Pairing: Jude Adams Foster/Connor Stevens
Fandom: The Fosters
Summary: The bedroom he shared with Jesus never felt less like his than it did now.
Spoilers/Timeline: Takes place after the season two finale.
Word Count: 2,039
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Blazing Elm Entertainment.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Thanks to angelskuuipo for looking this over even though she doesn't watch the show.
Author's Note: This is based on the rumors that Jesus is the one who died in the car crash in the season two finale.
Author's Note 2: Title from the song "What About Now" by Daughtry.
That first night, no one questioned when Jude crawled into bed with Callie, like he had when he was five years old. It wasn't exactly comfortable, both of them curled up in her twin bed, but she seemed just as grateful to have him there.
He ended up spending most of that night in that bed alone anyway, Callie having moved to wrap herself around Mariana at some point during the night, offering the other girl what comfort she could. When he woke up, Brandon was curled up on the floor next to Mariana's bed, one hand stretched up to hold one of hers, even though he had his room back since Ana was in the hospital after having given birth to the baby.
The second night, he fell asleep on the couch in the living room and luckily no one tried to move him.
The night after that he crashed in Brandon's room.
For a solid week he managed to avoid sleeping in his room.
He wasn't sure if the moms knew he was avoiding that room on purpose, but if they did they didn't say anything to him.
It just didn't feel right to be there without Jesus. Even though he'd been with the Adams Fosters for a while now, even though he'd been adopted, the room had never really felt like his. It had always been Jesus' room, which he shared. The space felt too big without the other boy's larger-than-life presence filling it up.
When the grandparents arrived for the funeral, Lena finally pulled him aside to talk.
"I heard that Connor was getting out of the hospital today," Lena said, surprising Jude.
He looked up at her, blinking. "Uh, yeah, he texted to tell me. How did you know?"
"I talked to his father. I suggested that maybe Connor could stay over after the funeral tomorrow. Would you like that?"
Jude found himself nodding in disbelief. "You're going to still let him stay over, even after… I mean, you know he's kind of my boyfriend now."
Lena's expression softened, pride lighting her eyes. "I trust you. The same rules that apply to the others will apply to you. No closed doors. We'll discuss this more with Mom, later. For now, I've seen how you've been avoiding your room, and I thought you could use your best friend."
Jude hugged her, fiercely, which she returned. "Thank you," he mumbled into her hair.
The funeral was awful. It was a graveside service and he stood with Callie on one side and Connor on the other. Ana was there, looking tired, standing with her parents. The entire wrestling team had come; so had Brandon's band and some of the girls from Girls United. Jude tried to remember if Jesus had ever even hung out with Callie's friends, but he guessed it didn't matter. He was glad that Callie had other people in her life to lean on besides him.
After the service, everyone came back to the house. Family, friends and lots of people he didn't know all came to share their tragedy and say how terrible it was for such a promising life to be cut short.
"You wanna get out of here?" he asked Connor while they were hiding in the kitchen.
"Can we do that? I'm not exactly mobile here," he pointed out, lifting one of his crutches.
"I just meant the house," Jude clarified, opening the back door.
"Oh, okay, yeah." Connor slowly made his way outside, collapsing on the little couch out back. "Those things are not as easy as they look."
Jude sat next to him, not sure how close was too close. Connor lifted his injured foot to rest on the table and let out a sigh. When Jude tentatively reached over and curled his fingers around Connor's, Connor smiled and turned to look at him.
"I know it's probably totally inappropriate to say this, but you look really good in that suit," Connor said, pulling Jude closer with their joined hands.
Jude blushed and said, "So do you. Your dad is really letting you stay over tonight?"
"Yeah. I don't know what Lena said to him, but he agreed." Connor looked down at their joined hands before meeting Jude's eyes again. "I'm kinda glad, actually. I wasn't really looking forward to being home with him. Things haven't really been good between us, but he's trying. I just wish he didn't look like he was in so much pain when I talked about you."
Jude squeezed his hand and scooted closer. "He blames me for making you gay," Jude said, shrugging. There was no censure in his voice.
"That's stupid," Connor said, "but you're right, he does. He needs to blame something, someone."
Jude felt like he was going to fall through the wicker seat if the conversation got any more serious. Too many sad thoughts and feelings were weighing him down.
Seemingly out of the blue, he leaned over and kissed Connor. It was quick, but when he pulled back he asked, "Can we just not talk right now? I know it's important, but I can't-"
Connor cut him off with another kiss, his free hand reaching out to pull Jude's face back to his.
For several blissful moments, Jude didn't have to think, didn't have to feel anything except Connor's lips against his and his hand in his hair.
At the sound of a throat being cleared, the boys reluctantly separated. Jude looked up to see Brandon standing nearby, a curious look on his face.
Brandon raised an eyebrow, crossed his arms over his chest, and asked, "Is there something you want to tell me?"
Jude flushed at getting caught, but his voice was steady when he said, "Nothing to tell. Connor's my boyfriend."
Connor's face lit up at the declaration and Jude wished he could kiss him again.
"Do moms know?" Brandon asked. "I thought Connor was staying over tonight."
"Of course they know," Jude replied. "It was Lena's idea for Connor to stay over; after she knew about us." Before Brandon could ask, Jude added, "Callie knows too. I don't think anyone's told Mariana yet." Because her twin just died, was left unsaid.
"I just came out here to say that moms were looking for you because people are starting to leave," Brandon said. "You should probably get back inside if you still want Connor to stay over."
"We'll be in in a minute," Jude agreed, watching Brandon return to the house.
Jude stood and grabbed Connor's crutches, holding them out for the other boy. Connor was still sitting with the biggest grin on his face when Jude turned back to him.
"What?" Jude laughed.
"You called me your boyfriend," Connor said, struggling to stand.
"Well, you are, aren't you?" Jude responded, suddenly nervous.
"Yeah," Connor was quick to confirm. "I just never heard you say it out loud before, to someone else." He reached out to pull Jude close enough to kiss. "I don't know if I'll ever not get a rush hearing you say that."
Brandon found Callie in the dining room, a large trash bag in one hand as she started clearing away discarded paper plates and plastic cups. He took her by the elbow and dragged her over to a corner.
"Ow, Brandon, what are you doing?" Callie protested, dropping the trash bag.
"Why didn't you tell me Jude and Connor are dating?" he hissed in response.
Callie's eyes went wide in surprise before her protective instincts kicked in. She wrenched her arm out of Brandon's grasp. "He told me the day Jesus…the day of the accident. I kind of had other things on my mind. What's it matter to you?"
"You know Connor's staying over tonight?" Brandon pressed. Callie nodded. "That's not fair."
"What's not fair?" Stef asked, coming into the room.
Brandon spun around, trying to school his face and failing. When he didn't speak right away, Callie answered, "He doesn't want Connor to stay over for some reason, now that he knows he's Jude's boyfriend."
"I see," Stef said, cautiously. "Is that true, B?"
"I thought there was a no girlfriend/boyfriend sleepover rule in this house," Brandon pointed out. "Maybe some of us who are not dating someone of the same sex would like to have the person they're seeing sleep over."
"I think you want to watch your tone," Stef said, coldly. "You care to explain where this attitude is coming from?"
"I lost my brother, too," Brandon practically shouted, drawing the rest of the household into the room, including Jude and Connor. "Maybe I could use some comfort tonight, too. Did you invite Mat to stay over with Mariana? Or Lou to stay over with me? No. But Jude gets to have Connor stay over? He knew Jesus the least, why does he get to have his boyfriend with him?"
Lou, Mat and Connor silently retreated to another room.
"Connor is Jude's boyfriend?" Mariana asked in the ensuing silence.
"Uh huh," Jude confirmed, hating that he was the cause of Brandon's outburst.
Mariana crossed the room to hug him. "That's so great," she said, starting to cry. "I'm really happy for you, Judicorn." Jude awkwardly hugged her back.
Mariana kept one arm around him as she turned to face Brandon. "And for your information, I do not need Mat to comfort me. I mean, he does, but it's not like we're sleeping together. I mean having sex… I mean we're not… I mean… we're good. Besides, Callie has been sleeping with me most nights…"
Jude gave her a squeeze when she squeaked and buried her head in his shoulder.
"I think what Mariana is trying to say is that she is getting the comfort she needs from her family," Lena said, saving her daughter from sticking her entire leg in her mouth. Mariana nodded her head in agreement.
"Not that we need to explain ourselves to you," Stef added, "but Connor was not going to be sharing a room with Jude."
Jude scrunched up his forehead, this being the first he'd heard of this, but remained quiet.
"So where is he going to sleep?" Brandon pressed, not ready to give up even if he didn't want to fight with his moms.
"Since he has the crutches, we thought he'd sleep on the couch down here. Unless you'd like to give up your bed and you can share a room with Jude if you're so worried about his virtue," Stef suggested.
Brandon shivered at the thought of sleeping in Jesus' bed. All of the fight went out of him. "No, that's okay. I'm sorry for blowing up like that," he said to his moms. He turned to Jude, "I'm sorry Jude; that really wasn't about you. I'm happy for you too, I just…"
Jude nodded, accepting the apology. "It's fine. I'm gonna go make sure Connor's okay."
Jude found Connor sitting on the living room couch, talking quietly with Mat and Lou.
"Is Brandon okay?" Lou asked, standing.
"He was just lashing out," Jude said. "It wasn't really about us," he told Connor, sitting down. "He just misses Jesus."
"I'm gonna go check on him," Lou said, going in search of her boyfriend.
"Yeah, I'm going to go find Mariana," Mat said, making a quick exit.
"We sure know how to clear a room, huh?" Connor joked.
Jude smiled. "How much did you guys hear?"
"Pretty much all of it," he laughed. "You should have seen how red Mat's face got while Mariana was talking."
"Probably matched how red she was," Jude said. "So you also heard you'll be sleeping down here?"
"Yeah; I kinda figured they were going to say that anyway. Your moms are pretty cool, but no mom is that cool," Connor pointed out.
"Well, they do keep a drawer in our bathroom stocked with condoms," Jude said, then blushed, realizing what he'd said. Connor coughed and shifted uncomfortably.
"I should probably help clean up," Jude said, standing. "You'll be okay here?"
"Nowhere else I'd rather be," Connor admitted.
Jude caught Connor's hand, giving it a squeeze. "I'm really glad you're here."
Squeezing back, Connor murmured, "Me too, Jude. Me too."