Cheek, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. For my lovely prompters Naada, Loveshipper, Blueberryminizzle, Polkadotty, and Rachel. Please remember to review!

All his life, he's been told what he can't do. He can't become a famous musician. He can't play Times Square on New Year's Eve. He can't kiss his best friend.

Well, he's proved them all wrong. He's played Times Square, twice now, as a pop sensation. He's kissed his best friend so many times he's lost count.

Their first kiss is one of his favorites.

They had been standing in front of a painting in the museum, doing a project for school. He had said something funny. She had gone in to kiss his cheek.

He had turned his head.

On purpose.

Her face stopped before hitting his. She blinked at him.

"Did you know today is Go For Broke Day?" he had said.

And that they did.

Straight through high school, right on to parenthood. Almost parenthood that is.

They're sitting in the doctor's office, waiting for him to give them the news. They've been trying for a kid. Trying, and evidently not succeeding.

"You cannot have a child."

She tells him how it isn't his fault, but he doesn't want to hear any of it. He can't believe he's let her down.

It's not like he had a choice in the matter. He would have never chosen this path.

They hold hands, walking down the street. Her thumb rubs his hand encouragingly. Noticing it isn't working, she stands on her toes to kiss his cheek.

He turns his head.

This always happens. She aims for his cheek, and he turns his head. It's a game, in a way.

A game that she is losing.

You think she'd learn.

"Look, not everyone can be parents. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be," she tells them as they reach the street corner.

"You would have made a good mother," he sulks.

"You too. Er, father I mean."

It's not like he'll every get the chance to prove it.

(the page breaks here)

Jealousy is a monster. An ugly, disfigured monster that eats at the soul of its prey.

If beauty shines from within, then Ally is feeling pretty ugly right now.

"Trish, he's so cute!" She coddles her best friend's baby in her arms. It feels so right.

"He better be. I had to carry him around for eight and a half months." She runs a hand through her sweaty hair.

Dez whispers to Austin. "Imagine if she hadn't delivered him two weeks early."

They both shudder.

He takes a picture of his wife holding the baby. This could have been them. They could have had a kid to love and care for. One that wasn't on loan.

When they leave, she gives his hand a squeeze.

She knows.

(the page breaks here)

It's a good thing he isn't a father, because he has plenty to learn.

"Ruben, what are you doing?" Ally asks, keeping her voice at a nice, calm level. A level that is nowhere near the level inside her head.

"Aussie gave me markers to color with." Sharpie markers, to be exact.

She grabs his hand, which had been idly strumming at his acoustic guitar. "Aussie, have you been any attention to the child we're supposed to be babysitting?"

He looks up. There, along their white walls is a mural. Drawn by a three year old.

Thanks Trish, for giving birth to such a trouble maker.

"That's a really nice stick person. Two arms, two legs. I couldn't have done that at his age." Maybe if he acts like it's no big deal, she won't be as angry.

Yeah, that didn't work.

She hoists Ruben onto her hip. He fits along the curve of her body.

This is not fair. That should be their child, fitting perfectly against her body. He can't be the only one to match that description.

"Do we still have the leftover paint in the garage?"

"Not enough to cover that."

She sighs. "Well, it is along the bottom of the wall. Not many people look down there."

He grins. Ally leans in to kiss his cheek, to which of course he turns his head.

Ruben covers his eyes.

"Come on bud," he says, taking him from her arms. "You can draw on my guitar."

She raises an eyebrow at him.

Next gig, he uses that guitar, toddler scribbles and all.

If only they were his toddler's scribbles.

(the page breaks here)

Trish sits at the kitchen table. Her son comes running in, Dez on his tail.

"Mommy, mommy, mommy!" He runs into her arms.

"What did you do?" she asks him, peering over Ruben's shoulder.

He shakes his head. "I didn't do anything. He's been like this since I picked him up."

Tears stream down his face. They wet her shoulder, but she doesn't care. Someone made her kid cry, and they are going to pay.

Ally gets up from the table to get him a tissue.

"J-Jimmy said that I was named after a sandwich!" More tears.

"Benny, we didn't name you after a sandwich." Taking the tissue, she dabs at his eyes.

"But Jimmy-"

She sets the tissue on the table. "Jimmy's a moron."

If she were a mother, Ally would never teach her kid these things. She believes everyone should be treated with respect. Even if they did tell her kid that they were named after a sandwich.

Then again, if she was a mother, she would have probably chosen a very safe name.

Then again, again, Austin did have a say, and who knows where that would have gone. He named their pet goldfish Captain Bubbles and Gil Esquire.

He is never naming their non-existent future children.

(the page breaks here)

The mall installs a photo booth by the entrance.

"Come on, we have to get a picture. The only thing on our fridge is that picture of a pig that Ruben drew us." He drags her across the parking lot.

"It's a cat."

"Cats don't have curly tails."

Well, pigs don't have whiskers.

Inserting a coin into the slot, he presses against her. She leans in to kiss his cheek.

It's pretty obvious what happens next.

"Eww!" a voice shrieks from outside the booth. Pulling back the curtain, they see a little girl looking at their picture strip.

"Hello there," Ally greets her.

Swinging her pigtails, she cranes her neck to look at her. "Hi."

The child's mother comes running behind her.

If she was a mother, she'd never let her kid stray. Not at that young of an age, across such a busy parking lot.

But she's not a mother. She's the one thanking the child as she takes her pictures from her hand. She's the one watching the child go, hand tucked into her mother's.

She's the one reassuring Austin that it's okay, because she sees that look in his eyes. The one that says he is so sorry.

She wishes he'd stop blaming himself.

(the page breaks here)

Trish wraps the blanket tighter around her body. It's oddly cold out today.

It's also the first soccer game that Ruben is playing in. Everyone is there to cheer him on.

"You go Benny!" Dez shouts next to her.

He scores a goal, and they cheer for him.

Austin's knee bumps Ally's beneath their blanket. At first, she thinks it was an accident.

Then he mumbles in her ear. "He must be so embarrassed."

She smiles. They both know that if it was their kid out there, they'd be screaming their head off too. It wouldn't matter if they'd get laryngitis and not be able to perform. They'd make that kid feel like the most special person in the world.

That's what parents are meant to do.

"Whooo! You rock Benny!" she screams.

He may not be theirs, but he's the closest thing they have.

(the page breaks here)

This is a nice surprise. When Trish came to visit, she brought the mail in for them.

Catalog, catalog, bill.

Huh.

"I know you both feel bad about not being able to have kids," she explains as he scans the first page. "And Ruben's been wanting a playmate."

He drops the stack of printed sheets. Then he hugs her.

Ally enters the room, placing her empty coffee cup in the sink.

"What's going on?" They glance to each other, silently agreeing that he'll be the one to ask her.

"Check these out." He passes the sheets to her.

"Adoption?" She leafs through a couple of pages. They had lost hope when the doctor had told them no.

She should have known that he'd find a way to prove him wrong. He never lets anything get in his way. Not forever.

Aiming for his cheek, he turns his head. She makes it quick. She has other things to do.

Like hugging her best friend.

(the page breaks here)

There's no crib or diapers. There's no endless baby name lists, or scribbles on the wall, save for Ruben's happy stick figure family. They'll have to add another one in.

This one will be a girl.

Her name will be Saffron. The kids will make fun of her name, and she'll beg to be called Ronnie. Ruben will understand.

She'll have no musical talent whatsoever. It'll be odd, because they always thought between the two of them their kid would be a rock star. But she's smart for her age, and they know her future is bright.

They know their future together is bright.

She chases after Ruben in the park. He's teaching her soccer.

The four of them will scream their hearts out, not caring that he should be resting his voice for his concert tomorrow. That's his kid that he's proud of, and he's going to make sure she knows it.

He leans over to kiss Ally on the cheek.

She turns her head.

She finally learned.