Zero Seconds to Midnight, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. This is per request of Inlovewithlove16. Review, and leave requests!

His fingers plunk down on those same three keys. The pattern repeats over and over, but no words come.

"How are we going to get this song finished by tomorrow?"

"We'll get it done. Even if we have to pull an all nighter," she promises.

You see, he has a family reunion tomorrow. He was going to play a few songs for them. Then he had plans to gorge himself out on hot dogs and surf the afternoon away. Staying on the sand would most likely involve cheek pinching. Every time his grandmother calls to tell him how proud she is, he can hear it in her voice. That tone that comes with the cheek pinching. He remembers it quiet well.

What started as an innocent update on his fansite has turned into him promising a new song to be up on the site by Sunday morning.

He's not sure how he got here. Point is, he has fourteen hours to come up with a new song. And right now, it's a whole three notes that plunk plunk plunk.

His phone rings, interrupting the plunking.


It's his mother. "Where are you?"

"I'm at Sonic Boom with Ally." He looks over at her. Her fingertips are touching the keys, not pressing down. She adds on to his three keys.

"I thought the mall closed."

"It is, but we're working on a song for tomorrow." He watches her fingers trace over the melody again. He shakes his head and changes a few notes. She copies him, and smiles. Finally, progress on the song. "We just need to get some lyrics."

She covers the phone and says something to her husband. He can't make out what they're saying.

"Why don't you come work on them here? That way your father doesn't have to come out in the dark. And Ally can stay the night so her father doesn't have to either." Austin checks out the window. The moon is out already.

"But she doesn't have anything with her." Ally takes her eyes off the keys to eye him curiously.

"I'm sure we can make accommodations. Now I'm sending your father, so be waiting in the parking lot." He hears him picking up his keys on the other end, kissing her cheek. His fate has already been decided for him.

They exchange their goodbyes and he hangs up.

"What was that all about?" she asks.

"Apparently we're having a sleepover."

(the page breaks here)

In the car, he takes the backseat with Ally. Normally he sits shotgun. But it'd be rude to leave her there all by herself.

Besides, he's not getting a crick in his neck just so he can keep looking back and talking with her.

"Dad, are you sure we can't stop to get her some clothes and a toothbrush?"

"No need. We have everything she'll need." He exits the parking lot.

Austin fiddles with the seat belt. The button shoots off and he becomes unbuckled. His father glances at him in the rear view mirror.

He hastily clicks it back into place. He shouldn't be this fidgety. These thoughts running through his head should not be running through there.

They shouldn't even be walking.

At the mention of the idea, they all slow their pace. He finds that this is even worse. Now the thoughts linger, rather than flying in and out. It's less content to a greater extreme. One evil for another.

The one thought, one of Ally sleeping in one of his shirts, her chest rising and falling with every breath, is walking in slow motion. So slow that he jumps (well, if he could jump being tied down to the seat) when she says something.

"Could you repeat that?"

"I just think since it's for a family reunion, we could do a song about families." They pull into his driveway.

He unbuckles himself, this time on purpose. "Okay. Have any ideas?"

"That's as far as I got."

It's going to be a long night.

(the page breaks here)

It is not going to be a long night. It is going to be a four hour night, because his mom says he needs to be in bed by midnight. They're going to be up early.

A brief wave of panic courses through him.

No worries. They can do this.

"What do you think family is about?" She sits on the edge of his bed.

"The people that are related to you." He takes one of the robots off his shelf, playing with the arms. "People that are always there for you, even if you don't want them to be."

He sets it back on the shelf. She crosses her ankles. It stretches her legs out long and lean.

It is very distracting.

He takes another robot from the shelf. To her, he must seem distracted. She came over to write the song, and here he is, focusing on everything that isn't her and the song.

"What else?" she prompts. Leaning back, she can see the 'paste' poster on the wall next to the bed. She's always wanted to ask him about it. Why paste? Why not cut, or copy?

"They can be the most embarrassing people in the world, but you'd never replace them for anyone else."

"You could say the same thing about your friends."

"The best of friends are like family." He sits on the bed next to her.

There are two kinds of families. Those by marriage, and those by blood. Which means either he thinks of her as his sister, or his wife.

One of these choices she prefers. She won't tell which.

Not unless he feels the same way.

"So it's really a song about family and friends." She takes the robot from him, messing with the arms. He's not the only one who needs to stay distracted.

"Yeah." He should say more, but without that robot, he's back to looking at her legs.

The robot gets set on the bed behind them. They both need to pay attention to something other than a toy.

Or each other.

(the page breaks here)

Three hours to go. He's laying on the floor, strumming the guitar. She's curled her legs underneath her. All he can see is her face tilted down to look at him.

"At least we got the chorus done. That's the important part."

"They're all important parts, Austin." She tucks a falling strand of hair behind her ear. It doesn't stay.

When he tucks it behind her ear, it makes sure to stay.

Just for a minute. Then it springs back. He pushes the guitar off, sitting up. He tucks the hair back a second time. This time his face is level with hers, not straining to reach from the carpet below.

She blinks at him. "Any ideas for the verses?"

There's a knock at the door. His dad sticks his head in.

"We're going to bed. You two try not to make too much noise, alright?" His eyes glance to his hand, still resting behind her ear. He moves it.

"Sure thing."

He turns to leave. Ally has an idea.

"Um Mr. Moon?"

"Yes Ally?" He comes into the room. His hands get loosely stuck into his pockets.

"Could you maybe help us for a minute? We're having a little bit of trouble with the song." She swings her legs off the bed.

Austin scoots back. He does not need her legs in front of his face. Not with his dad in the room.

Mr. Moon takes a seat next to her on the bed.

"The family song?"

"It's more of a family and friend song now," Austin says, getting up from the floor. This makes it much easier to avoid her legs.

He nods. "How can I help?"

"We want to know what family means to you." She shows him her notepad. "This is what we have so far."

As he reads it, she feels the bed dip. Austin is beside her.

"I like what you have. Maybe you could expand on the embarrassing idea by talking about their eccentricities. Like how your grandma likes to pinch your cheeks."

His elbow tickles her side as he rubs his cheeks. Almost as if he can feel the pain.

Right now, all he can feel is the goosebumps.

Ones that he can't blame on the weather, because it's a warm night.

They're the ones that say 'I'm in too deep.'

Where is his rescue team?

(the page breaks here)

Two hours to midnight. They've managed to lay down two verses. With a third and a bridge, they can call it a night.

Their shoes are now off. He wiggles his toes. He's stiff, having sat in the same spot for the past hour.

It's not his fault being right next to Ally makes his heart happier than his bones.

"We should take a break."

"If we take a break, I'm going to fall asleep," she protests.

He kicks his shoes out of the way. "It'll be quick. We can get into our pajamas so we're more comfortable."

He opens his dresser.

"I don't have any. All I have is whatever is in my bag, remember?" She points to the bag leaning against the wall. He takes out an extra shirt.

Tossing it to her, he pulls the one he is wearing over his head. Through the sleeve hole, he can see the shirt landed at her feet. He can also see her blushing.

"You can borrow my shirt. It should be long enough for you." She holds it up to her. It skims her thigh. A bit short if you ask her.

"Not quite." He pulls a tank top over his head.

Checking out the situation, he realizes she is right. "You might want to change later."

For both of their sakes.

(the page breaks here)

Forty two minutes to midnight, and the song is done. He lifts his hand to hers.

They high five, lightly so the sound does not echo and wake his parents.

"We're actually ahead of schedule." She tucks the notepad into her bag.

"Now what?"

"Now we sleep."

He hoists himself off the bed. "Fine. I'm going to brush my teeth first."

He leaves the room. She takes the free moment to get changed. Her shirt is halfway over her head when he comes back.

"Sorry!" He slaps his hand over his eyes. "I found another toothbrush. Thought you might want to join me."

She hurries to change shirts. She yanks her skirt off, folding it in quarters and stuffing it in her bag.

"Thank you." He uncovers his eyes.

That was too close.

(the page breaks here)

Thirty eight minutes to midnight, their teeth are clean. He pulls his shorts down, tossing them in the hamper.

Now it's the two of them in their underwear and tee shirts.

Technically his tee shirts.

That image from the car comes back to him. She's even wearing the same green shirt.

His subconscience was not his friend.

"Do you have a sleeping bag that I can use?" Or is she supposed to use the couch?

"The bed is big enough for the two of us."

He's not sure if there'll be room for the awkward elephant in the room.

(the page breaks here)

Twenty eight minutes to midnight, he rolls onto his side.

"We're going to have to stop by your house tomorrow morning so you can change before the reunion." As much as he'd like to see her in his shirt all day long, she deserves a clean set of clothes. Not some rumpled mess that she slept in.

"Okay," she yawns.

"Are you falling asleep on me?"

"No." She yawns again. "Well, maybe just a little bit."

He chuckles and tucks that strand of hair back behind her ear.

(the page breaks here)

Fifteen minutes to midnight, she is fighting to stay awake. There's no reason she has to stay up. But he's up, with no sign of falling asleep. It'd be rude to ignore him.

"Go to sleep," she commands.

"I'm not tired." Truth be told, he can't take his eyes off of her.

She lifts her hand to his eyes, ordering them to shut. "I am."

"So go to sleep."

"I can't with you staring at me."

He closes his eyes.

(the page breaks here)

Ten minutes to midnight, he's still awake. His eyes are closed. He's in his pajamas.

Why can't he fall asleep?



"I really can't fall asleep." He opens his eyes. Hers are looking back at his.

She curls up next to him. "Why not?"

He makes for a very nice pillow.

He knows exactly why not. He's too busy thinking about how the girl of his dreams is sleeping in his bed, in his shirt.

"I dunno."

The only thing he doesn't know is how to admit it to her.

(the page breaks here)

Four minutes to midnight, he thinks he is going to crack. Her chest is slowly rising and falling, just like that image in the car. He tucks her hair behind her ear.

It's as if that strand is an escape artist.

He gets it. Now just stay in place already.

She snuggles closer.

If only she knew what she's doing to him.

(the page breaks here)

Zero seconds to midnight. It's officially time to go to sleep. He sinks his head into the pillow.

"Good night Ally. I love you," he whispers.

She smiles in her sleep.

And that strand of hair stays there, as if those words hold it back in place.

At least until morning, when they'll find it back in her face. They'll find her head is still nestled against his chest, his arms wound around her body.

Looks like he'll just have to tell it again.

This time, she's awake to hear it.

More importantly, this time, she says it back.