AN: Okay, I've seen HSM3 like three times now, and I've been in love with Ryelsi since the beginning. This is my first HSM fic, and it's gonna be a doozy. I'll probably take this one through graduation and, if people want, I'll do a sequel. But for now I give you the prologue. Enjoy.

Friday, January 25th, 7:59 am

"Come on, we're gonna be late!" Jason Cross shut his locker and followed his friend and teammate Zeke to their homeroom class as the warning bell rang. They dashed in the door with only seconds to spare, fully expecting a lecture on punctuality from Mrs. Darbus, but the drama teacher was nowhere to be seen.

Troy, the basketball team's co-captain and East High's prince, was sitting on his girlfriend's desk trying to map out a play they were going to use in the state championship next weekend. His co-captain, Chad, was trying to help but Gabriella didn't seem to be getting it at all.

Jason sat down behind Taylor McKessie's desk, but the class president was at the front with Martha deep in conversation with the cheerleader. They had all grown closer over last summer at the Evans' resort, and now, almost seven months later, those friendships held strong. Sharpay hadn't really changed much, but there were moments when Jason thought he saw a glimpse of a real, caring person under her drama queen egocentrism.

The biggest change Jason had noticed was the boy sitting behind her. Ryan had really come out of his sister's shadow the previous summer and they were all pleasantly surprised at the intelligent, compassionate boy that had emerged. And of course, lately, they never saw Ryan without Kelsi. The shy composer had been seen with the Evans twins since junior high school, and once she had begun showcasing her talent on the piano the three were nearly inseparable (mostly on Sharpay's instruction). But Jason, ever the quiet observer, had noticed even from the beginning the odd sort of kinship between the male Evans and the meek girl, a connection that had deepened as both had found their own footing within the school.

Looking around, Jason noticed that Kelsi wasn't in her seat and, after further observation, realized she wasn't even in the room. Ryan was also looking for the composer and not being subtle about it, making Jason think the girl wasn't even at school. It was well known that Kelsi often visited the music room before school, and more often than not she, Ryan, and Sharpay were working together. Jason thought it odd though; according to Sharpay herself, Kelsi hadn't missed a day of school since they'd met in seventh grade. And Mrs. Darbus was mysteriously absent as well.

They were all shocked when, moments later, their beloved teacher walked quietly through the doors holding - of all things - a cell phone. Her face showed signs that she had been crying and had spent a little too much time trying to hide the evidence. As her eyes fell on Kelsi's empty desk her eyes watered again, putting all the Wildcats on alert. Troy had hopped off of Gabriella's desk and was now walking toward the woman.

"Mrs. D, is everything okay?" She laid a hand on his shoulder and directed him to his desk.

"Not exactly, Mr. Bolton," her voice was thick with unshed tears. "But I am not really at liberty to share so I'll ask all of you to please continue with your work." They all shared looks, and Chad raised his hand.

"Mrs. Darbus, you haven't given us any yet," he pointed out.

"Where's Kelsi?" Ryan demanded, and Mrs. Darbus shot him a stern glare. When she didn't answer immediately, he stood up. "Mrs. Darbus, is she okay?" Ryan's face had paled a little, and everyone could see he was tense.

"Ryan sit down," Sharpay whispered as she grabbed his shirt, but Ryan ignored her.

"Mr. Evans, please take your seat. I told you I'm not at liberty to-"

"Is Kelsi okay?" he repeated, extracting himself from his sister's grip and taking another step.

"Not really," Mrs. Darbus replied cryptically, sending a murmur of fear through the class. If something had happened to the girl…well none of them really wanted to think about it. But Ryan had other ideas and was racing out the door before anyone could stop him.

"Mr. Evans! Ryan!" Darbus called behind him, but he ignored her as he ran through the halls toward the double doors that led to the parking lot. As he barreled through them and ran toward Sharpay's car, his only thought was to get to his friend quickly. He pulled out his spare key and jumped into the pink convertible without a backwards glance.

Well there it is. I'll post more soon, tell me if you like it!