Fandom: Friday Night Lights
Word count: 656
Summary: In the end, Julie doesn't become her mother after all.
Notes: Just a quick futurefic. Many thanks to roga for the beta.
In the end, Julie doesn't become her mother after all. She goes off to college and gets a degree in journalism before getting a job at the bottom of the heap at the Portland Tribune. Oregon is gray and wet, not much like Texas, but she likes it there, a home she's made for herself. She has an apartment with tiny windows and a tiny kitchen, and that's okay, because she isn't that great a cook, and she always forgets to close her windows when it rains.
There was never much Texas in her accent, but what she did have, she loses, and her coworkers blink in surprise when she tells them where she's from. There are other things she doesn't lose, though. Her love of bacon on Saturday mornings, no matter how many times she swears it off; football on Mondays, even with the annoying announcers; her mother's weekly phone call, as warm and as nagging as ever.
During the holidays, she goes home to Dillon, which always reminds her of how things were, how things could have been. Her mother's still a guidance councilor at the school, and her dad still coaches football, and Gracie's about to start first grade, and everything's the same as it used to be, except for when it isn't. She occasionally sees Lois at the supermarket, near the produce (she married Bobby Sanchez from fourth period history and now lives two streets away from Julie's parents), and Lyla Garrity at the gas station, back from law school, all confidence and attitude. It's a little odd, because Julie still remembers a time when Lyla used to define herself in terms of Jason Street, but she's glad to see someone else managed to get out as well.
Tyra's holding down two jobs while trying to get her Associate's in English at the local community college, and she looks exhausted whenever Julie visits her at Applebee's.
"I'm going to get this goddamn degree," she says, every time Julie asks her how she's doing, and there's something about the expression on Tyra's face that makes Julie believe her every time.
Matt's still in Dillon, too. His dad's still away, and his grandma's still sweet and crazy, and he's still Matt. They broke up when Julie graduated, with no hard feelings this time, but it hadn't been easy, and sometimes she can't help but wonder what would have happened if they'd done things differently. He's always at the Friday night games in the Fall, when the Panthers are playing (and it's not like her mom will let her miss them while she's in town). He always grins, bright and lopsided and still a little shy, when he sees her, and she knows that it would have been so easy to settle for him.
"How's Portland?" he always asks, and she always answers with a half-shrug and a smile and a non-committal response of "Wet."
He always laughs when she says it, like it's still funny, no matter how many times he's heard it, and it charms her the way he always has. They mostly exchange small talk, catching each other up on their lives, and at the end of the game they say their goodbyes. She always realizes too late that she misses watching him play, misses cheering him on, misses the way his eyes glowed after a win.
She doesn't regret leaving, doesn't regret breaking up with him, but she thinks that someday, maybe, his dad will come home for good, and maybe she'll get an apartment big enough for two, and maybe, when he asks her how Portland is, she won't immediately say, "Wet." Instead, she'll smile and say, "Maybe you should come find out for yourself sometime."
And maybe he'll understand what she means, understand all the things she won't say out loud, and he'll smile back as he says, "Maybe I should."
And maybe, one day, he will.