Disclaimer: I do not own 'High School Musical' or any related characters.

A/N: Well, I haven't written a one-shot in a while and I felt like writing one now. Its AU, I can't actually remember the last time I wrote a story that followed the movies. Anyway, this kind of came about because I'm leaving school soon, so if it doesn't make much sense, bear with it. Its just something that made me think about the 'real world' so to speak. I hope you enjoy it anyway!

Lost and Hopeless

Do you think you can cope?

You figured me out

That I'm lost and I'm hopeless

Mad Season - Matchbox Twenty

Chad Danforth stood on the edge of the dance floor and allowed his gaze to wander around the East High gym. He had to admit that who ever the hell was on the decorating committee for the prom had done one hell of a job. They had managed to transform the gym he'd spent countless hours in, into something that was out of the movies. They'd followed the school theme of red and white and Chad could only guess how long it had taken to get the smell of sweat, blood and tears out of the gym.

It was the perfect setting for the East High prom and Chad had no doubt it was going to be a night to remember. Whether the night to remember began here in the gym full of parents and teachers chaperoning the event or the after party that was going to be held in the empty Evans' mansion, Chad didn't know. What he did know was that this, the prom, was the last of the ultimate high school experiences he'd had to endure through out his four years at East High.

He didn't know whether he was grateful for the end of the experiences or sad because there was never going to be another one.

Raising the cup of watery punch he'd been holding, he took a large gulp, his eyes flicking over the darkened dance floor where, he knew, teachers were attempting to break up any sort of dirty dancing they could. His eyes trained on the dance floor, he didn't see the blonde that was quickly pushing her way through the mass of students towards him.

At least he didn't see her until he caught a good look at the creamy thigh shown by the slit in her hot pink dress.

He nearly choked on his drink when he realized who was standing in front of him.

"Where is he, Chad?" Sharpay Evans demanded warningly, her tiara glinting in the low light of the gym. Chad contemplated for a second giving in to the blonde ice princess's demand and then decided that he might as well enjoy the last of his high school experience torturing her.

"Where's who Sharpay?" He replied, carelessly throwing the empty cup on the table behind him and causing Sharpay's eyes to narrow.

"Where's Troy?" She hissed and Chad raised his eyebrows. "Damn it Danforth, he was meant to be here a good fifteen minutes ago!" Sharpay snapped and Chad raised his arm slowly, deliberately taking longer to examine the watch strapped to his arm than he normally would have.

"Well there you go, he was. Now, Evans, is Troy not allowed to be a little bit late?" Chad asked, folding his arms as Sharpay fought an urge to stomp her foot.

"No! Danforth, this is our senior prom and everyone out there," she gestured towards the dark dance floor, "knows that the senior prom won't be complete without Troy Bolton! Now, where the hell is he?" She demanded and Chad frowned slightly as he realized how true Sharpay's words were.

The level of excitement within the gym had been steadily building, waiting for the final explosion of wistful excitement as they all realized that this was it, Graduation was the formality, but senior prom was when they all really said goodbye to East High. Unfortunately, that pinnacle couldn't be reached, not right now, not until Troy Bolton, appointed King of East High, arrived and announced that it was over, that it was time to let loose and cause hell. Without him, the explosion could never happen and senior prom wouldn't be complete.

"Evans, despite what you may think, I don't keep tabs on Troy. He said he wanted to drive by himself and I let him." Chad replied and Sharpay smacked her forehead in frustration, rolling her eyes at Chad, why he didn't know.

"What if he's with her?" Sharpay hissed at him and Chad frowned. He hadn't thought of that. He hadn't even considered the idea that his best friend would be late to his own prom because of something she'd said to him.

"He wouldn't have. He may be pissed but he wouldn't blow up on her on prom night." Chad replied assuredly and Sharpay rolled her eyes.

"You know, if he –" Chad cut her off with a narrowing of already darkened eyes.

"He was never going to ask you Evans. Your delusions were entertaining to a point and he might have encouraged them, but he was never going to ask you." Chad said sharply, well aware that the weeks leading to the prom had had Sharpay dropping hints left, right and centre about going to prom with Troy. It had been amusing until she had demanded he ask her in front of everyone.

Sharpay huffed, folding her arms before glancing at Chad. "So, where is he?" She asked pointedly and Chad shoved his hands in his pockets, feeling for his phone and shrugging.

He was going to find out.

Troy Bolton was well aware that he was late.

He was also aware, judging by the phone calls that were lighting up his phone every two minutes that everyone else knew he was late and for the life of him, Troy couldn't be bothered to let anyone know where he was. No, that wasn't it, Troy thought, he couldn't let anyone know where he was in case he blew up on the wrong person.

Hearing an ominous rattle, Troy cursed and eased off the accelerator of the beat up old truck he proudly called his own. He'd ignored the fact that it wasn't the car he was meant to turn up to the prom in when he'd jumped into it and now he was really regretting not jumping into his fathers car when he'd had the chance. He doubted his father car would be struggling to make it to where he wanted to go and he highly doubted that his father's car would have any trouble leaving his out of the way destination to reach it to East High's gym just to make an appearance.

But he wasn't going to get worked up about that right now. No, right now all he was focused on was looking for the damn house she lived in.

Some part of him couldn't believe that he was doing this, couldn't believe that he was driving the darkened streets of Albuquerque in a tuxedo on his prom night, looking for the house of the one girl that had been on his mind for days.

The girl that had been on his mind and not in a good way.

Who did she think she was? Troy thought grimly as he navigated an intersection. Who did she think she was to stand there and tell him that what he'd been working towards his entire high school career could be for nothing? Who did she think she was to stand there and quietly remind him of things he'd firmly pushed out of him mind simply because he had a policy of dealing with it as it came?

Who the hell did Gabriella Montez think she was?

Troy gripped the steering wheel tightly, controlling the surge of boiling anger that spurted at her name. He wasn't going to get mad now, not when he was driving and not when he knew he was close to her house.

He tried to imagine what her face was going to look like when she opened the door and saw him standing there. He frowned slightly when he found himself slightly dissatisfied with the image. No, he doubted that she wouldn't go to prom like she'd told him and the image of finding her at prom was so much more satisfying to him.

Yes, she'd probably be standing with one of her friends, Taylor McKessie no doubt; Troy could see it in his mind. She would probably be wearing something simple. He'd observed her enough to know that she wouldn't go all out on prom night, probably leaning towards wearing a blue or another quiet color that would go unnoticed next to anyone wearing something brighter.

He knew that he had enough of a pull for people to follow him when he found her in her quiet corner at prom, so when he yelled at her, people would watch.

Troy felt his lips twist at the image he created. He could imagine her brown eyes looking at him, shocked that he'd listened to what she'd said before the shock turned to stunned humiliation and those ebony eyes filled with tears that he'd could feel happy to watch fall.

Troy chose to ignore the twisting in his stomach as he relished the scene he'd created in his mind. Gabriella Montez wouldn't know what hit her when he stalked over to her at prom. But first, he had to make sure she wasn't telling him the truth when she'd said that she wasn't going to prom.

Troy turned into her street, dimming his headlights as they flashed against a house's windows and searching for her car as he slowed the truck to a crawl.

Her car was parked at the very end of the street, in the driveway of a two storey house that had one lonely light spilling from it. Pulling up next to the curb, Troy set the emergency brake and switched off his truck, ignoring the engine as it groaned to a stop.

His mouth flicked down in irritation as he snatched up his phone and got out of the car, slamming the door and realizing that the lonely light was joined by a multitude of colored reflections that he refused to identify as a television.

Instead, he stalked up the path, telling himself that it was her mother and not Gabriella because he wanted so badly to explode on her at prom. Instead, he stalked up the path that wound its way through a pristine lawn up to the front porch and banged on the door.

He dropped his fist when the door swung open and he came face to face with a startled Gabriella Montez.

Funny, he'd forgotten how small she was compared to him. Troy stared down at the startled girl, who's tumbling ebony curls were loose around her shoulders and who's ebony eyes were quickly darkening in mistrust.

"What are you doing here Troy?" Her voice was quiet and Troy narrowed his eyes, remember the last time she'd spoken to him like that it had felt like she was trying to remind a small child that they're actions had consequences. Or that there was a real world outside of the bubble that they'd been living in for the last four years, Troy thought with a scowl.

"What are you doing here, Gabriella?" Anyone else would have grinned at the shocked question, answering it with a sarcastic tone. Gabriella simply shrugged.

"I told you I wasn't going. Why?" She asked and Troy stared at her.

"You were serious?" He asked, incredulous. When Gabriella simply looked at him, Troy threw up his hands. "You were serious! Jesus Christ, Gabriella, who the fuck cares about the real world when there's the last high school experience ever happening right now?" Her eyes widened at his question and Troy rolled his eyes.

"You can't be serious! You were just hoping I'd go so you could humiliate me!" Gabriella exclaimed and her words reminded Troy of why he'd stalked up to her door and banged on it a moment ago.

For moment, Troy honestly thought that the anger that he'd kept carefully controlled for days had disappeared into the jolt of shock he'd felt when Gabriella had opened the door.

"Damn right!" The words burst from him before Troy could think about his feelings. "Why did you say that to me? Seriously, Gabriella, why did you stand there four days ago and calmly tell me something I already know? Who the hell gave you the right to tell me what was out there?" Troy took a step forward, not wholly surprised when her eyes widened and she instinctively took a step backwards.

"Troy…I – I…why'd you listen to me?" He barely heard the question, as he stared at her paling face.

"Why? Why? Because you were the only one who bothered to voice something we're all thinking about!" Troy hadn't realized that what she'd been saying was so simple nor had he realized the words had exploded from his mouth until she was swinging the door shut.

Before the door swung close, Troy's reflexes kicked in and he slapped his hand on the door. Gabriella eye's widened in shock as he pushed the door open again.

"Troy, you can't –" Troy cut her off quickly.

"What can't I do? Scared of being alone with me, Gabriella? You've spent half the school year alone with me and now you're going to protest?" He snapped and Gabriella stepped away from him as Troy stepped towards her again, slipping into the house and shutting the door.

"I – no." Troy raised an eyebrow at her stiff tone and forced himself to not roll his eyes.

He shouldn't have yelled at her, nor brought up the fact that he'd spent the last year spending time with her, hiding out in the rooftop garden that the science club used after school and never during the times they were up there. Sometimes sitting quietly doing homework or idling the time away with small talk that always hid the big things in their life but told the other everything they needed to know about how the other felt.

They had in a little over six months found out everything there was to know about each other under the guise of a simple conversation about birds. He'd learned that she was trapped in a dream of her mothers, that she didn't want to study pre-law at Stanford but wanted to study something she loved, like psychology, that her father had left her when she was so little she couldn't remember him and that it pained her when girls complained about the fathers that were a part of their world.

She'd learned that basketball was his escape. That he wanted to bury himself in classes on archaeology and anthropology not sports science or chemistry. That his father pushed him and his mother fought him every step of the way without either of his parents considering what he wanted. That Chad's narrow-mindedness irritated him and that Sharpay's constant attentions made him uncomfortable.

They'd learned so much it had been inevitable when he'd stopped imagining a day without her and started panicking when he couldn't see her. That he'd stopped seeing her as someone who understood and begun to see her as his closest ally in the bubble, the only person he wanted to leave the school with. The only girl who'd ever made him simply want her for her. He'd been so prepared to tell her too, so prepared to lay it all out there, to leave their bubble for the real world and to see where they went from there.

He'd been going to tell her honestly, with no subtext.

Up until four days ago, when she'd looked at him and said the things which he'd never wanted to hear from someone because he'd already figured them out himself. Then wave after wave of panic had descended and the idea of telling her bluntly and honestly had disappeared into the idea of the real world, the idea of facing the pitfalls without the comfort of his parents or the assurance of a routine that could soothe even the worst mess had scared him so much that hearing her talk about it had frightened him into fury.

"Gabriella, you can't remind people of what we don't want to think about. Have you ever wondered why people cling to high school? Why some of us can't let it go?" Troy asked and Gabriella stared at him.

Troy thought she was going to answer. Instead, she turned on her heel and, after Troy had caught a glimpse of the shock on her face, walked away. For a moment, he thought about turning around and heading back out the door and to prom. Instead, he realized that Gabriella's eyes had widened not because of his words but because she'd never thought of that.

So instead of doing what he knew he should do. Troy followed Gabriella into what he was surprised to find was the kitchen. He found her standing by the bench, pale and holding a glass of water.

"You never thought of that, did you?" He asked curiously, shocked to discover that the girl who wanted to study psychology at college had avoided the most obvious reason for why so many people of high school avoided the truth of leaving until they were physically removed from the school.

Gabriella looked at him and sighed, shaking her head. "No. I did. I just…" Troy watched her as she trailed off, watched her eyes close.

"Just what? Gabriella, you would have had to be blind to not see the way everyone in our year is clinging to the last days! Even me!" Troy exclaimed and watched as Gabriella flared slightly.

"And what? You think that I'm not! God! You didn't get it! You didn't get why I told you!" Gabriella's voice rose and Troy stared at her. There was a subtext? He thought confused, how was there a subtext he hadn't picked up on?

"So, you sprouted all that because what? You wanted me to turn up here tonight to see you?" He asked, intentionally making his voice scathing as he went back over every word she'd said to him four days ago.

He'd heard 'high school doesn't last forever' and had bristled at it. He'd heard 'there's a whole other world out there, where people don't care about you and what you've done here' and had panicked at the words so similar to his own thoughts. The words that had left him feeling a little more lost and a little more hopeless than before.

There had been something else too; she'd said something else to him as panicked anger had welled in his chest four days ago.

Closing his eyes, Troy pulled the memory out of the recesses of his mind. He could see her standing with her back to the chair they sometimes shared her eyes wide and frightened as she spoke. He could even remember the way the white skirt she'd worn had danced around her as it was disturbed by the gentle breeze that had accompanied them on the rooftop.

'Sometimes you leave high school wondering 'what if?' you leave wishing you'd said something to someone and finding out if it was worth it all.'

Her words floated through his mind and Troy heard the way her voice had shaken as she'd spoken. The way her eyes had darkened in hurt as he hadn't understood the subtext to those words.

God damn it, he'd been so focused on the words before that last sentence that he'd missed the hidden meaning she'd thought he would pick up.

He'd spent four days working up his mad so that he could teach her a lesson when she was only trying to tell him she cared.

"Sometimes you leave high school wondering 'what if?' you leave wishing you'd said something to someone and finding out if it was worth it all." Troy repeated the words softly and Gabriella paled at them. "You figured I would get it, didn't you?" He asked his voice hard instead of gentle.

Gabriella flinched at the question before nodding reluctantly and Troy forced himself to not roll his eyes.

"We spent so much time understanding each other that way that if I told you something like that outright, you'd laugh in my face." Gabriella stared down at the glass of water she was holding. "I didn't think you'd get so mad." Troy strained to hear the last words and let out a sound of frustration.

"Damn it, Gabriella, of course I got mad! You can't just sprout out all that shit and then expect me to think about the very last thing you said to me before I left!" Troy stepped over to her and snatched the glass from her hand as Gabriella looked up at him in shock.

"Why not? I didn't know you were panicking!" She shot back and Troy slammed the glass down on the table, tossing his head slightly to get the aggravating fringe he needed to get cut out of his eyes.

"Well you should have figured that out when I told you before how badly Chad was acting seeing as we have so little time left in this bubble of ours." Troy snapped at her, ignoring the urge to be gentle with her and wanting to let out a little more fury at her.

"I did! I did figure it out; I just figured that you would go on being all cool and confident like you always are!" She exclaimed, lashing out and pushing at his chest. Troy barely moved at the bodily shove, instead he caught one of the hands as it retreated and entangled their fingers, squeezing it threateningly as she stared at him in shock.

"I'm human, Brie, not a fucking machine. Of course I'm not going to be cool and confident all the time. Jesus Christ, you saw me before the championship, was I cool and confident then?" Troy asked, feeling his phone vibrate and Gabriella made a sound of surprise at his question.

There was silence for a moment, before Gabriella dropped her eyes from his. "I guess not." She admitted softly.

"So why the hell would you figure I would be confident about the fact that I'm going from kingpin to the bottom of the heap in only a matter of days?" Troy asked, attempting to not sound condescending and succeeding a little better than he would have five minutes ago.

Gabriella's eyes snapped to his own at his question and Troy waited before she tried to yank her hand away. He tightened his grip and once again ignored the vibration against his leg.

"You're not even going to talk about what I said, are you?" She asked quietly. Troy's eyes narrowed slightly at her words. "You just came over to yell at me." Gabriella sighed and Troy rolled his eyes.

"Don't change the subject. But, yeah, I did come over to yell at you. In fact, I was hoping you'd be at prom so I could humiliate you in front of everyone because what you said really pissed me off." Troy admitted and Gabriella's eyes widened. "As for the other thing, why didn't you tell me before four days ago? You have had a whole half a year." Troy pointed out, refusing to say it out loud and curious as to why she had suddenly gained the confidence to tell him something like that.

Gabriella let out a bitter laugh. "Yeah. A half a year. How would you have reacted if the quiet, new girl suddenly told you she didn't want to leave high school because she didn't not want to see you every day? You would have made fun of me Troy; you probably would have laughed and done something condescending like patted me on the head before running off to make out with some blonde and to tell Chad."

Troy stared down at her for a moment. His jaw tight as he comprehended her words and wished that she hadn't thought that of him. He wasn't sure which made him more angry now, the fact that she hadn't trusted him enough to tell him her feelings before four days ago or that she actually believed that he would have run off to Chad condescendingly.

Clearing his throat and making sure there was a leash on his anger, Troy let go of her hand and took a step back. There was nothing romantic about this picture, nothing romantic about the way he was feeling right now and definitely nothing romantic about the fact that they were doing this in a kitchen with him dressed to go to prom and her in her sweats but he figured that maybe she should know.

"I'm not laughing and I'm not running away to make-out with Sharpay and tell Chad." Troy said quietly and Gabriella's eyes whipped to his, tears glittering. "But I will tell you this. Trying to tell me you've got feelings for me after pissing me off is probably the dumbest thing you've done. Not trusting me enough to tell me point blank is the second dumbest thing you've done." Gabriella's eyes darkened even further and Troy gathered that she was offended by what he had said.

"Why the hell would you tell me something like that?" She snapped at him and Troy rolled his eyes.

"Figure it out." He snapped. "Go and get dressed. I'm already late." He slapped out the orders and Gabriella nearly choked on the mouthful of water she'd taken.

"What the hell are you on about?" She repeated and Troy clicked his tongue impatiently.

"I'm on about the fact you're going to get in the damn dress you brought for prom, do whatever with your hair and make-up and then get into my truck and come with me to prom." He shot out and whatever color had come back into Gabriella cheeks as he'd spoken before drained at the unflattering invitation to prom. "I could ask you nicely but I doubt I have it in me." Troy answered any refusal she'd thought of and watched as she huffed, folding her arms across her chest and glaring at him.

Feeling his phone vibrate against his leg again. Troy reached into his pocket and yanked it out. He flipped it open and pressed it to his ear.

"What's up Chad?" He watched Gabriella as her face twisted in disgust at the interruption.

"Dude, where are you?" Deciding that Chad could be irritated with him, Troy sent Gabriella a look that her throwing her arms up in the air.

"I'm currently waiting for my date to get ready. I'll be there as soon as I can, okay?" Troy replied and watched as Gabriella choked before she turned her back to him and stalked out of the kitchen.

"Your date? You didn't tell me you had a fucking date!" Chad exclaimed against his ear and Troy rolled his eyes. Of course he didn't, he also didn't know that he had been pissed off enough to drive to Gabriella Montez's house on prom night to yell at her.

"I'll see you there Chad." Troy snapped his phone back and leaned against the bench beside him.

Gabriella Montez could be as pissed off at him as he'd been at her and she could also read between the damn lines that they'd both become so good at saying. One thing Troy knew for sure, however, was that for the first time he was grateful they were going to be in the same city for the next few years of their life. It meant that they could figure out what the hell they were in the real world and outside the bubble of high school.

So they'd go to the prom, they'd leave the prom and then Troy was going to see if Gabriella Montez could cope with him as he lost himself to the loss of high school and the hopelessness of the real world.

Chad Danforth was fuming as he stared out at the dance floor.

He watched as Troy spun out Gabriella Montez. He watched as her face lit with laughter and the long, slinky red dress she'd bought for prom spun as Troy pulled her back in to him, locking an arm low on her waist while the other buried itself in her hair as Troy dipped her for a long, leisurely kiss that had the staff chaperoning bristling and him wondering what the hell had happened to the two people who had walked in late an hour ago.

When they'd walked in an hour ago, she'd been stiff, holding herself away from him and ignoring the people who whispered about who she'd walked in with. Troy had been walking stiffly, his jaw had been tight and his eyes had darkened to a blue hue that had had people carefully stepped away from him to gossip.

They'd been wearing identical expressions. Both had looked uncomfortable, unhappy and unwilling to be within the vicinity of each other. Which, Chad had privately thought, was the way it should be. There had been a distinct air of aggravation to both of them as well, and Chad had been able to catch a snatch of their conversation as they'd walked over to him.

'Figured it out yet?'

'Why didn't you just leave me at home?'

'Because I care too damn much and you know it!'

Chad had avoided them at that. Sending Troy a message saying it was good to see him at prom finally and that maybe he should have left his date at home.

He'd never thought that the term 'if looks could kill' would ever come into play between them. Apparently, he'd said the wrong thing.

Then Troy had said something to her, leaning down and whispering in her ear. Gabriella had relaxed slightly and Troy had led her out onto the dance floor, swinging her in a wide circle before pulling her close and ignoring everyone around him.

Chad had watched it all with disdain. He'd watched Gabriella relax at his words, watched as the tightness had left Troy's jaw and a gentle grin had pulled at his lips. He'd watched as she'd raised her mouth towards him and Troy had leaned down and kissed her. It had been their first kiss of the night and they had been inseparable ever since.

"What'd you say, Danforth? 'He wouldn't blow up on her on prom night'?" Sharpay's sarcastic question floated through his red haze and Chad turned his head too look at her.

"I can't read his mind Sharpay." He snapped and Sharpay rolled her eyes.

"No, if you could, you would have known Troy's been in love with Gabriella Montez for months apparently and she's been in love with him too." Sharpay examined her nails as she spoke; giving Chad the impression that she wanted him to think she wasn't hurt by his best friend's sudden attraction to a girl neither of them had ever thought he would bother with.

"How do you know that?" Chad turned his eyes back to the dancing couple, watching as Gabriella settled her head on Troy's shoulder and Troy's own came down to rest near her shoulder as they moved slowly together.

"Because I was right near them when he decided to actually tell her. Apparently, he didn't know that's what she meant when she pissed him off a couple of days ago." Sharpay huffed slightly and Chad glanced at her. "Now, they're both planning to go to California and spend the rest of their fairytale lives with each other." Sharpay made a disbelieving noise at her own words.

"I doubt it. Troy's probably just going to see how they work out in the 'real world'." Chad didn't bother taking his gaze off Sharpay even though he knew Troy had pulled away from Gabriella and was leading her across the dance floor towards him.

"You didn't see the way he was looking at her." Sharpay shook her head at his words. "Troy's going to stick with her, even if he only realized he had a thing for her tonight. In the real world or this stupid bubble, Troy and Gabriella will probably stick. You don't look at someone the way he looks at her for it to be blown out of proportion by something as stupid as the 'real world'." Sharpay's eyes flicked over to Troy as he came closer.

Nodding to Chad and flashing a deadly glare at Troy and Gabriella, she slipped away from Chad and onto the dance floor. Chad watched her go before turning to face Troy and Gabriella as they came to a stop in front of him.

"Chad, meet Gabriella. Brie this is Chad." Troy made the introductions brusquely, his arm tight around Gabriella's waist as she nodded shyly at Chad. Chad inclined his head.

"Nice to meet you Chad," Gabriella spoke softly and Chad offered a tight smile as Troy watched his best friend. Then he leaned down and whispered something in Gabriella's ear that Chad didn't quite catch.

He watched as Gabriella eyed him nervously before nodding. Troy pressed a kiss to the side of her head before turning to Chad and folding his arms imposingly. Chad waited patiently until Gabriella was well out of earshot.

"Gabriella Montez, Troy? Seriously, I thought she was just…a thing." Chad couldn't think of a word that would utterly describe Gabriella Montez and Troy rolled his eyes.

"To you, right here, right now, yeah she probably is just a thing." Troy agreed with a tight nod of his head. "To me, she's been the only thing that's kept me sane in this high school bubble. And she's going to be the only one to keep me sane when we leave the high school bubble and head out into the real world." Chad stared at Troy's clipped tone, at the measured words and the meaning behind them.

Troy didn't wait for Chad to think of something. Instead, he nodded once, very briefly, and walked off in the direction Gabriella had gone. Turning his head, Chad watched Troy's profile as he swept through the crowd to the figure by the refreshments table.

He watched his best friend slip his arms around the waist of the petite girl who stiffened slightly before relaxing into him. Then he turned his head away.

Chad could feel the real world edging in on him. He could feel the hopelessness of not knowing what was coming and the uncertainty at what to do and where to go losing itself with the hopelessness.

He could see the needle poised to prick the bubble that he'd spent four years in as Troy turned Gabriella, pressed a kiss to her lips before leading her back out onto the dance floor as the two gave a glimpse of the real world where it didn't matter who Troy was and who Gabriella was because the high school rules, the high school code, the high school everything he was so comfortable with didn't apply out there in the real world.

Instead, he was left feeling lost and hopeless as he watched two people who had figured it out dance and coped with the thought of the real world.

A/N: How was it? I'm not quite sure if I got the emotion or backstory quite right, but I tried. I think it was a bit depressing, especially with the hopelessness of the real world but hey, I was feeling a little bit depressed as I wrote it anyway. Um, so I hope you didn't mind the length I know it was a rather long piece. So I hope you enjoyed, I hope it made sense and I hope the lyrics at the top work.