A World of Black and White.
A/N~ I guess you could call this a small tribute to Teridax, and to those who are misunderstood. To those who are judged, to those who have been shunned, to those who have never really been listened to. The saying 'there are two sides to every story' is a very true concept, and I couldn't help but be reminded of this phrase when Teridax first made his mark on the Bionicle franchise. From all the facts I gathered about him, it seems he was not evil, but merely confused and doing what he honestly thought was right. We never so much as got to really hear about much of his past, nor did we get any real explanations as to why he was like he was. All we got was that he was supposedly 'jealous' of all the glory and praise Mata-nui got while he dedicated his entire life to thankless Matoran, Toa, and Turaga. And to me, that's beyond unfair. As I have said a few times, people do stupid and terrible things when they're hurt. Teridax seems to be the prime example of that.
What can I say? I have a soft spot for the odd man out! This was also partly inspired by a few implied events in an RP session between myself and earthquakes123 (aka stormseeker123 on here). Song inspirations can be found in my profile! Be warned, all of them hold a very sad, lonely feel to them.
Universe: AU, Humanized!Bionicle, Pre-Mask of Light.
Characters: Teridax, Matoro, Turaga (mentioned), Toa (mentioned).
Genre: Hurt, comfort, angst, romance(?).
Selfish, heartless, thoughtless. All of them. They were all bloody damn fools who loved nothing but themselves. Or so Teridax thought. Perhaps not everyone was as ugly as they were on the inside. Perhaps not everyone was just as cold hearted as he was. Perhaps there could have been one exception. Perhaps…a single misfit Ko-matoran, who looked so much like the brother he loved and hated so much, could bring him to his knees and allow him to weep…
It was a complete and utter accident that this had happened.
But it had happened, and there was nothing either of them could do to change it. In fact, neither of them would change it if they had the chance to. It was too big an opportunity to pass up, and neither was willing to trade it away.
Both of them were perfectly content with how things were. To change it would be to destroy what little peace they managed to gain from their meetings. It would completely ruin their already fragile hearts, and they both knew that if it hadn't happened, at least one of them would have long since become a monster.
Neither of them wished to change how things had happened.
This was their one moment of solace, their one moment of true peace and harmony. This was what balance was, what it should be. And yet, it was so much simpler than that. They didn't even see it as an act of balance. No, this was simply the act of two souls confiding in each other and basking in one another's presence for the sole desire of comfort.
Every few nights or so, he would come to his lair of his own free will. There, he would not be attacked or harmed in any such manner. The various beasts of one's worst nightmares would happily welcome him without any brutal intent and guide him to the heart of their master's lair. Once there, he would take up his designated place on a broken pillar, and simply wait.
No sooner, he would come. The being said to be the embodiment of taint and darkness itself. And with heavy, ground shaking steps, he would approach the much smaller Matoran waiting patiently for him. They would simply gaze at each other for an extended moment, both unmoving. If anyone were to see their little 'ritual', they would call the smaller being suicidal. But he was not so. The dark being would not harm him, and he knew this. No, the titan had little to no ill intent towards the white Matoran. He would not do what everyone would expect him to do. He would not attack, he would not frighten or cruelly tease the white being, and nor would he raise a single claw to him.
Instead, he would get down on his knees before the small white Matoran, curl up beside his legs, and simply fall limp against the small being's side, his large, tainted body trembling with exhaustion and bottled emotions. The Matoran in turn would not be frightened or jump to defend himself. He didn't have to. Instead, he would gather the giant being's head into his gentle hands and lay it against his chest or lap. Reassuring, honest, and pure words of comfort would dance across his pale lips as his equally pale fingers expertly ran through the dark one's wild black locks with care.
And the dangerous black beast would let him.
It wasn't always the same with each visit. Sometimes the Matoran would whisper words of comfort, sometimes he would tell him stories, and sometimes he would quietly sing lullabies of old to him. It was just a shame he was incapable of sleep; he would have loved to fall asleep to such a soft voice. But he couldn't. So instead, he would simply listen and bask in the warm and soothing aura that radiated off of his companion.
No words were spoken between them; at least, not in the long conversational sense. Words meant nothing to them in their little world. And as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. And it completely applied to them. Though that didn't mean they didn't talk. But it just wasn't what most would consider 'talking'. More often than not, a light conversation would start up between them, but slowly it would start to fade and quiet down into a comfortable silence. Though anyone who found themselves in the direct vicinity of the larger of the two would call it anything but comfortable. Then again, the small Matoran was anything but normal to begin with.
But even through all the haze of this odd meeting, both still could not deny the fact that this had all started out so oddly. And on accident to boot. It was honestly laughable!
But neither laughed at it. The occasional chuckle or two would escape one of them when the memory was brought up. One was like the gentle chimes of pure silver bells, and the other was a deep tenor usually so full of malice, but held only true mirth during their meetings.
The two beings were completely and utterly comfortable with each other, and seemed to find true peace in one another's presence.
Yet, no one would even think them compatible.
The dark being, Makuta Teridax, was the embodiment of everything that was hated and feared in their world. He was cruel, merciless, sullied, cold, sadistic, bloodthirsty, absolutely heartless. He had long since lost count of how many lives he has taken, many of them having been indirectly or simple casualties. He didn't regret any of his harm in the slightest; he did not possess a heart to care with. Teridax was too full of anger to see what he was doing to others, and nor did he want to see it. Because he knows that if he does, it will only hurt him. Truth is, Teridax feared pain above all else. He feared doubting, he feared the pain of a broken heart, and above all, he was absolutely terrified of being alone. His brother, Mata-nui, had long since left him to follow his own protocol of seeking knowledge of the universe. And thus, he had left Teridax, someone who admired and cared for Mata-nui at one point deeply, had been abandoned and left to fight for people who didn't even know he existed, while his MIA brother was praised, worshiped, and revered. And he himself, his very kind, were seen as monsters, even before they lost their humanity.
And ever since that day, the day his very body burned with the pain of betray, the flame of anger consumed him, sullying his armor and leaving nothing left inside of him but a simple essence made of the very emotions that had burnt his very core. There was nothing left but a beastly shell, and an ugly soul inside.
That was all he was seen as to the world. Simply a monster to be feared and hated. And despite his loss of a heart, it hurt him so very much when the reality of it all comes crashing into him.
That day, when a pure white Matoran fell into his lair, Teridax did not harm him. And when they came face to face, for the first time, Teridax felt like he was actually being seen. As if those aquamarine eyes were actually looking at him, and not at the vile monster people had come to know.
The Matoran, Matoro, was everything he wasn't, and he was loved and cherished by others for it. He was loved by all who laid eyes upon him, and was guarded and treated like a precious treasure by all, especially by the ice cold Turaga of Ko-koro. He has never harmed a single person in his life, and was therefore seen as some kind of angel to his people. He never fought in battles, he never harmed a for or friend, he never saw bloodshed, he never saw death, and he never took another sentient being's life. He was simply perfect.
And it absolutely infuriated Teridax…
A being of white was in his clutches, and Teridax had planned nothing more than to extinguish his very life from their world. To see him suffer, to show his true colors, to see that he was not some perfect being! He was probably just as tainted as he was on the inside!
And yet…he could not.
For how could he harm a being that smiled at him so gently? How could he bring harm to a small, fragile little Matoran that looked at him not with fear or malice, but kindness? There was no sympathy in his eyes, Teridax loathed sympathy. But instead, there was understanding in his eyes. And his face…
How could he harm someone who looked so much like his brother?
It was then with that single gaze alone that the dam broke.
Everything, every pain, every regret, every sorrow, every memory, all of it, it just poured out of his mouth like a diseased purge. He just fell to his knees before the Matoran and just could not stop. What was this Matoran doing to him, he thought. What was this spell he was cast under? How can he smile like that? Why doI feel this throbbing in my chest? Why!?
"Why…?" he had asked as he sat trembling before the Matoran, "Why do you not fear me? Why do you not look at me like I am some monster?"
The Matoran's response could have broken him all over again, and it did.
Matoro had simply smiled at him, got up, kneeled before him, and gently touched a hand to his cold mask.
"I do not believe in monsters." He said.
Something inside of Teridax changed that day. He didn't know what, and even to this day he could not explain it, but for some reason, he felt like he had gotten his heart back.
Teridax broke and gave in to Matoro. If he were capable of tears, he would have been a sobbing wreck at the Matoran's feet. But he was not capable of such things, so all he could so was simply purge his grief and pain to the Matoran. And Matoro had simply listened to him. He spoke not a word to Teridax until the titan was done and exhausted, his body quivering from the turmoil. He was practically catatonic, and if left alone, would have most likely perished…
Matoro knew this, but he did not leave Teridax. He stayed with him and simply spoke to Teridax. The Makuta looked up at him from his humiliating position on the floor and scrutinize him.
"Why…?" he asked again, "What could you possibly see in me, if not a monster?"
Matoro would once again smile at him.
"I don't see a monster," he said, "I see a wounded heart."
Teridax scoffed, "I have no heart…"
"If you had not a heart, then you wouldn't feel pain." Matoro said.
Teridax gazed up at the white Matoran before him with disbelieving eyes, as if he were seeing the impossible happening.
"What do you see when you look into my eyes?" he asked.
Matoro, not the least bit taken aback by the question, simply raised his other hand and cupped it over the cheek of his mask and locked their gazes.
"I see pain in your eyes," he said, "Pain you did not deserve."
Too much. It had all been too much for Teridax. And after thousands of years, blackness had claimed his vision, and awareness vanished from his mind.
When he woke up, he would find the Matoran still by his side, smiling at him before asking if he was alright.
No one had ever asked if he was alright, never…
Once recovered, Teridax would silently request Matoro to leave, and led him to the exit. But before he left and returned back to the world of the light, he turned to Teridax with one last smile.
"I'll see you soon." And left.
The Makuta, while perplexed by his words, thought nothing of it, and simply retreated back into his cold lair. And he would realize how lonely it was in the dark.
Yet, not even a few days later, he would find a small white Matoran at his door, waiting for entry.
And so their little meetings had started.
All of this had happened almost a year ago, and even to this day, Teridax was still puzzled by Matoro's behavior towards him. He could not see how someone as kind and considerate as him could even exist, nor could he fathom why he would waste his time with someone like Teridax.
The small white Matoran was everything the other wasn't. He was pure, kind, merciful, innocent, and gentle. A snow white being of light who should have never come into contact with one as tainted as his companion. But that didn't matter to him. Even if someone hurt him, he would not hate or resent them. He would simply forgive them. Because unlike most, he would not see a bully or tyrant; he simply saw someone suffering from a hurt and broken heart.
He was simply one who was too pure to even comprehend hate. Hatred could never survive inside his heart.
"The sun is nearly down." Teridax said, the quiet rumble traveling through his throat and into his companion's belly.
"Yes, it is." Matoro said, his hand never ceasing their light caress through Teridax's black locks.
A cold puff of air escaped Teridax's mouth; an old force of habit from when he used to have a real body and lungs. He averted his garnet eyes up to Matoro.
"You do not belong in the dark." He said firmly. Or at least as firmly as he could be towards Matoro.
Matoro smiled slightly at his halfhearted tone, but nonetheless, he nodded. He stood and gently sliding Teridax's arm, which had at some point curled around his waist, and head off of his lap. Without a word, the two stood and made their way towards the exit in the back of the layer that would lead to the beach just outside Ta-wahi.
The entrance opened a small crack; just big enough for Matoro to get through, but small enough to let in only a small amount of light. Matoro turned back to Teridax, the Makuta pressed against a wall with the most shadows to avoid the burning light outside. The salty breeze of the sea gently whistled through the cavern, while the chatter and crow of seagulls echoed from above. The orange-yellow glow of dawn was quickly becoming darker as the sun slowly set, casting Matoro in a mesmerizing veil of light. Teridax envied him. Matoro would always be a beautiful Matoran, both on the inside and out. But he was ugly, tainted, and scarred both on the inside and out. He could never be like Matoro…
"Will you come with me?"
Teridax was pulled from his despaired thoughts by the gentle request and the feel of a small hand gently grasping his talons. He looked down at the hand holding his, then up and into the hopeful, almost pleading, eyes of the Matoran and mentally sighed.
He always asked this whenever he had to leave. Every time, he would ask Teridax if he would come with him. If he would give up his ideals and walk into the world of light with him. He would always, always, ask Teridax with that single sentence to forgive.
And Teridax would always respond with the same answer. He bent slightly at the waist and brought Matoro's hand up to his face, grazing his cold lips over the small, delicate appendage lightly.
"No." he said quietly.
Matoro smiled sadly, but said no more. Instead he would take his hand back and turn back for the door, but turned his head back to Teridax with one last smile.
"I'll see you soon." He said.
And with the parting words, he left just as the last of the sun's rays vanished over the horizon, encasing Teridax in complete darkness once again.
Once he was sure he was gone, Teridax closed the stone door and lumbered back to his lair. Along his way there, he would recount what had happened between the two of them this time. But this time, he couldn't help but remember the words Matoro spoke that had started their rendezvous.
"I do not believe in monsters."
He didn't believe in monsters…what a foolish, naïve child he was. The world was so full of monsters. Teridax was just one of the big ones. To not believe in them was to not believe that darkness did not exist. He was a fool for saying those words. And yet…
"I don't see a monster. I see a wounded heart."
And yet Teridax could not find it in himself to mock the one being who was kind to him. Not just because he was kind to him, but also because he was right.
"If you had not a heart, then you wouldn't feel pain."
There were no such things as monsters in the world…
"I see pain in your eyes"
There was only pain. And pain was the one and only monster in their world. And it made people into monsters just like it.
And even still, Matoro saw through the ugly mask they would be cursed with. He would see what pain had done to its victims, and he would see what they truly looked like under the mask. He did not care if they were scarred and ugly. He could never fear someone who was hurt, no matter who or what they were.
It just made Teridax wonder. Why couldn't there be others like him? Why is it just Matoro who is like this? Why couldn't Matoro be in Mata-nui's place and make their world right?
"You do not belong in the dark."
Right…that's right. He didn't belong in the dark. He shouldn't be in Mata-nui's place. Because Matoro probably would have ended up just like him. He would never be the beautiful, kind, forgiving Matoran he was now. He would not be pure…
"Will you come with me?"
Teridax would probably never truly understand why Matoro was always so kind to him, but he didn't mind. Matoro was after all the one person who actually saw him as a person. He was the first person in almost his entire life who had more than once asked him if he was alright. He was the first, last, and only being to look at him and honestly, truly, forgive him…
And he will be the first, last, and only person Teridax fell in love with…
A/N~ Again, what can I say? I have a soft spot for the misunderstood ones. I have more than once been called an empath by friends and family. And as a very logical person, I honestly saw the flaw in Teridax's character development, or lack thereof. And yes, I know he and Matoro didn't exactly get along in The Pit, and we all know that this would probably NEVER happen in canon, but that isn't the point. The point is what you see here. If you don't understand any of this, then you have not felt true pain. If you do understand this story, then you have. And you know monsters are not mummies, zombies, vampires, werewolves and witches. They are something deeper, yet can be just as tangible as us.
Consider yourself lucky if you are one of the ones who don't understand this. But as they say, the boogieman always finds you, so maybe it's just a matter of time.
"I've met a real monster. His name is pain." ~Me.