DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Never were. Not making any $$. Don't HAVE any $$. Don't sue.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My first SoN fic. I haven't seen all the episodes; so, bear with me while I learn the characters.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: All but mostly 'Friends with Benefits'.

Down to One
By Aeryn Sun



After a long talk about giving Ashley's body a bit of a rest (and copious amounts of blushing and needless apologies from Spencer) the girls finished out the week happily, even if their time together was severely limited. Apart from the ride in, time between classes, a few shared studies and lunch, they had hardly any alone time together. Although they were learning how to make the most of every second. This lead to a few close calls in various areas of the school. But for the most part, those close calls only served to amuse the hell out of them both.

Spencer was slowly relaxing into who she was and this relationship she found herself in. Ashley was being so patient and understanding that Spencer had no doubt that one day, maybe soon, she'd feel safe and secure enough to be more out. Maybe start by telling Aiden or Clay.

(Baby steps) she reminded herself. (little steps)

By the time school ended on Friday, both girls were craving each other badly.

"Kissing in the car before school is so not cutting it for me," Ashley complained while Spencer got her stuff from her locker. They figured that they had about 5 minutes before Spencer's mother arrived and whisked the blonde away.

"Well, starting tomorrow, I am a free woman," Spencer said happily, smiling broadly at Ashley.

"Woot woot!" Ashley teased, doing a little dance. Spencer swatted her with a notebook and laughed.

"Weirdo," she chastised, the smile on her face taking any sting from her words. Ashley pretended to be wounded.

"Oh! 'Weirdo' she says. Oh my poor little feelings!" she ranted, complete with a hand dramatically draped over her forehead as she pretended to swoon. Spencer laughed loudly. Sometimes Ashley was just too funny. And it was wonderful to see that side of the brunette instead of her defensive one.

"Awww, poor baby," Spencer cooed, leaning in to Ashley's ear. "I promise to make it up to you this weekend." Ashley froze and then grinned wickedly.

"Get a room, lesbos," Madison snapped as she stalked by on her way to cheerleading practice. Her personal posse followed behind her giggling.

"Choke and die, Madison," Ashley sighed, not really in the mood to argue with the snobby Latina. She just wanted to enjoy a few fleeting moments with her girlfriend without someone else's stupidity ruining it.

Madison stopped and took a good look at Ashley, a smirk crossing her face.

"Tell me, puta, does the little girlfriend know where you go at night?" she sneered. "Looks to me like you've been whoring around." She gestured at the still vivid red mark on Ashley's neck, her smirk growing into a smile. "And we know that Spencer here isn't like that. You're the freak."

"Fuck off, Madison," Spencer snapped, eliciting 'oohs' and more giggles from Madison's cronies.

"Ooooh," Madison breathed. "Baby butch has claws. Rawr." She mimicked scratching at Spencer. "Is that what turns you on, Ashley? When SpenSpence gets all RUFF?" Spencer slammed her locker shut.

"Don't you have anything better to do, Madison?" she asked angrily. She wasn't mad at what Madison was saying; she could care less what the tiny Latina thought of her. She was angry that her own brother Glen was standing only a few feet away saying nothing.

"Yeah, shouldn't you be on your knees, sucking your way to a better History grade?" Ashley taunted. Madison's jaw dropped and she pulled her arm back to strike Ashley.

To Spencer, it was happening in slow motion. Madison was pulling back to hit Ashley who flinched and closed her eyes but made no other effort to stop her. Spencer found herself reaching out and grabbing Madison's arm just before her hand made contact with Ashley's face.

Time returned to normal with the gasps of the cheerleaders as Spencer held Madison's arm away from Ashley.

"No," Spencer said simply. She released the Latina's arm with a slight shove. "You will not hit her." Madison dropped her arm and eyed Spencer for a minute, not a little shocked at the blonde's attitude. She then turned back to Ashley.

"Guess the little missus doesn't know about you," Madison shot vaguely.

"Madison," Ashley growled in warning. Madison smirked again.

"¿Qué pasa? ¿Acaso Spencer no sabe que a tu queridísima mamá le gusta dar bofetadas?" she asked sarcastically. "Y más cosas también..."

"El pasado es el pasado, Madison. No tiene porqué saberlo, y si sabes lo que te conviene, cierra la puta boca" Ashley responded lowly.

"Tsk tsk, Ashley. Shouldn't keep secrets from your girlfriends."

"They're not girlfriends, Madison," Glen finally spoke up. He shot a dirty look at Ashley. "My sister isn't like that."

"That's right, the only freak around here is Ashley," Madison laughed, walking away towards practice with Glen and her posse in tow. Spencer leaned into Ashley.

"Have I told you how fucking sexy you are when you argue in Spanish?" she husked. Ashley shivered, immediately calming down and smiled at her girlfriend.

"I'll keep that in mind," she said cheekily. They were leaning further towards each other, getting dangerously close to crossing that line in public and just kissing each other senseless when the shrill angry voice of Paula Carlin shook them from their daze.

"Spencer! Get in the car! Let's go!" she screamed. Spencer rolled her eyes and looked at her girlfriend in apology.

"Sorry," she sighed. "On the bright side, I'm free as of midnight." Ashley smiled.

"Awesome. Call me tomorrow?" she asked. Spencer nodded.

"Of course."



"Spencer, what have I told you about that girl?" Paula asked angrily. Spencer rolled her eyes and leaned her head against the car window.

"Ashley," she said sharply. "Her name is Ashley."

"I told you that you weren't to hang around with her anymore," her mother reiterated. "Do you need to be grounded again?" Spencer lifted her head and glared at her mother.

"Oh come on," she grumbled. "Is that the only way that you feel you can keep control of me?"

"Spencer, she is a bad influence and a sinner. I don't want you affected by that. You are so much better than that little piece of trash…"

"How can you say things like that? You don't even know Ashley! You only know what you've heard," Spencer ranted, angry at her judgmental mother.

"I don't need to know her," Paula countered. "I know about her type and that's enough..."

"Her 'type'? HER TYPE? So you're going to base your entire opinion of Ashley on the wrong and prejudicial things your religion says about her 'type'?" Spencer asked, incredulously. "Isn't that exactly the opposite of the way you raised me? Not to judge people? Then why are you judging Ashley simply because you have a problem with her being gay?"

"Spencer, you're too young to understand these things…" Paula started. Spencer snorted.

"I think I'm old enough to know bigotry when I see it," she countered. Paula frowned.

"I'm not being a bigot," she argued. "But people like Ashley make a choice to go against God and they will be condemned for it." Spencer felt her face flush red.

"It is NOT a choice!" she yelled. "Do you have any idea how ignorant you sound when you say that?" Paula pulled into the driveway and shut off the car before she turned to address her daughter. "Who the hell would CHOOSE to be so hated by so many people just for being who they are? Choose to have their basic human rights ignored? God, Mom, try living in reality for a change instead of your stupid little homophobia bubble."

"First of all, you will respect me when you speak to me…"

"Why? You don't respect me," Spencer shot back.

"I do too," Paula argued. Spencer shook her head.

"No you don't. You don't listen to what I say; you hear what you want and interpret it and then try and tell me how to think, how to act," Spencer informed her mother. "I'm not you. I'm never going to be you; I'll make sure of that."

"Spencer, being gay is a sin against God," Paula reminded with her narrow minded belief. Spencer rolled her eyes.

"So is eating shellfish and adultery, Mom," she said sarcastically. "And I know you do at least one of those." Paula stared at her youngest child in shock as Spencer opened the door and got out. Before she shut the door, Spencer leaned in for one more shot.

"The car smells like nicotine, Mom," she pointed out. "You and Dad don't smoke. But I remember that doctor friend of yours does. Ben? Yeah him. I remember him from Ohio. I saw him at the hospital. He left a butt on the floor of the front seat."

Her mother was still silent later that evening, no forthcoming grounding as Spencer expected. Instead Paula simply looked at her blankly whenever Spencer was in the same room. It was almost like Paula couldn't look Spencer in the eyes. Confused, Spencer retreated to her room after dinner.

(I musta hit a nerve) she figured, heartbroken that her spur-of-the-moment assumption about Ben might actually be right. (For all I know, maybe Mom did take up smoking after we got here. Or gave him a ride somewhere. She's acting like I'm totally right. Oh poor Dad!)

Anger that her mother might be cheating surged through Spencer. It seemed incredibly hypocritical of the woman to condemn Ashley because she was gay when she herself was breaking an entire Commandment. She knew that once she finally told her mother that she too was gay, she'd be condemned as well.

(Well, If I am going to hell, then I'll be in good company, what with Ashley, Elton John, Ellen, oooh Melissa Etheridge. I love her music. And her wife's hot too.) she entertained herself with a running list of people she figured she'd see in her mother's version of hell.

(I think Mom will be there too, probably setting the table and still ranting about the evils of homosexuality.) She managed to smile at her own morose humor. (God, I can't believe how two faced she really is! This is my mother? I'm not the one who's changed since we moved here, she is. What's Dad going to do?)

Now she didn't know whether or not to tell her father her suspicions.

(What if I'm wrong? I'll upset him for no reason. No, I think I'll wait and see if I'm right, first.) She picked up her phone to call Ashley. Talking to the brunette always cheered her up.

(I'm so lucky to have her) she smiled. A knock on her door made her scramble to hide the phone. Shoving it between her bed and the wall and then throwing a pillow over it, Spencer leaned on the pillow, grabbed a nearby magazine and yelled 'what?'

Her mother walked in, closing the door behind her. She stood and stared at Spencer for a few moments while Spencer steadfastly ignored her.

"Spencer," Paula started slowly. "About earlier…"

"I don't want to talk about it, Mom," Spencer broke in, still looking at the pages of her magazine. "You're a hypocrite." Paula took a step closer.

"Spencer, honey, people make mistakes, even parents," she started to explain. Spencer snorted.

"You seem to be making a lot." Paula's eyes narrowed.

"If I've made a mistake, it's because I'm human and God forgives me if I repent. There is no repenting for Ashley, and you know that even if there were, she wouldn't do it." Spencer dropped her magazine to her lap and started astounded at her mother.

"So you can twist your beliefs to fit and condone your actions, CHOICES that'd you've made that go totally against your belief but someone like Ashley who was BORN who she is, you condemn? Oh my God, what kind of madness have you raised me to believe?" she raved. Paula crossed her arms over her chest.

"You were raised to believe what is right and virtuous. I don't know how you've seemed to lose sight of that. I can only think that it's Ashley's influence…"

"Of course. I couldn't possibly be thinking for myself," Spencer scoffed.

"Spencer, this isn't you. You are not like this, so disobedient and rude," her mother stated. Spencer rubbed her face with her hands, annoyed.

"Yes, this is me, Mom. I'm not purposely being rude or disobedient. Your beliefs don't match mine is all. That's not a bad thing. I'm supposed to learn how to think for myself and not always rely on you to make my decisions for me," she explained, trying to stay at least moderately calm. Getting overly upset would probably only fuel her mother's tirade.

"And I'm supposed to help you make the right choices," Paula argued.

"But you're not," Spencer responded. "You're telling me what to do and not to do, according to you. You're not letting me make mistakes so that I can learn!"

"This isn't a game, Spencer."

"No, it's my life! Mine, Mom. Not yours. Stop trying to run it according to some antiquated and WRONG beliefs!"

"I will not see you burn in Hell, Spencer," Paula declared. Spencer laughed and picked up her magazine again.

"It's your hell; you burn in it."



Ashley walked around her room, packing a duffle with the things she figured she'd need over the weekend. When she got home from school, her mother had been waiting to remind her that she was not to return home until Monday morning at the earliest. She had packed Ashley a bag but nothing in it was anything Ashley needed. Plus that stupid sundress was on the top. So she went to go pack it herself. Her mother also added as Ashley climbed the stairs that the sooner she got out of the house that night, the happier they'd both be.

Ashley considered going back to her father's place in Venice Beach but she vaguely remembered at some point between the margaritas and the Jack Daniels that her father mentioned if she needed him this weekend, he'd be staying there with his most recent girlfriend, the hand model. Although he did request that she called first if she was coming over.

(It's so nice to feel so wanted by your own parents) she thought sarcastically, throwing her iPod into the bag and looking around for her good jeans; the ones she saw Spencer watching her ass in. (Neither one of them want me in their homes. And then they wonder why I act out and seem to need therapy.)

She found her jeans and threw them in the bag, making a mental note to wear them tomorrow when she hung out with her blonde girlfriend. She knew that they were tight enough to make her ass look hotter than usual and low cut enough to tease Spencer with flashes of her hard abs.

(Heh, she thinks I don't know that she stares at my tummy when she thinks I'm not looking. I'm gonna tease the hell out of her tomorrow. Ew, if Paula hasn't grounded her…again. Her mother looked so pissed when she picked Spencer up today. She probably saw us leaning in a little close for a second there. We've got to be more careful, we almost got caught making out a couple of times this week. I mean, I kinda enjoy the whole 'will we get caught' thrill but it's not the best way for Spencer to come out. Yeah that would definitely scar her.)

She glanced in the mirror at herself as she grabbed her toiletries. The mark on her neck was starting to fade but she had a sneaking suspicion that Aiden's remark early in the week was correct; it might leave a permanent mark. Not that she minded in the least.

(Something to remind me when I'm feeling like shit that someone does loves me) she smiled to herself.

"Aren't you gone yet?" her mother asked venomously from the door, throwing Ashley from her happy thought. Ashley rolled her eyes and threw some more things into her bag.

"Another few minutes, Mom. Trust me, I don't want to be here for your 'company' any more than you want me to be," she tossed over her shoulder. Her mother picked up a few things from Ashley's bureau, scrutinized them and then set them back down.

"Junk, trash everywhere. Kind of like you," she sighed. "You are such a disappointment, Ashley." Ashley froze and turned to face her mother.

"Not that I'm surprised to hear you say that but what did I do now?" she retorted. She was almost used to these 'chats' her mother had with her. Whenever she did something wrong, the elder Davies liked to harp on it and remind Ashley what a disappointment she was.

(This should do wonders for my self esteem) she scoffed to herself.

"Look at you," Mrs. Davies gestured towards Ashley, looking at what her teenage daughter was wearing and frowning. "You always look so cheap and slutty. No wonder I can't keep a man." Ashley snickered and shook her head, putting the last of her stuff in her bag and slinging it over her shoulder.

"I am not the reason that you can't keep a man," she said. "And if I am slutty, Mom, I had to learn it somewhere."

"What is that supposed to mean?" she asked, shocked. Ashley flashed an evil smile.

"Think about your 'party' tonight and then I think you can figure it out."

"I've warned you about that smart mouth, Ashley," Mrs. Davies warned. Ashley nodded.

"Yes, repeatedly. And yet that never seems to shut me up. You must be so proud."

"You had everything growing up and look how you're turning out," her mother continued. "You could have been someone and you wasted it all." Ashley swallowed the hurt that her mother's words were causing her and channeled it into anger.

"I am someone, Mom. Even if you don't see it." (Spencer does and she's all I need)

She pushed her mother and headed towards the stairs.

"Remember, Ashley. If you must come back, do not come back until Monday." Ashley flipped her mother the middle finger over her shoulder and left the house.

Sitting in her car, parked in the large overly lit parking lot of one of the larger department stores, Ashley wondered if she should have told Spencer that she had nowhere to go. She could have paid for a hotel for a few nights but that meant explaining to her mother when the bill came in why she just hadn't stayed with a friend. And that would evolve back into another 'chat' about how Ashley was ruining her life and couldn't even keep friends. In Ashley's opinion, if spending the weekend in her car meant she wouldn't have to have another heart-to-silicone boob talk with her mother, it was worth it.

(I know Spencer would invite me to stay at her house. Heh, that's if Mother Superior even let me in the door and that's doubtful. She would probably chain me to the couch at this point and then call for an exorcism) she laughed to herself as she sipped a soda and munched on some chips. She had her iPod playing loudly in her ears.

(But I don't know if I could be in the same house with Spencer for an entire weekend and keep myself from touching her…or really, be right there and not be touched by her. And the last thing I wanna do is screw up and get caught by her family. Spencer would never forgive me)

(So another snuggly night curled up in my SUV with a blanket and a bottle of mace. I hope Spencer's having a better night)

With her iPod blaring, she didn't notice her cell phone ringing in the front seat.

Spencer frowned, hanging up her cell phone and laying on the bed. She figured Ashley would have picked up by now.

(Maybe her battery died) She dialed Ashley's main line.

"Hello?" a voice that certainly wasn't Ashley answered, deepening Spencer's frown.

"Is Ashley there?" she asked. She heard the woman on the other end of the line sigh disgustedly.

"Ashley isn't home this weekend." The click of the call being disconnected echoed hollowly in her ear. Spencer closed the cell phone and looked out her window.

"Ashley, where are you?"



Ashley grumbled as she reached for her phone, her muscles feeling stiff and sore from her cramped sleeping space. She looked at the clock on the phone, scowling at its annoying display of 7 am and then glanced at the caller ID. She smiled despite the early hour.

(Only Spencer would be awake this early on a Saturday)

"Hullo babe," she said her voice gravely from sleep.

"Ashley! Are you all right? Where have you been?" Spencer asked, her worry carrying over the phone line clearly even as it mixed with evident relief. "I've been trying to call you all night." Ashley cringed.

"Oh, God, I'm sorry Spence," she said honestly. "I musta had my music too loud to hear the phone."

"Ashley, where are you?" Spencer asked next, her concern tapering off a little now that she knew that Ashley wasn't in any danger. "I called your house last night and someone said that you weren't home this weekend. Did you go to your father's?" The tone of her voice told Ashley that Spencer thought she was trying to avoid her. She sighed.

(Why would I not want to talk to her?) she wondered. (Really, we both need to work on our insecurity issues.)

"No, I'm still in town. Look, give me an hour and I'll come pick you up, ok?"

"All right."

Spencer shut her cell phone, which she liberated from her mother a half hour ago with a pointed glare that said 'do not call that girl'. She had tried all night to reach Ashley until she fell asleep with the other cell clutched in her hand. She had wondered if her mother's angry appearance the previous afternoon had somehow pushed Ashley away. She knew that her mother was intimidating, hell it was her mother, she was incredibly aware of that fact. But Ashley wasn't one to back down so that theory was somewhat unlikely.

(It's not like Ash to ignore her phone. And I think it'd take more than a yell across the quad to scare off Ashley Davies. Honestly if the whole 'shower/bathroom' thing didn't make her turn tail and run, I doubt anything will) This train of thought made her happy and reminded her of how wonderful and understanding her girlfriend was.

(So why didn't Ashley answered her phone til now?)

Deciding not to come to any conclusions without talking to Ashley first, Spencer got dressed and waited.

Ashley went to the truck stop where she knew most of the employees and grabbed a shower in the women's bathroom. They knew her rather well given the frequency in which she used their facilities. Since the owner was a friend of Ashley's dad, they didn't mind her using them and Ashley knew that she was safe there.

(Madison would have a fucking field day if she saw me bathing here. That's all I need)

Once she felt presentable, she packed her car in such a way that most of her stuff was hidden. She didn't want Spencer to know that she was staying in her car. Her pride was telling her to lie and say that she was staying at a hotel.

(I really don't want Spencer feeling bad for me. It's no big deal)

She grabbed a quick coffee and some bagels for her and Spencer and headed to her girlfriend's house. She wasn't surprised to see the blonde standing outside waiting for her (she was late per usual), it was the incredibly cross look on her face that surprised Ashley.

"Hey, hon," she said cheerfully. Spencer got in the car and shut the door, not answering her girlfriends greeting. Ashley sighed pulling away from Spencer's house with no clear destination.

"So what did I do?" she asked, slightly annoyed. Spencer looked at her, upset.

"Where were you? I thought you might be hurt or something, and then someone who I assume is your mother said that you wouldn't be home all weekend. So where are you staying? And why didn't you tell me?"

"Spencer, breathe," Ashley couldn't help but laugh. Spencer hadn't even paused during her little diatribe. She looked and sounded so cute. "I was at a hotel. I must have missed the phone ringing cuz I was listening to my iPod until I fell asleep. And yes, that musta been my whoring mother." She stopped at a red light and looked at Spencer.

"Hey, I'm sorry. I should have told you that mom kicked me out until Monday. It's no big deal so I figured 'why bother'?" Spencer arched an eyebrow.

"'Why bother'? How about 'my girlfriend might freak if she can't get a hold of me since she's new to this whole relationship thing and freakishly insecure'? Does that work for ya?" Spencer's voice was slightly sarcastic, making Ashley feel even more guilty over her little white lie. But her pride still kept her from telling the truth. She reached over and grasped Spencer's hand, smiling widely when Spencer laced their fingers together.

"I'm sorry," she repeated. "But really, hon, we both need to work on our insecurities. We're better than that." Spencer nodded.

"I know," she agreed quietly.



When she didn't add to her statement and only started blankly out her side window, Ashley decided to ask what had been on her mind since Spencer entered the car.

"Spence…were you thinking that I was…with someone else?" (There, I said it. Now she'll either get mad at me for thinking it or agree with me. I'm not sure which is worse.) When Spencer bit her lip, Ashley got her answer. She pulled her hand away from Spencer's roughly.

(Ow…I think…ow my chest hurts) she blinked back rapidly developing tears, determined not to let Spencer see how bad that had hurt her.

"Part of me wondered," Spencer finally admitted softly. This only served to make the lump in Ashley's throat swell and almost cut off her air. She felt the burn of bile low in her throat.

"Pretty low opinion you have of me," Ashley whispered, pulling off the highway and onto some random side street. Spencer turned her head towards Ashley so fast that the brunette was shocked she didn't give herself whiplash.

"Ashley, no," she said firmly. "I said a small part of me wondered, not all of me."

"A small part is still a part of you," Ashley sighed. "I'm not sure I'm in the mood to hang out right now." She pulled the car over and shut it off, looking out over the baseball field that she'd parked at. Spencer undid her belt and turned her body towards Ashley's.

"Now who's being insecure?" she asked gently. She watched Ashley frown and the hurt expression on her face immediately turn cold.

(Oh crap) Spencer thought knowing that for whatever reason, they were about to fight, again.

"You know, it's one thing for my parents to think I'm such a worthless piece of shit. Hell, I'm pretty much used to my mother calling me 'trash' or 'whore' or 'slut'. Whatever. But for my own girlfriend to think I was out fucking half the population of LA…well, that's a little much to take." Ashley wasn't looking at Spencer; she was staring straight ahead over the grass and gripping the steering wheel tightly.

Spencer frowned. She had no idea that Ashley's mother said things like that. The more pieces of Ashley's life and childhood she was able to piece together, the less and less Spencer was starting to like Mrs. Davies.

"Ashley, I didn't say anything like it…"

"You basically said that 'some small part'," she used finger quotes to accentuate her sarcasm. "Of you wondered if I was out cheating on you. Wow, I made it an entire 4 days before you turned on me. New Ashley Davies record."

Spencer gritted her teeth together in frustration.

"Ash, I didn't say that I thought you were out cheating on me," she spoke quickly, hoping to get it all out before Ashley managed to interrupt her again. "You asked if I thought you might be with someone else. And yes, damn it, a teeny tiny part of me thought that when I couldn't get a hold of you. Such a small part of me that I immediately dismissed it because I trust you."

"Right, trust," Ashley snorted, making Spencer roll her eyes. "How? How could you even think I'd do something like that to you?" the brunette demanded to know. The pain and betrayal that she felt was coloring her voice and making it crack.

"I didn't. God, Ash, why are you purposely making this difficult?" Spencer asked, getting annoyed. Ashley finally turned her head towards Spencer and for a split second, Spencer saw the fear and hurt in those dark chocolate eyes. But just as quickly, she watched those orbs turn flat and cold, hiding Ashley inside. It hurt her heart to watch.

"I'm not making this difficult, Spencer. The fact that you thought that after everything that's happened between us since this time last week that I'd run out to get my rocks off the first time I had a chance, hurts." Spencer reached out and put her hand on Ashley's shoulder, glad that the other girl didn't pull away.

"I'm sorry, baby. And I know that you wouldn't do that to me," she said softly, understanding now why Ashley was reacting the way she was. And she regretted the fact that she'd even ever entertained the thought.

"Spencer, I know that I have a reputation," Ashley started slowly, letting her head drop to hide behind her hair. "But I have a heart too. And it's yours. I gave it to you. I would never do anything to break it or to hurt you. You mean too much to me. You're the first one ever to mean anything to me. I know that I've got something great here with you. I'm not going to fuck it up by doing something like that." She slowly lifted her head to look at Spencer.

"I believe in you. Please have faith in me. Please?"

Part 41

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