Disclaimer: I don't own The Karate Kid 2010, or any places, things, characters, or ideas therein. The aforementioned belongs to Columbia Pictures, and I am making no monetary gain from this story in any way, shape, or form. It was written for entertainment purposes only.
Summary: [The Karate Kid 2010] China had brought him nothing but trouble and heartache. Tonight, however, he had a chance, a chance to make something right. Dre POV, no pairings.
Warnings: Mentions character death
Spoilers: The Karate Kid 2010
Author's Note: One of my favorite scenes in this movie is where Dre learns about Mr. Han's past. The scene was played so powerfully by Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, and I wanted to delve a bit into Dre's thoughts while it was playing out. I hope you enjoy this story, and thanks for reading it!
From the moment my mother had told me we were moving to China, I had dreaded it with every fiber of my being. The only home I had ever known was Detroit, and I didn't want to leave it. I didn't want to go to China - to learn the language, to eat the food, to discover the culture. My already bad feelings had gotten a hundred times worse on my very first day there, when I had been beaten up far worse than I ever could have imagined possible.
There were two bright spots in my life in China, however. One was Meiying, the closest thing I had to a friend. Even though she'd said she could no longer be friends with me, deep inside I was desperately clinging to the good times we'd had together. I didn't understand how things worked in China, what was honorable and what was not, but I really wanted to find a way to make it better.
The other person was Mr. Han. Even though for the longest time I hadn't understood what he was teaching me - endless repetitions of taking my jacket off, hanging it up, taking it down, dropping it, picking it up, putting it on, and back around again - I finally realized, to a certain extent, that he was teaching me what I needed to know.
I sat in a cage of twisted metal and broken glass, gazing at photographs of a shattered family as the teacher who had become my friend shared with me his story, his brokenness.
I had been endlessly curious about the car sitting in Mr. Han's living room. He had been working on it as I practiced, restoring it to its former condition. When I had come in and found him beating it mercilessly, a look of grief-twisted rage on his face, I began to understand a fraction of what had made him the way he was. His reclusive nature, his reluctance to teach me Kung Fu, the crushing sadness I sometimes saw on his face when he thought I wasn't looking at him, why we'd taken the train to the Dragon's Well.
When he crumpled against the wheel, the sobs ripping from him with such force I thought he would come out as shattered as the car, I knew I had to do something. Mr. Han had put aside so many of his fears and insecurities to teach me Kung Fu. It was only fair I put aside some of my own to help him when he needed someone most, to make June 8 a day to remember not just for the grief, but for the happiness.
Reverently putting the pictures back in the glove box of the VW, I opened the twisted door and headed across the living room. Leaning against the wall were the two poles we used in training, and as I picked them up, I felt the strength Mr. Han had given me flow into my veins. He'd given me the confidence to keep going when I was ready to give up, and it was time I repaid the favor.
I did not falter as I moved back to the car and shouldered open the driver's door. Securing first one hand, then the other, with the loops on the end, I gently tugged. Mr. Han's head shot up, and he looked at me with red-rimmed eyes, his tear-stained face holding just a shred of hope.
Taking advantage of his receptive state, I tugged a little harder, leading him behind me until we stood in the enclosed area I'd always thought of as his backyard, though there was no grass to be seen. Securing my hold on the poles, I used one to awkwardly guide Mr. Han's hand to his face, where I prompted him to wipe his tears away. Though he still looked unbelievably depressed, and well he should, there was the slightest lessening of his pain as he took both poles in his hand and did a proper job of clearing his eyes from wetness.
All of our training had ingrained the movements we'd practiced into my very muscles. I moved slowly at first, remembering the woman and the cobra I'd seen at the Dragon's Well, allowing my memory to guide my movements and Mr. Han's. Eventually I saw him beginning to lose himself to the flow of our practice as much as I, and we traded places - him guiding, me following.
The glare of the headlight still working was more than enough light for us to see by. But by that point neither of us needed the light, we were moving by instinct and memory. Occasionally I would glimpse our shadows, mirrors of us projected on the wall as we moved seamlessly. Never before had I so completely given myself to my training, or really understood what Kung Fu was really about. It wasn't about the fighting, the defending, the offensive. As Mr. Han had told me, it touched everything in our lives, from how we treat each other to how we walk and hold ourselves. And as I watched Mr. Han's shoulders straighten from their depressed slump, and his head lift proudly, I realized that not only had he become my teacher, but he had become my best friend. He had taught me so many lessons, and I wasn't just talking about the martial arts skills.
Somehow we were teaching each other. And, in the end, win or lose, I knew we had both learned a lesson far more important than we had set out to learn.
When you fall, you can choose to get back up again.
I was so incredibly inspired by this amazing scene in the movie that I wanted to try to write Dre's thoughts during it. I hope I did the scene justice. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my fic!