Author: Me, myself, and I

Summary: He's lost but then again isn't everyone? (HSM) (Troy centric)

Disclaimer: I don't own anything except an I-pod full of The Fray songs, a warm smile, and too much laughter.

A/N: Read. Love. Review.

Looking For Something

He wishes life had a do over button hidden somewhere. Where you could take back the bad you've done and replace it with saintly things, but he can't because life isn't a fantasy. No matter what people tell you, you can't change who you are.

Chad, his best friend, thinks not thinking about the future will make good times last longer. Chad's girlfriend, Taylor, would laugh in his face if he ever told her but truth be told, she's just as scared as the rest of them.

Jason sometimes just sits there. He never says anything about it because well, he was never sure. Would Jason be ready for Princeton and leaving his girlfriend, Kelsi, behind? Some part of him wants to say Jason is completely ready but he catches Jason staring sadly at Kelsi a lot.

Then there's Kelsi Neilson.

Kelsi Neilson is a mystery and puzzle amongst readable teenagers. She never talks about what will happen when they leave each other but when the future is brought up she never shuts up. He could never figure out if she was playing brave or honestly ready for it.

He knows for sure, he isn't. It's too much to think about sometimes. He'd rather be a kid and play basketball or hang out with his friends but he can't. Maybe that's way he's just staring at the sun, watching clouds go by.

He's lost but then again isn't everyone?

He isn't sure when she began sitting by him but she's here now. She looks brave and ready as anyone but he knows it's all a charade. She's scared because Sharpay Evans has never been in a situation with people she didn't know how to control. He knows she isn't ready to start over not yet anyway.

She holds his hand and he grips back as tight. This doesn't mean they're becoming more, they know better then to relive freshman year. They're just lonely and need someone to understand them because Ryan and Gabriella are so ready. They've had their bags ready for weeks, so earnestly excited to make a new.

You'd think after all the traveling Gabriella Montez ever did with her mother, she's be frightened by the thought of new people but no, she wasn't. For weeks she talked endlessly of how ready shewas to be on her own.

He can't feel the same way.

Sharpay hasn't loosened her grip on his hand and he's glad. All their lives their parents planned out for them, college, marriage, kids but Sharpay Evans would be damned if she let anyone tell her what to do.

Then again she has.

For as long as he had known the teenage disaster, all she ever wanted to do was please her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Evans weren't the type of easily pleased parents with their expensive clothes, stuck up opinions, you get the picture.

Still, year after year Sharpay wore Barbie clothes, got lead roles, and dated stupid rich neighbors' sons.

He'd been one of those rich boys she dated to please the Evans. For awhile it was nice to have someone who got that their parents' plans were slowly ruining their lives. Basketball hadn't been his dream because all he ever wanted was to photograph.

He enjoyed looking at the world through the lenses. She liked painting obscure scenes of violence and beauty.

They were so different but so happy till angry filled them.

Suddenly they were too different and couldn't bear each other yet to this day, they sit outside and talk about the life they want and the one they will eventually have. It's pure torture knowing they can never escape what they've been given.

So for just a small amount of time, they sit and pretend that their life is everything they ever wanted but in the end it's all make believe.

He isn't sure what he'll do when she lives for Yale. He's still laughing at that image of the drama queen in a law school. Imagine, blonde and beautiful Sharpay Evans among those boring gray suits. It almost makes him forget she didn't choose this life.

Almost.

He's leaving for some stupid basketball influenced school soon. He can't say he'll miss New Mexico and his parents but he sure as hell will miss his friends and East High. For some time now, he got to be who he wanted.

They're all leaving and it aches his heart that he won't be able to stop any of them.

Chad makes his way into Duke's spacious halls while Taylor breaths in Browns' library books. Ryan and Gabriella will venture into NYU's dorms and probably fall in love while Kelsi composes down the hall. Jason will get out of his car and take in Princeton.

And Sharpay will be crying in a bathroom stall, talking to him on the phone as he angrily takes his suitcase out of the airport.

He loves them all so much and can't bear to leave any of them behind. Correction, he loves them all so much and can't bear if they leave him behind. He voiced that fear once to them as they huddled in the parking lot of East High.

It was the night before they all left.

"We'll never leave each other," reassures Gabriella. They all nod but behind those confident smiles, he knows they're all just as scared as him.

"Promise?" he teases them.

"I, Sharpay Michelle Evans promise to never forget any of you guys."

She sticks out her hand before Chad covers it with his one. Her creamy white hand covered by his mocha colored one completely.

"I, Chad Alan Danforth, promise to never forget my friends."

"I, Kelsi Lauren Neilson, so forth promise to never forget our good times."

"I, Jason Max Cross, promise to never forget Kelsi Neilson," he said as Kelsi blushes bright red before Sharpay roughly clears her throat. "Oh yeah, you too guys," he jokes as they all laugh.

"I, Taylor Heather Mckessie, promise forever to never ever forget Chad's hair or our laughs."

"I, Ryan Lucas Evans, promise to never forget this group."

"I, Gabriella Carla Montez, promise entirely to never forget everyone."

They wait for Troy to place his hand on their hands. He watches with joy at the colorful pile of hands, just waiting for his.

"I, Troy David Bolton, promise to always remember every single one of you."

They all had talked about never forgetting each other but what about remembering. The time when Jason and Chad ended up with pink hair for weeks thanks to ruining Sharpay's shoes, or maybe the first awkward week after Troy and Gabriella broke up.

"Aww. You guys I'm going cry," tearfully says Sharpay before they all laugh lightly. "Group hug," cheers Taylor as they all lean in.

So on the last night of their teenage life, they made a promise to love each other. Tomorrow, they would begin a new chapter in life. They would leave each other for the first time since the sophomore musical.

Ryan and Gabriella would finally get married on a warm Saturday. Their lives finally complete as their old friends tearfully clapped after they said "I do".

Kelsi would compose for Broadway and eventually meet Jason again. That would be the day he proposes to her.

Taylor and Chad would go their separate ways but remain good friends as Taylor examined chemicals and Chad shot baskets.

Sharpay would become a star, not that anyone would doubt especially after she gave up her inheritance to be a singer.

He would do great things himself like becoming a world famous photographer. He would eventually take the picture of up and coming star Sharpay Evans, he would ask her out to dinner. They would date and fall back into love.

He would marry her later that month.

Even though their high school life gave no description of what they were today. They were all so complete yet needed each other. Not to become brave because they now could do that on their own.

They needed each other to love and understand which they did when Gabriella lost her unborn child and mother in the same day. Sharpay was stalked and almost killed by a mental fan. Or when, Kelsi and Jason's marriage was falling apart but was fixed once Michael Neilson Cross got cancer.

And they still would love and support when Gabriella finally had a beautiful baby girl, Sharpay excepting a child, and Michael winning his battle.

They know their lives haven't been so perfect but that's okay because they didn't need perfection. No. They honestly didn't.

Troy Bolton was wrong when he said people couldn't change because they all changed on that last night with that promise.

A promise of love, support and safety, it was a promise that is still kept to this day.

FIN