Challenge Entry - Shatter
Title: Seeing Through New Eyes
Pairings/Characters: The Mechanist, Teo
Summary: 'The Mechanist' (as he was called) only had to forget the look of the shattered bones, to notice what a wonderful young man his son was becoming. But for a man rich in memories, that was easier said than done.
He was a boy, but he was brave. Just a boy... shattered, limbs crushed... but still brave.
Braver than he had ever been, which brought the man nothing but shame.
The boy's mother would have been horrified by the actions he's taken over the past months, he thought, as he ran his hand across the assortment of scrap metals over a messy desk and the other odd bits and pieces he'd scattered there that he'd assumed must have a use some place, to some end.
Out the window, he watched his son. The boy still hadn't stopped playing. He was the type that was always surrounded by friends and when he wasn't, he was making new ones.
He also was the type who never got angry. Which was why for those mere hours when he'd learnt the truth, it cut his father right through the heart, leaving a feeling of shame burning into his subconscious the way his failed experiments seemed to have the same effect on his outward body.
The young optimist got over it fast and under his burnt eyebrows, the man saw his son waving to him mid-flight, as though nothing had happened at all.
Every time the boy looked at him with that big grin, as if the past was just a dream - all he could hear were the boy's screams resonate through their Earth Kingdom house when the Fire Nation invaded. All he could see was that now happy face, contorted with agony as his legs bled out where the bone was exposed...
There were a few things he had to get in order after that happened. The first was to find a place where he and his son could be safe again and the second was to make sure he never saw the boy like that again, although it was what he still saw every time he opened his eyes.
"Hey dad. Working on something new?"
At the sound of him rolling in, the man simply known around the temple as 'The Mechanist' got up as if he was trying to cover something up, when in reality it was just his thoughts he was ashamed of.
How could he think of his son as so frail when his son refused to admit that of himself?
The boy cracked another smile as big as the sky that had become his frequent companion. "Nothing for the Fire Nation I hope..."
At the man's expression the boy burst out laughing. "It was a joke dad. I trust you."
"You shouldn't," the aging man confessed, slumping back down in his chair with a sigh.
The boy rolled over closer to him. "Why wouldn't I? You've built a new life for us. How could I not be grateful for that?"
Sadly, he shook the most graphic images of his crippled son in his moment of weakness out of head and forced himself to look again.
The frailties melted to show an ever-confident, strong young man who was ready for any challenge life could throw at him.
The man was almost speechless at what he almost missed when hiding away in memories that he thought to be too terrible to let go of.
"You've become a brave young man, Teo. Braver than I could have ever hoped to be."
"Well, I know that's a lie... I take after you," his son answered him.
Creases spread over his face at this, tears pricking at his eyes. "No. You take after your mother..."
He closed his eyes and opened them again, he'd never been more proud than he was at that moment, and he knew his wife would have been too. "We're both proud of you, son."
As he turned his chair around, with a great heave of his chest at trying to suppress his emotions, a poignant realization hit him, that he knew his son would never be able to see, because he always saw the good in everybody.
Even though Teo's bones were shattered and broken he could remain strong. But no matter what he could do, 'The Mechanist' couldn't claim the same. Because, although his bones might not have been shattered, his hopes were.
He lost something that day the Fire Nation attacked, something much more than what could be seen. He lost a part of himself that he didn't know how to get back the same way as it had marked (and almost claimed) and personified his son.
Perhaps he could never be the father that Teo deserved, and he couldn't claim any credit for the young man he was becoming, but if his love could carry him when he was feeble, he would try his best to be there.
He'd never been so proud... and although it shattered every memory he relied upon of a son that still needed him, he couldn't deny that his son was becoming a great man.