shoutout to all the other ex-gifted & talented/honor student/straight a/senior editor/star student/99th percentile/once-creative burn-outs who have, since high school, realized they are truly miniscule fish in a giant, endless ocean, criticized themselves to the point of creative paralysis, and participated in so much self-sabotage they no longer see the point of doing anything at all because they’re just going to ruin it for themselves anyway
this one’s for you
Do you ever remember Hannibal could easily go by Count Hannibal Lecter VIII and realize he’s not THAT much of a pompous asshole that he only goes by Dr. Hannibal Lecter?
Count Doctor Hannibal Lecter VIII, M.D., D.O., Psy.
i hate when i lose things at school like my pencils and papers and life ambitions
every 5 seconds a woman gives birth to a baby. stop this woman.
I FEEL ALL THAT AND MOREEEEEEE. HERC WAS THE THING WHICH BROKE ME FOR THAT MOVIE. SO BROKEN. LITTLE BITTY PIECES. I JUST WANT HIM AND STACKER TO GO OFF INTO THE SUNSET AND HAVE HAPPY LONG LIVES TOGETHER, NOT BE PERFECT DADS AND ALL SACRIFICY
HEADCANON THAT HERC BASICALLY ADOPTS MAKO AFTER THAT BUT HIS DAD-NESS IS REALLY DIFFERENT FROM STACKER’S DAD-NESS LIKE HE GIVES HUGS AND STUFF AND MAKO WOULD NORMALLY BE FREAKED OUT BY IT BUT SHE’S JUST LOST HER DAD (AGAIN) AND SHE KNOWS HERC NEEDS THE HUGS AS MUCH AS SHE DOES AND EVERY TIME HE GIVES HER HUGS OR ADVICE OR LOOKS ALL PROUD HE GETS THIS LITTLE TUG ON HIS MIND THAT FEELS LIKE THE DRIFT AND HE KNOWS STACKER’S THANKING HIM FOR LOOKING OUT FOR HIS LITTLE GIRL AND RALEIGH CAN COME TOO (because he’s a giant puppy and he’ll follow mako regardless) AND THAT LITTLE TUG COMES FROM CHUCK TO BOTH MAKO AND RALEIGH BECAUSE NOW THEY HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF HIS OLD MAN AND THE LITTLE REMNANTS OF CHUCK IN THE DRIFT TELL HERC TO APOLOGIZE TO RALEIGH AND MAKO FOR BEING SUCH A DICK AND HERC DOES AND MAKO HUGS HIM AND SAYS “HE ALREADY DID AND MORE” AND THAT’S HOW I DIED
NOOOO, I WILL CRY ACTUAL TEARS! DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON MAX WAITING FOR CHUCK TO COME HOME AND GETTING ALL SAD-PUPPY
oh no oh no i’m so sorry i just—
Max is confused when Herc stays and Chuck goes. The big Herc-Chuck is gone too, and the strong one with the bleeding nose went with it. This is wrong. Always when the big Herc-Chuck leaves, with screaming metal and crashing feet, Herc is in it. Always when the big Herc-Chuck leaves, it comes back, and Herc and Chuck come back and become two people again.
But Herc stays, and Chuck goes, and Chuck doesn’t come back. Herc smells of salt and water and blood and bandages, and when the Shatterdome doors open, for a moment Max thinks he smells Chuck, and strains forward on the lead in Herc’s hand, but it’s the large not-Chuck, the one who Chuck used to growl at, and there’s no sign of the big Herc-Chuck. But the not-Chuck smells a little like Chuck, and Mako’s there, and she kneels down to give him pats, and he whines at her because she smells of blood and salt and water and oil and Kaiju, smells that always come with Chuck, but there’s no Chuck. Not-Chuck leans over and gives him a pat too, and Max thinks that maybe he should growl at him, but the pats are nice and he and Mako smell the same. So Max lets himself be patted for a bit, but always he’s wiggling, craning his neck to see when Chuck will be coming through the doors with the strong one with the bleeding nose.
They don’t come. There are a lot of people and a lot of noise and cheers, and more salt and water, and Max is given lots of good food and pats by kind hands, but none of them are Chuck. He whines at Herc and Mako, trying to get them to understand that he needs to go out to find Chuck, and why isn’t Mako going to find the strong one? But they just pat him some more, and their eyes smell like salt and water falls on his nose when they kneel to hug him, and when they take him for a walk, they go to the beach, outside the wall.
It’s littered with flowers, so many that Max can hardly even feel the sand in his paws, and there are some of those sticks that are made out of wax with fire on the ends, and he knows not to sniff them because they burn his nose. Still no sign of Chuck. Max trots down to the waterline, sniffing at the damp sand, and thinks that that’s where Chuck should be coming from. He looks out at the waves. Whines. Sniffs the wind, puts his nose to the sand where the land meets the sea, jerks back when the surf comes up to greet him. He’s grown to be wary of the sea—it’s friendly, he thinks, but it doesn’t know how strong and unpleasant its licks can be.
And still, there’s no Chuck. The sea doesn’t help, but that’s where Chuck should be coming from, so when Mako and Herc turn to go back to the Shatterdome, Max digs in his heels. He’ll stay on the beach and wait for Chuck. But he can’t, because Herc picks him up, ignoring his whining, and takes him back to the Shatterdome, where Mako gives him treats. He flops down by the door and crosses his front legs, laying his head atop them and sighing, always looking toward the door.
Later, Herc moves to a house, and Max moves with him, and they see Mako and Raleigh all the time, and Max has realized that Chuck won’t be coming back. But his bed is by the door, and every morning he scratches at the frame to be let out, wondering if Chuck got lost and maybe if Max smells everything he’ll find some hint of Chuck, but he never does. So every night he lies down on his bed, facing the door, hoping that he’ll wake up to hear his master’s tread on the steps.
Ten years after the closing of the Breach, Herc gets up to let Max out, and finds him in his bed, paws crossed, eyes closed, facing the door, a look of doggy contentment on his face. Herc smiles a little and hugs Mako, who cries while Raleigh buries the old bulldog next to the memorial plinth in front of the museum which was once the Shatterdome. They mark the grave with a tiny headstone, laid flat in the grass, with a plaque above it that says, “Here lies Max, loyal companion of Jaeger Pilots.”
But Max doesn’t really care about that, because he’s finally found Chuck.