Title: Facades and Charades
Fandom: High School Musical
Warnings: angst, light slash, egocentric!dumb!Troy(yeah, sorry.)
Diclaimer: Nope, I don't own HSM or Disney. Rub it in.
Characters: Ryan Evans, Chad Danforth, Sharpay Evans, Troy Bolton
A/N: Things are revealed, and Troy is slow.
Facades and Charades
They stood close and waved as the policemen left. Chad hesitated for a moment, then put his arm around Sharpay's shoulders. Instead of shrugging it off, she leaned into his touch and sighed.
"Do you want me to ask him about it?" he said.
Sharpay nodded, looking pale. "I don't want to hear about it. I just want the bastards dead."
Chad squeezed her tight in a sort of halfway hug, then let go and walked over to the Evans' swimming pool. Ryan smiled to him from the nearest sun chair, oblivious to the policemen's short visit. He waved, then frowned and reached for his writing block. What's wrong?
Chad sighed. "The police was here. About you."
Ryan made a surprised 'o' with his mouth. On other occasions, Chad would find this very distracting. On other occasions.
"They want to know what happened. There were... tests taken, when you arrived at the hospital. The doctors took them without asking; it's standard procedure when..." Chad didn't finish off the sentence, Ryan knew this.
Chad sucked in a sharp breath, then continued. "There were DNA samples, but there are no matches. They aren't in the police records. Which means, if we're ever gonna catch the motherfuckers, it's up to you." Okay, so it was a little harshly put. It didn't make it any less true.
Ryan swallowed, paling. Chad leaned over and took his hand. Ryan didn't move away.
"Ryan, please," he pleaded, "Just tell me. Say it, write it down, fucking charade it if you want to, just give me a name. I know you know who they are."
Ryan pursed his lips stubbornly.
"Why won't you tell me?" Chad snapped. Ryan flinched and removed his hand.
"Sorry, sorry," Chad muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Just- Why won't you say it. What do you have to lose?"
Ryan suddenly gripped the notebook, and started writing angrily. Then he shoved it in Chad's face. How about EVERYTHING?
"What the hell are you talking about? It's already happened! If you tell on them, they'll never be able to do this again. You don't have anything to lose!"
Ryan scribbled again. No one knows except you guys, mom and dad. If I do this, EVERYONE will know. I will be ###### 'that raped kid' the rest of my fucking life!
Chad looked at the notebook. Ryan had scribbled something, then blacked it out. Chad took the book, trying to decipher what had stood there before. "Ryan," Chad said with a hollow voice. "Why have you written 'Dick- Boy' here?"
Ryan desperately reached over to take the notebook from him, his breath hitching. Chad didn't let him take it; he leaned backwards. "Ryan! Why!"
Ryan looked at him with pleading eyes. They were full of tears, and Chad felt like a bastard. But no. Not this time, dammit. He would some answers out of Ryan. He wanted to play charades? Fine. Then that's what they were gonna do. "Ryan. Is that what they called you?" Despite Ryan's struggling, Chad's voice was calm.
Ryan closed his eyes, clenching his fists. They were face to face now. In his attempt to get back the notebook, Ryan had almost climbed on top of Chad. This was the closest they'd been- well, ever, really. Stunningly, neither of the boys noticed.
Ryan let out a long, hissing breath, then opened his eyes. He gestured at the book, a resigned look on his face. Chad gave it to him. Yes. That and 'Faggie'. And other not so nice things.
"Motherfucker," Chad swore. That too, Ryan wrote dryly.
They went silent, then, only now realizing how close they actually were. Ryan was practically sitting on Chad, trying to write. They exchanged looks. Do you mind it?
"No," Chad said. Ryan shifted, sitting more comfortably across Chad's lap.
"Ryan, this isn't only about you."
Ryan's look changed, turning defiant again. He didn't move away this time, though. Chad put his hand lightly on Ryan's knee to make him stay.
"You're probably not the only one they're doing this to. I mean, what if they do it again? With someone else? Do you really wanna feel responsible for that, knowing you could have stopped them with just a name?"
Ryan bit his lip, shaking his head violently. Like a child would when you first told it that Santa Claus isn't real. Chad grabbed a hold of his head, still slowly.
"You're a good person, Ryan. And you're still you. The Ryan I know would flail and make one hell of a big deal out of this, wearing glitter, pink mascara and a dazzling smile. But he'd still do the right thing."
Ryan closed his eyes, warm tears trailing down his face, over Chad's fingers. He scrabbled down something. Josh Davies. And I've NEVER worn pink mascara.
"Captain of the football team?" Chad whispered in disbelief. Sure, he'd known that the football team had a problem with gay people; so did most other sports teams, too. Hell, even his team might kick him out if they knew he was crushing on a guy. But this?
Ryan nodded, his eyes never leaving Chad's. Chad knew this was both a symbol of trust, and also a test. Chad wasn't about to fail it.
"Okay. How many."
Ryan held up his healthy hand, his fingers stretched.
Ryan dropped his hand along with his gaze. He looked ashamed, his back hunched like he was much older than he really was.
"Okay, Ryan. Thank you," Chad murmured, fighting the nausea. This was not the time to throw up. "I won't ask anymore questions right now, but I'm so glad you told me. Come here."
Ryan leaned forward, buried his head in Chad's t-shirt, and cried until he didn't have any tears left.
Chad called the police half an hour later, Ryan asleep in his lap.
Ryan nodded. Chad took his hand, and the walked through the doors.
Wow, Chad thought, this is almost like in the movies. Every single student in the hallway was looking at them. Everyone. Had there been an announcement or something? What the hell?
Ryan's breath hitched, and Chad gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. People might take the hand holding the right way, but it didn't matter to Chad. He'd learn to prioritize, to not freak out about the small things. Besides, his place was here. With Ryan. Making sure he didn't freak out because of small things.
Sharpay came in behind them, and sighed loudly. "Yes, I bought a new hat this weekend. What's the big deal? Don't you miserable people have lives?"
Chad smiled to himself as people started muttering excuses and go back to their routines. Trust Sharpay not to back down to a challenge. "You know," he said to her as she joined the two boys, taking Ryan's other arm, "you are pretty fabulous."
"And the sky, Danforth, is blue." Sharpay rolled her eyes, her posture proud as always. Both Ryan and Chad noticed her little smile, though.
"So..." Troy looked very awkward. They were in the locker room, after practice. Chad was changing quickly; eager to get to Ryan. Ryan had had this hour free, since the principal didn't make him do extra-curricular activities now. There would be a long time before Ryan would feel comfortable enough to be on a stage again.
"So, what?" Chad asked, feigning obliviousness. Of course he knew what Troy would be asking, his friend was as difficult to read as a neon sign. Chad just wanted to make him sweat a bit.
"So, you and Ryan, you're, uhm..." Troy gestured vaguely with his hand.
"We're what?" Chad asked innocently.
"Are you... like, together or something?" It looked like it was physically hard for him to utter the words, and Chad wanted to snicker.
"Oh. Yeah, we are."
"Oh." There was another pause, while Troy looked at Chad changing. Then, as if it suddenly occurred to him what he was doing, Troy blushed and turned around. Chad snorted.
"So, are you, like..."
"No," Chad interrupted, "I'm not."
Troy turned around to face him, confused. "What? But you're with Ryan, aren't you?"
"Yes," Chad said slowly, as if talking to a child. "And Ryan is a guy, you're absolutely right. That doesn't necessarily make me gay, though."
"I don't understand," Troy said weakly, and Chad knew it was the truth. Basketball and theater, Troy was good at. No one would accuse him of being a genius, though. Not even Gabriella, sweet as she may be.
"There's something called bisexuality, Troy," Chad sighed. "Look it up." Then he went into the shower. Troy didn't follow him, probably busy thinking. Knowing that could take a while, Chad hurried to get finished. He had to go check up on Ryan. Even though Sharpay had been with him all the classes Chad wasn't in, he still felt uneasy. Huh. Who knew he'd turn into a gay protective Care Bear, hugging Sharpay every other day. Life's full of surprises.
"So, you like girls too?" Troy finally asked when Chad got back from the showers.
"Score," Chad said dryly. Five fucking minutes, Bolton. Took you long enough.
"Okay. Cool." There was a pause. Then; "Uhm, did you... I mean, have you ever-"
"Get the fuck over yourself, Troy," Chad sighed, "I have not been eying your rack in the showers. Nor anyone else's. Okay?"
Troy looked around for a hole in the ground for him to sink into. "O- okay, then. Just wondered, you know."
"Yeah, well," Chad huffed as he finished up,"Now you know. Tell Gabi 'hi' from me, would you." Then he strode out, leaving his former best friend alone in the boys' locker room. Because that was just it, wasn't it? Him and Troy weren't best friends anymore. Sure, they were friends, but not much more than him and Zeke, or him and Taylor. And certainly not as him and Ryan.
It was just so different. Even without everything that had happened, he and Ryan connected on a whole different level than Chad and Troy. Ryan needed him, needed the companionship and the comfort and God knows what else, just like Chad did. Troy didn't. Troy had basketball, theater, fame, friends, Gabi. Chad had had Troy. And now he had Ryan.
Chad couldn't help thinking he'd lost one dollar and won a hundred.
If you're wondering why Ryan doesn't feel comfortable on a stage, even though theatre didn't have anything to do with the beatings and assault, I'll explain it to you. I go to drama school myself, and have done so for over three years. The first thing my drama teacher told me, was this: "We are actors, and actors don't play roles. We are. And you can't be comfortable being someone else, unless you're comfortable with being yourselves."