(Originally posted by Rodge the Linkbot on Mon Jul 20, 2009)
It was a depressing sight for him to see, the old wooden house with a cracked window and paint chipping off of it’s walls. The yard was well taken care of, but the formerly white fence had faded into a wooden color, some parts of it had even collapsed. Click walked up the small footpath through the yard and up to the porch. He stopped and looked at it, the old swing was gone, but a few chain links still clung to the house.
For a brief moment he could hear them. All of them. The other kids, their parents. His parents. The mumbling voices sounded distant, he tried to stop and listen but they were fading away. It was fitting, they left him like, years ago, he left them.
He cleared his throat and walked up to the door and clinched his hand in to a fist, before he knocked on the door he hesitated. Why would the Old Man want to talk to him? Why would he help him? As Click he was at best a nice story and at worst a lie, as Slate he was the ungrateful crook that left years ago without a second thought.
He bit his lip and pounded on the door. He heard the sound echoing through the wooden building. His arm dropped and he waited motionlessly. His heart slowly sinking and the contents of his stomach floating up, he swallowed. Electricity crawled across while he was nervously waiting for the door to open.
He could hear lock after lock being unfastened. One after another became undone as a dark feeling slowly surrounded him pulling him away. Then the old wooden door creaked open revealing the Old Man standing there.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the great hero Click.” He said, his old gray eyes squinting at him, “I’m sorry, but my son took over the business, you’ll have to go see him.” The door slowly shifted shut.
Click’s arm flew up grabbing the door, “I really don’t think he wants to see me.”
The man froze, he knew the voice was familiar.
“After all, back when we were in grade school I did steal one of his horses, I don’t think he ever got over me riding it.”
“Or his wife.”
The man jumped forward and grabbed him. “Slate! I’ll be damned!!”
“Hey, Old Man, long time no see.”
He then jumped back and looked up at Slate’s face, “What, are you wearing stilts?!”
“No, I guess I was just late bloomer.”
“We all thought you were dead when you never mailed us.”
His heart sank.
“I’m sorry, it’s just, I’ve been busy.”
“Come in!” He walked in to the building.
Slate was shocked, he didn’t expect him to forgive him so fast. Did he forgive him? Was he ever actually angry with him?
“So, what con are you trying to pull?”
“I’m not trying to pull any con.”
“Then why are you dressed up as Click?”
“I’m not dressed up, I’m Click, kinda’.”
He turned and looked at him, “YOU’RE Click.”
The Old Man laughed with a snort. His beard shaking as he chuckled, “No, seriously, what are you trying to pull?”
“Nothing. I actually am Click.”
He stopped and looked at him. The pair sat down in his living room.
“How can you be Click? When did you learn to fight?” He asked, remembering all the stories of ‘Click’ defeating entire armies or demigod like villains.
“Those were just stories. I lucked out and a bunch of people thought I was a hero and I just went with it.”
Click sat there silently for a second, then looked over and saw a picture on the wall. It was him, and four other kids. One caught his eye, a young woman about the same age he was in the picture, maybe a little older.
“So, why are you here then? You know they’re just going to try and make you go fight the war with Xeranad, right?”
“That IS why I’m here.”
He looked at him.
“I mean, that’s not why I came, but, I got stuck here with all this ‘great heroes needed’ shtick. I was going to try and bail but, then I met all these people, real heroes. They’re the kind of person I always just pretended to be, you know? One was this young bandit girl, a bandit like I was, willing to fight Xeranad, then there was this guy, Fuijitsu I think, and he mentioned how he is willing to ‘fight for a brighter tomorrow even if it kills him’ or something like that.
“I just had that stuck in my head, and, I couldn’t get those two out of my mind. Real heroes. I didn’t think they even existed. But seeing them, even after I saw how powerful Xeranad is, I knew there was hope. I want to be like that.”
“Willing to die to make the world better?”
“No. Not in a million years. But to be able to give people hope, I want to be that. I want to be a real hero.”
“That doesn’t really tell me why you’re here.”
Slate thought for a minute, “I need you to teach me how to fight and make certain weapons for me. If I’m going with these guys, I need to be able to take care of myself.”
“Then you need to be able to run.”
“No, not just survive… I’ve survived long enough.”
The Old Man just sat there, thinking about it for a moment. Seconds floated by turning into minutes as he continue to just sit there, thinking. Finally after a moment he opened his mouth, “Fine I’ll teach you.”
“But first, I need to make a phone call.” The man got up and walked off.
Slate turned back to looking at the picture. That girl, he couldn’t help but think of her at times. If there ever had been one person out there he was actually willing to die for, it was her. Ironically, she was part of the reason he left. Bandit 101, if you can’t have something of a load of value stay away from it, no use suffering from it’s presence.
The Old Man walked back in, “Okay, first of all-”
“What happened to Mable?”
He looked at the picture, “After you left we heard about a few of Xeranad’s attacks. She assumed his forces killed you and joined the forces.”
“Because of me.”
“Yes. You. We haven’t heard from her since, I hope it because she been ‘too busy’.”
Slate’s hand rolled into fists clinching his legs. “Teach me. Teach me everything you can.”