Actions

Work Header

The Bachelor (1999)

Chapter Text

Morgan and Alex are eating dinner at a dive bar. They had been friends for years now. Still hadn’t gotten around to tracking down Aphrodite’s Favour but they had the trip planned for next week.

 

Morgan was nervous, they played with their thumbs as they began to speak. "so, Alex. it's been X years since we first met -time has really gone by fast- and i uh, over the past few weeks I've been doing some thinking, mostly about taxes-"

 

The server came to ask how their meal was and slid a napkin with their number on it towards Alex. Smiling at the server cruelly, the S tier supervillain took the napkin, scrunched it up, threw it in their drink that was down to a few half-melted ice cubes and handed the glass to them. The server took it and quickly walked away.

 

"Anyways, with tax season coming up again, and umm... I mean, like, you aren't really interested in anyone romantically"

 

That got Alex's attention, "you don't think I'm interested in anyone romantically?" they asked incredulously.

 

Morgan blinked past their confusion, not sure why Alex had focused on that part. "umm, well no? like, the only person you've dated since I met you was the woman you married for a complicated revenge plot and you never show any interest in anyone else."

 

"just because i don't show interest in anyone else doesn't mean I'm not interested in anyone romantically" they replied, their frustration growing.

 

"well when you put it like that..." Morgan conceded, really wishing that had rehearsed this conversation.

 

Alex wasn't backing down, "why would you assume something like that, like you could have just asked me"

 

"I don't know," Morgan was tempted to shrug it off but some of Alex's frustration was making its way into their own tone, "it doesn't really make a difference to me but i figured it would play in my favour when i ask you to marry me"

 

"you are asking me to marry you?! and you start with you aren't interested in anyone romantically?!" The S tier looked thoroughly insulted.

 

Morgan fought to keep their tone friendly as their partner in crime grew increasingnly defensive. "well, I'm asking you to marry me for tax reasons. "

 

"tax reasons?! seriously?! why don't you just commit tax fraud like a normal villain."

 

"well, i mean, like, I could but taxes aren't the only reasons. i would also get half your stuff if you go hero again." oh no. that point definitely should have stayed in their head.

 

Alex's voice lost some of its energy as they went from feeling insulted to trying to hide that they were hurt. "you want to marry me because you think I will ditch you to go hero?"

 

Morgan tried to backpedal. "no! well, I mean - ya no! not really, but I'm not ruling it out as a possibility, like, you are kinda unpredictable." that was not backpedaling, that was digging in their heels.

 

"you actually believe I would go hero again? was the grande finale not evidence enough that i was never a hero?"

 

"no, of course it was but like, I'm not a mind reader and you are all powerful, you can totally just do whatever you want and if you wanted to go hero nothing could stop you but at least if we're married i would have something to show for our years before you defected." they really needed to just stop talking, they were only making it worse.

 

Alex's tone returned to incredulity but maintained their energy. "i can't believe you. I'm not going to go hero!"

 

Morgan was losing the battle to keep themself contained, they got defensive and raised their voice in reply, "then you don't have to worry about divorce! and besides, this way your parents will finally stop bugging you to propose so really, it's a win-win."

 

"I can handle my parents," Alex spat. channeling all their emotions into anger. "I can't handle you thinking I'm not romantically interested in anyone and would ditch you at the drop of a hat to be fucking hero! you are the most important thing to me and i thought you knew that." Alex got up.

 

 Morgan reached for them and made to follow, "Alex wait no."

 

Alex turned and stepped toward the D tier, swatting away their hands and crowding them so they sat back down. "no. Morgan. i refuse. I'm not discussing this anymore. I'm leaving." they snapped their fingers and were gone.

 

"fuck." Morgan got up and left without paying the bill. that server lost their chance at a tip when they hit on Alex anyways.

 

Despite it only being the second week of august, Morgan had already used their power this month. Alex wasn't answering any of their messages. They left their read receipts on so Morgan wasn't worried. They just needed time to cool off.

Chapter Text

It had been a week and Alex was still not responding. Morgan was going to have to go on the expedition alone. Which really sucks cuz this expedition was the start of their friendship all those years ago and it would have been cool to finally get the relic together. but the trip was already booked and Alex clearly wasn't coming. 

 

as much as they wished Alex would still join them, they really didn't want to go alone. 

 

so they asked Ohio to come.

 

"it's in a long forgotten temple built by an ancient civilization, no cultural or religious significance to any living people, i promise ."

 

"alright, if you're that desperate, i guess I can tag along."

 

"thank you so much Ohio."



Morgan and Ohio were waiting to board the commercial flight when Alex showed up.

 

they looked resigned, like they did not want to leave the house today but they were there to honour a commitment. they probably planned on giving Morgan the silent treatment the whole flight. but then they saw Morgan wasn't alone and their demeanor changed entirely.

 

"you invited Ohio?!" 

 

at the sudden appearance of the very angry mass murderer, the nearby civilians did their best to flee the area, only a brave few dared to stay in line at the gate.

 

"well, I obviously didn't think you'd show up!" Morgan was defensive but kept their voice at reasonable volume.

 

"you didn't think I'd come on the expedition that is the whole reason we ever became friends?!" they retorted, their voice dripping with venom.

 

"you've been ghosting me all week! why would i expect you to show up in person?"

 

"because even when you are being an absolute asshat - you are still the most important thing to me and i wouldn't let a stupid argument get in the way of finishing what we started!" 

 

all the civilians had cleared the area at this point. Alex paced and gestured wildly as they spoke,"We've literally been planning this since we met! you really think I'd miss this?" They stopped as a realization came over their face. Their tone turned to ice, "or did you replace me because I'm no good at puzzles?" Alex whipped around to face Morgan with the accusation. 

 

"is that it?!" their voice cracked with emotion even as they tried to remain curt, a combination of jealousy and betrayal left them heartbroken once more. "you know i can still protect us from death traps. even if I can't solve riddles or read runes. " They quickly inhaled to stifle any oncoming sniffles. Burying their emotions, they said coldly, "fine. go. find the ancient trinket with your nemesis. i see how it is."

 

"Alex no! it's not like that!" 

 

Morgan rushed forward to get a grip on their partner in crime but Alex didn't give them the chance. They snapped their fingers and disappeared.

 

Morgan fell to their knees. looking guiltily at the space where Alex had been.

 

--final boarding call for flight XXX to [redacted]--

 

Ohio grabbed Morgan's arm and helped them up. "come on. they need more time. the flight's already paid for, let's go now and you can summon them when the month ticks over."

 

Morgan nodded and allowed Ohio to lead them to the gate.

Chapter Text

They had really been expecting the temple to be hard to find; they couldn't find it anywhere on any satellite imaging, but the directions from the scroll where relatively easy to follow. Sure the river had moved over several thousand years but Morgan had records of the ancient riverbeds so they used those and managed to find the temple on their first day. with almost two weeks left until they'd be able to summon Alex they weren't sure what to do with themself. 

 

Ohio had agreed they should wait for Alex before even entering the temple, so the two of them spent their second day exploring the exterior of the temple. 

 

"Morgan, you might want to look at this."

 

Ohio had dusted off a carving near what appeared to be the entrance. 

 

Morgan approached and began to decipher the carving. "...no."

 

"yup."

 

"why is it always some bullshit astronomy!"

 

Ohio shrugged. "those smart enough to follow the planets liked to apply the knowledge somehow. point is, we can only get in and out during a blue moon."

 

"but that's tomorrow ! the next one after that isn't for another 2 years! I can't wait another two years!"

 

Ohio crossed his arms and regarded the villain. "then we're going to have to finish this expedition without Alex."

 

"I - i can't. i can't do that to them. i would never have found this temple if it wasn't for them! Hell, I'd probably have been killed by some asshole hero ages ago if it wasn't for them. " Morgan took a deep breath. "I need some air." they said, despite being already outside in the middle of a forest, then they walked off into the forest alone. 

 

Ohio watched them go. He sympathized with their dilemma, it was a difficult choice to make, especially when they couldn't get any input from the person it would affect most.

 

Morgan returned hours later but only to silently prepare and consume a meal and several coffees before heading back out in a seemingly random direction.

 

Morgan had been desperately trying to reach Alex, the problem is that the cheap satellite phone they had brought only did calls and Alex wasn't answering so they had no way to explain the temple entry conditions and get Alex to come before it's too late. they tried constantly over the next day and a half, only taking breaks to sleep and eat. 

 

It was approaching sunset when Morgan finally returned to camp and spoke. 

 

"they aren't answering." Morgan stated. 

 

Ohio nodded. 

 

Morgan sighed in resignation. "I'm hoping if we get the relic and i give it to them as a souvenir/ peace offering then they will forgive me for finishing the expedition without them."

 

Ohio chuckled. "Good luck with that. Now c'mon, it's almost sunset. Moon rise isn't for a few hours but I want to finish packing while we still have daylight."

 

---

 

After the 3rd phone call, Alex shoved their phone in a pocket dimension and they returned their attention to their Taylor Swift record, self-pity, heartbreak, and ice cream.

Chapter Text

the entrance didn't work at moonrise. They had to wait until the moon was above the treeline and shining directly onto the entrance.

 

"Good thing it isn't cloudy." Ohio said casually, "if it wasn't such a clear night we might have had to wait 2 years anyways." 

 

"uh-huh. lucky." Morgan replied, guilt writhing in their gut as the pair crossed the threshold and entered the temple.

 

"oh come on, they'll forgive you eventually! they've been in love with you for how long? they can't hide from you forever."

 

Morgan froze. "They what?"

 

Ohio looked back at them with annoyance, "oh please, like you haven't noticed."

 

"Ohio, what the fuck are you taking about?"

 

Ohio got serious. "you seriously didn't know? Everyone knows! Hell, even Chad knows! I just figured you were ignoring their feelings on purpose."

 

Morgan was still struggling to process. "Alex is in love with me? .... CHAD KNOWS?! HOW THE FUCK DOES CHAD KNOW AND I DIDNT"

 

"well, i mean, the ringtone makes it pretty obvious to even that genius but apparently not you."

 

"..what ringtone?"

 

"your ringtone on Alex's phone. anytime you call them it plays Jenny by Studio Killers. you know, 'i wanna ruin our friendship, we should be lovers instead'? how did you seriously not know?"

 

Morgan was still frozen in place, barely 2 paces into the temple. "I- " Morgan huffed in frustration. "how would i know what they set my ringtone as? I don't exactly call them from the same room!"

 

"sure but what about all the other stuff?"

 

"What other stuff?!"

 

Ohio started counting off on his fingers, "they cook for you, clean for you, take care of you when you're sick, avenge you when lose a fight, you regularly go to dinner together -"

 

"those are all best friend things!"

 

"I'm not finished. They help you on heists without using their powers to do it for you, they took you to meet their parents under the false pretence that you were dating, they took you on their honeymoon when they murdered their bride, they don't date anyone and get upset when you go on dates, and the obvious point i have to make about the mass murderer being in love with you is that they literally maintain a Do-Not-Kill List of which you are the primary curator."

 

"most of those things could also be best friend things but I will concede the dating thing is probably not a platonic thing."

 

"also they literally have no poker face and always look at you like you are the light in their life."

 

"I- .... shit. SHIT! No wonder they got so mad when i proposed."

 

"hold up." it was Ohio's turn to pause. "what?!"

 

"I said we should get married for tax reasons but I sort of started with 'you aren't interested in anyone romantically' and they got upset, and then I might have mentioned how I would also get half their stuff if they went hero again and they got even more upset and left."

 

"oof. so that's why they weren't answering. oooh and then you invited me to finish the expedition that kickstarted your relationship. honestly, I'm surprised they didn't blow up the moon."

 

"Actually I think that makes it worse. they are so upset they aren't even blowing things up." Morgan looked devastated. "shit Ohio, I don't know if they will forgive me."

 

Ohio thought for a second. "look, how about we get this relic so you can give it to them. At this point the damage has been done and there is nothing else you can do about it from halfway around the world. plus, working through all these death traps will give you time to process."

 

"I guess you're right." Morgan went to step forward half-heartedly but Ohio stopped them. pointing to the tile they were about to step on, it was clearly a pressure plate. who knows what sort of trap they would have activated. Morgan sobered up immediately "thanks. sorry, I'll be more careful."

Chapter Text

The pair made their way through the temple, avoiding and escaping many death traps along the way, some of which were no longer functional, with some key components having failed in the millenia the temple had remained untouched. 

 

finally they made it to the final chamber. a mostly empty room with a modest chest in the center. Morgan went straight for the chest while Ohio took photos of the murals and runes on the walls.

 

it didn't take them long to bypass all the locks. an unearthly glow emanated from the chest when Morgan opened it. Inside was some sort of crystal ball, a mysterious substance flowed beneath the surface producing the glow. 

 

"Aphrodite's Favour." Morgan said in awe as they reached for the orb.

 

"Hold up!" Ohio stopped them. "You brought me here to grab something called Aphrodite's Favour ? Absolutely not. You are not touching that!"

 

"don't worry,” Morgan dismissed, “that's just what the Greeks called it, it's not actually Greek in origin but the only records I could get my hands on about it were Greek, hence the Greek name."

 

Ohio moved between Morgan and the open chest. "And a Greek myth, I'm sure! You do not want to mess with any favour of Greek gods, they rarely start well and they never end well."

 

"ok so it might be cursed, but the curse is clearly contained!” they shoved past him and reached into the chest. “as long as i don't open it we'll be fine." They picked up the relic and Ohio held his breath, waiting for Morgan to get cursed. Nothing happened. 

 

"See? told you. " Morgan said smugly as they turned the orb in their hands. "as long as I don't open it we'll be -" - * crack *- Morgan had hit some sort of pressure point and the crystal popped open, the contents leaping out to envelop them. 

 

Ohio watched helplessly as the curse sank into Morgan's skin and was no longer visible. Morgan looked embarrassed and scared but no other indicators of being cursed.

 

"Are- are you ok?" Ohio asked tentatively.

 

Morgan patted themself down. "I… I think so?" they replied, confused. "I don't feel any different. Do you feel any different about me?"

 

Ohio crossed his arms and regarded Morgan with disappointment, "no, i should have known you'd do something stupid like this. it's not exactly out of character." 

 

They rolled their eyes, "I meant like, if the curse had affected your perception of me."

 

"I know, I just took the opportunity to rub it in."

 

"Great,” they huffed, “now my peace offering to Alex is going to be ' hey, here's an empty ball, also it cursed me and I don't know how, can you fix it?' "

 

"or, we can figure out what the curse is and try to fix it ourselves. then you can give them an empty ball and an apology."

 

"you're right.” they pocketed the relic and looked around the room. “any clues on the walls?"

 

"maybe, nothing i can decipher without my books tho. I got pictures of everything. let's just head home and figure it out later, if you aren't feeling it now it's probably not time sensitive. and since it's named Aphrodite's Favour, it probably won't kill you anytime soon."

 

"That's reassuring," Morgan said sarcastically. "but I guess there isn't much else we can do."

 

The two of them made it back out of the temple without issue and decided to get some rest before heading back to civilization.

Chapter Text

In the morning they packed up and headed back towards the rendezvous point with their jungle pilot.

 

The pilot was unusually flustered when they saw the two emerge from the dense forest.

 

"Back so soon! I uh, I hope you found what you were looking for." they said, nervously ringing out their hat.

 

Morgan eyed them suspiciously, this wasn't their first jungle adventure with this pilot, they had previously been trustworthy but they were acting strange. "Not quite."

 

"oh! does that mean we're headed for another adventure? you know, I really enjoy being your jungle pilot Morgan, you're quite the handsome- HARDWORKING, hardworking adventurer is what I meant to say."

 

"Thanks Kynn but no, it's time to head home."

 

The pilot blushed when Morgan spoke their name but their face dropped at the news. "oh. well do you have plans for another jungle adventure soon?"

 

"i don't think so." Morgan started shoving some of their bags into the cab of the small floatplane. "Is the tank already loaded? How long before we can take off?"

 

"Right! um, sorry, wasn't expecting you back so soon, um. I can have us in the air in an hour. I'll get right to work."

 

"That's fine." They waved them off and took their snack pack and satellite phone toward the shade to eat and try to get a hold of Alex. if they’re gonna betray me, they could at least do their job first and stop kissing my ass. they thought as they sat down. Morgan could fly the plane themself if need be and was confident they could take them in a fight even without Ohio's help.

 

The pilot watched them wistfully before turning to the task at hand. Ohio noticed. "since when did you have a thing for Morgan? you weren't like this on the way here."

 

"wasn't I?" they asked, not even attempting to deny it. they looked back towards Morgan and sighed. "they're amazing, aren't they? so smart and adventurous, with a great sense of humour, and strong too."

 

"oh ya, they're a real peach." Ohio said sarcastically. He grabbed his own snack pack and his phone and headed for another patch of shade in clear view of the other two. He might need to get started on the translations without his notes. He thumbed the pendant on his necklace as he pondered his new suspicion and poured over the photos.

Chapter Text

"we're just about set to go!" Kynn shouted at their companions.

 

Morgan abandoned their attempts to contact Alex and packed the rest of their things into the plane. Ohio grabbed Morgan's arm to pull them aside and share their suspicion but the pilot's eyes flared with jealousy at the contact and they hollered, "Morgan! you have your pilot's license right? would you mind being a second set of eyes for the final preflight checks?"

 

Morgan groaned in annoyance. "fine." They left Ohio to deal with the pilot. this idiot better get on with whatever they are planning cuz i will not put up with this bullshit much longer. "Which checks do you have left?" they asked, arms crossed over their chest, tapping their foot impatiently.

 

"oh, um… just the umm… fuel tank."

 

"the fuel tank?" they asked incredulously.

 

"uhh, ya. gotta check the fuel tank for leaks."

 

"Alright that's it.” they uncrossed their arms so their hands were able to help convey their frustration. “what's going on here? are you planning to double cross me? cuz you know that won't go well for you."

 

Kynn looked genuinely horrified at the notion. "i would never betray you!"

 

"please cut the crap, i don't have the patience. you're acting weird and the only reason you would be acting like this is if you were planning to double cross me."

 

"I'm not going to, I swear!" they grabbed Morgan's hand and looked sincerely into their eyes. "I would never betray your trust Morgan, you mean too much to me."

 

Morgan pulled their hand away. they were thoroughly creeped out but they really didn't want to have to do the flying so they maintained their composure. 

 

"fine, i believe you, but I'm not doing a stupid engine check. just hurry up and get us out of here."

 

"yes, of course. anything for you, Morgan."

 

Morgan couldn't suppress their groan as they shuffled over to Ohio. 

 

Ohio tried to look sympathetic, "it's not their fault, I think it's the curse."

 

Morgan was skeptical. “What makes you think that?”

 

“Well, it makes sense that something called Aphrodite's Favour would be a love curse. And they certainly weren’t in love with you on the trip here.”

 

“They’re acting like that because they’re in love with me?!” they exhaled forcefully and began massaging their forehead. “Alright. We’ve established that i don't know when someone is in love with me so i won't argue your assumption but good god Kynn has no game.” they lowered their hand and eyed Ohio. “Wait a minute. If it's a love curse, why is it working on Kynn? Why didn't it latch onto you?”

 

“Because I have this, “ he pulled his necklace out and brandished the pendant. “It was a Valentine's day gift for Barnaby, I got us matching necklaces that protect from love curses.”

 

“Well that's handy. Could we use it to cure Kynn?”

 

“Not without me falling for you instead which, no offense, but I'd rather not.”

 

“Fair. Ughhh I guess I can put up with one lovesick idiot for a couple hours ‘til we get back to a proper airstrip. Come on. Let’s get this over with.”

 

“Morgan!” Kynn’s face lit up as the villain approached, “all pre-flight checks are complete, we’re good to go!” Their expression turned bashful and they blushed as they continued, “I assume you will be joining me in the front? Seeing as you are the back-up pilot.”

 

Morgan looked at Ohio, hoping he would help them out of this. “Don’t look at me. You got yourself cursed, you can ride shotgun with the consequences of your actions. But don't worry, I'll chaperone from the back.” and with that he hopped into the plane and got settled in the rear seat.

 

Morgan groaned and massaged their forehead with one hand as they got into the co-pilot seat. Kynn was elated and skipped around the plane to hop into the pilot side.

Chapter Text

it actually only took a couple hours to get to the closest international airport. but for Morgan, riding shotgun with the insufferable love-cursed pilot felt like ages. 

 

thankfully they would be flying commercial back to Capital City. 

 

as the trio exited the plane, Ohio heard a few gasps from the ground crew. to his horror he saw a lovestruck expression on everyone looking towards Morgan. as Ohio watched, a member of the crew who appeared unaffected looked at their coworker, followed their gaze to Morgan, and then assumed the same lovestruck look as the rest of them.

 

Ohio took off his jacket and threw it over Morgan's head.

 

Morgan protested "What the Fuck, Ohio?!"

 

"the curse affects everyone that looks at you." he said in a hushed tone as he adjusted the jacket to hide their face. 

 

"what?!" they scream-whispered.

 

"I just watched the entire ground crew fall for the curse, it didn't hit them until they looked at you."

 

"you've got to be fucking kidding me." they ducked behind Ohio, with one hand on his shoulder to guide them, the other firmly holding the jacket to hide everything but their eyes which were pointed firmly at the ground. "i can't keep a jacket over my head from now until we get home."

 

Ohio stopped in a corner and Morgan released his shoulder. He threw down his heist bag and began to rummage through it. "don't worry, I have a plan."

 

Ohio triumphantly pulled a ski mask from a compartment in his duffel.

 

“Why did you bring a ski mask on a jungle adventure?!”

 

“Honestly, i didn't fully unpack from my last trip. but it's a good thing i didn't!”

 

Ohio stood. Morgan returned their hand to his shoulder and he led them to the nearest washroom. 

 

Safely hidden from vulnerable eyes, Ohio took his jacket back and handed Morgan the ski mask. It covered all of their face except for their eyes. He then handed them the pair of reflective sunglasses from his breast pocket. the glasses didn't sit quite right with arms stuck through the eye-slit and the cloth under them on the nose but it would have to do.

 

By some miracle, there was a flight to Capital City in only an hour. Ohio handled as many interactions as he could but more than one security officer got cursed, plus the flight attendant at the gate (thankfully they would not be joining them on the flight). 

 

Morgan had the window seat and Ohio took the middle. Morgan slept most of the flight while Ohio kept watch.

Chapter Text

When they landed, Ohio called Barnaby to pick them up at the airport. he refused to give any details over the phone, simply stating, "we'll talk about it later. see you soon." 

 

Morgan strategically raised their sunglasses at the right airport staff to get them through customs as fast as a VIP Diplomat. They made it out of the airport just as Barnaby pulled up.

 

Ohio loaded up the trunk and Morgan silently slid into the back seat next to Kotetsu.

 

Barnaby tried to catch their eye in the rearview mirror. "th-th-thats some interesting s-summer wear."

 

Ohio slammed the trunk, got into the passenger seat and closed the door. "idiot got themself cursed."

 

Morgan hid their already hidden face in their hands. "just drive. please."



Ohio told Barnaby about the temple and the curse on the drive back to the apartment building. Morgan was silent the whole way.

 

They managed to make it to their apartment without cursing anyone else. 

 

"I'm just gonna dump my stuff and shower, then I'll come over. Do you mind ordering some takeout? I don't wanna curse the delivery person." they said with their back to the couple as Morgan and Barnaby both fumbled with their keys to unlock their respective apartments which were across the hall from each other.

 

"o-okay, you-your f-favourite Thai place?" Barnaby offered.

 

Ohio interjected, "nuh-uh. my research, my labour, my pick. we're getting pizza and I'm picking the toppings. and you're paying for it Aphrodite." he pointed sternly at Morgan.

 

Barnaby finally got the door open and Kotetsu ran ahead into the apartment.

 

"yeah, yeah," Morgan opened their own door, took one step into the apartment, and suddenly remembered, "fuck."

 

their nemesises froze.

 

"what did you do now ?" Ohio snapped.

 

"i forgot to get Alex a postcard at the airport. they're gonna be so pissed."

 

"more pissed than they are about you disregarding their feelings AND finishing the expedition that is the foundation of your relationship without them AND getting love cursed?" Ohio was at his witts end.

 

"i don't know, they're really dramatic about the post card thing."

 

Ohio released an exasperated sigh, "I'm going. to take a nap. do not wake me until there is pizza to be eaten." he walked past Barnaby into the apartment.

 

Morgan turned around and handed Barnaby their credit card. "just order whatever he wants. I'll come over in like an hour."

 

Barnaby nodded and headed into his apartment.

Chapter Text

An hour later, Morgan was clean, dressed, refreshed, and relieved that they won't have to hide their face anymore now that they can just hide in their apartment. They opened their apartment door and made to cross the hall, only to stop in their tracks as they saw the pizza delivery guy right outside Barnaby's door. They tried to hurry back into their apartment but it was too late. 

 

The man, who looked to be in his mid-thirties, had turned at the sound of the door unlatching and caught a glimpse of Morgan.

 

With the damage already done, Morgan took a moment to study the "lovestruck" expression so they might recognize it in future. The poor guy seemed to be doing his best codfish impression, opening and closing his mouth as they scrutinized his face.

 

The door opened and Ohio took in the scene in the hallway. "ugh, you have got to be kidding me!"

 

Morgan was pulled from their research "i'll admit, I should have checked the peephole but in my defence, I thought the pizza would have arrived a while ago."

 

The delivery guy finally found his voice "I-I am so sorry for the delay my love -i mean my liege! Your pizza is on the house."

 

"Give me that!" Ohio took the pizza from the unfortunate man. "now go home to your partner. we’ll fix this love curse as soon as we can. Come on Morgan."

 

Morgan apologized profusely to both men as they crossed the hall into their nemesises' apartment.

 

Ohio threw the box down on the table and immediately started eating. Morgan joined him. The duo ate in silence until they had their fill. 

 

When they had finished, Ohio got up and walked to the living room, with Morgan following close behind.

 

Kotetsu was asleep at Barnaby's feet. The hero sat amongst a mess of books and notes spread across the coffee table and many sections of the floor.

 

Barnaby looked up from the notebook he was pouring over. "I-I think this is all-a-all the r-relevant paperwork we'll need. I ha-haven't been a-a-able to - to translate anything yet. "

 

Ohio softened as he walked over to his partner, "thank you, my love." he leaned down for a quick kiss before sitting down beside him and pulling out his phone with the photos.

 

Morgan felt a sharp twang of… jealousy? no. envy. Alex and them helped each other with research all the time but they never made a big deal out of it. they hardly thanked each other for it and they definitely didn't kiss. did they want that? Morgan buried the thoughts and feelings to focus on the task at hand.

 

the three of them spent the next few hours translating the murals.

 

"so everyone who sees you falls in love with you." Ohio said, looking at his notes.

 

"ya, we figured that bit out already." Morgan tried to keep the frustration from their voice.

 

"and the only way to fix it is whatever that last mural means" he swiped through the photos to find the right image.

 

"T-t-true love's kiss." Barnaby said, holding up his own phone displaying the final mural and a textbook page with the translation.

 

"No!" Morgan protests, "there has to be another option."

 

"th-thats what the t-translation says."

 

"that just means that's how it was intended to be broken. that doesn't mean we can't find another way to break it."

 

"you'd rather research ancient magics of an almost forgotten civilization in hopes of finding a way to unravel the magic, instead of just kissing your true love?" Ohio asked impatiently.

 

"how am I supposed to kiss my true love if I don't know who that is?!"

 

Ohio groaned. "fine. but finding any info on this ancient magic is going to be really difficult. it'll probably be faster to find your true love."

 

"yes, everyone who looks at me falls in love with me, I'm sure that will make it really easy to find my true love." Morgan said sarcastically.

 

Ohio huffed and started flipping through another book.

Chapter Text

they had been researching for days. Morgan had barely slept. Ohio and Barnaby occasionally went out to get more supplies but no library they had access to was of much help and they couldn't exactly ask Alex for their library.

 

it was the 30th, the day before the last of the month, when Morgan got a call from Gus.

 

"hey boss! you answered! I wasn't sure if you were back in town."

 

"oh.. ya, i got back last week, I've just been busy."

 

"ok, I was just calling cuz Emily wanted to invite you to her recital on Friday."

 

"oh. I'd love to, I really would, but i don't think I'll be able to make it."

 

"everything alright boss?"

 

Morgan sighed. "not quite. I got cursed so, everyone who looks at me falls in love with me and the only way to break it is true love's kiss. so yeah, I can't really leave my apartment without repercussions."

 

"so you gotta kiss your true love to break the curse? no problem boss! i know a guy. come by the boardwalk at 8 tomorrow night, we'll get it sorted in no time!"

 

"how?"

 

"dont even worry about it boss, I got it covered. I even got me an anti-love-curse trinket so you don't gotta worry about me. you just come by the Beach Road entrance at 8."

 

"ok, Gus. i'll be there."

Chapter Text

the next day, Barnaby was driving Morgan to meet Gus. Morgan was wearing a ski mask and reflective shades to protect onlookers until they got there. They were looking out the window,  the city was a welcome change of scenery after being confined to their apartment.

 

Barnaby glanced at Morgan.

 

"M-morgan, Wh-why isn't Alex helping?"

 

"because I didn't know they were in love with me, and i said and did some things that really spit on their feelings. They haven't answered me in weeks."

 

"Do -do you love them back?"

 

"i-... i don't know Barnaby!" they replied slightly exasperated. They turned their head to follow the credit union as they drove past. That was their first heist together. "They're my partner in crime. I mean, I'd do anything for them, but is that love? like I guess it is but what would make it romantic instead of platonic? "

 

"y-you know, sometimes labels are -arent helpful. f-forget labeling it. how do you f-feel about them?"

 

"they make me feel safe. and warm. I never want to lose them."

 

"d-do you want to -to kiss them?"

 

Morgan thought for a second. They drove past the restaurant where they regularly go for lunch with Alex. "ya. ya i think I do."

 

"an-a-and how would you feel if something got-got in the way of you two?"

 

Behind their glasses, their gaze unfocused. "I would eliminate it with extreme prejudice."

 

"M-morgan, it s-sounds to me like you love Alex."

 

"I -" Morgan thought it over, replaying key moments of their relationship, then picturing a potential future, where their movie nights involved more than just cuddling, they held hands at lunch, celebrating their victories as more than friends and partners in crime. "I think you're right. I love Alex."

 

They had arrived at the boardwalk. Morgan could see Gus waiting. They turned to Barnaby, "but they aren't answering me and my power doesn't reset til midnight!"

 

"w-well, until then you can try Gus's solution."

 

"you're right. thanks Barnaby. i owe you one." they exited the vehicle. "next month's rent is on me!" they said before closing the door behind them.

Chapter Text

"Hiya Boss!" Gus pulled the villain into a bear hug. "come on, let's cure this curse."

 

Gus led Morgan to one of the booths, but they didn't get to see the front, heading straight in from the back.

 

The booth was a tiny shack, nothing inside but a makeshift cash register and a couple of stools.

 

Morgan looked around the cramped space, "what's the plan here? are we meeting someone?"

 

"oh no," Gus set one stool in front of the register, and the other by the empty section of the thin counter, "my buddy runs this booth, the proceeds go to funding a bunch of arts programs for schools and community centers, Emily's in a few programs."

 

"ok but how does that get me uncursed?"

 

Gus removed Morgan's disguise and sat them down on the stool by the counter. He began cranking to open up the booth.

 

"cuz it's a kissing booth!"

 

As Gus raised the gate, many pedestrians instinctively looked towards the sound and where immediately lovestruck at the sight of Morgan. the afflicted people immediately began to line up to kiss their newfound love. to Morgan's horror, the boardwalk was very busy (what with it being the last week of summer and all) and the queue was rapidly growing as Morgan protested. 

 

"no! no, no, no! we can't-" the first person handed $5 to Gus. 

 

"thank you! cmon boss it's for charity! for the children!"

 

the first customer pecked Morgan on the lips before stepping aside for the next. the crowd quickly got into a rhythm.

 

"I get that but" smooch. "this isn't" kiss. "gonna help" peck. "the curse." kiss. "hey! tongue costs extra pervert!" that customer handed Gus an additional twenty and apologized. 

 

"why not? if your true love is at the boardwalk, they will come kiss you and everyone will be cured!"

 

"we are" kiss. "taking advantage" smooch. "of these" peck. "innocent people and" smooch. "cursing them" kiss. "on purpose!"

 

"ya, we're villains, why wouldn't we take advantage of this situation? honestly we're making so much bank we can take a fat cut of it and still raise more than my buddy ever would tonight."

 

Morgan couldn't resist a little villainy, especially to benefit kids like Emily, but still…

 

"i don't." kiss. "know about" smooch. "this Gus." peck. "i don't like" smooch. "exposing this" kiss. "many people" kiss. "to the curse" smooch. "things could" peck. "get out of hand" kiss. "really quickly"

 

--

Barnaby and Ohio had gone out to eat. they were enjoying fresh food in a public setting after being cooped up researching and eating takeout and ramen. Ohio was finally relaxing for the first time since Morgan invited him on the expedition, but then he looked at the tv over Barnaby's shoulder and angrily pulled out his phone and dialed. Barnaby turned around and paled when he saw a close-up of Morgan on the news. Thousands line up for Charity Kissing Booth on boardwalk near Beach Rd.

 

--

 

"hold on, it's Ohio. i gotta get this." Morgan walked away from the counter as they answered the phone.

 

"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING." Ohio's shouting could be heard through the phone by everyone in a 5 meter radius. Morgan recoiled and held the speaker away from their ear.

 

"technically it was Gus's idea, I didn't know until it was too late. also how did you find out about it?"

 

"YOUR FACE. IS ON THE NEWS. EVERYONE IN THE GREATER CAPITAL CITY AREA KNOWS AND HAS BEEN FUCKING CURSED."

 

"oh, shit."

 

"EXACTLY. NOW GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE AND LAY LOW UNTIL YOU CAN GET ALEX TO FIX THIS." he hung up.

 

Morgan put away their phone. "Sorry folks! we're closed for the night!" They grabbed the ski mask and shades and fled through the back door, leaving Gus to close up shop.

Chapter Text

not everyone would resort to stalking when they are in love with someone, in fact most people keep their pining to themselves, but when an entire city is in love with you, that includes plenty of people that use… not-so-subtle courting tactics.

 

thus Morgan was struggling to shake the hundreds of tails they had acquired. they recognized a few tenants, their mailman, and their explosives dealer among their pursuers, so at least some of them knew where they lived; going home wasn't an option. they would have to stay out of their reach until midnight when they could summon Alex and get rid of the curse and therefore the mob.

 

they ran through traffic and squeezed through closing subway doors. they lost the ski mask and glasses somewhere along the way, not that the disguise made much difference now. they weaved through back alleys and jumped rooftops but every group they evaded was soon replaced, every turn they took led to new obsessors.

 

it was approaching midnight when they met a dead end. with a crowd rapidly amassing behind them, they managed to climb a fire escape but more "hopeless romantics" appeared on the surrounding rooftops and descended toward them. they were surrounded.

 

without a minute to spare they felt their power return to them. Morgan snapped their fingers and Alex appeared in front of them. before the S tier could do anything, Morgan grabbed their arms, looked them in the eyes, and said urgently. "don't kill them. just kiss me."

 

Alex blinked and shook their head as they tried to process their surroundings and what Morgan just said, "wh..what?!" 

 

Morgan squeezed their best friend's arms and urged, "i love you and I'm sorry but i got cursed so everyone who sees me falls in love with me and the only way to cure it is true love’s kiss so will you please tell me you love me and kiss me before this mob of love-cursed people gets any closer."

 

they blinked away their disbelief, "i - i love you too."

 

"oh thank gawd" and they pulled the taller villain in for a kiss.

 

the mob immediately stopped and, after a few seconds to come to their senses, they all cheered loudly at the being freed and at the romantic moment.

 

without breaking the kiss, Alex snapped their fingers and transported them both to their apartment, away from the mob.

Chapter Text

the two villains went on to complete many expeditions together. Alex refused to make Morgan curse-proof (don't want to miss out on any fun) but they did make them immune to deadly curses as a compromise. they both got cursed many more times but having true loves kiss on hand really helped with a lot of them, and Alex's unlimited god-like powers made quick work of the rest (unless of course it was more fun to play it out).

 

Alex was very upset that Morgan forgot to get them a postcard. they also refused to help Morgan fix it through teleportation and/or summoning. it was up to Morgan to make it up to them. Morgan was able to avoid flying all the way there and back because they managed to find vastly overpriced postcards online.

 

Morgan and Alex's first date was Emily's recital, followed by dinner at Alex's favourite pizza place.

 

Gus did not pocket any of the cash from his scheme at the boardwalk, he donated all of the proceeds from the kissing booth for the Arts Programs. He did however, leverage this donation for a new program to teach kids pyrotechnics (of course it counts as art!) and he now volunteers weekly as the sole instructor. 

 

Ohio took a much needed vacation (with Barnaby, of course) and never agreed to help Morgan on another expedition. Museum heists were fair game tho.

 

Kynn fell in love (for real this time) with literally the next adventurer that hired them. They are happily married.

 

The pizza delivery guy's partner got him an anti-love-curse necklace which he never takes off.



------bonus after credits scene------

 

Morgan and Alex were at home in their apartment. Alex was sitting in the kitchen drinking the blood of their enemies from the skull cup, Morgan was preparing their own cup of the blood of their enemies.

 

Alex sipped at their drink, then put the skull mug down and mused, "you know, it's funny, that stupid curse started our friendship and our relationship."

 

"oh ya, the mob of love zombies was hilarious." Morgan replied sarcastically, pulling a carton of chocolate milk and a can of Redbull from the fridge and placing them on the counter as they waited for their espresso.

 

"I'm just saying," they walked over to their romantic partner and wrapped their arms around them, "you wanted Aphrodite's Favour so bad, you ended up with Cupid's."

 

"shut uup."

 

Alex grinned. "make me."

 

Morgan kissed their true love like their teasing was another curse that urgently needed breaking.