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FIC: Resolution - Hotitudinosity
fiction by jalabert
jalabert
jalabert
FIC: Resolution
Title: Resolution
Author: Jalabert
Rating: Everyone
Summary: Chad resolves to change his life; Ryan resolves to make him happy.

It wasn't Ryan's nature to be a wallflower but he felt oddly disconnected from the moment he set foot in the Boltons' house. The New Year's Eve celebration was already in full swing but Ryan wasn't particularly in a partying mood. Sharpay was, however, and she abandoned him at the door, leaving him to fend for himself. He sighed and went over to the refreshment table, intent on finding something in which to drown his sorrows.

Ryan filled a cup with punch and looked across the room, where Gabriella and Troy were mooning at each other like the love-struck, star-crossed couple that they were. When Troy flunked out of--uh, left--Berkeley on academic grounds and transferred to the University of Albuquerque (and, implausibly, was still able to score a scholarship), the couple had been forced to cope with a long distance relationship. It sucked being a thousand miles from someone you love, Ryan assumed. He wouldn't know. Ryan could only speak knowledgeably about being two thousand miles away from someone who didn't even know he played a staring role in Ryan's every fantasy. Now that well and truly sucked. Ryan sighed and lifted his drink to his lips but it was taken from him before he could take a sip.

"I give it another week before she dumps him," Sharpay declared before taking a sip of Ryan's punch. "Gabriella has more brains in her pinky than Troy has in his entire body."

"She's been with him for a year," he replied, reclaiming his glass. He took a sip, made a face and gave it back to her.

"He was convenient," Sharpay said peering into the glass before setting it down. "He was the best East High had to offer. Even I have to acknowledge that."

"Yes, you do," Ryan said with a smirk. But it faded almost immediately. "Tell me again why we wanted to come to Troy's New Year's Eve party?"

"So we could see all our old friends," Sharpay said without a hint of irony. "You know it's only a matter of time before Gabriella comes to her senses and looks for an upgrade." She followed Ryan's line of sight and saw Chad arrive at the party with Zeke and another former Wildcat. "You may want to consider doing the same," she said as she walked away.

"Not while I have the power to draw breath," Ryan murmured. He looked in Chad's direction again but the crowd had swallowed him up. Ryan sighed at the loss and decided it was time to get into the holiday spirit. He crossed the room and led Gabriella to the dance floor while Troy's back was turned.

"So how's life in sunny California?" he asked charmingly as they danced. Her smile looked a bit forced when she answered and Ryan wondered if Sharpay was always right about such things.

"Great!" Gabriella replied. "It's wonderful getting to spend time with Troy. His parents were nice enough to invite me to visit so he didn't have to risk driving out to California in that old clunker of his. And it's nice to be back in Albuquerque and see all my old friends. Well, almost all of them," she amended. "Taylor's not here. She came home for Christmas and then went to Chicago to spend the rest of the holidays with her boyfriend."

"Oh, really?" Ryan's eyes were involuntarily and unerringly drawn to Chad. He was leaning against the wall and talking to some ex-cheerleader. Gabriella's smile was genuine this time.

"Oh, they aren't together anymore," she said knowingly. Ryan blinked at her. "They broke up right after graduation. Didn't you know?" He did know, but he let her explain, anyway. "Oh, that's right; you and Sharpay went off to Europe for the summer."

"Was it messy?" he asked ingenuously. He stole another glance at the girl. Even from this distance Ryan could tell she was flirting with Chad and he felt a wave of jealousy.

"Oh, no! It was completely mutual," Gabriella said, drawing his attention back to her. "I mean it's not as though they were really dating. Taylor was just Chad's--." She shut her mouth firmly, piquing Ryan's curiosity.

"Just Chad's what?" he probed. Troy chose that moment to cut in and Ryan was left alone in the middle of the dance floor. Undeterred, he danced his way over to Martha and swept her into his arms.

Nearly an hour passed before Ryan had the opportunity to speak to Chad. Ryan was sampling the seven-layer dip when someone placed a hand on his shoulder. He turned and found himself face to face with his longtime crush.

"Damn, you look good," Ryan said with a mouthful of chips before he could stop himself. "You been working out?" he added hastily, taking in the longer, tamer hair, the mustache and goatee and more finely chiseled physique.

"Not really." Chad grinned back at him and glanced down. Ryan did the same and noted, for the first time, that Chad was on crutches.

"What happened?" he gasped.

"Black SUV on Central Avenue--Ohio plates," Chad replied. "Or so I'm told. I never saw what hit me."

"Is it bad?"

Chad gestured with his head and hobbled his way out of the Bolton's enormous family room to the relative quiet of the empty living room. He carefully lowered himself onto the sofa and Ryan sat beside him.

"It's bad," Chad admitted grimly. "Possibly athletic career-ending bad. I tore up my knee and it's taken three surgeries to reconstruct it."

"Wow," Ryan said. "I'm sorry." Chad shrugged.

"I've been reconsidering my career choices, anyway."

"All you've ever wanted to do was play basketball."

"Where did you get that idea?" Chad asked amusedly.

"I've only heard you say it a million times." Ryan stared at Chad's left leg, which was encased in a blue brace from ankle to thigh. "And here I was considering asking you to dance," he said ruefully. Chad's laughter surprised him.

"Evans, I would give anything to be able to oblige you," he replied sincerely. He carefully positioned his leg on an ottoman and sat back, digging into a pocket. He produced a beer and handed it to Ryan before pulling one from his other pocket. "There's more to life than basketball. Even I know that."

"Where did you get these?"

"I've spent as much time in the Boltons' house as Troy. I know where things are," Chad said wryly, twisting off the lid. He waited for Ryan to do the same, intervening when Ryan had difficulty. "Here, take this one." He took the unopened bottle from Ryan and uncapped it with practiced ease.

"So what are you going to do?" Ryan asked, realizing as he spoke that perhaps Chad wasn't interested in talking about his leg. He'd undoubtedly already been asked that at least a dozen times since arriving at the party.

"Well," he replied, "I'm obviously taking the spring semester off. But after that… I'm considering a change of venue. I don't know if I want to stay at Albuquerque if I can't play ball. I only went there because they offered me a full ride athletic scholarship. If I can't play, I'd just as soon go to another school. I've been hitting the books far more than the gym, unlike someone I know, so I've got pretty decent grades."

"Where--." Ryan shut his mouth and took a sip of beer.

"So how about you, dude? How's life in New York?"

"I love it!" Ryan beamed as he talked about his first semester at Juilliard, life in New York and all the ways it was a thousand times better than going to school in Albuquerque. Chad smiled warmly at Ryan's enthusiasm.

"Sounds like a match made in heaven--Ryan Evans and New York City."

"I'll drink to that." Ryan touched his bottle to Chad's. "Hey, if you're off this semester you should come east and check it out for yourself."

"Maybe I'll do that," Chad said with a smile, "although I don't see myself getting on a plane anytime soon." He emptied his bottle and set it down, then patted Ryan's thigh and shifted forward in his seat. "Help me up." Ryan rose and helped Chad to stand. Chad took hold of his crutches and started to make his way toward the door. "Come on," he said. "Oh, and grab those bottles. We shouldn't leave any evidence behind." Ryan complied and followed Chad outside into the cold night air. He deposited the bottles in the garbage and then followed Chad to the edge of the property.

"What are we doing out here?" he asked, wrapping his arms around himself for warmth.

"Can't you hear it?" Chad said. "It's almost midnight." Ryan frowned and listened. He heard the buzz from inside the house. Ryan checked his watch; it was 11:57. Chad smiled. "New Year's parties aren't my thing; I prefer to celebrate in a quieter fashion. Usually, when I'm at home, I climb up to the roof and sit up there to watch the fireworks downtown. That's obviously not going to happen this year."

"Couldn't we see them from over there?" Ryan asked, pointing to the park across the street.

"Yeah," Chad said. "We won't have an unobstructed view, but it's better than nothing." They crossed the street and entered the little park. Ryan looked around and smiled.

"I know; we can see the fireworks from up there," he said, pointing to a little fort at the edge of the playground.

"Are you nuts? I can't climb that!"

"You don't have to climb, there's a ramp," Ryan said, jogging ahead to check it out. He quickly made his way up and grinned down at Chad. "See? Come on, I'll give you a hand."

"You're nuts, Evans," Chad said, but he slowly made his way into the little fort and up the ramp. "How did you know?"

"I did a service project last year with the Albuquerque parks department. The playground where I performed had a fort just like this one. It's wheelchair accessible."

"Just my speed," Chad quipped. They reached the top of the fort just as the clock struck midnight. They heard cheers and other sounds of revelry from the houses surrounding the park. "Happy New Year, Evans."

"Ryan."

"Huh?" Chad stopped and frowned at him.

"My name is Ryan," he said firmly, unaccountably nervous under Chad's intense gaze. Chad smiled.

"Happy New Year, Ryan," he said softly, reaching out to enfold him in his arms. Ryan never wanted the hug to end, in spite of the awkward angle necessitated by Chad's crutches.

"Happy New Year," he said. He reluctantly let go when the first barrage of fireworks pierced the sky. "Look!"

"This is cool," Chad said, beaming at the sparkling lights. "Thanks for thinking of this."

"Thanks for inviting me," Ryan said, staring at the man beside him. Chad was silent for several minutes.

"They're over there, you know," he said presently. Ryan immediately turned his head to look at the colorful pyrotechnic display. When the show ended Chad peered over the side of the fort and then turned to him, smiling. "You're going to have to help me down. I don't do 'down' very well on these things."

"Yeah, sure," Ryan said. He led the way down, walking backward and acting as both a guide and potential barrier should Chad lose his footing. When they were clear of the fort, Ryan suggested they sit and rest for a few minutes.

"We should head back to the house," Chad said, even as he took a seat on a bench. "People are probably looking for us and you're freezing." It was true enough; Ryan had been cold from the moment he left the house, but he sat down beside Chad and smiled reassuringly.

"I'm more worried about you at the moment," he said, pulling out his phone to check for messages. Not unexpectedly, there were three texts from Sharpay demanding to know his whereabouts. Ryan texted her a quick happy new year message and pocketed his phone.

"So are you planning to stay in town for the rest of your break?" Chad asked, stretching out his injured leg.

"Actually, I was thinking about going back to New York this weekend," Ryan admitted, although he'd been having second thoughts since Chad joined him. "My mom wants me to stick around. We haven't seen much of each other since I started school."

"Well, if you decide to hang out, let me know," Chad said. "Troy's going to be tied up with Gabriella and Zeke's going to spend some time in Santa Fe with his dad. I won't have anything to do." He looked up apologetically. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded," Chad said awkwardly. "I meant that--."

"You meant that you'd enjoy some company," Ryan said graciously.

"Yeah," Chad said, flushing slightly. "No. What I meant was that I'd like your company." He looked up and met Ryan's eyes. "Ever since this happened," he explained, tapping his left thigh, "I've had the sense that--. Well, I've come to the conclusion that I'm meant to do something else with my life. To be something else--maybe even be someone else."

"Who are you now?" Ryan teased lightly. Chad smiled briefly.

"I don't know," he said plainly. "I'd like to find out. That's my New Year's resolution. That's why I want a change of venue. Maybe--. Maybe if I went to New York…"

The rest of the sentence was left unsaid, leaving Ryan to figure it out. He frowned and was momentarily lost in thought until Chad's movement snapped him out of his trance.

"Let's go," Chad said, rising with more grace than someone in his condition ought to be able to, and settled himself on his crutches. "My butt's freezing." Ryan rose and they began to walk back to the house.

"You know, if you fly on crutches you get special treatment," he said conversationally.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah; you get to board first and the flight attendants fuss over you. And you can get assistance to help you negotiate the airport. It wouldn't be so bad."

"Oh," Chad replied. "Well, maybe I should think about traveling east, then. Of course, my mom would freak at the idea and she'll probably say no, but I'm eighteen now and I'm ready to make my own decisions. I have some money saved up--."

"My folks have an apartment in the city," Ryan volunteered. "You could stay there, so all you'd have to pay for is your ticket. And I'd be willing to cook for you."

"Can you cook?" Chad asked as they crossed the street.

"I'd be willing to order takeout for you. How's that?" Ryan replied giddily.

"I'm going to be in this cast for another month," Chad warned. "So I wouldn't be able to get around a lot."

"The Beekman has hotel service. And the concierge would personally come up and scratch your butt if you asked."

"I can take care of my own butt, thanks," Chad said wryly.

"Well, come to New York and I'll take care of the rest of you."

Chad stopped at the door and turned to him. They looked at each other for a moment and Chad smiled slowly.

"Sounds like a plan. Think you could me put up for a week or two?"

"You're welcome to stay as long as you like," Ryan said breathlessly. Chad nodded.

"This may be just what I need." He opened the door and stepped inside. Ryan turned and gazed up at the full moon. It was just what he needed as well.



The End

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25 comments or leave a comment
Comments
few From: few Date: January 1st, 2010 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
What is it with you and having Chad hit by cars? :)

I never get tired of having Troy flunk out of Berkeley. Maybe I need to start a new fic just so I can do that to him again, because...seriously.

I like that despite all the little hints that Chad's gay (and Gabriella knows! hee!), he doesn't actually come out, even just to Ryan. Though I imagine he will by the time he leaves New York. :)

I also loved Ryan's comment about asking Chad to dance. Because while I doubt he actually meant to say as much, I have no doubt whatsoever that he was thinking about it!
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 1st, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I knew someone would ask that! I didn't want to have it be a sport-related injury; I wanted his friends to be surprised to see him in the cast, although I never overtly mentioned it. I also wanted to subtly imply that Chad was injured off campus (Central Avenue is in downtown Albuquerque) and away from his friends, possibly engaged in something they wouldn't know about. And finally, I was also thinking about Matthew Gray Gubler, who tore up his knee dancing and required three surgeries to repair it. But Chad wouldn't admit to hurting his knee dancing, would he? Especially if it was at a gay bar in Nob Hill. So he might be lying to Ryan at that point.

No way in hell Troy Bolton gets into Berkeley. (No way in hell anyone submits an application to Juilliard for Troy Bolton, either, much less recommend him for a scholarship on the basis of one performance.) I'll never stop messing with that little freak of canon.

When I started writing the story, I originally had Ryan thinking to himself about kissing Chad at midnight. At the time I had no idea he would show up in a cast, but the line about asking him to dance is consistent with Ryan blurting out that Chad looked good.

I have the feeling that Chad won't be leaving New York--at least not for long. There are plenty of colleges for him to apply to around the city. ;)

Happy New Year!
few From: few Date: January 1st, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, everything to do with colleges in HSM3 was insane, but the Troy stuff was insane even by HSM standards.

As I read I was actually wondering if Chad was planning to kiss Ryan at midnight, and that was why he led him outside.

Somehow I'm not at all surprised to find out that Chad will be staying in NY one way or another. :)
silver_fic From: silver_fic Date: January 2nd, 2010 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Do you think you might turn it into a series? Or was that a more hypothetical imaging of the future?
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 2nd, 2010 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
*gapes at Andrew-Lee Potts until she almost forgets why she's here*

This story was planned strictly as a one-shot. I wanted to write something for New Year's Eve. I'm actually working on the post-high school series, though I haven't finished anything lately. I started a story in which Ryan visits Chad, and I also have one in the works that takes place during the summer before the boys part to their respective schools. And there are other things I'd like to write sequels to as well. But I've been really busy with other projects, so they may take a while to see the light of day.
silver_fic From: silver_fic Date: January 2nd, 2010 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
He is rather distracting, isn't he? ^__^

Othe projects out side of fabric or just other projects outside of Ryan and Chad? Either way I am fascinated, and wish you all the best in them :)
silver_fic From: silver_fic Date: January 2nd, 2010 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Stupid iPod touch says that fanfic is not a word and substituted fabric. Sorry.

I an greatly intrigued by the potential stories you mentioned, and curious what you might be writing sequels for. I always love reading new stories from you.
clio21000 From: clio21000 Date: January 1st, 2010 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Ryan could only speak knowledgeably about being two thousand miles away from someone who didn't even know he played a staring role in Ryan's every fantasy.

Nice sentence!
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 1st, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

Happy New Year!
jamoca5 From: jamoca5 Date: January 1st, 2010 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Damn, I was waiting for a New Year's kiss... aw well, this was still cute nonetheless =)

And I concur with the comment above, what is it with you and getting poor Chad hit by cars?
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 1st, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
A kiss is too expected, and Chad isn't ready to come out to Ryan. In my head Chad is just learning that he's gay and he wants to find out what that means. He's comfortable enough with Ryan to take that next step. Not at the front door of the Botlons' house, but really soon.

As I said above, you have to take Chad's comment at face value. He might just be lying. Besides, this is a different Chad! And I only did it twice! ;)

Happy New Year!
jamoca5 From: jamoca5 Date: January 1st, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess a kiss would have been too cliche, but any Chad/Ryan action, cliche or not, is always appreciated.

And after reading your comment above, Chad hurting himself while dancing (at a gay bar, at that), although hilarious, would not be something he would admit. Gabriella probably knows, though. Or Taylor. Somehow, they both know everything. =)

Yes, Happy 2010 to you, too!
inteligrrl From: inteligrrl Date: January 1st, 2010 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
*hearts* I always forget just how much I love these boys.
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 1st, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww... You have to read more! ;)

Happy New Year!
lil_1337 From: lil_1337 Date: January 1st, 2010 09:27 am (UTC) (Link)
That was nice, comfortable and awkward at the same time. You could almost hear the wheels turning in Chad's head as he was reassessing his life and figuring out where he goes from here.

I agree with the earlier comments about having Troy get kicked out of Berkley, because seriously unless Gabriella does his work how the hell would he make it there?
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 1st, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Seriously, how would Troy ever get into Berkeley, applying in May, not telling his parents, or showing any evidence of actual intelligence? (I attribute his desperation to get an athletic scholarship in HSM2 as proof that even he knows that he has a snowball's chance in hell of getting into college without one.)

I'm glad you could feel Chad's awkwardness; I wanted him to have a secret that he's on the cusp of revealing. I have the sense that he expects Ryan to figure it out, but Ryan's just content to be in his company and isn't reading too much into what Chad's saying. By the end of the story, however, I think he's begun to understand and is very happy.

Happy New Year!
silver_fic From: silver_fic Date: January 2nd, 2010 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
That was lovely, and I adore Gabriella nearly telling Ryan that Taylor was just Chad's beard, that was adorable implication ^__^


Happy New Year~!!
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 2nd, 2010 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Happy New Year to you as well!

Taylor and Gabriella were basically window dressing in HSM2 and 3. I adhere to their personae in HSM original flavor--the brains of the Wildcats. ;)
frogy From: frogy Date: January 2nd, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is great. Ryan and Chad in NY together would be epic.
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 3rd, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I've been working on other Chad/Ryan New York stories--there are a few already on this page, including College Visit: East, the Only in New York series, First Son, and A Christmas Tale. I'm not sure I will write more of this particular story, but if you want to see the boys in New York, there's plenty to read.
(Deleted comment)
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 3rd, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

It was a fun story to write.

wanderlost From: wanderlost Date: January 19th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely. I loved the feeling of promise and hope at the end. That they were about to start something exciting and new. I especially liked how it didn't happen right then and there. I imagine them to become closer as friends and THEN we'd get our belated New Year's kiss. In my head, at least.

Great job.
jalabert From: jalabert Date: January 20th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

In my head it plays out exactly that way, too.
bachelor_girl From: bachelor_girl Date: December 12th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely. :) Very sweet. I missed this one the first time around.
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