As/n: This is a story written but CoCoPixie134 and shancoot2. It's just a series of oneshots about the gang when they were young. Gabriella lived with the gang since they were little.
An old photo album laid under a couch, collecting dust, fading, silently waiting for someone to open its pages but it never expected this…
Music was blaring through the speakers. People chatted and laughed as they clinked their glasses, toasting a great man, a father, a champion, a coach, a friend… They toasted to Jack Bolton, a man loyal to the end.
Gabriella and Troy were planning to stay home that night. Troy was in a funk… very understandable. Troy and Gabriella were cuddled together on the couch. Troy watched the fire crackle in the hearth; Gabriella watched Troy, scared half to death. He was acting stronger than he really was. Gabriella knew that. He was staying strong for her and no, it wasn't a guy thing… It was a protection thing. He had always been strong; he didn't have to prove it to Gabriella. This had hit him hard. His father, his best friend, was gone. Stress could only push someone so far… until they cracked.
The couple was silent until a knock on the door came, which broke them out of their trances. Exceedingly confused, they didn't move from the sofa. But Troy's best friend, Chad, wasn't one to wait. He opened the door and walked in, pulling his friend into a reassuring hug. He whispered words of comfort in Troy's ear:
"Everything'll be okay."
Troy nodded gravely as Chad pulled away, tears forming in his eyes. He brushed them away before anyone could see… or so he thought. Gabriella had watched his every move.
Then came the whole gang out of the blue. They walked in by pairs putting food on the tables, gifts on the floor, piling coats on the coat rack, and greeting the surprised couple.
Once the music started to play and the food was uncovered, the… shall we call it…mourning session began. Everyone was wondering about each other's lives, about their families but everyone had one question on their minds… why had Gabriella called them?
Yes, Gabriella invited everyone over and yes, it was all her plan. Troy was the one with no clue about what was going on but Gabriella was a convincing actress considering her theatrical background. Troy knew about what Gabriella was going to reveal to them but Troy never knew it would happen so soon.
Chad Danforth didn't like silence nor did he like the gloomy haze that seemed to fill the room. To break the tension he said, "Troy, you want to see a dance move I just learned?"
Chad did a crazy dance move and crashed into the couch, moving it ajar a few inches, exposing the corner of a dusty, red book.
Kelsi was the first one to notice it and pulled it out.
"Hey, guys," She said shyly.
The room's noise level overwhelmed her tiny voice, but Jason, however, had heard her and he knew how to get a room's attention.
"Everybody!" He bellowed. "Look at what Kelsi found!"
This made everyone's curiosity grow as they circled around Kelsi.
"What is it?" Ryan asked.
Troy, however, knew exactly what it was.
"Oh, guys, don't look at it," Troy begged. He knew his friends had no mercy. Well, the guys did and luckily Kelsi was a girl. Being the kind, soft-spoken girl she was, Kelsi started to hand the book to Troy but before it reached his hand Chad snatched it away.
Chad quickly placed it on the coffee table and flipped open the cover.
The first picture showed a younger version of the gang.
Chad was giving a worried looking Troy bunny ears. Taylor and Gabriella had their arms over each other's shoulders. Jason was laughing with Kelsi as Zeke waved happily at the camera. Ryan had a huge smile on his face, identical to his twin sister's. Sharpay had her arms thrown in the air like a Vegas showgirl popping out of a cake.
Everyone laughed very loudly at this washed out, yellow paper.
"Did I really act like that?" Sharpay asked.
"Yes," Everyone responded in unison.
"Gosh, Troy," Zeke said flipping through the photo album. "Did you keep every picture taken of us?"
Troy's ears reddened.
"I think it's cute," Taylor gushed.
"I can't believe how young we were!" Gabriella exclaimed. Troy's writing under the picture stated that they were in preschool when this photo was taken.
"Why do you look so nervous, Troy? Did someone get you anxious?" Chad joked, glaring at Sharpay.
"Hey, that's where I got my famous line!" Troy joked back.
"I'm not ready to commit!" The gang recited in unity. Everyone burst out laughing.
"You were a weird child, Troy," Jason laughed.
"Well, I got that from hanging out with you guys," Troy replied coolly. Everyone laughed again.
"How did that start?" Kelsi asked.
"Man, that's a long story," Troy said.
"We have a long time," Taylor pointed out.
Troy sighed and sat on the couch where he began to unravel the past…
East Oak Nursery School was silent. The smell of freshly used Play Dough wafted through the room. Toppled blocks were scattered on the floor where toy cars and trucks were thrown carelessly. Crayons and scribble pictures were set on the table along with two dolls, plastic fruit, three nickels, and a set of finger paints missing the purple and green.
The clock on the wall neared one o' clock. Naptime was almost over. Suddenly, a fit of giggles erupted on from the napping rug. Chad Danforth and Troy Bolton were wide-awake, smearing purple finger paint on Zeke Baylor's cheeks.
Footsteps padded over and the giggles ceased. Troy and Chad keeled over, closed their eyes tightly, and put their hands over their mouths to muffle their giggles.
"Children," The teacher, Carolyn Robin, said timidly. "It's time to wake up."
All the children, one by one, rose to see a smiling teacher. Her auburn hair stuck out boldly against her rosy cheeks. Miss Robin's bright blue eyes sparkled in the afternoon light, her smile dancing inside them. But her smile began to fade when she saw Troy and Chad's "masterpiece" on Zeke's face.
"Zeke," Miss Robin said calmly. "Go wash your face of in the bathroom."
Zeke walked confused into the bathroom. All of the four-year-olds laughed as he shut the door.
"Mr. Danforth, Mr. Bolton, may I see you at my desk for a moment?" Miss Robin asked, sitting down at her desk, hands folded in front of her.
As Chad and Troy walked over all the classmates giggled. Chad and Troy were notorious for being troublemakers. They weren't mean and they never did anything to hurt someone but they just stirred up trouble. They but blocks in the rabbit, Peter's, cage. They sang the wrong song during music class and their favorite thing to do was to use the finger paint to color on things.
Finally, after Chad and Troy got their lecture, snack time began.
Gabriella Montez and Taylor McKessie sat at a picnic bench adjacent to the playground.
"I wonder why Troy and Chad aren't in trouble?" Taylor said, watching the two boys look for somewhere to eat.
"Maybe the teacher likes them," Gabriella suggested, swinging her feet and munching on a carrot.
"No, they're too stupid," Taylor said simply. "It must be something else."
"You are determined to hate them, aren't you, Taylor?" Gabriella asked, rolling her bright brown eyes.
Even though Gabriella and Taylor were young their vocabularies were quite complex (for a four year old's standards). They were the only two in the class that could spell 'encyclopedia' and that was a huge accomplishment.
"I don't mind Troy but Chad dumped sand down my sundress!" Taylor exclaimed. "Would you forgive him?"
"Probably," Gabriella said. "Quiet, here they come."
Chad and Troy approached the table, Troy looking at his feet, Chad right into Gabriella's eyes.
"We have nowhere to sit," Chad said.
"Imagine that," Taylor grumbled.
"We- we were wondering if we could… if we could sit with you guys?" Troy said to his feet. "P-please?"
Gabriella couldn't help but like Troy. He may have been a troublemaker but he was a kind, shy little boy who just wanted to make friends.
"Sure," Gabriella said before Taylor could protest. "You can sit here." She moved her Barbie lunch box down the table and scooted over so the boys could sit down.
"Thank you," Troy said.
"Yeah, thanks," Chad said rather reluctantly.
Chad put his Ninja Turtle lunch box beside Taylor's 'Little Einstein' one. Troy but his Power Ranger lunchbox next to Gabriella's.
That's when Sharpay walked up. Rumor was she liked Troy and watching Troy sit with Gabriella and Taylor infuriated her. She stomped over in her brown cowboy boots and tapped it against the cement sidewalk.
Lowering her pink Barbie sunglasses she said, "Hey, Troy. You want to come sit with me?"
Troy looked very uncomfortable and said, "No thanks. I'm sitting with Gabriella and Taylor. You can sit with us if you want."
"You don't want to sit with your girlfriend?" Sharpay asked.
"I don't have a girlfriend," Troy said, perplexed.
"Yes, you do, silly! I'm your girlfriend!"
"But I'm not ready to commit!" Troy said and buried his head in his hands.
Taylor never really liked Sharpay. She was mean and she had the mentality of a bag of nails.
"Sharpay, they can sit wherever they want to. You can sit with us but they don't want to move," She snapped, rather like Sharpay.
Sharpay was taken back by this comment, especially from Taylor. She scoffed and turned on her heel. She stomped over to Ryan who was turning his newsboy cap around his head incessantly.
"I wonder where Zeke's going?" Gabriella wondered aloud.
Everyone turned and watched a very upset Zeke being guided by his father into a small red car but Zeke stopped and pulled out of his dad's grip. He ran over to their table.
"Guys, I don't want to go!" Zeke cried, tears streaming down his face.
"Go where?" Gabriella asked, putting her empty juice box on the table.
"They took my mommy!" Zeke screamed.
"Who did?" Troy asked, alarmed.
"The doctors! They took her and she isn't coming back!"
"Where'd they put her?" Chad asked.
"Somewhere where it's nice. Where she will be happy… that's what Daddy said but- but she was happy here! She didn't want to leave!" Zeke's dad had rushed up and picked him up. Putting the sobbing boy in his arms, he walked away and settled him in the car.
"Poor Zeke!" Gabriella cried. "Imagine having no mommy!"
Gabriella thought about what would happen if someone took her mommy or daddy. She was happy with them, and nothing would ever happen to them. She kept convincing herself that.
"She'll come back, won't she?" Chad asked.
"She isn't alive anymore, Chad," Taylor said grimly.
"But the doctors just took her. They didn't kill her!" Chad didn't like this thought. Troy, on the other hand, was staring silently at the table. He knew what had happened. He had seen it all before…
"No, Chad… she's gone," Taylor said.
The rest of snack time they sat in silence. Not until the teacher called them did they move. Numbly walking back to the classroom, all the children were stony faced and panic stricken. No one said a word as the children walked in the room.
The friends could tell that nothing would ever be the same… but what they didn't know was the more tragedies awaited them just around the corner.
As/n: What do you think? Just so you know… there are three authors for this story: Pixie, Coot (or CoCo), and Shan. These are oneshots… this one was particularly long because it had the introduction but they won't always be this long and they won't be extremely often but don't worry. They'll come! Thanks!