Rain Peas, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. Naada, this one is for you. It took me forever, so hopefully you and the rest of my lovely reviewers enjoy!

She licks her fingertip, running the thread through it. A knot forms, and she takes to the knees of his jeans.

"Austin, you have to take better care of your pants. No more power sliding." It seems to be a thing with him on this tour. He'll hit that power chord in the last song, slam onto his knees. There's two bruises, both purple.

"Stitch, I've told you, the fans love the power slide." He ruffles her hair. For a young girl trying to make an extra buck over the summer, she sure has some magical sewing powers. Everyone knows those with magic powers deserve nicknames. So he gave her one.

"I told you not to call me Stitch. It makes me sound like a blue alien." She sticks her tongue out at him.

Ally stops scribbling in her notebook. She wants to agree with her.

But they're being so cute together. He's teasing her, and she's poking back, thankfully not with the needle. They have an easy rapport.

The seamstress laughs at something he's said. Ally wants to laugh along too, but it's not her place. There's something special going on here, and just because she still has feelings for her best friend does not mean she's going to spoil his chances at this.

How long could it last anyhow?

(the page breaks here)

On the last night of the tour, over a plate of spaghetti in a diner with the air conditioning on too high, he makes a moves. Several moves, one after the other.

The booth squeaks as he slides to make room for Ally. There's room for two across from them. He's made it known to everyone that passes that the seat is reserved.

"Don't tell me, it's reserved?"

Lowering his menu, he attempts to stand, as if he is going to pull her chair out. There's no chair, and his knees hit the table.

"I saved it for you," he strains, rubbing his sore knees. There will be bruises for his bruises.

"Thanks." She snags his menu, scans the prices. "I'll just get the plate of fries."

He takes the menu back. "Did you pick it because it was the cheapest thing on the menu again?"

She studies her chipped nail polish.

He studies her face. Too hard, and she feels his gaze eating away at her.

"I've told you, I'm saving for medical school." Her mouth waters at the sight of the sundae on the front of the menu.

"Fine. But you're letting me take you out to dinner tomorrow. My treat."

"Like on a date?"

His eyes drift to Ally. He loves her, but she's moved past this, and if he's found another girl to like, and he really likes her, who is to say this won't turn into love?

The waitress comes by to take their order. It gives him time to think things over. He repeats the words in his head. It's a date. It's a date. It's a-

"For you sir?"

"I'd like a date. A hamburger. I'd like a hamburger." He leans across the table. "I would still like that date though."

She grins.

He misses the flash of pain on Ally's face.

(the page breaks here)

He'd slept over at Dez's house. Stitch and Ally insisted that it was bad luck to see the bride before the wedding.

At home he wouldn't have been woken by a dog who refuses to follow its potty training. He's happy he hung his tuxedo in the closet, not over the couch. That thing was a rental.

"Close your eyes!" Ally calls as they scurry down the hall. He can't see them later until they're at the altar.

The only question is, are they in the right spots? There's the bride to be and the maid of honor. Two spots, and he's spent the night flipping them around as he flipped in bed.

Half an hour until he goes to the altar.

Hopefully his pants won't be too sweaty by then.

(the page breaks here)

Three months after the wedding, Ally packs for Europe. Her grandmother has offered to take her, free of charge for the week. She couldn't turn down the offer.

Well, she could, but she's depressed.

"Promise to call when you land?" he pleads. His hand envelopes hers, and she can feel the cool of the the ring.

Her hand slips away.

"I promise."

(the page breaks here)

It's the last day of her vacation, and she doesn't want to leave. She's made a few friends, and there's a little bakery that sells the most delicious croissants, and honestly, she needs to get away. Miami holds heartache and regret.

The boy doesn't always have to make the first move.

She dials her phone.

"Hey! I thought you weren't going to call until you got in. Doesn't your flight leave in an hour?"

The voice of his wife calls to him in the background. It solidifies her decision. That, and she only has ten dollars to her name until the rest of her belongings arrive. It won't get her a ride to the airport, let alone her friend's house, where she'll be spending the night.

"Yeah, my grandma said she'd call you when she got in. Make sure she remembers to call me, okay? She's been forgetting things lately." A tissue erases any trace of tears.

"Call you? Won't she be with you Ally?" The name calling gets louder, yet he does not respond.

"I'm staying."

His mood dampens. "How long?"

"I don't know." His wife is beside him now, trying to get his attention.

"Honey, it's positive."

"I should let you go."

"No, Ally-"

"It's fine. Congratulations."

She hangs up the phone so he can't hear her tears.

(the page breaks here)

He only gets to see Ally once a year. She'll come over early December for a 'pre Christmas' party. Airfare is too expensive to make it during the holidays. He'll survive the entire year on letters and emails and his weekly phone call. One ten minute phone call a week, because she can't afford long distance, or the time difference. By the time he's done with his work, it's late, and she's at work. It blows.

He convinced her to do a webchat the one day. That's how he ended up with Dez and Trish's noses pressed to the screen, inspecting her roommate Charlie's shepherd's pie he had made.

Ooh, a culinary major that happened to get his degree in France. Let us ooh and aah at him.

Sounds better that steaming over the fact that everybody thinks he's so hot. Just friends nothing. They're as friendly as they were back in the day.

Has it only been three years?

He takes Stitch to the party with their daughter. The two year old is cradled in her mother's arms.

Ally is cradled in his.

"Um, Austin, we're under the mistletoe."

He grabs her face, turns to her cheek. "Don't move," he whispers.

A simple peck.

Charlie comes through with a plate of miniature hot dogs. He's been helping her parents, treating them like old friends. Old as in long standing, not aged.

"You missed Moon."

He shows him how to properly kiss under a mistletoe, without dropping the hotdogs.

Did he miss the kiss, or the chance at a beautiful girl?

His baby giggles.

Nope, his girl is perfect.

(the page breaks here)

It's one in the morning on a Thursday. His sweatpants are slipping from his hips, his guitar from his lap.

And when he gets the phone call, he slips from the chair.

His bottom aches. His heart aches more. A thousand times more, and he'd like to slam it down, but Wednesday is sleeping. Before you ask, she's named after the daughter on the Addams family. His wife is obsessed.

Was.

His wife was obsessed. Now she's dead on the side of the road and he's on the ground, crying his eyes out.

"Daddy?" His daughter comes out, a teddy bear dangling from her tight fist. "I had a bad dream."

He wishes it was that easy. He wishes that the entire thing had been a hallucination, and his wife is alive, on her way home from the evening shift at the hospital. She'd called him during her break, saying that it was somebody's birthday, would he like a piece of cake?

"I love you," she had said.

"I love you too. Bye," he had responded.

"Bye."

Their last words to each other were 'bye.' It seems so final, and it was.

He pushes the guitar out of the way making room in his lap. He cradles her like a baby.

"You okay Daddy? Your face is all wet." She runs her fingers across it, like all the great women of his life have done.

He takes a deep breath. How do you tell a four year old that her mother isn't coming home, that she's dead because some drunk idiot decided to crash into her?

From now on, he's sober.

There's no way he can break true love in a moment of insanity.

(the page breaks here)

Charlie answers the phone.

"She's shaving her legs. Do you want me to tell her something, or should I have you call her back?"

He bites his lip. She's going to tell him, but he doesn't want him to tell her. There is no polite way to say that. Just as there is no polite way to ask why he's answering his girlfriend's cell phone, or why he's telling everybody that her legs are partially hairy.

"It can wait until tomorrow." He can go one more day until their weekly phone call.

They hang up without goodbyes.

Four hours later, his phone vibrates in his daughter's hand. She's been playing games on it.

"Ello?" she answers.

"Wednesday, can you put your Daddy on the phone please?" Her tone is worried, but the small child doesn't catch on.

"Kay kay. Daddy it's for you."

"It is my phone," he teases. Her popsicle dyed tongue pokes out at him. "Ally?"

His voice broke. A crack, straight down the middle of her name.

Things that have cracked in the past forty eight hours: his voice, his heart, and himself, under pressure.

"I saw you called when I was clearing out my caller ID. Why didn't you leave a message?" She doesn't ask why he called a day ahead of time.

He doesn't ask why she responded a day in advance. It's nearly two in the morning for her. "Charlie picked up."

"Charlie picked up?" Surprise in her voice. He wants to get back on topic, so he leaves the room. There's no use in making the kid hear it twice.

"Stitch died after getting hit by a drunk driver Monday night."

"Oh my God, I am so sorry. Why didn't you call me sooner?"

"It hurt too much to say it more than I had to. And I was busy with the police, the cremator, Wednesday." He peeks around the corner. She's frowning at the table.

Austin sighs, sliding his back down the wall. "She's been playing this game with bubbles. It's kept her distracted and drained my laptop battery, so she was playing it on my phone."

He peeks again.

Still frowning at the table.

"Let me check the flights to Miami. I'll get there as soon as I can." He hears he laptop creak open.

"Hey Ally?"

"Yeah?"

He wants to tell her to only get one ticket. Very badly he wants Charlie to stay home. He's a decent guy, but if he's going to mourn, he's going to do a lot of crying into Ally's shoulder. He can't do that when there's an arm curled around it.

Nor does he want to be a third wheel.

"Thanks."

(the page breaks here)

He drags Wednesday to the airport. She bounces from foot to foot, munching on a bag of fruit snacks. He takes one from her.

"Daddy, that was my fruit snack!" Crossing her arms, he braids whack her back.

Austin smiles. "It was delicious."

There's a figure racing towards them, a rolling suitcase speeding in her trail. Once recognized as Ally, they run.

He hugs her first.

"I'm so glad to see you."

"I'm sorry it had to be like this." She squeezes him tight. Hunching over, she looks at Wednesday. "You've gotten bigger."

The child blushes. Getting roped in for a hug, the first thing that comes to her mind slips out of her mouth. It reminds him of her mother.

"You're squishing my fruit snacks!"

"I'll finish eating them for you then," he volunteers.

"I said they're squished, not inedible Daddy," she deadpans.

Ally laughs, holds out her hand. Wednesday accepts it.

She's not his wife, nor her mother, but there is something endearing about the scene. It makes his heart jump, for a second. It falls when it remembers why she is here.

He gets a week. Then she's going back to Europe.

This is going to be a tough week.

(the page breaks here)

The first night, they take a walk. His hand dangles next to hers.

A finger twitch in her direction. Pull back, further back.

No, he's a recent widow. He can't go thinking these thoughts about his best friend. He bogged those down years ago, under that mistletoe.

"Wednesday, you have to take my hand so we can cross the street," he reminds her. They've taken a different route than his usual to avoid the scene of the accident. He wants to not cross the road at all, but they have to head back, and he's not going to teach her how to walk on the wrong side of the road.

"I'm holding Ally's hand Daddy." Her fingers wrap tighter around her hand. The bear dangles from the other.

Looks like he's holding hands with the bear.

His daughter has taken to his best friend as a second mother. There's no telling how long the phase will last. More than four days, and he has a problem on his hands. She can't replace her mother with Ally. They don't switch places that easily.

"Austin, we can cross now."

He walks into the sunlight, but he is not dead.

Emotionally, yes.

Physically, he's going to make it.

(the page breaks here)

The teakettle begins to boil. Ally pulls it away from the burner, pouring it into his cup.

"Your boyfriend didn't want to come?" He bogs the tea bag down with a spoon. It pops back up.

"I didn't ask him to." The kettle is set down. Her hand glides across his shoulder blades, resulting in a half hug. "This week is about you. It's about you, and a beautiful woman who left us all too soon."

A tear drop fizzles in his teacup.

Wednesday stumbles in, sporting her mother's kitten heels. Sunglasses are perched on her nose.

"Morning." The sullen voice betrays the cuteness of her appearance. She's been sleeping in her scrubs, using them as blankets. Today, this is new.

"You want some tea sweetheart?" Ally stands on her toes to get another cup out.

"I want hot chocolate!"

"It's ninety degrees out there. Hot cocoa is for when it's cold outside, and you want to cuddle up by the fire." His mind flashes to their ski vacation where they got snowed in at the lodge. Their daughter hadn't been part of the picture then. They'd been too young to think about starting a family.

Fizzle goes a second tear.

"Then why are you drinking hot tea, Daddy?"

Stitch always knew how to answer those questions. He stares at his cup, shrugs.

It's going to be a long ever after.

(the page breaks here)

He's sprawled out on the couch, feet hanging off the edge.

"I feel bad, making you sleep on this thing. You should take the bed tonight," he tells her when she comes in, child and a wooden spoon in separate hands.

"Don't worry about it."

He's totally going to worry about it.

"Daddy, we made lasagna for dinner! She didn't even need a cookbook!" The hands detach and she runs back into the kitchen.

"Charlie?"

"Taught me everything I know. About cooking," she adds, seeing his face has fallen.

She wraps him in a quick hug. The warm fuzzies break out, and he tells them to go away. It's been less than a week. He has to mourn.

The fuzzies won't listen.

So he pulls away first.

(the page breaks here)

On the last day of her stay, he folds a note into her hand. It says everything he's said already.

She doesn't read it until she's home. Without knowing what the message said, there was no way she would open it. It could have made her change her mind on the flight home, and she would have dreaded coming back into the arms of her boyfriend.

Why is there a jabbing pain in her back?

He ends the hug. Then, one knee hits the airport floor.

"This past week, without you, I felt like, a part of me was missing. Looking into your eyes, I know you feel it too. So marry me, and never leave my side." He thrusts the ring box at her, and she wonders if he took more than ten minutes to think this through. Mediocre confession, jerky movements.

She wonders if he knows the longing in her eyes isn't for him.

"I can't."

"Excuse me?" He makes eye contact with several others who have stopped to watch the show. This wasn't part of the plan. You never plan on the girl saying no.

"I'm moving back to Miami, in with my parents until I can find a place to stay."

Charlie snaps the box shut. "Why would you do that? You have a home, a job, a boyfriend who loves you. What about your fans of Ally D in the A. M.?"

"I forgot how much I missed home. I already gave work my notice, and Jimmy agreed to help me record another CD. Money won't be an issue here." She'd thought it through on the flight over, hiding as long as she could at the luggage carousel to avoid telling him first. The plans had been mere wishes in the states. It had been cemented by the note.

Dear Ally,

Thanks for everything. We love you. -Austin and Wednesday

"You can't move to America because you're in love with a widowed man who will never love you the same way he loved his wife." He's hovering over her. Fear blinks into her eyes. From sentimental to territorial, it was not a welcome transition.

That doesn't dignify a response.

(the page breaks here)

It takes a little while, but her belongings arrive on their doorstep. She doesn't find them until Austin rings the doorbell.

"Ally, is it Christmas at your house?" Wednesday extends her arms to be lifted into a hug.

"This is all my stuff from overseas. I'm staying in Miami." She shoves a pile of boxes out of the doorway.

"How long?"

"I don't know."

At this point, he's okay with that.

(the page breaks here)

It's a hot day in June when he kisses her. On the cheek, but there's the strawberry lip print proving his brief stay, and Wednesday's caught them anyhow.

"Are you guys boyfriend and girlfriend?" She bites off part of the waffle cone. The scoop tilts to the side.

"Of course not. Don't you kiss your best friend on the cheek?" he covers, hiding his face with the cone. There's no reason to be defensive. Only the truth has been spoken.

Her ice cream tilts more. Ally passes her a napkin.

"My best friend is a girl."

"So?"

"You've been trying to hold her hand under the table for the past ten minutes." She buries her face in the falling ice cream. Chocolate paints her face.

Heads duck under the table. His hand flies far away from hers.

The girls catch it and giggle.

Some day, he'll make a move. He needs to be ready though. He's only been a widow for a couple of months, and he still misses her. Their picture is sitting on his bedside table, next to the lamp she picked out.

The closet seems so empty without her clothes in it. He needs a roommate, but Dez is in Hollywood, directing, and most of his friends now were mutual friends of Stitch. It hurts to be around them.

Maybe he should hide under the table with his ice cream cone forever.

His wrist bends back, and the ice cream plops on the floor.

(the page breaks here)

When he finally asks her out, it rains. Big flat drops.

"My parents are watching Wednesday tonight. Do you maybe want to go to a concert with me?" He holds up two front row tickets.

Then he holds her hand.

Their song comes on, and he cries, tugging his hand away. How could he even think to move on? There's no widow's manual, with a required waiting period for new love. He still loves Stitch.

Can he love another the same way?

"We can leave if you want," she suggests.

"No. This is our date, and I'm not going to let a silly song get me down."

He doesn't argue when she leads him out of the building.

(the page breaks here)

Two nights later, he cracks. She's sleeping over, per request of his daughter, gathering her hair into two pigtails.

"Daddy, look at my nails! Aren't they pretty?" She wiggles her green sparkled fingers at him.

"Beautiful, like you."

"What about Ally's nails Daddy?" She's wearing the same polish, but the work is sloppier.

He nods. "Beautiful."

"Like her?"

"Like her." He blushes, making eye contact with her. His eyes tell hers to meet him later. They kiss over a tray of warm cookies, and he burns his waist from leaning in.

It's worth it.

(the page breaks here)

It takes three days for him to let her in the bed. Her back aches from the couch.

"Are you sure?" she asks. The last woman to share this bed was his wife, and she doesn't want to feel like she's taking her place. She's an original, not a replacement.

"I'm sure." This convinces her to crawl in next to him.

"If you start to get uncomfortable, let me know and I'll-"

"Ally?"

"Yeah?"

"Go to sleep."

(the page breaks here)

Wednesday brings a friend over to play. Ally is at the piano, writing a new song. Her skirt gets tugged.

"Bronwyn, this is Ally, my Daddy's girlfriend." She whispers, rather loudly, "He loves her, but is afraid to tell her, 'cause he loved my mommy, and then she died."

The events don't correlate in her mind. Pushing the note sheets away, she clears her head. Most likely, Austin won't say he loves her because he feels that he owes Stitch her respect. Not that she's going to explain it to a young child. She can barely make sense of things in her own head.

She's almost said I love you too many times to count.

"It's lovely to meet you Bronwyn. Would you like a cookie? I baked them fresh this morning."

"She makes the best cookies ever." Wednesday's eyes glaze over. A drop of drool sets loose from her mouth.

"I have a gluten allergy." The girl scratches her side like a monkey.

Ally doesn't let it phase her.

"Would you like an orange? Somebody went a bit overboard when we were buying fruit this weekend." Her head jerks in the direction of Austin coming out of the bathroom.

"I heard that."

The girls giggle. He tentatively kisses her on the cheek. It's not that he's nervous about being in love with her. Those words are his last hurdle to jump.

Marriage may be out of picture. It took enough nerve to do it the first time. Doing it again, he might not find the strength to get back off the ground.

They'll take it one day at a time.

(the page breaks here)

On the second anniversary of her death, he asks if they can go out of town.

She does him one better and takes him out of the country.

"Dawson, is that you?" He approaches, teetering as a young boy on his shoulders controlled him by pulling on his hair.

"I didn't know we were on a last name basis now." Wednesday sticks her tongue out at the boy. The boy mirrors the action.

Charlie's eyes scan over Austin, sizing up his competition.

Considering whose hand is getting held, it looks like he's lost.

"I'm hungry." She grabs her stomach, digging her head into her father's side.

"Let's go to the bakery on the corner. They make the most delicious croissants."

She's come back, and she's brought a boy, with a child. People are going to jump to conclusions. Some accurate, others not.

No sense worrying about what she can't change.

This makes her grip his hand tighter.

(the page breaks here)

On the third anniversary, they stay home. Candles are set on the table to light their way through the storm.

"Daddy, can I ask you something?"

"You just did," he kids. She rolls her eyes at him.

Cupping her hand around his ear, she speaks like it's a secret. "Who's the ring for?"

He'd sent her for matches, forgetting about it. His dead wife's ring was with her ashes and scarf, in a box in the closet. It's obvious what the ring was for.

His gaze flicks to Ally.

"What do you think?"

All the girl can do is hope her head doesn't fall off from nodding too hard.

(the page breaks here)

Five months later, she corners him with the vacuum cleaner.

"You've been avoiding me all day."

"You're using a vacuum cleaner as a weapon?" he asks, holding his hands up. He's caught.

She chuckles, backing it away. "What's wrong?"

"I want to marry you, but I keep feeling like-"

"Like you're forgetting about Stitch if you do? Austin, I don't need to marry you. As long as you're happy, and in my life, I'm okay with that."

He takes the ring from his pocket.

"You tell me that now."

She leaves the ring.

(the page breaks here)

Four months past that, he tries again.

"Ally," he pauses to move the mashed potato snowman out of the way, "will you marry me?"

"Daddy, you have to get down on one knee, or it's not official." Wednesday lets it rain peas. One rolls onto the floor.

He pushes his chair back. He wanted to avoid the big speech and grand motions. That happened already. It's time for something new.

It's time for Ally.

"Yes."

"I didn't get on my knee yet."

"My answer is still yes."

He cries, and this time his tears are happy. They hug, and a pea hits him in the back.

"Oops."

"Wednesday, eat your dinner." She stabs the snowman with her fork.

"I get to be the flower girl, right?"

(the page breaks here)

The wounds never heal, but he's finding that a little pain does you good. It reminds you of your past. You can't forget your past. It's what got you here.

He's standing at the altar in a pair of red swim trunks, because this time he's getting married at the beach. Something different.

"I do."

They're kissing, and a tear escapes, because he's picturing the last time he was up here. Her thumb wipes it away, and he grins.

This is their wedding. He's going to enjoy it. He's going to enjoy her, until death do they part.

Can death wait longer this time?

He doesn't want to let this one go.