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Coming back from yet another adventure, the two exhausted males were at the end of their tethers. It was a close call with death and Rick just wanted to forget about the whole thing while Morty seethed over the older man's indifference to the entire situation.

"I-I-I can't do this anymore R-Rick!" Morty exclaims, pulling on his curly brown hair. Rick just brushes past the distraught teen, ignoring him.

"I almost d-died today Rick!" The boy shouts at Rick, who is now sitting at his lab station, staring down into a microscope at the thing the two had risked their lives for.

"Rick!" Morty yells, desperate to get his grandpas attention. Rick suddenly swivels to level Morty with an flat glare.

"What do you wa-urp-nt Morty!? Me to say s-sorry!?" Rick sneers at his grandson, dramatically throwing his hands up into the air. At Morty's stunned expression, Rick chuckles humorlessly.

"You aren't wor-urp-th the effort. You-you're a sack of shit Mor-urp-ty. You mean no-nothing to me. You could bi-urp-te it and I-I-I still wouldn't give a fuck Morty. You useless piece of c-crap." By the end of Rick's explosion, Morty has tears welling up in his eyes. Rick just levels him with an unimpressed look as Morty viciously wipes his eyes. The teen is about to respond when Rick suddenly turns back to the microscope, dismissing the fourteen-year-old with a cool, "N-now get t-the fuck out."

Morty's blood boils as he is given his grandfather's back, but it is replaced with a deep sorrow that he can never seem to get rid of. He leaves the one person he admires most with a, "Fine." that sounds more angry than he feels. He snatches something off the nearby counter as he storms out of the garage. He ignores Summer's questioning look, stalking past his arguing parents. He makes sure to slam the front door harshly behind him, it feels like the final goodbye.

He loses steam as he drags his feet down the street, farther away from his home.

Fuck Rick! Fuck him and his god-complex, thinking nothing can touch him! He'll show Rick! Rick isn't as high-and-mighty as he likes to think he is!

He'll show him.

Morty continues on, going to a more secluded spot as he fidgets with the ray gun clenched in his trembling hands.

 * * *

Rick was still staring into the microscope, not a care in the world as he hunched over the newest addition to his collection of dangerous items. His mind went over what he had said to Morty, it played in his head over and over like some broken record. There was something...off about how they had left the argument. Rick scoffed to himself, shaking his head at the ridiculous observation.

Rick would apologize later, give his grandson time to calm the fuck down.

Rick blinks into the lens, his bloodshot eyes widening as a gunshot rings in the distance; the haunting sound carried by the wind. He lurches out of his chair, frantic eyes scanning the garage. His gaze screeching to a halt on the empty space where he could’ve sworn he placed his lazer gun.

 No.

A part of him already knows what that single shot meant, knows that if he were to search the house...Morty would not be inside. His brain works a million miles a minute, denial rearing its ugly head. He scrambles up from his seat, he had to make sure. He pushes out the garage door and makes a beeline to the front door.

He passes Summer, she’s frozen on the couch. Her cellphone is on the floor, hands trembling. Her tear-filled eyes zero in on Rick, who had slowed down at the sight of the crying teenager.

She knew too.

“What have you fucking done?” It’s a simple accusation, one he would normally be able to brush off; but not this time, this time the words carved deep into the elder man. He manages to keep a straight face, barely. Not answering her question, he speeds out the front door.

“Rick!” She screams after him, his brisk walk turning into a light jog when he gets onto the road. His pace speeding up until he was running, feet slapping against the pavement as he full-on sprinted down the road. He had an idea of where Morty could’ve gone, letting his gut feeling lead him to where he needed to be. The boy couldn’t have went far from home, the gunshot had sounded disturbingly close.

Too close.

Rick finally made it to the nearby park, it was empty. The area absent of children, a sense of dread settled in the pit of his stomach. He panted for breath as he slowed to a walk, eyes sweeping over the playground. The lump in his gut pushed its way into his throat when he spotted a growing puddle of blood, it was coming from a small cubby of some sort. As he crept closer, Rick could see a yellow shirt.

His stomach twisted, doing an impressive array of acrobatics as Rick fought to tear his eyes away from the cooling corpse. There was a single hole straight through his grandson’s temple, discarded ray gun laying inches from his bloodied hand. Red painted the entirety of the cramped space, the crimson liquid dripping off the low ceiling to coat the preteen’s body in his own blood.

Rick had never had a harder time not vomiting then he did in that moment, he stumbled forward. It felt like his mind was in a haze, like he was watching from an outside perspective. He carefully pulled the boy’s body out of the hole, with more gentleness than he had ever shown his grandson when he was alive. His eyes burned and he blinked defiantly, cursing under his breath hoarsely. He fell back, landing on his ass, Morty’s limp body sprawling out on his lap.

“M-Morty. You l-little shit.” He choked on a sob, curling around the smaller boy. His chest ached, tension winding tighter and tighter. There was a lot of things Rick could fix, but his grandson had to go and destroy his own brain. There was no coming back from damaging one’s most important organ, Rick could do nothing.

He was useless.

He clutched the dead body closer, shifting Morty so his head was tucked under Rick’s chin. He whispered into the boy’s ear, the same two words over and over like they could somehow reverse this whole nightmarish mess.

That’s how Summer found him, holding Morty’s blueish corpse. Fat tears were rolling off her grandpa's chin, he made no sound; just silently weeping over the lifeless body. Summer stepped closer, twig breaking under her foot. Before she could even blink, Rick had shifted so his back covered Morty from view. One of his hands whipping out his freeze-ray to aim at Summer, a dark expression painting his aged face into something to be feared.

It was easier to picture why the other Rick’s called him the rouge when he looked at her like that, how the Galactic Federation feared Rick C-137. He looked exactly like someone who had killed millions without a second thought, someone who blew up planets because he was bored. Summer held up her hands, fight or flight instincts going haywire. He seemed to recognize her after a long pause, his arm going limp as that defeated expression had his shoulders sagging once again. He turned back to Morty, muttering into an ear that would never comprehend the words being said. Summer kept her hands up as she moved closer, not wanting to spook Rick into killing her. When she got close enough to hear what Rick was mumbling, her throat closed up as her chest tightened painfully.

“I’m sorry.”