Chutzpah, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. Anara Love, I've listened to PTL by Relient K, so bits of this were inspired by the song, as requested, along with some of my own ideas. Please enjoy and review!

Sticks and stones may break his bones, but words may never hurt him. That's what he was trying to teach Hector.

They wrote on the rocks and threw them at him.

"Hey, what's wrong?" he had asked when the boy came into the Sonic Boom. He drew his eyes away from Ally to focus on the crying child.

"Chip made fun of me again." He rubbed his foot against the floor, careful to avoid scuffing his shoes. His shirt was already rumpled, his bow tie askew.

Ally cashed out a customer and came around the counter. She smoothed out his shirt and adjusted his tie. Austin clenched his fists.

"Seriously? That's the third time this week." He'd grown close to his small friend, and it bothered him that someone would rag on him like that. So maybe he's a bit effeminate. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with him.

Is that lipstick or blood on his lip?

"We were playing dodgeball in gym today, and I broke a nail, and it hurt, 'cause it was down to the pink part." He held up his finger to show them. "I said something about it, and he called me a-"

There was a pause.

"A what?" He followed the beckoning of Hector's finger and lent him his ear.

The word that he said sent such a fury through him he had to restrain himself. Somebody needed to get taught a lesson. You don't mess with the people that Austin Moon loves and expect to get away with it.

He dumped a smoothie cup on someone's head for Ally. He'd done it twice actually, to the same guy, because he was that big of a jerk. The guy, not himself. He was nice enough to treat her to a new smoothie, a size larger than before.

The stain of the splashing strawberry liquid never came out of his shirt. A single shirt for a beautiful girl though?

Worth it.

"What?" Ally asked. Her eyes moved from the young boy to Austin and back.

He shook his head. Certain things should not be heard by beautifully delicate ears. If he was going to whisper something to make her flush, it would not be that lurid. It'd be promises of things that he wanted to do to her.

First he'd have to ask her out.

"Do you know where Chip is now?" He was going to settle this. They'd sit down and have a talk, like civilized human beings. He'd feel bad beating up someone his own age, let alone a kid half it. Plus he was really trying to be a better person. Ally deserved someone fantastic. He could be that person.

He shook his head.

Something had to be done.

(the page breaks here)

The next afternoon, they agreed to meet Hector at the elementary school instead of at the store.

"That's Chip?" From a distance, he noticed his shadow was wide set, and either his pants rode too low, or his shirt too high. He turned around, belly hanging out.

Shirt it was.

He stuck his hand out for the boy to grab, but he cowered behind his leg. It swung into Ally's dangling fingers.

Somebody's breath caught. It was hard to locate the origin.

"Can I stay over here with Ally?" His eyes grew pleadingly. His voice was shaking along with the rest of his body.

Austin swallowed his fear. His gum went with it.

Gagging, he nodded and waved them off. He wasn't going to put this kid in more danger. He'd been through plenty.

That, and his mother would kill him. Alright, at worst she'd fire him, and then he couldn't save his money up to buy Ally that new piano. One that he would leave on the ground and not parachute in, despite Dez's ideas to make a big and bold romantic gesture.

"Hey, you Chip?" He crossed his arms in some semblance of authority.

"Yeah. What's it to ya?" His arms were crossed too. Somehow it seemed more threatening on him. A boy a foot shorter than him, and he felt his courage dissolving.

"You keep picking on my buddy Hector." He wanted to glance back, see if they were watching. He wanted to smile, let them know that he was going to give this boy heck.

Ally's voice crept into his mind. 'Give him Heck-tor.'

The bad pun almost made him lose his composure. He didn't know if he should be sad that he knew her too well, or happy that they were that close.

Anger. That was the emotion he was channeling.

"You're Hector's buddy?" The word rolled off his tongue with disbelief. As if there was no way that Hector could have any friends. Outcasts don't forge friendships.

He found his footing, a step away from the bully. "I don't appreciate you picking on my friend."

Taking advantage of that foot difference, he towered over him.

The minor wasn't phased.

"I don't appreciate that ugly shirt you're wearing, but we don't all get what we want," he argued back.

Ally had picked out this shirt. There was nothing wrong with it. In fact, it was one of his favorites.

Which had nothing to do with the look she got on her face every time he wore it.

Nope, nothing at all.

One final statement and he'd back away, lest he do something that he'd regret.

"Quit picking on Hector, or else." He spun around and retreated.

"Or else what?" Chip called after him. He didn't respond. "I'm talking to you!"

"Let's go."

(the page breaks here)

The next afternoon, in the middle of his math class, he got a text from Hector. He'd been cornered in the boy's bathroom. He was crying in a stall.

"Why do you keep looking at the clock?" Trish whispered across the aisle.

"I need to get out of here." He leaned forward in his seat. Ten more minutes and he could speed over to the elementary school.

His legs burned, but he made it there sixteen minutes later. He hadn't waited for Ally or even stopped at his locker. There was going to be a bruise the size of his textbook on his back from the flapping of his bookbag.

He didn't care. He was more concerned about the new bruise on Hector's shoulder.

"Did the nurse give you any ice?" he questioned as the boy buttoned his shirt back up.

"I didn't go to the nurse."

"Hector, you have to tell somebody about this."

"I told you," he said matter-of-factly. He winced, slinging his backpack over his shoulder. Austin took it, carrying it for him.

He stopped in front of him. "You need to tell an adult, like your teacher, or a principal. This can't go on."

He'd been up all night on the phone with Ally discussing it. That was a point they had both agreed on.

Speaking of Ally, his phone vibrated. Going for it, he felt a rock hit him in the bookbag. A note was tied to it. Three simple letters.

Three heartbreaking letters that should not have the effect they did.

No, it was slang for 'cigarette.' There was no way he'd correlate it with his sexual orientation.

Another rock fell at their feet. Another word he shant repeat.

The third rock didn't miss. Connected with his arm, jerking it forward. He didn't get a chance to read the message.

"Is the nurse's office still open?" There was a bruise developing on his arm, and one on his foot from where he had dropped the bookbag. How many books did a kid in elementary need? He'd have a hunchback by the end of the school year.

That is, if he made it to the end of the school year. His body was peppered in bruises, his mind with torment. There's only so much a body can take. Then the downward spiral begins.

He would not let that boy hit rock bottom.

"She leaves at three thirty."

"Okay."

(the page breaks here)

By the time they left the school grounds, having talked to every authority figure there, he had six texts from Ally.

The last one was the most urgent. It made him feel guilty for not responding.

"Austin?" Hector wiped his wet nose.

"Hmm?" He sent off a quick text, going to shove the phone back in his pocket. He missed and it clattered to the ground.

The boy picked it up for him. "Thanks."

He smiled. Sometimes it's the simplest of words that make him happy.

(the page breaks here)

When Ally saw them enter the Sonic Boom, she rushed over.

"How'd it go?" The bookbags got dropped to the floor behind the counter.

"I don't think that Chip will be bothering Hector for a long time," Austin answered. She gave them high fives. In the midst of theirs, he yanked her forward into a hug.

Hector busied himself, studying the guitars. He played a simple song that she had taught him.

"Want to get some ice cream to celebrate?"

"Yes!" His eyes lit up. At her amused look, he added, "I mean, Hector, doesn't that sound like a great idea?"

He was trapped in a vortex of his own thoughts. It'd been a long day for him.

"Hector?" Ally tapped his shoulder to get his attention.

"Huh?" He quit plucking at the guitar strings.

"Do you want to go for ice cream?" she repeated. He nodded, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw Austin do a miniature victory dance.

It was adorable, but she didn't say anything.

It's easier to bury the emotions.

(the page breaks here)

He traded one problem for another. No longer was Chip bullying Hector, but Ally had met a boy. A boy with bright green eyes and perfectly disheveled hair.

If he wore contacts, would he gain some?

Contact that is. He would do anything to feel her touch. Right now all he could feel was Hector's fingers digging into his palm, because the mall was packed with shoppers and he didn't want to lose him.

"You don't have to hold on that tight," Austin complained. Nail imprints would be left in his hand for hours.

"Sorry." He loosened his grip. "You sure sound grumpy."

How was he to explain to this kid that he was ticked off because there was a chance that the girl he loved was going to say yes to going out with some guy she'd known for all of ten minutes? He'd been the one that kissed her. He didn't stop her from breaking them apart. He didn't ask her back out.

One mistake. That's all it takes to mar a lifetime.

He didn't want to fail at being her boyfriend. He wanted to succeed in that, in living happily ever after, and seeing the world with her.

"It's because that guy was flirting with Ally, isn't it?"

Insight should not develop in children. There is no worse feeling than being outsmarted by someone half your age.

No, scratch that. Getting your heart crushed is way worse than feeling stupid.

"Psh, no."

His face told otherwise.

(the page breaks here)

Hector gnawed at his licorice whips. They were watching the previews at the movies, eager to see the new rom-zom..

Romance for Ally, zombies for Austin. The ideal compromise.

"Do you want to trade seats so you can hold hands with Ally?" he said, cupping his hand around his mouth. He was in the middle of them.

Austin swiped a licorice whip from his bag. "Nah."

Which meant yes, but this was not a date, and she was going out with Green Boy tomorrow, or whatever his name was, because it didn't even make it in one ear to go out the other, so he had no chance at winning her over.

No girl falls for a boy with licorice breath.

(the page breaks here)

The next night, he's babysitting, teaching Hector how to play a new song. This time they were at the piano.

"Why are you so upset that Ally has a date tonight?" His fingers stretched out on the keys, attempting to play C7. The pinky fell onto the wrong key.

"I'm not." This earned him a raised eyebrow. "What?"

"You should be happy for Ally. Just 'cause you didn't have the chutzpah to ask her out, doesn't mean that you can be upset when someone else does."

He wanted to ask what 'chutzpah' meant, but he had a pretty good idea. Something along the lines of 'man up, because she's not going to wait around forever.' The kid was right.

Balancing his hand on top of Hector's, he directed his fingers to the proper keys.

"Dude, they're giving away free ice cream at Scoop There It Is. Their freezer broke down, and everything is melting. Let's go!" Dez ran back out the door, slamming into a girl. She was gorgeous, but with the incentive of free ice cream, nothing was going to get in his way.

"You guys really like ice cream," Hector noticed as the hand wrapped around his wrist. He was pulled off the bench.

The girl crossed their path also.

"Sorry. Are you okay?" He set his hand on her arm. He could appreciate her beauty, sure.

Would it be sad to say he appreciated the idea of free ice cream better?

Falling for Ally has messed with his brain. On any other occasion, he would have charmed her into oblivion. Oblivious to the child in his grasp that is.

Her shy smile, coupled with the batting of her eyelashes , showed she wanted him to move closer. It'd take two minutes to introduce herself, ask if he wanted to go out.

He didn't. Didn't want to go out, nor gave her the chance to ask. He waited for her response of 'I'm fine,' and left.

Was he rejecting her for the ice cream or the girl of his dreams?

It's too hard to tell on an empty stomach.

(the page breaks here)

From the front of the line, Austin scanned the room.

"It's pretty packed in here." Hector took the dish of peanut butter ice cream from the frazzled worker. "Should we ask Ally if we can share their table?"

Austin's eyes honed in on her date. He was telling a joke, and she was laughing. A big, hearty laugh that she hid with the swipe of a napkin.

The boy's eyes flickered back at his. Ally followed his gaze.

"No."

"Why not? There's two empty chairs." He moved to the left to avoid getting mauled over by a cluster of elbows.

His phone vibrated. He pretended not to feel it.

In any case, his appetite was spoiled.

This is not what they meant by lovesick.

(the page breaks here)

When Hector left for the night, his face made friends with the piano keys. The thud made a chaotic jumble of sounds.

"Why didn't I just ask her out?" he said to the keys. They remained silent.

"Austin?"

Upon hearing her voice, he sat up. "How'd your date go?"

"It was great. I sent you a text at the ice cream shop, but I guess you didn't get it." She pushed a strand of hair away from her face. Was her lip gloss smudged?

That better had been from a cheek kiss. He couldn't take any more heartbreak for tonight. Then he'd be even more broken tomorrow, and Hector would know. He always knew. And he didn't let things go, because he cared about Austin as much as Austin cared about him.

He wasn't sure if he could say the same about Ally. He was in deep with her.

Please say she did. All he needs was to hear her say it.

'I love you too.'

Sometimes it's the simplest of words that make him happy.