This is a collection of missing moment vignettes for the movie "High School Musical 2"

As such, please be aware that there are spoilers for the movie if you have not seen it.

Each chapter in this series has previously been posted under its own title. As a way of condensing the number of stories I've written, and to tidy up my profile, they've now been grouped together in their own thread.

Each story will be listed under its name for title of the chapter and followed by another chapter with the previous reviews, out of respect for the people who left them, so they're not lost now that the individual stories are deleted.

The reviews have been left in their original state without editing on my part. All comments, spelling, grammar and what-not are the responsibility of the individual who had posted the review. My apologies to those of you who had marked any of these stories individually as "Favorites", but there was no other way to organize without deleting the original stories.

I appreciate you all taking the time to read my musings.

Thank you for reading!


Disclaimer: High School Musical 2 is property of Disney and I make no money off of this; I'm simply destroying the sandcastles - or adding to them.

Title: Ending of a Fairytale

Author: Jade_Max

Summary: Gabriella reflects on how Troy is slipping away from her.

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Ending of a Fairytale

As the vehicle carrying Troy pulled away, Gabriella looked back over her shoulder, silently wondering if that wasn't symbolic of everything that had been happening.

Just yesterday her sweet, adorable boyfriend had been coaxing her into the pool for an illicit swim, daring the wrath of the Country Club's manager to enjoy a private moment. He'd been late, sure, but she'd just been happy to have some time with him. Now she wasn't so certain she should have been so lenient - as Taylor said she had been - with Troy's tardiness.

Sliding her hands into the pockets of her shorts, she headed back inside, following the disillusioned Wildcats as they went looking for a fourth for their two on two game. Troy wouldn't be back that night; she didn't know how she knew it, but she was sure of it. Something would happen to keep him at the gym, and while she didn't begrudge him the opportunities which seemed to be falling into his lap, she did object to the sudden change.

Troy was no longer the same young man she'd met months earlier. He wasn't the same guy she'd sung with during the Winter Musical - the one who'd had to coax her to sing in the audition and helped her over her fear of singing in front of a crowd. The concern for others was still there, except he was suddenly starting to let his concern for his future - his personal future - override everything he had been. The Troy she'd known was disappearing, sliding into obscurity without so much as a whisper of protest.

It wouldn't have hurt so much if it had been an unwilling change.

The worst part of it all, was that the Troy who was both her friend and boyfriend would have agreed with her opinion had he been able to step away from the situation. He'd have clearly been able to see that what he was going for and the path he was taking might have been lined with gold - but underneath the foundation was eroding with every step. His relationships were slowly deteriorating, fraying at the edges from his actions; actions she had yet to see him show any kind of remorse or acknowledgement of.

Heading back into the kitchen, she considered her options as Chad, Zeke and Jason continued to search for someone to join their two on two game and fill Troy's spot.

Taylor was supposed to give her a lift to the baseball diamond, but hadn't yet finished her duties. As the designated member activities organizer, her shift ended a little later than the others, giving Gabriella a chance to reflect on what had just happened and had been happening since Troy's promotion. No, that wasn't right. Since they'd gotten their jobs at Lava Springs.

Initially things had seemed to be business as normal - Troy had rallied the Wildcats behind him and convinced them that working for Fulton wouldn't be the nightmare they anticipated. It had been just like school, with Troy leading the way and the Wildcats following his natural charisma to pull together. And while they didn't have classes to attend, Troy had a way of making things seem like a fun challenge instead of work.

That fun was what had driven them in the beginning, bonding them together in a fashion she hadn't thought anything would be able to dissolve. A week and a half of harmony had resulted, with a pattern emerging for the team as they'd found their niches at the club and where they'd fit in. Troy had been the same attentive, caring and solicitous boyfriend she'd come to rely on through the school year.

And then Troy and Chad had been asked to caddy for Sharpay's family.

Whatever had happened on the course - and neither of them had said - had been the start of Troy's defection. It had started that night when he'd been late for their date by over an hour, and even thought he'd apologized profusely, it obviously hadn't stopped there.

Today it had been his promotion to assistant golf pro and the uncharacteristic discussion Taylor had overhead Troy having with Sharpay about his new shoes. In addition, Chad's observation about Troy being a stranger due to how he'd treated them while bringing lunch - and missing their lunch date he'd made just that morning to top it off. Those small changes had culminated into his appearance at the hoop and blowing off his friends for the chance to play with the Redhawks.

Over the course of two days, he'd gone from the Troy she could count on and trusted to a stranger she didn't recognize - and she missed him.

She missed his innocent smile tied with the boyish charm that had endeared her towards him in the beginning. He'd been a surprising mix of confidence and uncertainty and it had continued on through their relationship - until now.

Now... suddenly Troy was asserting himself in a way none of them had seen before. He was selfishly accepting the perks that were falling into his lap without a second thought as to what they could eventually cost him.

The way things were going, she was worried.

Worried about the direction Troy was going, taking a path none of them could follow - or wanted to. He was unintentionally moving away from them and didn't seem to see it. The circle that had embraced him at the club was one of high society and privilege, a group of people who judged someone based on money instead of merit. And while Troy was a novelty, a momentary distraction, he didn't seem to understand that there was no way it could last.

Not that there was anything wrong with him accepting the attention - except that he wasn't acting like Troy anymore. At least, not the Troy that had led the Wildcats to victory in the Championship game, or the Troy who'd schemed and plotted to ensure they had a fair chance at the Winter Musicale's lead roles. No, this Troy didn't seem to believe in "all for one" anymore - it was every man for himself.

And she didn't know where she fit in anymore. Technically she and Troy were still together, but they hadn't done anything, even remotely, as a couple since they'd been caught in the pool the other night. She wasn't a clingy girlfriend, nor was she a jealous one - but she wasn't just Troy's girlfriend either; she was his friend first.

It was only one of the reasons why she'd felt obligated to point out how she was seeing him change and the way everyone would see it. It was a lightning quick transformation that was impossible to miss.

Pushing aside her feelings, Gabriella headed for the staff locker room to change. This was her summer and she wasn't going to let Troy's sudden personality shift destroy her enjoyment of the rest of it. As a part of that silent vow, she deliberately turned her attention to the staff ballgame that afternoon and pushed Troy from her thoughts.

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Enlisting Ryan Evans as the director for the Staff Talent Show piece had been pure genius.

Kelsi had risen to the challenge, providing them with a piece of music they could all sing, and while Gabriella was thoroughly enjoying the rehearsals and the duet supplied, it felt strange. Not because they had a new leader, or because everyone had warmed to Ryan in a way none of them had ever dreamed was possible, but because - for the first time since New Year's - she was singing opposite someone other than Troy.

Sure, she had practiced with Kelsi, but always with the intention of singing the pieces with Troy. Singing with him had always felt so natural, so easy - he had a way of putting her at ease, of helping her believe in her own natural abilities that gave her a confidence she otherwise lacked. Or rather, had lacked. Ever since the Winter Musicale, she'd been able to overcome the stage fright that had once been crippling. Sure, she was still nervous singing in front of a crowd, but knowing he would be there to help her had always given her the strength to rise beyond her fears.

And now that safety net was gone.

Troy had done the unthinkable and bailed on her and his friends, choosing instead to sing the duet Kelsi had written specifically for them with Sharpay. That had stung like a slap to the face - hurting far more than she'd ever thought possible. It was like a betrayal of the most intimate sort - that song had illustrated perfectly the way she felt about Troy and she'd thought he'd felt it did the same in his feelings for her.

For him to be willing to sing it so readily with someone else - with Sharpay of all people - was like taking a knife in the back.

But, instead of confronting him on it, she let it slide. Troy wouldn't have agreed to sing with Sharpay without a good reason and Kelsi had told her that Sharpay had all but commandeered the duet from her piano stand. Kelsi, never one to be able to stand up to Sharpay under pressure, had transposed the piece reluctantly in an effort to keep her job.

Despite it all, Gabriella had secretly hoped Troy would refuse to sing the duet - she'd been sadly mistaken. Troy had, by Taylor's rendition, looked extremely uncomfortable in Sharpay's arena and reluctant to comply - it was the only thing that made stomaching his singing the song with Sharpay remotely palatable. It served him right - whatever discomfort he was feeling, he deserved.

Ryan on the other hand...

Gabriella shook her head with a slight smile. Who'd have known there was such a fun guy - a relative performance genius - hiding in Sharpay's shadow. He'd risen to the challenge beautifully, stepping into the void Troy's absence had caused and the bringing fun back into their time at Lava Springs. He'd given the Wildcats a sense of purpose once more, re-solidifying them as a team - but with a new leader.

Troy, for his part, didn't seem to notice that Ryan was stepping into his shoes almost literally.

And while Ryan wasn't Troy, his had his own brand of charisma that enabled him to lead when necessary - and now it was necessary. That Chad had been the one to acknowledge Ryan as more than Sharpay's poodle - as Ryan had called himself - had helped. If Troy's best friend, and the unofficial second in command of the Wildcats, gave Ryan the stamp of approval, the others would follow. It was a brilliant move and the show piece Kelsi had written came together beautifully.

The only problem was the duet itself; Gabriella felt wrong singing it with Ryan. The song was about futures and being true to one's self - a song that would have fit Troy before Sharpay and the rest of the Evans family had dug in their hooks and hauled him away. Despite the feeling, Gabriella pushed through it and put everything she had into singing and dancing with the rest of their team - and ended up enjoying herself.

Ryan's gratitude showed a side of him that Gabriella was all too familiar with. Ryan was trying to break free from Sharpay's shadow and her unwitting championing of him at the baseball diamond had given him the opportunity to do so. Ryan, to her surprise, seemed to understand her feelings and - as such - didn't press her to practice the duet together, but agreed they'd sing it through only once before actually performing it.

The other side of that was that Ryan also knew when to step away. He gave everyone equal time to shine, allowing the rest of the crew the chance to be what Sharpay had never given him the opportunity to; stars. While she and Ryan were singing the main duet, the song was actually about unity and everyone got a chance to be center stage.

It was something Troy would have done - before he'd become too good for his friends.

Maybe that was what made her do it. She'd caught a glimpse of Troy and Sharpay watching them practice in the mirror lining the studio they'd been using - and the devil had taken her, sweeping her away into the music as they'd pranced hand in hand between the ecstatic Wildcats. Ryan and Gabriella - the minstrel with the princess... and the prince suspiciously absent. Riding high on the enthusiasm of the other Wildcats, hugging him had seemed like the most natural thing in the world as they'd completed the set.

Ryan kissing the back of her hand had been icing on the cake - and she hadn't missed Troy's expression as she'd left the practice room. She'd looked away before making eye contact, hardening her heart against the disappointment eating away at her heart. Troy hadn't even tried to join them - or make his presence known. Gabriella wasn't positive, but she thought she detected a hint of the jealousy Troy had displayed the previous morning upon finding her playing with Ryan by the pool side.

What he had to be jealous about she didn't know - it wasn't as if Ryan was her first male friend aside from Troy - but there had been a distinct air about Troy that morning. An almost accusing, uncomfortable silence as he'd realized that Ryan had spent the night with her and their friends instead of himself. Yet the accusation was what had kept her silent with Ryan's departure. She didn't owe him an explanation and she wasn't going to explain herself if he was too busy to spend time with her. He didn't own her and wasn't entitled to a breakdown as to how she spent her time.

Even as the thought crossed her mind, she felt guilty about it - Troy had given her an accounting of his time; explaining he'd been caught late at the gym in pursuit of his goal. And while her trust in him was eroding with each passing day, she would have to trust that he'd figure out the price of his goal before it was too late and care enough to change his course.

Unfortunately, as Troy had walked away without making an effort to reach out to her, a sinking feeling as settled in the pit of her stomach like a lead weight. Something told her things were going to get worse between them before - if ever - they got better.

fin

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Author's Note: This ended up far longer than expected – for some reason, my Gabriella Vigs do….