fandom: the fosters
pairing: brandon and callie,
rating: teen (for light swearing, really light swearing)
summary: brandon and jesus deal with callie running away; set in my post-1x10 universe
author's note: I'll be gone for a week starting Saturday, so I really wanted to update before that. As per usual: any kind of feedback is greatly appreciated! :)

Callie had a way of making his world tilt on its axis. Precariously close to falling, crashing, spinning out of control. A look, a touch and there it went.

Four days.

It's been four days, since she had turned his world around with those kisses. And that made it three and a half days since she turned it around once more, by running off to couldntcarelesswhere. And he really couldn't care less. She was gone. She wasn't with him. And Brandon felt that he'd never be happy again. Never ever.

Now, he wasn't one to exaggerate. While, yes, he was a romantic (so what? Men could be soft. Chicks dig that, or so Aiden had told him) and an occasional optimist, his moms and dad had raised him to be level-headed and careful. "Hope for the best, but fear the worst," Stef had said, just before his very first piano competition. He could still recall the sensation of her warm hands, rubbing circles into his shaking knees, her own nervousness betraying that motherly, affectionate smile.

Hope for the best, but fear the worst.

Brandon snorted. Hoping for the best wouldn't win him first place this time. And he didn't need to fear the worst, since it was already happening; right now, somewhere far away, further away every second, completely out of reach.

"What are you snorting at?" Jesus inquired, staring blankly at him from across the kitchen table.

Brandon came to, realizing he had drifted off into the morbid place that was his mind. Kitchen, breakfast, Jesus. Question. Must Answer. Have no answer. Right. He would've taken that as his cue to get up, throw his cereal in the trash for the third consecutive morning, and return to the safe solitude of his room (the only place where people didn't stare blankly at him these days.) But then he felt the words crawling up his throat, syllables tickling his palate, every single letter pushing at his tongue to move.

"I kissed Callie before the wedding. Well, she kissed me first. But I kissed back. And I wanted to kiss her, before she kissed me? I-we kissed. We kissed."

Brandon half expected his brother to go slack-jawed or to choke on his granola bar. But that only happened in the movies, or so it seemed. Jesus merely stopped eating for a second, pausing to look up at him, gauging his reaction. Daring Brandon to take back what he'd just confessed, deny it, make a joke of it (but that was always her job, wasn't it? The denying, the joking, the one step forward, two steps back.) As soon as he realized that his brother wasn't going to say more, Jesus popped what was left of his granola bar into his mouth, chewing once, twice, before swallowing the grains. Brandon was about to go with his original plan of escaping to his room, when Jesus asked another question.

"Is that why she ran?" The words were said carefully, no accusation or judgement detectible.

"I don't know," Brandon admitted, his tone honest, resigned.

It was the one thing, he had not come to terms with. While the rest of the family was trying their best to work out the where did she go? When did she go? And who with? Brandon was stuck on the worst of all questions. He was sure they'd find her. Eventually, Stef would throw open the front door, in all her police officer glory, smiling in exhausted triumph. She'd unveil the where and when and who with. Callie would stand next to her, feet shuffling awkwardly, avoiding his gaze. But that'd be okay. Brandon had learnt to work around her shy avoidance. "Why did you leave, Callie?" He would whisper into her unkempt hair, pulling her close, knowing that she'd push him away any second now. And he would still be left wondering, his empty heart heavy. Because three months of living under the same roof as Callie Jacob had taught him, above all else, that the important questions, the him and her questions, would always remain unanswered. To be continued. One cliffhanger after another. Their non-relationship (it is what it isn't) felt like a tv show. Previously on Callie and Brandon. They were the proverbial elephant in the room.

"If you ask me, it was about time you two hooked up. The sexual tension was nasty, man."

A big, fat elephant.

"Jesus, she ran away. We kissed, Jude saw, Callie freaked out and ran. And all you have to say is 'about time you hooked up'?"

"Wait, Jude saw? Shit." His brother had a way with words.

"I can't even look at him anymore. He must hate me, Jesus," Brandon said calmly.

"Jude is a thirteen-year-old ball of sunshine. He doesn't have it in him to hate you," Jesus replied, smirk in place once more. Brandon remembered being Jesus. Remembered being easy, carefree. Life before Callie was just that. Thing is, he didn't miss easy or carefree. Brandon missed Callie.

He watched as Jesus slid off his stool, reached across the table and grabbed his untouched breakfast.

"The way I see it, you have two options here. You can sit around and poke around that soggy cereal some more, like the melancholic drama queen you are. Or we can hunt down Jude and join forces, so we'll actually stand a chance in finding Callie, before you're grey and old."

It wasn't until he heard Jesus release that loud, boisterous laughter of his, that Brandon realized that his own mouth had begun to curl up in a smile for the first time since the wedding. He'd get his brother back for calling him a melancholic drama queen later. For now, Brandon would take his advice for what it was; a spark of hope. Hope for the best, fear the worst. For once in his life, he was just going to forego the fearing the worst part. He had a feeling that Callie was doing enough of that for the both of them.

"Let's go find Jude," his response was firm, as was the accompanying nod to Jesus, a silent thank you. He had a plan. It wasn't foolproof, in fact it was more of a rough idea than an actual plan. But he had that, at least. A plan, an accomplice and hope. It was a start.

Brandon Foster's Non-Foolproof Plan To Save The Day: find the girl, never let her go again (bonus quest: kiss some more.)