Title: Man of the House

Author: k4writer02, Kate

Fandom: Friday Night Lights

Disclaimer: I disclaim. Not the genius behind this show.

Rating: PG

Summary: It's not easy, being a dad. Eric thinks about Julie, and Tim. Season 2, post "There Goes the Neighborhood" (2.10, spoilers)

Eric Taylor is not a fool. Really. He knows the locker-room talk that happens when you put fifty teenage boys in, well, in a locker room. He doesn't do much of it anymore hismelf (Mac's advice six weeks after Gracie's birth notwithstanding). And he doesn't begrudge the boys their fun, not with the Tyras and the Lylas and the rally girls and the cheerleaders and whoever else they grope under the bleachers in the dark. He even told Matt Saracen to get a girl in the back of his car, to loosen up.

Until he found out the girl Matt wanted was Julie Taylor.

Eric's not a hypocrite. He just doesn't want boys having sex with his daughter.

Ever.

See, he's a reasonable man. He doesn't want to convert the whole family to Catholicism, even though the idea of sending Julie into a convent to be a nun has its appeal, some days (like when Shelley starts treating his sixteen-year-old child like her own personal Barbie doll).

He does want grandchildren, in about twenty years from Julie, and maybe thirty to forty for Gracie. But, the way he sees it, Virgin Birth was good enough for the Son of God, and it's good enough for Eric Taylor's grandchildren.

He wasn't very good about Saracen, when the kid started coming around. Even though he knew Matt was a good kid, well, he also knew that Saracen was an angry kid. He saw it, coached it, stoked it and used it on the field, under the lights.

But as the father of Matt's girlfriend? He didn't want that kind of rage around Julie. First, you never knew what would set Saracen off. A brick through a window yielded a crowbar to a car? His father's reappearance led to public shouting matches, and meanness to Julie?

Second she seemed too pure to have come from him and Tami, and he didn't want anger to corrupt her. The pretty girl and QB1. That was him and Tami, but Julie wasn't the pretty girl, she was the smart girl, the arty girl. And honest to God he's grateful for it, because if she were a cheerleader, he might shoot himself. He was a football player. He knows what the cheerleaders did for players thirty years ago—and Tami hears, in the guidance office, what they do today.

Even at the time, last year, with Matt poking around though, he said "At least she's not interested in some serial killer... or one of the Riggins."

Has it come to that?

He knows what it looked like, Tim on Julie's bed, but he listened to her talk long enough to know Tim might've stopped what he didn't want to happen from happening.

Julie's speech was rambling and incoherent, mostly about Tim, the tornado, the way her bed is spinning, Matt and Carlotta and Tyra and Landry did she mean the Lance kid who followed Matt Saracen around, or the boy on his team who threw the first punch in the fight? and why don't any couples make sense anymore (he doesn't try to understand all that), Lois's fixation on smells, and how Tim made the quarters boy go away and wanted her to be quiet, and how he's cute, but he doesn't even read, but he protects her, and why didn't Eric and Tami have a boy first so that she could have a big brother and then they wouldn't have made her watch game film for her entire childhood.

Jules is asleep now, and Eric's sitting in front of his cup of coffee. He put away the fancy-shmancy one-cup-at-a-time contraption from Shelley in favor of a pot of honest, straight up, keep-you-awake-for-a-six-hour-drive-through-the-desert, black-tar-masquerading-as-the-real-thing coffee.

He knows Julie's wasted, and just…oh hell. He can't think about the morning, when she'll be hungover and Riggins will be gone and Tami will make it all his fault and say "I told you." And Gracie will cry, because she does that, and he doesn't know what to do about it all.

It doesn't make sense to Eric, but he can't wake Tami up to help him because she's not really his Tami right now. She's angry all the time, and he can't make it right, so he's angry too. And he's frustrated because he's got no money and his daughter's out of control and his wife is a stranger to him and his crazy sister-in-law is in his house, taking away his damn coffee (even if he liked the new coffee too).

And it wasn't a bad thing, to have Tim in the house, to have a man who understood why he went on the porch, just to get away from the crazy estrogen in the house.

And now he's kicked Riggins out, and he just doesn't know what happens next.

He looks in the coffee cup for answers, but the sludge has gone cold, and it's curiously lacking prophetic wisdom.