Champion, Father, and now, Coach
Disclaimer: I do not own High School Musical; all rights belong to Disney.
Characters: Troy and Jack.
Word Count: 2, 052
Author's Notes: I have basically written this because there are not enough parental!TroyJack stories out there. I tend to find Jack portrayed as a bad guy in fics – which I sometimes do not mind – but he is not abusive nor is he a rapist. Therefore, I wanted to write something that keeps him in character.
I also think that Troy is somewhat attention deprived through High School Musical. There is very little study done to his character and we don't get to see too much of his development. I personally would like to see more; which is another reason why I have written this.
It was late when Jack heard the bus pull up at the end of the street. The sun was just dipping towards the edge of the horizon, bathing the sky in a brilliant orange. He turned his attention from the sunset when the sound of footsteps approached the house. A look out the front window showed what he already expected to see:
Troy approaching the house, basketball under one arm and bag over his shoulder.
What was unexpected was the piece of paper in his hand and the bizarre fact that Troy seemed to be – if he was seeing correctly – bopping ever so slightly to a rhythm that was purely in his head. But it was what Troy did next that surprised, and not to mention pained, him the most.
His eyes lifted from the page for a moment and the vibrant blue orbs caught sight of Jack's car. Jack frowned as his son hastily stuffed the paper into his bag and started bouncing the basketball as he neared the front door, acting as though he had been doing it from the moment he had stepped off the bus.
There was a click followed by a soft creak as the front door was pushed open, granting Troy entrance into the house. He rolled the basketball towards the back door and kicked off his shoes one at a time.
"Hey coach," Troy said as he passed, heading straight for his room.
And as he turned for his room, Jack saw the unnatural glistening in Troy's eyes and the dejected slump of the shoulders. Something was wrong. It almost looked as though Troy was about to cry. His son never cried. Or if he did, he had done it in such a way that Jack had never noticed.
"Wait Troy," Jack called, reaching out to grab him. If something was troubling him so much, than he, as Troy's father, had a right to know.
Troy shied away from the contact and ducked into his room, slamming the door shut with a muffled, "I'm fine!"
With one last concerned look, Jack headed back to the lounge, knowing that nothing could be done when Troy was like this. There were times when Troy got worked up and unknowingly isolated himself from others. But he would use the time that he spent alone working things through in his head. And he always came up with the right solution.
However, if worst came to worst and Troy was still utterly confused, then Jack would offer a few words of advice of his own, usually giving his son the revelation he needed. But this time, he had no idea what the problem was; only that he had a horrible gut feeling that told him it had something to do with him. He hoped he was wrong.
It was when Troy refused to come out and eat dinner that Jack began to get more than a little worried. He had seen Troy in the locker rooms during lunch break so he doubted that the boy had eaten then either; which was worrying in itself because Troy could usually eat more than him and Lucille combined.
It was because of this that he was now knocking on Troy's door, a plate of dinner in hand. The boy needed to eat something, even if just to keep his strength up. Not eating was dangerous, especially with such an important ballgame coming up. The last thing they needed was their number one player being unable to participate because of poor dietary habits.
The room was dark, with the only light coming from a streetlight that lay outside. Through the darkness he could see Troy lying on his bed, curled up on his side with a pillow held close. He didn't even stir as Jack entered the room and he believed for a moment that Troy was actually asleep. Then he caught sight of a pair of hollow eyes and he realised that things were far worse than he had originally thought. Something was seriously wrong.
"Troy?" he asked gently, setting the plate down.
No answer came so he took the liberty of sitting on Troy's bed. Even that only caused Troy to blink shortly once and look up at him momentarily before returning his attention to the wall. Jack sighed, running a hand through his hair.
Glancing around the room, he caught sight of some paper sticking out of Troy's bag – right on top, where Troy had hidden the paper he'd been reading as he neared the house hours earlier. He picked it up and went to read it but it was suddenly snatched out of his unsuspecting hands. Troy was now sitting up, the paper held protectively against his chest and eyes blazing. But Jack had already seen enough.
The sheet was covered in music.
Troy was still chasing after a position in the damned Twinkle Towne musical. As if the boy didn't already have enough on his hands. Why couldn't he put things in perspective?
His son froze, seemingly caught off-guard by his unusually serious tone of voice.
"I need you to stop thinking about this singing thing," Jack ordered, meeting Troy's gaze evenly. "Your team needs you Troy. Against the West High Knights, they've got no chance without you. And how do you think they can win when your focus is somewhere else? You answer me that."
Troy looked down at his lap, fingering his pillow, mumbling something under his breath.
"What was that?" Jack asked tersely, his patience having disappeared by this time.
"It was just something Chad said," Troy answered with a shrug, refusing to lift his eyes. "The team was showing me all the Wildcat legends of the past today…including you. Chad didn't mean it this way but it's true. 'Champion, father, and now, coach.' That's what he said about you." Their eyes met for a moment before Troy lowered his gaze again. "Ever since you've become my coach, you've stopped being my dad."
"Now that's not true," he protested.
"Isn't it?" Troy demanded, now glaring at him defiantly, something within him having snapped. "When was the last time we did anything besides basketball, huh? When was the last time we talked about school without you bringing up basketball scholarships? When was the last time we ever did anything? When was the last time you acted like my dad?"
Troy was now on his feet, tears forming in his eyes. Anger was radiating out of his posture, but Jack could see the hurt hidden underneath. Troy's cheeks were flushed and his hands were balled into fists but his eyes showed nothing but sadness and pain. There was no way that this had only just started bothering Troy recently. Apparently he had been holding back these thoughts for a while. And now they had suddenly exploded.
Jack looked at Troy, his son, in shock. He had no idea that Troy had been feeling this way. He mentally berated himself for being so self-centred and inattentive. How could he have missed all the signs that Troy must have obviously been showing? How could he have been so blind? Jack was brought out of his world by the sound of Troy making his way towards the door.
Before Troy could make a run for it, Jack had a gentle yet secure grip on his arm. He tugged the boy in his direction, trying to get him to sit back on the bed. They needed to sort this out before he lost Troy forever.
"Dad, let go."
He kept his grip firm; they were doing this now.
The pleading was almost enough to make Jack let go simply out of disbelief. But he managed to catch himself just in time and forcefully pulled Troy back onto the bed, causing Troy to release his grip on the music.
Silence filled the room. Jack knew what needed to be said, he just didn't know how to say it. Where should he start? What was he supposed to say in a situation like this? Lucille was far better at this than he was.
But Troy spoke before he could collect his thoughts.
"Dad?" he asked, nervousness evident in his tone.
God, how hard of a coach must he have been for Troy to become afraid of him?
"Yeah son?" The answer was unnecessary but he wanted Troy to know that he was listening; that he was willing to listen.
"You know how…a little while ago…we talked about doing something new…even though you were afraid of what everyone else would think?"
Jack frowned slightly in thought and then recalled the conversation. Some things clicked in his head and he gingerly picked up the music. He shook it slightly. "This is what you meant? You meant being in the musical?"
"And that my real friends would be the ones that stood by me even if it was a total disaster?" Troy continued, acting as though Jack had never even said anything. "…does that mean you're not my friend, because you're just gonna laugh at me?"
Those two sentences alone were enough to make Jack wish he could sink into the ground, or at least maybe relive the last few weeks of his life. He had been such a hypocrite. Sure he had preached it, but he had never put that preaching into practice. And now he was reaping the consequences.
He didn't know how to answer Troy's accusations, how to explain what he had done. So he did the first thing that came to him. He reached out and pulled Troy into a hug, one arm holding Troy close and the other resting on the other's head. The Wildcat superstar went rigid in his grip, confused by the entire situation.
"I'm sorry son," Jack whispered, running a hand through Troy's hair. "I should have listened to you, realised that there was more than basketball. You're my son, not my student, I should be treating you like one."
"…Dad…it's okay," Troy replied in a shaky tone, relaxing in his arms and gripping his shirt with a hand.
"You think it's okay Troy?" he asked. "Because it's not. We're a family. And I need to start acting like I'm part of one."
There was no verbal answer but he could feel Troy nodding against his chest, holding onto his shirt just that little bit tighter. Jack gently brushed his son's hair, placing a small kiss atop his head.
"Tomorrow." He said, gently prying Troy off. "Tomorrow things will change. And Troy, if you ever have any problems with me, I want you to come tell me, understand? No bottling it in until you can't handle it."
Troy gave a weak nod, wiping his eyes with a hand, quickly changing from a crying boy to the smiling playmaker he knew.
"Now eat your dinner and then go to bed. It's late."
There was a mutter of agreement and the plate was soon being efficiently cleared of its contents. Jack smiled at the sight and turned for the door.
The call made him stop and turn around, looking back at Troy with a questioning look on his face. Troy pushed the food around the plate with his fork aimlessly, ignoring the horrible scraping noise it made.
"Will…will you come watch me at the call back?"
A huge grin spread across his face. "Of course," he answered, remembering the paper he still had in his hands. He returned to Troy's bedside and put the music down. "Maybe you could sing a few bars now?" Jack teased, ruffling his hair.
"Get lost," Troy answered good-naturedly, batting away his hands and returning his attention to the food in front of him.
Jack simply laughed, patting the teen's leg before leaving for good this time.
"More than hope, more than faith,
This is true, this is fate,
And together we see it coming,
More than you, more than me,
Not a want, but a need,
Both of us breaking free!"
So maybe it wasn't what they had planned, but still, he was there for the call back. There to watch Troy, his son, show everyone that he was more than just the basketball guy. And Jack could almost feel himself bursting; he was so proud.
A/N: thank you all for reading. This is my first time ever writing a High School Musical fanfic. I tried to keep everyone as in character as possible.
While you may find the ending cliché, I personally like the whole twist on Troy's words. This whole fic is based around twisting lines spoken throughout the movie so it formed a fitting end.
I also have more Troy stories planned, I just haven't gotten around to writing them. I do hope to have them written as soon as possible.
Please remember that reviews make the world go round, which is surprising important – or so scientists tell us.
P.S. According to IMDb, Lucille is actually Mrs. Bolton's name. I just thought she didn't have one but apparently not. Who knew, huh?