A/N: First Real Steel fic, and it's really not much of an effort, but that's my opinion.
From Atom's POV. No, Real Steel is not mine.
I watched the boy grow into a man.
It's an odd concept for me. I am a machine. A sentient machine, by a mistake of those who manufactured me as a prototype, but sentient nevertheless, constrained by my own programming. We do not grow as humans do, we are made. We were never meant to be around long enough to experience true growth. And yet I saw as Max Kenton grew from the boy to a man.
When he first booted me up in that gym, I saw him and I knew he was lost, searching.
Still a little boy trying to prove to the world he could make it.
He cleaned me. How knowing those small hands were, how clever they were to find all my dents and scrapes. A clever young man, hindered by the demons he would have to face in his coming ears, of being abandoned, of never knowing a true male figure.
He knew about my shadow programming and he utilised it well when we began to fight together. How we danced! Such a clever gimmick, and it brought us a connection.
He called me 'his Atom.'
It was then I saw the seed sown into him, of the man he would become.
Such unerring stubbornness! Before my fight with Twin Cities, I was sure they would sell me off. I often heard of Charlie paying his debts back, and he had countless many more. $200 000 would have had them both happy for the rest of their live. By some mercy, Max kept me. Knew of my potential. I enjoyed the fight, as long as it was with him watching on, my little rescuer.
The Twin Cities fight was the night I saw understanding. He and his father finally started to be more personable with each other. He began to understand.
And then came cold, cruel reality when I heard of the beating Charlie received, that Max had seen. Max confided in me. I was his metal comfort. He told it all to me. If I had been truly sentient, I would have gone after the men who made Max cry. He cried for his father, who lost all his money that they had worked so hard for. Through me. I wished I could hold him, but alas, my programming constrained me tighter than any chains.
He was a little boy who grew that day, and reality crept closer to him.
The Zeus fight. A night I shall never forget. We didn't win. Not in the ring.
The victory was seeing Max run towards Charlie, crying out 'Dad!' A first for him. A first for both. They knew what it was to be family.
Years passed swiftly after that. At least, that's what it seemed to me.
Max's aunt and uncle passed not three months after the Zeus fight in a freak car accident. The innocence that was barely hanging on to that young face eroded, having lost his mother and aunt and uncle in the space of a year. All he had left was me and Charlie.
Charlie became a better man. He took full responsibility at last. He looked after Max, taught him well while we went around to more fights. They fixed me up with the money they one. I was no longer rusting. I had a brand new processor and new, stronger plating fitted onto me, to make me more resilient. We didn't like the professional circuit. They agreed they'd had enough of those politics for a lifetime.
Fights blur in my processor. All the while is a constant. Max physically growing. Getting taller, getting stronger, getting smarter. Whenever we took a year off from the circuit, he would go to school and be the top in his class at math and science, especially physics.
Girls became interested in Max. It was one subject he didn't know how to excel in. If would laugh, I could. He would come to me after school sometimes, panting, "Be glad you're not in high school Atom. Those girls can be hard to shake off!"
His voice deepened, and even Charlie laughed at his sons growth. "Every year I can't help but think how old I am," he would chuckle.
Their familial relationship was solid now as Max went through his teenage years. Sometimes they would talk about why Charlie left them. About the deaths of all his other family. The haunted look in those young eyes showed just how far Max had matured, both in mind, body, and emotion.
Graduation. A happy day.
Then MIT. I didn't see Max for a long time after that. Charlie would always seem proud though. We kept touring the circuit. We were quite popular now.
Graduation again. When I saw Max, I only realised the man he'd become. Smiling easily, he came up to me. "Good to see you Atom."
It was good to see him too.
A/N: Short little ficlet I did after I watched Real Steel. So...this has been sitting on my comp for the past month then.
Not my best work, but…meh.