I haven't decided for sure yet, but this will likely end up being a three-parter.

Disclaimer- I don't own the Mighty Ducks.


I've never been one to give up something that I really want; as a matter of fact, you've teased me throughout my entire life about it. Never a cruel teasing, of course. The type of teasing that siblings exchange.

Like the time you wouldn't share the blue marker in kindergarten, and I wouldn't stop bugging you until you got annoyed with me and chunked it at my head. Or when I desperately wanted to learn the triple deke, so I kept working at it and working at it until it became second nature. Or even just last week when I convinced Banks to clean our dorm room so I wouldn't have to do it…though that last one is probably more of a case of "evading something I don't want to do" as opposed to "pursuing what I want," but you've never been one to poke at me with details.

But this time it's different. There's more at stake than a blue marker or a certain shot in hockey or even my sense of laziness. This time the stakes have skyrocketed to an arena that I'm pained to admit even exists. Pained to admit that I could ever feel the way I do.

My friendship with you and him hang in the balance this time. Two friendships that have defined who I am today could be shattered if I upset the roles we've placed ourselves in over the years. Our friendships are anything but fragile, but that doesn't mean I can stand to take the heartbreak that would follow. The look in your eyes as you try to gently tell me that you could never think of me like that…the betrayal in his eyes when he found out his best friend has been harboring these kinds of feelings for you; for his girlfriend.

I could never do that to either of you. I've ignored these emotions longer than I can even remember, and I'll probably continue to ignore them for the rest of my life. Ignore them as he escorts you to our senior prom, ignore them as he proposes to you in an insanely romantic way, ignore them as I watch you walk down the aisle and into his arms…ignore them as I watch you slip farther out of my life and imagine masochistically that you were walking down the aisle to be with me. Not that it would ever happen…You and he have already told me I'll be the best man. I'm your best friend, after all. His too. There's no way I wouldn't be there to support you. Maybe by then these feelings will have passed…or maybe they'll at least be easier to bear.

You're sitting a few seats down the table, looking up at him with bright eyes. I feel a sharp pain tremor through me, so I instantly look to my plate. I feel as if I've been stung in the chest. It shouldn't hurt this much, but it does. It shouldn't hurt me to see you so happy, but it does…It hurts because I know there's absolutely no way you'll ever be mine. And it hurts that I can't bear to look at you without resenting you both. Resenting him because he wakes up every day with the promise of your love and affection, and resenting you because no matter how strongly I feel for you, you'll never feel the same. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times you've said I'm "like your brother" in the past year alone. Any thin thread of hope still intact is barely holding on with every bit of strength it possesses. It's wearing down with every passing day. Years of pining will do that.

But I've always been the stubborn one. A glutton for punishment. Practically begging for people to hurt me, to bulldoze over my heart. One could say I have a large neon sign flashing above my head that says "I don't mind if you play Ping-Pong with my emotions – it'll be fun." I try to keep a blanket thrown over the sign as much as possible, but occasionally someone with remarkable vision sees it and takes advantage of the invitation.

Granted, I never let the person see that they succeeded in hurting me. I've never been one to hand out that kind of satisfaction to anyone. They tend to wander away when they get bored, obviously not getting the desired results. The large neon sign must have lied.

But you've never seen that sign. Your eyes never catch the messages, but sometimes the messages catch you, pulling you in without you even realizing it. You don't know how hard it is for me to keep up our friendly, close relationship without letting myself create some idea in my head that it's more than it really is. How hard it is to playfully flirt with you, knowing deep down that you'd never in a million years leave him for me, no matter how much I'd sacrifice for it to happen.

"Charlie," you call down to me from your seat next to him. As I look to you, your face lights up, and you stand, motioning for me to follow you to the arcade area. My insides twist into knots, and I shoot my glance back down to my half-eaten pizza so I don't stare at you. Last time I allowed myself to look you in the face, I embarrassed myself. You didn't notice because you don't have any idea what goes on inside my mind these days, but I felt embarrassed enough on the inside to make up for us both. I was slipping, and it was getting tougher and tougher.

A shake of my head is all I can muster. I can't summon or muster a single syllable; my throat has closed up as if someone shoved a sock down it. I give in and peek just as your face falls, a small tinge of discouragement seeming to flash in your eyes. My insides twist more, this time for being the reason for your sadness. Why can't I just get over this and continue doing what I've always done?

Because no matter what anyone says, the heart and the mind aren't always connected. You can't communicate with your emotions. You can't climb yourself out of love once you've fallen hard…or at least I can't.