If he had known it was going to be like this, Morty would have never mated with Rick.
The thought twisted the knife in his heart and a few hiccups escaped his trembling mouth. His shoulders shook and shaky hands dug into eyes, palms attempting to hold the tears in. They leaked between his fingers, spilling over his cheeks, curling around his chin and sliding down his neck to pool into the collar of his shirt.
His back ached from where he had pushed himself against his headboard, cornering himself in his room and comforting himself in the familiar scent of his bedroom as a meek attempt to soothe the growing, gaping, oozing wound in his chest.
It hurt. It hurt. It hurt.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this!
They were mates.
They had bonded.
They were supposed to be happy.
Another sob echoed in the shadows of his bedroom, ringing out like a distress siren. His stomach was in knots, and Morty didn’t know how long he had been bawling. His arms were shaking with effort as they held his face, trying and failing and begging to contain his tears. Toes curled in his socks, his legs drew up as a barricade to shield the raw vulnerability that tore itself from deep within his chest cavity.
Make it stop.
Please, make it stop.
Huffs of air could be heard between hiccups, choppy, uneven, shallow. His throat felt like shredded hamburger meat, dry and worn. The pit in his gut was feasting on his other organs, consuming, devouring, swallowing. His blood was cold and his ears were ringing, and Morty had never felt so alone.
Why aren’t you here?
Why haven’t you comforted me?
Why are you hiding?
Morty didn’t care that he was practically berating Rick through their bond, spamming his grandfather with an onslaught of despair and pleas.
But Morty knew why.
He knew why Rick had followed him upstairs.
And it hurt.
Because he understood.
He understood why Rick pushed him away.
He understood why Rick didn’t allow his own emotions or thoughts filter through their bond.
He understood why Rick had concocted an antidote to mask Rick’s scent on Morty and vice versa.
He understood why Rick scolded him and belittled him until Morty finally caved and began using some of Summer’s concealer on his bond bite.
Rick was protecting them.
Rick was being a good alpha.
They couldn’t have what normal bond mate could have. They couldn’t openly cuddle on the couch during interdimensional cable. They couldn’t have date nights and go out to the movies or dinners at nice restaurants. They couldn’t strut around with the scent of their mate. They couldn’t---
Morty understood. He did. He didn’t lie to Rick.
But Morty wanted more.
He craved more.
Morty wanted to show off his alpha. Wanted to be able to go to school, flashing his bond bite, proving to everyone that turned their nose at him that he had someone who thought he was something, that he wasn’t nothing. He wanted to be able to use Rick’s claiming scent on him to ward off the alphas that sneered and preyed on him at school because Morty knew that one whiff would have them turning tail and bolting the opposite direction.
Morty wanted to look forward to the future. He wanted to know that there was a future. He wanted to build a family with Rick. He wanted to carry Rick’s pups. He wanted to… He wanted to…
A whine had started in his throat. Morty hadn’t noticed when exactly, but it was there. It wavered as his body shook. It was heavy and wet, and Morty knew that Summer could probably hear him from down the hall.
But they couldn’t have any of that.
Because Rick was his grandfather. They couldn’t have anything. Rick was breaching seventy-years-old and yeah, there was Project Phoenix or whatever, but that hasn’t even been guaranteed possible yet.
They couldn’t have what normal bond mates could, and it stung.
But it was too much.
Morty loved Rick. Endlessly, irrevocably.
And occasionally, when it was just them… When everyone else had gone to bed, and they snuck into Morty’s room for a little while, and they curled together under the blankets, quiet but not silent, kissing, touching, stroking, moving as one… Morty could feel it. The small trickle into his thoughts, winding and petting his thoughts. It was as clear as spring water, chiming and cool, faint but loud, like a dog whistle for him and him alone.
I love you.
And yes… Sometimes those brief moments of passion and pleasure and love could quell the storm of rage and sorrow from his chest, there were times like tonight that they couldn’t.
Sometimes it wasn’t enough.
Sniffling, Morty wiped his face of tears and snot, not caring as he smeared the mess of his outburst into his blankets. With languid movements, he tore his shirt off his being, whipping it into a dark corner of his room, and proceeded to kick his legs free from his jeans, settling to just kick them to the foot of his bed.
Worn and raw and laying open wide to the shadows of his room, his heart throbbing and bleeding out, Morty buried himself, flashes of his corpse in their backyard flitted through his mind, beneath his sheets.
He reached out just once more. He needed that trickle of spring water. He needed it to soothe over the sun-dried riverbed of his mind. He needed to be reminded that it was going to be okay, that they were going to be okay and things were going to work out.
But he had been left unanswered once again.