fandom: the fosters
pairing: brandon and callie
rating: teen and up audiences (for swearing)
prompt: brandon/callie confrontation set after the season 1A finale
author's note: I haven't published a story in over three years, I haven't written anything in two, and English remains a second language to me. (what I want to say is, this is probably really crappy.)

"You think I ran because I regret kissing you? That's ridiculous."

The look on her face told him everything he needed to hear. She was sure of it. And it had to because Callie had no words. No words to really express the feelings of that night. It was all there, present in her eyes and lodged in her throat. The fear racing up her back, every time she caught Jude's looks of ice and disappointment. The warm memory of Brandon and his fingers pressed to her sides and her own in his hair. They had kissed so much. The dread of having to do what she was worst at – make decisions. Having to make that one decision not just for herself, but for her little brother, too. The hurt because "you're selfish, Callie." And the want. The undeniable wish to be selfish again. And again and again and again.

It was funny, really. The person who had come to know her best, thought she felt regret. The one emotion she had not felt, had not allowed herself or even Jude to make her feel. Not about this, never about this.

"I don't know that, Callie. All I know is that one day we kiss and the next, you pull a Bonnie and Clyde with Wyatt. Maybe kissing me wasn't a smart idea–"

"Oh, I assure you, it wasn't a smart idea," she intercepted, pulling the sleeve of her shirt over the knuckles of her fingers. She wanted to be bold, "but it was my idea. I have so many regrets. What happened between us isn't one of them."

She could see the realization settle in his face. His mouth curled to form the beginnings of a smile, his eyes shone a little brighter than they had since he'd come crashing into her hotel room. The boy was an open book. Open for her to read. And she had to decide (yet another decision) if she would like to close the book or barely skim the contents or completely and irrevocably lose herself in his wonderful words, spend eternity in this place where Brandon and Callie had a chance to be something, anything.

"Don't get me wrong. Kissing you was selfish. Jude told me as much," she risked another look at his face.

"Jude said you're selfish?! Callie he is–"

" – completely right. He was right, Brandon. I risked his happiness for a selfish moment. Stef and Lena were going to adopt us, Jude was going to have a family. And I put that on the line."

"Are. Present tense. They are going to adopt you. Nothing's changed," his conviction was comical.

"Nothing has changed? We kissed, Brandon. The second your mothers adopt me, I become your sister. Your sister! For some reason, I don't believe that's what you want," Callie said slowly.

"Oh, you know what I want. But what about you? What do you want?" Brandon asked, his gaze unfaltering.

"I want Jude to have a home and a family. I want for Jude –"

"You. You, Callie. Tell me, what you want. All that talk about finally knowing what you deserve. Prove it. Prove to me that you understand."

The dare was in his words, the challenge in the way his jaw was set. He was so radically different from the boy who placed that slice of lasagna on her plate that very first evening. This Brandon was rough around the edges. A little mysterious, a little bit screwed up. Was he just another thing she broke? Oh, she was good at that. Breaking things, that is. A beloved porcelain doll (Emily, her mother had named her) was the first thing she ever broke. She had an impressive record of breaking things, people, promises. Unbreakable was a concept that didn't exist in this world. The accident had taught her that. If she didn't take care, Brandon would be just another porcelain doll on her rap sheet. Callie decided she had done enough breaking for one day.

"I'm tired, Brandon. And you must be, too. Let's get some rest, yeah?" Her tone was final, calm. She sounded like that lovely lasagna boy. Callie didn't dare look up. Didn't want to see any more of that Foster brand of disappointment. She waited a second, two. Then one more, and she heard his feet shuffle to the bathroom door on her right. Saw his shadow in the cheap hotel room light. A nasty creaking noise, and the door was open. Silence. Was he still looking at her? She kept her own eyes locked to the floor, wouldn't risk it. She heard him clear his throat, heard the low wheezing sound of a shuddering breath. He was too close still.

"The thing is, Callie, you say you know what you deserve. I think you have no idea. If you knew, you'd stop making choices that hurt you. Or maybe you do know what you deserve and you're just a coward. A fucking coward."

Flashback to a week ago, she'd shoot him a smirk, tease him for having a dirty mouth, he'd fluster and shuffle and propose going over this new song he'd been working on. But it wasn't a week ago and Brandon Foster had just dropped the F bomb on her in a cheap, smelly hotel room because they had kissed and she had run and Wyatt (the bastard) had called him and he had come after her and they might be siblings soon. She was pretty sure the situation couldn't get any messier.

"I love you, Callie."