A/N: Okay... here it is. The last chapter. This story has been a completely emotional ride and I really hope I don't disappoint anyone with this final chapter. This work really meant a lot to me, and it's really a bit scary that it's finally over. I had this in my head long before it was posted, and I just really hope I did the story justice. I want to thank everyone who took the time to read this, because I know it was a lot of up and down motions. But really, this story has brought out the most responses from all of my stories. I worked hard at this, and I really hope it showed. Again, thank you for your support and for staying with me even if I sometimes thought I was jumping into a pool full of sharks head first. Really, all I can really say is that I'm honored you gave me a chance. Your excitement is what drove the story, and I cannot thank you enough.

And thank you with your support in voting for the fanfiction awards. Congratulations to all the authors, your hard work really really should be embraced more often.

So here's what's going down about my future with fanfiction. To be perfectly honest, I was dead set against coming back and writing another story about a month ago. Honestly, I felt washed up and that I had lost my magic. I don't want people coming to me with "oh Kelly you didn't lose it..." Hopefully by now a lot of you know that I'm hard on myself and I don't want flat out praise I don't deserve. But as it stands right now, I can't let go quite yet. I think it's difficult for some people to understand. A lot of authors on this site write because they want reviews and they want to be praised and they want their story to be the best. I don't want that, in fact, I embrace constructive criticism. Writing is my passion, I've fallen in love with words and I'm not quite ready to let them go yet. I finished the first chapter of something I'm working on a yesterday, but it will not be up in a few weeks or any time soon. I want to do this right. So as it stands right now, I need to get through the fall because it's my busiest time of year, but I will most likely be posting a new story in October. In that time, authors, just as a heads up, I may be contacting you about completely random things because I am going to be working on what's best for my writing and how I can improve my style. So just a warning, if you get a random PM in your inbox, please just roll your eyes and realize that I'm trying to collect as much data and opinions as humanly possible.

Finally, I need to do something I usually don't do, and that's thank specific people because I don't do it enough and on the chance that I don't come back to post, I owe you. First and foremost, the person who I must thank the most is hsm07. I know you're not reading this and you probably never will, but honestly, you're the reason Troy Bolton first pulled up to East High in his white truck that fateful first day of senior year in Can't Just Be Friends. I thank you for bringing me into this crazy fanfiction world, you hold a special place in my heart and how much I love your work. Dee31, you're the first person that treated me like a person rather than an author, and I can't express how grateful I am for that. Laughxoutxloud, without you kicking my ass I wouldn't have improved, so I thank you. Thank you to the people who have been with me for multiple stories, I know I'm a lot to handle but you guys stuck with me through everything. Thanks to the authors who keep my muse running by wanting to strive to be a good as them. Seriously, there is work of art on this site... something I'm unworthy of and you guys are unbelievable. I thank authors for also glancing over pieces of this story to make sure I wasn't commiting complete suicide. Thanks to everyone who has ever reviewed, you guys keep me going. I got lucky... really. I entered the fandom at a time when it was heightened and lucked out. So I thank everyone for reading and just being supportive in general. I love you guys.

Most of all, I want to thank Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Kenny Ortega and the entire HSM cast and crew for giving me this inspiration, truly bringing Troy and Gabriella to life. Without you two, there would be no story. I wish you luck in your careers and where ever life takes you. You'll always be the music in me.

Keep on rocking everyone, and if you ever need me, don't hesitate. I'm just a PM away.

Enjoy the last chapter of Protecting Fate.

xo runninequalslife

There were certain moments in life that took one's breath away. These precious experiences are ones that are held deeply in the hearts of millions. Each individual holds the time capsule in its heart and each has its own unique episode that will only belong to that person. The first cry of an infant as it enters the world has a certain shill that can only be understood by the newly-made mother and father. The caress of a lover's fingers as they gaze into each other's eyes and slip on a band of commitment at the end of an aisle is the brush only marriage can replicate. Even a first glance backwards after the sound of angels' rings when a stranger at a ski lodge on New Years Eve sings the first note that would change the world in a pitch. Memories like these happen in a flash, when a person least expects it and then it's over. Yet, it is in those brief moments that a person realizes that the struggles in life are all worth a few seconds of happiness.

Troy Bolton absorbed that moment the second he took his lover's hand and gazed into the flashing lights of the Albuquerque East High gymnasium in the coming short minutes.

"You're doing it again." The goddess beside him whispered in the black hallway. There was a faint glow of flickered lights developing from the entrance towards the gym doors, but Troy couldn't see them. He was blind to all other objects and inhabitants of the world except for the Aphrodite in human form with her arm looped with his standing beside him. Once again, Troy was a victim to the spell she cast around with an air of dignity and grace. It was difficult to respond in English let alone make any other sounds beside the occasional sigh of adoration.

"Doing what?" Troy asked innocently and his fingers laced through hers that held a French manicured design at the tips of her nails. His other hand began to adjust the dark violet tie that choked his neck and they took another step forward, towards the thunderous gym.

"Staring." She whispered through her pink painted lips as though the act was sin, yet it was anything but.

Troy sighed before leaning his thin lips against her forehead. He was careful not to damage any part of the black tendrils that were coiled with such perfection and pinned half up so the curls could cascade down her back. Her long bangs covered her brow in a mysterious and appealing way. "I'm sorry… but you just… look so incredible."

And she did. Everything about her was so breathtaking that it was difficult for Troy to remain standing in the shadows of the lockers falling upon them. The plum color of her gown illuminated the olive tan of her skin, a color girls spent countless hours in a tanning solon strived for, yet Gabriella's was purely natural to her Hispanic heritage. How incredibly the dress revealed every curve and flawlessness of her body with the asymmetrical criss-cross pleating billowed into a blossomed skirt that was not obnoxiously huge, but still allowed the princess effect. The incrusted beadwork framed the sweetheart neckline of the silky fabric that curved to a strapless top, pushing her breasts up and protruding the prefect about of cleavage to Troy's desires.

While gazing upon her, Troy felt weak and unworthy. Her elongated eyelashes fluttered under the perfectly painted eyeliner she applied to cause her toffee eyes to pop with magnificence. The shadowy effect on her lids shimmed as they continued to step forward. "Thank you."

The blonde standing a couple in front of them in the line that would lead them to the inevitable grand march ripped her head around. Hairspray coated the bright bun so sudden movements would not ruin her extravagant up-do. "Seriously Bolton, even I can feel you having eye sex with her… stop playing stalker." Sharpay scolded before smoothing out the magenta silk that hugged the stick like frame before it fell to the floor, decorated brightly with rhinestones.

"Look at her dress… I bet the spoiled bitch paid a thousand dollars for it." Another senior female mocked as a cluster strutted by the couple in line, glaring enviously at the junior who turned her sad eyes to her date.

"They're never gonna leave me alone are they?" Gabriella asked, even if there was no reason to. Both knew the answer was no.

The past week had been scrambling around for plans and times after the brief notice he had given Gabriella about their events that Saturday evening. Luckily, Taylor and Sharpay aided Gabriella in finding a dress the previous week after Troy's short announced invitation. Thankfully, they discovered a clearance gown from the last year's collection at a tiny boutique that also happened to be the stunning dress she was squeezed into. Troy had managed to rent the jacket and pants of a black tuxedo, along with the third piece vest that matched identically to the color Gabriella was draped in. Sharpay, although she screamed at him for his delay, allowed them to join the group that would take the limo down to the Marriott.

The first hour and a half had been a complete rush and Troy could barely grasp on what was occurring. He and his mother had arrived at the Evan's mansion, and the REAL Evans estate, where he found seven other couples gathered. Jack had ventured with Aaron and Amanda to take pictures of the oldest, however Troy was not offended. Jose had the same thoughts in mind, following Adrienne and Justin while Maria and Anna attended the Evans photo shoot. The mothers awkwardly greeted each other and rarely spoke, but Troy wasn't expecting a reunion. But Anna had rushed to him, and he enveloped her into a brotherly hug to prove that she considered him family.

"Don't worry about it Gabs." Taylor, who was dazzling in a royal form fitting design with a mermaid style train, smiled brightly at her as Chad curled his arm around the valedictorian's waist. His blinding white suit lit the black walls as they took a step towards the doors.

"I swear… if one of them trips me on stage, there will be hell to pay…" Gabriella hissed grudgingly before she smoothed out the elegant surface of her stomach with her tiny hand. Her curiosity rose as she turned in his direction, the double doors of the basketball court dawning nearer with every second that ticked away. "You have the card right?"

Troy released her palm and slipped the rose colored paper out of his pocket, careful not to crunch the creamy boutonnière placed above his heart. He threaded the scribbles of their names through his digits and smirked at her. "Relax Gab… it's just grand march." He lazily referenced when each prom attendee and their dates would walk onto a decorated stage to be announced, then the prom court would take the spotlight and it would be revealed who were the king and queen for the year.

They stepped through the scarlet doors and he was bombarded with blazing camera flashes from the audience to his immediate right seated excitedly in the wooden bleachers. He was too far back to view where his parents were stationed, but it didn't matter, for his stare once again locked on the girl of his dreams. He watched as her eyes glimmered with delight when they landed on the giant arch that was wrapped with white Christmas lights and artificial leaves. It was presented in a scene that imitated a lush garden, much like one the biology club grew on the rooftop with arrangements of warm hued flowers and petals threaded through the vines.

"Veronica Williams, escorted by Greg Zimmerman."

Photos were taken as a senior couple walked onto the stage. Troy noted how Madame James was collecting the cards and reading the names off as each walked up the risers to be judged by the spectators. "Nervous?" Gabriella asked and smiled up at him.

"A little," Troy admitted, squeezing her manicured fingers. "You?"

"Extremely," Gabriella confessed and fearfully turned her head to see the onlookers as they approached closer to the stage. Troy couldn't help his grin at the slight terror of her stare. "Half of the people here want to rip my throat out… and I'm about to stand up in front of all of them."

Troy lifted the hand that held the violet corsage and pressed it gingerly to his chest. "Hey… I'm right here, alright?"

She dropped her gaze to where her silver shoes were strapped to her slim feet and visible as she held the puff of her dress so it wouldn't drag. "That will always be enough."

He grasped her hand once again just as Zeke and Sharpay stepped onto the first stair, and Troy suddenly felt nerves in his stomach. The Barbie flashed him a mocking smile before she looped her arm through Zeke's. "See you when I'm queen."

"Sharpay Evans, escorted by Zeke Baylor."

They rose and entered the spotlight, Sharpay's years of glamour and glitz paying off in the brief moment she held the stage. Gabriella's hand trembled in his, so he replaced the laced fingers with sliding his warm arm into hers. Her head was bowed, and Troy watched as her rounded chest heaved with anticipation and anxiety. He himself could feel his knees buckling at the thought of the display, but he sucked in whatever doubt he had and handed Madame James the slim card, a small smile playing on her lips as stared at the two. "Bonne chance." She whispered "good luck" in French in reference to the crowning of the king and queen.

A twinkle sparkled in Troy's cobalt eyes as he nodded. "Merci." Both he and Gabriella thanked simultaneously, beaming at each other before he placed a foot onto the sturdy metal of the stage… together.

"Gabriella Montez, escorted by Troy Bolton."

There was a brief moment of silence when Troy finally discovered that he had knees once again and began to march his way up the steps, Gabriella in sync with his footing. She stared at the rhinestones on her heels, the sound of their hearts beating concurringly as they marched across the stage with both grace and dignity.

And then the audience screamed their judgment.

The couple held the loudest reaction by the crowd, whether it was positive of negative feedback. She held up the stunning gown as they walked across the decorated platform, until they managed to find the middle beneath the arch and Troy finally stared into the blazing abyss. It was impossible to note where anyone was standing in the shower of lights that flashed before them. So instead of pinpointing individuals, Troy beamed his legendary smile and heard the distant sound of Gabriella's giggle through the livid mockeries and the triumphant chants. He couldn't deny the awkward curl running through his stomach, and how bizarre it felt to be put on display to nameless faces he could not recognize from where he was posing.

"Taylor McKessie, escorted by Chad Danforth."

The shrieks decreased as Troy and Gabriella vacated the spotlight, trailing through the scattered petals across the boards as they were replaced by their best friends. Still… booing was echoed through the place that forever had been Troy's sanction, but not quite as intense when the power couple stood upon the stage. Gabriella's dark eyes flickered to his indifferently. "I never thought I'd hear you get booed on a basketball court."

Troy chuckled as they descended down the steps and he held her hand graciously to assist her in the silver straps. "Totally worth it."

"Montez, Bolton!" Another teacher hissed and immediately ushered them where the rest of the prom court was huddled in the shadows of the arch. The jitters had once again returned as he stared among his fellow candidates. They had practiced Friday afternoon and it was directed that each would be walking according to alphabet. Troy was paired with a pretty blonde named Emma Anderson. Nine of the ten voted had been aware of the secret that Troy and Gabriella held for two years, all but a cheerleader named Amber who glared ruthlessly at the couple holding hands as Chad approached the group as well.

As the grand march came to its ending, Troy felt his nerves dance the jitterbug in his stomach. Not for himself, he could have cared less if he won prom king or not. Instead, he desperately wanted his love to win queen. She earned it, she had ALWAYS been royalty in his eyes, and it was finally time that the world should accept it. He felt a squeeze of fingers to bring him out of his stare, glancing down to see the soft shine of Gabriella's peachy lipstick. His head cranked around to watch the final couple gravitate towards the floor and he realized it was time.

"Alright… Bolton and Anderson… here!" The demanding librarian pursed her thin lips in announcement as she herded the students into some sort of organization in the blackness of the gymnasium. "Then Cross and Evans… oh Evans, pull up your dress, this isn't a Victoria's Secret shoot… Danforth and Montez behind them… Ferman and… Schmitt! There you are Janelle stand next to Jordan…and finally… Ben Wood and Corrine Young… Is everyone ready?"

Troy sucked in a hot breath and readjusted his white collar beneath the jacket of his tuxedo and led Emma's turquoise dress up the steps once again to be placed onto a judgmental display. His heart hammered against his plum vest and used every drop of energy not to glance behind him to watch Gabriella float into the bright lights once again. In the far distance, Madame James announced the arrival of the prom court just as Troy reached where Justin and Adrienne stood, holding a silver tiara and a matching crown. A small smile of acknowledgement grazed Troy's lips as he absorbed the emerald, slim-fitting garment Adrienne was dressed in. The oldest Montez looked past the basketball captain and her eyes illuminated when they landed on her younger sister.

He turned once again to face the audience who were clapping and cheering politely. The tension threaded through the nets of the basketball hoops as Troy once again attempted to pinpoint where his parents were seated. The whirl of emotions rushing through him could not allow his head to stare in one spot at a time. He darted his eyes around the dimmed atmosphere, the juniors and seniors all staring at him along with the family members on the bleachers. An introduction was commenced in a far away land, but Troy was deaf to all when his cyan orbs landed on the radiance of his love. Entwined with Chad's arm, Gabriella narrowed her brow at him with a loving grin painted over her mouth. Troy couldn't control himself as he beamed back, anxiously awaiting the final results.

"And if the crowns could be placed on the new king and queen…"

Please be Gabriella. Please be Gabriella.

The entire gymnasium held its breath at the exact moment that Troy snapped his eyes shut. Silence cast over the occupants, so still that Troy could hear the creek of footsteps behind him on the platform. Before he realized what was happening, an object closed upon his chestnut shag and his lids were ripped open with shock…

No way.

The entire gym screamed once again with triumphant calls and disappointed boos. Yet, the thunder of the shrieks were no match compared to the intensity of the stare that was held when Troy whipped his head around to see which female was crowned. Suddenly, all noises were stripped from his ears and his eyes tunneled into a vision that could only view the mocha orbs that now had tears of joy trailing down her olive cheeks. Flashes of lights blinded him from the rest of the world as he took a step forward, crumbling the hatred that had surfaced through the families and school for so long.

Despite the raging war, East High had brought Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez together in the end.

Time stood still; however, the rush of events sped by as Troy remembered how to breathe once again. The camera's shimmying lights as the two lovers approached each other were nothing in contrast to the snapshot taken in Troy's heart the moment he gripped her tiny hand. Forever this moment would be cast down in history that East High had finally accepted the two as one. A Montez and a Bolton, together. The second, the happiness he felt was not about Troy winning a popularity contest as prom king. It was about overcoming the discrimination that plagued them for years.

Unable to harness his ecstasy, Troy gripped her slim waist tightly and slammed his lips against her forehead, feeling a surge of love race through his veins and exploded in his heart. The jeers from the seniors and the cheers of the juniors were lost in the bliss that the two held as they gave into each other's eyes with love. Nothing else mattered besides where his arms enclosed. It was only Gabriella, forever the only person on the planet who mattered.


Anna weaved through the masses of dance goers until she finally reached the destination of her glowing sister in front of the elegantly decorated stage. Her thin arms flew around the prom queen's slim shoulders and she excitedly bounced around with happiness. Gabriella giggled her famous laugh, squeezing her little sister tightly to the puff of her purple dress. "Thanks An."

"What? I don't get a hug of congrats?" A deeper voice sounded and another beam crossed the freshman's lips. In the dark shadows of the gym, she caught sight of the basketball captain wiggling his chestnut brows mockingly before holding out his tuxedo clad arms. Gabriella released her sister and Anna immediately pelted towards her long thought enemy. Troy chuckled just before she fell into his warm embrace, squeezing his thin torso tightly with admiration. Above her, Anna felt his head shift towards Gabriella's grinning frame. "I got a better hug than you did."

Beneath her smoky painted make up, Gabriella rolled her brown eyes and smacked his bicep when he surrendered his grip. "Shut up."

"I knew you guys would win!" Anna exclaimed as she threw her hands into the air clumsily, smacking a parent in the face as they exited the wooden bleachers, earning herself a murderous glare. "Oh! I'm sorry sir!"

She knew that Troy and Gabriella had to part to reach their limo with the rest of the group, but Anna wasn't going to allow them to leave without congratulations first. They stole a secret glance from each other, one that Anna would never understand but only hoped to find someday, whether it was with Luke or another boy. It was a look that could not be substituted for anything other emotion. It was a gaze of love, of finally being able to stand side by side together without fear of exposure.

"Congratulations sweetheart!" Another voice filled her ears as Anna cranked around to see her mother and father moving towards the tiny group, her mother's arms stretched out as they enclosed around Gabriella. Jose was smirking with pride careful not to glance at Troy, holding a camera that probably contained a thousand pictures of the beauty before her. "Oh gosh… you looked stunning."

"Thanks Mom." Gabriella blushed behind her already rosy cheeks.

Maria then shifted her eyes to the super star with his hands in his pockets. She didn't smile, nor did she show happiness towards the king, but merely nodded in acknowledgement. "Congrats Troy."

It seemed to be enough, for Troy's bright eyes illuminated with delight below the stage. "Thanks Mrs. Montez!"

"There's my king!" Another female sounded and before Anna realized what was happening, Troy was smothered in a tight embrace from a woman with chestnut hair that matched his wearing a red sweater. It took a brief moment before Anna remembered her from pictures at Sharpay's and placed her with the title of his mother. "Your father and I are so proud of you!"

"Congrats, son." Jack Bolton immerged from the wave of people and clapped Troy's shoulder. His smile beamed across his face when he viewed his father.

"Oh… Gabriella you looked incredible up there." Lucille praised when she finally allowed Troy to breathe once again.

Gabriella cast the same look that Troy did a moment ago as she stared at his mother. "Thanks Mrs. Bolton!" Troy grinned happily at the acceptance before a sudden tension crashed upon the group when Jack and Jose made eye contact.

Anna was certain this was the first encounter of the two enemies since the leak of the secret. No one moved, no one spoke incase it would awaken the slumbering within the dormant chests of the fathers. The basketball court seemed all too small to contain the rivals, the blue and the dark brown sending daggers in each other's direction. The air was thick while circles of students and parents weaved through the battle between glares. Hearts pounded in anticipation of what would come, what would be said in the dense atmosphere. Anna could almost hear her older sister make a silent prayer.

Finally, Jose's black eyes shifted to the youngest Bolton, hatred pouring into him yet he remained calm. "You take care of her… got it Bolton?"

Troy shivered, but refused to show weakness as he nodded curtly. "You can trust me, Mr. Montez."

Nothing was said, but Jose mimicked his actions before turning to Anna and dropped the hardened face he sported a moment ago. "Come on An… let's let Gabriella have some fun."

With one final glare at Jack, Jose spun around; wrapping an arm around his wife and Anna scurried to follow. Yet, she glanced back once more, to see the two beaming lovers waving at her excitedly. Anna returned the departing, but not before a humorous grin whipped over her lips. "Don't have too much fun! I don't want to be an Aunt yet!"

Leaving with that, Anna scampered away from the horrified looks of the couple who she knew would belong forever with each other.

"Zeke… next year, we've decided that you're going to be the cook," Kelsi's eyes shined brightly beneath in the yellow lighting as she stabbed the puff of cheese cake on her tiny plate before slipping it through her nude lips in the peach colored dress across the table from the prom queen.

Gabriella giggled before placing down the silver fork and felt a brush of three fingers on the skirt of her garment. She could feel electric shocks rush through her leg even if the hand was guarded by the enormous hoop that billowed to the floor in the black chair that matched perfectly with the creamy color of the rounded table cloth. Placed in the center of the five couples was a crystal vase with the ruby flowers as a centerpiece. The ceiling towered above them with translucent drapery of a gold shimmer. The tables were pushed to the back of the room on the hardwood flooring which led a pathway to the front of the room with a DJ whom was vigorously working to set up his speakers. Trees were planted every so often on the side of the room, draped in bright lights. The paint of sunset spilled through the windows that covered the tanned walls on the right hand side, a mahogany door led to a balcony that wrapped around to the back of the room as well.

Eyes were narrowed on the middle table with judging daggers, but Gabriella found that ignoring them was the best option and the least stressful. Ever since they arrived at the Marriott an hour previously to be seated for dinner, hateful words and comments jeered from all directions of the still grudge holding seniors that carried throughout the dinner that was served. She didn't mind, however, because no matter what they said, she had Troy Bolton. It had been a shock when she was crowned prom queen with Troy as her king, but it truly proved how love conquered all.

Sharpay glared aggressively at the Hispanic beauty and swirled the water in her glass around, probably praying it was something much stronger. "This prom sucks."

Troy rolled his eyes obnoxiously, placing his elbows on the table since he had removed the jacket of the dashing tuxedo. It took all of Gabriella's will power not to drool at the sight of his white button up and purple vest. "Shar… I swear to God… cry about it. I don't want to hear about you not being queen."

Her brown eyes lifted and Gabriella swore that she was going to stab him with the fork she was scratching against the decorated place. "Eat shit Bolton."

"Don't talk to my brother that way."

By a reflexive reaction, Gabriella jolted in her seat as she heard the sound of the oldest Bolton behind her. Slowly, her coiled curls fell onto her back when she dared to glance behind her to see Aaron had his hands placed on the back of Troy's seat. Amanda was grinning behind him, her freckled dotted skin dressed in a turquoise gown, radiating beauty as she waved politely at the prom queen. Gabriella returned the action; her French style nails glimmering in the dimmed light. "Oh fuck off… don't you have seniors to annoy?" Sharpay hissed before she leaned back and crossed her thin arms in a pout.

"I do… but I wanted to congratulate my little bro!" Aaron ruffled Troy's chestnut shag before the youngest slapped his hand away with rage.

"Dude…don't touch me!" he chuckled, but Gabriella knew Troy was more than ecstatic they had returned to speaking terms once again. He sent a loving glance in Gabriella's direction, before he raised his brunette eyebrows. "And I'm not the only one who won."

Aaron scrunched his nose as though he had smelt something foul. His head turned in her direction and she met his pale eyes, the awkwardness of the situation heightening. "Erm… congrats I guess…"

She smiled kindly. "Thanks Aaron." It was the best compliment that she was going to receive from him.

He turned back to his brother, adjusting the teal tie around his neck. "Steve thinks you'll trip and Montez will be on her own for the first dance." He referenced the fact that his best friend had made up after the argument in Panera, though Troy had informed her that they still had a wedge between them.

Troy grabbed her hand beneath the table, allowing his thumb to caress the supple skin. "I'm not gonna trip…"

Aaron ran a hand through his spiked bangs before he smirked mockingly at his younger brother. "It looks like you're about to find out," Gabriella shot her dolled head up to watch Madame James weaving through the masses of tables. The volume in the hall turned to gentle mumbles instead of obnoxious clattering when she stopped before their group. "Don't trip." Aaron chuckled before he slipped away, slinging an arm around Amanda and returned to his own group of seniors.

"Whenever you two are ready, we'd like to start the dancing…" She murmured just as Gabriella's stomach began to squirm with more than just the lasagna she indulged in. Her eyes were cast on the lace of their hands before Troy leaned forward and brushed her perfectly shaped bangs, careful not to ruin her appearance. Madame James slipped away, and Gabriella was unaware of the way the rest of the table stared at her. The sound of the DJ greeting East High was unheard when she became lost in the cyan sky of Troy's irises. Her gloss lips parted in affection when he released her hand and gave her a comforting grin.

"Come on…" He whispered before he rose to a stance shrugging his jacket back on, the room silencing in his action. Gabriella breathed deeply before she stood as well, carefully slipping her silver straps beneath the table and pressed her barefoot against the warm surface of the hardwood. She bowed her tumbling locks, cautious not to allow the sparkling tiara to crash to the floor while tentatively holding her plum dress to be certain it would not drag.

The school followed their lead, immediately rushing towards the separation of the tables and dance floor as the two stepped in front of the sound box. The brightness of the room softened, only the tree lights, the sunset shining through the bay windows, and the illumination from the DJ provided the glow. The students crowded around the dance floor, a circle of an audience to see what would occur. The spotlight gave Gabriella shivers, until she finally turned and was once again blind to the rest of the world. Troy gave the smile that was only saved for her as she anticipated the voted prom song of "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain to enter the air, but another was played instead…

"It was requested that the first song would be changed for certain reasons," the DJ informed while Gabriella's eyes widened and met Troy's, suddenly recognizing the guitar twang in the first beats. "So give it up for your 2009 prom king and queen, Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez!" He exclaimed before the sound of "Love Story" by Taylor Swift filled the cracks of the room.

Gabriella's lip caught between her teeth as Troy took a step back, his bronze skin radiating like some sort of angel with a beam of adoration across his face. He threw his arm out to her, palm facing upwards as his eyes glittered with the silent words, "Take my hand."

She tilted her head to the side, a closed smile on her cheeks filled with love as she placed her decorated fingers into his. Troy carefully pulled her to him, tenderly allowing her to spin under his strong arm. Gabriella then trailed her fingers up his shoulder, letting the violet flowers on her corsage to brush his neck. His hypnotic hand closed around her hip, his other clasping onto hers as they began to sway to the music. Because of the beat, their feet tangoed together in swift movements, but enough to prove the ginger touches and sweet glances.

They twirled around the dance floor, lost in each other's bliss and happiness. Neither cared if mockery was rippling through the watchers, or if their friends were clapping joyfully. They didn't even notice when the song ended and the rest of the prom goers entered their bubble. The only thing that meant anything in the world was the final kiss that met once the last cord was strung, a kiss that would forever keep them in the state of perfection they were in.

It had been a surprise when the DJ switched the prom themed song and played one much more fitting to the king and queen instead. No one knew who had requested the switch, rumors were traveling that it was a teacher who had stayed back and watched the entire time. The first song had belonged to Troy and Gabriella, but then the original playlist commenced and the rest of the school joined in when Edwin McCain's voice fell through the speakers. The slow dance began with a cheery, innocent mood for the rest of the night…

Until hormones began to fly.

The burn within Troy's manhood was unbelievably unbearable. Every inch of his body was thrown into a pleasurable fire as he ground the swell of her butt deeper into his throbbing groin. Music pumped through his shiny dress shoes, and his roaming hands decided that they needed to brush every cell over the seductress. Her back arched in an erotic way that grazed over his pounding chest as the multihued lights shimmied over their bouncing bodies. His lips danced across the surface of her bare shoulder, yet did not give her the satisfaction of kissing the supple skin. Hungry teenagers collided in the club like atmosphere, but Troy was numb to every other sensation than the waves of heat rippling from his erection to his heart at lightning speeds.

"Fuck baby…" He whispered huskily before feeling a trickle of sweat swim down the back of his neck. Time had been lost to the lovers so long ago within the mesh of students grinding to the rhythm of rap music blaring through the speakers. The earth seemed to rumble in their wake when his warm palms closed over hers, pure ecstasy racing through them and sent him to cloud nine.

A fog of the universe covered them as they continued to imitate their deepest desires, only clothed. Gabriella's minx like manor was driving Troy to pure torture, and he was certain he was not going to be able to last long without her tongue inside his mouth. "You're eager…" The siren's call made Troy groan and almost drop to his knees in begs of stimulation.

"God yeah…" He growled before finally succumbing. His lips fell to the curvature of her neck, suckling the baby soft skin and listened to the enticing moan that rippled from Gabriella's throat. Their hips moved as one to the thudding base, and the basketball captain was falling into the bewitching pattern of his lover's beat.

The euphoria ended too quickly, for Gabriella finally pulled away from him with a devious look in her eyes. The ghost of her ass cast over his scorching groin, the only care in his world was why the hell she had wiggled from his grasp. He flicked away the chestnut bangs that fell over his cyan eyes. The pale glisten of her lips pursed in that inviting way she held and Gabriella took advantage to step towards him, screaming over the glass-rattling music. "I need some air."

Troy groaned in frustration, his dick currently controlling his mind set and all of his thoughts involved her soaking folds and perked breasts. Both Chad and Taylor beside them, who were giving Dirty Dancing a run for its money, glanced warily at Gabriella's swaying hips, taunting Troy with every thrust. "Uh… where are you going?" Taylor questioned as Gabriella continued to coax him backwards.

"To get air… don't wait up for us." She responded, never missing a beat before the goddess flipped her body around and nimbly twisted through the heated crowd. Troy had no choice but to follow the magnet inside him as he chased after the plum glow of her dress. Shoulders shoved against him, whether it was intentional or accidental, but he never once flickered his gaze from the bouncing curls when she broke through the wall of lustful upperclassmen.

A giggle sung through the noisy air when Troy caught her slender waist with his forearm and pressed his nose against her blushed cheek. The blackness surrounding them kept the heightened sexuality in place, streams of blue glowing off her with each light that passed them. "Okay… you breathed… can we please go back to dry humping each other now?"

Gabriella twirled in his arms, the coffee eyes darkened with lust as she pressed her thigh against his growing erection once again. Troy trembled at the hypnotic sensation, certain that his entire world would shatter if the pulsation was not attended to shortly. Her glosses lips grazed his earlobe erotically as she rolled onto her tiptoes. "Why dry hump when I'm offering the real thing…"

It took all of Troy's willpower not to ejaculate at the words.

He gulped; his mouth suddenly the deserts of New Mexico and licked his lips at the fantasies that rushed through his brain. "Did you… get a room?"

Gabriella shook her cascading locks, yet still remained in the position that pushed herself against his most private region. "Something better… trust me?"

Troy nodded before he kissed her rosy cheek. "Always."

She grabbed his hand and led him towards the dinner table once again, where all of their belongings sat awaiting their arrival. Gabriella snatched her purse and shoes at the same moment that Troy's trembling hand searched for his jacket and crown. Whatever Gabriella had in mind was causing his entire frame to tremble with anticipation. Troy gripped the black jacket of his tuxedo he had discarded previously and whirled around to be slammed with the exotic sight of her rounded breasts heaving with desire. An evil smirk crossed her divine face as she spun in the direction towards the dance floor once again. "Follow me…"

Troy followed his orders and they marched in the flashing lights towards another circular table. He narrowed his dark eyebrows as Gabriella reached inside a golden purse, a cruel gleam in her irises and pulled out four long wrappers. It took a moment to process that the thin objects were tampons. "Oh damn… what will Crystal do without tampons on prom night?"

His eyes widened in both astonishment and humor. "How'd you know she had her…?"

A scheming twinkle cast in the darkness. "It's a girl thing," she commented before scampering towards the garbage cans and chucking the feminine products into the trash. What Gabriella just did was completely evil, but then again so was what Crystal had done all along. Troy began to wiggle his feet impatiently when she returned, her stunning garment swishing with every stride. The giggles suddenly disappeared and she contained a thoughtful gaze. "There's one more thing I have to do." She promised while closing her hand around his exposed forearm, a rage of lust streaming through his veins.

Gabriella's smoky lids fluttered shut as she sucked in a deep breath of air. Confusion swept over him as she strode around the table and stopped before a silver purse, one that Troy remembered was her sister's. Slowly, she lifted her petite hands and gripped the edges of the twinkling crown, her olive skin glistening radiance even as she removed the tiara. The art of her hair was not damaged when she surveyed the headdress, admiring its beauty before placing the symbol of conformity onto Adrienne's clutch. Troy smiled lovingly at her when her gaze rested upon him, content with the sacrifice.

She approached him and pecked his lips gingerly, love bursting between them when he enclosed his strong arms around her slim waist for a hug he wouldn't have traded for anything. After Troy dropped his own crown at his brother's table, their hands laced and the two lovers scampered towards the doors. No one noticed the giggling couple when they exited the black hall. The students of East High were completely lost in themselves to realize that their king and queen jumped into a sleek limo, and sped off to celebrate their love in the one place that would forever be their sanction.

The white house at 1228 Angel Drive had held secrets since the forbidden couple first stepped through the snow colored threshold. But far more important than the lies that had been told to protect the refuge; the nicknamed "Heaven" contained something much more valuable. Grazing each of the granite countertops floated trust, that even apart the star crossed remained loyal to the other. Twirling through the delicate drapes held the fragility of the relationship, and how easily it could have been shattered if exposed at the wrong time. Between the sheets of the decorated bed exploded with intimacy, for move love was made then stars in the midnight sky. To some, gazing upon 1228 they would see just a simple house, but they were naïve to the passion that brewed beneath the painted walls.

Sharpay Evans had introduced the house to the forbidden the summer of their sophomore year and generously offered the home to their secret. Since then, the house had been so sacred. They lost their virginity together beneath the roof of Heaven on a fateful Forth of July. It was in the very bedroom that they had parted for thirteen days in order to strengthen themselves, and when the time came, they reunited on the floorboards. The kitchen had been the setting for when the deathly truth was revealed to the Montez and Bolton family. Every important event had occurred beside the lake in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

It seemed fitting to spend one more night beneath the shelter of their home.

Until her dying day, Gabriella would never forget the loving sensations that rippled down her body that night when they joined together as one. The probing kisses, the tender caresses, and the strength of Troy's grasp were so intoxicatingly perfect that Gabriella would always remember the feel of prom night. Hours passed of rolling in unity, moans and grunts of lust filled through the house and rattled the glass windows. Even after weeks of abandonment, 1228 had remained flawlessly perfect. Maybe a divine figure was watching over the temple.

From the moment that Gabriella stepped inside their home, she had sent him a naughty glance of desire and barriers were shattered. Troy had captured her, and immediately tore up the stairs to where their true bedroom was located. Her stunning gown piled in a heap on the hardwood beside his rented tuxedo. Naked as babies, their friction exploded into the air with every stroke, every kiss, every thrust. There was no dire reason for their frenzy, no cause for the zealous tongues or the whimpering throats. They were not celebrating victory of winning the title of prom king or queen. No thoughts of conquering the school entered their minds when Troy pushed his swollen manhood into her, and induced a cry of desire from her core. Troy had rocked her because he thought she was beautiful. Gabriella panted because her rapid heartbeat would not thump for anyone else. They released together in an earth rumbling orgasm simultaneously because they loved each other. It had always been enough.

Gabriella lied in his contracting arms and felt his hypnotic fingers trail over the curves of her silky hip. Neither could sleep, for neither wanted to miss a moment of the euphoria that had wrapped around their bodies and contained them in a bubble filled with love. Her nails gently traced the outline of his tattoo, the word that had represented their lives so simply, yet so magnificently. She gazed into his oceanic irises, her soul poring into his, knowing that nothing would ever rip them apart.

The calm air circled around them, though their love could not be contained in the christened room. The canopy of the bed draped over their nude frames, closing them together so tightly that it was impossible to determine when he ended and she began. Her passion for the basketball captain bubbled through her flat stomach as she rubbed her ebony locks against the pillow of his bicep, becoming lost in the threads of his chestnut shag.

Their love had once been compared to the most infamous tale in history. While the similarities of Romeo and Juliet were present, it was clearly obvious that the intensity Shakespeare's characters held was nothing compared to the juniors at East High. They were weak and ended in tragedy, yet the other pair soared with triumph until the very end.

The story of Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez could be told a thousand different times, in dozens of tongues and a million different versions. Yet, no soul would ever grasp the passion that ran through their veins, and exploded through their hearts. Their love held more electricity than a dazzling bold of lightning that illuminated a thundering storm. The kisses shared were steamier than dancing barefoot on the beaches of Mexico. She knew he would protect her love like an assassin assigned to defend his heart. For years they despised each other, torn apart by hatred but the flame between them never faded. Never could they just be friends, their fire was too strong for something so simple. Every moment without him was like starving herself of life, even more than if she were to give up the precious need of nourishment.

As Troy enclosed her to his bronze skin, she snuggled deeper into his grasp and stared into the cobalt eyes with her mocha for one last time. No words could describe the moment, and although the narration of their struggle between their families had closed, the tale of their love would never truly end. Periods punctuated, 'The End' was typed, and books were closed. But the tale of Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez would live on…