To Speak for the Dead
A High School Musical Fanfiction
Disclaimer: The Mouse owns High School Musical and the characters within. I'm just borrowing them for awhile. I promise I'll put them back when I'm finished.
Summary: Sharpay receives a strange new gift that she doesn't want.
Pairing: TroyPay, of course.
Time frame: Starts immediately after HSM2, at the end of the summer.
Troy and Sharpay look at each other with identical expressions of wonder and amazement on their faces. And then, they blush furiously and look away from each other in embarrassment.
Gabriella doesn't say anything and just looks on sadly, realizing that things have changed forever.
Chapter 10: The Cure
The ride back to the hotel is a quiet one, very quiet... even Chad realizes that this is not the time for conversation.
Ryan parks the van and they walk, yawning into the hotel.
"I can turn in the van here and they'll return it to Alamo rental."
"Alamo car rental?", Chad asks in surprise, "What are the odds of that?"
"Well, in this town... it seems like almost everything is named after the Alamo."
Just then, Taylor lets out a loud, unladylike yawn. "I'm gonna sleep like the dead." Then, looking at Troy and Sharpay, adds, "No pun, intended."
"It's okay. I'm dead tired, too", Sharpay remarks lightly, feeling the tenseness surrounding them ease for the first time. Looking over at Troy, he returns her smile and looks down at their still joined hands. It's become like second nature to them both and they don't even remember when they relinked.
"Well, I think everyone could use a good nights sleep", Gabriella snaps, "and then, we'll see ... things much more clearly."
Troy stops walking and unconsciously pulls Sharpay closer to him before addressing Gabriella. "Gabby... maybe it would be a good idea for us a have a long talk then."
Before Gabriella can respond, Ms. Darbus sweeps into the lobby, but instead of attacking them as would be expected, she has a huge smile on her well-rested face.
"Good morning! I must say I'm surprised to see you here so early. I hope everyone had a restful night because I know, I always find air travel to be very tiring. I believe today they have breakfast burritos. There's nothing like a few jalapeños to start off your day. Eat well and then we'll be loading the buses and heading to the airport."
She pulls Ryan away from the others and whispers to him. "I do hope your foot is feeling better, Mr. Evans."
"Oh, yes ma'am. And yours?"
"I recovered quite nicely. Thank you for inquiring."
She, obliviously, leads the opened mouthed teenagers into the breakfast room.
"I can't believe we got away with that", Taylor says as they leave breakfast thirty minutes later.
Chad is walking next to her with Ryan on his left. "Yeah, that was the most amazing luck I've ever seen."
Troy and Sharpay are following them with an ever watchful Gabriella bringing up the rear.
The lobby is starting to fill up with East High students who look, surprisingly, more ragged and tired than our heroes. There must have been some serious partying going on here last night.
Suddenly, Sharpay stops short and gasps as she stares at the stack of complimentary newspapers on the counter.
"I can't believe it!" She runs over to the newspapers and drops Troy's hand so she can pick up the paper. "Look at this!"
The headlines of the San Antonio Express-News reads, "30 Year Old Murder Case Reopened!".
"Listen everyone...", Sharpay says as she reads.
Justice has finally been served in the tragic death of Louise Crisholm, resident of Lubbock, Texas. Mrs. Chisholm died in 1982 in what was then deemed to be an accidental electrocution. However, evidence has recently been discovered that Mrs. Chisholm was actually murdered. Police are investigating this case further and feel sure that charges will be brought forward soon.
"Isn't that awesome?" Sharpay is nearly jumping up and down with enthusiasm.
Everyone, but Troy, is staring at her strangely.
"Is she the old lady in your shower?", he says.
"Yes! I called Mr. Forester and he must have taken care of it. Man, he works fast."
"Let's hope he works just as fast for Johnny", Troy says solemnly.
"Oh, babe...", Sharpay drops the newspaper and takes both of Troy's hands in hers. "I know he will. And even if it takes awhile, at least we know his soul's at rest now. He's with Annabelle, right?"
There is dead silence in the lobby as Sharpay gazes lovingly up into Troy's crystal blue eyes. Oblivious to the sudden silence, Troy returns her gaze with one of his own and finally allows himself to remember the kiss they shared a few short hours ago... the kiss that became their own when Johnny and Annabelle left them. Slowly, he bends his head down to hers and meets her lips with his own in a slow, sweet kiss.
Their moment is suddenly interrupted by a shrill voice. "Damn you, Sharpay! How could you!" An extremely angry Gabriella screams at them and then turns and flies out of the lobby towards her room.
Troy and Sharpay jerk apart, but by the time they look for her, Gabriella is already racing out of the room. The rest of their schoolmates, who were so engrossed in watching the two of them a minute ago, start to turn away and mill out back to their rooms to pack up for the trip home.
"I'm sorry", Troy apologizes, "I shouldn't have done that."
"No... it's my fault", Sharpay insists, quietly. She looks down at their conjoined hands and slowly pulls away.
"Don't", he insists, more harshly than he intended. He pulls her hands back to him. "It's nobody's fault. I love you, Sharpay. We can't let anyone come between us and we don't need to feel any guilt over that. We don't chose who we fall in love with ... it just happens."
"That's ... beautiful, Troy."
"It's something I read in Johnny's journal."
"Ah, there you are", comes that aristocratic voice that they instantly recognize.
Montague Forester is striding across the lobby and looking like he just stepped out of an advertisement for Brooks Brothers.
"I'm glad I caught the both of you before you left."
"Oh, Mr. Forester, I can't believe how quickly you found out about Mrs. Chisholm. You're amazing", Sharpay gushes happily to the older man.
"My dear, you're the amazing one. Without your help, no one would have ever known." Sharpay blushes slightly and leans into Troy's side. Mr. Forester frowns slightly, but continues. "I just wanted to let you know that Johnny Bolton's name will soon be cleared and the museum curator is having a bronze plaque commissioned to commemorate his role in protecting the Alamo."
"That's wonderful, Mr. Forester. My family and I are very grateful to you", Troy reaches for Mr. Forester's hand and gives it a firm handshake to show his appreciation.
"Ah yes, you must be Johnny's descendant..."
"Troy Bolton, sir", Troy offers.
"Yes...", Montague sighs deeply as he studies the two of them. They are standing very close together and Sharpay is leaning into Troy's side, seeming to find comfort in this closeness. Their fingers are entwined and they look like they never want to let go.
"Mr. Bolton... I wanted to discuss something very serious with you before you leave for Albuquerque. I've noticed your closeness to Miss Evans."
Troy tenses slightly at his scrutiny and he feels Sharpay do the same.
"Troy makes me feel ... safe", Sharpay admits, not sure where this conversation is going. "But I'm not sure why that's any of your business."
"It's very much my business if it interferes with your abilities. You aren't the first Level Six Medium to find the one person in the world who can short circuit their abilities."
"Yes, when there is direct skin-to-skin contact with the two of you, he interrupts the electromagnetic pulses which tap into the sensitized area of your brain that allows you to contact the spirit world. In effect, he short circuits your brain." Mr. Forester finishes his explanation and takes a long pause to see their reaction.
Sharpay looks up at Troy and seems to be studying him. So serious is her stare, that Troy starts to become nervous about what she must be thinking. Then, she looks back to Mr. Forester.
"I prefer to think of him as an anchor, not some complicated electromagnetic do-hickey. He's my anchor; he keeps me grounded and keeps away all the demons. I also love him very much." Sharpay ends with a big smile on her face as she turns back to Troy.
"Wow...", Troy murmurs quietly, suddenly overwhelmed with emotion.
"Still...", Mr. Forester interrupts, "I must protest."
"Look!", Sharpay snaps at him. "I really appreciate all the help you've given us, but my life is really none of your business. Plus, we have some packing to do. We're going home today. Goodbye, Mr. Forester."
She turns away from him and pulls a very willing Troy along with her and towards the rooms.
It's their first day back at school and Troy pulls his rambling, old, beat-up truck up in front of Sharpay's over-sized, over the top mansion. For the first time, he's starting to feel nervous. They'd gotten back into town last night and he and Sharpay had spent most of the night texting each other. They'd talked about everything and nothing for hours. It was a wonderful night in more ways than one. The curator of the Alamo called his dad to give him a heads up about the discovery of Johnny Bolton's grave. Without having to be told, Jack Bolton guessed that Troy had had a very significant role in that discovery, but had declined to mention his suspicions. Instead, he smiled knowingly and hugged Troy and thanked him for not giving up on something in which he truly believed.
But now... how was he supposed to compete with the Evans fortune?
His anxiety is momentarily forgotten when Sharpay comes bouncing out of the large ornate front entrance. He smiles contentedly at her and jumps out to run around and open the door for her.
"Thanks", she murmurs as she settles onto the bench seat of the truck.
Troy rushes back around and is just about to put the truck in gear when he looks over at Sharpay and clears his throat. "You know... the real reason guys buy trucks with bench seats?", he waggles his eyebrows lasciviously as he pats the seat right next to him.
Sharpay understands quickly and unfastens her seatbelt and slides over to him, sitting thigh to thigh.
"Yeah, it is", she replies as the truck pulls off towards the school.
"Was everything okay at your house? I mean... without me to touch you", says Troy and then, he immediately cringes at his words. "God, that sounds so twisted."
Sharpay smiles at his discomfort. "Yeah, it does", she croons. "But yeah, everything was fine. I think my house is new enough that nothing fatal has ever taken place there. Daddy never buys anything second hand -- new house, new cars, new helicopter. You know."
"Good, I'm glad." He looks around nervously before continuing. "Hey Sharpay? Are you okay with this?"
"You know ... me picking you up in an old, used truck." He's fidgeting nervously on the steering wheel and appearing to be concentrating on the road.
"Troy Bolton! I'm surprised that you would think that I'm that shallow", exclaims Sharpay.
They stop at a red light and Troy looks over at her incredulously.
"Okay", she admits, "so I am that shallow, but not with you. I swear. You could pick me up on an old bicycle and I'd be proud to perch myself on your handlebars."
"Perch yourself on my handlebars?" He treats her to another well deserved brow waggle. "That sounds more twisted than me touching you."
"Ooooo, I'd be glad to touch you anywhere you want while I'm perched on your handlebars", Sharpay coos seductively as she reaches over to squeeze Troy's upper thigh.
His eyes grow wide in surprise and he swallows a large lump in his throat. Before he realizes what's happening, they're leaning towards each other and their lips are only millimeters apart when they suddenly jerk apart at the loud blast of a car horn behind them. Troy looks up quickly to see that the traffic light is green and he quickly drives away.
They sit in companionable silence for the rest of the trip and quickly link hands as they are walking into the school.
"We're not in every class together, you know. Will you be alright?", Troy asks with concern.
"I'll be fine. I've only ever seen one spirit here and he's down on the track. In fact...", Sharpay trails off as she looks towards the track field. "Maybe I should go have a talk with him."
"Sharpay Evans? Purposefully, seeking out ghosts to try to right their wrongs? Maybe we should start calling you Ghost Girl or something. Oh, this is good", Troy says animatedly. "How about a skin tight bathing suit uniform like Wonder Woman with a cape like Superman?"
She smiles up at him indulgently. "Only if I get to wear a diamond tiara."
They're almost at the school doors when they hear the sound of a loud sigh. Gabriella Montez is standing in front them, blocking their path.
"Gabby?", Troy whispers.
"Troy. Ready for that talk now?", she seethes at him.
"Oh... well", Troy looks nervously to Sharpay who interrupts him by saying, "It's okay, I'll go talk to that track star and we'll compare notes later."
"If you're sure?"
Sharpay turns around and heads down towards the track.
Turning back to Gabriella, Troy asks, "You're right, Gabby. It's time we talked."
"Ummmm, hi there. You getting ready for the big meet on Saturday?" Sharpay tries to sound conversational. She's sitting on the bleachers closest to where the 1970's era track star is stretching.
He snaps his head up at her voice and looks at her in disbelief. His disbelief turns to swagger when she observes her long blond hair, skin tight tank top and lowest riser jeans. He stands up tall and pulls a hair pick out of his back pocket and starts to pick and shape his voluminous afro as he struts over.
"Hey there, sweet mama, how's it hangin? I ain't never seen you around here before."
"Oh God, I'm being picked up by a dead guy", Sharpay moans. "Maybe, this isn't such a good idea."
"Hey! Who you callin' dead?", he says indignantly. "I ain't dead. I'm just stuck is all."
"Stuck? Sweetie, judging from your clothes and language, I'd say you've been dead for about 30 years. So, what gives? Why are you still here? Never got a chance to finish that last big race? And let's make it snappy; I've got to get to class." She glances down at her watch. "Final bell rings in seven minutes." She sounds more snarky than she originally intended, but this jerk is really getting on her nerves.
The young African American man gets a sudden look of despair on his face and he sits down on the bleacher next to Sharpay.
"I'm sorry, miss. It's just I didn't want you to think I was some sort of retard, mama's boy. But I can tell you, I've done a lot of crying for my mama over the years. It's pretty lonely here, with no one to talk to."
"So what's wrong? Why can't you move on?"
"It's about my mama, actually. She thinks I ODed on heroine, but I didn't. My coach gave me something to help me run faster ... and I did. Boy, did I run faster. Except I couldn't stop running and my heart finally gave out. They told my mama that I was a user and took too much heroine. So I figure until I can tell her the truth, I'm stuck right here."
"Maybe I can do something to help you", Sharpay says sympathetically.
"Oh yeah", he says with a devious smile, "cause I been alone for a very long time."
"Ewww! No dead guy sex! Got it?", Sharpay jumps and starts to head back to school, but stops and turns back to him. "Oh, by the way, what's your name and when did you die?"
He tells her the information and she promises to do what she can.
"How'd it go?", Troy walks up behind Sharpay and joins her as they walk towards homeroom.
"Fine. How about you?"
They link arms automatically and continue down the hall.
"It went okay. I think we understand each other now and she's not going to give us any problems. I just explained that you're the love of my life and she understood completely."
"Really?" Sharpay's look of disbelief is obvious.
"Something like that. What happened at the track?"
"I was just in the office checking with the secretary about former students. How'd you like to take a road trip to Las Cruces this weekend?"
"Las Cruces? What's in Las Cruces?"
"My next assignment."
The week goes quickly and true to Troy's word, Gabriella leaves them alone. In fact, she leaves everyone alone, such that she is recoiling into a shell. Ryan decides to take it upon himself to help her and she agrees to go with him to the movies on Friday night.
Immediately after school, Troy jumps into Sharpay's pink Mustang and they hit the interstate heading south to Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Three and a half hours later, they pull into the driveway of Mrs. Margaret Simmons, mother of deceased high school track star, Omar Simmons. It's an emotional hour later when they finally emerge from the distraught woman's home. She was overwhelmed by the story that Sharpay told, but it definitely had the ring of truth to it and most importantly, it gave the woman closure.
It was too late to drive back home, so after dinner at a local diner, they decide to stay at the La Quinta Inn for the night.
While waiting for the desk clerk, Sharpay looks around the cozy lobby, made to look like a family room, complete with blazing fire in the hearth. Troy looks over at Sharpay with concern when he hears her sharp intake of breath. She's staring, transfixed at the fireplace, unable to move. Quickly, Troy reaches over and grabs her hand. She immediately relaxes and looks up to him with a quick thank you.
"That was a bad one -- really bad", is all she will say.
The desk clerk completes their registration and Sharpay quickly grabs the one keycard and walks off towards the room.
"We don't have to share a room, Sharpay. I've got enough money to pay for my own", Troy insists as he carries both their overnight bags and tags behind Sharpay as she leads them to their room.
"Nonsense. It doesn't make sense to pay for two rooms when we're going to be sharing one bed."
Before he can reply, she swiftly unlocks the room door, opens it and pulls him inside.
Troy looks over at the clock and can't believe it's already ten in the morning. Where had the time gone? Then, he smiles widely as he remembers. Sharpay.
He rolls over to his other side and studies her. She even sleeps beautifully. He watches in adoration as her chest rises and falls under the white sheet covering her body. And knowing what's under that sheet...
Despite what most people think, Troy is not a blushing virgin and Sharpay is not the harlot from hell. The truth lies somewhere in between. Troy's sophomore girlfriend and first experience with sex had been Angie. Angie was a cheerleader and she was ... well ... very limber. Unfortunately, they were both inexperienced and so they fumbled their way through quite a few encounters until her family moved to Arizona. Then, there was nothing but basketball until Gabriella showed up. It didn't take long for them for reach that level in their relationship, but Gabriella always seemed to feel so guilty afterwards that it almost didn't seem worth it. She even told him that she went to confession every time they made love.
But Sharpay... My God, Sharpay is amazing -- no guilt, no inhibitions... and who knew Drama Queens were just as limber as head cheerleaders.
The rhythm of her breathing starts to change and he knows she's waking up, so he bends down to ease her into full wakefulness with a slow, sweet kiss.
"Hi", he finally says after ending the kiss.
"Ummm, we'd better get going. It's already after ten."
"I put the Do Not Disturb card on the door. I think we might have a few more minutes", Sharpay says as she rolls him over and straddles his hips.
"You like being in control, don't you?", Troy murmurs and he starts to caress her in the all the places that he discovered last night which drive her crazy.
"I like being on top", she replies as she slowly lowers herself onto him. "Plus, your handlebars are so nice and ... hard."
Two hours later, Sharpay is checking out of the room while Troy goes to get the car. It's taking forever and after she finishes reading the cover of the local newspaper, she starts to look idly around the room, having forgotten in her blissful state of happiness why this is a bad idea. Suddenly, she realizes what she's doing and where she's looking, but the horrific scene from the night before is nowhere to be seen.
Blinking several times to clear her vision, she tries again, but there's nothing there. Odd, but good. So why does she feel slightly disappointed that she's not seeing a tragic scene of blood and gore?
Troy rejoins her and she shakes off the feeling as they get in the car to head back home.
An hour out of Albuquerque and the sky grows suddenly dark and the wind picks up to gale force.
"This is weird. It's a little late for monsoon season", Troy says as he looks up at the darkening sky with concern.
"You think we should pull over?"
It's already starting to rain heavily and the wind is causing the little car to sway slightly on the road.
"That might not be a bad idea", Troy says as he starts to slow down the car and pull over to the side of the road.
However, before he can come to a complete stop, their Mustang is clipped from behind and the little sports car is sent spinning off the road and into a ditch and everything goes black.
Ryan runs through the emergency room doors, trailed closely behind by his parents and Mr. And Mrs. Evans. Sharpay is pacing anxiously up and down in front of an ominous looking set of closed double doors.
"Sharpay!", they all seem to shout at the same time.
"Are you okay, honey?", her mother asks worriedly. "You're cut." Sharpay's eyes are red from crying and she has a small line of stitches across her forehead.
"I'm fine; this is nothing", she casually brushes off the comment. "But they won't tell me anything about Troy. They've been working on him for over an hour." Her voice drops to a whisper when she continues, "I heard his heart stopped and they had to shock him back to life. I'm so worried."
Mr. and Mrs. Bolton immediately go to find someone in charge and see if they can see their son.
"What happened, Sharpay?", Sharpay's father asks.
"I'm not sure. It started raining heavily and then when Troy was trying to pull off to the side of the highway, something hit us and I must have gotten knocked out."
The Evans wrap their only daughter in a deep hug and try to console her.
Fifteen minutes later, the Boltons are in with Troy, but no one else is allowed to enter. Ryan pulls Sharpay over to the side to talk to her.
"How are you really doing, Sharpay? I mean it can't be easy being in this place again. You know ... with all the dead people and all."
"Dead people?", she squeaks, before realizing what he's saying. "Oh... that. I-I really haven't seen anything, Ryan. Maybe I've just been so worried about Troy that I haven't been paying any attention."
"Really? Have you ever had to concentrate before?", Ryan asks suspiciously.
"Then, what's changed? What's happened between now and the last time you saw a ghost. When was that? Was it that track guy from the 70's?"
"Um, no. It was at the hotel last night", Sharpay says slowly as she thinks carefully about the last twelve hours. "But I didn't see them this morning when we were checking out."
"At the hotel? You stayed in a hotel with Troy?"
"Yeah, it was too late to drive back. I called home and told mom. Quit looking at me like that, Ryan. I'm not a child."
"That's not why I'm staring at you, Shar. Think about it for a minute. If touching his hand makes the baddie go away... then, having more intimate contact might just..."
"Oh my God! You think he short circuited me permanently?"
"I'm just guessing, but it might make sense in this crazy, mystical kind of life you lead."
"Wow, that's just..." Before she can continue, an anguished scream emits from Troy's room.
Without hesitation, Sharpay and Ryan go barreling into the room.
Troy is propped up in bed and wild-eyed with terror in his eyes.
"Keep them away! Please! Keep them away."
He's flaying around in the bed and his father is trying his best to calm him, but to no avail.
"What's wrong, honey? Please tell us, so we help", his mother pleas in a tense voice. She's trying to sound calm, but it's not working.
"Dead people! I see them everything!" Troy's shouting in a near panic now.
"My God", Sharpay asks as she hears this. She quickly rushes up and takes his hand to try and help Mr. Bolton control him before he hurts himself.
As soon as she touches him, he relaxes and comes back to himself.
"Sharpay? Oh God, it's happened to me too. It must have something to do with dying and then coming back. This is horrible, Sharpay. I don't know how you handle it. It's going to drive me insane."
Surprising everyone in the room, Sharpay looks directly into his eyes and with a big smile on her face, whispers, "Don't worry, Troy. I know the cure."
A/N: Hey, I finally finished it. Yea me! Now I realize that my other two active stories are both very dark and depressing, but I promised I would finish them.
Please hit that little review button in the bottom left hand corner and let me know what you think.
BTW, Monsoon season in New Mexico is mostly in July and August and you'll get the most horrific downpour that you've ever seen in your life. Other than that, it hardly ever rains.