The Jungle

by Song Birdy

Part One.

author's notes: I know, approximately three people are ecstatic to see this: I'm writing a multichaptered fanfiction. I'm not sure if I can guarantee you brilliance every chapter, because writing in longer segments than four hundred words tends to end up... less poetic. I do promise an interesting story though. And lovely poetic words, my style, obviously. Most of the couples are pretty cannon to start out. I kind of wanted to pick up after the summer after Twinkletown, but I wanted them to be seniors. I really don't care when you set this, it's after the movie. This chapter includes the introduction and the first chapter. I don't own Disney, enjoy.

Introduction: The Setting of the Stage.


The first day of school. The atmosphere is thick with the smell of unbroken book spines, the floors are unmarked by the scuffing of sneakers, the desks, once covered in chewed up gum, have been scraped clean. The Gods and Goddesses of the Hallways have spent their summer months recalibrating, preparing their arsenal for a new semester, a new year. The underlings have spent their days of leisure recuperating, attempting to forget the horrors and nightmares once experienced in these hallways and trying to remind themselves: these are the best days of their lives.

East High School. The Jungle.

Enter the King of the Jungle: Troy Bolton. Beautiful, suave, the class hero, the singer, the actor, the basketball star. Too perfect for words to describe the icon he's become. He is the true Zeus of the hallways, and he reins over the Grecians with his winning smile and the swish of his basketball goals. By his side, his newest Hera: Gabriella Montez. Once the "freaky math girl" and now the cream of the crop, her voice and good looks aided her way to the top, but even she knows that her only true power lies with the King.

Stage Left. Sharpay and Ryan Evans, impeccable as always. The scent of perfume follows her as her designer heels click through the unmarked hallways, and Ryan follows in suit as always. Second fiddle is his best part. His courage is unseen behind his sister's masks and acts, his manhood hidden beneath the label "faggot" and a jazz square. They, in themselves, are their own stage show.

They are followed quickly by the Ice Queen's favorite treat - Zeke. He exudes from her a smile that only creeps out when onstage, offstage. He carries her books without complaint, she softens her harsh lines for the touch of his fingers. They forget their place in the world for one another, and the heavens tremble in fear of a breakdown.

Stage Right, Taylor McKessie. Beautiful, intelligent, confident, hypocritical, and snide. Her boyfriend Chad sees only the first three traits. She tempts with smiles and giggles, evil schemes set aside, she's as sweet as buttermilk pancakes on a cold Sunday morning. Chad, Chad, Chad. His smiles and quips and jokes are lost on such intelligence, his sweet and caring nature loses it's place in mathematical schemes to bring about the downfall of high school hierarchy, in which he is the court jester.

But no - he is not the real fool amidst them all. Jake. Jake and his quiet little girlfriend, Kelsi. They are the fools, for they do not fool the world but only they fool themselves, to throw away all of the powder for music notes is a joke, to hold his hand when he's cold and shaking and going through withdrawals like she's never seen any human suffer through is entirely unfair to such a small and innocent girl. She still grips him with ferocity, and he smiles for such a rock to cling to.

The stage is set, the players in their typical roles. The deities of East High set their territories, with smiles and hugs and "Omigosh, I'm so sorry I didn't call - how was your summer?" and new handbags and shoes and stories from oh, those summer nights.



Chapter One: Overture.


In his mind, Ryan Evans is the protagonist. His father is the antagonist. It is a simple plot of man versus man, and Ryan is set to lose. He has always believed his own life to be a tragedy. The Evans family is a functioning fallacy. Father with several bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, Mother standing around the house in pearls with a smile plastered to her face, son with a bottle of vodka each night, daughter with a mirror and the Original Broadway Cast of Mama Mia.

Show tunes are constantly playing through his head. Tap steps, jazz squares, punch lines, applause. It's the only way for Ryan to quit thinking of his father and his liquor cabinet. And how his father never misses anything from the liquor cabinet. Sharpay is a slave driver, a diva no longer in training, ready to walk over anyone to stand in a spotlight. She is more of her father than Ryan will ever be.

Some nights, he finds himself intoxicated. He pushes her, and she pushes back. She is no victim in her own family. He screams, that they are wrong wrong wrong wrong, and she finally breaks down and holds him. Some nights when she's not there though, he runs himself into walls and rips up his own allowance, not quite sure what to do with it - dirty money.

Because he knows what she does not.

"Hurry up, Ryan. We are not going to be late on the first day of our senior year, I absolutely refuse." She is snapping up the stairs as he takes one last swig of the bottle and tips his hat.

"Ryan?" She's screaming by this point, "Ryan if you do not get down here this instant, I am leaving you and you will, I repeat, you WILL ride the bus to your first day as a senior! That is not a threat-"

He smirks as he appears at the top of the double staircase, "I know, it's a promise," he mimics his sister perfectly, for he knows her every move. It's twin telepathy, she would say. He would rather say that it is spending six out of seven days a week rehearsing, but he bites his tongue to avoid the controversy.

"Well hurry up!" She flips her hair and taps her sparkling heels. "I will not have Bolton or Montez infiltrating to welcome Darbus back before we even arrive."

Ryan purses his lips and nods, following his sister.

If there is one thing he can say for her: she will always ensure that he is the king of something, if only so that she may remain queen.


"I can't-" Jake is saying. He's pulling back on Kelsi's hands and she's tugging patronizingly. "I just can't see Chad and Zeke again, not after what I did to them this summer."

"Jake," she's saying patiently, "I've already talked to them; they know you're clean now. I know you don't want me to know what happened, but I'm sure it will pass. They want to be your friends again."

His grip suddenly tightens on her hands, he feels his anger boiling - at himself, at her, at anything. His whole life seems so real and hard and out of control and if only she would let him go - but he turns and sees her eyes watering once again - no. He loosens his grip on her hands and frowns, "You're too good for me." He whispers.

"No," She frowns, "You're just flattering me because you don't want me to make you go to school."

He laughs. Comfort in a joke. They share a quick kiss and slide out of the car.

Quickly, his facade pulls up, "Ahh," He leans his head back into his hands, "I can't believe we're seniors. And babe, I've got you." She shakes her head and their act begins.


Troy Bolton puts very little effort into looking as good as he does. He combs his naturally shimmering hair to one side, throws on an ensemble and jets out the door each morning, pop tart in tote. He's naturally perfect.

Or, that's what his girlfriend Gabriella Montez believes. In her eyes, he does absolutely no wrong. He is perfection in the form of a high school athlete.

Coyly, she smiles as he picks her up on their way to school. Perfection. She giggles when he slips his hand into hers as they enter East High School. Perfection. When he carries her books to class. Perfection. When they sneak up to the gardens. Perfection.

But there is no such thing as true perfection, and this is well known by Gabriella's best friend - Taylor McKessie. She is trying so hard to fit into a world where she has always yearned to belong. Could the scheming duo of she and Chad Danforth make it? Could it be true that from something bad comes something good? No. Every memory she held of Chad was tainted with the idea of using him to get her own way. She is trying so hard to find that perfection she sees in Gabriella's life.

She is trying so hard.


Zeke tugs Sharpay into a broom closet. She laughs. He holds up something treasured to her in her face and she giggles even more.

"You are crazy!" She says, but she snatches the cookie and takes a quick nibble.

Zeke smiles and snakes his arms around her, "Go on, eat it."

She shakes her head and flattens her smile out, goofier than anyone would expect from Sharpay Evans, "Nope, can't eat in front of you. I'm not that kind of girl."

"What? The kind of girl who eats?" Zeke smiles and presses his lips against hers - midsentence as usual, "That," kiss, "I happen," kiss, "to know," kiss, "is a lie." Smirk.

Sharpay quickly shoves the cookie into her mouth and laughs, spluttering, "Delicious as always!"



Part One.

more author's notes? yes..: I hope you guys will enjoy this and it won't be a scar on the face of smoggy nasty HSM fiction. Do not worry, all the sweetness is definately going downhill, in case you couldn't tell. P Update should be within the next two or three days. If not, you can send me hate PMs, I'm cool with that.