This is my version of what happened in HSM2. The beginning is similar to the movie but quickly changes. Warning this story contains major spoilers and mild cuss words. Read and review. No flames please. Aruna

Troy watched as Gabriella walked away, his heart breaking. He looked down at the small 'T' necklace in his hand. He'd worked so hard to get it for her. Now, it burned him. He clinched his fist tightly around it not sure if he wanted to throw it or keep it forever. He decided to slip it into his pocket.

Quietly he slipped back into the club hoping no one would see him. Troy wasn't quite successful, the door man saw him, but that was it. He grabbed the keys to his new pickup Dad had given him and slammed his locker shut.

During the thirty minute ride him he pondered what Gabriella had said. She left and her job because she felt he was changing. Was he?

Half a week later Troy sat in his room throwing a basketball in the air over and over.

"You're usually taking these right off the grill," Troy's dad said opening his bedroom door.

"Maybe I've been eating too much at the club," he replied.

"You've barely been out of this room the last three or four days. Let's call the guys get a game going!"

"They wouldn't come even if I called," Troy said almost dazed.

"I find that hard to believe."

"Dad…Do I seem different to you this summer?"

"You dress a lot better. That's for sure."

"Aww man, I'm serious. Maybe my friends are right. Maybe I'm turning into a jerk with new shoes."

"New shoes not a new kid. Where's this coming from?"

"I've been so focused on my future. Gabriella quit. Chad won't talk to me. I don't see the Wildcats running around here."

"This is about going after what you want?"

"Yeah Dad, the scholarship is important. I get it," Troy sat on the edge of his bed. "I don't even know who I am anymore," he muttered in amazement.

"You need that scholarship. Without it you're nothing. All these years of practice with have been for naught. Decide, friends who don't want what's best for you or an actual future that doesn't require flipping burgers. I'm not supporting you my whole life." With that said Coach Bolton left the room.

The next morning Troy walked in the club's noisy kitchen. However, when he was noticed the buzz stopped. Grabbing a plate he walked over to where the eggs were cooking. The chief unceremoniously dropped the entire pan onto his plate.

Troy saw Chad and Kelsi sitting at one of the counters. He walked over and sat down in front of them. Suddenly Chad stopped talking and walked away. The boy behind Kelsi did the same. Kelsi gave Troy a sad smile and handed him a piece of paper.

He read it quietly. No staff participation. They blamed him! He crumbled the paper, slammed it on the table, and fled the room. He needed to clear his head. He needed to run. During his run he decided what he had to do. Quickly he made his way back to the club. Troy found Sharpay by the stage practicing for tonight's show.

"Sharpay," he called. She smiled and walked down the steps.

"Oh Troy, I was just looking for you. Come, let's run through the song again."

"I'm not doing the show."

"What!"

"I'm not doing the show with you."

"It's a duet we have to do the show together."

"I asked for my old job back. I can't be something I'm not. Sorry." Troy turned and began to walk away. A shrill voice stopped him.

"Don't you dare skip out on me Troy Bolton! If you do this you'll be sorry!"

Troy just shook his head and walked away. He found a blue and white uniform in his locker and went to the kitchen. The moment he stepped through the door all eyes were on him. Chad spoke first.

"Kelsi told us what happened. Running out on your new friends now?"

"I was wrong not to try and include the team when I was with the Red Hawks. I'm sorry." Troy waited to hear the group's response.

"Ok," Ryan stepped forward. "I really don't want to see my sister crash and burn do the show with her."

Troy looked skeptical. "Are you sure?" He asked.

"Oh, yeah." Troy left the room to go find Sharpay, he never saw the cruel smiles playing across everyone's faces.

Troy found Sharpay in her dressing room. "I'll sing with you." He stated plainly.

"Glad to see you come to your senses. Be ready in five. Kelsi!" Sharpay turned to face her mirror. Kelsi came running in. "I've changed songs." Sharpay told Troy. "Kelsi teach him the new one." Smiling, Kelsi pulled Troy towards the piano.

Sharpay watched as they disappeared around the corner. "Did he fall for it?" Chad asked coming out from the shadows. "Like a fly to honey," she replied.

Fifteen minutes later, Troy stood on the stage. He was nervous. Normally he wasn't the only center of focus. The team or at least Gabriella was up there with him. Where was Sharpay? Kelsi gave him a nod. The music started and Troy began to sing.

Once in a lifetime means there's no second chance

So I believe that you and me should grab it while we can

He waited for Sharpay to begin her part of the song, but she didn't. She never stepped on the stage.

Kelsi kept playing her part over. Troy looked at the audience unsure of what to do next. His friends stood at the back. He watched as Gabriella and Ryan walked to the front of the group hand in hand. Sharpay joined them next followed by Chad.

Shock crossed his face. He realized that they were all against him. Taking a deep breath he started to sing the rest of the song. He needed to finish this. But, as the words tumbled out of his mouth a burping sound could be heard over the speakers. He ignored it. But soon the only thing that could be heard was shrieks, squeals, and other horrid sounds. He looked up. Sharpay was holding a remote and smiling broadly. Troy knew then that the mike was turned off, and that his supposed friends had set him up. Finally, the music stopped. Dead silence filled the air. The audience was taken aback unsure of what to do next.

Troy spoke, "I'm sorry, there seems to be a technical error." He told the crowd. "One of the tech guys just motioned that it should be fixed in a few moments." Troy motioned to the large group of teens. "However, instead of hearing me try to sing again I'd like to introduce you to the East High Wildcats. They will be singing your encore tonight led by Sharpay and Ryan Evans, Gabriella Montez, and Chad Danforth." The audience clapped politely and Troy left the stage.

"Troy!" Kelsi yelled following him. "I didn't know what they were planning! You've got to believe me!"

He turned and faced the young pianist, a sad smile on his face. "I know you didn't." Troy reached out and gently touched her cheek.

"Troy!" the two bolted apart as Sharpay's high voice pierced the air.

"I said you'd be sorry," she said smirking as Chad and the others fell in behind.

"Let's see you go play with your Red Hawk buddies now, Captain," Chad sneered.

By this time Gabriella appeared with Ryan's arm slung over her shoulder. "Oh by the way Bolton, Ryan is a much better kisser than you." She gave Ryan a peck on the cheek and he put his white cap on her head. Giggling they turned and walked away the rest of the group following.

Suddenly, Sharpay turned "Troy, you're fired, and don't be expecting a pay check for this last week. You didn't even really work."

Kelsi watched horrified. How could they all be so cruel? "Troy, it's okay. I qu…" She looked for Troy, but he was gone.

Meanwhile, as soon as the others had walked away Troy had run. He heard Sharpay yelling he was fired. It wasn't like he needed her to tell him that. After everything that had happened did they really think he would stay? The minute he'd left the stage he' been forming a resignation letter in his mind. He raced through the empty halls to where his locker was. Emptying quickly, he raced to the parking lot. He was in such a hurry he didn't even see the University reps.

"Mr. Bolton!"

Troy skidded to a stop. "Yes?"

"Your performance tonight was very…interesting."

"I wouldn't exactly call it that." Troy replied.

"We know that the group you announced would take your place had something to do with it. We also know why they did it."

"How?" he asked in amazement.

"We followed you off stage and heard them. We also met a very talented pianist by the name of Kelsi."

"She shouldn't have told you."

"Actually, we're glad she did. See we had our eyes on several members of your basketball and academic teams. We were reviewing you each for two weeks to decide who should be offered scholarships. You were the first name on the list. The next individual we were going to review was your friend Chad. His review was to begin on tomorrow. However, due to everyone's actions here tonight, we feel that the only mature and responsible student is you."

"This was all a test?" Troy asked in unbelief.

"Yes, no one, not even Miss Evans knew. She thought it was her father's influence, but we would have contacted you no matter where you were this summer. In fact, now that you are unemployed and we are finished our review, we were wondering if you would like to come and join us for some practice for a few weeks. While at the campus we can get your admission and scholarship papers completed. Also we can get you an advisor and start planning your first semester's classes."

"Oh man…"Troy sat down trying to absorb all the new information. "Wait you said there was only one mature student. What about Kelsi?"

"What about her?"

"Doesn't she qualify for a scholarship?"

"We hadn't considered her as a candidate."

"'How many offers were you going to make?"

"We came prepared to register at least seven."

"And now you only have one. That's six more empty spots. Give one to Kelsi," Troy was determined. "Kelsi gets a spot or I don't accept."

"You dive a hard bargain Mr. Bolton. You've got a deal." He shook the man's hand. After making arrangements to meet tomorrow, the university men left.

Troy headed for his truck once again. "Troy!" He turned around and met his father's angry eyes.

"What the hell was that?"

"I told Sharpay I was done with all the kissing up. I got my old job back, but the Wildcats were still mad at me. They got together and played a prank. But Dad…" Troy was interrupted.

"Unbelievable, you twit. You couldn't keep her happy till tonight was over? I thought you had more sense than that? Guess I was wrong. You don't want to go to college do you? Well guess what, the minute you turn eighteen you're on your own."

"But Dad…"

"Forget it Troy. I'll see you at home."

Troy stood in stunned silence watching the coach march back to the party. He realized that was all the man was to him, a coach not a father.

He got into his truck and started the engine. Giving the club one last look he pulled away. The drive home was normally short, but every mile seemed to stretch on forever.