Shut up, Jerry!

Rick didn't know when it started. All he knew was that lately he was having trouble hearing things. The television was always too low. He couldn't hear his phone ringing. He couldn't hear when he dropped something. He could hardly hear anyone when he was talking with on the phone. It was ridiculous and it was really pissing him off.

What the hell was happening?

He almost got himself and Morty killed last week when he didn't hear the sound of guns being fired at them. He wondered why Morty was freaking out and pulling on his lab coat. Turns out they had been spotted by the Vigorians and they weren't too happy about them stealing part of their power supply.

The two of them made it out alive but without the power supply and it wasn't Morty's conscience or inability that caused the failure. It turned out that Rick dropped the power source and Morty had tried to tell him but he couldn't hear the boy's warnings. So he ran into the portal without it. It was a total waste of his resources and time. It was ridiculous. And this wasn't the first time an adventure went wrong because of his inability to hear.

Just the week before he messed up a negotiation for the president of the United States. He couldn't hear what the foreign guy was saying and he just agreed to whatever it was so he could get it over and done with. He briefly saw Morty's concerned look at what he just agreed to and he saw the boy give protest but he ignored him.

The president was not happy about the deal Rick agreed to obviously but Rick couldn't even hear his yelling also he didn't care. It wasn't his problem. His only problem was trying to figure out why the hell he all of a sudden couldn't hear anything.

Rick ran test after test on himself, tried alien remedies and even deep cleaned his ear canals. But no such luck. He hadn't been affected by some alien illness that would temporarily make him lose his hearing. So what was the problem?

He knew the answer deep down. It was staring him right in the face but he would not accept it. He was NOT getting old and he was most certainly NOT going deaf. Bullshit. It had to be an alien illness. It was not his own mortality coming to bite him in the ass. He would find out what the hell this was and he wouldn't go back to the alien hospital.

Those idiots tried to set him up with hearing aids and he'd taken them and shoved them down that doctor's throat. Now he was banned from going there and couldn't get a second opinion.

It didn't matter. He'd figure this out himself. He just needed time. So for now he was taking a break from adventures. It had been two weeks without any adventures with Morty and the kid was definitely getting cabin fever.

Morty was also getting suspicious about Rick's well being as was the rest of the family since Rick was not talking and ignoring them when they spoke to him sometimes.

Luckily Rick could read lips and took to staring at people's faces when they were around him. So he could respond in that case. But when he hadn't seen someone's lips move because he wasn't looking, it proved difficult. So he just gave them an annoyed look like he was in a bad mood or just walked away.

Two weeks of this behavior had the family definitely worried and thinking up rumors. Some of which Rick 'heard' when he read their lips when he walked into the dining room to dinner.

Rick rolled his eyes as he went to get his plate, picking it up to take it to the garage.

Beth reached out to him. "Dad, aren't you going to sit down to dinner with us tonight?"

"No." Rick had read her lips and went to turn but she grabbed his arm.

Beth gave him a look. It was that look she gave when she wanted you to do what she said but it just made her look stupid and hopeless. "I would like for you to sit down to dinner with us."

"I'm busy in the garage." Rick told her sternly.

"And I'm busy trying to keep this family together. Dad, sit down." said Beth sternly.

Rick narrowed his eyes and dropped his plate down roughly on the table. He plopped himself down into his chair and started eating.

Beth, looking satisfied, sat back down in her own chair and continued eating. "Morty, how was school today?"

Morty smiled as he answered. "It was okay, mom. Just- just a regular day, you know."

"Finally." Jerry breathed out, eyes narrowed.

Morty frowned, feeling the start of an argument coming.

Beth looked at him. "Finally what?"

"Finally he has a regular school day." Jerry said, exasperated. "Without being dragged through a portal to who knows where!"

"Here we go…" Summer muttered under her breath, one hand holding her phone and the other shoveling pork into her mouth.

Rick didn't catch most of the conversation but he saw the way Beth was staring across the table and so he uttered a: "Shut up, Jerry." and continued eating.

"Look all I'm saying is I'm glad Morty's no longer being dragged across the universe into dangerous situations!" Jerry exclaimed. "He's where he should be. Safe and at school!" he nodded, bringing his pointer finger down on the table. "And I hope it stays that way. With no more adventures."

"W-we're going to go on more adventures. Rick just has to fix his portal gun." Morty said with uncertainty. Rick had told him that the portal gun was acting up. And it was true that they were taking a break from adventures for a while but they would go again. Right? "Right, Rick?"

The Smith family besides Summer looked over at Rick expectantly and Rick didn't say anything or look up. And Rick was silent for so long that eventually Summer tore her eyes from her phone to look at him.

"Rick?" Morty said and received no response.

After another moment, Beth spoke up. "Dad."

Rick continued staring at his plate, shoveling food into his mouth.

Beth rose a brow and put a hand on his arm."Dad."

Rick jumped and looked up, eyes wide with panic. They were all staring at him. Shit. "What?"

"Morty asked you a question." Beth said.

Rick read her lips and looked over at Morty. "W-what, Morty?" He saw the boy's lips move as he spoke. "Yeah. Yeah of course we're gonna go on more adventures."

Jerry groaned, crossing his arms. He grumbled to himself.

"Sh-URP-shut up, Jerry." Rick uttered at him, looking away from them to look down at his food. "All- all of you stop saying stupid shit. You're- You're giving me a headache."

"Maybe he wants to go by himself." said Summer.

"N-no he doesn't." Morty glared at her. That wasn't true. "The portal gun is just broken. He-He wouldn't go on adventures with-without me.."

"Yeah he would. He went yesterday while you were at school." Summer told him.

"N-no he didn't!" Morty defended.

"Yeah he did." said Summer. "He's been using the portal gun when you're not around for like two weeks."

Morty's shoulders slumped and he frowned. "Rick? Is-is that true?"

Rick continued eating until Beth nudged him. He looked up briefly. "Huh? Yeah." He said with a dismissive wave. He hadn't heard anything that was said. He was just hoping if he agreed to whatever whoever said then they would stop talking to him.

"But…" Morty looked hurt. "Why haven't you been taking me on adventures, Rick?" Morty asked, frowning. They never went more than two days without going on an adventure but it had been fourteen days now.

"Yeah, why haven't you been taking him on adventures?" Summer asked, smiling deviously. "Is it because Morty messed up so bad that you don't want to bring him anymore?"

"Yup." Rick said after Beth nudged him again when he didn't answer.

Morty looked horrified. "What-what did I do so wrong? I-I do everything you ask, Rick! W-Why don't you want to take me on adventures?" the boy thought he might cry.

"Dad!" Beth nudged him again and he looked up again. "Why aren't you answering anyone when they talk to you?"

Rick read her lips and then answered her question, the only thing he actually 'heard' spoken. He looked over at Morty and it looked like he was answering the boy's question along with a pissed off glare. "B-Because I don't want to! W-Why should I have to do something I don't want to do?! S-Something pointless I might add! When I do it, it-it makes me want to end my own existence. I'm-i'm sick of it!"

Tears did fill Morty's eyes now as he stood up from the table. He ran to the stairs and up to his room.

Rick frowned, not expecting that kind of reaction from him saying he just didn't want to talk to anyone. Why did Morty take that personally?

"Well that's great." Jerry said, glaring at the scientist. "Nice job, Rick. As if Morty didn't have enough problems bonding with someone. I knew it. I knew you would just throw him away! Like you did with your wife and Beth!"

"Jerry!" Beth shouted.

"Oh my god…" Summer muttered as she complained to her friends in a group chat on her phone.

Rick didn't hear any of them. He only stared at the spot Morty once was. He saw everyone's mouths moving but he was too pissed off because he couldn't hear them that he couldn't even read their lips. Which made him even more mad. "GOD DAMNIT, EVERYONE SHUT UP!" he screamed. He shouted so loud that Morty heard him from upstairs but Rick could barely hear himself in his own ears. "YOU-YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY I'M NOT ANSWERING YOUR STUPID NONSENSE BLABBERING? IT'S BECAUSE I CAN'T! I CAN'T- URP -HEAR IT!"

Morty had ran down the stairs from his room at this point, standing by the staircase as he listened with shock at Rick's outburst.

"What do you mean you can't hear it?" Beth said stupidly.

Rick pulled at his hair in frustration. He didn't even know what the hell she just said. "I can't...hear…" He moaned. "I can't hear a single word anyone is saying! Don't you get it?!"

"Rick, are you...going deaf?" Jerry said with a frown.

Rick was able to read Jerry's lips that time and he groaned. "I don't know! Maybe!"

Jerry hid a snicker behind his hand, earning him a glare from Beth and Morty.

Rick saw it too and was filled with rage. "Y-YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY YOU PIECE OF SHIT?! FUCK YOU, JERRY! YOU-YOU- I'LL FUCKING TAKE YOUR HEAD AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR OWN ASS YOU LITTLE BITCH!" He made a lunge for Jerry but was held back by Beth and Morty. Jerry hid behind Summer.

"Dad!" Beth cried, holding him away from her idiot husband . "Why didn't you tell us you were having trouble hearing?!"

"What?!" Rick exclaimed.

Beth sighed. "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US YOU WERE HAVING TROUBLE HEARING, DAD?" she yelled in his ear.

"Why- why would I tell you people anything?" said Rick. "Summer got her first period and Jerry told half the neighborhood."

"Grandpa Rick!" Summer cried while Jerry scratched his head sheepishly.

"Shut up, Summer." Rick said automatically, not bothering to read her lips.

Summer glared over at her father.

Jerry shrugged. "What? A father can't be proud that his little girl is becoming a woman?"

Morty grimaced. "Gross! Can we stop talking about this please?"

Rick read Morty's lips and nodded. "Gladly." he said and turned to start leaving. "I'll be in the garage."

"Dad!" Beth exclaimed but Rick obviously didn't hear her. She tried louder and grabbed his lab coat sleeve. "DAD!"

"What?!" Rick snapped, annoyed and at the end of his patience. They knew what was wrong with him now. So why couldn't they just leave him alone?

"You need to see a doctor." Beth said normally.

Rick missed that and repeated. "What?"

Beth pulled him closer by his shoulder to shout in his ear. "YOU NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR, DAD!"

"Already did." said Rick.

"YOU DID?" Beth asked loudly.

Rick grit his teeth in response as he remembered the unpleasant experience. "Yes."

"WHAT DID THEY SAY?"

Rick pulled out his flask. He was entirely too sober for this crap. He took a long swig before responding. "They said a bunch of BULLSHIT. It doesn't matter what they said. They're-URP -wrong."

Beth tsked, shaking her head. Her father was too paranoid, she thought. He probably didn't trust those doctors or something. At least that's what she thought it was. She was used to his bouts of paranoia throughout her childhood. "Maybe I can take a look at you." She said and Rick just stared at her. Beth pulled him closer to start shouting in his ear. "I SAID MAYBE I CAN-"

Rick pulled away from her and bat her grabbing hand away. "I heard you." the family stared at him in response to which Rick rolled his eyes and clarified. "I read your lips. And what the fuck do you know about ears canals?"

"I'm a doctor." proclaimed Beth, crossing her arms.

Jerry coughed behind his hand. "Horse doctor."

"Shut up, Jerry." Beth said, not taking her eyes off her father. "Dad, you're an old man."

Rick started chugging from his flask at that remark. "Th-URP-thanks. No shit. Glad you- URP- put yourself through horse school to point that out. Fuck-fucking...proud father...over-over here."

Beth rolled her eyes and went into a kitchen drawer. She pulled out an otoscope and pulled up a chair from the dining table. Their dinner was long since forgotten and cold. "Sit down." She gestured to the chair.

Rick narrowed his eyes and stared at her for a moment. He surprised everyone by complying. He sat down in the chair, closing his eyes. He didn't want to read anyone's lips or hear what anyone had to say. He didn't want to hear what his idiot family thought of him now. Look at him. Old and deaf. They may as well take him out back and put him out of his misery.

Beth took the otoscope and bent down, peering into one of Rick's ears for a few long seconds before going around to look into the other. "Hmm…"

That was it, Rick thought. They were going to suggest he go to an old folks home or something equally stupid like that. He was going to have to skip on this dimension and find a new one with a new family. A new Beth, Summer, and Morty. Jerry was optional. Who was he kidding? That was ridiculous…

He'd skip on the Jerry. That would make his new life much easier.

Beth pulled back from examining his ear canals. "Well I don't see any inflammation. But-"

Rick pushed himself up from his seat with a cold look. "Save whatever you're going to say. I-I don't want to hear it."

"But dad-" Beth started.

Rick didn't even look at her mouth movements. He really didn't want to understand what she was saying if she was saying what he thought she was saying. "I'll pack my shit and be out of here in an hour,-URP-two tops."

"R-Rick?" Morty gulped, taking a few steps closer to his grandfather. He didn't want Rick to go. He turned desperately to his mother. "Mom!" He hoped she could do something but she probably couldn't. If he left her once, he would do it again.

"Dad, what the hell are you saying?" Beth crossed her arms. She clenched her fists, trying to ignore the fear clutching her chest. "You aren't leaving."

Rick shook his head, reading her lips. "Don't try to act guilty, sweetie. I-I understand. I wouldn't want a useless sack of shit in my house e-either."

"Dad!" Beth exclaimed.

Jerry smiled smugly to himself, muttering. "Finally…"

Beth whipped her head around to yell at her husband. "Shut up, Jerry!" She turned around to her father, grabbing him by the arms and shouting so he could hear her. "YOU AREN'T LEAVING, DAD! WHY WOULD YOU THINK WE'RE KICKING YOU OUT?"

Rick's eyes widened the slightest bit. He rose a brow. "You're not?" Then he narrowed his eyes. "Why not?"

Morty couldn't take it anymore, he stepped over and stepped in. "BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU, RICK! JUST BECAUSE YOUR DEAF NOW DOESN'T CHANGE THAT." He shouted so his grandfather could hear him.

Rick stared over at the boy. "Why not?" He asked again.

Summer rolled her eyes and pocketed her phone. Obviously her family needed her and couldn't resolve this crap on their own. "GOD, GRANDPA RICK. WE'RE NOT JUST GOING TO THROW YOU OUT ON THE STREET BECAUSE YOU'RE DISABLED. THAT'S ELDER ABUSE OR SOMETHING."

"What the fuck is elder abuse?" Rick stared at them.

"IT'S LIKE CHILD ABUSE BUT WITH OLD PEOPLE." Summer explained.

Rick sneered. "Yeah right. Like I'd let any of you idiots abuse me. F-fucking kick your ass."

"DAD, YOU'RE GOING TO AN EAR SPECIALIST AND GETTING A HEARING AID." Beth said.

Rick threw up his arms in defeat. "Fine, whatever! I don't care." He grumbled to himself, walking off to the garage where he smirked to himself. It looks like he wasn't going anywhere anyway. He took his portal gun from his coat and set it on the workbench, starting to toy with an invention.

In the kitchen, Morty sighed in relief. It looked like Rick was staying. For now, at least.

Jerry's shoulders slumped. "Does that mean he's staying or…?"

"SHUT UP, JERRY!", "OH MY GOD, DAD, SHUT UP!", "DAD, SERIOUSLY, SHUT UP!" screamed Beth, Morty, and Summer.

In the garage, Rick smiled in triumph. Then he frowned. Actually he would make his own hearing aids. Fuck going to a doctor.