Walter White did not want to be his father.

His life at home was peaceful enough. Walt's childhood was full of that quiet dysfunction that, once you've properly distanced yourself from it, is easy to forget or justify away. There were fights, but the fights were quiet, just words hissing in the back of young Walt's mind, like water evaporating; liquid hitting a skillet. After all, they weren't really fights; they were only words. Walt's father never hit his wife, he never drank; he was supportive, suffering in silence as she withered and whimpered her way out of this world. Mrs. White was sick; she stayed sick for ten years, long enough that when she finally did die, she'd taken half of her husband to the grave with her. Walt's father worked long hours. He always came home looking tired. When Walt's mother was done talking with him, he looked dead. He would ask Walt questions about school and girls and friends, but his laugh was weary and forced, his eyes glazed and dark, his shoulders hunched. He was a man defeated, but Walt saw no enemy. There is no enemy, Walt told himself, there is no danger. Only words.

The rest of Walt's family idolized his father, but Walt resented him for his weakness. Then Walter went off to college; he had a bright future ahead of him, everybody was always saying so. It was all they could think to say around Walt; he was loyal, kind-hearted, even-tempered, and, ultimately, he made for rather dull company. At first, Walt was very self-aware; but that was too painful, so he made an effort to forget himself. Life was easier that way. The cut doesn't hurt so much if you focus on everything else. Unfortunately, Walter's ego was the cut, and the cut turned to a wound, the wound to a festering hole; never a scar, never healed, only concealed. He made himself believe it was gone, but he was only hiding it, burying it under dreams of a bright future.

After a year or so away from home, Walt's thoughts became kinder. Memory is kinder from a distance, and as Walt quietly revised his opinion of his father, he came to accept why his family put him on a pedestal. He told himself he understood it, but that was a lie. He never understood it, he merely accepted it. Another light went out in Walt's mind, another compartment sealed shut forever...but nothing is forever, nothing ever dies, everything lives on within you. Shadows grow longer as the lights dim. Monsters grow more teeth when stowed away.

Walt's father joined his wife, and they became mist in Walt's heart. Dust under the rug, shadows dancing a somber dance in the back of his mind...

Shadows grow longer as the lights dim. Monsters grow more teeth when stowed away.

Walt trained himself to look away. Weak, indecisive, kind, mild-mannered, selfless, weak, selfless, meek-these words blended together and lost meaning. And besides, they were only words. And Walter White was a man of logic, of cold truths, formulas and facts. Or so he said. So he told himself. He was a scientist; instability in a stable guise, a volatile collection waiting for that catalyst...

He named his son Walter. Nothing ever dies.