Category: The Mighty Ducks (Movies)
Pairing: Charlie Conway/Adam Banks (ChAdam)
Length: 1-5k words
[Adam Banks, aged 10]
“I told you not to play for that team of losers.”
“What have I told you about back-chatting me?”
“You’re losing respect for me.”
“No… sir. I’m sorry!”
“Did you just take a step back?”
“I… no, sir.”
“Come here, son.”
“Don’t make me come and fetch you. We need to talk… right up close.”
So you move forwards, like a robot. You let him talk. Right Up Close. And for awhile you hurt. But eventually you’re pushed past that, and then you sink into oblivion.
“Hey, Ads… Jeez, what the hell happened to you?”
“What do you think, Danny?”
“I mean what sparked him off?”
“Hockey. He doesn’t want me to play until next year, when the lines can be redrawn.”
“Maybe you should just stop—just for the rest of the season. There’s no point playing if you’re a mass of bruises.”
“I just wanna play.”
“I know you do, kid.”
You sit in silence with your big brother, wondering why he can’t make all the hurt go away, the way he used to when you were little. You liked those times, when all you needed was to be picked up and set on his shoulders to make you feel better.
“And you’ve been to hockey again.”
“Shut up, Danny. Dad’s in his study. He might hear you.”
“Good point. You know, you should learn to stand up for yourself.”
“Yeah, because that will work against Dad.”
“No, seriously. Stand up.”
“Because I’m going to teach you how to fight.”
So he teaches you to fight. You feel stupid as he pushes you into position, tells you how to stand, how to balance your weight. You both laugh when he tells you to “look mean” and instead you look petulant. But the laughter doesn’t cover the real fact of the matter, even if you could look mean, even if you know how to hit, you’re never going to stop your father. And you’ll never earn his respect.
[Adam Banks, aged 12]
“My Dad’s happiest times were watching me skate on the pond behind our house. I’m sure your Dad feels the same way.”
You watch Bombay leave, a spring in his step because he has ‘fixed’ you. You wipe the tears from your eyes, knowing that Bombay didn’t understand what set them off. He thought you understood him. He was wrong. You didn’t. Your father will never think back to you skating on a pond for the sheer joy of ‘wanting to fly’. He might look back on your triumphs on the ice, but with a cold reflected glory. If you win, it means he is a winner too. If you lose… well, that’s not an option. You were crying because for a moment you wished your father was dead, so you could let Bombay’s bittersweet nostalgia become your happy misconception of your father.
“Happy, yeah right. He doesn’t care about happy, happy is only something that happens after a good win.”
“Adam, calm down. Did you really call me long-distance to rant about Dad? Tell me about the Games, what was it like to play? To win?”
“Screw that! I was out for half the games with my wrist. Do you think Dad’s happy?”
“Are you happy?”
“Don’t get all Rikki Lake on me, Danny. I’m not in the mood.”
“Seriously, Adam. If you’re putting this much pressure on yourself, do you really want to play?”
“It’s not me that’s putting the pressure on!”
“At twelve years old, you’re far too young to be this worried about your ‘career’. Do something for yourself, for once. You’ve got a couple of days before you come back home, enjoy yourself, forget about Dad, then call me the day you leave, got it?”
So you hang up the phone and do as your big brother tells you. He’s good with advice, although a little less empathic than he was now that he has moved out of home into his new university dorm. You know where to go, you’ve felt Charlie looking at you all this time. Charlie doesn’t care if you’re a winner or a loser, he just cares. You suspect he loves you, and you love him a little in return, because he is the only person to do this without being obligated to by blood ties or wanting anything in return. So you go to him, and for awhile, he makes you feel like a winner.
[Adam Banks, aged 14]
“I think I misheard. In fact, I know I did. No son of mine will be demoted on a hockey team.”
“It wasn’t like that. I want to stay with my friends.”
“You don’t have time for friends.”
“I want to move to the dorms.”
“Adam, I don’t think you understand me. I’ve put up with a lot from you, and I get very little in return. You’re forgetting your manners…”
“I’m sorry, but—”
“Adam, come here.”
For a moment it feels wonderful. That second you’ve always dreamt of, telling your father ‘no’. And then, just like that, the euphoria fades, and the overwhelming fear sets in. You have just told Phillip Banks III ‘no’. A word never heard in the Banks Household. When he tells you to come closer, “right up close” so he can talk to you, the robot takes over. With the power gone, you sink back into your robotic ways. You know one of these days you’re going to wind up in hospital—or worse.
As it is, you’re off school for three days healing up.
“Adam, where have you been?”
“I had the flu, I told you, Charlie.”
“You look fine to me, and you’re not snuffly at all.”
“Are you a doctor?”
“Then I don’t think I need your damned opinion, do I?”
You walk off, leaving Charlie hurt and confused. A part of you feels good about that. Charlie has been in your thoughts a lot. After the JV-Varsity fiasco, things have been different between the two of you. You don’t trust him any more. How could he throw you off so easily? How could he just ice you out the way he did? If he loves you, the way he claims to, he wouldn’t have turned his back so quickly. You were deeply hurt by him, and you’re not sure if you can get back to the way he used to make you feel. He used to make you feel wonderful, like a winner. He used to make you feel loved. Now when he looks at you, you stare back into his eyes, trying to see a truth that his outer visage is hiding well. You suspect that it will never be the same again for the two of you.
“Adam, talk to me. What’s wrong? What’s going on inside your head?”
“Nothing, Charlie. I’m fine.”
“Stop saying that! You’re not fine. You’re pretty fucking far from fine!”
“How do you know?”
“Because I know you.”
“You know me? If that’s true, why did you think I was in on all of Varsity’s pranks on you guys? Why did you freeze me out so quickly? You don’t know me, Charlie, you’re just screwing me.”
“Damn it! I love you, you idiot! I’m trying to make things better between us, and you keep freezing me out.”
“Hurts to be on the other side, doesn’t it?”
“Is that what you’re doing? Trying to make me feel what you felt? Because fine, let’s try that. Tell me how it feels to be you, because I can’t stand this… nothing that our relationship is!”
It’s the “nothing” that hits you. It’s like a slap in the face. Is that all you are to him? Nothing? Certainly not a winner. Fine, if Charlie wants to know how it feels to be Adam Banks, then show him! Let him know how you feel inside. Tell him. Talk to him.
Right up close.