Return the Favor, an Austin and Ally one-shot

I do not own Austin and Ally. This is for Mystik225, thanks for the ideas! Reviews are always welcome.

Streamers falling, balloons floating away, because Dez got distracted and set them free, a sea of dirty cake plates and forks on the tables. All parts of her eighteenth birthday party.

None will be remembered.

Though that chocolate cake was delicious.

But twenty years from now, she's not going to remember how her cousin spilled the punch down the front of his shirt, or how both of her grandmothers got her the same ugly sweater. If it weren't for the pictures, taken in copious amounts, she probably wouldn't remember what she wore either.

Four hours of shopping for a memory that will fade in twenty years.

There is one memory that won't escape her any time soon though.

Time had come for the father daughter dance, and the disc jockey had put on a slow song. Her hands were taken in his, her bumbling feet led to the dance floor. Mister Dawson, not too graceful himself, had stepped on her foot once, and after her returning the favor, he was relieved for Austin's appearance.

Spinning her away, a new set of arms caught her.

And didn't let go.

"So, you're an adult now." Austin tugged her closer, swaying to a new set of lyrics.


"What are you going to do?" He half expected her to jokingly tell him she was going to buy a lottery ticket, or register to vote. The other half of him was waiting to be surprised.

His other half was not disappointed.

Not immediately that is.

Too soon she was breaking away, running as fast as she could in her high heels. He could have gone after her. He could have told her it was the best five seconds in his life (aside from that first kiss they shared when she got over her stage fright), but something held him back.

Something called stupidity.

Now she's standing in front of the bathroom mirror, checking her makeup because the word waterproof means nothing to her when she cries this hard. How could she make such a major mistake? One that will cost her a friendship that means the world to her.

She just had to blow out the candles before kissing him. Too late to go back and wish that he forgives her.

If she could go back, that's what she'd wish for.

Because she doesn't regret that kiss. She just regrets where it got her.

In the bathroom, wiping at her eyes with a brown paper towel. It's rough.

The towel, life, you take your pick.

She can't choose tonight.

How long can one hide in the bathroom at their own birthday party?

More importantly, how long can one hide from the thoughts in their own mind?

In Austin's case, not long at all.

When his mother decides that they need to bond the next night, she takes him bowling. The scent of pizza grease and shared shoes attack his nostrils, but even they can't tackle the thoughts in his head.

The ones that are replaying that kiss over, and over, and over.

She offers to get him a slice, and he turns it down. He can't think on an empty stomach, and if he can't think, then he can't think about her. It's simple.

Unlike trying to knock down ten pins with a bowling ball. That's not simple. Which is odd, because usually he's a pro at bowling. Something is distracting him.

More like someone is distracting him. Her video comes up on the big screen, and everyone starts dancing the Ally way. He's waiting for someone to drop a bowling ball on their head.

He's waiting for these thoughts to remove themselves from his brain.

He's tried putting himself in someone else's shoes, literally. It hasn't helped any. He still sees it as her true feelings shining through, because she could have parted after one second, or two. No, she waited five whole seconds, and then ignored him the rest of the night, as if he was poison.

"Sweetie, it's your turn."

"Sorry mom." Plucking his ball from the rest, he knocks over a pin. Attempting to focus, he lines up with the corner of the head pin and hurls the ball in that direction. It clunks along, rolling into the gutter.

Dejected, he watches the scoreboard add to his measly score.

Ignoring that her turn is up, Mrs. Moon scoots over and faces her son. "Is everything alright? You seem distracted."

"I'm fine." Obvious lie. He doesn't want to talk about it, so he gets out of his chair and says he's going to go get something to eat. Shuffling his borrowed shoes against the stained carpet, he looks back. She has that look of pity on her face.

Maybe he should have told her.

Maybe he should forget it ever happened.

It's time to move on.

That's a notion easier preached than practiced.

When two cute sisters come into the Sonic Boom the next afternoon, inquiring about piano lessons, his brain and mouth work in different directions.

"I think it'd be fun, to learn to tickle the ivories," the taller one, Hope says.

"I think it'd be even more fun to tickle a certain someone instead," the other, Harmony suggests, running her fingers along his sides.

His eyes bulge out. Ally leaves the store for ten minutes to grab them lunch, and he gets tag team crushed on by two sisters. This should be the ideal situation. This should be his ticket to freedom.

Then why does he wish she would walk in, come save him?

The only hope he wants in his life is the hope that she'll never leave his side. He only wants harmony with Ally, musically and emotionally. Is that so much to ask?

Last night he came home reeking of pizza and shoes and desperation. Two of the three came off in the shower.

Would you care to guess which one remains?

"They ran out of pepperoni so I just- oh." She sets a slice of pizza on the counter for him. "I'll just leave your piece here then."

He wants to call to her as she climbs the stairs, but one of the girls catches a particularly ticklish spot and all that comes out is laughter. Horribly misplaced laughter.

It blocks out the sound of her tears.

Tears that shouldn't be wasted, because he obviously is over the fact that she kissed him.

Or so she thinks.

A week passes, and Harmony asks Ally why Austin isn't taking to her advances. Hope argues that it's because he likes her better, despite a lack of proof.

"I have no idea," Ally says when they turn to her.

"I do."

The girls turn to face Austin, but he pushes past them, grabbing her by the chin. He counts to five, losing count, and starting over again. "You never let me return the favor."

Harmony scoffs, and Hope crosses her arms. All Ally can do is let her mouth drop open.

"But I-" she starts.

"But you?"

She can't find a clever retort. Her mind is still stuck on that kiss.


"Really?" the sisters ask in disbelief.

"Yup." It's not the most romantic way to respond, but he's in too much of a hurry to get his mouth back on hers. There will be plenty of time for talking later.

This month, Ally has turned eighteen, proven that waterproof mascara can run, and kissed her best friend. How many of these things will she remember in twenty years?

Moving her hand up his back, she can guarantee at least one.

This memory will not be forgotten.