Before reading, let me explain one thing. There's a big debate on a well known childhood book called "The Bareinstain Bears." Many people remember the title as Barenstain while some remember it as Bareinstein. All books should say Bareinstain. The conundrum has even left some merchandise printed with either name. This has brought up many conspiracy theories, one of which being the alternate universe theory where at some point two universes were so close in similarities (one with the a and the other with the e in the names) that they somehow converged. That's the theory as to why some items have the typo and others remember it with the e. The truth is memory displacement and human error.
No joke. Go ahead, look it up….I'll wait…alright, now that that's taken care of, I hope you enjoy.
Morty had found a box on Rick's shelf marked "Keep Out." He knew his grandfather liked his own personal space, but somehow Morty was always an exception. He would get yelled at like the other members in the family, however, he was never forced to stop. In a way, Morty found that he had some sort of shield to Rick's anger. Yeah he would get belittled by Rick, but Rick would never tell Morty to leave like he would the others. Even Beth had been kicked out of the garage on occasion, yet Morty was free to look around.
Morty opened the box to find personal belongings. Not belongings like shirts, pants, and toiletries, but little trinkets. They seemed like things that Rick had collected over the years. Morty found an empty cigarette package with a phone number on the outside, a Blitz and Chitz keychain, and a large stack of pictures. Most of the photographs were of random aliens Morty had never seen and a few with the aliens he had previously met. He then saw a picture of a young boy with a yellow shirt on. He was holding out a book toward the camera. It looked a lot like himself from his own baby pictures. Morty set it aside to look at the rest of the items in the box.
At the bottom of the box, lay a book. But no normal book, a book Morty held dear to his heart. Morty cracked open the cover, yep there it was, his name crudely drawn in it from when he was five. To say he was confused was an understatement. Why did Rick steal his book to put in his keepsake box?
Then something else caught his eye. Morty read the cover, "The Barenstain Bears." Morty stared at that name for a while trying to figure out if he was reading that correctly.
"Hey Morty, what ya got there little buddy?" Rick asked abnormally happy, as he entered the garage and casually walked to his desk.
"A book." Morty said.
Rick leaned over to see what the kid was staring at. As soon as he saw it, his demeanor changed. His face went straight and he looked away trying to pretend like he didn't notice.
"Rick." Morty finally talked.
"What?" Rick asked quickly. Morty could sense his frustration at the impending question.
"Why is it spelt with an A?"
"What's spelt with an A?"
"Barenstaaaain." Morty said punctuating the A while holding the book up. "That's supposed to be an E." Morty pointed to the A in the 'stain.'
Rick scoffed. "Yeah, like you're the one to tell me how to spell. It's on the book isn't it?"
"No. I loved this book as a kid." Morty looked it over, flipping through the pages. "I'm sure it was with an E."
"It's called memory displacement Morty. You remember things differently as a young child. It's the reason people always believe the world is better as a child. I can guarantee the world will suck as much as it does now in thirty years when you think back on 'fond' memories." Rick held his hands up to make quotations with his hands when he said fond.
Morty wasn't accepting that as an answer. He stood up and ran out of the garage with the book in tow.
Rick let out a sigh as he went back to his work in front of him.
Morty walked back into the garage with two books now. "See. It's with an e. I should know this was my favorite book. Summer read it to me every night for years."
Rick walked over to Morty snatching the book that had the A in it.
"Wait, how do you have that other book if mine is right here?" Morty asked.
"Must have slipped into my stuff from someone else." Rick said attempting to pretend to focus on his invention.
"But that doesn't explain the…"
Rick cut him off, "Explain what Morty?" Rick snapped. "It doesn't explain the fact that I'm here? Doesn't explain the dumb vowel difference? Doesn't explain why I'm stuck with a nosey shit like you?"
"I was just…just…just"
Rick slammed his hand on the desk, "For the love of everything Morty, if you have any idea of what you want to say, say it. If not then go do something else." Rick waved his hand.
Morty glared at Rick, "You don't have to be an ass about it! You could tell me the truth sometimes." Then he ran out of the garage.
Rick sat in the garage head in his hands as he took in a deep breath. He stared at the book; he hadn't looked at that book in so long. He opened it slightly to see Morty's name scrolled inside in messy blocky words. Not this Morty, but his Morty. The one he watched grow up. He read that book to Morty every night, it was the only book Morty ever wanted.
Rick smiled as he touched the words, the only thing he had left. "Wubalubadubdub Morty. Wubalubadubdub." He learned those words when he first met Birdperson. Birdperson was hurting and was asking for help. Of course those weren't the exact words, Rick paraphrased it over the years. Bird language was 'too complex' as Birdperson put it for human motor functions…or some garbage like that. But it was still a way Rick could say how he was feeling, and ever since he watched Morty die he would never admit that he had been hurting ever since.
He knew he wasn't getting work done tonight; instead he turned to alcohol to help him sleep.
The clock would read 4:05 the next time Rick looked up at it. He shakily stood up from his desk not even caring to count the bottles. He was finally tired enough to go to bed. Rick grabbed the book on his desk so that he could hide it in his room. Morty didn't look there. He did his normal routine by falling halfway up the stairs.
He found himself walking straight into Morty's room. "Morty, I'm going to read you a bedtime story Morty!" Rick said excitedly.
"Rick." Morty mumbled. "I'm already sleeping." He put the sheets over his head as Rick turned his elephant lamp on.
"It's your favorite story Morty!" Rick pulled the comforter from over Morty's face, "You loved this one when you were five. I read it to you every night. I tried to get different books but you went straight for this one."
Morty looked down at the book, "Summer read that to me every night. You weren't around."
"Rick go to bed, you're drunk." Morty pulled his covers back over himself. "I don't want to deal with vomit tonight. Just go to bed."
Rick snatched the covers off Morty, "Come on, I have to read the story or you can't fall asleep."
Morty sighed sitting up while yawning. "Go ahead then, read the story."
Morty was already closing his eyes before Rick could get one word out.
He was jabbed in the side, "Come on. The story. You loved the story."
"Rick, we both know you aren't thinking of me when you say that." Morty finally said. "I'm fine with it, but you can just go read it to yourself. I'm sleeping."
"No Morty, I want to share it." Rick said.
Morty finally sat up seething with anger, "You know what Rick! If-if you want to share anything with me then do it when you aren't piss faced drunk! Talk to me like a normal person would when they are sober!" Morty grabbed the book in Rick's hands, throwing it across the room. "You only ever want to show you care when you are too drunk to remember anything and I'm tired of it. I'm tired of hearing about your other Morty when you're drunk and then when you're sober you pretend like none of that is real. Go get some sleep and…and don't mention your other Morty to me until you can walk a straight line or whatever you do to prove you're sober."
"Morty…I…" Rick tried to talk through slurred words.
"Go! Rick!" Morty pointed to his door.
Rick stood up, "Stupid book hating mother…" he said grumbling under his breath as he walked out.
Morty turned off his light and attempted to fall back asleep. He couldn't sleep, he felt bad for yelling at Rick. Then he heard Rick snoring down the hall. Already asleep.
The next day Morty found Rick at the dining room table eating cereal.
"Hey." Morty said as he grabbed a bowl to get some cereal.
"Hey Morty." Rick said through a full mouth.
Morty poured the cereal into the bowl then added milk. He sat at the dining room table.
"You left your book in my room." Morty said. "I'll get it after breakfast."
Rick was silent as he finished his bowl. "Morty, about last night."
Morty looked up at Rick, Rick never remembered when he was that drunk.
Rick was silent as if contemplating as to how he should further the conversation. "So you know there's a Morty before you?" Rick asked staring at the bowl.
"Yeah, you told me."
"What did I tell you?"
"You said you were the reason for Morty and the family's death. You didn't go to war, something about being the good one. I really don't care. We don't need to..."
Rick cut him off. "I stayed with Beth and Jerry. Of course I would still occasionally take off for weeks, but I helped raise Summer while Beth went to Vet school. Jerry even got a job in that dimension; he was doing alright for the family. Then Morty came along and I helped raise him too."
Morty kept eating while listening.
"I miss him." Rick said. "I never got to cope; they say you should be given two weeks to be alone to have your thoughts. Instead I had to find another dimension where you and the family were alive and start over immediately. I had to remember that you didn't have the same memories. It was weird. I'd crack an inside joke and you wouldn't laugh. I had to keep reminding myself that you weren't the same Morty I knew."
"When you drink, you pretend like I'm the other Morty." Morty said.
Rick closed his eyes, "It's just easier for me…if I pretend like it never happened."
"You know, when we came here to replace ourselves, I couldn't adjust at first. But knowing you had a hard time adjusting makes me feel better."
Rick let out a low laugh, "Yeah, I guess so."
"Rick." Morty said. "Just remember, it takes a strong person to do what you do."
Rick smiled for a brief second as he took in the words, and then suddenly stood up scowling grabbing the bowl on the table. He set it in the sink, filling it with water before harshly replying, "Good one Morty, where'd you hear that dumb saying? Dr. Phil? That's a fucking shitty saying."
Morty smiled as Rick walked to the garage slamming the door.
Rick was back to his old self.
Rick sat down at the bench starting to work on his project. The door was opened; Rick looked up to see Morty walking toward him. Without a word, Morty set the two similar books on the desk then walked out. As soon as the door closed Rick smiled picking up the two books.
"Thanks Morty." Rick said to an empty room.
He…no…both of them were strong.
I feel like Rick is OOC in this one, sorry if you felt it too. I tried to make him as in character as possible but it was hard to do in this story when 90% of it is character development type stuff.
I wrote this as a way of saying thanks! I never expected the amount of reviews I received for my oneshot!
As always, reviews are appreciated!