Author's Note: I don't own High School Musical; it would be inappropriate for Disney if I did. I don't own the song "Go Quietly" by Terra Naomi, but if you haven't heard of her, go check her out now! She's amazing. Yeah, this is my very first slashy one-shot ever, so tell me what you think of it. Thank you. Oh, I'm sorry I'm using a song as kind of a crutch. I didn't know where to go with it.

Dedication: This story's dedicated to OCP (Ellie) for becoming my new wife. And I know you're all furious because you didn't get to her first, but whose fault is that? I was smart, I proposed, and yay, lmfao. So you know who you are if you're invited to the virtual wedding which will have entertainment by the Jonas Brothers, Clay Aiken, Kelly Clarkson, Hope Partlow, Terra Naomi, etc. So you better pray you were invited. And if you were, you better come. I don't know when it is. You'll have to ask Ellie.

Warning: It's rated M. Mature for the little kiddies who want to be exposed to the horrors of this world. Implied rape, implied homosexual relationships. Yep. Pretty dark. Don't read if you don't like. I don't like flames.

-

His fingers rest briefly on his pillow as the sunlight shines through the slats in his window. He tenses, twisting his legs under the bed sheets, his lips dry as he reaches up and runs his hand across the wooden pieces, pushing briefly to drown out the light. Shadow envelopes his room once more, and he turns on his side, his stomach pressed against his mattress, his cotton t-shirt stretching from the angle of his body. The only sound in his room is his silent breathing as he acknowledges the clatter downstairs, telling him that the rest of his family is awake. He pulls the translucent white sheets over his head to shut out any disturbances.

It has been a week so far. A week since he's locked himself in his room, a week since he refuses to contact anyone, only leaving his refuge for necessities such as food. He doesn't want to come out, he doesn't want that cascade of emotion to pound onto his vulnerability, to face his greatest fears of what he knows has happened.

He is denying it, he knows. Only he is scared—no terrified—of admitting it, horrified to confront it, and accept the fact that it happened.

There is a knock at the door, and he brings his head up, his eyes weary from the lack of sleep he has been getting. At night, horrors rise up and attempt to consume him, dragging him down in a way he despises, yet he is helpless in fighting back.

"Ryan?" comes a small voice. "Can I come in?"

He relaxes, laying his body back on the bed. It's his twin sister; he doesn't fear her and never has.

"Yeah," he mutters casually, his voice feeling raw and unused. "Sure."

He wonders when he has become so careless, so apathetic towards everything in his life. He knows the answer; he refuses to admit it.

on the day you came to
did you know you had come
did you know why you came
could you feel where you're from

The doorknob turns, and he brings his torso up on weak arms. He feels so pathetic, so utterly useless, yet he is not afraid to be scared in front of his sister, the one person who will understand him.

"Hey, Ry," she says carefully, coming up to his bed and climbing up on it. He looks away from her anxious eyes, putting on a mask of indifference, pretending that he's bored. She doesn't buy it; she is his twin after all, and looks sadly at him, her brown eyes begging him to tell her what has happened to the individual he used to be. He aches to tell her, his whole frame shakes now as his fingers tighten, trying to open his mouth and tell her what has happened, what happened to him, why he doesn't know who he is… why he's so scared now…

But he can't.

He's afraid to tell her, afraid that she will hate him, afraid that she won't love him anymore—and he needs that love more than anything; something to hold onto. Something to know is consistent in his life that seems to be falling apart rapidly before his eyes.

"Ryan," she breathes cautiously, placing a perfectly manicured hand on his, "you can tell me anything, you know."

He nods his head, holding his breath, restraining himself from bursting out and revealing why he hurts so much inside.

"So if you need anybody to talk to, I'm right here," she assures him, looking at his face. He doesn't answer.

It's amazing how much emotion he can convey without saying one word. The downward position of his chin, the slight shadow of his neck; she grasps so much of the feeling that is imprisoning her brother, yet there is so much more that he refuses to tell her—and it hurts. It hurts her to have to see him in such a state, yet it hurts her more to be helpless to stop him, helpless to save him…

did you ask it out loud
when no one could hear you
did you cry all alone
when everyone feared you

Because he doesn't want saving.

She gives him a sad smile and reaches inside the pocket of her sweater. "Ry, Troy dropped this off. He asked me to give it to you."

His fingers are shaking now as he takes the frayed envelope from his sister's hands. He gives her a grateful smile, and she gives him one last longing look before leaving. She can't force him to talk. He doesn't want to share his feelings; she can't make him.

"I'm sorry, Ry," she whispers before she leaves. Then the door closes and she's gone.

And he hates it.

He wants to tell her more than anything, but something—something invisible holds him back, binds him, refuses to let him go.

He glances down at the letter now. It's sides are slightly fuzzy, "Ryan" is scrawled on it in Troy's messy print that he'd recognize anywhere. He turns it over, and fingers the slip of the envelope, but pulls his fingers away. He doesn't even pretend it doesn't hurt. He sighs and tucks the envelope under his mattress; he doesn't want to open it, but he knows that he will. It's inevitable proof; it shows him if it really happened or not, if it was truly a figment of his imagination.

Sighing to himself, he leans back onto his pillows, wondering how long it will be before he must take it out and read it.

It comes too fast.

i ask you this
mostly for me
cause people like us
can go quietly

The temptation is too much, he reaches under his mattress and pulls out the letter. Feeling himself quake, he sighs, trying to stop the racing of his heart. He carefully rips the top of the letter, pulling the crinkled piece of notebook paper out. He can see the ridges on the side of the paper, imagining in his mind Troy ripping the piece of paper out of a spiral notebook, his forehead furrowed in frustration.

Only he doesn't want to think. He doesn't want to imagine what Troy looked like at the time, he doesn't want to remember any of it.

Because it hurts too much to think about.

Instead, he opens up the piece of folded paper, watching the words appear before his eyes. He swallows hard, visioning Troy staring at the paper not so long ago, as he pressed a pencil firmly to the surface and began to write.

Ryan,

There's no "dear," no "to,"—only "Ryan." He gulps again, wondering if he is disappointed, wondering if he wanted more—wanted more, showing that perhaps Troy would have cared more.

I don't know how to say this. I messed up really bad.

He scoffs, bringing the back of his hand to his eyes, feeling the onslaught of tears. That is the understatement of a lifetime. Troy didn't just "mess up bad," he completely destroyed Ryan, destroyed this fragile piece of a person who already wasn't whole to begin with. He thinks back to before it had happened, back to before when he was just coming out, just beginning to form the person that he would be—but right then it was shattered, his dignity pulled out from under him.

when they told you to stop
did you want to keep going
when they pushed you to tears
could you feel the pain showing

All because of Troy.

And I know you're probably angry with me, and you probably hate me. God, I wouldn't even blame you if you didn't read this. I mean, I'd hate myself if I was you. I did things to you that you didn't deserve and I'm really sorry, Ryan.

He reads that line over again. I did things to you that you didn't deserve and I'm really sorry. His vision blurs with more tears, his sobs now choked inside his throat. He knows he shouldn't be reading this; he isn't able to forgive and move on quite yet, but he doesn't know what else he can do.

He reads on.

So I messed up. I really did. I admit it. It would be stupid to deny it, to deny the fact that I've hurt you and made your life seem worthless. I haven't seen you for a week, Ryan—that really kills me. I try to talk to Sharpay, but she won't even look at me. I think she knows I have something to do with it.

He can't help but laugh now, a sarcastic and hateful sound. Troy's stupidity never ceases to amaze him. Of course Sharpay knows. She is his twin; she knows everything without him even telling her. That's just a given, and once again, Troy is too blind to see it.

You're one of my best friends, Ryan. I didn't mean to hurt you like that or anything. I was just drunk out of my mind, I guess. And I'm sorry. I'm so, so, sorry, and I don't know how to make it up to you. I didn't mean to do it. I really didn't. But you're not only my best friend. You're more than that.

He stops, not realizing how hard he's crying until the paper is splotched with tears, the pencil markings mixing together on the cheap piece of lined paper. He never knew he could hate yet love so much, and he doesn't know what to do. He's always been able to throw things off, be apathetic to things that affect him, but since when has he been able to fight someone with the extent of Troy?

Troy batters through him, leaving a wide, gaping hole.

did you know you were drifting
from the moment you drifted
and could you feel your heart shifting
before it had shifted,

And he doesn't know how to fix it.

He doesn't know how to hate, he doesn't know how to act indifferent, he doesn't know how to love. Troy has always had this effect on him, and even now, he doesn't know what he's doing.

So he does the only thing he can do.

He reads.

Ryan, it's just—I need you, buddy. I love you so much—you mean so much to me, and I just can't go on knowing that I did something like that to you. I need to fix things, but you need to tell me how. I've known you since you were like what—five?—and you've always been so forgiving and so thoughtful, and I know it's wrong, but I was wondering if you could find it in your heart to forgive once more.

His whole body is shuddering, his voice is racked with hoarse whimpers, and he thinks he's going to be sick. He closes his eyes, letting tears flood down his face.

How can he forgive? Does Troy not remember the burning as he rammed into his body, as he invaded his personal aspects? Does he not remember how he begged him to stop? Does he not remember those lip-bruising kisses where Troy's breath reeked of alcohol? Does he not remember how he slapped him hard across the face when he sobbed for mercy, he begged Troy to end it, but no…

Troy wanted him.

Troy got him.

Troy Bolton got everything he wanted.

i ask you this
mostly for me
cause people like us
can go quietly

And this fragile shadow of a boy was sick of it.

The letter though, it was addicting, and it wasn't long before he had wiped away his messy nose, and started devouring the paper again.

You don't have to forgive me. I wouldn't. But please, Ryan, you don't seem to understand that I really, really need to see you. I really need to talk to you again; to know things are right between us and everything. I'm so sorry, I don't know how many times I can say that. I was really drunk, I didn't mean to do it.

He is sick of Troy's pitiful excuses now, he is angry even, but in his soul he knows he can't hate Troy. He can't. It's something Troy affects him with; it's something undeniable. There's something magical about Troy, and he can't forget it, can't forgive it, can't hate it, can't love it…

And it infuriates him because he has no control whatsoever.

I messed up. I hurt you. I'm sorry. That's it. I don't know what else to say.

He scoffs, feeling sarcastic again. But he also bites his lip.

I hope you can forgive me, and maybe over time it'll get easier to accept. I'm not stupid, I know it's foolish to believe that maybe things will be the same between us, because they won't. I know that you'll never truly trust me again, and I'm crying right now because I want things back like they used to be before I hurt you like this. I want things to be the same, I want us to be carefree again, I want us to be like we used to, to love like we used to, to care like we used to. I'm so sorry. You will never forgive me, and I can't believe I messed up this bad. You are the most important person to me, and I know I'm stupid for expecting you to take me back in, but God, Ryan, I love you.

He's rocking in fetal position now. He wants to forgive, he wants to forget, he wants to live, but he's so afraid. He's so afraid to be ripped off again, afraid to trust again, afraid to believe again. Afraid to believe that perhaps he won't be hurt again.

The past has scarred him.

And now the scars are still deep. He has to wait until he can pick off the scabs.

You're the only person I've ever truly loved. And I threw that away.

I'm a waste of life.

I'm stupid.

And I'm dying without you.

Troy has always had this incredible way of speaking that makes him want to believe everything he says. But he wonders if it's just an act again, just a game.

Remember the first time we kissed? I wanted that to last forever, I wanted to stay there forever, but I couldn't do that for you. I'm sorry.

I hope you can forgive me. I'll see you around.

Troy

There's no "love," no "sincerely," no "your friend," and he feels empty as he folds up the letter. He cannot read it again.

He will break if he does.

He drags his shirt sleeve over his eyes, knowing that they are reddened and puffy. He doesn't care.

He steps up and opens up the window, glancing outside into the sunlight.

He won't come out today. Or tomorrow, or the day after. He will stay inside, lock himself deep inside, because it is so hard to face what happened. It happened. It was so painful, so unreal, so impossible to believe, but it happened.

And he finally admits it.

It is so hard to speak,

i ask you this
mostly for me
cause people like us

but maybe some day soon he will come out.

And the boy he loves will be there waiting for him.

can go quietly

-

Author's Note: I major in angst, so I'm sorry for those of you who wanted happy story time. Oh well, hope you liked it. Review. Go listen to Terra Naomi, come to the wedding. I love you all.

-Falling With Grace