Well, this is the Ryan fic I said I was going to write. It took me a while to find time to write this between all the other plot bunnies jumping around in my head. It didn't turn out the way I thought it would, but I like it anyway. Ryan is such an underrepresented character that I wanted to devote a little time to him, too. So, here it is.

Disclaimer: If I owned it I wouldn't be writing this fic.

Finding Myself

Hi. I'm Ryan. Yes, Ryan. You know-Shapray's brother? Yeah. That's me. I'm glad to see you care so much.

That's how I always used to introduce myself. I was always 'Sharpay's Brother.' Most people either couldn't remember my name or didn't care. Or, in some cases, both. I might have been higher in status that Kelsey or the Math team, but not by much. If Sharpay didn't need me, I would have been lower than dirt. As it was, she usually succeeded in making me feel like dirt.

We always starred together in the school plays, but I knew she didn't really care whether it was me or somebody else. I was only her stepping stool to the top. Then Gabriella Montez showed up, and Troy Bolton and her decided to try out. They were really good. Sharpay was furious, but really, I didn't mind. Maybe it would show her how everyone else felt all the time.

Gabriella and Troy got the leads, and I was a background dancer. It was actually the most fun I've ever had in a musical. I still danced with Sharpay, but there was a lot more laughter on set because the brainy people (they have a name but to me they were always the brainy people) or the Jocks would show up and we'd all get dinner. For once, I actually had friends because they knew me, not because they knew Sharpay.

And then came summer. Sharpay was determined to get Troy to like her. She didn't care that he was perfectly happy with Gabriella. So, she got him hired at Lava Springs.

Things were going perfectly for her until he actually showed up. That's when things started getting better. Troy had brought the entire East High Student Body with him. When they showed up, I gave the guy a silent kudos. Way to protect himself from the Saber-Toothed Tiger.

Things started out fine for everyone. Then, things changed. Troy kept getting promoted, and I knew it was because of Sharpay. She was trying to tear him away from his friends, reduce him to something like herself.

The Wildcats didn't like what Troy was doing. They started not including him in their activities. He ditched the staff baseball game to play basketball with some college guys. Gabriella invited me instead. I can't pretend I wasn't pleased. Gabriella is a person who I've liked since the moment I met her. She's magnetic, and I had more than a little crush.

Gabriella talked the Wildcats into doing the Talent Show, with me as their director. That was when I knew that I belonged. I vowed to stop following Sharpay. I am Ryan. Ryan Evans. I taught the Wildcats how to dance, and I won the Star-Dazzle Award. And I have friends.

I am my own person now, and I know what's right. I'm going to stick with the Wildcats, because they deserve my time so much more than Sharpay ever did. Sharpay saw me as a stepping stone. The Wildcats saw me as a director. Well, I am both of those things and more.

I am Ryan Evans.

Well, any feedback is welcome. I love constructive criticism.