DISCLAIMER: The Ducks are not mine, I don’t own them, I don’t make money off this. I write it purely for my enjoyment and (hopefully) yours.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: I can’t believe it. I wrote angst. I swore I’d never stoop this low. *bangs head against wall* What’s wrong with me??? This fic starts off with Adam’s first person goes to Bombay’s first person, and then goes to The Hawks. I’m branching out…J This does mention the events of 9-11-01, but not in graphic detail.
RATED: PG for mentions of death and destruction.
ARCHIVES: Toastburglar’s Mighty Ducks Page (www.angelfire.com/movies/quackquackquack), all others ask.
I look around the church and, I have to admit, I’m not surprised to see it very sparsely attended. Jack Reilly didn’t have much family and even fewer friends, so only The Hawks, Coach Bombay, the priest, the altar boys, and I occupied the sanctuary. And believe me, none of us wanted to be there.
"So, this is your legacy, Reilly," I think. To be quite honest, I've come to the funeral purely out of obligation. I don’t think anyone in the whole place is really here because they're going to miss Jack Reilly. Even The Hawks are completely straight-faced. These kids have been taught for years to show no emotion, either good or bad. Just “win win win.” Now, their own coach is gone and they’re just sitting there as if it’s any other day.
"Serves you right, Reilly," I think as I look at the kids, "They didn’t like you either."
When I found out that Reilly was on the plane that hit the Pentagon, I was shocked. But not a bad shock. My first thought was “What the heck was he doing on a plane from Boston to California?” Real sensitive, huh? Not sadness, not despondency, nothing. I was just wondering why he was on a plane going from Boston to California when he lives in Minneapolis! Sure I felt some kind of loss, but no sorrow. And the shock was partly just because I knew someone who was killed in the attack. It made the whole thing little more real to me.
There is no casket, since they never recovered Reilly’s body. The only way they know he’s dead is that he was on the list of plane passengers that day. There won’t even be a memorial for him, just this little service. "Well, no one’s gonna miss the guy anyway," I think. I almost feel bad for thinking this way about him. Almost.
The priest drones on about Reilly, and I find myself finally feeling something: anger. I don’t get mad easily, but listening to this priest talk about my old coach, saying stuff that I know is false, just makes me want to scream. “We are here to pay final respects to Jack Reilly. Some of us knew him as a friend, a family member, or as a coach.” He looks at The Hawks, who look as devoid of emotion as they did at the start of the funeral. “He will be greatly missed.”
It’s all I can do not to snort. Greatly missed my butt! I don’t know a single person who’ll even notice he’s gone, except for The Hawks, since they don’t have a coach now. Well, I guess the priest wasn’t allowed to stand up there and say what a pain in the neck the guy was, although that certainly would be more accurate.
As Amazing Grace is played on the bagpipes, I feel anger giving way to sorrow. Sure, Reilly was a moron, but he didn’t deserve to die. He may have been a jerk, a fool, call him whatever you want, but he sure didn’t deserve to crash into the Pentagon like that.
What’s this? Am I crying? I try to wipe the tears away without being seen. What am I crying for, anyway? Not because I’m going to miss Reilly, that’s for damn sure. I cover my face with one hand and turn away from anyone who might see. They’d probably think I’m a nut, crying for an idiot like Reilly, and they’d be right.
As the music fades and the sanctuary empties, my gaze drifts to Adam. He’s sitting with his back turned to me, holding his head in his hands. I stand up and cross the sanctuary to him. Sitting down next to him, I wrap him into a hug and he buries his face in my shoulder. “He didn’t deserve this.” Adam cries, his voice muffled by my shoulder. “He was a jerk and all, but he didn’t deserve to die.”
I shake my head. “No, he didn’t,” I say.
“Why am I crying?” Adam manages in between sobs. “I hated him, Coach! Why am I crying?”
“I don’t know, Adam,” I whisper, blinking back my own tears. “I don’t know.”
“It’s not my fault that he treated me like crap when I was a Hawk, so why am I crying for him?” Adam sniffles.
I don’t have an answer for that one, so I just rub Adam’s back and let him cry. Some distant part of me pities Reilly - I mean, none of his own hockey players even miss him! What would he say if he could be here now and see his own funeral? Would he be affected by the fact that almost nobody showed up, and the ones who did came because they had to? What would he say if he had seen his team, sitting there totally stone-faced through the whole service? Would it matter to him at all that the priest got up there and said how wonderful he was when in reality the exact opposite is true? Would that even dawn on him? Part of me wants to think it would, but I know better. Reilly’s attitude was so ingrained in him that I doubt anything could have broken him of it. I’ve often wondered how he got that way. I mean, what could possibly have hardened him like that? I close my eyes, not wanting to even think about it.
Adam’s sobs are quieting now, and he pulls away. But he doesn’t get up from the pew. He just sits there, staring at his hands. I think his tears are partly because of everything that’s been going on since Tuesday. Seeing the Twin Towers go up in flames at least a hundred times on the news was probably just about enough to break anyone. And the fact that we knew someone personally who crashed into the Pentagon (even though we didn’t like that person very much) must have hit him pretty hard.
“You know, The Hawks need a coach now.” I say quietly.
Adam looks up at me through watery eyes. “Yeah.” He says, sniffling. “They do.”
“They need a coach as soon as they can get one.” I say, looking at Adam. “I happen to know someone who would be very qualified for this job. He’s nineteen, unemployed, and he was one of the best players on my team when I was coaching him.” I intensify my stare, trying to let Adam know that I’m talking about him. “Think he’s up for it?” Adam just stares at me. I think he’s got the message.
One week later, The Hawks were hanging around before practice, anticipating the arrival of their new coach.
“I hear he’s nicer than Coach Reilly,” one of the players, a small black-haired boy named Jackson, said.
“How could he be worse?” a player named Doherty asked. Jackson laughed.
“Hey, look!” A player named Henson pointed to the door. “I think that’s him!” The kids all looked as a tallish, blond-haired young man came in through the door.
“Look at him!” one of the kids, Jacobsen, said, “He’s like, fourteen years old!”
Another player named Larusso swatted him. “He’s a lot older than that! I give him…eighteen.”
“Nineteen.” Jacobsen said.
“Twenty-one.” A player named Moreau said.
“Ah…hi, kids!” The coach cut them off. They immediately turned around and quit talking. It was total reflex: if Coach Reilly had ever caught them talking when he came in, it was double conditioning for the next five practices. But this guy didn’t seem too mad at them for it. Leaning forward, they squinted to read the name on his jacket. It read “Coach Banks”.
“I’m Coach Banks.” Coach Banks said with a smile. “You guys ready to go?” A smile? Larusso and Jackson stared at each other, while the rest of the team just looked at Coach Banks open-mouthed. Jacobsen was the first to respond:
“All right!” Coach Banks said. “Get out there and show me your stuff.” The dumbfounded Hawks moved onto the ice.
“Hey, maybe this new guy won’t be so bad.” Adams said. Jackson nodded.
"Well, at least now Coach Reilly won’t find out that I was the one who stuck that smoke bomb under his desk," he thought with a slight smile.