Disclaimer: I don't own High School Musical. Thus, Troy's life has been a whole lot easier.

Pairing: ChadxRyan, minor Troyella, Zekepay, Jelsi, extrememely minor Chaylor. (for now, pairings may change as story goes on)

A/N: I started writing this a while before I wrote "Explanations", yet it's taken me longer to finish for some reason. It was meant to focus on Chad and Ryan's relationship, but it ended up being much more about Troy and Chad's friendship (Troy's point of view is just easier for me to write for some reason...which is weird because he really isn't one of my favorite characters, nor can I relate to him eaiser either). Unfortunately, Troy is really hard to motivate, so it takes a bit of time to get to the actual slashy part (which was fun to write--though not too graphic; detailed, but not explicit or anything). It was supposed to be a oneshot, but once again, I couldn't stop typing or just make it short...so I have the fic pretty much done, but I have to split it up so no one has to sit reading a 14 page story all at once.

The beginning is mostly guilt-tripping Troy...I guess I subconsciously just want to torture Troy for some reason...although I'm much nicer to him here than I was in my last fic (though Ryan's still a little mean).

Also: This fic was definately inspired by SugarHighNutso's fanfic "Sick"--especially chapter 2! So thanks for the inspiration! And everybody go read it!


My Best Friend's Secret

Part 1: Blindness or Avoidance?


Troy and Chad had been best friends for what felt like forever. From finger painting stick fingers in kindergarten, to standing up to bullies in elementary school, and of course playing basketball together in high school, Chad was always there to back Troy up no matter what. The worst fight they'd ever had was over Troy's auditioning for the school musical without telling him, and Chad was supporting Troy again within a week anyway. That was the only, and the last time Troy ever kept anything from Chad.

Even after Troy's first date with Gabriella went amazingly well and Chad's date with Taylor was a complete disaster (aside from Troy and Gabriella, the two had virtually nothing to talk about or in common—in Chad's own words, "Taylor was too smart" for him), the two friends went out to shoot hoops to celebrate Troy's new relationship and forget Chad's train wreck of a date. Aside from some awkwardness at first, Chad got used to Gabriella hanging out with them more and more, and was even able to eventually rekindle his friendship with Taylor who often came with Gabriella.

Troy supposed, looking back, it was around then he and Chad started to become more distant and stopped coming to hang out with the rest of them as much. But being with Gabriella sometimes just made him forget everyone and everything else sometimes. He was in love, he couldn't help it! He must've not noticed who Chad started partnering up with when Troy paired with Gabriella on projects. It didn't make sense though: he noticed Zeke and Sharpay—although that may have been because Sharpay stopped hanging all over him and constantly flirting with Troy everytime they saw each other. But he noticed Jason and Kelsi too—though in retrospect, Jason did keep asking him what kinds of gifts he thought Kelsi would like, what restaurant would be romantic but affordable, what clothes were date appropriate and what various "theatre words" meant that Kelsi kept using. But Troy even knew about that secret crush Taylor had which she refused to give anyone any hints about, although then again, that was all Gabriella could talk (and cutely squeal at times) about for a week.

All of these changes and details within their group, Troy was able to notice despite his infatuation with his amazing girlfriend. Yet Chad, his best friend, just became a background figure whose gradual absence Troy didn't even question when the group got together. It was Gabriella who noticed the big haired boy's disappearance before him.

"I haven't seen Chad around lately." Gabriella turned and asked Troy suddenly while collecting books from her locker. "What's he been up to?"

"Oh, working on some project I think." Troy smiled sheepishly starting to drift off looking at Gabriella's pretty face—the necklace he bought her that she was wearing! Taylor had teased him once, saying that Troy was like a puppy dog who whenever Gabriella praised him was like she scratched him behind the ears, and you could sometimes see his invisible tail wagging whenever she smiled at him. He couldn't help it though; he loved seeing Gabriella smile at him! Which she wasn't doing right now—right! She had asked him a question! "You know Chad, saves everything for the last minute: homework, studying, projects, schoolwork …work…"

"That's true," Gabriella giggled. "But wouldn't that mean he's actually been working an awful lot lately? I mean, he didn't go to the movies with us last weekend, and he missed Zeke's birthday too, didn't he? Although Sharpay didn't make it either, so maybe it was just a busy day…"

"He did?" Troy asked confused.

Gabriella's smile dropped. "You…didn't notice, Troy?"

"I uh, guess not…" Troy brought his arm behind his head, embarrassed and now worried.

"But Zeke made that big joke that he was going to have so many leftovers of that huge cake he made himself since Chad didn't show up it wasn't going to fit in his freezer…you really don't remember?" Troy just glanced at the ground. Gabriella reached out and touched his hand hanging by his waist. "You should talk to him. He's your best friend, right? You should know what's going on in his life. Oh! How about you invite him on our ski trip over winter break!"

"Your mom said it was okay to use your condo upstate?" Troy asked excited.

"Yes! As long as she can come with us, it's fine!" Gabriella continued happily, missing Troy's disappointed face—which he quickly covered with a smile when she looked up at him. "Oh! And I'll invite Taylor too! All of us can go together! I wonder if Kelsi knows how to ski…This will be so much fun!" Gabriella laughed and started off to go find her best friend, before freezing and quickly facing Troy again. "Don't forget—talk to Chad! And even if he can't ski, just tell him there'll be hot chocolate! He has to come!" Gabriella giggled.

"Right! I'll talk to him!" Troy nodded forcing a laugh and brought his hand down as Gabriella skipped off. "Now I just gotta find him."

Attempting to locate Chad was a lot more difficult than Troy had ever remembered it being. Chad was normally the one to catch him in the hallways or show up where Troy was headed. Troy didn't even know where to look for his best friend, and asking around Troy discovered no one else seemed to either. Zeke suggested the gym, and Jason recalled running into him at the snack bar one morning, but there was no sign of his friend in either of those places.

In class, Troy had moved his seats closer to Gabriella and Chad had apparently begun a habit of coming in late or barely on time for the period to begin, so Troy couldn't even show up early to try and catch Chad before class, and Chad seemed to still somehow be the first one out the door when every class ended—or at least that was the situation for the first several periods. He sat too far away to quickly pass Chad a note without getting caught and Troy didn't want to risk texting his friend (who might've left his cell in his locker which Chad was known to do). He couldn't even catch Chad's eye all class, which began to annoy Troy greatly. Every time he stole a glance in Chad's direction, the boy was either writing in his notebook (which confused Troy since he had never known Chad to be an avid notetaker) or looking at the wall. Zeke attempted to tap Chad on the shoulder to what Troy assumed tell him Troy was trying to get his attention, but ended up only getting yelled at by Darbus before he could say anything. Troy still attempted to get Chad to look at him, starting to believe that Chad had to have been purposely not looking at him because it didn't make sense that Chad still couldn't know Troy was looking at him. He must've had an odd look on his face, because he started to get several strange stares from people sitting around Chad, including one cheerleader sitting behind him who finally shouted "WHAT?" in the middle of the lesson, under the impression that Troy was giving her the weird looks. It was after that Troy gave up catching Chad's eye.

It wasn't until free period that Troy got to talk to him, when Chad found Troy in the hallway while Troy was looking for him in various classrooms.

"Dude, I can't make practice free period." Troy heard his friend's voice from behind.

"Chad!!!" Troy shouted in surprise as he spun around, receiving some strange looks from onlookers and Chad as well.

"…um, yes?" Chad answered, slightly scared of his friend's reaction.

"Sorry man, I've just been trying to catch you all morning, I didn't expect you to find me." Troy laughed embarrassedly.

"Oh, sorry I didn't know." Chad smiled quickly. "Anyway, did you hear what I said? I can't make practice free period—or after school." Chad patted Troy's shoulder with a nod and started to walk off. "So, I'll see you around man!"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Troy grabbed his friend's arm with a spin. "You can't just say that and walk off!"

"Why not?" Chad asked confused.

"Because!" Troy tried to explain. "You—I mean, I've been—and then you're—I mean—ugh! Why can't you make practice?"

Chad's face suddenly changed from a look of laid back confusion to surprised shock and some other emotion that took Troy a minute to register. Fear. His best friend looked scared of him, and obviously hadn't expected Troy to ask him why he wasn't going to be able to make basketball practice…Had they really grown that far apart? Troy stared at the unfamiliar look on his friend's face, racking his brain to try and remember if Chad had made the last few practices—and his heart fell as he realized he didn't know.

"Chad!" A squeaky voice broke Troy's concentration and he turned to see a pink bedazzled Sharpay strutting up to the two in sparkly glittered high heels. She smiled and waved slightly. "Hey Troy," before turning to Chad. "Do you know where my brother is? I forgot to give him this sheet music this morning." She lifted a French manicured hand to show a small booklet of various songs.

"He's in the theatre—do you want me to give him the music?" Chad quickly offered eyes wide.

"Would you? Thanks a bunch." Sharpay smiled sweetly and handed over the booklet.

Chad tugged his hand out of Troy's grip and started to walk off before Troy quickly called out to him. "Wait! Chad!"

"Troy, I really gotta go!" Chad turned, slowly walking backwards down the hall and just missing crashing into a Skaterdude. "I'll talk to you later, okay?"

"Chad!" Troy called, confused.

"See ya!" Chad shouted, and turned down the hallway out of sight. "I'll call you later!"

Troy stood in place, staring down the hall as if Chad would suddenly appear before him, laughing at successfully pulling a prank on his best friend. But he didn't. And after just one conversation—their first in who knows how long—he felt like he didn't know his best friend at all. Chad didn't keep secrets, he was horrible at it, and he didn't get scared talking to his best friend either no matter what it was about. He didn't skip basketball practice for anything. And since when did he know where Ryan was when Sharpay didn't?

This was the thought on his mind when he realized she was still standing there, in all her glittery glory. She smiled when she realized she had his attention again.

"So, what were you and Chad talking about?" Sharpay asked in a flirty voice Troy hadn't heard in weeks.

"Uh, he was saying he couldn't make basketball practice…" Troy trailed off. "Do you know why Chad—?"

"Oh right! Basketball practice, isn't that starting like, right now?" Sharpay quickly cut him off, and then smiled. "I just dropped Zeke off by the gym a minute ago. Want me to walk you there?" She grabbed Troy's arm and started pulling him down the hallway in the complete opposite direction Chad went.

"Um…okay…" Troy stuttered, unable to fight the Drama Queen's strength.

---

Chad didn't call him later. Troy kept his cell phone within hearing distance and constantly charged the entire day, and didn't receive a single text or anything from Chad. Gabriella called him to inform that Taylor and Kelsi could both make the trip, and told Troy to be "proactive" and call Chad—which Troy then did, but got no answer. He left a message reminding Chad to call him back. Chad didn't. He called Chad's house, and still got no answer, so he left another message.

He waited, and still got no call. Getting frustrated, he began to call all over: Zeke, Jason, and every member of the basketball team, cheerleaders, anyone who might know where Chad was. He didn't stop calling (too scared to leave the house in case Chad chose to call and he wasn't there) until Taylor informed him that it was 10:00 PM and she needed to get up early on Saturday for a Scholastic Decathlon meeting and needed her sleep.

Worried about his best friend, Troy stared at the ceiling in his bedroom, hoping Chad would get one of his messages and call, until he fell asleep.


Ah...Troy is so clueless.

Slashy part comes next! As well as major embarassment for Troy! Please don't forget to review!