Of Fathers and Sons
Summary: There are somethings even Balthazar can't fix
Author's Note: I don't know where this came from. I loved the movie and decided to do a small foray of one-shots before attempting anything larger.
Rated: PG maybe
Balthazar had learned in his long life there were certain things that would happen that he had little to know control over. The sun rising or setting, the almost death of his lover Veronica, evil, these were just a few of the major things he knew he had no control over. The other was a boy named Dave.
"Dave, why are you asking me to do this?" Balthazar questioned as he stared at the young awkward man. Veronica was snickering behind him as she shook her head.
"I…I don't want to let Becky down!" Dave's response was at least honest, but the fact remained that this was beyond even Balthazar.
"Can't you teach him?" Balthazar looked over to his lover. Veronice snickered as she looked between the two men.
"Of course I can teach him-how to dance like a woman. But he needs to be taught how to dance like a man, Balthazar."
Dave looked at her and smiled, "Thank you." Dave had started too really like Veronica, the more time he spent with her the more he liked having her around. Balthazar was intense, he believed in doing everything until it was right. Veronica believed that while it was important to know and learn something, it was also best to realize everything wasn't learned instantly.
"Why are you going to this…social event?" Balthazar questioned as he stood and walked towards the younger man, looking down at the boy. He was a boy, a mere child in the eyes of the world. But Balthazar could both respect and appreciate the child for what he was.
Dave sighed as he fidgeted, until the Sorcerer finally grabbed his arms and placed them into position. "At least for now you will be the girl-"
"I'm always serious."
Dave rolled his eyes as he allowed Balthazar to show him the steps he needed to take for a dance. "I'm going because Becky's soroity is throwing a ball, all old fashioned dancing and…well you lived through that time I figured you'd know better than anyone."
"Step with me, not on me," Balthazar stated.
Veronica chuckled as Dave stepped on the older Wizard's toes more than a few times. She chuckled softly and came up behind Dave. Placing her hand on his hips, she guided him through the steps several, finally she removed her hands and was pleased to see that he was now following Balthazar, mirrior the dance steps rather than actually following them.
Balthazar gently twirled the younger man, right into Verionica's arms. "You can lead," He replied gently as he watched Dave take over with a few minor missteps. "Why didn't you ask your mother or father?"
Dave looked back at the man briefly before turning back to Veronica. She could see it in his eyes, a hint at something more. "My dad died…shortly after you disappeared into that…canister."
Balthazar caught Veronica's eyes. "I'm sorry Dave."
Dave smiled weakly, "Long time ago."
Veronica gently squeezed Dave's hand, "You're doing wonderfully," She offered to him quietly.
Balthazar was a little surprised by this admission; he'd never really asked Dave a lot of questions about his childhood. He'd always assumed the boy wished to keep it private. He watched for a long moment as Veronica and Dave laughed as she taught him how to dance. Despite his nerdiness, Balthazar couldn't help but notice the kid was a quick study. He moved to the music with an eased flawlessness. It was nearly fifteen minutes later that the two stopped, both looking a little tired, but excited at the progress Dave had made. "I'm going to go make some dinner," Veronica offered gently as she headed into the house she and Balthzar had made off to the side of the abandoned station.
Dave watched her go for a moment before he looked back at his mentor. "Thanks," he whispered softly. "She's amazing, by the way."
Balthazar chuckled, "I know." He was quite for a moment, deciding on his next words, "Were you close to your father?"
Dave smiled wearily, "Before or after he started drinking?" It was a trick question, but based on the confused look in Balthazar's eyes, it was clear the question wasn't understood. "Sorry…uh, my dad was amazing," Dave smiled, his eyes growing a little distant as though recalling memory after memory. "And for a long time, he was my best friend. But my mother died in an accident…maybe a year or two before I met you. Wasn't the world's best timing of course. But things happen. And uh…well dad…" Dave smiled weakly, "Dad didn't handle it so well."
"He hurt you?"
"Sometimes," The boy replied, "Sometimes he just drank himself blind and collasped on the floor."
Dave nodded, "Yeah. My babysitter found him on the floor a couple months after I met you. He drowned in his own vomit."
Balthazar grimaced at the visual. "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you."
The lanky young man stood and smiled weakly, "It was a really long time ago."
"What happened after that?"
"Do we have to talk about this?"
Balthazar could take a hint, he shook his head, "Of course not. Just know you aren't alone anymore. I'm not going anywhere."
Dave nodded and made his way to the staircase. He stopped halfway up. "When you died…when you were lying there dead in Veronica's arms…all I could think was great another dad left me. After everyone you love leaves you…you start to question how anyone can love you…maybe that's the reason I tried so hard to bring you back." Without another word the young man left.
Balthazar watched the boy leave and smiled sadly. He's gained an apprentice but from the sounds of it, he'd also gained a son. He looked up to see Veronica watching him. "He loves you."
Balthazar nodded, "He's a good boy."
"He's a man."
"I'm not sure I capable of being a father and a master."
"You don't really have a choice, my love. He needs both."
The dance was a mere few days away, so Dave had disappeared to some extent. Balthazar wasn't sure if it was more because he was ashamed of his admissions lately or rather because the child was just preparing.
He knocked on the apartment door, smiling as Bennett answered, "Yo Wizard-man."
"Don't call me that, is Dave here?"
The black man smirked, "Uh yeah, he's in his room studyin'. I gotta run out and get dog food anyway. You gonna tear up my apartment again?"
"Right then, not much of a talker. See you later Wizard man"
Balthazar shook his head and watched the other young man walk away, closing the door behind him. He quickly found Dave's bedroom and knocked lightly on the door. He received a muffled 'open' and was surprised as the door slowly drifted open.
"I thought we discussed your use of magic on day to day things."
Dave glanced up and rolled his eyes. He was reading a phsyics book, which he closed and put to the side. "We did, but the door is voice automated, not magic, so relax. Why are you here?"
Balthazar nodded and looked at the younger man. "I was thirteen when my parents died…at the hands of Morgana herself. Merlin took me under his wing instantly. Loved me as his own. He'd been there at the end of my parents life and what was going to be the beginning of my own. It wasn't easy…I had some trouble adjusting initially, but eventually I found not just a master…but a father in Merlin. Maybe it wasn't appropriate, the amount of love I held for him. But I wanted you to know I understand." Balthazar pulled out a pocket watch and handed it to Dave. "A long time ago, my…father gave me this and he told me one day I'd have a son who I would pass it down to."
"I'm not your son."
Balthazar smiled, "I know, but at this point I doubt I'll have a child who I…am so close to as you." He could recall the day Merlin had told him the same thing, "Just…when you grow old make sure you give it to your child as well."
"Thank you," Dave replied accepting the gift and looking at it. "And thanks for coming back."
Balthazar nodded, "I would've never left in the first place if it hadn't meant keeping you safe." With an awkward smile, he left Dave alone in his bedroom.
Dave glanced down at the watch again, then over at a picture of him and his father. He smiled at how happy they looked. Perhaps the man his father had once been was gone, but if anything he lived on in spirit through Balthazar, even if that wasn't the intent. "Thanks dad." He whispered.