Protecting Her

Author's Note: Hey everyone. Thought I would treat you all to a story before I would have to start exams. I know, it sucks. So do me a favor and PLEASE REVIEW!

Summary: It was that moment when Troy Bolton knew that he would commit murder if it meant protecting her.

Troy had been best friends with Gabriella since they were twelve years old. They were always together and they knew each other's deepest and darkest secrets. But there was one secret that Gabriella didn't know about Troy; he had been in love with her since they were fifteen years old. He had thought about asking her out several times, but he didn't because he feared that it would ruin their friendship. But he tried making it obvious that he cared for her.

But then Carter Wayland came along.

He was a senior and captain of the football team. He had been rivals with Troy for over a year and a half and neither liked each other. While Carter used every chance he got to insult Troy in the hallway, he had noticed a shy but beautiful Gabriella always by Troy's side. And with his rugged and cunning appearance, Gabriella was sure to be easily swayed by Carter. And much to Troy's disappointment, Gabriella began dating Carter. And since then, Troy was lucky to see Gabriella for more than five minutes. She was always with him and Carter was very possessive of Gabriella. And it made Troy mad.

As Troy walked the halls of East high, he had high hopes of being able to talk to Gabriella at Chad's party later in the night. Unfortunately, Carter would be joining Gabriella and he would most likely have his pompous friends there to join him. But at least Troy would be able to see Gabriella. Before Troy could enter the cafeteria, he heard a familiar clacking of heels coming from behind him. When he turned around, he wasn't shocked to see Sharpay standing right there, with a look of panic on her face.

"Troy, I need to talk to you now." Sharpay said in a tone of voice that hinted how severe her problem was. Troy nodded his head as he followed Sharpay down the hall and to her locker. Troy saw the worry in his friend's face and he grew concerned.

"Is everything okay?" Troy asked. Sharpay shook her head, which didn't give Troy any kind of assurance.

"No. It's about Gabriella. I think she's in trouble." Sharpay said, her voice full of fear which soon followed with tears welling up in her eyes. The mere mention of Gabriella's name made Troy's heart trigger in fear. He felt his own terror grow.

"What happened to her?" Troy demanded, making the decision that it had something to do with Carter. As Sharpay tried to put herself together, she turned two shades of white, which matched her full white outfit.

"I think Carter hit her. I saw a really big bruise on Gabriella's back when she was changing for gym class. This wasn't an 'oops I just fell off my bike' kind of bruise. This was a Chris 'beat her down' Brown kind of bruise. I asked her about it and she said that it was nothing and I'm really scared that something's going to happen to her and I can't lose her like this." Sharpay confessed as traitor tears slipped from her eyes and onto her cheeks.

Troy couldn't even speak, because he felt a rush of terror and anger take over his body. He wasn't going to let Carter hurt Gabriella. His Gabriella. There wasn't a chance in hell that Carter was going to get away with this. Troy was going to knock some sense into him if he had to. It didn't even scare Troy that Carter was a year older than him; he was going to teach him a lesson that he would never forget.

"Are they going to be at the party tonight?" Troy asked through his teeth so he could prevent his anger from spilling. Sharpay dabbed a finger at her tears.

"Yeah, Gabriella said he was driving her there."

"Don't worry about Gabriella. I'm going to give Carter exactly what he deserves tonight. I swear." And Troy knew that it was true. Sharpay nodded her head with tearful eyes and she hugged Troy, praying and hoping that both her friends would be alright.

"I hope you're right." Sharpay merely whispered.

And Troy hoped he would be too.

Troy sat on top of his truck, waiting for Gabriella to arrive while almost the whole school was in Chad's house, dancing and getting wasted. The sky was starting to get dark and Gabriella and Carter still hadn't arrived yet. Troy was starting to get worried that Carter and Gabriella wouldn't show up and Gabriella would be seriously hurt. Troy didn't even want to think about that possibility. Troy sighed as he looked back at the full house. He could see Sharpay, in her vibrant pink dress, standing by the open window talking to Taylor, but still watching out for Gabriella. She was obviously worried about her best friend.

Troy was about to get out his cell phone to call Gabriella, when a sudden Porsche appeared across the street. Troy knew that car anywhere; it was Carter's car. Seconds later, Carter appeared from his car. Troy could see his fox like features from a mile away. And then Gabriella stepped out from the passenger's seat. She looked beautiful in a short white dress, but her face showed complete tension. It was obvious that they had been fighting. And their arguing continued, as neither noticed that Troy was sitting on his car listening.

"Leave me alone, Carter!" Gabriella hollered as she tried to walk away from him. But he grabbed her arm and he forced her to turn to look at him. His eyes had nothing but pure anger in them.

"Gabby, c'mon I don't understand why you're getting so pissed off about all of this! Maybe if you didn't say stupid shit, you wouldn't get in so much trouble, now would you?" Carter said as an attempt to belittle her. Gabriella ripped her arm from his hold.

"I'm not going to deal with you anymore! It's over Carter! I never want to see you ever again!" Gabriella hollered as she made an attempt to walk away from him completely. But then Carter grabbed her by both her shoulders and he pulled her into him.

"Come on baby, don't be so hard to get." Carter said as he forced Gabriella into a kiss, refusing to let her go as she tried to squirm away from him. After a few failed attempts, Gabriella managed to get her hand free and she smacked Carter right in the face, and he soon got off her as he cringed and swore in pain.

"Get off me!" Gabriella screamed as she pushed him away. Carter held his jaw in his hand and he shot Gabriella a dark and evil glare. It was in this fearful and frightening stare that Gabriella realized she may have made a big mistake. And she would have to suffer.

"You little bitch!" Carter screamed as he punched Gabriella right in the face. Gabriella could taste the blood in her mouth. And before she even realized it, she was being punched in the stomach and eventually thrown to the ground. She could feel Carter kicking her and she tried to defend herself, but she could feel herself falling in and out of consciousness.

As soon as Troy saw Carter's face change when Gabriella fought back, he knew she was in trouble. And as soon as he saw Carter punch Gabriella, he jumped off his car and he ran towards them. He could feel his heart break as he watched Carter hurt the girl that he loved but he knew that he had to be strong. He had to get Carter away from Gabriella. He didn't care what it took.

"Carter, you sleazy son of a bitch!" Troy yelled as he approached Carter, which took Carter's attention off Gabriella. Carter turned to look at Troy and Troy punched him square in the face. Carter cursed in pain as he leaned up against his car. He then shot Troy a glance.

"Well, well, well…look who it is. Troy Bolton. Are you really here to fight me over this piece of white trash?" Carter provoked, as he pointed to an injured and weak Gabriella who groaned as she rolled onto her left side. Troy clenched his fists together.

"Don't talk about her like that!" Troy warned. Carter continued.

"Or you'll do what? Beat me up? Ha! I'd like to see you try." Carter daunted. As Troy replayed the vision of Carter hurting Gabriella and the images of Gabriella sprawled on the floor and his anger only intensified. And he knew that he had to let it out for Gabriella's sake.

"Watch me." Troy hissed. It was that moment when Troy Bolton knew that he would commit murder if it meant protecting her.

And before Carter could make some sort of snide remark, his jaw connected with Troy's fist. Carter flung his fist towards Troy's face, but Troy was quick to block himself and he kicked Carter in the groin and then punched him in the stomach. He managed to smack Carter's face a few times and he soon realized that blood from Carter's nose was soon smeared on Troy's hand. There were a few times Troy was lacking concentration and Carter managed to give Troy a few punches to the face. But Troy persevered in the end as he kicked Carter in the stomach and he fell back.

"What's the matter, Carter? Not used to be kicked around?" Troy asked in a taunting tone of voice. Carter glared at Troy as he struggled to get off the ground.

"You know what? Screw you! Go ahead and take your little slut, she didn't want to do anything with me anyway!" Carter howled as he scrambled off the ground and he ran off in the forest. Troy was about to run after him, but then he heard a low groan come from behind him. It was Gabriella.

Troy turned and he observed her fragile body, as it was sprawled and broken on the ground. He was quick to rush to her side. He dropped to his knees and he placed her in his lap, horrified at what he saw. Blood was dripping from her mouth and blood and dirt was smeared all over her white dress. Due to being kicked on the concrete, there were tears in her once perfect dress. And he could see more clearly that there were bruises beginning to appear on her arms from when he grabbed her. How could a monster hurt such an innocent young woman?

"Troy…" Gabriella murmured, pain in her voice. Troy gently hushed her as he gently pressed a finger to her lips.

"Its okay; I'm here now." Troy assured her as he brushed her raven hair off her cheek. Gabriella groaned in pain as she spat out blood.

"Oh god, Troy." Gabriella cried as pain took over and she was starting to lose consciousness. Troy held her close and he looked around to see if anyone was near. And he was thrilled when he saw Sharpay running over to him.

"Is she alright?" Sharpay asked as she ran over. Troy shook his head rapidly as Gabriella was about to pass out.

"No, she's not. Call 911, now!" Troy ordered. Sharpay was quick to get out her phone and she called the cops. Troy's full attention was on Gabriella, and he gently shook her, hoping that he would get another chance to look into those exotic brown eyes again.

"Gabriella? Gabriella, please wake up! Gabriella please you can't die on me! I love you, please wake up…" Troy repeated over and over again until an ambulance and police cruiser arrived.

While Troy and Sharpay answered questions for the cops, Troy watched as Gabriella was being rushed into the ambulance truck. He made eye contact with Gabriella and his heart nearly broke when he saw that tears were streaming down her worn and hurt face. She then mouthed the words 'Thank you' before she was lifted into the truck and the doors shut. Troy stared in Gabriella's direction even though he couldn't see her, but he had to pay attention to the police officers so he would know that he wouldn't go to jail. And he was glad to know he wasn't.

But if it was to save Gabriella's life, he really wouldn't have minded.

Two days had passed since the incident and Troy had barely been out of the house. His parents didn't ground him for his actions; they were proud that he stood up for Gabriella. Troy just didn't want to be out in the real world. He had texted Chad and Sharpay to have some sort of sense of the outside world. From Sharpay, he had learned the Carter was in police custody and would be on trial as an adult, since Carter was eighteen. Troy would have to testify, but if it would help put Carter behind bars, he really couldn't care.

Troy wanted to call or visit Gabriella several times during those two days. But he figured that she had been through a lot that she would want some time to herself. But Sharpay had seen her. Sharpay told Troy that she was still rattled but she was much happier now that Carter was out of the picture. Troy knew that this meant that he had a chance of being with her, but he knew that she would probably have a fear of getting hurt for a short while.

Troy sighed as he cleaned up his breakfast on a sunny Sunday morning. His parents had gone out to do some grocery shopping, so he was home alone. As Troy washed his plate and was in the process of drying it off, he heard a faint knock at the door. He assumed that it was Sharpay coming over to give him an update on Gabriella. Troy ran a hand through his hair as he walked to the door and he swiftly opened the door. And he was shocked to discover that it wasn't Sharpay. It was Gabriella. She looked fairly thin in her ripped jeans, but she looked good. Troy could say she almost looked happy.

"Gabriella, hey." Troy greeted.

"Hey Troy…is it okay if I come in?" Gabriella asked politely. Troy opened the door some more and he gestured for her to come in. Gabriella glided in and she walked into Troy's living room and she took a seat on his green couch. Troy took a seat beside Gabriella.

"So…how've you been since…?" Troy trailed on, unsure if he should talk to Gabriella about what happened with Carter. Gabriella smiled softly.

"I've been holding up. Sharpay and Taylor have been over everyday to check on me and my mom has been really supportive of me. But I didn't come over her to tell you about that. I want you to know why Carter did what he did." Gabriella said, her voice taking a serious tone. Troy soon became worried and he reflexively took her hand into his, not caring if she knew how he felt about her.

"You don't have to do this." Troy assured her. Gabriella squeezed his hand.

"Yes I do. The first time he hit me was the night before the party. I was at his house and he wanted me to sleep with him. But I wasn't comfortable and I told him I wasn't ready. He got pissed and he shoved me into his counter and I got this disgusting bruise on my back. I got really scared and I left. The night of the party, he picked me up from my house and he tried to apologize but I told him that I had no feelings for him and that I cared for someone else and I wasn't going to be with him anymore. And then we know how that all turned out." Gabriella concluded, taking a deep breath of relief.

"Who do you care about then if it wasn't Carter?" Troy asked, curious about who Gabriella cared for. Gabriella didn't say anything for several moments. She then looked at Troy and she shot Troy a loving smile that made Troy's heart flutter.

"You. It's always been you." Gabriella replied with pure love and honesty in her voice. Troy blinked in surprise. Gabriella, his best friend since they were kids, the girl he fought for, the girl he was scared he was going to lose…returned the feelings he felt for her. Troy couldn't help but smile.

"You care about me too?" Troy asked in astonishment. Gabriella smiled as she nodded her head.

"I had since before Carter asked me out. I only said yes to him because you hadn't asked me yet. And I realized the mistake I made when Carter hurt me so I tried to break it off with him. When you were holding me when I was falling in and out of consciousness, I heard you say you loved me. And I truly do love you Troy. It's always been you." Gabriella confessed, with tears of an overwhelming love filling her eyes. Troy lifted a hand a he cupped her cheek into his hand, wiping away the tears before they could even fall. His thumb ghosted across her cheek.

"I love you Ella." Troy lovingly said as he leaned in and he kissed her lips.

They gently brushed their lips against the other, both feeling totally comfortable kissing the other. It was as if they had been preparing this for their whole life. Their lips were soon released from each other and they hugged. Gabriella placed her head in the crook of Troy's neck and he wrapped his muscular arms tight around her. His hand tenderly ran through Gabriella's silky-smooth hair.

"Thanks for fighting for me Troy." Gabriella whispered as she kissed Troy's cheek. Troy smiled as he pressed a kiss against Gabriella's temple.

"Only for you." Troy promised as he held her close.

As they sat on his couch, holding each other close, Gabriella knew that she would always have Troy there to protect her from whatever would come their way.

The End