A/N I didn't much like High School Musical 2. Too cliche, more music-video than musical, and I hate it when characters are twisted to serve the plot. But Ryan's subplot was good.

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He wasn't sure at what point between preschool and highschool he had become the sidekick, but it had come on so slowly that he didn't even realize it until it was too late to get out. And while he didn't like being 'the stupid twin' or 'the other twin', in some ways it was a lot easier to let Sharpay always take the lead. But he wasn't a scrawny, shy twelve-year-old anymore, and at least once in his life he would do something his sister would strongly disapprove of.

So he went to the pick up game. More than that; he decided to enjoy himself.

They were kind of hard on him, being an Evans even though he was the harmless one, but he was used to that kind of thing and bore it admirably. A part of him desperately wanted to make them like him, and another part didn't care as long as they realized he was his own person.

The crazy part was...they did. And after the game, even though his team lost, they let him come to their table and talk. They were a little stiff, but Ryan was very good at recognizing insincerity and didn't smell a bit of it. Even the teasing wasn't hard-edged like it usually was, and when Chad stole his hat he felt bold enough to steal his in return. The basketball player laughed with the others, and got him in a playful headlock before releasing him, and Ryan wondered if this was what having a brother was like.

Chad adjusted the cap on his head. "Dude, this thing sucks."

Ryan put the ball cap on sideways and looked down his nose at the other teen. "You're just jealous because my hair is better than yours." Chad made a snatch at him but Ryan leapt out of the way, hiding shamelessly behind Kelsi. "Hey! Careful! You wouldn't want to hurt a tiny female, would you?" He looked down at the pianist as she tilted her head back to gape at him in astonishment. "Sorry, Kelsi."

"It's okay." Her voice was a squeak.

Ryan patted her shoulder and sat back down warily, pulling the hat off for just a moment to shove back his hair. He put the cap back on and had a happy thought. If he was on the outs with Sharpay, they didn't have to be a matched set anymore. He could stop dying his hair.


He could go to a sci-fi film. Romantic comedies aren't bad, but there's only so much a man can take.

...his clothes didn't have to coordinate with hers now either.

Oh, this had potential.

He stole Chad's shirt, too.