summary --- Flying. It really is a funny thing.

disclaimer --- no. I do not own High School Musical or The Fray. Fray fans should know the title of this song is taken from my favorite song… Can you guess?

a/n --- haven't written a HSM fic in so long and I really needed to take a break from Gossip Girl.

All On Your Own

I

The first time she's wrong is when she thinks she can fly. She's six and immune to evil. She remembers clearly that there was a special on birds and how in the future people might mutate and fly. She remembers how bad she wanted the future.

That day after first grade, in a bright pink dress with a matching flower clip, she found the attic ladder. She can't remember if she already knew where it was or mistakenly found it one day.

Her little feet in cute light up Barbie sneakers raced up those stairs and found the door to the roof. She threw open that door with strength that toddlers normally don't have, she's always been strong in more ways than one.

She went to the side of that damn roof. Turned her back to the neighborhood and she could hear everything. The bewildered shrieks of her neighbor who was out watering plants. People knocking on the door trying to coax her parents out to save their daughter.

They just didn't know Mr. and Mrs. Evans weren't home that day or ever. She closed her eyes and tuned out her brother's screams to stop.

Spread her wings.

And let herself do the one thing she so badly wanted.

Fly.

II

Her hair's prettier and she smiles less, she also isn't as stupid as she was when she was 6. She's fourteen now and can't clearly remember falling off the roof. She knows now that she was so very wrong about flying.

She never could fly; all she ever did was fall.

She thinks she can do anything she wants. So she decides being nice isn't the way to win. Her father didn't teach her that smiling would get her anywhere in life. He never taught her anything, so she'd teach herself.

Her clothes a little tighter, her makeup a little thicker when she breaks away. She becomes a bitch while dragging her innocent brother down with her. She knows now that if she could change just one thing, it'd be damning her brother into social isolation.

She wonders now and then if he secretly hates her like everyone else does. When she asks him that same question, he smiles, twitches his left eyebrow, and lies to her. She notices it when he lies to her the first time.

She asked him if he thought she was too mean.

His eyebrow raised as he said, "Of course not, Shar."

She won't blame him because she loves him too much. She knows perfectly well it's her fault. Her fault that sometimes at lunch, when everyone has a someone, she stares down at her half eaten salad. Her fault that boys steer clear and girls mock her. Her fault that no one loves her brother.

It's always her fault.

III

It isn't till later that she realizes she's made the same wrong choices twice. She's 15 and can't seem to take her eyes off new basketball captain Troy Bolton. Maybe it's those perfect bad boy bangs or sparkling blue eyes that could oh so perfectly match with her new handbag.

Either way, she thinks Troy Bolton is her one and only. So she flirts, smiles more, and pretends not to notice that he doesn't care. She keeps up the routine till someone else enters the picture; she doesn't wait till later to hate this new person.

Gabriella Montez.

Who is brainy, sweet, perfect and everything she's not. The first thing she notices about Gabriella is that she smiles a lot even when she doesn't have to. It's just there and she wants nothing more for Gabriella's smile to be wiped off.

When Troy makes it clear that Gabriella's is his, she thinks her heart can't break anymore. But she sucks it up and only cries for an hour and eats one Ben and Jerry's that night. She makes sure her clothes are hotter and her perfume stronger the next day.

Then they cross the line.

They audition for her musical. She decides that very moment when she sees their name on the call back sheet, that it's war. So instead of making Troy wish he took the offer of seeing her up close and personal, she plans revenge.

And bitch, it's going to be sweet.

She thinks it's perfect till Kelsi ruins it all and she wants to strangle that stupid mousy bitch right there and then. Even Mrs. Darbus puts on a smug grin and she can't take it anymore. She runs as far as the back curtain and closes her eyes.

She pretends, for what feels like the millionth time, that Breaking Free doesn't sound so much better than Bop to the Top. Pretends that the two of them don't look good together. Pretends that the way their voices blend together doesn't sound beautiful.

Pretends that her heart isn't still broken.

So once more she pretends she and everyone are cool. That nothing's wrong and everything's Disney perfect. She pretends Zeke is just as wonderful as the cookies he baked for her.

She pretends that she has all she wants.

IV

She's still 15 and still in denial. They're a couple and somehow it never fully registers in her mind till she sees them kiss behind the gym.

As she watches them together all she can really think about is last night's Heroes. She replays Peter's fall in her head over and over, how he thought he could fly when in reality all he did was fall.

She can't help but think of herself when she thinks of him.

V

She makes the same mistake which she finally noticed now. She's 16 and summer is going to be all she wants. After a good spring musical, she decides now is the time to take what she wants.

All she wants is Troy Bolton.

So she sets everything up and plans and plans. She sees him enter the pool and blinded by sheer thrill doesn't notice his friends are right behind. What she does notice is Gabriella Montez in a grandma like bathing suit waving to Troy.

She panics for more than a second. Her heart sinking because this is not the way she wants everything to be. She looks between the happy couple and she can't stop it. It's all play, pause, rewind. Then she finally does it.

She flies.

It doesn't matter that her hair is going to get messed up and she'll finally get attention. Doesn't matter that later that summer she'd give Troy everything and he'd take it before forcefully giving it back.

Doesn't matter that he goes back to smiling but surprisingly strong Gabriella. Or that he chooses his friends over the future. Love before power. That she loses her coolness to just pretend once more.

It doesn't matter what happened that summer.

Because she finally did it.

She learned how to fly.

And it's everything she could've dreamed of.

FIN.