Author's Note: This is based on a true story. I do not own High School Musical, but I do own this plotline, seeing that it is my life. Troy is my brother's boyfriend, River. Ryan is my brother, Kipling. Marcellus and Keoni are real people. Mr. Kent's name has been changed to protect his identity. I will be portrayed by Sharpay, my little sister as Hillary, and my older brother as Matt. Please be sensitive.

Warnings: Drug use, slash.

1

The boy smiled sadistically as he stepped into the room. With a shake of his head, he flicked some of his light blonde hair out of the line of his blue eyes. He pulled his thin arm out of the grasp of the man standing next to him, his eyes flashing sarcastically as his lips bit back in a sneer.

The man flinched, stepping back from the adolescent, whose eyes remained on him. The boy smirked and tossed his hair again, staring straight at the man as if daring him to make a comeback. The man shuddered, running his hand over his chin full of stubbly grey hairs. The boy snapped his head cockily, knowing that he had won the battle.

The man gestured him forward with a shaking hand. The boy placed his feet casually in front of him, trying to act indifferent. The man left and the boy's eyes relaxed, losing the sarcasm that made them so intimidating. His fingers, which had been clenched firmly in his hands, slackened and rested loosely at his sides. He glanced at the surfaces of his hand which had nail marks embedded in them. He rubbed his sweaty palms on his faded jeans and grimaced.

"So," came a quiet voice, its tone gravelly yet firm. "This is what you're really like."

The boy flinched, turning abruptly to see the intruder. It was a middle aged man, fifty or so, whose entrance had been so silent even the boy hadn't heard him come in. And that was unusual.

The boy's pale, stunningly blue eyes narrowed as he browsed the stranger. The man was wearing a khaki-colored suit with shiny leather shoes. His brown hair was flecked with grey, but lay slicked down and brushed professionally to the side. His clear blue eyes were magnified through his thick square glasses; he stared at the boy with a knowing smirk.

Fingers squeezed back into place as the boy brought his eyes to meet the man's. His thin pink lips curled back in surprise, shock almost, to find someone who was not the least bit scared of him. How could this be? Everybody was fearful of him, this thin, lanky adolescent—pale as a vampire with icy blue eyes associated with those of a serial killer luring one into his trap.

The man glanced at a clipboard he held in his thick hands. The boy tried to tear his eyes away in indifference, but failed as he wondered what was on the clipboard.

"Ryan Evans, hmm…" the man said in a thoughtful voice. "You're Ryan, then, I suppose."

"Yeah," the boy muttered. Ryan. He thought about giving the man a sarcastic reply, but decided against it. It was better to test out the new grounds first.

This was new for Ryan Evans. Ryan Evans was going to rehab for the very first time in his life. He was now sixteen—he had been continually fluxing in and out of rehab for seven years.

He figured that this center was just the same as he'd heard about. For troubled youth and adults who were in here either for drugs, alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, or any other problems. It was for people who had "messed up bad" as he had heard from others he knew.

"Why don't you sit down?" The man pointed at a chair, and Ryan took it, staring hard at the man. He couldn't figure him out; this was surprising for Ryan—he remembered every face he'd ever seen, he was able to figure out an intellectual from a glance to five minutes.

"Now, Ryan," said the man with a sigh, folding his fingers over. "My name is Mr. Kent and I am in charge of this organization here at Greenwood Rehabilitation Center for Troubled Youth and Adults. You obviously know why you're here, and I want to straighten things out that this is your fault, and it's your job to get yourself out of here. You can hate me as much as you want, but that is not going to make a difference; you are going to listen and reform yourself to get yourself out of the mess you got yourself into.

"Now, I have already assigned you a room; you have three roommates, three troubled adolescents such as yourself. If you do well in this center, perhaps you will obtain your own room. If you create any disturbances, you will be isolated for a certain amount of days, the seriousness of what you have done. Foul language here is not tolerated, and you will suffer the consequences if you feel you need to curse in any way.

"Mr. Evans, here you have our respect, even though you may have lost it out in the real world. But here, we will respect you until you abuse that respect we have offered.

"Now, since I have seemed to have covered everything, do you have any questions?"

Ryan Evans gripped the side of his chair. He didn't answer, but stared at Mr. Kent with his cold blue eyes; the man took that as a "no."

Marcellus Greenberg sat alone on his bed. He glanced hatefully at the scratchy, grey cloth blanket that lined his small cot. Pulling his legs up protectively against his chest, he reached for the cheap pillow, and brought it up under his chin. Sighing, he leaned back onto the bed, flailing his legs up at the head of the cot, while his head collided lightly with the hard mattress. He lay there now, silently breathing, his long, dirty blonde hair spread out, his thin legs crossed as he looked up at the holes in the ceiling tiles with his dark brown eyes.

He heard a small grunt, and turned his head, looking over at the cot across from him. Sitting cross-legged on his own bed was one of his two roommates, Keoni Reeves, scrawling something in a green-covered spiral notebook with a chipped Ticonderoga pencil with a grey-smudged eraser. Keoni's brow was furrowed with lines of concentration, his green eyes staring intently at whatever he was writing, jagged bangs of light brown hair falling into his slightly freckled pale face. Marcellus noticed the small hole near his lip where he had been forced to remove his silver lip ring on the first day he'd come to rehab. He wondered how long it would be before the hole closed fully. He suspected that the other boy was writing poetry; Keoni wrote a poem for every day he had been in rehabilitation: he must have had around sixty now.

The poems weren't long, but they were meaningful. Marcellus remembered the first time he'd ever read one of Keoni's poems; it had taken him a while talk to the other boy. He'd tried to avoid talking to anybody, but in this center, he needed to interact for some human contact, and Keoni had become one of his friends.

He flipped casually to his side, lying with his chest on the pillow. He groped at a paper under his mattress and pulled it out: the first poem he'd ever read that Keoni had wrote, and the other teen had given it to him. Marcellus read it almost every day, trying to keep himself from going insane from the isolation from the real world, to try to satiate the hunger he had when he needed the drugs, when he lusted for them.

They say we fall silently, Marcellus mouthed slowly, reading the faded penciled words on the lined paper. I, personally, never believed it. A smirk crept from the corner of his mouth and he wondered if he was going insane. How can we fall, without hanging on? Life is a deceiving thing… Marcellus managed to restrain himself from saying, "Amen." I don't understand it: one moment of exhilaration, the next drowning in regrets. I suppose it's up to you to decide if you want to survive.

He folded the paper again, feeling the frayed edges and wondering how much longer the scrap would last. Keoni looked up at him a bit worriedly, but Marcellus gave him a small smile, and Keoni grinned back softly. Keoni had been in rehabilitation for a bit less time than Marcellus; he had received drugs at school—the most common reason adolescents were in this center.

There was another noise, and Marcellus looked up, feeling amazingly sluggish. He wondered briefly if he was coming down with something. "Hey Troy," he said softly, his voice a low, gravelly sound.

Troy Bolton looked back at him, his dark blue eyes rather exhausted under his mop of dark brown hair.

"Marcellus," he greeted shortly. He effortlessly pulled himself onto his bed, the mattress sinking slightly under his weight.

Troy's past had been excruciatingly hard. He was an open homosexual who had suffered prejudice at school. Since his family was strongly Christian, his homosexuality had been received as a sin and shunned by his church and family members. He had been diagnosed with anorexia before he had arrived at rehabilitation: of all of the roommates in Room 201, Troy had been the last to arrive—he had only been here for the last three weeks.

Marcellus himself had been in this center for the last two and a half months, ever since his parents had caught him with a bag of cocaine which he had been taking for five months until the moment he had been caught. He hated rehab more than anything. He hated the group sharing time they had every morning, he hated the academic exercises they did to keep their minds fresh, he hated making his bed, he hated the quiet visits where nobody came to see him anyways. He hated the fact that he was always told it was his fault because by now, he'd heard that statement enough for a lifetime.

There was a knock at the doorway, and Marcellus drifted out of his reverie to look at the boy who stood in the doorway. He was about to sneer, but changed it into a twisted smile when he saw Mr. Kent standing behind the adolescent. Marcellus glanced at the newcomer: pale, blonde hair, slender, insanely blue eyes. He scoffed.

New kid. They'd make him feel welcome soon enough.

Author's Note: The original is even better. It will be up at fictionpress soon. Please review.

-Falling With Grace