Closer Than We Thought
Prologue: Getting Settled

Very lengthy notes from the author- Warning. THIS IS SLASH. (Well... it's going to be.) If you don't like slash, don't read it. If you don't like it but read it anyway, that's not my fault, please don't bother to review saying that you don't like slash, because you've had fair warning and such a review is only wasting your time. And especially don't review by first acknowledging that you were warned there would be slash but you read it anyway and you still don't like slash. (Could I say 'slash' any more times?)
*smiling* But I didn't really need to bother writing that, because I know that there's not a single Duck fan here who would do something like reading a slash fic just to post an anti-slash review. (In other words, to that single Duck fan—you know who you are—you've been warned. A lot.) Oh well. Other than general slash-bashing, any feedback is appreciated, positive, negative, whatever. ^_^ Disney belongs to the Ducks... erm, wait, I don't think that's quite right. Starts at the beginning of D3. Ken's POV, and in this story it actually won't change.
Dedication (since when do I dedicate fics? *shrug*) to Star and Victory Thru Tears. You rock. ^_^

*****

September 2, 1996
My mom gave me this journal just before I left for school. She said I should write down everything that happens this year, and someday I'll be glad I did. Well, if she says so, I guess it can't hurt. But writing isn't exactly my favorite pastime, nor am I any good at it.

Where to start, where to start. I've got plenty to say. Never let it be said that school with the Ducks isn't interesting.

Orientation was today. The original Ducks all had the bright idea of skating to the assembly. It would've worked fine, too, if Goldberg could skate. But he can't, so seven Ducks and a curtain all ended up tangled on the stage. Right in the middle of the Dean's speech! He wasn't too pleased.

But I think hauling the whole team to his office was a bit extreme. They weren't trying to crash his speech. (Well, I hope not, that sounds like exactly the sort of thing they would do, though. But they can't prove it!) And the five of us out in the audience had nothing to do with it.

Ducks fly together and Ducks die together, I guess. That's okay with me, as long as Charlie doesn't get us killed too often.

The talk with the Dean went... interestingly. (Butchered grammar there, I'll bet. I told you I can't write!) First he gave us this really odd speech about ants, which freaked me out a good deal. (Along with the rest of the team. Russ, naturally, couldn't resist a wisecrack, which shut him up before he could get too weird on us.) Then he gave us a less odd, but more annoying, speech about how we'd better win, because basically the school doesn't want us here in the first place.

If they don't want us here, why do we have scholarships? I think it's just that Varsity goon and his dad who don't want us here. But they can cause us trouble. Charlie doesn't think so. Charlie assured me that they won't do anything to us. I'm not so sure I can believe him.

Charlie got awfully cocky over the summer. Now that I think about it, all the Ducks have changed, more or less. Luis is even more girl-crazy, if possible. Banks is quieter, Averman is louder, and Goldberg eats more. Julie's lightened up some. Connie and Guy broke up, which shocked the entire team into silence (not easy at all) when we heard the news. Dwayne was getting a little less cowboy-ish when we left, but he's back with a full Texan recharge. He even calls himself Cowboy. Jesse's in Colorado and Portman's in Chicago, so I can't say anything about them. Fulton, since Portman isn't here, has become much subdued.

And then... there's Russ.

Since we're the only Californian Ducks, Russ and I spent a month together over the summer. For much of it, we worked on fundamentals. I helped him with skating, he helped me with fighting. He's the same old Russ, still. Hockey with an attitude, and sometimes attitude with an attitude.

It's dawned on me, as I've been writing this, that I've been paying a lot of attention to Russ so far this year.

*****

I put my journal away, scowling. I wrote in it, Mom, are you happy? And no, I'm not especially glad I did. All it was good for was making me realize I've been spending an unusual amount of time thinking about Russ lately, and I don't know what the point of that is supposed to be.

Or maybe I do. Maybe I'll actually have a best friend on the team this year. That would be nice. I've always sort of been the odd one out. Every team needs one, though, don't they? The type who gets along with everyone and isn't close to anyone?

Somebody else can have that role this year.

My roommate is already asleep. It makes perfect sense that said roommate should be Russ, doesn't it? Perfect.

I watch him for a few minutes, since there's no way I can sleep just yet. (I always get a little hyper my first night in a new place.) It's hard to believe that this is Mr. Attitude-with-an-Attitude. He looks so uncharacteristically serene.

There I go, all intent on Russ again. And I ask myself... self? Is there something you aren't telling me?