A/N: While procrastinating on my history paper, I wrote a fic. I know, crazy, right? This is one I've been wanting to write for a while, and I'm not sure it turned out exactly how I wanted it, but they never really do. The idea for this came way back when I first saw High School Musical, and Taylor says something like, "if Sharpay could figure out a way to be Romeo and Juliet, her own brother would be out of a job." And of course I think to myself, well, if they've starred in all these plays together, they have to have kissed at some point. Anyway, enjoy, review, you know the drill.
No Small Parts
There are no small parts, only small actors. Ryan understands this. What he doesn't understand is why every part he gets, big or small, ends with him kissing his sister.
Of course, he's never actually had a small part. But that's not the point. The point is Sharpay.
I. Robin Hood
Class play of 1998. Third grade, and the last thing eight year old Ryan wants to wear is green tights. He had fun playing Superhero for a while, but now they mostly just itch. He likes his hat though, with the yellow feather that keeps tickling his nose.
Sharpay marches by in a huge pink and purple flounce of lace. Their mother has pinned her hair up in a way that makes her look at least eleven.
"Come on, Ryan. We'll be late. And if you blow on that feather onstage, I'm going to kick you in the shin."
Already the theatre is important to Sharpay.
Ryan is mostly glad it's Sharpay he's kissing, and not one of the other girls. At least he knows she doesn't have cooties.
II. Romeo and Juliet
It's their first grown-up play, and Sharpay insists on going over their lines almost every night. But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is seven o'clock, and almost time for school.
Ryan knows that the kiss is supposed to be full of passion, deadly and wild. He reads one of their mother's romance novels as research, because he is twelve years old and has never felt any passion at all, much less deadly or wild. He doesn't understand the novel and he doesn't really want to, so he slips it back into the bedside cabinet and resigns himself to failure.
But when Sharpay tosses that honeyed head that is losing its baby curl, and flashes newly mascaraed eyes at him, Ryan begins to feel a spark and thinks this might be the elusive passion, though it still doesn't feel deadly or wild.
III. Into the Woods
This is a different sort of kiss. There is tenderness here, and the ease of long years between the Baker and his wife.
And it's a good thing, too, because he others are starting to look at the Evans twins now that high school has begun, looks that sometimes waver and cannot decide between awe and contempt. Ryan thinks he knows which way they would fall if the kiss was as deadly and passionate as before, now on his older, wiser, and marginally more skilled lips.
"We have to practice, Ry."
"You keep jerking away. We're supposed to be married. Married people don't kiss like that."
"Have you watched Mom and Dad lately?"
"Ew, Ryan, of course not." She makes a face.
"It's research," he insists.
"So is this."
Sandy/Sharpay squeals, and Danny/Ryan leans back against the kitchen countertop. He might ask Ms. Darbus if he can keep these leather pants because, damn, he feels indestructible.
Well, really is lower intestines are tying fisherman's knots around his rib cage, squishing his internal organs into one huge mess, but that's doesn't really have anything to do with the pants.
He's kissed other girls. If you don't count Sharpay (and he doesn't, most days, unless he forgets, unless he remembers the feel of her lips on his, which he definitely doesn't.)
If you don't count Sharpay, Kelsi was first, backstage last spring after a rehearsal. She squeaked and pulled away, and Ryan apologized and ran away. When they started speaking again a week later, they went back to the slightly cordial caterer/fancy dinner guest relationship they'd always had before. Then there was Margo, who was on tech, but he doesn't want to think about that. The lesson to be learned here, Ryan reflects, is not to kiss people in the dressing room you share with four other boys.
But it's never been this kind of kiss, sexy and sultry. It's never been a kiss with tongue.
Sharpay, who's had plenty of practice—but he doesn't want to think about that, either—doesn't seem bothered at all.
"Just close your eyes, Ryan." She rolls hers. "But be ready to catch me."
Ryan rolls his eyes too, but does as he's told. He can hear the slight click of her heels getting faster and pushes off the counter so he's standing upright.
An absence of sound and then everywhere, everywhere there is Sharpay, legs wrapped around his waist and hands clamped tightly on his shoulders, hair in his ears, and oh God. This is like nothing he's ever felt before, warmth, velvety and wet, lips flush, moving against his. Breath catches in his throat and his hands tighten on her waist.
Sharpay jerks back and both fall to the hard tile floor. Sharpay pushes him off.
"God, Ryan, can't you do anything right?"
He doesn't know.
V. Twinkle Town
Ryan feels bereft in so many ways. He is an understudy for the first time in his life. Sharpay is still obsessed with Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez, in that order. Nothing is going right. Ryan takes to wearing more and more outrageously colorful outfits every day, hoping someone (Sharpay) will notice, but no one comments. (Of course she doesn't; she's far too busy exactly divine justice.)
"I miss rehearsing with you," he tells her one afternoon in late February.
Her eyes soften, and she looks up from biting into one of Zeke's cookies. Poor boy, still obsessed, even though it will never get him anywhere. Ryan would feel sorry for him, but that would mean feeling sorry for himself, something he's sworn never to do.
"I miss it too, Ry."
"Maybe we should practice? We are," Ryan swallows and goes on, feeling his dignity and self-respect slipping away with every word, "we are understudies, after all. Something might happen."
She grins. "Just what are you suggesting?"
"I—nothing. Just that we should, we should practice. Just in case."
She tosses her hair, and there isn't any sunlight for it to catch in, but it's still beautiful.
She's beautiful, and Ryan can't deny it to himself any longer. No more rationalizing about hormones. No more repressing the memory of all those kisses. He's in love with his sister and there's not a damn thing he can do about it.
He who follows. He who obeys. He who gets no reward.
"There's no just in case, Ryan." She slams the cookie onto the table and places the palm of her hand on it, grinding down. "We're not Arnold and Minnie. It's never going to happen and there's nothing we can do to change it."
Defeat. Tears sparkle in her eyes. His insides fizzle and pop.
There will be other parts, he knows. Other kisses. It's the way of the world. But Ryan knows that neither of them will forget what it feels like to admit defeat, the taste of it lying heavily on his tongue before he finally forces it down.