A/N- I saw the Sorcerer's Apprentice when I was with my family on vacation. It was awesome, but since everyone else was like, "Oh, it was okay." I really didn't feel like getting into another argument with my cousin (who I wanted to punch in the face most o the time) so I didn't give my honest opinion about it. Here it is now, after I just saw it for the second time with my grandma yesterday:


So here's just a short thing I felt like writing for it. Because there has to be a better reason why Dave is so awkward and jumpy then just being embarrassed in front of a lot of kids that were only ten.

Balthazar honestly hadn't been expecting to meet any of Dave's family when they were walking home. Really, before that point, it had never crossed his mind to ask Dave about his family or home life, at least not past the main idea. His apprentice had never brought it up, so, knowing how some topics could be more sensitive then others, he never brought it up either. For all he knew, they could have been criminals, or dead, and he would have just brought up painful memories.

He really didn't want to be accused of making Dave's life a living Hell again. It hurt enough the first time he had said it.

But as he watched Dave freeze in the middle of the street as a man that looked startlingly similar to him walked towards him, looking like the cat that caught the canary, Balthazar thought that maybe he should have made more of an effort to learn about the boy's life before he became involved in it. It wasn't like he hadn't tried to ask questions, but Dave had always seemed reluctant to answer them. He pressed a little harder, occasionally, and when he did, Dave would reply and tell him what he wanted to know. It never seemed like a full answer, though. It never felt like Dave was telling the complete truth.

Surprisingly, it was one of the few things Balthazar was fairly certain Dave was able to lie to him about without him realizing it.

"Are you alright, Dave?" Balthazar asked, his face blank of his inner thoughts.

"Uhh..." His apprentice's eyes were locked on the man who was swiftly advancing towards them. "I think it would be best if we walked in the opposite direction."

"And why would that be?"

"N-no particular reason," Dave laughed nervously, fidgeting in place as he began to back up.

Balthazar couldn't help the slight smirk on his face as he said in a casual tone, "You really are-"

"A horrible liar, I know, I know..." Dave interrupted him quickly before he could finish, grabbing his arm and pushing him in the opposite direction. Balthazar stumbled forward, not expecting the short response from the boy. Turning around to face Dave and ask what exactly was going on, he bit down on his question when he saw the man finally approach the young adult.

"Why David, what a coincidence," The man smirked, placing a hand on Dave's shoulder. Balthazar's eyes narrowed as he observed the scene. Dave stood there, completely still, his face calm despite his tense posture. He was leaning, just so slightly, away from the stranger, enough that he looked casual. "It's been so long since I last saw you. In fact, I don't think I've seen you since you moved out. Why haven't you invited your mother and I over to dinner?"

"I've been busy, Uncle Vergil," Dave was looking at a point over Vergil's shoulder, not meeting the dark eyes that mirrored his own. "College life isn't easy. I'm lucky if I have time to have dinner with my roommate."

Vergil frowned, taking Dave's hands into his own without his permission. "Aw, you couldn't make time for family? Even a phone call would have been nice."

Dave shrugged a shoulder carelessly, appearing unruffled. "Sorry." His eyes still wouldn't meet Vergil's.

Vergil's eyes hardened abruptly and his grip tightened. His teeth bared into a snarl as, keeping one hand holding Dave's hands in place, he used his other hand to shove the sorcerer-in-training up against a wall of a building they had passed on the street. "Stand up straight and look me in the eyes when you're talking to me, boy."

With his eyes still locked on something over his uncle's shoulder, he shook his head slowly. "No."

The part of the city he and Balthazar had been walking through was not heavily populated. It was in between the city and the suburbs, so only a few people were witness to what was happening between the relatives. Balthazar, for the first time in what must have been years, was truly shocked, unsure of how to proceed.

For just a moment, everything was hushed. For just a moment, it felt as if the world had been completely paused.

But the moment passed, and the silence was broken by a reverberating smack that echoed in the quiet evening. The loud sound smacked Balthazar out of his stupor, immediately snapping his temper.

Stalking forward, he grabbed Vergil's wrist roughly, dragging it away from Dave's now lightly bleeding face.

"Excuse me," Balthazar's voice was calm, as it always was, though an icy edge was heard underneath the polite tone. "But I don't believe we have met. My name is Balthazar Blake. And this is my apprentice that you just had the gall to strike."

Vergil was instantly amiable and cheerful once more, ignoring the painful grasp the long-haired man had on his wrist.

"Pardon me, but what exactly do you mean by apprentice? I thought my nephew was going to college. Apprenticeships for jobs don't require college degrees, last time I checked."

Balthazar's face continued to stay impassive as he pushed Vergil away from Dave, putting himself in between the two. His lips twitched downwards when the slightly taller man's nostrils flared and his eyes flashed with anger at the movement.

He released Vergil's wrist as he replied, "Of course Dave still goes to college. His apprenticeship is with me in his spare time. But we digress."

"I have the right to know what is going on with my former charge's life-"

"And I have the right to tell you to get the fuck out of here and never touch my apprentice again." Balthazar interrupted coldly. Without letting the other man answer, he continued on, his voice growing icier and sharper with every word. "Now you will leave here. You will never come near Dave again unless he wishes it. And maybe, just maybe, I will let you leave with only this warning and I won't end your life in the most gruesome way I can think of." He leered at the now apprehensive man. "And believe me; My imagination is quite vivid."

Without another word to the uncle that was frozen in place by the sheer aura of the sorcerer in front of him, Balthazar helped Dave to his feet, taking his hands gently.

"Come on, David." His voice was kinder and quieter when he spoke to Dave, even though he addressed him by his full name. (Usually something he only did when he was angry)

Dave nodded, not speaking as Balthazar took his arm, guiding him home. His limbs felt heavy, and his stomach was churning. He could feel the blood trickling down his face, dribbling down his neck...

The walk to the house they shared went by quickly, in Dave's hazy opinion. His mind felt sluggish, almost like it was exhausted. For all he knew, Balthazar could have been talking to him, asking him questions, or telling him off, and he wouldn't of known.

He blinked as he felt something cool wipe his face and neck. Looking down and slowly coming over the shock that seemed to have taken over him, he saw he was sitting down on one of the stools in their kitchen, Balthazar standing over him with a worried expression he was valiantly trying to hide in order to keep up his "Cool Master" facade. A washcloth was in the older man's hands, parts of it stained red. His eyes shut closed for a moment as he tried to make sense of what was going on. It took him a moment to register the slight pressure on his face, and, absentmindedly, he brushed his fingertips across the bandage Balthazar had placed there.

His fingertips froze when everything came crashing down. Eyes widening, he mumbled, shaking his head slowly, "No, no, he isn't supposed to be here... He isn't supposed to know where I am..."

Balthazar knew the state of shock Dave had been locked in wouldn't last forever. He was lucky it had lasted until he could get him home to safety. While he knew he wasn't the best person to be comforting the boy, he was all Dave had at that moment.

"Dave, it's okay." Balthazar carefully raised a hand, only to quickly drop it when Dave flinched, edging himself as far away on the stool as he could, still shaking his head and mumbling quietly. "It's only me."

"He isn't supposed to be here..." Dave's voice was desperate as he leaned his head into his hands, his elbows resting on his knees. His hands weaved their way into his hair, a nervous gesture he used even when he wasn't having a nervous breakdown.

Balthazar cautiously tried once more, reaching his hand to tilt Dave's chin up so they were looking at each other. Quietly, softly, he reassured him, "Dave. It's just me. It's your annoying master that makes you wear 'old man' shoes and practice spells over and over again. It's Balthazar. You know that I would never hurt you, Dave." His hand glided from Dave's chin to his hair, running through it soothingly and using his other hand to delicately pry the boy's hands from his head. "Now, you need to calm down, Dave. I'm going to take you over to the couch in the living room. I'm going to let you have a few minutes to relax and realize that you are completely safe here and whoever that man is will most definitely NOT get in here. Okay, Dave?"

Balthazar waited for Dave's shaky nod. Once he was sure Dave wasn't going to sprint off or panic again, he placed an arm around his apprentice's shoulder, guiding him once more. After making sure that Dave would be fine for a few minutes alone, he stepped into the kitchen. Quietly, so he didn't make the other anymore jumpier, he took some mugs from the cabinet. Patiently, he poured milk into the mugs, making sure not to fill either up too high, before placing them both into the microwave.

He was a patient man. After spending over a thousand years searching for one boy, waiting for said boy to open up to him and tell him what happened between him and his family member wasn't difficult.

Or, at least, it wasn't supposed to be difficult.

But seeing that vulnerable, that utterly horrified look on his apprentice's face... It brought out his protective instinct. It made him want to attack whoever made that look come into existence in the first place. His fist gripped the counter until his knuckles turned white, and he could feel the magic in the air surrounding him react to his emotions. Forcing himself to calm down, forcing himself to hold onto his patience, he bit down on his temper and the magic sparking around him stopped abruptly. The microwave chimed, tearing Balthazar away from destructive thoughts.

Walking back to the living room with a mug in each hand, trying not to look too anxious, Balthazar took a seat next to Dave, who was much more collected then he had been just minutes prior. Handing him a mug, he shrugged at the confused look he received. "I have been alive a long time, and I still haven't come across anything more relaxing then a cup of warm milk and a listening ear."

Dave averted his eyes to the mug in his hands, not looking at Balthazar. His fingers drummed against the mug, another nervous gesture Balthazar had learned he had.

"You don't have to talk if you don't want to," Balthazar's voice was almost silent as he informed Dave of this fact. "I just want to help. And whether that means me being a sympathetic listener, or just letting you know that I'm here for you, or even just sitting here in silence and helping you calm down..." He trailed off, and Dave nodded, still tapping his fingers anxiously.

Balthazar inconspicuously kept an eye on Dave as the silence grew. Dave was looking straight ahead dispassionately, every so often taking a sip of the warm drink.

The older sorcerer couldn't decide whether the silence between them was uncomfortable or not. Then again, did it really matter whether it was comfortable or not? Dave wasn't going to be comfortable in this situation, no matter where they were or what they were doing.

"When I was younger," Balthazar brought his eyes to Dave's as the apprentice began to speak, slowly, quietly. "Even before my nervous breakdown after first meeting you, I was always known as a little eccentric. A little weird. That was just how I was.

"My mom and dad never really got along. My dad was always on business trips, while my mom spent all of our extra money on herself. I never spoke with my dad, I don't think, before he died. I was just kind of there in the house all of the time. I don't think either of my parents cared for me. Not really. The only things I can remember my mom doing for me is buying me clothes when I needed them, buying my toys when I asked her, and waking me up for school. "

Dave's tapping against his mug never desisted, and Balthazar didn't dare speak for fear of scaring Dave into silence once more.

"My father died when I was about nine. About a year before I stumbled into Arcana Cabana. Not even that, I don't think. My mom started to get angry a lot more often, so I would avoid her as much as I could. She yelled a lot.

"But then, she suddenly got really happy. She was laughing and smiling a lot. She wouldn't always be in a bad mood. I found out later it was because she had started dating my dad's brother. My uncle.

"Of course, that didn't mean that she didn't stop yelling at me. I was sent home a lot with a note from my teachers saying something or other about me getting into a fight with another kid or freaking other kids out or making kids feel bad because I would act like a 'know-it-all'. Usually, it wasn't my fault. I remember that." Dave's eyes were glued to his feet as if they had all of the answers. Balthazar was literally biting his tongue so he wouldn't interrupt.

Dave took a deep breath and continued. "So my mom did get mad at me a lot, still. She was seriously starting to consider taking me to a therapist to control my 'behavioral issues', mostly because of my uncle's insistence. Arcana Cabana was the straw to break the camel's back, so to speak. I guess that was why when we met again, I was so unwilling to learn. I wanted to blame someone for my assumed insanity. I wanted to blame someone that wasn't my mom. She might not have been a good one, but she was still my mom. I didn't want to admit that a lot of my problems stem from her."

"But she wasn't the only one that hurt you, right?" Balthazar gingerly encouraged.

Dave shook his head mutely.

"By the time I was twelve my uncle and my mom were getting married. We had already moved into the house where my uncle was living, both because it was a bigger house then our one-story two-bedroom cottage-house-thing and because my mom wanted a new start where she wasn't known as the mother of the crazy kid.

"My uncle took it upon himself to 'help' my therapist and get me to become a perfect stepson-slash-nephew as soon as possible. Any time I did something he saw as 'abnormal', 'unnatural', 'weird', 'freakish', or 'crazy', he would punish me." Dave was barely aware of the mug shattering in his hand, his magic responding to his turmoil. His hand began to bleed, but he didn't notice as he continued, voice soft, almost deadly gentle. "For over five years, until I was able to get a scholarship to college, I had to put up with the charming 'Uncle Vergil' every day. It was very, very rare when there was a day where I wasn't punished. Uncle Vergil, though, was smart. He didn't injure me any place that it would be visible. He told my mom to buy me all long-sleeved shirts and pants. He acted like the concerned, helpful, shy stepfather that just wanted to help his poor, mentally ill stepson."

Balthazar was caught speechless, only able to choke out, "Why didn't you fight back today? You could have easily used a plasma bolt, or set him on fire, or something-"

"I'm not becoming him." Dave firmly interrupted, looking up at Balthazar determinedly. "I will never, ever use my powers to hurt someone unless I or someone else is seriously in danger. I don't care if it's stupid, I don't care if it's going to get me killed, but I am not becoming him. I already have his face, I don't want his personality."

Dave was caught off guard completely when Balthazar wrapped his arms around him snugly, whispering repeatedly, "I'm so sorry... I'm so, so sorry..."

Dave blinked, unsure of how to respond. "Um... You do realize that this isn't in anyway your fault, right? So you really have no need to apologize, I mean, I should be apologizing for dumping all of this on you like this, all of a sudden-"

"Don't ever apologize for talking," Balthazar cut him off, still hugging the boy tightly. "I'm your master, I'm supposed to know these kinds of things."

"But this really wasn't your problem-"

"David, it shouldn't be your problem either."

"I-I shouldn't of burden-"

"Don't you dare say that this is burdening me, David Stutler," Balthazar snapped, putting the boy at arm's length and staring him straight in the eye. "You do not have to shoulder all of this alone. You aren't alone anymore. I will always be here for you, David. It is only natural that I help you through this." Balthazar's tone softened as he pressed a hand against Dave's face. "You are my world now, David. I swore the day that you scrambled into my shop that I would help you through all of your trials and problems. Understand?"

Not even seconds after that last word, Balthazar was met with an armful of apprentice.

Dave didn't sob hysterically, or cry about his lost childhood. He just clutched Balthazar, breathing in his scent as he tried to regain control of his wild emotions.

His voice was quiet, almost incoherent. "Thank you. Just... Thank you. For everything."

Balthazar just held Dave close, pressing a kiss against the top of his head as his eyes shut closed, content for the moment.

Barely an hour later, when Dave was fast asleep, using Balthazar's chest as a pillow and hugging one of his hands to his chest, Balthazar crept off of the couch, dislodging himself from Dave's death grip. He winced when he heard Dave whimper in his sleep and, quietly, took his trench coat off, draping it over the boy's frame. It seemed to be enough, because he bunched one of the sleeves in his hands and turned over, still asleep.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Balthazar slipped out of the house, completely silent.

The next morning, Dave took his time in waking up, not wanting to move from the comfortable position he was in. He was warm, completely relaxed, and for the first time in a long time, he wasn't worrying or freaking out about anything.

But, eventually, he reluctantly opened his eyes, blinking sleep out of his eyes blearily. Peering around, he frowned in honest befuddlement at where he was sleeping. He sat up, looking at the coat that was lying across his body. With an embarrassed flush, his memories of the night before came rushing back to him. Scuttling to his feet, he looked around, wondering where Balthazar was.

He received his answer when he looked into the kitchen, seeing the experienced sorcerer cooking breakfast.

"Morning." Dave greeted, yawning as he walked further in. Looking over Balthazar's shoulder, he asked groggily, "What are you making?"

"Hm... It was supposed to be an omelet, but I think it's turned into really burnt scrambled eggs now." Balthazar inspected the pan, tilting his head from side to side. "Well then, Dave," Balthazar cheerfully clapped his hands together turning around to face the still half-asleep boy. "Seeing as this is my fifth failed attempt and we are now out of eggs, lets go out for breakfast."

Dave nodded, stretching his arms out. "Just let me take a shower and get changed real quick. It'll only take a few minutes. Can you get the newspaper while I get ready?"

"Funny thing about that. I was going to go grab it, but the paper wasn't there." Balthazar turned to the sink, dropping the frying pan and various other cooking utensils into it.

A shrug answered Balthazar's statement. "Oh well. I guess the paperboy just skipped us by accident."

"Yeah, probably. He's like twelve or something, isn't he?"

Another shrug before Dave turned and disappeared into the bathroom.

Balthazar, when he heard the water start to run, let out a small breath of relief, pulling the "lost" newspaper out of his back pocket. A decidedly malicious smirk was playing at his lips as he casually dropped the newspaper onto the still hot, burning stove.

"Whoops." Balthazar mouthed as he swatted his hand over the paper, easily letting the flaming paper be put out and transported to the garbage.

Were one to have seen the paper before it were destroyed, they would have been able to read about Vergil and Diane Stutler's brutal, heartless murders.

But really, Dave didn't need to read about that anyway.

"Ready to go, Balthazar?"

"Of course, Dave. Where do you want to go to eat?"

"That diner a few blocks down looked pretty good. Wanna head there?"

"Wherever you want, Dave."

A/N- This was meant to stay as a one-shot, but if people say they want more, I'll happily write more. Hope you liked it, please review if you have time!