Title: Aftermath
Author: A. Magiluna Stormwriter
Feedback address: stormwriter@shatterstorm.net
Date in Calendar: 25 June 2016
Fandom: The Fosters
Pairing: Stef/Lena
Rating: PG
Word Count: 679
Summary: She's always so strong, providing a solid presence for everyone else. No one else ever notices the faint tremors of fear that make her movements just the tiniest hair unsteady.
Spoilers: Takes place after episode 04x02 "Safe." So basically everything is up for grabs in this show.
Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Website: ShatterStorm Productions – Doggie Duo
Link to: http://bdkk.shatterstorm.net/
Archive: ShatterStorm Productions & AO3 only…all others ask for permission & we'll see…
Feedback: Constructive criticism is always welcome.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW15

Disclaimer: "The Fosters," the characters, and situations depicted are the property of Blazing Elm Entertainment, Nitelite Entertainment, Nuyorican Productions, Prodco, and ABC Family. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "The Fosters," ABC, or any representatives of the actors.

Note: This wasn't exactly how I pictured writing my first fic for The Fosters, and yet it's entirely something I tend to write in general. This whole emotional hurt/comfort trope is huge for me, and the first two episodes of Season 4 just screamed for this story to be written. So here it is.

Dedication: My muses, old and new, for always being there…

Beta: theonlyspl

My wife is being more stubborn than usual tonight. She's been up three times to check on the kids already, despite the fact that Nick is in custody, hopefully to get the help he clearly needs.

She clings to me in her sleep, arms wrapped tightly around my waist as her forehead is pressed into the side of my neck. She's always so strong, providing a solid presence for everyone else. No one else ever notices the faint tremors of fear that make her movements just the tiniest hair unsteady. It's never enough for anyone to witness in the moment, except for maybe Mike, but I always see it. Especially after the fact, when she thinks she's alone and can let down that mask of stoicism.

This is the fifth time in the last two years that we've been in this position. She was more conducive to letting her emotions out after the accidents and her dad's death. I still don't think she's fully dealt with the ramifications of the cancer. Only Frankie's death truly rivaled this current fear and pain she feels.

She whimpers softly, the sound almost entirely muted by her lips against my shoulder blade. Without thought, my hand rubs along her arm in an attempt at comfort. Her body begins to relax, but the soft whimpers continue. When she's let up on her death grip, I turn around to face her, pulling her head down to my chest. Within a moment or two, I feel the tears soaking through my top, and I kiss the top of her head.

"It's okay, Stef," I whisper, still not sure if she's awake or sleeping. "It's going to be okay. Everyone is safe, no one got hurt. You can relax now, love."

She jerks awake, nearly catching me in the chin as she rears back. Fighting with the covers, she tries to get up and mumbles, "Gotta make sure he's not here. Not losing one of my kids because of someone else again."

I reach out to touch her arm, saying, "Stef? Nobody's here except for the people that are supposed to be."

She blinks owlishly at me for a moment, pupils dilated in some sort of delayed shock from the brief interlude with Nick in Mariana and Callie's room. And then, in the next instant, the tears spill down her cheeks in earnest and she clings to me again. My hands move soothingly along her back as I press kisses to her temple. The only sounds in the room for several moments are her sobs and the gentle hum of the air conditioning.

"I dreamed he came back," she finally whispers. "He got free and came back. He blamed me for stopping him from doing what he'd planned out. He wanted to--"

"It doesn't matter, love, it was just a nasty nightmare. It wasn't real. The kids are all sleeping in their beds, and Brandon's safe over at Courtney's place. Nick's in custody or he's been transported for a suicide watch and psych eval."


"No buts, Stef." I hear the tinge of anger in my tone, and take a deep breath to let it go. It won't help either of us right now. "You kept everyone safe in the end. Mariana found a way to get the gun away from him and try to comfort him, which gave you the opportunity to get in there and remove the threat it posed."

"I was so scared."

"I know you were. We all were. But you held it together and you kept our family safe. You did a good thing tonight, and I love you so very much for it."

"Just hold me?"


Carefully settling back in bed, I let her shift until she's comfortable. Her face is pressed into the side of my neck again, and I can feel her heartbeat along my ribs. It's slowing back to normal again, which means she'll be asleep as soon as the adrenaline bleeds off.

"I love you," she eventually mumbles, breath tickling my skin.

"I love you, too."