Failing, Not Falling
Title: Failing, Not Falling
Disclaimer: I don't own anything in the story... except the ideas that weren't originally used in any of the Mighty Ducks movies.
Pairing: Dean Portman/Julie Gaffney
Summary: Dean's failing English by his coaches standards and Julie is elected to be his tutor so he can continue to play. Will they learn more about themselves and each other than English though?
Authors Comments: This is my very first Mighty Ducks story. I was a huge fan when they first came out, and have recently become re-obsessed with them, so here is my fan fic :)
"And that concludes our lecture today," Mrs. Bronson leaned back onto her desk and crossed her ankles in front of her. "Please rewrite the essay I handed back and read the first 2 chapters of Catcher and the Rye for next class." The dismissed class began to put their things back into their backpacks and file out the door. "Mr. Portman, may I speak to you for a moment?" Mrs. Bronson asked. "Alone." She added when she seen Fulton Reed stopping behind his friend.
"I'll catch you at lunch," Fulton pushed Deans shoulder before passing him and leaving the room.
"Please, sit," Mrs. Bronson gestured to the desk in front of her. Deans gaze floated from her to the desk as if wondering if he really wanted to listen to her. So, she waited patiently for him to make up his mind. He opted to sit his book bag in the chair that she pointed to and he sat in the chair next to it.
"Now, Mr. Portman, I understand that coming here later in the second semester is difficult, however, you knew this when you agreed to finally accept your scholarship, did you not?"
"Yeah," he answered. "Ma'am," he added after a couple of seconds.
Mrs. Branson knew he was an interesting person when he first walked into her classroom in his ripped jeans, bandana, and walkman playing as loud as it could. She thought she would have to keep an eye on him and figured he would disrupt her classroom like the rest of the students like him. Except, the rest of the students she figured to be like him, weren't really like him at all. He pushed as far as he could during hockey, and sometimes going farther than he should. In the classroom, though, he was respectable. She never had to ask him to raise his hands instead of shouting things out, whichshe figured he would doAnd he toed the line occasionally, knowing what made some teachers tick, but always tried to remain in respect of them.
Take her request for him to sit in the chair, for instance. He saw her request, He didn't want to just give into her request exactly, but do his own thing. So, out of respect for her, he chose to sit, just in another chair. The same with his sentence. He knew she didn't particularly like the use of the word 'yeah', but he wanted to show respect for her, so he added 'ma'am'.
An interesting boy, indeed.
"I wasn't sure if you were also made aware of the rules that your coach has set for your team, pertaining to your grades?"
"B's or better or you don't play," Dean reiterated to her.
"That's correct. If I were to hand in my grades to your coach right now, I don't believe you would be playing in tomorrows game." Mrs. Bronson watched as Dean's face fell.
"But he checks our grades before every game!" His eyes flashed with worry.
"I realize that. I want you to play tomorrow, Mr. Portman. As a faculty member of this school, I do wish to see our athletes excel and play in their games."
"That won't happen unless I have a B or better."
"No, it won't," Mrs. Bronson sadly agreed. "Now, I'm willing to make a deal with you. If I put a B in my grade book, and you play in tomorrows game, would you be willing to work with a tutor?"
"Who?" Dean ask skeptically. Like most of the Mighty Ducks team, Mrs. Bronson knew that he didn't like most of the kids that went to this school. The rivalry had gotten slightly better between the two teams and the rest of the school, but not completely.
"I haven't found one for you yet. I will find someone over the weekend and then let you know," she said.
"No preppy?" He asked.
"I can't promise anything. I need you to promise me that you will work with whomever I choose in order for you to play tomorrow."
"Fine. Thank you, ma'am," he added half-heartedly.
"Just win the game, Mr. Portman. That will be thanks enough." She watched as Dean walked sadly out the door.
"Ow! Man, would you please stop hitting so hard!" Goldberg was helped off of the ice with the help of Coach Orion for the twentieth time that scrimmage. This time, he was walked over to the bench.
"Yeah Portman, if you don't stop we won't have any players left for tomorrows game," Charlie said pointing to the bench. Goldberg was joining Guy who had an ice pack placed over his eye, Averman yelping about a broken hand and Russ saying he was having chest pains from getting checked to hard into the boards.
"Yeah, are y'all right?" Dwayne asked.
"Why wouldn't I be?" Portman asked getting up in his face.
"Hey!" Connie got between the two. "It was only a question," she shot back at Portman. He was about ready to shout back at her when Fulton pulled him back and Coach Orion came skating back to them.
"Portman, when you get done maiming your teammates, do you think we can get back to the scrimmage?" He asked before he blew the whistle.
"Ya sure you're okay?" Fulton asked as he and Portman skated into their positions.
"Oh, yeah. Wonderful," he said sarcastically.
"Well, you skipped lunch..." Fulton said.
"Went to the dorm. Didn't feel much like eating."
"That's a first!"
"Hey! Ladies, the scrimmage started!" Julie joked when she noticed they weren't moving.
Fulton said thanks and the two joined the game.
"So, are ya gonna tell me now?" Fulton asked as he, Portman, and Julie walked back to their dorms after practice. While Dean went back to Chicago after he found out that Bombay wasn't going to be their coach, Fulton started hanging out more with Julie. They'd gotten to know each other pretty well, and their closeness didn't stop after Dean came back. They were picked on at first by their team who had speculations of them dating, but the twowere adamant that it would never happen. Fulton was like her brother. He looked out for her. And anything non platonic from a brother-figure was just gross.
"I'm failin' English, dude," Dean explained.
"Failing?" Fulton asked. "Man, you speak it, how could you fail it?"
"I'm only failing to coaches standards," Dean explained.
"Does he know you can't play?" Julie asked.
"No, I'm going to play."
"But coach said that - " Fulton began before Dean cut him off.
"I know what coach says. But Mrs. Bronson said that if I agreed to work with a tutor, she would tell him I got a B." Dean explained.
"Whoa! I just found my favorite teacher," Fulton laughed.
Dean looked at Julie. She looked shocked.
"Something to say, Cat?" He asked her. She was pretty straight-edge when it came to things like that. And he wasn't as good of friends with her as Fulton was. He didn't know if he should've said anything when she was around. But Fulton would've gotten offended because he seemed pretty intent on Julie and him being friends as well. He just prayed to God she wouldn't say anything to coach about him and Mrs. Bronson lying.
"I just - I knew she was a nice person, but the way she teaches, I wouldn't have believed she was that nice," she said still a little shocked and Dean let out the breath he didn't realize he was holding.
"Me either," he agreed.
"Night, Julie," Fulton hugged her when they reached her door.
"Night Cat," Portman said nodding to her before he and Fulton started down the hall to their room.
"Goodnight. Hey, Dean," She called.
"Yeah," he asked turning around.
"If you need any help in English, I'm here." She suggested.
"I might take you up on that," he nodded again before he and Fulton continued down the hall.
"Mr. Portman," Mrs. Bronson called at the end of class the following Monday. "Miss Gaffney, would you please stay too." She requested and Julie stood next to Dean at the front of the teachers desk.
"Great game on Saturday, to the both of you," Mrs. Bronson nodded to each of them. Dean rolled his eyes at Julie when Mrs. Bronson was nodding to her. The first class after every game, the teachers felt compelled to congratulate them and it got tedious to hear.
"And I would like you to meet your new tutor, Mr. Portman," Mrs. Bronson gestured to Julie. Dean looked shocked at Julie, who smiled at him. "I believe the two of you know each other."
"Kinda," Dean joked.
"Good, Good. Then there will be no reason I shouldn't see and improvement in your grades," she said to Dean who nodded.
"Very well. I will see you both on Wednesday."
"How did you manage that?" Dean asked as he and Julie walked towards the locker rooms for practice.
"I told her I would do it. We're in the same class and have almost the same schedule with practice and everything. It shouldn't be too hard to manage," Julie explained.
"You're right. I was bumming' cuz I didn't want no preppy tutorin' me. You're all right though. You're only half a preppy," He said as he held the door open for her to the arena.
"Oh, thanks," she said sarcastically about his comment. "What's the other half of me?"
"A girl," he shrugged.
"Fine, a girl jock." He added.
Julie rolled her eyes. "When did you want to start the tutoring?"
"Sure. I'll see you on the ice," Julie waved as she walked towards the girls locker room to change.
"So, what happened?" Fulton asked quietly as Dean came into change.
"Julie is my tutor."
"Well, that must be a weight off of your shoulders." He knew that Dean was worried about getting one of the snobs to tutor him.
"You don't even know the half of it," Dean shook his head.
"So, what's up with you and Julie?" Fulton asked.
"What do you mean?" Dean asked giving him the evil eye as he pulled his chest pad over his head.
"You're just around her more lately. And she called you Dean." Fulton pointed out as he wrapped some tape around the end of his stick.
"She's never actually used your name before. And you didn't say you were going to rip her arms off for calling you Dean, like you do everyone else," Fulton pointed out to him.
"Not true," Dean said. "I never said that to you."
"That's because I've never attempted."
"If you did attempt, I wouldn't."
Dean shrugged. "Means something different when people you know says it. More personal. And I'd feel terrible if I put someone I knew in the hospital," he rolled his eyes.
"What's more personal?" Goldberg asked. Dean looked up to see the rest of the team changed and the girls where walking into their changing room announcing that they were ready. He looked at Fulton nervously. He didn't want Julie to find out that they were talking about her.
"That check that Portman gave to you last Friday at practice," Fulton said smoothly as if it were really the topic of their conversation. "It's more personal when it's from Portman," Fulton smacked Portman on the shoulder.
"Yeah, man. Could you imagine how painful it would've been if it wasn't from me?" Dean asked.
"No, not really?" Golderberg said sarcastically.
"And I still think my hand is broken. I can't even write with it," Averman complained.
"Suck it up Averman. If you can't hack it, go take up knitting or something," Dean shoved him playfully.
"I really hope that wasn't implying that I was a girl. You see Connie and Julie, although they play like men, I heard,"
"And this could be a rumor," Goldberg added.
"That they are actually girls." Averman finished in a whisper.
"Go figure," Dean rubbed his chin and then ducked from the puck that Connie threw at him. "Yup, throws like a girl!" He said when he stood up straight again. This time he ran towards the door that led to the ice because Connie and Julie were chasing after him.
"Man, we start the joke and he still gets the girls chasing after him," Averman said sadly.
"You've been playing against them," Fulton shook his head. "You know how tough they are. Definitely not the type of girls you want to be angry with you and chasing after you."
"True," Goldberg nodded. "So very true."