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We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This

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--

“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”
- Brodi Ashton

The honest truth is that despite the fact that Santana Lopez is pretty much invulnerable by human standards, she considers herself quite weak.

She’s terrified, you see, and feels so out of control all of the time. She didn’t choose this life. She didn’t choose to be so obviously different.

And the costume. GOD. She wouldn’t have chosen the colors blue and red, and she sure as hell wouldn’t have picked spandex or a cape (that shit gets caught in everything), or even the ridiculous boots that makes her look like a go-go dancer. The Superwoman costume is something she was given at an age she considers barely old enough by a Kryptonian who goes by the name Superman and Clark Kent.

He’s the stranger who rescued her, literally flew her to Kansas farm country when she was still a child and called her ‘cousin’.

All that he left behind was a pair of rectangular, wire-rimmed glasses. As he gave them to her, he made a joke about hiding in plain sight. He left her then in the company of a kind woman named Martha Kent. His mother.

He disappeared soon after. Martha would cry when she thought Santana couldn’t hear her. She would hear rumors and hushed phone conversations. Where had the superheroes gone? Then the visits started from a woman named Chloe Sullivan, who presented herself as her mentor and called her special, even when Santana herself crumpled in her own self doubt and called herself a freak. Chloe absorbed every angry comment Santana threw at her and taught her the mythos of Superman – the mantle she had been given.

As Santana grew older wearing those glasses became second nature, so much so that she actually feels a little naked and scared without them and in retrospect it’s kind of stupid, isn’t it? To think that a pair of glasses and a way of carrying oneself will so directly affect a person that they don’t see someone’s true self even when it’s right in front of them?

It astounds her.

The point is that Santana didn’t choose to be Superwoman. That was chosen for her, not because she is all that heroic (truth is, Santana is actually kind of a bitch), but because she had the lucky one-in-a-billion chance of being a Kryptonian refugee.

Her mythos is a facade, and she resents it. She isn’t Superwoman, not really. Superwoman is a costume, a job and a mask she puts on every time she takes off her glasses. Superwoman does not exist, except in moments such as these – as she wills this world to slow down, and she processes.

Chaos happens around her – men are shouting and pointing and beside her Brittany Pierce shouts for her to follow as she turns and races for the stairs. Santana hears the pop of a gunshot. It sounds like an explosion.

“God-dammit, Brittany!” she breathes, but there’s a smirk on her face. Brittany Pierce is damn infuriating and walks around with a certain death wish. The woman is frustrating and brilliant and ALWAYS TAKING THE DAMN STAIRS.

Santana Lopez, citizen of Metropolis, deliberately removes her glasses and begins to work at the buttons of her blazer before she turns with a speed that’s faster than the bullet currently speeding at her towards the men who have begun to give chase.

Somewhere in the middle of all of it, she breaks her heel.

--

Really, truly, sincerely – Brittany S. Pierce, intrepid reporter, doesn’t expect to make a habit of toppling off the tops of Metropolis skyscrapers. She didn’t even consider it a potential hazard when she was contemplating making the move to the big city. Her parents’ fears were more like getting robbed in the dead of the night or getting hit by a cab… or maybe possibly being taken hostage and sold into the underground slave trade.

Not that those things haven’t actually happened, because they totally have. Bad things just sorta happen to Brittany S. Pierce. Mostly because when she was robbed or hit by a cab or taken hostage, she had sorta planned on it for the story she was working on. And she got nominated for a Pulitzer because of the slave trade thing so…

This whole flinging herself off a building thing?

Not really part of the story.

To be fair, she should have known better than to climb UP the stairs to run away from the bad guy, and maybe she should have checked the auto flash on her phone before she took those pictures of the deal going down, and maybe she should have looked where she was going instead of behind her at the thug giving chase when she sprinted across the top of the building and suddenly ran out of roof.

Because God knows this isn’t the first time this has happened. Brittany knows there’s a lot of merit in having actual hindsight.

Instead she flops forward, scraping her calf on unforgiving brick before a scream begins to wrench out of her throat and she’s nose diving fast toward a cement street that’s more than two hundred feet down.

No matter how many times this has happened (Brittany’s counted like… three times), Brittany always waits for her life to flash before her eyes before she’s flattened like a pancake. It never actually happens though because right on schedule, Brittany’s snatched out of the air.

Her scream turns into an undignified yelp.

The person carrying her just curls her body in tighter and chuckles, “We have to stop meeting like this, Miss Pierce.”

Brittany, who up until this moment had clamped her eyes closed so she wouldn’t have to actually see herself die, blinks and after a bewildering, heart stopping intake of breath registers that she’s now wrapped securely in the arms of a gorgeous woman in blue and red spandex.

“Oh…” is all she can quite manage, because it’s Superwoman, of course, who has her. Gorgeous, olive-skinned Superwoman, with dark mysterious eyes and perfect kissable lips and … really hot cleavage. “Hi,” she whispers, and tightens her grip around the always surprisingly delicate shoulders.

“Hi,” Superwoman says back. They’re floating now, as gently and softly as a deflating balloon, back down towards the street. “Miss Pierce, why do you keep falling off buildings?”

“Oh,” she says again, and flushes, embarrassment bringing her out of her momentary lust-induced stupor. “Um… I never actually do it on purpose. Why do you keep catching me?” she asked, as though this is somehow a problem (It’s really, really not).

Superwoman arches an eyebrow, and resettles Brittany’s weight, causing Brittany to squeak and cling tighter. “It’s kinda my thing,” she answers.

“Oh,” Brittany says a third time, breathless now, because her heart is beating terribly fast. “Right. I guess.”

“You had some bad men chasing you,” Superwoman says gravely, and when Brittany blanches, she adds reassuringly, “Don’t worry about them.”

Brittany doesn’t. Not because she shouldn’t be, but it’s really hard to worry about anything when she’s fighting every impulse she has not to bury her fingers in Superwoman’s super hot dark flowing locks and plant her lips against hers. “Thank you?”

Superwoman just looks at her, and it’s frightfully distracting because Brittany can’t help but look back because Superwoman is freaking gorgeous and just… super. “You’re welcome, Miss Pierce,” Superwoman says, in that gravely low voice that makes Brittany shudder. “Trust me, it’s always a pleasure.”

It’s only then, as Superwoman untangles herself from Brittany’s clutch, that Brittany realizes that they’re back on solid ground. There’s commotion around them, because there always is with Superwoman around, and Brittany finds she can do nothing but stand with shaky legs.

“You okay?” she hears Superwoman ask, holding her steady. With a muted sigh, she nods, and watches in silence as Superwoman’s fingers untangle from hers. “Stay off rooftops, Miss Pierce,” she warns with this sexy smirk on her face, and then she’s doing that Superwoman thing she does where she flies off, leaving Brittany a horny and besotted mess in her wake.

“Brittany. Brittany!” Brittany blinks, shaken out of her daze when she realizes that her perpetually absent partner, Santana Lopez, looking as unkept as ever in her ill-tailored suit, is hobbling toward her with a busted heel and glasses perched crookedly on her nose. “Are you okay?!”

Brittany finds herself biting down a sigh. “What happened? Where did you go?!”

“I tripped!” Santana explains, waving her shoe at her. “Busted my heel! Lucky thing too. The guy fell right over me and – “

“Okay,” Brittany dismisses, because that’s all she really needs to know. There is no one in the world as clumsy as Santana. Even though the other woman has proven to have a way with words and a remarkably quick tongue, she navigates the world like she’s literally just inhabited it and has had to relearn every single basic form of human interaction.

“What happened to you?!” Santana asks as she falls into step with her, heading towards Main Street. She’s quite the sight, hobbling with one heel on and off, flyaway hair escaping from the severe bun Santana always wears it in, making it look like she’s grown a horn. Brittany might think it’s even a little adorable, but the flyaway thought is quickly blasted away with the phantom sensation of Superwoman’s arms around her, lips so close and kissable…

“I fell off the roof,” she answers simply.

“What, again?!”

“Yep. Superwoman caught me.”

She dimly hears Santana stumble, and without looking reaches out to steady her. “Well… that’s nice of her… to keep doing that.”

Still gripping Santana, Brittany falters and stares up at the sky. “Yeah,” she admits. “It’s kinda her thing.”

“Wow,” Santana breathes, and it’s so awestruck and cute she may as well have said, ‘Golly’, but Brittany decides suddenly she doesn’t want to talk about her latest encounter. This habit she has of falling off of rooftops… it’s private – between her and Superwoman, and though Santana Lopez, with all her dorkish charm, may be turning out to be maybe the best friend she’s ever had, she’s not quite ready to share that with her.

“Let’s go,” she says, holding up her phone triumphantly. “I’ve got our latest scoop right here! We’ve got pictures to publish and a story to write! Come on!” she snaps, when Santana dawdles, fiddling with the button on her blazer. “Why are you always a step behind me?”

Santana looks at her, a wispy and sweet smile on her face, like she’s got some sort of a secret. “It’s kinda my thing,” she drawls, and then half jogs to catch up.

--

Coming to Metropolis was another one of those things that was more or less decided for Santana. It was either that or Gotham, and yeah… big no thank you to that.

Chloe got her the apartment, the interview with Perry, and a new pair of glasses with rectangular frames, sturdy enough to withstand the countless times she would need to tear them off her nose and stuff them in some corner pocket while she faced off with a villain or helped a damn cat out of a tree.

“You can do this,” Chloe told her, and Santana has often wondered if she meant the part about her being a superhero or the part where she has to spend most of her life hiding behind those glasses and overemphasizing the human clumsiness that seems as dramatic as kabuki.

She finds enjoyment in the little things: heat that warms but doesn’t burn, the laughter of a child that inhabits its entire soul, the purity of words that are written in such a way that for a moment she’s transformed into just another citizen of Metropolis, who can go to a cat show and laugh at the pure hilarity of it.

It’s an article that she wrote with a bit of tongue in cheek fun, taking a chance to stray away from the factual sternness that seems to be The Daily Planet’s regular tone.

“This is good,” Perry tells her, in that gruff voice that she finds particularly soothing. He leans back away from the monitor, giving her a studious, hard look. “Wouldn’t think it to look at you, but you’re funny as hell. Makes me wonder why the hell you’re futzing around after Brittany Pierce trying to be an investigative journalist when the hard truth is you’re a columnist, Santana.”

And maybe that’s true. Santana writes with humor, not facts. Brittany is the objective one, who with all her lofty ideology, is surprisingly strict with her format. Though they’ve been partnering on stories only a few months, Santana has come to learn Brittany’s style is all about exposing the dark elements of the city, and representing those who cannot be represented. Santana, with her alien nature, finds the quirks of humanity endlessly fascinating.

But it’s not what inspires her.

She shuffles on her feet and stands unevenly, reminding herself with an uncomfortable wince that once again she’s managed to break a heel in her over enthusiastic rescue of Brittany earlier that day.

Perry just keeps staring at her, and so Santana offers what she thinks may be a meek shrug. “Doesn’t everyone want to feel like they matter?”

“Course they do,” he agrees and sighs. “But Lopez, there’s a reason why Pierce is such a damn good investigator. She’s got… balls. Metaphorically,” he adds hastily, when the phrasing puts such a picture in Santana’s head she finds herself nearly going cross-eyed. “Takes a look at trouble and runs headlong into it. You… you take one whiff of smoke and turn back in the other direction.”

He’s actually being specific. Santana remembers that instance quite vividly. It was the second time Superwoman had caught Brittany Pierce after she quite literally got blown off a roof by gust of incendiary air. “To be fair, sir. That one time was because I had dropped my glasses, and truth is I’m blind as a bat without them-“

“Santana.” The editor reaches over; his warm, sweaty hand stops her rambling with a press against her forearm. “I’m not saying you and Pierce don’t make a good team. You make a great team. It’s a yin and yang sorta thing. But Pierce has had partners come and go, and the truth is – she always prefers to work alone. You’ve been here nearly a year now and all you’ve done is given yourself second billing on her byline.”

He’s doing it to be kind. Santana knows that. He’s taking that hick small town reporter with an ounce of talent and trying to nurture it, something most editors wouldn’t even care to do. And he’s right. Stellar careers don’t get made playing when you’re playing second banana to the star reporter of The Daily Planet.

But it’s hard to be any sort of ambitious or want any sort of spotlight when her alter ego is the lead headline on any given day. And that special place where Brittany Pierce lives … it’s beautiful but it’s ten times easier to catch her when she flings herself off a building if Santana is there right before it happens.

”I wish I could say it won’t be lonely,” Chloe told her before she left, with the moistness of tears in her eyes. ”But you have to find your own way, Santana. Make your own choices. Find your own home. One that you choose.”

Metropolis isn’t like Smallville. It’s gritty and dirty and Chloe, as usual, was right. It’s lonely.

Santana makes her way slowly to Perry’s office window, the clear glass from which he can keep an eye on the entire bull pen. Through the blinds, she catches sight of the distracted form of Brittany S. Pierce, who chews on the end of her rainbow colored pen and squeezes a ball of Silly Putty.

Brittany, who always looks at her like she knows her. Like she’s known her all her life. Who flings herself off rooftops and never, ever breaks a heel.

“Maybe second billing on those stories means more to me than a byline on a gossip column, Chief.”

He sighs, loud and obnoxious. He’s noisy as he lifts up out of his chair and reaches around her, pulling on the blinds until their wide open and Santana’s vision is suddenly unobstructed. “You know, it seems like yesterday when that place was filled with typewriters and copy boys. We had Lois Lane and Superman. Now we got blogs and our distribution is down and Superman’s a girl! Everything’s changing. I’m an old man in a new world and sometimes it’s like I can’t keep up.”

Her lower lip catches between her teeth, letting his words sink in.

“Just promise me you’ll think about it,” he finally sighs. “You have potential. You’re a born leader, Santana, and I see that fire in your eyes when you think no one’s looking. But you’re hiding it. And I’ll be damned if I know why. It’s all well and good to follow Pierce around but at some point… you gotta be your own hero.”

It takes effort, to paste on that silly, clueless smile, and when she shoves her glasses up her nose, Santana has to be deliberately careful not to crack them with the force.

--

There’s a deadline that’s coming way too quickly, and a story that needs to be written that her editor has been on her ass about all afternoon. In front of Brittany is a screen with a half written article and a little black dash that blinks mockingly at her, reminding her that she’s been stuck in writer’s block hell for the past hour.

Brittany sucks in a harsh breath and curls her fists around the piece of Silly Putty in her hands, feeling it squish between her fingertips as she doodles on a post it with her other hand.

No one said this job would be easy, but Brittany knows that for her, it’s harder than it would be for most. She’s got the piece of paper to prove it, with a psychologist’s fancy signature scrawled across it that assures her that she’s not stupid, her brain just works differently than other people. It’s as small a comfort now as it was back in high school.

But then again Brittany always has had something to prove. That chip on her shoulder that makes her seem like a cold hearted bitch to people who don’t know better got its first layer in high school, when she was told over and over again from students and teachers alike that she just wasn’t smart enough, that her grades would improve if she just didn’t show up to class.

Silly, pretty Brittany. If she only had a brain.

Bullied and branded the class idiot has only left Brittany damned determined to prove them wrong, and she has. So what if hard core journalism is considered a dying industry? Brittany has made the profession her bitch.

Getting the story is easy. Well… in relative terms. She’s come away with yet another near death experience and yes, perhaps she’s had quite enough of thugs chasing her down, but even now, it’s kinda hard not to consider it a fair trade what with winding up in Superwoman’s arms yet again AND getting the scoop. Writing it down? That’s her obstacle. Sometimes the words come, but most of the time, her brain just refuses to cooperate. Spell check and the built in thesaurus have long been her companions and life savers, but it can only take someone so far. The rest? Brittany literally has to squeeze from her brain, with as much force and vigor as she is currently squishing her Silly Putty.

Today, her mind seems determined to remain stubborn in its obsessive flashback of gorgeous brown eyes and the pressure of strong, slender limbs against her waist.

“You broke out the Silly Putty. Must be serious.”

Brittany frowns, momentarily annoyed at the interruption until she discovers Santana carefully placing a steaming cup of green tea next to her mouse, offering her a sympathetic smile.

Santana Lopez, she’s come to learn, makes it very difficult for everyone to stay annoyed with her at all. Brittany blames it on that smirk and that curious look in those dark eyes.

Brittany takes the opportunity to stretch, feelings the bones of her spine pop back into place, an indication that she’s been sitting here wordless for way too long. “Look who’s talking,” she teases. “Aren’t you supposed to be working on your own story?”

Behind those black, rectangular wire rimmed glasses, her Daily Planet colleague just arches a bemused brow. “You mean the human interest piece on the Cat Show? That gripping and informative piece of insight into the deep and personal human-feline bond? Finished and dropped off to Perry ten minutes ago,” she shrugs, and Brittany bites her lower lip in a moment of jealousy.

“I wanted to go to the cat show,” she admits.

“Really?”

“Lord Tubbington III would have had fun.” Santana’s eyes flicker over to the framed photo of Brittany’s scrawny ginger of a cat currently situated on Brittany’s desk. He’s a far cry from the massive lovable oaf that was Brittany’s first Lord Tubbington, but he seems to have inherited his love for cheese and the occasional need to get high. “Maybe seeing all those cats would bring him out of his shell and convince him that just because he has nipples doesn’t mean he’s any less male.”

“Isn’t Lord Tubbington a girl?”

“He’s transgender,” Brittany informs the other woman gravely. “And very sensitive about it. I keep waiting for his balls to come in so I can go to the vet and chop them off, but I think he’s caught on and hides them from me.”

The sentence hangs in the air, and Brittany finds herself flinching.

This is the problem with Santana. The longer she works with her, the more Brittany comes to consider her a friend and forgets herself too easily. The voice in her head that tells her to SHUT THE FUCK UP goes away and she slips and then… this happens.

Santana just stares at her with a blank, surprised expression that reminds Brittany of the way so many of their colleagues looked at her before every Pulitzer-nominated story she wrote was dismissed as a fluke and they stopped taking her seriously.

It’s funny, because she should be used to it by now. Truthfully, she’s been waiting for this moment since she and Santana met those many months ago. Maybe Santana is unseasoned and her sense of style is so bad that Brittany’s been trying to give her a makeover since forever, but she’s also got a sharp mind and a way with words. The wit and droll sarcasm she infuses in her articles gets many a chuckle from their readers. She’s smart in the way Brittany will never be.

One day she would figure out what so many reporters did before her: Brittany doesn’t necessarily work alone because she wants to.

So Brittany waits out the blank, awkward stare. If past experience is any indication, this is right about the moment Santana will excuse herself and walk over to the coffee machine and have a quiet, intense conversation that’s obviously about her with one of the other reporters.

“Well then you should have come with me,” she hears after a moment. “Follow me around for a change. Though I will warn you, there will be little to no opportunity for rooftop Parkour acrobatics.”

Brittany blinks, for a moment unsure if Santana is actually still standing there, looking so nonplussed or if that’s just some sort of overreaching fantasy.

But no, Santana hasn’t moved. The gobsmacked stare that previously occupied the pretty face has morphed into something else. With relief, Brittany discovers Santana looking sweet and altogether beautiful, with a tilted, scampy smile and a sparkle in her eyes that puts a force of emotion in the pit of Brittany’s stomach. It feels frighteningly familiar and at the same time, not.

The intensity forces Brittany has to break the gaze just to process it. There’s a loud slurp, and then a sudden yelp, and Brittany glances up to discover that Santana has somehow scalded herself, dripping coffee all over her blazer, as she hisses and hops and does a passable imitation of a chicken.

That moment, whatever it is, is gone in the face of her stark reminder of Santana’s clumsiness. When the other woman brings her wet fingers to her lips, Brittany can’t help but roll her eyes and take pity on her, plucking a tissue from her Kleenix box and holding it out to her.

“Thanks,” Santana mumbles, and wipes halfhazardly at her blazer, shifting her weight and frowning at the large coffee stain that now lingers on her lapel. Brittany notices the flipflops that are now on Santana’s feet. They’re blue and pink, and decorated with tiny anchors.

They look ridiculous.

“Didn’t I tell you to keep an extra pair of heels in your desk drawer?”

She receives a dubious frown. “Those were my extra pair of heels.”

There is no one else on the planet that can be such a perplexing combination of both unassuming sex appeal and complete doltishness. Brittany makes an effort to muffle her own chuckle before she reaches down to pull open her own drawer. She extracts her sensible emergency pair of heels and hands them over.

“I think we’re the same size,” she guesses, eyeing Santana’s toes. “Don’t break these.”

Santana’s smile is grateful, but she warns, “I make no promises. Thank you,” she adds, when the shoes are comfortably placed on her feet and the god-awful flip flops are kicked off to the side. “I know it’s silly but heels actually make me feel like a human being.”

“Join the club,” Brittany says, and then follows up her gift with a Shout! wipe, urging Santana closer. She begins to work on the coffee stain. “Breathe,” she says suddenly, when she realizes that Santana has somehow forgotten to. “Seriously, what on earth did you do before I came along?”

“I managed,” Santana sputters, blowing errant bangs out of her face and then obediently straightening back into place again when Brittany glares at her for moving. “And besides, I like to think of this friendship as a partnership,” Santana clips kindly, brow arching.

It’s the first time in these long months that Santana’s ever referred to this… relationship as a friendship, and Brittany finds herself faltering at the word.

The smile that threatens to slip onto her face is genuine, but habit forces Brittany to tap it down. She keeps her focus on Santana’s blazer, rubbing out the stain. “How?” she asks after a moment. Bright blue eyes glance up with mirth. “Before you came along, I was still writing my ass off and putting The Daily Planet back on the map. And I didn’t have to have half the near death experiences I have now to do it.” She frowns, suddenly contemplating on the unlucky coincidences. She stops rubbing and stares suspiciously. “Maybe you’re a distraction.”

Santana hums, and murmurs, “Actually I think that’s Superwoman.”

It’s a comment that seemingly comes out of nowhere. There’s an expression on her face that Brittany can’t quite understand. Brittany is surprised enough to allow Santana to step away from her. It’s not until Brittany remembers herself and glances down to take notice of the very obvious and stylized ‘S’ that’s she’s distractedly doodled on the Post-it that she realizes what Santana meant.

To be found out so easily is mortifying. “She saved my life,” she snaps hotly, even though she tells herself that she shouldn’t have to justify her absent minded doodles to anyone, least of all Santana Lopez. “At least four times now.”

“I know, you told me,” Santana responds. “It’s ‘kinda her thing’.”

“It IS kind of her thing,” she snaps.

“Pierce! Lopez!” At the brusque bark of an intrusion, Santana jumps yet again sloshing hot liquid all over the place, including onto Brittany’s lap.

“Shit!” she hisses, launching to her feet, and nearly collides into the other woman. Santana grabs hold of her hip, keeping her from tumbling them both over the next desk as Perry, the long time, long-suffering editor in chief of the Daily Planet, stands on the other side of Brittany’s desk.

“Are you two working or are you gossiping?” He has dark observant eyes, that rove from Brittany to somewhere between them. Brittany blinks, unsure what he sees, until she takes in a breath and realizes that she and Santana seem to be clutching at each other like cuddling seals.

She extracts herself immediately, flushing against the attention as she steps back towards her desk. “Can’t we do both?” she asks.

His eyes narrow. “Get back to work,” he snarls, and then ambles back to his office, like a bear heading for his den.

In the aftermath of the interruption, Santana is quiet. Brittany finds herself focusing on her tea, still hot and so thoughtfully placed on her desk, right above that infuriating post-it that may as well have little hearts sketched on it.

“Thanks for the tea,” she says haltingly.

Santana just smiles, and raises her own coffee cup at her. “Thanks for the shoes,” she responds, and then twists on Brittany’s heels, heading back towards her own desk across the bull pen.

It’s only then, as Brittany settles into her chair and exhales that she realizes she was holding her own breath.

--

Santana is aware of a great many things at any given moment in time. She’s learned to multi-task, because super hearing can be a bitch if you’re not careful. Chloe was the one who eventually figured it out in high school, bringing in a medium of all things, who taught Santana how to close herself off when she needed to. Now more than ever, Santana is grateful to her.

The farm in Smallville had its share of noise – crickets chirping and the occasional car honk in the distance, but the first few nights in Metropolis after she had arrived had been utter hell.

Today, she keeps one ear open, so to speak, for the occasional signs of distress, but for the most part, Santana finds herself distracted for an entirely different reason.

Brittany Pierce will not stop staring at her. She’s trying hard to be subtle about it, but blue eyes are constantly roving in her direction, and the attention is causing Santana to feel flustered and clumsy and everything she normally just PRETENDS to be.

If she makes just a little effort, she can sniff out Brittany’s exact scent, wafting at her from the desk. So recognizable and unique.

Santana gives up. She closes her eyes and puts her head in her hands, rubbing against the skin there and letting herself breathe. Physical contact is something Santana usually avoids when she’s the human. She’s forgotten her strength before. There’s this weird shift that happens when Santana wears the glasses where she can almost FORGET that there’s spandex stuffed the bottom of her bag. It means she can make mistakes, and holding Brittany instead of letting them both topple over the desk was one of them.

She’s held Brittany plenty of times before – as Superwoman.

Somehow… there is a very, very big difference. Superwoman… she’s hot but in a sense kinda asexual. She’s supposed to be an icon, not a sex symbol, though the folks at Vivid Entertainment and their newest flick ‘Superwoman Does Metropolis’ would see it very differently.

Santana Lopez, however? Huge Raging Lesbian.

Brittany has Superwoman on her mind, something that is made very clear by the scribbling on her Post-It. Ignorance and a pair of Chloe-vamped eye glasses can only take Santana so far.

A secret identity is meant to be a secret identity for a reason.

Nevermind that exposing herself as Superwoman would probably be a guaranteed way to get into Miss Pierce’s pants.

God…

“Powers for good,” she reminds herself. “Powers for good. Not sex.”

Her phone rings. Santana’s toes curl in Brittany’s shoes, as her hands lower and she eyes the phone suspiciously. She sneaks a glance towards Brittany, and sure enough, the other woman has her headset on her ear, eyebrow arching in unspoken challenge as she catches her stare and holds it.

Santana answers the phone.

“What are you doing tonight?” Brittany asks the moment the receiver hits her ear.

It’s a trap. It’s happened before. Santana remembers distinctly being asked this question and when she too quickly informed Brittany she had no plans, discovered that she had laid her evening bare to catsit Lord Tubbington III while Brittany went on a date with an odd looking guy named Herman. At the time, the cat was battling some sort of butt-worm condition and required the kind of pill that goes up the ass every two hours.

The evening ended with Santana stealing Lord Tubbington’s cigars as payment.

Hey, they were Cuban.

Even from this distance, Brittany seems to notice her hesitation. “It’s not for catsitting,” she promises. “Though I have another love letter for you from Tubs.”

“Brittany-“

“Look, there’s a charity event for arts in schools that my friend Mercedes is holding tonight and I have to go. You get to be my plus one.” Santana frowns. Brittany smiles at her, blue eyes sparkling even from this distance.

She’s only really known Brittany Pierce a few months, but it’s long enough. “How long ago did your date cancel?” she asks knowingly.

Brittany deflates. “Fifteen minutes ago,” she admits, and Santana smirks, shaking her head at the simple sadness of it all. “You were the first person I called!” Brittany adds, a lilt in her tone that’s meant to be persuasive.

Skeptism has become Santana’s bosom companion. “Was I?”

“Yes!" Given the star caliber of the reporter she’s currently eyeing, it’s not surprising that Brittany doesn’t break. “Seriously!” she insists. “Pinkie swear?” Santana laughs despite herself, unexpectedly charmed. “Santana!” Brittany whines, “I need you. Sebastian Smythe will be there.”

Santana’s smile falters. “And all is made clear.” She’s well aware of entitled upper crust rich kid Sebastian Smythe, only son of a Senator, and Brittany’s obsession with getting an interview. She’s also VERY aware of his father's very public stance on Superwoman as a public menace.

“Santana,” she hears, like a devil perched on her shoulder. Brittany’s voice whispers in her ear and tugs at her soul. “Come on. I thought you said that this friendship was a partnership.”

Santana’s heart stutters… floats… beats once… hard. “Is that what I said?” she asks.

Across the distance, Brittany’s smile turns bashful, shy even. She bites at her lower lip, her eye lashes flutter, and her unsteady intake of breath is as loud as a trumpet sounding.

Brittany Pierce is beautiful, her best friend in the world and Santana will never say no to her.

“Fine.”

Those entrancing eyes sparkle and the laughter that comes out of that mouth is crystal clear! “Yay! Wear a NICE dress, Santana. This is a black tie affair.”

“I’ll find a dress,” she snaps. Her computer pings and suddenly there’s an email from Brittany.

“Just sent you the details. Thanks Santana. You know what? You’ve totally saved my life. You’re my hero!”

Brittany hangs up on her, shoots her a grateful smile, and leaves her desk, presumably to get herself ready for this evening event.

Santana is thunderstruck. It isn’t until later that she understands why.

Santana Lopez has never been anyone’s hero.

That mantle has always been reserved for Superwoman.

She doesn’t know why it makes a difference, but as the words ring in her ears, she realizes that it does.

It makes a big difference.