"Barry. Please. Go back to the city."
In the middle of his speech, Barry stopped to stare at the colossal gorilla deity. Bezeruul had a grave, almost pitying expression on his face, and without hesitation, Barry's mind flashed back to the moment that he'd pressed the button to activate the transdimensional teleport and nothing had happened.
And then Barry's mind did something it'd never done before; it stopped thinking of everything but one thing -- Jeremy.
Something had happened to Jeremy because Barry had told him that he had to stay behind and guard the solar cells and that made it all Barry's fault.
And for the first time since Jeremy had come bouncing into his life, babbling cheerfully about gorillas and dicks and gorilla dicks, Barry had to contemplate a life without Jeremy, and the thought of it had him almost dropping to his knees and whimpering.
Because he didn't like what he saw --
A year later
"Thank you very much, Mr. Sampton," Barry's voice modulator chirped into the phone. "I'll call you if I have any more questions regarding the placement exam."
"Of course, Mrs. Ween," the principal of the middle school said with loud cheer. "You take care."
Barry smirked as he hung up the phone. Now, he just needed to place high enough on the exam to get him into high school, and then he'd be able to breeze through that in a year, especially if his "Mom" could convince them to let him take extra classes at his own pace.
After all, there was no point in wasting his time with school when there wasn't any reason to go.
Five years later
Barry snorted as he threw another envelope in the trash, this time from Boeing. They'd been coming regularly for the past week, ever since he'd been awarded a patent for the solar fuel cells he'd been using since he was a child.
He understood their desire for his product, but he wasn't interested in anything they had to offer. He had enough money to last him the rest of his time on this miserable planet; he didn't care about any paltry accolades they'd toss his way. The one thing he'd never admit to wanting, they could never give him.
If humans wanted to destroy their world, who was Barry to stop them? There wasn't anything here for him.
Twelve years later
"Barry?" A soft, feminine voice echoed through the almost empty house, a voice that Barry hadn't heard in years, not since the fiasco with the military wanting missile designs that Barry had happily given to them. Anything to help out the human race's love for destruction -- that was all humanity was good for.
"Sara," he said flatly, refusing to look up from his papers until she slapped her hand over them. With a scowl, he glanced up at her face. "I thought you said you weren't coming back."
Sara shrugged her shoulders. "It's Jeremy's birthday next week."
Barry refused to let the smile that wanted to spring up at Jeremy's name cross his face. "I'm well aware of the date," he snarled instead, trying to tug his papers out from under her hand, but they refused to budge unless he wanted them torn.
"I thought . . . for his sake? He loved monkeys . . ." Sara pleaded. "You don't need to do this."
"You want me to give up my plans so you can save a bunch of monkeys by invoking my best friend's name?" Barry asked in a very quiet yet dangerous voice.
To Sara's credit, she didn't flinch, even if her smile became a bit strained. "He would have wanted to use at least part of the land to build a gorilla park instead of turning it into a battleground!"
"And a gorilla was the cause of his death!" Barry finally lost his temper and shouted back. "Don't look for any sympathy here for those fucking oversized passive aggressive wastes of resources. If I had my way, they'd all be dead."
Sara's lips pursed together so tightly they looked white. "Well, guess what? You're going to get your chance. How the hell do you live with yourself? You're the smartest person alive, and all you care about is destroying things." Without waiting for a response, she stormed out, her heels clicking against the floor.
Leaving Barry to his papers and his plans. He stared down at the papers and the designs for turning the former wildlife refuge in Africa into a missile testing ground. For a moment, he wavered, remembering Jeremy's excitement over riding a giant gorilla, then he savagely signed the agreement to cut down all the trees.
They could all die, and he still wouldn't have his best friend back, but at least it'd make him feel like he had some sort of revenge for losing Jeremy.
"Barry, go now!" Bezeruul said, forcefully shattering Barry's nightmarish view of the future, and without thought, his feet turned him around and started him racing on his path back toward the village. He had to get back there and make it so that Jeremy didn't leave him.
Barry scrambled over the rocks, intent on the village as his mind raced about, searching for a solution in case of the worse. He had a copy of Jeremy's brain waves from the incident with the genetic resequencer, but he'd never experimented with making a copy of brain waves and transferring them at a later date. He wasn't even sure it was possible; while they had been taken from a live person, he wasn't currently living. Well, perhaps he could patch any degradation in the waves; he could even use his own for a template. Jeremy with Barry's intelligence could be fun. He would love to see what a genius-level Jeremy could come up with, although it probably would involve turning half of Africa into a gorilla park.
As he ran into the battle zone, Barry pushed his way past the warriors looking sympathetically at him, not wanting their pity if they'd taken his best friend away, especially if they weren't going to tell him what was going on.
He crested the hill next to where he had left his generator -- and froze.
Jeremy was kneeling beside Sara, head in his hands as his body shook with sobs. Barry must have made some sort of sound -- or perhaps Jeremy was just that in tune with Barry, he didn't know -- because his best friend chose that moment to look up, tears running down his face. He held out his hand, strands of black hair clenched between his fist, as he beseeched Barry to fix this.
Jeremy's pleading words barely registered as Barry stared at the dead body, hating himself for being grateful that it wasn't Jeremy lying in a pool of his own blood.