Truck Boxers and Elephant Clocks, an Austin & Ally oneshot

I do not own Austin & Ally. This is for KR Blake, who requested a story using the song "Always" by R5, which I also do not own. Requests and reviews are welcome!

He stands in front of the bathroom mirror, wearing only his truck boxers. They aren't torn, nor frayed, but the fabric is faded. They are his lucky pair. He wore them when he met Ally. He wore them when he played at the Miami Internet Music Awards and again when he was signed to his label.

He tugs at the waistband. Today is the day he needs them the most.

Today is the day he asks Ally out.

He hums himself a little tune. It plays everywhere he goes. Gas stations, diners, and even when the tour bus driver turns up the radio to tune out the sound of passing traffic. Every time he hears those lyrics he thinks of one special girl.

Not the girl that gossip magazines claimed he was dating. She's just his opening act. She's just a girl who took a sip of his drink (like all of his friends had) and got caught on camera (like all of his friends had not).

That special girl is Ally.

I see me and you walking round through the town.

Unlike the first three days of transit, the fourth had not been so lucky. They were going along at a good pace when the bus started having problems. They pulled into a repair shop.

The mechanic said he would take a look for them. There were a couple of shops on the street they were on. With a promise to return in an hour, they set out on foot. The smell of fresh apple pie wafted out of the bakery. Dez headed towards it, feeling a sudden emptiness in his stomach.

Trish had gone into the jewelry store. There was a half off advertisement on the window, claiming that the store was going out of business. There was an old woman peering at them through the painted glass. Her eyes begged them to come in. Yet he had continued on, bringing Ally with him.

OAG, or Opening Act Girl, as they had called her, even after learning her real name, as nicknames tend to stick, had her nose pressed against the window of the laundromat. It was unclear why, but he wasn't going to waste his time finding answers to questions he didn't want to ask. He was going to find the park.

He looked right, left and right again. Then left again, because he knew you were supposed to look left twice. But were you supposed to look right once or twice before crossing?

"Austin, there are no cars coming. Can we cross the street now?" Ally asked him.

He took her hand (he knew that was right, and it had nothing to do with the buddy system he had been taught in his youth) and crossed the street.

At the park, he had found a swing set. The seats were wet. It must have rained the prior night.

He wiped it with his sleeve. His sleeve ended up a bit soaked, but he figured better that than Ally.

Austin pulled her swing back as high as he could manage. Letting her go, he heard her shriek at the rush of wind flying through her hair.

He pushed her again.

He liked the feeling of his hands on her back.

Just me and youin the sand, holding hands.

The next concert is on the beach. His sneakers sit on the stage side, filled with sand. He knew better than to go surfing and put his shoes on. The flip flops he had planned on wearing were still on his bed at home. He needed some sort of footwear to enter the hotel.

The sand washed off in the shower. His shoes weren't so lucky. By the time the concert had rolled around, he had decided to go it barefoot.

Sand squished beneath his toes. With each step he sunk further into the ground. He kept on singing, grabbing Ally's hand.

He sung the words straight to her. Hoards of fans reached out to touch him. It didn't matter that there were bikini clad girls calling his name. There was only one girl he had his eyes set on.

He held out his hand to her. She took it, letting him wind his fingers through hers. He tried to lead her on stage. They could do their duet.

Her fingers slipped from his.

Perhaps another day.

Tell the time stop asking questions.

There was standing elephant clock glued to the table on the bus. It was an analog. He had noticed early on that the clock read an hour behind. When he had asked the driver about it, he sighed at him. Then he explained that it was too complicated to adjust the clock, and how every time Daylight Savings came along, he would just have to remember that it was an hour behind.

Except one day, he forgot. They had stopped for gas, and when he had checked for the time, he thought they were ahead of schedule. So he took his time waiting in line to get a jumbo coffee.

While they waited for his return, Austin watched the clock. They didn't have much time to squander. He didn't know what was taking so long to get gas.

The moments ticked past. Here he was, in a gas station parking lot, when he had to get across the state border by tonight. They were wasting time.

The elephant looked at him. It seemed to be questioning him.

'Who are you to talk about wasting time? You've wasted plenty on asking Ally out.'

He almost answered him back. But Ally was across the table, reading a book. He could not discuss this with an elephant. Especially an elephant that was not real, could not talk and was glued to the table.

'You do like her, don't you? What are you waiting for Romeo?' He closed his eyes. There was no way this could be happening.

The driver got back on with his coffee and started the bus.

The elephant shut up.

Don't be shy.

OAG got off the bus first. The paparazzi swarmed around her as she donned her oversized sunglasses.

Ally crouched behind Austin. "I think I'll stay on the bus for now."

He let Dez and Trish cut in front of them.

"You'll be fine. Come on." He saw the unsure expression on her face. He unzipped his jacket and slid it on her. He zipped it up, lifting the hood.

He may have wanted to show her off to the world, but if she wasn't ready for the world, he wasn't going to push it.

The cameras took their pictures. And the next day headlines would inquire who this mystery girl was. To him, it was obvious. She was Ally Dawson, song writer extraordinaire, best friend and major crush.

To them, she was 'possible fan romance,' 'secret girlfriend,' and 'unknown girl.'

He wished at least one of those things were true.

For the dense among you, it's the second one.

I'll always hold you close.

It was not raining cats and dogs. It was raining hippos and manatees and elephants. The drops were fat and steady.

They didn't have to reach their next stop until the next day. If they could make it to their hotel, where they would be spending the night before setting out in the early morning, it wouldn't matter how hard the rain was falling. Instead, they were driving through it.

Lightning cracked. Ally jumped, finding Austin's arms curling around her.

"It's fine. We'll be at the hotel soon," he murmured. Dez and Trish smiled. They knew that he liked her, and they had to admit they would make a cute couple. OAG rolled her eyes.

She cozied into his shoulder. He could of sworn he saw the elephant wink at him.

If that clock wasn't glued to the table, he would have smashed it to bits by now.

My friends may ask, but I am sure.

If anybody, he expected Dez to have the talk with him. Or if not him, maybe Trish. Heck, he would have been less surprised if the bus driver did it.

He was not planning on it being OAG.

"Do my zipper for me, would ya kid? Be careful. It sticks sometimes." She turned away from him, pulling her long ponytail out of the way.

He took the zipper between his fingers. She took the chance to talk to him.

"You wish this was Ally's zipper, don't you?" He got caught for a moment, tugging down and back up again.

"What?" His voice was high. He was thankful she couldn't see his blush. Not that she needed to.

He released the zipper. She turned around to face him. "When are you going to ask the poor girl out?"

He tugged at his tie. It was too tight, and he needed fresh air, fast.

The oxygen didn't reach his brain fast enough.

"When I get the nerve." Had he a clear head, he could have come up with a lie. He could have brushed it off like it was nothing.

Her eyes popped at his honesty. She had planned on him lying, and then slapping the truth out of him. Her mind fast forwarded through her preplanned spiel on why they should be together.

She found her place. "Well, when you do, you better not break her heart, or I'll hurt your face."

He hadn't known that they were close. OAG was much edgier than Ally, and had the constant habit of pretending not to care. One snap of her bubble gum would let you know that you were not worthy of her time.

"Thanks." If he ever hurt her, he'd deserve to get punched in the face. Or whatever torture she had up her sleeve.

You never knew with OAG.

No one can keep me away.

In twelve days, he had been proposed to six times, asked out twenty nine times, and told 'I love you' more than he could count.

There was only one 'I love you' that mattered. That was Ally's.

He had boarded the tour bus, sliding into the seat next to her. She had been by the window. From her place, she could see the screaming fans throwing themselves at him.

She had thought he was right behind her. Which he was, until a rabid fan yanked at his hair. The roar of the crowd was so loud, she hadn't heard him scream until it was too late. Security had gotten the girl off of him.

"At first, it was cool. Now it's just plain annoying. If I wasn't famous, none of these people would love me." Normally he was excited to hear the crowd chant his name. But it had been a weird night. There were fans trying to break into the dressing room. He had been cornered in the bathroom for his autograph. A girl tried to take his hair, while it was still attached to his head.

He had every right to be grumpy.

"I would still love you," she replied. He blushed.

The elephant snickered at him.

He was so lucky he was glued to the table.

My love is so strong.

Backstage, he could see Ally poking her head out behind the curtain. After getting elbowed in the gut the night before, she had asked to stay backstage. There was no way she was going to get stuck in a wild audience two nights in a row.

The drummer pounded the intro to his next song. Heartbeat.

He adjusted his hold on his guitar. His fingers knew the movements by heart. He didn't have to look down to see what he was doing.

He was supposed to be looking at the audience. They were singing along, waving their arms. His eyes glanced back to Ally. To the audience. Back to Ally.

She disappeared behind the curtain. It was meant as a signal for him to stop looking at her. The audience was his responsibility.

It only made him look back more often. His head bobbed back and forth so often they started to mimic him. It wasn't some dance, but if they thought it was, he was going to use the cover.

After the song, he stepped off stage for a drink of water.

She handed him the bottle. "You're supposed to be singing to them, not me."

'But the song was for you. I sang a love song for you.' That is what he wanted to say.

What he really said was, "I want you to have a good time too."

She took the bottle back from him.

"As long as I'm with you, it is a good time."

Getting back on stage, it became apparent that his microphone had not been turned off.

Good thing he didn't confess.

We can fly to the stars.

That night, Austin was sent out to get ice from the machine. He had passed a door, behind which resided a flight of stairs.

Out of curiosity, he climbed them to find they led him to the roof. From there he could see the stars.

He returned to the room with a partially melted bucket of ice. Passing it off to Dez, he took Ally's hand.

"There's something you have to see." Trish moved her eyes from the movie on the television to them.

"Don't forget your room key. I'm not getting up to let you in again." She had let him in once, only missing the opening credits. She wasn't going to miss more.

He nodded, leading her out of the room. They went up the stairs.

The door got propped open with a large rock. He wasn't sure what it was doing on the roof. It must have been there as a doorstop. It was unclear whether the door would lock behind them, but he was not going to take his chances. There was always that chance that something terribly awkward would happen and he would need to escape.

Either that, or one of them would have to go to the bathroom.

There was no way he was doing that in front of her. Or on the ledge of a five story building.

"It's so beautiful out here." The stars twinkled.

He was going to say 'yes you are,' but it was not a cliché, corny movie. It was his life.

"I know right? It's so awesome." A single firework burst in the sky.

There was no apparent rhyme or reason from what they could tell. They stood waiting for another to go off.

It never came.

Maybe he should have made fireworks of his own.

No one can catch us, cause no one knows.

One day he didn't feel like facing the paparazzi. The concert wasn't going to start for another two hours, and he couldn't find any good reason to join everyone inside.

Ally must have had the same feeling, because she found him underneath the table, hand shoved in a box of crackers.

"Mind if I join you?" He scooted over, making room for her.

"Cracker?" He held the box out to her.

She took one and bit into it. Crumbs fell into her hair.

He set the box down. "I forgot to warn you. They're a bit messy."

She ran her fingers through the strands. The crumbs fell to the floor. Then she reached for another cracker.

"Why are you hiding?"

"I'm just tired." He was tired of the paparazzi documenting his every move. He was tired of not being able to step out of the tour bus with Ally without them thinking she was his girlfriend.

He was tired of her not being his girlfriend.

"Three more stops, and then we'll be back in Miami. Then you can unwind and finally sleep in your own bed."

His mouth was full of cracker, so he couldn't respond. He smiled.

Once the cracker was safely on its way to his stomach, he sat up. "Alright. We should probably get in there, huh?"

"Mhm." She took the box of crackers and slipped out from under the table.

Austin tried to get out, hitting his head on the table. He ducked down farther.

He brushed his pants off, taking the cracker box from her. He folded the inner bag to keep them fresh.

"Let's go."

"You okay?" She stretched up to rub the top of his head.

He was fine, but there was no way he was going to let her know that.

The feeling of her hands in his hair was way too enjoyable.

(the page breaks here)

He will stop staring at his reflection. He will eat his pancakes so his stomach will not rumble. He will brush his teeth so his breath does not reek of pancakes. He will enjoy their first kiss with minty fresh breath. He will do so many things with his life that he hasn't even thought of yet. He will do these things with Ally because she will say yes. He will live happily ever after.

He snaps the waistband of his lucky boxers.

Ever after starts today.