Somewhere out there, Kurt Cobain is rolling over in his grave because I just mixed his music with High School Musical. For that, I apologize. However, I'm pretty sure Frances Bean wouldn't object too, too much.

This was originally supposed to be a Zanessa and it sprung to my mind when, well, when Nirvana was playing on the radio on a car ride home. This has been a work in progress for about a week, so tonight I sat here and forced myself to finish it.

And damn, I'm happy with how it turned out.

Disclaimer: I don't own Troy or Gabriella, unfortunately. I also don't own 'Heart Shaped Box' by Nirvana or 'Heart and Shoulders' by Heather Nova. I also allude to 'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around' by Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. All songs contributed greatly to the production of this fic.

Also, I know in real canon Troy and Gabi go to Stanford and Berkely respectively, but for some reason this Troy and Gabi wanted to go to Yale. I don't know why either.

---

2:47 AM

---

The first time Troy Bolton wanted Gabriella Montez, Nirvana was playing on the radio.

It had been on a CD he had made one dull Saturday morning. He hadn't added the song because he particularly liked Nirvana or because the song had some strong meaning behind it that he felt he could relate to. His theme for the CD had been songs whose title had the word 'heart' in it.

Now, this wasn't to say that Troy had never previously wanted Gabriella, but it was that in this moment, he finally realized it.

The wanting had never been this strong before, never so prominent. Sure, he had wondered what it would be like to kiss her from the very moment he laid eyes on her his freshmen year of high school. He had continued to think about it every second for four years until their graduation the year previous and up to this point, where fate and friendship landed them at the same university. But he had chocked it up to teenage hormones and the mystery that was behind the idea of what it would be like to kiss your best friend.

There was something about the way she looked, however, as they crawled through the streets of New Haven in his beat up truck at 2:47 in the morning. It was in the way she slowly rocked her head up and down, side to side to Kurt Cobain's non-sensical lyrics and clammering guitar rifts. It was her tangle of dark hair falling over her smooth skin, coupled with her soft lips and closed eyes.

Dressed in a pink flowered dress and paired with a black studded jacket, she looked every bit the rock band groupie-seductress type and not the least bit the shy, studious best friend of his. They were driving back from a party thrown by some kids from Gabriella's dorm. Both slightly buzzed and on a temporary high from just the party atmosphere, the ride home had been quiet, both left alone to their own devices, own thoughts.

Except now Troy's thoughts were completely occupied by Gabriella. The urge to hold her, to kiss her, to touch, to feel her was making his finger tips ache and his stomach pull with desire. He was itching to have her move beneath him.

The most unsettling thing about it all, though, was that he didn't just want her. He wanted her, all of her. He wanted to be the only one to make her feel, the only one to make her smile. The one to know every single curve, every cervice and everything that set her off. To hold her hand when she was scared and know that no matter the situation, he'd always been number one on her speed dial. He wanted to share a bed with her, a mortgage, to give her children. He wanted her to be in his life for every detail of it, no matter how mundane.

It was during the first chorus of 'Heart Shaped Box' that Troy Bolton realized he was in love with Gabriella Montez and had been for four years.

---

September 3rd, 2004

East High School Albuquerque, New Mexico

1:34 PM

No movie and no novel could prepare him for what high school was really like. The facetious depiction of where you were supposed to find yourself was nothing in comparison to the vast ocean of people in the hallways. Cramped and loud, as a freshmen, you were like a tourist in New York with no map.

Swallowing, Troy Bolton ran a hand through his messy hair and attempted to navigate the cluttered hallway. He had English this period. Room 144. Where the hell was room 144? He glanced at the map attached to his schedule, trying desperately to make sense of the scribbles and blocks.

If only Chad were in this class with him; then he would be fine. As it was, however, Chad had double maths this period and was most likely on the other side of the school, already flirting up the cheerleaders, leaving his best fucking friend for dead.

A loud piercing wail gave signal that class was about to start and Troy felt panic rush through his veins. People around him quickly dissipated and like that scene from that movie with the loser kid, he was left alone in the hallway.

Damnit all to hell.

But the clicking of shoes on the floor and staggered breathing shook him out of his desperation. Running towards him was a girl, petite with long dark hair and eyes to match. She looked in a state of panic.

He was in a state of desperation. She was in a state of panic. This could work.

"Excuse me? I, um, I," she clutched her own schedule to her chest and flushed a bright red.

"Doyouknowwhereroom144is?" she blurted out, averting her gaze and glancing around nervously. Pressing a hand to her forehead, she sighed. "I'm sorry. It's my first day and I'm just a wreck and I don't know anyone here and--"

"I'm looking for room 144, too," he said, smiling softly. "We can find it together."

Snapping out of her dramatics, the girl looked up at him and smiled. "That sounds good."

His smile turning to a grin, he gestured down the opposite way. "I think it's along here." She nodded and followed. He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. "I'm Troy Bolton, by the way."

"Gabriella Montez," she said, looking him in the eye. His breath caught in his throat.

It was as if time had stopped, but at fourteen years old, you don't register those things. All Troy Bolton knew was that the girl in beside him was gorgeous and that he wanted to kiss her.

---

"Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath. Broken hymen of your highness, I'm left black. Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back."

By now, he was a goner and he couldn't take it anymore. He pulled into an empty parking lot and killed the engine, desperate to know if the tension that hung in the air was real, if she was feeling it too.

She looked at him, confused. "Troy? What are you doing? I want -" she froze, taking in the desperate look in his eyes and his white knuckles gripping the steering wheel. She glanced up at him, concerned. "Are you all right?"

"I'm an idiot, Gabs," he began, unbuckling his seat belt and leaning forward to rest his head on the wheel, still facing her. He closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh. "I'm such an idiot."

Unbuckling her own belt, she slid across the seat to nuzzle closer to him.

"Troy, what are you talking about?" she asked, raking a hand through his messy hair. "Are you drunk? Do you want me to drive?"

Troy looked down her body, glancing at the folds of her dress down to her black tights and matching boots. He sucked in a breath, following the contours of her leg and he shivered.

"Gabs," he said huskily. Lifting his head from the wheel, he wrapped his hands around her waist and pulled her flush against him. "I've been so stupid."

He could feel her heart thudding in her chest and her small hands came up to his own to push him away slightly. "Troy, what's wrong? You're starting to scare me."

Looking her straight in the eye, he ran a hand down the side of her face. Moving into his touch, she pressed a hand to his own and her eyes fluttered shut.

Leaning down until he was millimeters away from her lips, he whispered softly, "I want you." He heard her sharp intake of breath, but that didn't stop him. "You have no idea how much, Gabs, none because even I didn't understand it. But I do, and I want you and more than that, I need you. So, so much."

With that, her lips crashed down upon his in a heated passion he had never experienced, and had never thought he would, especially with her.

---

April 22nd, 2006

The Bolton Residence, Albuquerque, New Mexico

4:07 PM

"Your new relationship status on Facebook reminded me that I haven't been prying into your personal life enough lately, Bolton," Gabriella said, taking a seat on the edge of his bed. Wrinkling her nose, she pushed aside the stack of dirty clothes and magazines, making herself comfortable. "Spill."

Troy groaned from his situated spot on the bed, laying flat on his back, his wrist resting over his forehead. "What's there to tell, Gab?" he asked, rolling over to face her. "It's over. End of discussion."

"Troy!" She slumped over and wrapped her arms around his legs. "Come on! Are you okay? Did Sarah take it alright?"

Sitting up, Troy ran a hand along the length of her wrists, never moving them from his legs. "Yeah. She took it too well, actually. I'm scared she was masking something, but I don't know."

A sly smile spread across Gabriella's lips. "Maybe she secretly hates you." She gave his knee a squeeze.

Troy smirked. "Ha ha, very funny." He sighed. "It just had to end, you know? It wasn't fair to her. There was just no spark."

Nodding, Gabriella let her hand linger on his knee, drawing circles with her pinkie into the demin covering it.

"You can't have a relationship without that certain something, Troy," she said softly, her eyes never meeting his. "It's just how it is."

His mouth got dry as the tingles from her touch radiated through him like electricity. Shaking the thoughts out of his mind, he smiled lazily at her. "Come on, Gabs. Your best friend is dealing with the aftermath of a break up. I think it's your duty to show him a good time."

"If by good time you mean I'll buy you McDonald's, then you're on." She sat up and extended to her hand to his, which he accepted eagerly; pleased at how their fingers en-laced so seamlessly with each others.

---

He pulled back from her, breathless and hot. Out of breath herself, she ran a hand through her hair and looked out the window, chest heaving. Troy bit his lip hesitantly, worried that maybe he had taken it too far. Maybe she didn't want him as much as he wanted her.

"Gabs," he said, out-stretching his hand to brush away strands of her hair. A few of them were beginning to become matted to her forhead and he felt something rush through him at the feeling of knowing that he was the one to put her in this state.

"I'm sorry," he spoke in a low voice, as if were he to raise it an octave, the glass in the window panes would shatter. "I don't know what came over me, but I just know that it's right and I know it's a lot of take in," he swallowed.

"I understand if you don't...want me that way."

Suddenly, her head jerked underneath his touch and she was facing him again, her lips swollen and red, her eyes shimmering and bright with life. She darted across the seat and smashed her lips against his. Between rough kiss after rough kiss, she spoke.

"I've never wanted anything, Troy, the way I want you."

---

May 24th, 2008

Some random field, Albuquerque, New Mexico

9:46 PM

"I'm scared to fucking death, Troy," she admitted as they sat in the field, staring up at the dark night sky. She closed her eyes and willed the world to stop turning, to trap her in that moment. Three weeks till graduation, three weeks until she would no longer be a student at East High. She shuddered at the thought.

"Hey," he said, concerned. Rolling onto his side, he leaned on his elbow. "What are you talking about, Gab?"

"You know." Rolling over as well, she met his gaze. "We're graduating. That future thing we've always talked about? Yeah, it's happening. It's coming at us full-force and I'm terrified that I'm going to get lost along the way.

Troy chuckled. "Are you crazy, Gabi? You? Get lost. You've got more direction and drive than anyone I know."

"What if I mess up, though, Troy?" she asked, her voice increasing in pitch. "I hate not knowing what's going to happen!"

"Gabi, Gabi!" he said, sitting up and grabbing her upper arms. "Chill out! You're going to be fine! You're going to go to New Haven and you're going to be fucking amazing. You're going to be on the Dean's List and you're going to become a lawyer and I'll be there every step of the way, encouraging you and asking you to do my laundry cause I can't separate the reds from the whites."

Giggling, she wrapped her arms around his waist. "I don't know what I'd do if you weren't making the trip with me. If we both weren't going to Yale. You're my best friend. I'm not ready to let you go."

Wrapping his own arms around her shoulder, he smiled against her hair. "Me neither, Gabs. Not by a long shot."

---

"Gabriella," he moaned against her lips, laying her down across the front seats. Their lips and tongues and teeth were tugging and nipping and pulling; battling for dominance. She pressed her pelvis against his and he gasped, pulling his mouth away from hers and began sucking on her neck. "Fuck, Gabi."

She arched her neck back, allowing him better access. She closed her eyes and threaded her fingers in his hair. "God, Troy," she groaned. "Troy, Troy, Troy. You have no idea how long I've wanted this."

Heading down lower, trailing his tongue along her collarbone, he smiled. "Oh, I do, Gab. Four years sound about right?"

"God, exactly." Her breath came out as a hiss as he advanced to the swell of her cleavage, peppering kisses on the soft flesh. The song on the CD changed and Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty's sultry voices filled the hair. "God, I love this song."

She sat up and straddling him. Pressing his fingertips into her hips, he let his hands travel up her thighs and under her dress. She shivered violently under his touch as he kneaded the soft flesh.

As her lips met his in a feverish kiss, he couldn't help but suddenly think that this song was the best one he had ever heard.

"We have so, so, so much time to make up for," he said between kisses, letting his hands run back down her thighs to rest on her knees. Breaking away from her, he leaned his forehead against his, their noses brushing. "We have to slow down. Take it slow. I don't want to ruin this."

Gabriella nodded, swinging her legs around so that she was now just seated in his lap. "Slow. You're right. Now that I've had a taste of you, I want to savour it."

"Couldn't have said it better myself, Montez."

---

October 27th, 2008

(Some Random Dorm Party at:) Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

11:29 PM

"Damn, would you look at the legs on that one!" a boy of the moronic nature called out as Gabriella danced with a girl from her Shakespeare class. "She is one hot piece of ass."

Troy tensed, feeling the familiar protectiveness rise up in his chest. "Watch it, creep!" he hissed to the guy standing beside him. "You make one move on her and I swear you won't be able to walk straight.

Shocked, the boy put his hands up. "Chill, man! I didn't realize she was taken!" He chuckled humorously. "Don't worry, I won't hit on your girl."

Bristling at the implication and realizing how little of a hold he actually had on her. "She's not my girl," he spat, his annoyance growing by the second. "She's my best friend and I don't take too kindly to those kind of remarks."

The boy burst out laughing. "Oh, sorry, man, the way you were acting I was convinced she was your girl. Guess she's technically free game." He smirked lecherously. "Don't think she'd appreciate her big brother type coming to the rescue.

Troy glared once more before turning and walking away, in search of some sort of alcohol that would numb his mind from the thoughts that were running rampent through his head now. Why did it bother him so much that he only held the title of best friend? Was it because that title only went so far? That really, he couldn't stop her from dancing with whoever, even though he only wanted her to dance with him.

He needed to do something. He needed her to be safe from the sick eyes and hands of the assholes at this party. There was only one way to situate himself so that this could happen and despite his two left feet, he would do whatever it took.

Locating the keg, he poured himself a beer and downed it in one gulp before heading to the dance floor. Coming up behind Gabriella, he pulled her against him and wrapped his arm around her stomach. She glanced up, hesitant and worried until she realized who it was. He leaned down and whispered in her ear,

"Dance with me and only me, Gabi."

He couldn't stake a real claim on her, so for now; this would have to do.

---

"Since when?" he asked, pulling her close against him as they sat in the bed of his truck. The car stereo played on behind them, lulling them into comfort as the hours ticked by and night turned into morning. Kurt Cobain had long since stopped singing and 'Heart and Shoulders' by Heather Nova played on instead.

She leaned into his chest, sighing blissfully as he thumbed through her hair. "Since forever. Or what seems like forever. The moment I saw you, really," she laughed, "Didn't you ever wonder why I barely date?"

"I was kind of hoping you might secretly be a lesbian," he shrugged non-chalantly and she punched him playfully in the arm.

"You better watch it, Bolton," she whispered, her breath hot on his ear. "I just might go along that road if you keep up with comments like that."

Laughing, his eyes sparkled and he leaned his forehead against hers. "No, no, Gabi. I much prefer you straight."

"Me too," she said, pecking his lips. "As long as I'm yours."

"Agreed." He squeezed her waist. She was his. Breathing deeply, he pressed a kiss to her jaw. His voice was husky and deep when he spoke. "Gabriella, there's a good chance I'm in love with you."

"There's a good chance I'm in love with you, too."

"It's not just one of those things, either. There's a good chance I might want to keep you forever." He felt like a new person uttering these words. Like he was finally complete.

"There's a good chance I just might let you."

As the final chorus of Heather Nova's song played out and the CD ended, Troy jumped around the side of the truck before pressing play on the CD again, letting the sounds of 'Heart Shaped Box' filter through the air once more.

And as the chords progressed from a G to an E to a C, he pressed her back into the panels of the truck, pulling her hips close to his and he kissed her, deeply and passionately, making a mental note to buy all of Nirvana's CDs the next day.