Okay, so I don't really write High School Musical fanfic, but Ryan and Kelsi are just so cute and perfect for each other that I couldn't resist jotting this down. It's set sometime in the middle of HSM3, before Ryan asks Kelsi to prom. I thought their story needed to be expanded a little bit, and so this is my imput on that. I hope you all enjoy: please review and let me know what you think :)

Oh, and I do not own HSM or anything related to it. The words below are mine, though. Even the 'song.'


Ryan looked at the notes first. They were hand written, carefully penciled in, erased, and re-written carefully and clearly. Each eighth note perfectly shaped, each dynamic marked in place. His eyes skimmed over them each individually, his mind automatically picking out the melody and the rhythm even before Kelsi started to play. Only then did he look at the lyrics.

He came in exactly on cue, his voice picking out exactly the right pitch. It was even written in his favorite key: F major. His tongue picked over the words, though he was more focused on the notes than he was on the syllables: they could be memorized later, but if you hit a wrong note once, it was twice as hard to avoid it the next time.

Don't ask me when, don't ask me how,
Don't make me tell all of it now.
But when I see you, smiling, crying,
Laughing, dreaming, singing, being,
I believe,
Yes I believe,
That music really is the key.

As the melody became more familiar, Ryan started to pay more attention to the words, and in those brief bars of piano interlude, he spared a glance for Kelsi. Her eyes were closed, as they often were when she played a song that was very dear to her. She'd worked hard on this one. For a moment, he almost lost his count; he came in a sixteenth of a beat too late.

Don't tell me what, don't tell me who,
Don't tell me all that you can't do.
'Cause when I see you, hushing, blushing,
Skipping, walking, writing, talking,
I believe,
Yes I believe,
That music comes from you and me.

Some-when, some-how,
Between the chorus and the bow,
I forgot the script and fell in love
With someone I could never dream of.
Some-who, some-what,
Now there's something between us.
And I can't turn back now,
You knew the truth: Somehow.

Kelsi's voice joined him for the chorus, providing the harmony that would later by done by someone else. Maybe even Sharpay, if she could get over not being the lead. Ryan liked to listen to Kelsi's voice. It was soft and unassuming; so unlike Sharpay's that it sometimes caught Ryan off guard when they sang together. Her pitch wasn't bad, either. After the chorus, she broke into another piano interlude, this time a little longer than the last, and Ryan watched her, smiling, unable to get over how much he enjoyed these moments when they could rehearse together, or just talk. Of all the people Ryan could now consider friends, Kelsi was the one he had the most in common with.

Lost in thought, he'd missed his entrance, but Kelsi picked up the second verse as though she'd always intended to sing it herself. She didn't seem at all perturbed that Ryan had skipped out.

Don't ask me why, don't ask me where,
It's in the notes that we both share.

He jumped in again, a beat and a half behind her, acting as an echo, and then he dropped out again, letting her go on alone again, just so he could hear her voice a little more.

And when I see you, sitting, singing, (sitting, singing)
Playing, drumming, tapping, humming, (playing, drumming, tapping, humming)
I believe,
Yes I believe,
That music really is the key.

Don't make me guess, don't make me pry,
But there is something in your eye.
And when I see you, looking, hoping, (looking, hoping)
Seeing, gazing, watching, waiting, (seeing, gazing, watching, waiting)
I believe,
(Yes I believe,)
That music comes from you and me.

Some-where, some-why,
I couldn't tell you if I tried,
I forgot the script and fell in love,
Now you're all that I've been dreaming of.

They sang the chorus together again, and then Kelsi finished off with a few flowing arpeggios and a final, low chord. It was another few moments before she opened her eyes and looked at him, and then they just sat there, on the piano bench, looking at each other. For a few, brief moments, Ryan thought of kissing her. If they'd been in a musical, the script would have told him to, but then he smiled at the absurdity of the thought, and the moment passed.

'That's a really beautiful song,' Ryan said. 'For Troy and Gabriella?' All of her best songs were for them. Ryan didn't mind. They did her compositions the justice they deserved.

But she shook her head. 'Actually, this one isn't for the show. It's just something I wrote.' She reached to the pages and started to collect them from the piano's ledge. Ryan took the pages from her fingers before she could tuck them away.

'But it's amazing: one of your best,' he smiled, 'and that's saying something,' he added with a wink.

She blushed, liked she always did when she was complimented. 'It's really not suitable for Troy and Gabriella, though,' she said. 'It's too…' she pursed her lips, as though she'd been about to say something she didn't really want to say.

'Too good, too…' he searched his mind for another word, but couldn't think of any until he saw the look on her face. 'Too heart-wrenching?'

She stared down at the keys. Her hands were folded neatly in her lap. Her long brown hair fell forward, hiding her eyes from him.

'Kelsi,' he asked slowly, 'is this song about you?'

Her right hand tried to pull away from the left; an involuntary movement, a sure sign that he'd guessed right.

What could he say to that? Clearly, whoever she'd written it about didn't return the feelings, or she wouldn't look so depressed, and the only person Ryan could think of who would be fool enough not to like Kelsi was Troy, and that was only because he had Gabriella.

Resolved, Ryan twisted sideways and rested one knee on the piano bench so that he could look directly at Kelsi, then he took her clenched hands in his (she had lovely hands: soft, despite the odd callus on her fingertips from all the piano playing) and made her look at him, too.

'Look, Kelsi, so what if Troy is taken?' Her eyes widened in surprise, and even confusion. Clearly, she didn't think he would figure out who else the song was about. 'You are a beautiful, talented girl, and you can have any other guy you want…' he trailed off. He wasn't quite sure where he was going with this speech. Besides, there was something in her expression that didn't seem right. 'What is it?' he asked. What she bemused?

'It's not Troy,' she said, looking back at him. Her eyes were big and imploring, like there was something she wanted him to understand without her having to say it. Twice, she opened her mouth to say something, and then closed it again. The third time, she looked away, and the words came. 'It doesn't matter. It's just a stupid song.'

The urge to kiss her was back, but this time it had nothing to do with musical scripts. 'Hey,' he whispered, and she looked up again. He leaned forward and hugged her tightly, if a little awkwardly because of their position on the piano bench, and as they pulled apart, he gave her a quick kiss on the side of her lips. It was as close as he dared to a real kiss, what with her being hung up on another guy. 'A very good song,' he reminded her with a wry smile.

She smiled back, hesitantly, as though she wasn't quite sure what had just happened. Ryan reached over and checked her mug. 'Come on,' he said, standing up and offering her his hand. 'We need more tea.'

End