Brief Explainer - this is my 350th story on FFN and my 100th on Ao3. To commemorate that I wanted to pay tribute to all the fandoms I've loved before. ;) So I'm going to do 5 Things You Know and 1 You Don't for the 5 fandoms I've written the most for since first joining FFN and the 1 I've written for most recently (are catching a theme?)
Those fandoms are:
Camp Rock (144)
The Librarians (49 on Ao3)
Power Rangers (33)
High School Musical (19)
Here we go!
5 Things You Know
And 1 You Don't
5. High School Musical
Your Best Friend
You know in Kindergarten that Chad Danforth is going to be your best friend. He walks in the door with his crazy curls and his Jordans and you think, finally my best friend is here. You don't know him. You've never spoken to him. But that doesn't matter. You can tell by the basketball on his shirt and the way he immediately pulls a matchbox car out of his pocket. You don't take time to think about whether or not he wants to be your friend too. You just know he will because, of course, he will. It's already meant to be. You march over, sit down down next to him, and pull out your own matchbox car.
His eyes consider you for a long moment and he studies your car. You feel a brief bit a nerves before he finally smiles and says, "I'm Chad."
"Troy," you respond with a grin.
"I've got a turkey sandwich, doritos, and a fruit cup for lunch. What do you have?" He asks as if your name is all he needs to know.
"Um, PB&J, strawberry yogurt, and carrot sticks," you say with a grimace. His lunch sounds way better than yours.
"I'll trade you my fruit cup for your yogurt," he says in a whisper as he leans across the table.
"Deal," you reply as you reach out and shake his hand.
You knew he'd be your best friend. You just knew it.
The Status Quo
The first day of sixth grade is when you and Chad realize you're gonna need a lot more than cool shoes to stand out in middle school. The eighth graders are huge and they all stand around in little groups. They don't mingle around and try to make friends.
"Dude," Chad says with a sigh. "We are so not in elementary school anymore."
You spend the first week trying to figure out how it all works. Observing. You realize that on Fridays the jocks and the cheerleaders wear their jerseys or uniforms. People cheer as they walk through the halls, especially on game days. They're also the ones that are constantly surrounded by mobs of people.
"That's the place to be," Chad says as he nudges your elbow and motions to the lunch table that's home to the jocks and cheerleaders. "That's where we need to go," he tells you.
And you believe him, because in the nearly 7 years you've known him he's never steered you wrong. So you ask your dad to help you get ready for basketball tryouts. Community ball was getting boring anyway. Too easy, especially when you and Chad always end up on the same team. You know the basketball court is where you'll make your name. It's how people will know you. You don't question it because that's just how it's supposed to be.
By the end of your freshman year of high school you know what it's like to be bored. Junior Varsity Basketball was too easy and when one of the the Varsity players gets put on the injured list for the season, you're not surprised to be moved up. You warm the bench for a good part of the season and watch the crowds at the games. They love it, and you do too. But is it enough? Is this all you want out of your years at school? You don't want to give it up, but you know it's not fulfilling you the way it used to.
And it's not cause you're warming the bench. You expected that, paying your dues. Everyone has to. You expect the guys on the team to hide your clothes somewhere on school grounds, you expect to have to walk through the school in a towel to find them. You know you have to laugh because it's funny and it's their way of welcoming you to the team. But it doesn't make basketball any more exciting. If you thought being accepted on the team would keep from being bored then you know now you were wrong.
Another injury late in the season puts you out on the court, playing for your life. But you still feel like something is missing. Like you should be doing more. You go through the games, playing your best, but not really being present. You know you've practiced long and hard enough to be one of the best guys on the team, even if you're the youngest, and you know you stepped up as a Freshman to help power your team through a rocky season.
And when next years team includes Chad, you know how the vote for Captain will go. Because Chad is your best friend and thinks you have it all together. But he doesn't know what you know. He doesn't know you're missing something.
You kinda feel like your in Kindergarten again because the minute you see her on that stage, you know. She's nervous and hesitant, but you're not. Because you know you're meant to be on that stage with her. Somehow you just do. It feels easy and fun and natural and the thing you know you're missing is suddenly gone. Is it her? Is it the singing? Is it both? The more you sing, the more she comes out of her shell and the more you just know.
When she's gone and you're left standing alone, in the cold, you know it's not over. You know that her name seems oddly familiar. You've never met any other Gabriellas but you know this one and you know she's unique. You know you'll see her again. It's a foregone conclusion. A truth that's yet to happen.
You go back to school, without having plucked up the nerve to call her, only to find her there. You're surprised but not shocked because you knew. It wasn't over then and it's not over now. She gets you singing again and not just karaoke. She introduces you to new friends and new worlds and new passions. She teaches you lessons about yourself and, though, she may doubt. You don't. You're better together and always have been from that first moment on stage.
Gabriella Montez and Troy Bolton are written in the stars. You knew it from the moment you first heard the music.
Team is Family
Graduation comes and goes and your friends seem nervous about parting ways once summer ends, but you're not. These people mean more to you then they realize and you won't let them go. You know them like you know yourself. They won't let you go either.
So it's no surprise to you when Kelsi flies to California to see you in your first college production with Ryan in tow. No surprise to you when Chad shows up at one of your games, despite being your new rival. No surprise that Gabriella drags you to New York to eat at a restaurant you've never heard of because Zeke is interning there. No surprise to you to see Sharpay at the table next to yours.
What team? Wildcats. Repeats in your head as you go through life because these people aren't just your team. They're your family. You support each other no matter how old you are. That's never more true than when you stand up next to Chad at his wedding and watch him manage to snag Taylor McKessie, future lawyer/senator/president/ceo, as his wife. This is your family and you know they'll never be a day where they won't be there.
One Thing You Don't Know
Almost six months after your wedding you notice Gabriella acting strangely. She's exhausted all the time, eating more food than he's ever seen her eat, and having sporadic moments of nausea. She's as thrown by it as you are but declares it's probably just a bug. She calls you before you head into rehearsals and says she's going to the doctor. You don't think much of it. It's just a bug, after all.
But when you get home after a long day of rehearsals you find the lights dimmed and candles burning. You briefly think you've forgotten something important before thinking through all the things that could prompt a candlelight dinner and realizing there's nothing for you to forget.
Gabriella smiles as you come into the small dining area of your 2 bedroom apartment and your stress melts away. What were you worried about? You'd never forget anything about your milestones with Gabriella. You couldn't if you tried.
During dinner she declines wine, which you don't understand because you went out of your way to get her favorite wine during your last shopping trip. She shrugs and says her stomach is still acting up so it's probably best to not test her limits. You agree that you'd rather have her healthy and happy than drunk and she laughs at you and rolls her eyes. Dinner ends and she pulls you over to the couch. I've gotten us a movie to watch, she says with a secretive smile. She turns on the TV and presses play and your breath catches in your throat.
You don't really know what's on the screen, it's black and white and tiny, but you know that sounds. That's a heartbeat. Gabriella places a photograph in your hands. When you look down you realize it's a sonogram that says "Baby Bolton" across the top and you realize one thing you didn't know as you kiss her deeply.
You didn't know you could be this happy.