Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or places created by the High School Musical franchise or by Disney nor the song Winter Wonderland performed by various artists throughout the ages.

Sleigh bells ring

Are you listening?

In the lane

Snow is glistening

A beautiful sight

We're happy tonight

Walking in a winter wonderland

Although Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez had met at a ski lodge in Colorado in high school on New Year's Eve, neither had ever experienced a true white Christmas before. Sure it snowed in Albuquerque but not very often and certainly not on Christmas. Gabriella hadn't even had a white Christmas in any of the places she had previously lived before moving to New Mexico.

Actually, most of their friends with the exception of Ryan and Sharpay Evans hadn't either, which is what sparked the idea of making this trip over Christmas in the first place. It was a new experience for most of them and something they wanted to share among their slightly smaller group of former Wildcat friends.

Over the past four and a half years, with all of their friends scattered around the country attending college or doing their own thing, some had slipped away from the group in natural ways over time and distance. Jason Cross had moved to Texas with his parents when they moved since he wasn't attending school and couldn't afford to not live with them. Martha Cox lucked out in her junior year of college and was discovered dancing as part of the college's dance team. Since then, she'd been on tour as a dancer for one of the hottest singers in the world. Also among the lucky, Zeke Baylor had scored a coveted position in Las Vegas cooking alongside some of the greatest chefs at the finest restaurant there was on the strip. Sure all three kept in touch with everyone else but it wasn't quite the same, especially when a trip like this was made.

The rest of the former Wildcats friends were here on this trip though, making it for sure a trip that would be remembered for various reasons.

Already Troy, Chad Danforth, and Ryan had been almost bored to tears as Gabriella, Kelsi Nielson, Taylor McKessie, and Sharpay spent a good part of the day shopping in the village down in the valley below the cabin belonging to the Evans family. For Ryan and Troy, it was further proof that they were wrapped rather well around their girlfriends' pinkies. Chad on the other hand, being the only single guy on the trip since his split from Taylor in freshman year of college, was there by default not wanting to be by himself. Besides, he was still considered a good friend by Taylor and had been there for support for her and his two friends as they reviewed outfits and other things Kelsi and Gabriella wanted them to review.

It wasn't a total loss of a day though for the trio of guys as they were given the rights to pick the movies for the night as a reward, one that Sharpay reluctantly agreed upon after her girlfriends suggested it, meaning there hadn't been a chick flick in sight back at the cabin. Of course, that also meant that Troy now had the duty of calming down his girlfriend of five plus years as she jumped at every sound the cabin made as it settled around them that night.

After Gabriella dug her nails into his arms that were wrapped around her waist as they laid in bed for what felt like the hundredth time in just twenty minutes of trying to go to sleep, Troy groaned. "Gabriella, baby, I promise that there isn't some psycho killer running around the cabin waiting for you to go to sleep to get off on killing you at your most vulnerable state."

"Oh great Troy. Here I was worried about the ghost that would appear over your shoulder. Now I have to think about the psycho killer too."

Troy shut his eyes tightly, cursing himself in his head for his stupidity of introducing another scary scenario for his girlfriend to imagine. "Look, I promise, I'll keep you safe from all that. Please, let's just go to sleep. All that shopping you guys did actually somehow tired me out."

"And all you did was sit there on any available flat surface," Gabriella smirked, momentarily forgetting about her paranoid fears until she swore she heard another creek outside their bedroom. "What was that?"

"Probably one of our friends going to their room or something. Are you really going to be jumpy like this all night?"

"Did you three really have to pick scary movies for us to watch tonight? For Heaven's sake, it is Christmas in two days, not Halloween! I know you guys hate our type of movies but did you really have to pick not one but three horror and suspense movies?"

"We each picked one. I'm only responsible for the psycho killer one."

"And that makes you great in my books how?"

With a sigh, Troy pulled his upper body away slightly so he could peer down at Gabriella in the dark, a tough thing to do considering how close to his body she was trying to get for a sense of security that made her feel at least a little bit better. He knew that he had to do something if either of them was going to get any sleep and decided that maybe a walk outside would help chase away her fears. "Come on, get up."

Gabriella reluctantly let Troy go as he pulled away and then blinked in the sudden light of the room when he turned on the lamp on the bedside table. "What do you mean? You just said you were tired!"

"I am, but it's clear that we need to get your mind off of the things that go bump in the night."

"What are you suggesting we do instead?"

"Let's take a walk."

"But it's dark outside and in the open! And in the woods!"

Stifling his reflex to roll his eyes, Troy replied, "I'll be there with you, I promise. I won't let anything happen to you and we'll stick to the road if you want. Come on, let's get dressed." When Gabriella made no move to get up, Troy asked, "Do you trust me?"

"Yes." The one worded answer slipped out of Gabriella's mouth in a heartbeat and served to only remind her that she really did trust him and knew that with Troy, she had nothing to worry about. "Okay, let's go."

True to his word, after changing and slipping on their heavy jackets, Gabriella and Troy were walking down the infrequently used road twenty minutes later, Gabriella's gloved fingers intertwined with Troy's own.

It was lightly snowing and was more than cold but there was something about what they were doing just then, together, that made Gabriella smile. The first smile she had since they had finished watching the movies didn't escape Troy's notice. "What has you smiling Gabriella? Not that I'm complaining since you look even more lovely when you smile like that."

"Charmer," Gabriella replied, the corners of her lips pulling even further upward as she looked back at her boyfriend. "I just, there's something about being out here, with you, that's actually very romantic."

"Just walking?"

"Yes, just walking!" Gabriella playfully slapped Troy's shoulder, which made him chuckle. "It's more than that though. Can you hear it?"

Troy stopped walking as Gabriella stopped and focused his hearing on his surroundings. "What are you talking about? I don't hear anything."


"Say what?"

"The sound of snow, the cold night. There's just this, this complete sense of peace right now with the snow lightly falling, the darkness of night cloaking us."

"Darkness of night? Are you the same woman who was terrified of every little sound in the cabin?"

Gabriella slapped Troy's shoulder again, making sure to do it just hard enough so Troy would feel a bit of a sting through the padding of his jacket. "That was then, this is now! Out here, at least on the main road and not in the woods mind you, all of this just makes me feel different. Maybe I'm a winter person after all."

Troy grinned as a part of his mind celebrated in the fact that his plan was a success. Her fears were chased away, albeit by her view of the winter night that he mostly understood but seemed to be a true delight for her. Slipping his arms around her waist, Troy brought Gabriella's body up against his own before he lightly kissed her. "I personally think you're an all season's type of woman."

"How's that?"

"You seem to find the beauty and delight in all the seasons and not just winter. Then again, that's who you are. You find the beauty and goodness in everything."

"Why Wildcat, I do believe you're romancing me right now."

Shrugging his shoulders a little, Troy kept his gaze locked on Gabriella and admired the way a nearby street light's illumination shined on the different angles of her face. "I still have it in me. You bring it out at the most random times but it's there."

"And I'm a lucky woman for it."

As Troy met Gabriella's lips for a more intimate kiss this time, he sincerely hoped that his plans for later in the trip would be viewed even better than their current walk in the snow.

Gone away

Is the bluebird

Here to stay

Is a new bird

He sings a love song

As we go along

Walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadow

We can build a snowman

And pretend

That he is Parson Brown

He'll say are you married?

We'll say no man

But you can do the job

While you're in town

"OH MY GOD! That's fucking freezing!" Sharpay screamed as the snow from Ryan's snowball he pelted her with slipped down her neck after its impact on the back of her head. "You are SO DEAD Ryan Evans!"

"Gotta figure out how to make a snowball and then throw it first sis!" Ryan cheerfully taunted, knowing this was one area Sharpay definitely sucked in, no matter how many times they had come to the snow with their parents. When Sharpay instead decided to charge at him, he at least had enough sense to start running.

Kelsi giggled as she watched the chase, shaking her head as the two blondes disappeared from view down the hill they were currently on. "I swear those two never grow up sometimes."

"At least Ryan matures. Sharpay I don't think has since high school," Taylor commented, laughing as she heard an outraged call of Ryan's name in Sharpay's high pitched squeal.

"But then she wouldn't be Sharpay, would she?" Gabriella chimed in, finishing her drawing in the snow. "There, done!"

Kelsi and Taylor both looked over at their close friend and grinned as they saw what was now drawn in the snow. "Gabs, that's so romantic!" Taylor exclaimed. "Leave it to you to have beautiful handwriting even in snow!"

"Troy will love it," Kelsi agreed, seeing Gabriella toss aside the stick she had used before pulling out her digital camera from her pocket to take a few shots of her art. "Although, you misspelled his name."

"What? Where?" Gabriella freaked before she realized Kelsi was teasing. "Kelsi Nielson!"

Laughing, Kelsi shrugged her shoulders. "I couldn't help it!"

"You couldn't help what?" Chad asked as he and Troy appeared from the direction of the cabin, making their way through the trees. "Kelsi, are you actually up to mischief?"

Knowing that Gabriella would probably want some privacy to show Troy her artwork in the snow, Taylor quickly grabbed Chad's arm with her right hand. "Hey Chad, want to help me and Kelsi make a collection of snowballs? The Evans twins are off chasing each other and throwing snowballs and I'm willing to bet we'll be included in the war soon enough."

Kelsi caught on and nodded her head, grabbing Chad's other arm and dragging him with her and Taylor both as they quickly left the area.

Troy chuckled as Chad tried to protest but eventually gave him, shaking his head before turning his attention on his girlfriend. "What was that all about?"

"I think they wanted to give us some privacy," Gabriella replied, feeling her cheeks flush despite the cold. "I made something for you while you and Chad were finishing up that video game of yours before you came out."

"Oh yeah?" Troy's eyes surveyed the immediate area, not seeing anything. "Am I missing it?"

Rolling her eyes, Gabriella reached up and placed one hand on each side of his head, tilting his head down. "Look down."

Following her command, Troy's gaze went down and was immediately looking at Gabriella's well covered up chest. "Umm, did you do something cause I don't see anything different about your anatomy…"

Gabriella slapped Troy on the chest, giving him her best annoyed look. "No, not me you pervert! Right behind me!"

"Oh," Troy murmured, giving her his best charming smile, before following her command and peering over her shoulder. His smile turned into a wide grin as he took in the message written in the snow inside a very big heart and then the message below it. "'Troy + Gabriella = Eternity. I love you Troy.' You really want that, eternity?"

"Well, yeah, that's kinda the point of dating you, right? Clearly not right away or anything, but I think that's the path we're going down. Don't get freaked out, I'm not demanding a commitment from you or anything. Just, well, some dreamy and heartfelt doodling on my part while we waited."

This time, it was Troy who placed his hands on each side of Gabriella's face, tilting her head up. "The fact that you think of something so sweet while you're waiting so very patiently for me to finish up a video game with my best friend speaks volumes. Thank you Gabriella and I love you too. Actually, do you have whatever you used nearby?"

Gabriella nodded, kissing Troy before pulling away and stepping away to retrieve the stick she had used. When she approached Troy again, he took it from her and kissed her forehead before kneeling down in front of the message, adding his own to it.

Once done, Troy stood up and grinned down at it. "There, much better."

A smile crept onto Gabriella's face as she felt herself melt as she studied his addition. "'Troy loves and adores Gabriella.' Very nice Wildcat. Now I need a new picture!"

Troy took satisfaction in how happy he had just made his girlfriend and watched as she took a few shots of their combined declaration of love in the snow. When she was done, Troy slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her body against his. "Can I have your camera?"

Wordlessly, Gabriella handed him the white camera and watched as he took it in his right hand and turned it around, pointing it at them. "Self portraits?"

"But of course. Have to capture my beauty standing in a winter wonderland and in my arms. Just cements the memory."

He snapped a series of pictures, adjusting the angle, the last one being of them kissing each other just after it began lightly snowing again. Gabriella grinned in delight as she saw the results of his efforts and slipped the camera back into her pocket before looking back at her boyfriend. "What next?"

Troy thought about it, not really wanting to hang out with their friends, who could be heard screaming off in the distance as they probably pelted each other hard with snowballs, and remembering his idea he had to build a snowman with Gabriella for the first time. "Want to build a snowman?"

"Ugh, I'm terrible at those!"

"Come on, I'll teach you the art of building one."

Never being one for denying Troy anything that was so easily given and that he clearly wanted to do, Gabriella nodded, letting Troy lead her over to a spot a short distance away from their snow declaration. Together, they got down on their knees, rolling snow together, Troy starting off behind Gabriella as he helped her mold one of the three snowballs, also keeping Gabriella warm as he leaned his chest against her back and breathed onto her neck and ears with random kisses there as well, keeping both of their temperatures heated despite the temperature.

When they were done, Gabriella was simply amazed at what they had accomplished, standing back and enjoying it. Sure it wasn't the best snowman around but she was proud that it was standing up and straight. Plus, a big part of her, loved it just because she and Troy had made it together, even if its eyes were different sizes and the mouth was crooked. "What should we name him?"

"How about Andrew Brown?"

"Andrew Brown? Where did that come from?"

Troy shrugged. "First name that came to mind. Do you have any other thoughts?"

Gabriella studied the snowman for a few moments. "Sure, why not?"

"And from this day forward, our snowman will be named Brown, Andrew Brown."

"Corny much?"

"Just a tad," Troy conceded, wrapping an arm around Gabriella's shoulder just before he got hit on his right shoulder by a flying snowball, looking up quickly to see Sharpay this time launch one at him while Chad ran away. "Oh, is that how it's going to be? Gabriella, come on, I think they just declared war!"

Giggling, Gabriella grabbed Troy's hand as they ran towards their friends after scooping up some quickly formed snowballs and chased them all down, working together to get revenge on their friends and never leaving each other's side.

Later on, we'll conspire

As we dream, by the fire

To face unafraid

The plans that we've made

Walking in a winter wonderland

Long after the snowball war and a wonderful dinner in the village below to celebrate Christmas Eve, Troy and Gabriella found themselves up long past everyone else, cuddled up together in front of the fire that was kept blazing by Troy's upkeep.

Gabriella tore her eyes away from the sparks currently shooting upwards in the fireplace to look at Troy, feeling the familiar feeling of being the luckiest woman in the world yet again as she studied his profile, seeing the way the fire cast shadows over his cheeks and gave him a bit of a glow in the otherwise dark room.

There was a distant whistle and before Gabriella could get up, Troy had beaten her to it, putting the poker away and standing up to get the hot water they had put on the stove to boil a little while ago. When he came back, Gabriella greedily accepted the hot cocoa with mini marshmallows in a mug, immediately snuggling into Troy's side again after he sat down and wrapped an arm around her, kissing her hair before he sipped from his own mug.

She on the other hand held her mug between her two hands, still slightly cold despite being in front of the roaring fire. A few moments later in their comfortable silence, Gabriella felt small sparks form when Troy absently toyed with some strands of her hair. When she turned her head, Gabriella wasn't all that surprised to see that Troy was already looking at her, a soft smile on his lips and a certain warmth displayed in his eyes for her. It was a look that spoke volumes and Gabriella knew inherently that she was the only one that he reserved it for. "What are you thinking?"

"Just how nice it is to get to spend the holidays with you, getting the chance to have a moment like this, in a cabin with the snow falling outside, in front of a fire. It's something new for us. This whole experience is new and memorable and for good reasons."

Gabriella nodded. "Definitely is a memorable trip. Why does it seem though like you have something else on your mind?"

Not seeing the harm, Troy decided to be honest. "What you wrote on the snow earlier. Do you really see us together for eternity? That's a long time and by age fifty, I could already be bald and with a beer belly out to infinity."

Laughing at the image, Gabriella replied, "I hardly see you becoming like that Troy. Even if you were though, I know I'd love you for eternity, no matter what you look like."

"Even if I lose my six pack and hair that you love running your fingers through?"

"Even if your washboard abs are gone, even if these strands of hair disappear." As Gabriella ran her fingers of her left hand through his hair, she smiled as she saw Troy close his eyes and lean into her hand. "I do admit though that your muscles are amazing, I can't lie. My point though is that I love you with my entire being Troy Bolton for who you are, and your chiseled chest and abdominal region, although impressive, do not make the person you are. What you do for me, the way you love me, what you think and choose to say, all of that is why I am in love with you."

When Gabriella's hand lowered from his hair, Troy reached out and grasped it with his own, intertwining their fingers. He laid a kiss on each of her fingertips before lowering their joined hands, settling them on his lap. "I am in love with you too Gabriella, so very much. I really am the luckiest guy out there, you know that? I mean, what other female out there could deal with a guy who is passionate about theater and basketball, loves to spend time with his best friend, and can constantly talk sports? Not many, that much I know. I would have been a fool to have not chosen Berkeley to be closer to you. That much I already knew in high school."

"Ah yes, the good old East High days."

"The days when we thought we knew it all and yet didn't. The one thing that I was sure of then and still am is that you are the one I want to spend the rest of my life with."

"Guess it's mutual then," Gabriella said, putting down her mug on the coffee table nearby as Troy did the same.

They reached for each other, lips being the first to meet before they became a passionate tangle of limbs as they continued to kiss and embrace, expressing their love for one another. In truth, both knew that they really had grown up and changed so much since their East High time together, both individually and apart, but knew that there was so much more in store for them both together, one of them especially knowing that reaching eternity together was not far off.

In the meadow

We can build a snowman

And pretend

That he is Parson Brown

He'll say are you married?

We'll say no man

But you can do the job

While you're in town

"Troy, what are we doing out here? Sharpay is going to throw a fit if we aren't ready to go on time for Christmas dinner," Gabriella expressed, following her boyfriend's lead as they walked together away from the cabin and through some of the trees. "It's getting dark and it's cold too."

"I know, we'll be back in time, don't worry," Troy answered, his grip on her hand unconsciously tightening. "I just thought since we were both ready early and Chad and Sharpay take ages doing their hair that you and I could get some more alone time. I thought a walk in the snow while the last of the light of the day disappears would be fun."

Gabriella used her left hand to tug the edges of her leather jacket closer together to fight off the chill. Troy had his own leather jacket on and seemed too busy looking for something to notice the frigid air. "Troy? What's going on? What are you looking for?"

Quickly, Troy spared Gabriella a look before turning his attention back to the snow covered ground in front of them, making sure that they wouldn't trip over anything that was well hidden by the snow. Mainly though, he wanted to divert his gaze before Gabriella figured out there was something he was hiding on purpose. "Just appreciating nature."

That was definitely an answer Gabriella saw right through but before she could say anything, they entered the clearing they were at the day before and gasped. In the meadow, instead of there being just their lone snowman they made together with what used to be their declaration of love in the snow, which had gotten covered up by a recent snow dusting, there was a slightly different vision. Instead there were two snowmen, a couple it looked like to Gabriella, kissing right in front of the one they made, in front of Andrew Brown.

Silently, Gabriella looked at Troy, who was seemingly content to watch her. Intrigued, Gabriella got closer and realized that there were other items placed right in front of the snow couple kissing. There was a bouquet of beautiful white roses mixed in with baby's breath sticking up from the snow in front of the snowwoman and a smaller brown object in front of the new snowman. Curious, she bent down and picked it up, dusting off the snow to see that it was a wooden box shaped like a heart.

Suddenly, everything began making sense to her, what was conveyed by the snow people, what was more than likely in the wooden heart shaped box. She felt her heart speed up as she absorbed it all, tears forming in her eyes as she looked back at Troy, only to see that he wasn't there.

Instead, Troy was kneeling down next to his own writing in the snow. "Now it's my turn to have you look down and before you look at my chest, I mean the snow next to me."

The corners of Gabriella's lips curved upwards as she forced herself to look away from her boyfriend to see the writing, walking closer to him and the writing to make sure she really was reading it right between the excitement that was blossoming in her entire being and her happy tears mixed in with the quick setting darkness. While she read the question in the snow, "Marry me Gabriella?", Gabriella felt Troy take the box from her grasp, looking at him only after reading the question in the snow for the twentieth time, committing it to memory. Three simple words that spelled out exactly what Troy thought about eternity and how he felt about spending it with her.

"Gabriella?" She turned her attention back on Troy, struggling with reigning in her emotions to pay him proper attention, not even seeing the wooden box's content after Troy opened it. "Will you marry me? Will you spend your eternity with me for many lifetimes together, in this realm and beyond? I ask because, well, I don't want to ever think of having to spend a single day without you, here on Earth and wherever else we may go after here. I don't know what waits for us after this world, but I do know that I want you by my side, as my constant companion, my best friend, my lover, and my wife. I love you Gabriella Montez. Please, will you do me the honors of being my wife?"

Without another heartbeat going by, Gabriella was in Troy's arms, surprising him so much that he fell backwards from his kneeling position, catching her in his arms before laying in the snow with Gabriella laying on top of him, her lips fused together with his in a passionate connection.

When Troy managed to pull away, he beamed. "Is that a yes?"

"More like definitely yes! Troy, I love you! Of course I want to spend eternity with you!"

Excitedly, Troy pulled the platinum engagement ring with the little diamonds placed to form a single snowflake with a larger one in the middle out of the box and slipped it onto Gabriella's ring finger on her left hand, kissing the back of her hand before kissing Gabriella again. "You just made me even happier Gabriella and I didn't even know that was possible!"

"No happier than you have made me! Troy, are you sure though you want to do this? I meant it the other night, I wasn't trying to pressure you."

Troy though silenced her with another kiss. "Not another word. This was in my plans and has been for several weeks. Chad and I didn't really go into town to do last minute shopping earlier today. We were out here setting this up, building the Gabriella snowwoman and Troy snowman for Parson Brown over there to marry. Perhaps next Christmas or New Year's we can do the real thing?"

"Beyond a doubt, yes! Wow Troy, after all this time, you still manage to amaze me."

"Oh yeah? How?"

"On this trip you've shown me how romantic you still can be, even in the little things you do like taking me for a walk along the road when I can't sleep despite the cold and snow. You have more than shown your love for me tonight. Quite simply, even though I may take it for granted on a daily basis, you still are my sweet, loving Wildcat and I'm blessed to have you."

"As I am for you," Troy returned, reaching up to brush back some of her dark locks over her shoulder before gently gripping the back of her head and pulling her back down for a series of kisses that warmed them both and kept them warm despite the chilly air and cold snow they laid in.

In the end, neither of them cared that they would be sick the next day or that the snow was ruining their clothes. What mattered the most to them was that they were together, tightly embracing each other, newly engaged and were more than in love.

As she laid there with Troy, enjoying the quiet of the snowy night, oblivious to the cold while she was snuggled up with him, Gabriella had to acknowledge that despite the years they had been together, Troy had displayed exactly how romantic he could still be yet again. What also couldn't be ignored though was how the unending romance of a winter night had just made winter her new favorite season for sure and it was all due to the man next to her, the love of her life.

Sleigh bells ring

Are you listening?

In the lane

Snow is glistening

A beautiful sight

We're happy tonight

Walking in a winter wonderland

Oooo, ooo, ooo, ooooooo

Walking in a winter wonderland