out trajectory or even come up with the majority of their plans. That was Rick's job, always had been. He was good at other things. Defusing situations when Rick was too plastered to watch what he said. Disassembling neutrino bombs and playing getaway driver. Searching out whatever foreign material Rick was on the hunt for. That's where he excelled, where he belonged, really.

Not in math class on Earth.

Being among his peers, being surrounded by them while he was forced to learn something that didn't benefit him, something he just couldn't grasp, it made Morty crave individuality all that much more. It made him want to stand out. To do a good job. To participate in something he could actually do, and whether he liked it or not, that was something he'd only ever found at Rick's side during their adventures.

He wasn't normal. He hadn't been for a long time, but thinking about that, acknowledging it and looking at all the ways he differed from those around him, it came with the unfortunate flood of shit he'd gone to school to avoid thinking about.

Right off the bat, Morty was forced to recognize that, if he was normal, he never would've let Rick touch him, let alone imagined it happening again. He would've flipped out. He would've told somebody. But he didn't. Because, really, considering all the fucked up shit that happened between them over the course of their adventures, the newest aspect of their fucked up relationship felt almost par for the course. Morty was arguably surprised that it hadn't happened somewhat sooner, all things considered. With how many issues they run into on basis, he's surprised they haven't accidentally stumbled across some kind of sex pollen or one of those fuck or die situations.

Illegal actions, warped morality, and situations gone wrong were practically their adventure based bread and butter. Morty wasn't sure why he expected their home life, let alone their personal relationship, to be much different.

That shred of truth had Morty hunching just a little further over his desk, as though he were trying to curl away from his own thoughts. Not that it helped. No matter what he did, he couldn't stop thinking about the fucked up life he'd come to lead.

Morty started coloring in the scantron bubbles at random, glancing up at the clock between questions.

If he already saw his life with Rick as the environment he thrived in, then did it really matter what he did with his test? Did any of the answers matter? Did school matter? Did Earth? Morty scribbled in four bubbles in the same row, simply because he could, and idly wondered what the hell he was doing.

He came to school because it was what was expected of him. Expected of all people, really. To socialize, make friends, get good grades so he could graduate and go to college and get more good grades and graduate again. Finding work, living life, doing all the things he was supposed to do all the way down the line until he retired and died with some significant other and a couple kids. But was that sort of future actually in the cards for him? His grades already sucked and, with all his absences and his poor choices, he'd probably fucked up his GPA to the point where the only future left for him on Earth was one where he'd be stuck going to a community college, just like his dad, so he could get a worthless piece of paper and end up at a dead end job to scrape by.

Morty's frown deepened and he tried to be realistic with himself as he started see-sawing his pencil between his fingers, totally ignorant to the annoyed glances he was getting every time the piece of wood met his desk.

The reality was, he went to school to keep his parents off his back and to get away from Rick when the old man pissed him off or got too annoying to deal with. That was schools true function to him at this point. It was a dull escape from the, admittedly, exciting life he fell into with his grandpa. School had become a vacation and, for the first time, Morty gave actual thought to whether or not his true purpose was waiting for him out in the cosmos rather than on some dinky, backwater planet in the far reaches of a galaxy barely out of its diapers.

He could've argued that school was a way to socialize with his peers and remember that his stupid, crazy family wasn't the center of his universe but, really, what had that actually done for him? He wasn't popular. He didn't have friends. Unless he went to college and somehow found a way to stop being so awkward and unreliable he'd most likely be stuck in the same troubled mindset he was now wherever he went. He'd always be on the outside looking in. School wasn't a way for him to fulfill the social desires of adolescence. It hadn't miraculously given him a social circle or a chance at normality with some girl. Or boy. It just left him as an outsider between two very different worlds.

He didn't have a life.

The only life he currently had was with Rick.

And, with the newest development in their already unorthodox relationship, it was starting to become more and more apparent to Morty that Earth had very little to offer him. The only thing he was really missing out on was a relationship, sex, a connection, and who was to say that he wouldn't find that out in space? Hell, who was to say he hadn't found it already? If Rick was willing to give that to him, even if only for a short time, then what was the point of bothering with a future on Earth anyway? And, if he was already thinking along those lines, if he was warped enough to actually entertain the idea of a relationship with his own grandpa, was a life on Earth even a good idea? Who could possibly relate to that way of thinking? What sort of friend could he make that had a hope of understanding the sort of person he'd become? What was the point of trying when he already had a friend that understood? One that probably understood better than he did.

The unexpected return to square one, complete with justification of what'd happened, and an acceptance of what he secretly wanted to keep happening, had Morty snapping his pencil in two. The sudden crack was loud enough to startle even him and the brunet blushed when more than a couple heads turned toward the sound.

Regardless of how much he'd grown or what he'd done on his adventures with Rick, Morty still wasn't one for being in the spotlight. It never failed to make him uncomfortable, even in a meaningless situation. Perhaps even especially during meaningless situations, and this time wasn't any different.

Morty ducked his head and went about getting a new pencil, trying to portray himself as overly interested in his search. It was difficult not to peek and see if anyone was still looking but Morty avoided the temptation right up until he found a new one. Sitting up, the teen dragged his gaze up to the rest of his class and was relieved to find himself free of attention. With a single exception.

Jessica was looking at him.

Normally that alone would have his palms sweating and his imagination ready to take over, but, this time, Morty found himself detached from his usual interest in her. He was more curious about why she was still looking at him at all.

Morty didn't have a clue but, when they made eye contact, she offered him a reassuring smile. It was a soft expression, one that Morty wasn't used to having directed towards him, and he off-handedly wondered what he could to to make Rick smile at him like that. If Rick was even capable of such a thing.

She turned back around a moment later and Morty felt a heavy fog settle over his heart.

Even his desire for Jessica had become eclipsed by Rick. He was starting to think everything in his life would eventually meet the same end and, as he stared at her back, feeling his longtime crush crumble away to ash against his will, he silently mourned the loss of any remaining normality he could've had.


Morty wasn't actually sure how old he had to be to classify what he was experiencing as a mid-life crisis but, as he sat at the dinner table, troubled and emotionally wrung out from the mental laps he'd been running all day, Morty decided that it didn't really matter one way or another. With all the crazy shit he encountered out in space with Rick, Morty was pretty sure his life expectancy had dropped by quite a bit. Sixteen was probably about mid-life for him, he supposed, and, if it wasn't, well then fuck it. Because there wasn't anything else Morty could come up with to describe how he felt.

After his conflicting, internal crisis, Morty completely understood why people dealt with the shock by buying a fancy new car or dating someone half their age to get over whatever fucked up their mojo. He certainly could've used a distraction from his own issues, or at least something else to focus on, and the peas he was currently stirring into his mashed potatoes definitely weren't it.

Worse still was the fact that his biggest likelihood of distraction was the very thing he needed to be distracted from.

Morty snuck a glance over at Rick.

The older man wasn't looking at him, far too busy arguing with his dad to even be aware of Morty's existence, and the teen was at least somewhat grateful for that. He'd spent what felt like all day thinking about his grandpa, trying to understand how he felt about what happened between them and what it could possibly mean for him, what it meant for his life and what sort of meaning his life even held outside of Rick. He was exhausted. Everything fed into everything else, every thought heading back to another cluster of tangled up problems, and Morty couldn't disassemble and figure out one thing without making a mess of all the others. It was getting to the point where, if Rick were to look at him, Morty was almost positive his issues would be splashed across his face in bright, attention grabbing colors for the older man to see.

It seemed irrational but it wasn't out of the realm of possibility. Rick had worked things out with less to go on in the past.

Morty was so busy staring idly at Rick, lost in his own thoughts, that he nearly fell out of his chair when those piercing blue eyes were suddenly on him. It caused Morty to freeze in place, his eyes wide as he silently prayed Rick wouldn't be able to read his mind somehow. Part of him was worried that his prayer had gone unanswered. Or, more likely, that whatever being might exist to hear it and chosen to spite him and do the exact opposite instead, and that feeling grew when something akin to surprise flashed in Rick's eyes. It was probably just because he hadn't expected to find Morty staring at him, but that didn't quench Morty's resulting paranoia. Whatever it was disappeared in an instant, something Morty was incredibly grateful for, and he was borderline happy when the unnamed emotion was replaced by the first budding signs of annoyance.

"Don't ignore your mother, dipshit." Rick grunted, narrowing his eyes as Morty's widened.

The teen glanced over at his expectantly waiting mother and felt his cheeks go slightly pink when he realized that she, along with rest of the table, was staring at him.

Morty cleared his throat awkwardly. "S-sorry, Mom. I wasn't paying attention. What did you say?"

The smile that adorned her lips reminded him of the one Jessica flashed him just a few hours ago — soft, encouraging, but different. This one held an air of familiarity to it as well. It was fond, if not a bit exasperated, and Morty suddenly had a feeling that she probably wasn't all that surprised by his apparent distraction.

"I can see that, honey." She replied, a note of poorly disguised amusement lining her tone.

"What are you thinking about over there that's got you so deep in thought?" She asked.

On instinct, Morty reached for a throwaway answer and replied, "Nothing, really. I was just thinking about an adventure I had with Rick the other day."

His mom nodded in understanding and, apparently having decided that her original question was no longer important, turned away to say something to Summer. Maybe he should've been somewhat butthurt that his mom didn't seem to care what's he'd done on his adventure with Rick, at least not enough to prod for details, but Morty had already stopped paying attention to her by that point.

In truth, Morty was much less interested in what she had to say to his sister than he was about the way Rick had suddenly tensed up beside him.

It was an immediate response, one that Morty took a moment to pat himself on the back for noticing, but also one he didn't really grasp conceptually.

Until he did.

Understanding dawned on him in a flash and Morty nearly choked on the mouthful of pork he was trying to swallow when it did. It took everything he had not to flush and gawk at his grandpa when he realized that Rick probably thought he was talking about... the incident. Which he was, in a roundabout sort of way. It's what he'd been thinking about on and off all day, after all. Not to mention every day since it'd happened. He really shouldn't have been all that surprised that Rick's mind had went there as well.

But that startled surprise was quickly followed by a flicker of hurt.

Was Rick worried that he was going to tell?

The thought seemed absurd, especially to Morty, but maybe it wasn't. Telling would've been normal. Angsting about whether or not to go to an adult, that would've been normal. Hell, trying to process what happened, that was normal. Maybe it made sense for Rick to be tense. After all, he had the most to lose if Morty chose to speak up about what'd happened between them in the ship.

But Morty didn't like that.

He couldn't imagine betraying their newfound bond — and wasn't that just a whole new level of fucked up? Their so-called bond, at least the one he was currently thinking of, was a secret incestuous encounter, and he was willing to take that knowledge to the grave. Not to protect Rick, and certainly not to protect their family, but selfishly because he wanted to broaden it and see what else he could make happen between them.

The thought sent Morty's heart fluttering.

Sneaking another glance at Rick between bites of his dinner, Morty's breathing picked up speed when he realized how carefully Rick was avoiding looking at him. The man seemed totally relaxed, eating his food, tossing out the occasional comment, but his body language was a different story altogether. It was incredibly forced. The relaxation displayed in his movements was just a little too rough around the edges, like Rick had to remind himself to be calm and eat slowly every so often. His fingers gripped his fork just a little too tightly to be casual and, even though he looked at every member of the family periodically as they chattered away, he didn't look at Morty once.

It made the teen wonder if he was thinking about it. Or maybe if Rick was trying not to. He wondered if, behind Rick's unimpressed blue eyes, he was reliving what happened between them in the ship. Was he calculating? Forming some kind of plan just in case Morty spilled the beans, either purposefully or on accident? Was he regretting what he did?

Staring across the table, listening but not really listening as Summer went on and on about something Ethan did in English, Morty idly wondered how Rick felt about their interaction. He wondered if Rick liked it, if his grandpa wanted to do it again like he did, or if he'd only touched him because of the Quampton Poppies. He wondered if Rick ever gave thought to touching him that way before the other day or if he'd only done so in response to their situation out of some skewed sense of moral obligation that only Rick had a hope of understanding.

Either option seemed possible. Just as possible as the additional idea that neither of those were accurate and that it had to do with something else entirely.

The man was a mystery. Morty didn't understand half the things he did, doubted he ever would, but Morty liked that about Rick. Or, at the very least, he respected it enough to not not like it. He wondered if Rick saw him the same way. Was he a mystery to his grandpa? Even a little bit? Morty doubted it. Rick was a genius and Morty wasn't very spontaneous or overly unpredictable but, still. Morty liked the idea that maybe he would still be able to surprise the man that made so little sense to him.

He liked the idea so much that, without taking even a second to think his action through, Morty reached across the space between them, under the table where his parents couldn't see, and laid his hand on Rick's thigh.

The nonchalant point of contact had Rick stalling for a fraction of a second, his fork halfway up to his mouth, but Morty didn't get much more of a reaction than that. A second later, Rick was right back to normal, all but oblivious to the hand on his thigh as he chatted with his daughter about her day at work and continued to eat her cooking.

The fucked up nature of the situation wasn't lost on Morty, not with where they were or the company surrounding them, but he still felt mildly offended by Rick's lack of response. Even a shared look would've been preferable to Rick's feigned ignorance.

Morty frowned at his thoughts and gave Rick's thigh a squeeze, sliding his palm further up a second later until he was nearly palming his grandpa's crotch.

It certainly provoked a response. Though not necessarily the one he'd imagined.

Rick's sigh was resigned and quiet, unnoticed by his now bickering parents or his annoyed sister, and by the time Rick laid down his fork and turned to look at him with a raised portion of his brow, Morty was forced to acknowledge that maybe a shared glance wasn't enough either. Even with eye contact and Rick's attention, Morty still hadn't figured out if the outcome was positive or not.

He could read Rick's words across his face as easily as if he'd spoken them aloud, but it didn't answer any of the questions he had. He could see the carefully kept distance in Rick's eyes and the depth of his frown. He could see that signature expression of annoyance Rick sometimes got when he was forced to deal with something he'd very purposefully put on the back burner in the pinch of his wrinkles and the thin press of his lips. But all those minor signs merely added depth to the way Rick's expression seemed to say, Really? We're gonna do this now?

There was an underlying shakiness when Morty swallowed but he still squeezed Rick's thigh a second time, silently questioning the sanity of that decision as he persisted.

But, still, Rick wasn't giving him a clear cut answer one way or another. The older man just rolled his eyes, a definite whatever if Morty had ever seen one, and turned back to his dinner, scooping up his fork and a bite of potatoes in one fluid motion.

Morty drooped and released Rick's thigh, taking up his own fork instead.

He'd been left with more questions than answers and an unfortunate amount of anxiety eating away at his stomach. Morty's appetite vanished and he went back to pushing his food around rather than eating it. He didn't say another word for the rest of the night.