She was ugly. She was beautiful. She was the most hateful thing he ever saw.
She was a splash of red hair and bright colors tainted red. What happened ? Had he really turned his back to her when Rick told him to ? What had she thought watching them run away knowing she wouldn’t make it ?
Everything about the moment was blurred with the sharp taste of terror, the sounds of guns and bodies falling, the yells of his grandfather.
He couldn’t look away from her hair. Had it always been so beautiful ? In the corner of his eyes blue and white hovered closer, silent. A surge of hate pierced him. Who was this man in the end ?
There was a new man in their lives. Mommy had cried for hours while smiling like a crazy person half the time when he appeared one day. Morty had never seen his mommy cry for being happy even though she cried a lot for a grown up when she drank her adult fruit juice.
At first he had been almost afraid of the tall, fast man. But he changed his mind quickly. Grandpa was a wizard. The man with blue hair kept doing things that were incredible. He created bubbles so iridescent you couldn’t look at them for too long, took him to a world where everything was colorful and nothing could hurt him.
Mommy kept saying that even if she loved him very much he shouldn’t stay alone with him because he was too young and the things Grandpa did were too dangerous. Mommy didn’t get it. Grandpa was the greatest !
He came during the night and told him of worlds so strange they couldn’t even be imagined, of creatures living in lava, in trees, in space, while the light of the moon flitted through his room.
Mommy and daddy were always yelling about how strange and slow he was. Grandpa never told him he was stupid, he talked about mechanisms, about biology, the cosmos and all sorts of things without ever believing that Morty wouldn’t get it. It was great.
He kept having dreams of space and stars and his Grandpa flying between them with a wide grin. Everything he did turned into something wonderful.
The heat of the shot brushed against his face, the sizzle of the beam a sharp pain in his ear. Where was he ? Where was he ? Why on earth did it keep on getting so fucked up. What the fuck. What the fuck. Something was crowding in the base of his throat, a pressure like the need to yell in a vice too strong to let it out.
Hiding behind a corner he could hear the unceasing shots of the dozens of aliens pursuing him. Was it anger ? Was it despair ? Overwhelming sadness ? Maybe this feeling gutting him was nothing, a hole growing. He was beginning to feel numb, a tingling sensation slowly spreading from his hands to his whole body.
He needed to do something or he would die here. He would DIE here. Alone, on the far side of the galaxy system. Like her. God like her. Would his parents even know what happened to him ?
There was a weight in his pocket. As he closed his hand around it a strange calm began to invade his thoughts.
It was easy in the end. The blast resulting from the micro-neutrino bomb he threw at them made him fall wrong and break one arm in two places, one of his ankle felt suspiciously swollen. There was a slight gash on the right side of his head and one of his eyes had gone black.
He was alive.
Smoke still drifted around the place, covering mangled bodies, when a green portal opened to let Rick through.
“MOorty – burp – where the hell did you go …” The scientist stilled when he took him in. “Well you done fu-urp-cked up Morty what the hell ? Wanted to make sure we cou-our-ldn’t go back here ? Couldn’t get into your tiny dipshit head to keep out of problems withOout me ?”
Rick's hand was closed tightly against his uninjured shoulder when they went through the portal toward home. Before he would have been stupidly comforted by his grandfather crowding him and healing his wounds despite the harsh words.
Right now, he couldn’t care less. The numbness was still here. Maybe it was time to accept what his mom still denied : Rick destroyed everything he touched.
Living with Rick was an experience. There was something wonderful about getting to learn from such a genius but everything had a cost. His grandfather was … sharp. In body, in movement, in mind. Everything about him was a cutting edge similar to the one he seemed to live on.
He didn’t know whether to be wary or grateful of the brisk way Rick had of communicating. He had grown from it, that was certain. Bullies at school now seemed like little children, threats and insulting words so tames in the face of his new life. He was so much less anxious and the stutter had almost completely dropped.
But this growth also offered him the space to think about his relationship with his grandfather. He loved he man, he really did, but Rick made it so difficult. Everything with him was a trial by fire. Morty sometimes found himself tired of it.
Apart from that he had never learned more. Where at school his mind felt dulled and slow with Rick it kept jumping from one thing to another, always interesting. Power sources, mechanisms, inventions, people, cultures, … he had learned more in a year of adventure than in twelve year of school.
The familiar sound of the ship engine powering and Rick callous voice beckoning him shook him from his wandering thoughts. As frightening as it could get it was still fucking great and he felt a smile stretch his lips when he jumped on his seat.
It was going to happen anyway. He wasn’t sad about it, if the situation was reversed he was sure it wouldn’t have kept him down for long.
The patch on his eye itched, a new unwelcome addition after Rick had realized he couldn’t save it. The resulting fight at home had been one of the most explosive he witnessed. After that there was a bitterness to Rick that hadn’t been present before, it trailed behind them, got into their conversations.
Be it guilt or a sudden sense of responsibility, Rick had gotten the idea that he should teach him everything he knew or most of it anyway. The countless hours of teaching in order to “finish his education” that had followed had made the man almost tolerable again. Almost. Whatever had broken that day hadn’t been repairable.
He wondered if Rick knew it would end like this. It wouldn’t be so surprising but what a hateful idea. He hoped not. She certainly didn’t get any warning.
This end was almost poetic in its justice. An eye for an eye … a back for a back.