I've been toying with the idea of this for months now, and maybe using current events kills the escapism for you all, but I feel like it's a convenient vehicle for trapping all our favorite characters together for two weeks and seeing how the tensions play out between each of them.
Also, this is quite a bit AU because I'm assuming that this is the summer after they graduated high school, they were all together on Austin's world tour that summer, Austin and Ally never got back together, and they're still planning on keeping The Music Factory open.
When the pandemic hit, they were all together on Austin's tour, which just so happened to be in Italy. Ally had been the only one closely watching the news about the health crisis and had been trying to warn them for weeks that they should head home, but Austin refused to cancel on his fans unless it was absolutely necessary and Trish and Dez were having too much fun to listen to her.
They managed to get a flight out, luckily, but their parents refused to let them stay at their houses when they got back, at least not until they quarantined for two weeks. Ally was, of course, the one to come up with a solution.
"Guys," she said, after getting off the phone with their parents and then the airline, "We can just quarantine together in the Music Factory. It's not safe to hold classes there anyway right now and it's plenty big. Our parents will drop off sleeping bags and air mattresses and enough food for two weeks, and there's that fridge and tiny kitchen in the back room we can use to cook. It won't be super comfortable but we'll be fine."
"Ooh it's a two week sleepover!" Dez exclaimed jumping up and down clapping his hands.
"Dude, we can play, like, infinite video games," Austin suggested.
"It'll be a crappy vacation but at least I can sleep all day I guess..." Trish grumbled.
Ally smiled. Spending two more weeks with her best friends would be fun. Certainly better than being quarantined alone. And it wouldn't be that different than being together on tour, right?
On the flight, they managed to get two pairs of seats together. Austin sat with Ally in the middle of the plane on the left side and Trish and Dez were in a pair of seats at the front of the economy section on the right side. It was an eleven hour flight, so they all settled in for a long ride.
As they were taking off, Austin turned to Ally and asked, "Do you think I did the wrong thing, continuing to play concerts and not just packing up and going home?"
Ally shrugged, happy he was asking her opinion, but feeling bad about being honest. "I don't know Austin, it was a complicated situation. Everyone's scared right now so your concerts were bringing people happiness and everything but also… concerts could have been a really easy way to spread the virus. I'm not sure there was a right answer, but if it were me I probably would have left earlier."
Austin nodded, frowning. "How scared are you?" he asked a minute later.
Ally laughed before saying, "Austin it's me. I worry about everything a lot, so of course I'm worried about this a ton. But maybe because I'm always so worried it doesn't feel that much scarier than everyday life… I know, it's ridiculous."
Austin shrugged. "I don't know, makes sense to me. I've been feeling guilty about not being more worried? Classic young guy feeling invincible even in the face of deadly things I guess."
Ally smiled wryly and said, "Well, we balance each other out, in the middle of a pandemic as much as we do during normal times."
They smiled at each other for a minute before Ally broke the eye contact and they lapsed into silence. A few minutes later, Austin asked, "You want to try writing a song? We have so much time and I'm honestly not tired right now."
Ally nodded and they started brain storming. Their musical style had significantly evolved over the course of high school and now that they had graduated, Austin had expressed an interest in trying to make his music sound more adult and varied. Ally had taken this challenge in stride and now everything they wrote was a bit more experimental as they sought to find a new sound for Austin.
She was clearly still thinking about the pandemic as she started scribbling in her song book. Austin read out loud over her shoulder "Welcome to the end of your life, yeah/Never thought thought you'd see the white light, yeah/ You probably shouldn't run the red light, yeah/I know you hope you said your goodbye." He glanced at her and said, "Damn, Ally, feeling a little dark I guess."
"Eh, it feels like a weird time to write some upbeat love song don't you think?"
Austin nodded and started humming quietly so he wouldn't disturb his neighbors. He slipped into the slightly dystopian mindset Ally seemed to be in and dragged the song slower and slower. It would still have an upbeat chorus, but it sounded edgy the way he wanted to sing it. Ally nodded along, and said "Yeah, I like that. It's still you but less pop-heavy. Does it seem like a direction you want to go?"
Austin shrugged. "I don't know. I think I need to try a bunch of things and work on a lot of different songs before I find out what I want. More trial and error than knowing it when I hear it. But I do like this song so far."
They kept working for the next two hours on the song, trying not to wake up their already sleeping neighbors. But eventually Ally started feeling drowsy and suggested they both try and sleep. Austin agreed, but Ally fell asleep much faster than he did. He was still feeling wide awake when her head fell onto his shoulder. He looked down at her curls falling over her face and gently brushed them back, smiling at her peaceful expression. Then he sighed, knowing he shouldn't let his feelings slip out that way, even if she wasn't awake to see it. She was his song-writing partner and best friend, and she seemed to want to keep it that way. He and Ally had never discussed their feelings again since they broke up several years earlier, but there was always an undercurrent of flirtiness between them, even when they were working or talking about serious things. But wouldn't she have said something if she wanted it to change? And did he even want it to change, or would that jeopardize their already great relationship? He shook his head and plugged his headphones into his ears to try and lull himself to sleep, and eventually it worked.
Trish had been asleep since about ten minutes after take off because she had taken motion-sickness medication, and Dez had daydreamed about unicorns with video cameras until he, too, fell asleep. Because they had fallen asleep so much earlier than Austin and Ally, they also woke up earlier, almost a full hour before they were going to land. Dez pulled out a notebook and flipped to a page mid-way through. With all the time on tour he had decided to start branching out and writing scripts as well as working on filming them. Unbeknownst to the others, he had been trying to capture enough film to string together an artsy film composed of nothing but candid shots taken out of context and a voice over by him. He had film from tour, but he was really hoping that their two-week quarantine would give him the rest of the footage he needed.
Trish, meanwhile, flipped through the fashion magazines she had been saving from Paris, bored out of her mind.
Austin and Ally jolted awake when the tires hit the runway. Ally quickly moved her head from Austin's shoulder and pretended not to have noticed she had slept in that position. "Did you get enough sleep?" she asked him as she gathered up her books and belongings into her carry on.
He noticed her avoiding eye contact, but answered "Yeah, I shouldn't be too jet lagged."
They were silent until they got off the plane and found Trish and Dez in the terminal. They all washed their hands before grabbing a taxi and heading to The Music Factory.
Ally unlocked the door with her set of keys and they saw a pile of things (air mattresses and groceries mostly, but also some clothes) that their parents had dropped off. Each of them had a letter addressed to them from their parents, telling them their parents looked forward to seeing each of them in two weeks, when it was safe again, and that they would stop by in the afternoon that day to make sure the group had arrived safely and wave at them through the window.
And then they all looked at each other, unsure of what to do now that they were home.
Let me know what you guys think of this premise, and if you're excited to read more!