Disclaimer: High School Musical and its sequels are property of Disney and I make no money off of this; I'm simply destroying the sandcastles - or adding to them.
Summary: The class of 2008 Wildcats return to East High for their ten year reunion. Who's gone where, who hasn't gone anywhere, and who is still current on whom? By request - thanks for the bunnies! :)
Characters: Focus: Troy/Gabriella, but includes Chad, Taylor, Sharpay, Ryan, Kelsi, Martha, Zeke, Jason, Jack Bolton & Ms. Darbus
"Are you sure this is fine?"
Gabriella rolled her eyes as she turned from the mirror to look at her husband with a tolerant smile. "We're not going to a red carpet premier, Troy; these are our friends from High School. You look fine."
Troy shifted uncomfortably before the floor length mirror on the door of the closet. "It's not too casual?"
Turning back to the mirror so she could finish her hair, Gabriella resumed brushing the glossy black locks, her tone teasing. "Are you sure you're the same Troy Bolton I married? The same Troy Bolton who auditioned with me in his Wildcat track suit?"
"Who else would I be?"
"I'm not sure, but the fashion conscious man in my mirror is a stranger," her tone was teasing. "Maybe you should wear your old team jersey or they might not know who you are."
"I just don't want to be under dressed."
"It's a reunion - and you're not going to impress your fans. These people are our friends, what we wear isn't going to matter - just that we're here." Rotating the brush, she ran the bristles through her bangs. "Didn't Chad say they weren't expecting us to come?"
"Me you mean," abandoning his image, Troy sidled up behind his wife and wrapped his arms about her waist, burying his face in her hair to find the nape of her neck. "You look good enough to eat."
Her eyes partially closed on a soft murmur of pleasure as he kissed her skin, nuzzling it. "Hold that thought, Wildcat and save it for later."
He squeezed her before raising his head to meet her heavy lidded gaze in the mirror. A roguish smile spread across his lips. "I'll hold anything you'd like me to," his arms eased their hold, but his hands instead slid upwards to cup her breasts through the fabric of the white satin top she'd chosen for the evening.
Swatting him away with a laugh, Gabriella rose to her feet - and Troy took a moment to admire her, marveling that she'd ever agreed to be his wife.
Gabriella looked stunning in her white satin shirt and black jeans - it would only be better once she shrugged into the leather jacket she'd chosen to go with it. The desire to take her back to bed and unwrap that sexy package was strong, but he resisted. Again, he questioned his choice of wardrobe, knowing no matter what he wore she'd out shine him; she always did.
"Are you sure about the blue?"
"It's casual enough," she assured him, stepping close to lay one hand on his chest before pressing a kiss to his cheek. "And it brings out those baby blues I love so much. Quit worrying, would you? That's usually my department."
He pressed his forehead to hers as his hand went automatically to his waist; he'd never tire of touching her. "As long as you're sure. Who do you think will be able to make it?"
Easing away, Gabriella went to collect her purse and jacket from where they were sitting on the hotel room bed. "I would think Sharpay and Ryan will be here for sure and Chad swore he was coming the second I told him we'd booked our flight. He's excited to see you."
"He can't miss me that badly; it's only been six weeks since he was out for Amara's birthday."
"Are you sure your mother doesn't mind watching the kids tonight?" Gabriella immediately shifted into concerned parent mode at the mention of their daughter. "I don't mind missing the reunion if it's a problem."
"Not a chance." Troy told her bluntly as he collected his jacket and opened the door to their hotel suite so they could leave. "I'm not going without you. Besides, it's the first time she'd had them to herself since we got here. She threatened to do something positively evil if she didn't get a chance to spoil them as any good Grandmother should."
"If you're sure..."
"Should I call so you can ask her yourself?" Troy caught her hand as she closed the door and tugged her into step beside him.
"It's not that I don't trust your mom, it's just I haven't been away from them much."
Troy winced; that was partially his fault. Gabriella had given him two beautiful children within eleven months of each other and raising them was a full time job - so much so she'd taken to being a stay at home mom. At least, she'd told him bluntly, until both of the kids were in pre-school. Lifting their entwined fingers, he smiled at her as they waited for the elevator and softly kissed the backs of her fingers as he squeezed them. "Have I told you tonight how much I love you?"
"Mmm..." her grin was mischievous. "Not since you pinned me to the bed an hour ago."
Troy's grin was wolfish. "I couldn't help myself; the concoction you're wearing underneath that blouse was screaming for punishment."
Swatting him playfully, she pulled him into the elevator. "It will scream at you more later, Superstar; and you can answer it then."
East High School - Gym
Gabriella and Troy produced their tickets for the event to a student neither of them knew, likely looking for extra credit, but the woman behind him talking with another student was familiar to them both. Troy didn't need any encouragement as they moved past the host - surrendering an autograph in the process - nostalgia striking the moment they could hear what the familiar looking woman was saying.
"No, no, that is not the way to have it set up. The machine must be along the wall or they risk running into it."
"Still terrorizing the students, Ms. D?"
Ms. Darbus turned, her eyebrows raised as she looked over her glasses at the two standing before her. "Why...Troy Bolton and... this must be Ms. Montez."
Gabriella's smile was proud as she held up her left hand to correct the teacher. "It's Mrs. Bolton now, Ms. Darbus. Troy made an honest woman of me some time ago."
"I'm certain Coach Bolton appreciates the addition to the family. Congratulations to the both of you."
"Thank you." Troy nodded to where the student was still trying to hook the speakers up. "Would you like me to give him a hand with that?"
"While as generous an offer as that is, Mister Bolton, you are not here to work this party; you're here to enjoy it. Dance, sing - if Mister Jackson can get the machine working - and mingle. We will manage." She shooed them away with an imperious wave of one hand and turned back to the student - Jackson - to offer her advice.
Troy and Gabriella were just turning to move along when an excited cry from the doorway brought them around towards the door.
"Gabriella! You haven't changed a bit!"
"Taylor?" A delighted smile spread across Gabriella's lips. Leaving Troy's side, she met Taylor halfway, the women exchanging hugs. "Wow, you look spectacular!"
Taylor had changed in the last ten years. Gone was the curly, shoulder length hair that had been her style through High School and in its place was long, silky black hair that fell straight as an arrow and nearly touched her waist. She was stylish in a black skirt and white blouse with a casual jacket - and she oozed the confidence that had driven her through school.
The last time Troy and Gabriella had seen her had been for their wedding - when Taylor had stood up for Gabriella as her maid of honor; six years ago.
Taylor drew Gabriella off to the side, leaving Troy alone with an apologetic smile. Troy turned his attention away from his wife in time to see a familiar looking duo coming through the door. "Kelsi, Ryan!"
Ryan Evans and Kelsi Nielsen lifted their hands as smiled blossomed on their faces. By-passing the ticket taker, they advanced together, Kelsi's hand hooked into the crook of Ryan's arm. "Hoops man," Kelsi teased. "And here we thought acting was a hobby."
Smiling sheepishly, Troy shrugged and opened one arm to her.
Kelsi hugged him tightly. "You've done so good for yourself Troy, I knew you could."
"You're one to talk, miss star composer," Troy hugged her tightly and then extended his hand to Ryan. "The two of you are the talk of the Broadway circuit. You make one hell of a team."
"We always did," Kelsi told him with a sly grin and a glance at Ryan as she pulled away. "Never question what works, right?"
"Right," Ryan pulled her back to his side. "Julliard was good for both of us."
"Okay," Troy looked from one to the other and noted amusement lurking in their eyes - though he couldn't tell if it was because of his confusion or something else.
Kelsi and Ryan had been tabloid fodder for years - since their breakout show - without confirming, or denying, the state of their relationship. Even their closest friends didn't know if they were a couple. They didn't see other people frequently, but when they did there was always a media storm to cover it and speculate on the current status of their relationship - and what that relationship was exactly.
"Relax, Troy," Ryan told him with an easy smile, more like the Ryan Evan Troy remembered. "We're all here to enjoy ourselves, right? Is Gabriella around somewhere?"
Troy pointed to the nearly corner where his wife and Taylor were sitting close to one another with their heads together talking animatedly.
"Thanks." Ryan slapped him on the shoulder. "And hey, sorry we couldn't make your wedding."
"We got your card," Troy assured him and nodded to Kelsi. "And the score. Did we ever thank you for that?"
"You did," Kelsi assured him. "I even got the disc you made; it might be a cappella, but the two of you still blend harmony perfectly."
Kelsi and Ryan stayed to chat for another minute or two as more of their classmates arrived and friends were reunited. Troy excused himself, knowing they really wanted to go talk to Gabriella - everyone would - and went to find a glass of refreshments. It was at the table that he ran into another old friend and did a double take.
The tall, dark skinned man lifted his head from a critical examination of the fare provided - and a familiar grin split his lips. "Troy!"
They shared a brief hug, slapping each other on the back before letting go. "Man, last I heard from you, you'd given up Basketball to pursue cooking."
"You don't watch much TV I take it?"
Troy arched his eyebrows, collecting the drink he'd come to get. "You're an actor too?"
Laughing, Zekk held out a glass for Troy to fill from the punch bowl. "Chef, actually, but Kitchen stadium is as much a set as a kitchen."
"Kitchen..." Troy trailed off, a memory tickling the back of his mind. "Why does that sound familiar?"
"Ever heard of Iron Chef America?"
Zeke took a sip of his refilled glass and nodded. "I earned it, man."
"You're a regular then?"
"Not yet, but I will be. Is Gabriella around?"
Troy wondered if anyone knew he wasn't married to her - or if anyone actually wanted to see him and not his wife. He dutifully pointed her out, ladling another glass of punch before leading Zeke over to where Kelsi, Ryan, Gabriella and Taylor were all sharing a laugh. When they neared, he placed the glass on the table before her and bent to brush his lips across her cheek.
"I see some things never change."
Straightening, Troy followed the other's gazes to the blonde bombshell still dressed in pink and showing far more skin then she'd ever in school. "Sharpay."
"Troy; Gabriella. How're the kids?"
"They're at my parent's place. How've you been?"
Sharpay waved one hand idly. "Never been better."
There was a flurry of re-introductions as Zeke and Sharpay were brought back face to face ten years after attending prom together, and Taylor made it fairly plain she had few uses for the rich blonde who'd gone from wanting a career in acting to teaching potential starlets. Sharpay's rise to Broadway had never materialized, but her school for gifted performers had given her the fame she'd always craved.
Somewhere in the flurry of voices and conversation, Jason and Martha arrived separately. Neither looked anything like what their friends remembered from high school. Jason looked far older than his years and was revealed to have taken up the head of the maintenance department at East High; where as Martha had pursued her sciences and was on break from participating in a project for curing Ebola.
Troy hooked his forearms on Gabriella's shoulders and let the chatter of their friends wash over him. Chad was still missing, but then, Chad had worn three watches as a sophomore to ensure he was never late. It hadn't helped his time management skills any. Gabriella lifted one hand to twine absently with his as she shared stories about their kids antics with Kelsi, Martha, Taylor and Sharpay. She was the only mother out of the five, but none of them seemed to mind. To Troy's shock, Sharpay even expressed an interest in "meeting the little dears" only to ruin it by then saying she wanted to ensure the Bolton genes didn't trump the Montez brains.
Gabriella had squeezed his fingers and he'd turned his attention elsewhere, absently stroking the backs of hers. Zeke, Jason and Ryan had entered a lively discussion about conditioning. Athlete vs dancer - and it deteriorated into Jason turning to leave just as Chad walked into the Gym and announced himself.
The call thundered across the crowd, silencing discussions and drawing every eye.
Straightening, Troy stepped from the corner to stand by Zeke, crossing his arms over his chest as he waited for Chad to appear - and answered him. "Not for a long time, man."
The familiar call drew laughs and a few responses to the familiar chant.
"I said; What team?"
The more enthusiastic participation from the gathered class only encouraged the incorrigible. Troy turned a dirty look on the eight people behind him. "Don't encourage him."
Gabriella's eyes gleamed with mirth as she enthusiastically joined in with the chant, unapologetically. It had been their call to battle for so long, the school chant for the basketball team that had helped define their senior class - and she couldn't resist. Troy turned back to glare at the people between him and his best friend; a best friend who had a knack for entrances and basketball, but little else.
"Get'cha head in the game!"
The crowd between he and Chad parted - and Troy's hands shot up reflexively to catch a basketball as it rebounded off the floor in front of him and people cheered the energetic entry of one of the co-captains of their squad. Chad's smirk was triumphant as he raised his arms for silence - and people did as he asked. His voice intoned once more, this time solemnly;
"Once a wildcat-"
"Always a wildcat."
The completion of Troy's graduation speech echoed through the gym like a benediction as Chad finally lowered his arms and was within a few feet of his best friend. "Exactly. So, you still got a jump shot, Bolton, or has all that singing, dancing and carrying on fried your brain?"
Troy bounced the ball back to Chad. "I see you still carry a basketball around everywhere you go."
"Never know when you're going to find a good net." Chad nodded to the stationary net over the table where Gabriella and the other girls were sitting, dribbled it in place and then pulled back for a shot.
"Bolton! Danforth!" Jack Bolton's authoritative voice whipped across the gym, stalling the shot. "Save it for later or take it outside."
"Sure thing, Coach." Chad waved hello to his old coach and then meandered those last few feet to Troy's side, twirling the ball on his fingers as he did. Looping an arm about Troy's shoulder, he slapped the ball into his stomach. "Good to see you man, I didn't think you could make it."
Troy shot him a dirty look. "You knew I was coming."
"You have more money than you know what to do with, just because you brought your plane ticket didn't mean Gabriella would be able to get you to come." Releasing his best bud, Chad dipped to drop a kiss on her cheek. "Thanks for bringing him."
"He brought himself," she returned teasingly. "I just packed his overnight bag."
"With you in it."
Gabriella laughed. She was no longer the shy, reserved young woman she'd been in high school and Chad's inference wouldn't have been able to make her blush even if that had been his intention. She enjoyed Troy's amorous affections far too much to be bashful about it. "Everything he needs."
"No arguments here," Troy supplied, slipping back into his place behind Gabriella.
There was another whirlwind of exchanges as Jason, Zeke and Chad caught up on their time - none of the three had kept in touch. Ryan and Sharpay were sitting next to one another, Kelsi nearby, discussing their different approaches to fame, with the composer coming to Ryan's staunch defense whenever Sharpay was over critical - and surprisingly coming to Sharpay's defense when Ryan got too pointed. Kelsi as the balance point between them; it wasn't an evolution Troy would have foreseen in High School.
Martha's words to Taylor and Gabriella caught his attention. "He's not a superstar, but George is as sweet as they come - almost as sweet as Troy."
"Really?" Gabriella perked up at the comparison. "You think so?"
Martha nodded, extending her hand to reveal a simple silver band with an embedded emerald at the center. "He's unconventional too."
"You're getting married?"
Nodding, the red head examined her ring with pride. "He asked me right before I stepped on the plane to come here - said he couldn't risk letting an old flame try and sweep me off my feet so he'd better mark me as his."
"Martha!" Kelsi caught the tail end of the announcement and separated from the twins to join the three ladies, Sharpay sticking her nose in when she realized they were talking weddings. "That's great, oh my gosh!"
Blushing, Martha returned enthusiastic hugs from her old classmates and dearest girl friends through school. "Thanks guys. You could have knocked me over with a feather when he got down on one knee in front of everyone in the airport. I told you he was as sweet as Troy."
Troy flushed as Gabriella cast him an amused look, arching her eyebrows. "I don't remember having you propose to me in an airport."
He coughed to hide the smile that threatened. What his friends didn't know was that he'd proposed to her twice; once that they knew about - it had been televised during one of his matches as a part of the UC Berkeley Bears Basketball team - and the other... the other was just between them.
"Just on national television." Taylor nudged Gabriella with her elbow to draw her attention back her way. "Troy had to top Chad's invitation to the Senior Prom, didn't he?"
"Something like that," Gabriella agreed with a short laugh. "Still, I can't believe it. Martha, how long have you known George?"
"Oh ages." Martha replied enthusiastically. "He's Angela's brother."
"The girl I dormed with in College." she clarified.
"Ah - love at first sight?"
Troy bent down as the teasing words left Gabriella's lips. "I know mine was."
She shushed him with a look as Martha answered.
"I couldn't stand him actually," Martha admitted with a blush and a laugh, her smile slightly sheepish. "Angela's the one who got us talking without realizing it; we were pen pals through e-mail for six months in my second semester and we just seemed to click. When I realized who it was, Angela was able to convince me to give him a second chance."
Sharpay sighed. "Ah, love. You find it in the strangest places."
"How about you, Sharpay," Kelsi turned to Ryan's twin with arched eyebrows. "Any prospects for a future Mr. Sharpay Evans?"
"Only you, Kelsi," she returned saucily with arched eyebrows. "But I think my brother would object. No, I'm happy being single. Besides, no man meets my demanding standards."
Zeke - who'd had a major crush on Sharpay through school - coughed as he caught onto the thread of conversation, stepping up behind the blonde Diva. "No one you can control, is that it?"
"No one I could control as easily as you - and not a single one who bakes worth a damn." Smiling brightly up at him she waggled her fingers in greeting and opened her hand. "Cookies?"
The group burst into polite laughter - which turned into real laughter as Zeke pulled a container from his pocket and solemnly placed it into Sharpay's outstretched palm, her expression stunned; she hadn't been expecting it. With a wicked grin, he bent to whisper something in her ear - and Sharpay's expression turned shocked, her eyes widening. A question in her gaze, she met Zeke's as if seeking confirmation. He arched his eyebrows - a silent challenge no one could miss - and abruptly Sharpay was on her feet.
"If you'll excuse us." Grabbing him by the hand, Sharpay marched off with the distinguished chef.
"What as that all about?"
No one ventured an answer to Jason's question, which only made him feel better because he hadn't been the only one not to understand. Ryan and Kelsi exchanged looks and his hand came up to brush a tendril of hair back into place among her clips.
Taylor, observing the gesture, folded her hands together and placed her chin in them as she planted her elbows on the table to look at them. "Speaking of relationships, what is with the two of you?"
They spoke simultaneously, exchanging glances, and then said the same thing - except Kelsi said "Lovers" this time and Ryan said "Friends" - and then they laughed at the confused expressions on their friends faces.
Ryan shrugged as he slid his arm around the back of Kelsi's chair. "We get along, we prefer to work together because do it so well with one another and we like the late nights. It's a perfect match."
But what kind of match, neither of the two would say. When questioned directly about the "lovers" comment, they simply smiled and shrugged, Kelsi deliberately holding up her hands to show they were bare of any wedding or engagement ring. "I like to keep my options open; but until then, I think I'll stick with Ryan. He's such entertaining company."
"I bet." Taylor rolled her eyes. "How about you Troy?"
"I don't entertain anyone but Gabriella so I doubt Kelsi would have the same opinion about me."
More laughter from the group as their topic changed once more and Taylor jumped into her own pastimes of late - which almost all included politics.
"It's such a fascinating world out there. I'm currently working as an aide in Washington - and there's so much to learn."
"Still going to be President?" Chad teased.
"Just see if I'm not!" Taylor shot back with a fierce grin. "At least I'm trying to contribute more than-"
"Slam dunks or touchdowns?" Troy supplied.
Spluttering to a stop, Taylor shrugged and grinned. "Well, yeah."
"And the millions of dollars in sponsorship money that goes to children's charities to ensure these kids can achieve their dreams?"
She conceded gracefully. "A worthy cause. You might be a bit of a hard head, Chad, but you do good work when you set your mind to it."
"That's about the nicest thing you've said to me in six years Taylor."
"It's about the only thing I've said to you in six years."
Which about summed up their group. Jason, Zeke, and Martha had lost touch with just about everyone, Kelsi, Ryan and Sharpay had kept in close contact - with occasional contact with the Boltons. Taylor and Gabriella continued to burn up the phone lines, racking up astronomical phone bills Troy never objected to paying - and wouldn't have even if his own had been zero; which it wasn't as he kept in close touch with Chad. And while they didn't see each other as often as they wanted, those calls ensured their friendship was as solid as ever.
That, and Troy tried to get out to see him play whenever he could between projects. He just didn't have the time while shooting.
Another aspect of this reunion he hadn't expected, but could now fully appreciate, was that his class - in particular those he called friends - had been exceedingly lucky in their career choices. And, fortunately, not a single one of them was star struck by the others. It was refreshingly invigorating to simply be himself among them and not worry about what his fans were going to think.
The conversation veered off again and Troy glanced around, wondering where Zeke and Sharpay had gotten to as the girls talked weddings and Ryan offered to help Martha with her reception; Kelsi offered to write the music and after that he tuned them out. Martha getting married was a great thing, but he'd helped Gabriella plan their wedding and that had been enough for him.
Gabriella leaned back against the chair, her head touching his stomach and he glanced down to find her watching him intently. She tilted her head, her gaze going to one of the exits from the gym. Troy understood that look - she wanted to get away for a little while. Excusing themselves from their friends - and enduring the good natured ribbing that had always come when they'd snuck away - they wove through the guests and exchanged small talk as they walked.
Ms. Darbus and Jack Bolton were off together monitoring the students working the reunion, but as they passed, they could hear the teachers reminiscing about their favorite moments of this particular class. That his dad and the drama teacher were on friendly terms was only one of the few lasting impression their class had made. By-passing the teachers, they stepped next to one set of the folded back stands by the exit doors and passed through, securing it behind them.
Troy turned to look at his wife - but she was already pulling him away down the darkened corridors. "Where are you taking me?"
Her eyes sparkled as she glanced back. "A secret hiding place."
His smile widened as he took in her meaning. Traversing hallways they hadn't entered in many years, Gabriella paused for a moment by the auditorium, the look she shot him saying it all. Troy stepped close and pressed a soft kiss to her cheek. "The room where we first reconnected in song - fitting you should bring me here."
Her lips curved. "A momentary pause only, Wildcat. There are a lot of good memories in this theater."
"Some of the best."
"This way, come on."
Leading the way up the stairs, she dragged him steadily upwards, through hallways and out onto the roof top garden where they'd spent as much time as possible through High School. The stars were out and the garden was in shadow - a first for them at East High on the roof top. Troy looked straight up, making out the brighter of the constellations, but most were lost in the light pollution of the city.
"Do you remember the last time we were up here, Troy?"
His gaze dropped to her. She was standing next to one of the skylights, wreathed in darkness. "Yeah. You said you'd be my date to the Senior Prom."
Extending her hand she arched her eyebrows, the challenge in her tone unmistakable. "Do you remember how to waltz, Wildcat?"
Troy would never cease to be amazed by his wife; and would never forget the things she'd taught him. Stepping close, he swung her into his arms and began to hum a soft melody to supply the music. Smiling delightedly, she followed his lead as he swung her around the roof top. Somewhere in the middle of it, he stopped singing, but the melody still played in the back of their minds, keeping his steps sure.
"Do you remember how our last waltz ended?"
"Here or at Stanford?"
"With the bell ringing." Her grin was impish. "We were late for class."
"It was worth it."
"I thought Ms. Darbus would give us detention for sure."
"You sound disappointed."
"Not about getting detention," he told her, twirling her about before pulling her close and wrapping an arm about her waist as he held one hand in his over his heart, his forehead touching hers. "But because I never did get my kiss that morning."
"That was over ten years ago Troy!"
"I know; and I only just realized something."
"And that is?"
"This will be our first kiss at East High."
And it was.
Author's Note: I cite an incorrigible muse when it comes to this Vig and a requester who was an absolute delight to work for. You know who you are :)