Prompt: For the hurt/comfort prompt "violence"
Summary: post 3.4 ""Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?". Astrid's way of comforting Walter – and herself – is to bake.
The timer rang and Astrid hurried over. She was, Peter thought as he sat on a stool by the countertop, the very picture of efficient domesticity in her apron, still-pristine despite the vast amount of food preparation it had been exposed to. He watched as she tested the cookies and found them done to her liking, moving them to a wire cooling rack.
"You don't have to do this," he said over his newspaper. He'd skimmed the news stories of interest and was trying to do the crossword in his head.
"I know," Astrid said. "I want to."
She was, he knew, motivated by guilt, guilt that Peter shared in but was dealing with in his own way. Astrid was dealing by making comfort food and drink. Walter was even now sucking on a straw in his second soda float while he watched television, flicking between an old movie and a cartoon.
Head wounds, Peter knew, bled a lot, and despite his and Astrid's initial horror at Walter's injury it hadn't been that bad. A bit of glue and some painkillers that Walter had pretty much bullied the ER doctor into prescribing – the man did know and appreciate his drugs – and he was fine. If anything, Walter was angry at losing the data. Peter, Olivia and Astrid, though upset about that fact, were far more angry that the shapeshifter had attacked Walter.
Astrid in particular had taken it hard, berating herself for ever letting Walter out of her sight. Peter had several times told her that it wasn't her fault but nothing short of supplying Walter with enough sugary goodies to stock an amusement park would assuage her guilt.
"Those cookies smell delicious," Walter called, not taking his eyes from the television screen.
"They're still hot," Astrid said. "Let them cool for a while."
"Do they have cinnamon in?"
"Yes, Walter." This was the third time he'd asked her that and Peter suppressed a smile at Astrid's tone of resignation.
"Are they really your Aunt Belinda's recipe?" Peter asked.
He shrugged. "I don't know. It sounds like a cliché, not something people really say. I mean, I don't have an Aunt Bertha's chicken recipe or an Uncle Joe's Moonshine or anything like that."
Astrid wiped the baking tray clean. "Family is important," she said. "I'll tell you about Aunt Belinda sometime – Great Aunt Belinda, actually. The recipe is the only thing I really have to remember her by, but it does help keep her memory alive. And it is a very tasty recipe, assuming I've got it right."
"Let's see." Peter swiped one, taking a bite. "Ow, hot!" he yelped, dropping the rest of the cookie onto the countertop and waving at his mouth.
"I just told Walter those were too hot! Like father like son," Astrid said.
Peter managed to chew and swallow the single bite of cookie. "It's good," he said in a strained voice. "What I tasted of it."
Astrid set a glass of water in front of him. He sipped at it sheepishly.
"Aster," Walter began.
"Astrid," she interrupted.
"Can I have more of that delicious cake?" Walter leant his head back on the chair and gazed hopefully at her.
"No. You ate all of it. Except that one piece Peter managed to snatch."
"It was supposed to be my cake," Walter grumbled and went back to watching the TV. "I'm the one who was assaulted."
Peter sighed. "I know he was hurt and we're both upset about that, but like I said, Astrid; you're just encouraging him."
She grinned helplessly. "Maybe. But I don't mind indulging him this once." Her face clouded over. "I would never forgive myself –"
"Enough," Peter said softly, touching he wrist gently. "No more what-ifs. He's fine, Astrid. We're all fine."
She nodded, forced a smile, shoulders squared as if she were going into battle. Peter admired her self-control and determination.
Astrid picked up a cookie and waved it around in the air for a moment. "Walter, this one's almost cool enough. There's cinnamon in it."
Peter watched his father's face light up as Astrid gave him the cookie. He couldn't ask for anyone with more patience and understanding when it came to Walter.