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The Slap Heard 'Round The Auditorium

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

After the slap it seemed like everything froze around me. For a split second everything was still and there were no consequences. There was no commercial, no “concerned” teachers, there was nothing. Everything was calm. But I knew the intense calm signaled a storm bigger than what I could handle, so before anyone could react I took a deep breath and I ran. I didn’t even bother to stop in the locker room and change, I just ran. I had been avoiding everything so well. Things were finally starting to go right, I had Brittany, I was the leader of a kickass Glee Club, I was the head Cheerio; my high school career couldn’t have been better. Of course something like this had to happen, it was too good to be true. I had let my guard down, and now all my biggest fears are coming true.

I get to about a block from the school when I slow down to a walk. I didn’t bother to grab my purse with my keys inside so I couldn’t take my car. At least I was far enough away where no one would find me. I wonder if they will look for me? Probably not. The only reason they will want to find me now is because I slapped that fetus face Finn Hudson. Of course they will relish in getting me in trouble, getting me kicked off the Troubletones, and Cheerios, maybe even out of school entirely. They probably just can’t wait to find me. Getting more paranoid by the second I chance a glance behind me in the general direction of the school. I can’t see it, as I am getting farther away and had taken a couple of turns when I booked it out of there, but I’m worried none the less. It’s not like I can avoid that place forever, I did leave my stuff there. I can’t even get into my house if I decided to go home. Oh, how I would love to be able to just run forever and never look back.

I decide to circle back, keeping off the roads, in order to scope out where everyone is. Maybe I can run in and grab my stuff without anyone seeing me. It’s not like they don’t know where to find me, I mean, we have school tomorrow. I can’t handle this right now. I reach up to wipe the sticky sweat off my face only to realize that most of it is, in fact, not sweat, but tears. Great, of course I’m crying. I quickly run the back of my hands under my eyes, but it seems to be of no use, tears continue to slide out silently. I also realize that I’m shaking. God, I’m pathetic. I stop my walk back and take a couple of deep breaths. I seriously can’t do anything right. Once I’ve calmed down a little I trek back and scope out the parking lot from behind a tree. Apparently everyone has went home. That didn’t take long. There are only a couple of cars left in the parking lot now, including mine, but I don’t recognize them as any of the Glee clubs’, nor do I see Schue’s POS. I decide that I still can’t be too cautious though, so I slink my way inside, careful to stay near the walls, and to the locker rooms. I peak inside slowly, only to see that it is unoccupied, so I quickly run in and grab my stuff. It still seems I’m alone, but I don’t want to risk it, so I just grab the clothes I was going to change into after and leave as fast as I can. My main goal is to get as far away from here as I can.

I get in my car and I drive. I drive until my tears blur my vision too much and I can’t see where I’m going. I pull over, away from traffic, and allow myself to break down. What am I going to do? My life is over. I’m going to be outed, on television. Everyone is going to see my biggest secret, the thing I hate most about myself, the thing I have worked so hard to hide is now out there, for everyone to know. My family will hate me, the school will hate me, hell, most of Ohio will hate me. Not only that, but I’ll probably be expelled, due to my violent outburst. I don’t regret hitting Finn, he fully deserved it, and it made me feel better, if only just a little, but I know it was a stupid move, because Figgins has a “zero tolerance policy” (which, by the way, is a complete load of crap with how much bullying people go through at this school), and not only that, but everyone loves dumb Finn Hudson. And everyone hates me. I’m completely screwed. Vehement sobs wreck my body until I pass out from exhaustion.

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

I knew something was wrong with Santana. Ever since she was called into Coach’s office she has seemed off. I tried to ask her about it, but she said that everything’s fine. She should know that I know when she’s lying by now, but I didn’t want to push her, so I just made sure to stick close to her so that she knows I’m here for her to offer as much comfort as I can. It’s hard, because I can’t be too affectionate, since she still isn’t out yet, and she is definitely trying to keep her distance now especially, for some reason, but I still wanted to try. After she slapped Finn though I didn’t know what to think. I felt like one of those cartoons whose eyes bug out of their head while their jaw drops to the floor. Everything just stopped. I couldn’t even feel my heart beat. It seemed it affected everyone similarly, because no one was moving. Then Santana was just gone. I tried to follow her, but I couldn’t find her. It was like she disappeared.

When I went back into the auditorium it’s like everything was moving really fast to catch up from being still for so long. Finn looked like he couldn’t figure out what had just happened, he was walking around with his face all scrunched up and his hand over his cheek. I don’t know if he was angry or confused, maybe both. Rachel and Mr. Schue were following him around trying to talk to him and see if he was ok. Everyone else was talking in their respective groups, trying to figure out what happened. I don’t know what to do, so I do the first thing that I can think and make my way over to Finn.

“What did you do to her?” Everyone thinks Santana is a bad person, but she’s not, and even though she insults Finn regularly, I know she wouldn’t hit him unprovoked. So my voice is harsh. I am angry, but I just want to know what happened. I want to figure out what happened, and then find Santana and make everything better. I want to help.

Finn looks at me and his face scrunches up even more if that’s even possible. Then he looks around, at everyone, almost like he can’t believe what I’m saying, and then he looks back at me.

“Brittany…” Mr. Schue says in a warning voice. I don’t pay him much attention, I just need answers, and the only person who has any right now from what I can see is Finn.

“What did I do to HER!?” he says incredulously. “SHE slapped ME Brittany, you saw it, you all saw it!” He says almost as an afterthought, taking a chance to look around at everyone else again, almost to confirm his statement.

I take a deep breath to calm myself down, I don’t want to get into a fight with Finn, I just need to find out what happened.

“Yea, but why?” I say, trying not to make it sound like I think he’s being dumb, even though I do.

“I don’t know Brittany, ASK HER!” He says and then storms off with Rachel trailing behind like a flustered baby duck with its feathers all ruffled.

I cross my arms and furrow my brows, trying to think what could be wrong. I don’t remember anything happening between Finn and Santana that would cause this. Maybe I just need to find Santana. I don’t know where she would be though, would she go to her house? That’s probably where I should try first…

“Brittany” Mr. Schue says a little more forcefully, startling me. I look up with my eyes a little wide. I thought he would have followed Finn and Rachel, after all, they are his favorite.

“What!?” I bark. I don’t actually bark like a dog, I just sound a little meaner than I want to. I’m so mad at this whole situation, I don’t know what’s going on and I need to find Santana now.

Mr. Schue sighs and relaxes his shoulders, slumping down into himself. I would almost think he looks sad if he wasn’t so mad a little bit ago. Now I don’t know what to think, he looks like he did whenever we’ve lost a choir competition; defeated.

“May I have a word?” he asks, softer this time. I scrunch my nose at the phrase and it makes me even madder. How am I supposed to give him a word? I don’t have time for this, I need to find Santana. I relax my face and make my eyes go void.

“I don’t have any words to give Mr. Schue” I deadpan, like I usually do to get people to stop asking me questions. Mr. Schue looks at me for a second and then shakes his head.

“I just want to talk to you about Santana” he almost pleads. Maybe he knows what’s going on? I figure that it’s my best option to figure out, so I nod my head and follow him to the corner of the room after he tells everyone to go home and that we’ll deal with everything tomorrow so that people start making their way out of the auditorium. I almost forgot everyone else was still here.

 “Mr. Schue, what’s going on with Finn and Santana?” It comes out softer than I intended. I don’t sound like me. I’m not used to asking other people about what’s happening with Santana, usually I know everything way better than everyone else. Why didn’t Santana tell me what was wrong? I shouldn’t have let it go so easily, I should’ve pushed her. Mr. Schue opens his eyes and sighs while he looks at me.

“Brittany, Santana is going through something, and she’s blaming Finn for it. This is a really messy situation, and I realize that you are being dragged into it as well. I know that you probably want answers, but I suggest that you go home and sleep on it. We will all talk about what happened tomorrow. I’m sure that you want to see Santana, and if you talk to her, please tell her to come into my office first thing tomorrow, ok?”

Although I am still confused, I let out a sigh and nod my head. I just need to go find Santana, I don’t want to be stuck here talking to Mr. Schue anymore. He claps me on the back gently and nods along with me.

“Ok” he breathes out. “Let’s get you home shall we? Do you need a ride?”

I forgot that Santana drives me to school and home after practice. But it’s not that far of a walk and besides that I want to go to Santana’s house anyway to check on her if she’s there, so I decline his offer and make sure to take a while changing so that I can make sure he has left before I start my walk.

On my way I start to get worried. This has to be something really big if Santana was willing to slap Finn because of it. She knows how much I don’t like violence, and although she’s gotten into fights before she’s been really good with using her words instead of her fists, even if I think her words hurt more sometimes. Plus, the school doesn’t really like violence either, at least they say they don’t. Santana is in a lot of trouble. She’s got to be freaking out by now. She knows she’s in trouble, and that on top of whatever was going on beforehand… I really have to get to Santana. I pick up my pace and start running.

Once I get there I don’t see San’s car in the driveway, but I go up and knock on the door anyway. Her parents are never really home, so I don’t have to worry about explaining anything to them.

“Santana, its Brittany, are you there?”

I know she won’t open up unless it’s me after everything that happened. Actually, she may not even open up for me even if she is home…I stop my frantic knocking and sit down on the porch, stuffing my hands into my pockets. It’s then that I remember I have my cell phone and scramble to get it out. There are a couple texts, from Quinn, and Mercedes, and Sugar, and Kurt, and my parents, and even a couple of the Cheerios that are on the Troubletones with us, but I ignore them and call Santana. The call goes straight to voicemail. I hurry and call her back, but I get the same thing, so I leave a voicemail, telling her that I love her and everything is going to be alright, even if I don’t really know if that’s true. It’s the only way that I can be there for Santana, I don’t even know where she is. I hang up and text her, telling her to please call me, that I’m worried about her, and that I hope she’s ok. I stay on her porch a little longer just in case she comes home, but my parents call me and tell me that it’s too late for me to be out, so I make my way home, telling myself that I’ll be sure to get up early to walk to school to try and meet Santana if she doesn’t call me back first. When I get home I can’t even eat I’m so anxious, so I excuse myself from dinner and head upstairs for a sleepless night of worrying.

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

I get to school early the next morning after stopping by Santana’s house to see that she’s still not there. I sit out in the empty parking lot waiting, watching for Santana’s car to pull up, but even when I stay until after the bell rings and everyone is already in their first period class I still don’t see her or her car. I wait an extra 15 minutes to make sure she’s not just late, but after that I resign and make my way to my class. The day goes by painfully slow. I don’t know what’s going on or where Santana is. What if she’s hurt? What if she needs me? I make sure to keep my ringer on just in case she calls me, even when I’m in class, and I constantly check my phone just to make sure I didn’t just miss my phone ringing, but I don’t get a call or text from her. I’m hoping that Mr. Schue can shed some light on what’s going on after school. I know that we are combining choirs to talk about what happened.

When I finally make my way to the choir room I am the last one there and everyone is looking at me with a mix of worry and anger. Well, really it’s just Finn and Rachel that look a little angry, everyone else is just kind of worried. I go to sit next to Mercedes with the Troubletones and she looks at me apologetically, almost like she knows what’s going on. I know that she was worried about Santana too, she didn’t say anything, but I saw it in her face, she’s a really good friend.

Shelby, Mr. Schue, and surprisingly, Sue and Burt come into the choir room. Our cheer coach looks almost sad, which is weird because she doesn’t usually let any of her emotions show except anger. Something really, really bad must be happening. Oh goodness.

“Hey guys” Mr. Schue starts. He looks worried. “So I know that the mash off yesterday got kind of out of hand, but I think that you guys deserve to know what’s going on. We showed this to Santana yesterday, which is why we think she is acting up. You guys are going to see it anyway, but I want you to be….prepared.”

He turns to the television that I just now noticed was in the room.

“Apparently someone overheard an argument in the hallway between Finn and Santana…” Mr. Schue trails off. He directs this mostly towards Finn. I wonder what someone could have heard, I was there when Santana was making fun of Finn, none of it was that bad, especially nothing directed towards Santana…

Oh. Oh! When did this happen? I wasn’t there when this happened! It had to have happened after we told Santana to stop going after Finn. I can’t believe it.

Everyone looks shocked. Finn almost looks kind of guilty. No one says anything. And then I realize that everyone is starting to look at me. This is really bad, I really have to find Santana.

“So…” Mr. Schue starts quietly, gaining everyone’s attention back. “That’s why we think that Santana did what she did. Now, I don’t know how all of this is going to be handled…”

“Are you kidding me?” I turn around and Kurt looks even paler than usual. His eyes are wide and he looks kind of scary. Well, as scary as Kurt can look I guess.

“You OUTED her!?” Oh, now he’s standing up. He sounds angrier too.

“Kurt…” Mr. Schue warns, but Kurt has made his way up front and is facing Finn, who has his hands up and is looking nervous. Blaine gets up to stand by Burt, both looking as if they may have to jump in at any moment, but won’t yet.

“Everyone already knows! And I had to do something to defend myself, she has said worse about me!”

Kurt seems a little taken back by this. He calmly crosses his arms and leans back. He looks like he’s about to scold a child.

“Do you know how dangerous it is to out someone? Oh God Finn, do you know what you’ve done?” Kurt shakes his head and turns around to stand with Burt and Blaine. Blaine rubs his back and Burt puts his hand on his shoulder, trying to either calm him down or comfort him. I’m not sure which.

Finn almost looks like someone slapped him again. Even his hands look like they are asking what’s going on.

“I didn’t do anything wrong Kurt, everyone already knows!” Finn repeats, like he doesn’t understand how everyone else doesn’t see it. He looks to Mr. Schue, and then Rachel, and then to everyone, silently trying to confirm what he just said.

Rachel tries to distance herself from Finn a little bit without anyone noticing and Mr. Schue just looks lost. Everyone else looks kind of offended. Except Artie and Rory.

“She was pretty mean to Finn Kurt” Rory says, at least, that’s what I think he says, I still can’t really understand him. Kurt just shakes his head and tilts it down. It looks like he’s disappointed. Blaine continues rubbing his back and calmly addresses the room.

“Does anyone know where Santana is?” Everyone’s gaze turns to me, and I just feel like crying because this is so bad that even Sue is worried about Santana and I should know where she is but I don’t, and now I’m even more worried because this must be even worse than I thought it was. I manage to shake my head and look down sadly, feeling useless.

“Ok” Blaine speaks up, drawing the attention back up to the front of the room. “Well, we should probably contact her parents and see if they know where she is”

“They aren’t here, they are out of town on business a lot, they probably don’t know anything.” I sigh, keeping my eyes on the floor.

“Well, it’s worth a shot, I think that they at least deserve to know that she is currently missing” Blaine speaks again. “If any of you see her, please try and be kind” he directs this statement to Finn, who looks just as confused as ever “and let her know that we, Kurt and I, would like to talk to her. Thank you” he says, which I guess everyone takes as a sign that they can leave. Everyone leaves except for Rachel, Blaine, Kurt, Quinn, and Mercedes. They all look at me and it makes me feel terrible because they all look so worried and I really need to find Santana. Quinn makes her way over in front of me and puts a gentle hand on my shoulder.

“She hasn’t called you or anything, has she Britt?” Quinn asks, almost making the tears that I’ve been holding back this whole time fall. I shake my head, not trusting my words.

“Ok, well, do you want to go try and look for her tonight? I’m sure she’s fine B, she probably just needs some space to process this, she’s strong, she’ll be ok.” Quinn coos, which makes me feel a little better, because I know this, but it’s nice that someone else does too. And I really do want to look for her.

“Kurt and I will help” Blaine speaks up from the front of the choir room. “We were going to anyway, but if we coordinate where we go we can cover more ground.” He says, and I’m so grateful for our friends.

“Girl, you know I’m going to help, I can’t let the Troubletones lose one of their stars” she says. She’s smiling and nudging me in the arm so that I know she’s kidding, but her voice is soft and I can tell she’s trying to lighten the mood, but she’s still worried. I hope that between all of us we can find her, I don’t even know where she would go, especially since she’s been gone for so long.

“I’d like to help too, if that’s ok…” Rachel says, looking almost nervously between everyone in the room, lingering on Kurt a little longer than the rest.

Kurt set his jaw and glares at her a little bit, but nods tightly once, signaling that it’s fine. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be, the more people the more ground we can cover and the more likely we can find Santana. Quinn huffs a little in frustration, but doesn’t say anything. We all decide that we’ll take the three cars between us, Kurt’s, Rachel’s and Quinn’s, and split up, each covering a different part of the town. I try to think of some places she may go, the park where I feed the ducks, Breadstix I guess, the 24 hour McDonalds. Quinn suggests we may want to check out the local hotels. She also reluctantly mentions the hospitals to Mercedes quietly when she thinks I can’t hear. I try to stay calm, but this is all just getting to be too much. I drive with Quinn to the Lopez residence first, since we figured we should start there. Her car is still not in the driveway and there’s no answer to our knocks. Quinn picks the lock and we go inside, just to make sure, but she isn’t anywhere at the house so we leave to go scour our side of the town. Both Quinn and I try to call her, but her phone is still going to straight to voicemail.

It’s well after midnight before we decide to call it a night. Quinn offers to let me stay at her house, and I’m grateful, because I don’t think that I can handle this on my own. Quinn’s smart and I know that she’ll be more useful than I will in this matter, so I want to be with her if she thinks of anything that may help. I also need the emotional support, and I know even though she acts strong Quinn does too. I know she’s going through a lot and now her best friend is missing. We’re going to need each other to get through this. I just wish Santana wasn’t alone…

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

When I wake up my back and neck are killing me. I sit up slowly and try to open my eyes, but it’s hard. It feels like they are super glued shut. When I finally get them open a little to look around I realize that it’s dark outside. And I’m in my car...? I’m not sure where I am or what’s going on, which makes my eyes widen as I turn my head from side to side trying to remember what I’m doing in the middle of nowhere. And then my memories start slowly coming back to me and I start panicking even more. What time is it? How long have I been asleep for? I grab my phone and see that it’s dead. I remember planning on charging it when I got home from the mash off…I turn the key in the ignition and see that it’s 7 pm. Did I really sleep for 24 hours? I plug my phone in the car charger, which is incredibly difficult seeing as I’m shaking so hard. I don’t know if it’s because I’m cold or I’m panicking, I assume that it’s a combination of both.

I turn up the heat and look around to try and remember where I drove last night. I don’t recognize anything, I pulled into a tiny clearing away from the highway, but it’s pretty bare. It doesn’t even look like you are supposed to drive in here, but luckily, it’s far enough from the highway, and set low enough that no one seemed too concerned with the car that looks like it about swerved off the road. I turn my phone on and see about a million and one missed calls and messages. Crap. I missed school. In a way I’m kind of relived, because I didn’t want to deal with everything, but I know I’m just putting it off temporarily. I was supposed to come up with a plan. I ignore all the messages, figuring that I need to think of something before I talk to anyone. I close my eyes and take a couple of deep breaths while wiping my eyes of as much gunk as I can, considering my tears and mascara seemed to have fused to permanently seal my eyes. Once I feel a little more put together I start driving in the general direction of where I came from, even though I’m not quite sure. I’m in no rush to get home though, so I just drive.

It calms me down a little. I can breathe a little easier now, my head’s a little clearer. I’m still panicking though. That commercial is going to come out, and everyone is going to hate me even more than they already do. And even if I wasn’t going to be laughed and bullied out of school, that slap has more than likely gotten me expelled. What will my parents say? Their gay disappointment of a daughter that they never see anyway has gotten kicked out of school for violence. Oh how perfect. One of those things would get me disowned, how are all of them going to fare? They’re going to kill me. I can’t even decide what situation is worse right now. My life is over. I pull up to the nearest liquor store and sigh. I can’t handle any of this without a couple of drinks in me. I fix my makeup a little more and fix my hair. I forgot that I’m still in that damn dress, but I guess I’ll use it to my advantage as I straighten it and push the girls a little further out. I still look like shit, but it’ll be enough. I grab my fake ID and charm the guy into letting me buy four handles of Jack Daniels. I just want to be prepared is all...

As soon as I get in the car I tear open a bottle and take a long pull. The alcohol stings my throat and I choke a little, but I instantly feel better as the liquid warms my body. Now I just have to get home. I grab my phone, ignoring the new messages, and type in my address. I’m surprised at how far I drove, because I’m at least two hours out of town. I take another long pull, the alcohol burns a lot less this time, and I begin the trek back. I get home around midnight. I pull my car into the garage, because my parents aren’t home and I don’t really want anyone to know I’m here just yet, in case they are looking. I make my way up and go inside, locking the door on my way in. I immediately take a couple more pulls, smiling when the burn is almost nonexistent. I try to think of a plan now that I’m feeling better and I’m a little buzzed, but all I can think about is how much my life is actually ruined and how this is probably the last time that I am ever going to be okay, because tomorrow the shit is going to hit the fan and I’m going to have nothing. My third bottle is almost empty before I pass out on the couch.

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

I wake up and I have a feeling that I need to go to Santana’s house. I just have a feeling that she’s close, that she’s there and she needs me. I wake Quinn up, apologizing because it’s like, 4 in the morning, but she says she doesn’t mind and gets out of bed to drive over to Santana’s. There’s still no car in the driveway, but I still have a feeling, so we go up and knock. There’s no answer, so we knock a little louder. I tell Quinn I just think that she’s in there, so she nods once and begins to pick the lock like she did last night. I go in first and I immediately notice that her heels that she was wearing are by the front door. They weren’t here when we came in before, so she must have at least been here.

I make my way in slowly with Quinn on my tail. There are no lights on and the house is quiet, but Santana is here, I can feel it. So I head to the living room, only to see her sprawled out on the couch with alcohol bottles around her. I am immediately alarmed and run over to her. She doesn’t look like she’s breathing. It looks like she drank about three by herself. That seems like a lot, even for Santana, who can normally hold her liquor.

I grab her hand and it’s so cold I almost pull my hand back. I look to Quinn and see her eyes are wide with fear and she’s frozen in place. I let out a sob and that seems to jump start Quinn into action. She’s at Santana’s neck trying to get a pulse, and then she’s on the phone before I know it. I don’t know who she’s talking to, I can barely register anything that’s going on. This is why I knew it would be a good idea to stay with Quinn. I knew she would know what to do. I can’t imagine if I would’ve come here by myself. I probably would’ve been just as useless as I am right now. All I can do is hold Santana’s cold hand and cry. I can’t take my eyes off of her, I feel like I’m dreaming and she’s going to disappear right before my eyes. She’s still in her dress from the mash off and I wonder where she’s been.

Quinn comes over from somewhere and drapes a couple of blankets over Santana and I couldn’t be more grateful because she’s so cold and I still can’t move from my place beside the couch. After she situates the blankets she comes up behind me and hugs me. I can’t even relax into her like I normally would, because this is so bad.

“It’s going to be ok Britt, she’s here, the ambulance is coming, and they are going to take care of her ok?”

That makes me cry even more. I don’t know if I’m relieved or scared, but Quinn just holds me and tells me it’s going to be ok. The ambulance gets there and Quinn reluctantly pulls me away from Santana so that they can get to her. She brings me over to the door and rubs my back comfortingly while the paramedics get her strapped up. I am just now thinking about how she hasn’t woken up yet, even with all of the commotion. A fresh batch of tears begins to fall as Quinn pulls me in for a hug.

All of the sudden they are taking Santana out the door and Quinn is ushering me into her car. It’s not a long drive, but it feels like forever until we get there. And then we are forced into the waiting room. Quinn asks if it’s ok if she calls Kurt and Mercedes to tell them, since they were worried about her too, and I agree, because our friends are being really great and I think we all need all of the support we can get. She also suggests that maybe I call her parents, and I agree, because Quinn has been right about everything so far and I really think I need to listen to her in order to have everything work out.

Mrs. Lopez’s phone rings a couple times and then goes to voicemail. I’m not quite sure what to say, so I just tell them that Santana is in the hospital and that I will call if I hear anything else. I hope that they can understand me as I am still crying. I hope that they make it home because I know they are busy, but Santana needs them and I just hope that they get the message soon and come. I don’t bother to call Santana’s dad, because if Maribel didn’t pick up then Mario certainly won’t. I look at my phone absently for a minute before Quinn gets back and says that Kurt, Blaine, and Mercedes are all on their way to the hospital, and that Burt and Carole are coming, and I am actually relieved that adults are going to be here because this is really hard to handle and Quinn is doing a great job, but I know that she is having a hard time with this too.

We sit cuddled on the bench for however long before the gang spots us from the hospital entrance and makes their way over. Everyone looks tired, it’s only 6:30 in the morning, and they were all out pretty late looking for Santana. Burt and Carole go over to talk to the nurse and everyone else just kind of quietly settles in around us. It feels so much better now that a support system is here, but I’m still super worried.

Burt and Carole come back and tell us that Santana seems to be ok. The nurse told them that her body went into shock and she is in a sort of coma state. They have brought up her body temperature and they are pumping her full of fluids because she was dehydrated. Nothing was too bad. They have done all they can and now they just need to wait until she wakes up. I ask if I can go back and see her and the nurse allows it, so everyone follows as we are led to Santana’s room. Once inside I immediately go to her bedside and take her hand. The familiar warmth there leads me to sink back into a chair. I was so awake before, but now that I can feel that Santana is alright, even if she hasn’t quite woken up yet, my lack of sleep seems to catch up to me. Everyone else seems to settle around me in the room to wait.

It’s Friday, so I wonder if everyone is going to school. I know I’m not, I almost think I may never leave Santana again after this. Actually, I really should call my parents to tell them what’s going on. They love Santana and I really hadn’t taken the chance to explain to them everything that was going on, I had been so wrapped up in it myself, it didn’t even seem real. I look around and find that Quinn has taken up residence right next to me. She looks so tired and helpless, so I reach over and take her hand with the one that isn’t holding Santana’s. Quinn tears her eyes from staring at Santana and looks at me with a small smile which I exhaustedly, but genuinely return.

“Are you going to school today?” I whisper as to not break the silent atmosphere of the room.

“Of course not B, I’m staying here with you guys” Quinn states matching my tone.

“What about you guys?” I turn my question to the others in the room. They all look dazed, like they are so tired they don’t know if they are dreaming or not.

“No, we were planning on staying here too” Blaine speaks for both himself and Kurt as Kurt seems to be stuck looking at Santana, his face paler than normal and his eyes slightly bigger, more pronounced with the subtle bags that lie beneath them.

“You know I’m not going in” Mercedes states, gently patting Kurt on the shoulder while keeping her attention on Santana.

“Brittany, did you call Santana’s parents, are they going to come here?” Burt asks, his tone softer than normal.

“I called them, but they didn’t answer. I need to call my mom and dad, they can come look out for us so that you guys can go home. I really appreciate you coming down here” I really am so grateful that these adults who don’t even really know Santana would come down here to help make sure that she’s ok.

“It’s not a problem sweetie, we are happy to help, but you should call your parents anyway and let them know what’s going on” Carole responds.

When I get up Quinn does too, stating that she needs to call her mom to let her know what’s going on. We make our way out into the hall to make our respective calls. My parents are shocked that I didn’t tell them anything sooner, making me feel really guilty. But they assure me they will be there as soon as they can. Santana is family to them and if she’s in the hospital they want to be there for her. Quinn’s mom tells her that she will call her out of school and that she is sorry about her friend. She knows that Santana is Quinn’s best friend and even though they may fight like cats and dogs, they are each other’s family too.

We make our way back into the room and I tell Carole and Burt that my parents are on their way. They offer to go pick up some coffee and food for everyone because no one has eaten and everyone is dead tired. They make their way out and we teens are left to their own devices. It’s almost eerily quiet in the room, and I don’t know what to make of the silence. It is almost comforting, but also a little unnerving.

“How are you doing B?” Quinn asks, and all the sudden everyone’s attention is on her. It takes me a second to process that the silence is broken before I answer.

“I don’t know, this is all so unreal.” I answer honestly. I can’t believe that we are here, in a hospital, that Santana is in a coma, that Santana was outed and slapped Finn, and that not everyone cares. I am grateful for the people here, but I am sad that half the Glee club thinks Santana deserves this and that Santana’s parents aren’t even here to support her through this.

“I know B, I know” Quinn breaths and tucks her head onto my shoulder. My parents arrive and are pleasantly surprised that there are so many people here. They figured that it was just me and maybe Quinn, they know that Santana doesn’t make friends very easily. They make sure to get the full update from the doctor and dutifully stay close to me and Santana. Burt and Carole bring back some dollar menu stuff from McDonalds, not that anyone is really up for eating much, but we all take the coffee graciously. Burt and Carole leave with instructions to the boys to keep them updated.

At around 3 when school gets out and choir starts Kurt, Blaine, and Quinn all get messages from Finn asking where they are. Kurt is still mad at Finn so he just ignores it, but allows Blaine to call Mr. Schue to fill everyone in. Mercedes makes sure that Blaine tells Mr. Schue to pass the message along to Shelby. Quinn flinches a little at the name, so I squeeze her hand a little just so that she knows that I’m always here for her too.

It’s around 6 when Kurt, Blaine, and Mercedes decide to go home and get a shower and some sleep. I thank them all for being here and tell them I’ll let them know if anything happens. My parents decide to head out as well, even though they are worried. My little sister usually gets home from dance class around 6:30 and they need to be there for her. But they go out and get some more coffee and snacks before they leave, also instructing us to keep them updated.

That leaves just Quinn, Santana and I. No one had spoken very much today, and the room is quite for a couple of minutes after everyone leaves before I speak up.

“What are we gonna do Q?” If it were any other time I would laugh because I rhymed, but I can’t right now because I am so tired and sad. How are we going to help Santana? When she wakes up, because I can’t even think about her not waking up, even though there is nothing physically wrong with her and she’s still not up, she has to wake up. When she wakes up, how are we going to help her? I’ve been trying to get her to accept herself for years now, and this is just going to set everything back. I know that there are people who love her and support her, look at the people who came today to help, but I also know that she’s scared of everyone else. I have to make her see that all the good people outweigh the bad.

“We’re gonna be here for her B. We’ll get through this” Quinn sounds like she’s telling both of us and not just me. She nods her head and snuggles further into me.

“Are you ok Q?” I ask, because I know that she’s not. I know Shelby and Beth being back is hard for her, and now this. Quinn has been going through such a hard time and Santana and I have tried to be there for her, but she has been pushing us away. Santana said that she understands, so we just keep an eye out from a distance.

“No” It’s barely there, but the room is so quiet it almost echoes. I reach my arm around her and squeeze. I know that she doesn’t want to talk about anything, at least not yet, but I want her to know that I’m here and we’re in this together. She cuddles into me and we must both pass out from exhaustion at some point.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

This is the second time that I have woken up where my eyes feel like they are cemented shut. I try to open them, but they won’t open. It almost doesn’t even feel like I have eyes it’s so black. I try again, but to no avail. I guess I’ll just sleep for a while longer then. I seem to drift in-between conscious and unconscious for a little while, never quite reaching a conscious state. Honestly I’m debating on whether to wake up at all. The black is so comforting. I could almost drown in it. It’s like there are no worries or cares in the darkness. On some level I know that I need to wake up, but I’m just so content. I don’t know how long this goes on until my surroundings get a little brighter. Not much, but I feel like I can actually start to open my eyes. They are so heavy, like cinderblocks. It feels like it takes hours to get them the tiniest bit open. I blink and blink until I can start to make out my surroundings.

I’m not in my room. Where am I? What happened? What do I even remember? I slowly turn my head and I see an angel by my bed. She’s practically glowing in the dark room. I blink my eyes and I see the angel is asleep and that someone else is there sleeping with her. A few more blinks and my eyes adjust to the darkness of the room. I see that the angel is Brittany and Quinn is with her. I look down and realize that I’m in a hospital bed. Oh crap! It all starts coming back to me, the commercial, the drinking, the slap. I hear a beeping get louder and louder, and it’s not helping my anxiety. My heart feels like it’s going to beat out of my chest. Oh God, Brittany! I don’t have a plan yet, I can’t handle this! Why am I in the hospital, what happened!?

I see Brittany starts to stir from all the noise, adding to my panic even more just as some doctors rush in. They block my sight of Brittany and start looking over me, but I can barely breathe and all I want is to make sure Brittany is ok and then to get the hell out of here. I feel so bad that Brittany got dragged into my mess, and I know Quinn is going through her own stuff and yet she’s here for me. God, I just wish that I could disappear, my life would be so much easier. I just can’t do anything right, and I keep dragging everyone down with me.

I start to feel drowsy. My eyelids droop and it starts to sound like I’m underwater.

“Brittany?” I think I manage to get out before I am surrounded by black again.

-

Brittany's POV

I start to wake up when I hear my alarm clock go off. I’m about to get up to turn it off when there are a bunch of other voices in the room with me. Why are there so many people in my room? And then I remember where I am and I instantly snap my eyes open. There are a bunch of doctors and nurses in the room hovering over Santana, blocking my view. I feel a strong arm grip mine to hold me back just as I’m about to jump up. I look over and see Quinn silently looking on with a wide eyed expression. I latch onto her in return and we both watch as doctors seem to be moving so fast all around us. Then they start to slow their paces. They are still moving, but it isn’t as frantic.

“Brittany?” I hear her. It’s barely there, but I hear it. I jump up, effectively bringing Quinn with me as she is pretty much attached to my arm at this point. Before I can make my way over to her there is a doctor in front of us.

“Hello ladies, I’m Dr. Carmichael, Santana’s doctor. She’s ok, she was just having a major panic attack while trying to wake up, so we gave her a sedative to try and calm her down before she tries again. That means she’ll be under for a little while longer, but rest assured, this is a good sign. It means that she is still there. She’s just going to take a little while coming back, ok?”

The doctor speaks quickly with a fake smile so Quinn and I don’t have a chance to say anything before he’s back out the door along with the rest of them. We stand unmoving for a couple of minutes before we both quietly sit back down. She was here, if only just for a moment, she was here, which means she’s going to be okay, she’s going to come back. Quinn’s head comes to rest on my shoulder again and we sit unmoving before we both drift off into a restless sleep once again, hoping the time goes quickly.

-

Santana's POV

I don’t know how long I’m back in the black for. I again, feel perfectly content staying here forever, no worries or thoughts. But I soon remember the angel by my bedside once again and know that I have to go back for her. Reluctantly I start pushing my way back until I can feel my eyelids lifting again. It doesn’t feel like it takes as long this time, although it still takes plenty of time. It’s a little brighter out, but I remember where I am, so as soon as my eyes are just the least bit open I look over to see Brittany and Quinn sleeping where they were before. I let out a slow breath. Brittany is ok. But am I?

I look down and everything seems to be there under the blanket. I can’t really move much, I’m kind of sore, but I can tell nothing isn’t moving, so that’s good. I sigh and wonder what I should do now. I don’t really want to wake Brittany and Quinn just yet, because I’m sure they need their sleep, so I am left with my own thoughts for a while. Which makes me really wish I had that alcohol with me. As I’m debating how to get my hands on something to take the edge off I see Brittany move out of the corner of my eye, so I just turn to her and watch as she slowly comes out of her slumber.

I can’t help the small smile that graces my face when I see her. Brittany is the most adorable sight in the morning. I revel in it for a moment before I see blue eyes shoot open and look right into mine. It’s seems like an eternity has passed between us, a million words, a million feelings, and before I know it I have a blonde almost on top of me in the hospital bed with her arms wrapped around me.

“Oh San” Brittany practically exhales the words with a mixture of relief and sadness. I wince, because I feel so bad for leaving Brittany out of the loop. Just another thing I fucked up royally.

“Oh good” I hear from what must be Quinn. She sounds relieved too, almost like it’s the first time she’s been able to breath in a while. Now I feel even worse. I know Quinn has a lot going on right now and I hate to make her worry. I just sit there with Brittany laying on her side in the bed, with her arms wrapped around me like she’s afraid to let go. Quinn has made her way to the other side of me and is holding my hand with both of hers. I haven’t said anything yet. I don’t know what to say. Thank all that is holy a doctor comes in to check on me. He updates me on my status and says that I am free to go as long as I have a ride and get some rest after they do a few tests. Before I can even weigh the pros and cons of asking for a prescription pain killer he is back out the door.

We all just sit in silence before a nurse comes in to take me for those tests. I guess they gotta check my head since it seems I was out for a bit. Brittany and Quinn reluctantly let me go and I just try to give them the most reassuring look I can when I’m internally freaking out. After the tests I have to figure out how I’m getting home. I wonder what day it is, they say I’ve been out for a while, last I remember it was, what, Wednesday…? Hmm, hopefully that means I won’t have to face my fate at school anytime soon. I guess I should focus on my parents. And Brittany. Always Brittany. What am I gonna tell her? She’s probably so mad at me. Oh man.

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

After Santana gets wheeled away I turn to Quinn and smile a little more because she looks so relieved and I feel so relieved. I go around the bed to where she is standing and give her a big hug too. We embrace a little before I pull back and see that Quinn looks conflicted now. I feel my smile drop a little and I tilt my head to the side, silently questioning what she’s thinking now.

“This is a lot to take Britt” she answers my silent question in a sigh. I nod my head in understanding and just hug her again, a little less enthusiastically. Quinn relaxes in my arms for a second before she pulls back. While she does, I can see her straightening her back and squaring her shoulders. She’s putting herself back together before my eyes, preparing herself to be strong again. I feel bad that she always feels like she has to be so strong for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful, and I need it right now, but she shouldn’t always have to be strong. I make a mental note to be strong for Quinn after this, I know she needs it too.

“Alright Brittany” I can tell Quinn is in thinking mode now. She’s so good at thinking and planning for everything that could happen. She always looks so determined and confident. I nod my head, standing up straighter trying to match her, so she knows I’m just as serious.

“I don’t think we should tell Mr. and Mrs. Lopez why Santana was in the hospital. We can tell them that she fainted because she hadn’t eaten in a while. We can just avoid the alcohol. Santana will obviously have to tell them what’s going on, but I think that will take at least some of the pressure off of her, and she needs all the help she can get right now.”

That seems like a good idea. I don’t like lying, but it’s doesn’t have to be a lie, she really didn’t eat for a while, that definitely hadn’t helped when she was drinking, at least that’s what the doctor said. I nod my head again, letting Quinn know that I’m with her.

She looks me in the eye to make sure I understand. She knows I don’t like lying, but I try to tell her with my eyes that I understand this is what is best. I will do my best for Santana.

She nods her head and turns around. I feel kind of awkward with Quinn standing at attention waiting for Santana. I feel like we are in the army. I fidget with my hands behind my back and bounce on my toes while we wait. Finally they wheel Santana through the door and I make sure to follow her movements, letting her know that I’m here with her. Quinn nods to Santana, who just nods back.

Once she gets into bed the nurse informs us that she is free to leave, we just need to fill out the discharge papers from the doctor at the front desk. Quinn dutifully follows the nurse there while I stand by Santana’s bed, giving her a small warm smile to try and make her relax. She looks so panicky, her eyes are wider than normal and they keep darting all over the room, landing on me for a few seconds, then darting away. I can see her hands shaking while she wrings them together because she’s nervous. She has nothing to be nervous about though, so I take one of her hands in mine to get her to stop. Once I do she looks at me, eyes even wider, like she wasn’t expecting that, but she latches onto my hand, so I know she’s grateful.

“San, it’s okay” I whisper, which seems to relax her at least a little bit. Her shoulders droop a little and her eyes go down some. We sit there in silence after that. She doesn’t look anywhere in the room but me now, so I keep a small smile on my face to try and keep telling her that it will be alright.

Quinn finally comes back and we both seem to snap out of a daze, looking towards the door as she enters.

“You’re good to go S. I brought up some sweats and a tee shirt from my car so you can change.”

She gestures to the neatly folded pile in her hand. Santana just nods and takes the clothes from Quinn as she makes her way to the restroom. After she leaves Quinn comes to stand by me like she did before.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever heard her so quite before” Quinn says quietly, looking at me from the corner of her eye.

“Me either” I really haven’t. Santana always has something to say, when she’s angry or sad or happy, she always has a comment for the moment.

Quinn hangs her head just a tad before she quickly shakes it and directs her attention back to the door.

-

Santana's POV

Making my way to the bathroom I feel numb. What am I supposed to say to Brittany? To Quinn even? God, I must look so pathetic right now. I feel pretty pathetic right now. I get to the bathroom down the hall and look in the mirror. My eyebrows furrow, because I can hardly recognize me. I look a wreck. My hair is tangled, there are huge bags under my eyes, and I look so pale I would think I’m a ghost if Brittany and Quinn hadn’t acknowledged me.

I set the clothes down on the counter and turn on the sink to the coldest it could go. I gather some of the water into my hands and splash it onto my face. Then I grab a paper towel and rub my cheeks and under my eyes. After that I try and comb back my hair with my fingers. Then I realize that Quinn gave me a brush with her clothes. There are some hair ties on the handle, so I quickly run the brush through my hair and tie it up into a messy bun.

Turning back to the mirror I regard my reflection once more. I guess it’ll have to do. I slowly change into the clothes Quinn gave me, trying to think of the plan that has evaded me for a couple of days now. Brittany didn’t seem mad, which is a good start. I wonder if she saw the commercial? I wonder if everyone has seen it by now, I’m not sure when it is supposed to air. I wonder if my parents have already seen it? I mean, it is just a regional thing right? So they may not even get the viewing pleasure wherever they are. Oh crap, someone probably called them to tell them I was in the hospital. Ugh, Santana, you are such an idiot, they are going to be so pissed. I’m going to be an even bigger embarrassment to them for getting myself dragged to the hospital for being stupid. Wow, I think I must be the biggest fuck up in existence. Before I can debate ditching the bathroom and making a break for it there’s a knock on the door. I curse the lack of privacy before I grab the brush and hospital gown off the counter and make my way out.

Walking down the hall I can feel the brush tap against my thigh because my hands are shaking. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this out of control of a situation or my own body before. It seems like literally everything is falling apart and everything I do will just make it worse. I step in the room slowly, keeping my head down and my eyes trained to the floor. Brittany comes to stand beside me, gently taking my hand and leading me out of the room following Quinn’s lead. I look down at our hands and stare. How can Brittany be holding my hand after everything that happened? She should be so angry with me, I haven’t even talked to her in days. But here she is holding my hand so gently, like I might break with just the slightest pressure. She makes me feel so safe, it almost makes me think that this situation isn’t so bad, but when Quinn shuts the driver’s door I snap out of my daze and the dread starts to sink in again.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

The drive seems to go by in the blink of an eye because before I even have a chance to think of what to say we are pulling up to my house. We walk up to the door just the way we exited the hospital, Quinn in front, Brittany following, holding my hand, while I trail along behind. Once we get in Quinn heads to the living room while Brittany leads me up to my room. She sits down on the bed and gently tugs me down so that I am sitting next to her. I shift uncomfortably, not knowing what to do or say. She’s still holding one of my hands so I fidget awkwardly with the other one. She scoots closer to me and I freeze up, but then she lays her head on my shoulder and starts rubbing her thumb in soothing circles in my hand and I can’t help but melt into her. I still can’t think of what to say, but she seems content not talking right now, so who am I to protest?

I don’t know how long we sit there, all I know is that I am content to do it for the rest of my life. Just sit here with Brittany and not worry about anything that’s happening right now. But too soon our bubble is broken by Quinn coming down the hall. I instinctively sit up and brace myself for impact. Even if Brittany doesn’t seem to be mad at me Quinn must be. She must think I’m so stupid. Hell, I know I’m incredibly stupid, and Quinn’s always been smarter than me.

When Quinn comes through the door the first thing she does is meet my eyes. I try to look as indifferent as possible like I normally do, but it’s not really working. The next thing she does is hug me full on. To say I’m surprised would not even cover it. I was expecting more along the lines of yelling, maybe even slapping, not hugging. I use my free hand that isn’t holding Brittany’s to return the hug as best as I can. After a minute I actually relax a little. I didn’t realize how much I needed a good hug. I’m just not used to it, especially from Fabray.

After a short time she pulls back and stands in front of me. I try to steel myself again, but that hug really threw me off. Maybe that was her plan all along, to get my guard down and then yell at me? But no, she’s looking at me with sad eyes, she doesn’t look mad at all.

“I’m so glad you’re ok S” Quinn looks like she may cry, but she’s smiling a little and I don’t think I’ve seen this much emotion from her towards me in my years of knowing her. It’s actually quite overwhelming and I wonder if my face looks anything like hers because I feel like I might cry, but I don’t think that I’m smiling at all. Brittany reaches up and strokes my cheek a little and I can feel my resolve crumbling as tears begin to stream down my face.

Before I know it we are all crying and embracing and it’s the weirdest thing I think I have ever experienced in my whole entire life, but it’s also the best because I feel more loved than I ever have. Once we all pretty much stop crying I tell them about the argument with Finn and the commercial that became of it, or rather, an edited version. I'm no where near ashamed of that blubber joke, it was some of my best work, I just am not used to talking and I want to make sure to keep it quick while stealing glances at both of them to get a read on them, but they both look just as understanding as they did before, so I feel confident to continue, though I don’t think I could stop if I wanted to. It feels really good to talk about it, and I’m not used to being in a position where I feel I am able to, or even get the chance if I do want to.

Once I get to the end of the story I start panicking about what they are going to have to say about all this, so I turn to Brittany and just start rambling. 

“I’m so sorry B, I’m so sorry for keeping you out of the loop and I know that I shouldn’t have approached Finn again, you told me not to, and I know that I should have told you, but I didn’t want to believe it. And then I slapped Finn and I know you hate violence, but I don’t know what came over me, it was all so overwhelming and he just doesn’t get it because he can have whoever he wants and everyone loves him and everyone hates me B, they hate me, and they’ll hate me even more because of this, but I shouldn’t have done it and I’m sorry Brittany, I’m so sorry” the last part comes out as a whisper because I don’t think I’ve taken a breath in a solid minute save for the tiny sobs scattered throughout my Rachel reminiscent rant.

I just now realize that I have closed my eyes, so I slowly open them to see Brittany, looking as beautiful as ever, smiling softly at me, with her face and eyes wet from fallen tears.

“Oh San” she breaths, which of course, makes me start to cry yet again. She just hugs me and I can tell she’s crying, and then Quinn joins in and we have started the cry fest again. If it were anyone else, I would make fun of this kind of behavior mercilessly, seriously just rip it to shreds, but I’m so content right now and it's not like anyone else is around so I guess I can let it slide just this once. 

-

We must have all fallen asleep because the next thing I know I’m trying to peel open my eyes yet again. I try to move my arms to rub my face, but both seem to be pinned to their place at my sides, so I look down and see two blondes cuddled up on either side of me, which just wanky. I seriously can’t help but smile because no matter how screwed I am I have the two best friends anyone could ever ask for. I don’t know how I got them, and Lord knows we have had our fair share of trouble between us, but I can’t deny I’m incredibly fortunate, even though I would never say that to Quinn’s face. Brittany's maybe, if she forced me with her cute pout, but never Quinn. I lean down to kiss Brittany’s forehead, which causes her to stir but not wake. I take a breath and try to enjoy this moment before I have to deal with the reality that is my craptastic life.

After a while I feel Quinn shift on my right side.

“Mornin’” I say quietly, smiling a little. She looks up and gives me a small smile of her own.

“Good morning” her response is just as quiet, mindful of a sleeping Brittany.

“I’m going to go make breakfast ok. I was going to make you eat yesterday, but we all got pretty caught up. You need to eat though” she says that last part forcefully, even while keeping her voice low. She raises her eyebrows, emphasizing her point even more, and then she’s out of bed and out of the room before I can respond.

I take the opportunity to wrap my free arm around Brittany and pull her closer. I smile contently and even begin to feel myself drift back off to sleep before I feel her shifting beside me.

“m’hm, San” she mumbles, burying her nose into my neck. I giggle a little despite myself and kiss her on top of her head.

“Mornin’ B” I say softly, receiving a sleepy smile that I can feel against the skin of my neck.

“Don’t scare me like that again” she whispers, so quietly I almost think that I imagined it. I sigh and drop my arms from around her so that I’m not holding her as tight. I almost forgot how awful I feel and how much I made Brittany, and even Quinn, worry, and how royally messed up everything is.

A shaky “I’m sorry” is all I can get out, but that seems to be enough, because she’s lifting her head up and giving me a small peck on the lips. It’s barely there, but it makes me feel a little better, like Brittany always manages to do.

Quinn picks that moment to appear in the doorway holding a tray with pancakes, butter, syrup, two glasses of orange juice, and one glass of milk (she knows I can’t eat pancakes with anything but milk, even though they think it’s gross)

No one says anything, we all just move around until we’re situated on the bed and eat our breakfast. I try to think what day it is. I don’t think the doctor said how long I was out for specifically, or it’s equally as possible I just wasn’t listening, and I feel too dumb asking. I sneak a peek over at the clock and see that it’s 11 in the morning, so we must not have school; I’m in no rush to get back to that place. I’m glad to at least have one day to prepare, especially now that I have Quinn and Brittany with me.

Once we’re finished with our breakfast Quinn composes herself a little and addresses me.

“Santana, I just want you to know that I am on your side here. I think what Finn did was reprehensible and you shouldn’t be the one people are putting the blame on here, at least not fully. Not to mention the complete lack of responsibility any teacher showed in this situation.” She rolls her eyes and scoffs at this. 

I’m shocked. I would have never guessed that Quinn would say that to me. I thought she would have lectured me about how stupid it was to slap Finn, tell me how much I messed up, be disappointed in me for getting myself in this horrible situation. I pick my jaw up off the floor and shake my head to come up with a response.

“Good Fabray, because I’m gonna need someone to get me the hell outta this mess and you’re definitely the smartest bitch I know” it's about the worst back handed compliment I’ve ever given out, but I figure I gotta ease my way back into it, I've been out of practice for a while now.

Quinn just rolls her eyes and shakes her head slightly.

“There’s a little of that Santana we’ve all grown to adore” she says it sarcastically, but with enough mirth in her voice and curl in her lips that I know it’s sincere. I throw a half assed smirk at her, because again, I’m so out of my element right now it’s not even funny, but it makes me feel just a touch better when Brittany presses into one side of me and Quinn squeezes in on the other in a group hug. I roll my eyes and huff, because it would be so cheesy if I wasn’t loving it so much.

 

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

We spend the day flip flopping between watching movies, homework (which I ignore because I’ll probably be expelled anyway, so there’s really no point) and talking through what’s going to happen tomorrow. Brittany said that Mr. Schue told her to have me come to his office first thing, which I suppose I expected. They also tell me that Kurt and Blaine want to talk to me, and offer to invite them over, but I just tell them I don’t think I can handle any more of anything right now, which they understand. Quinn made sure to give them and Mercedes an update on my status. Which is nice I guess, because they like care or whatever. She made sure that only those three got any of the details, and even they don’t know the full story. All they know is that I was in the hospital because I passed out, and all anyone else knows is that they found me and that I should be back at school soon, which is definitely way more important. Quinn also said that I could even have a few days to recuperate because she made sure to have the doctor write a fairly open ended note (seriously, this girl thinks of everything), but I just shrug and tell her that I want to just get the inevitable over with at this point, now that I’ve had a day to recuperate.

“Ok, so, we’ll go with you to Mr. Schue’s tomorrow morning. He’ll probably just make a half assed attempt to see that you’re alright and then take you to Figgin’s office. We’ll be with you every step of the way though.”

I nod absently, focusing more on the television than Quinn. I’ve almost come to terms with the fact that I’ll be kicked out of school and out of the house. My parents still haven’t called Brittany or me and I’m pretty much content to leave them out of this as long as I can. I wish I could just stay in this safe bubble with Brittany, and even Quinn, forever, but I know that tomorrow my bubble’ll burst, so I’m just trying to enjoy it while I can.

Quinn offers to go grab their stuff from her house, allowing me to be alone with Brittany for a while. We sit in a comfortable silence for a while, cuddled up in each other’s arms, satisfied with our popcorn and the movie, before Brittany speaks up.

“I haven’t been as verbal as Quinn, but, I hope you know I’m on your side too” her attention is on me now, so I turn to face her.

“Really?” I barely manage to choke out, caught off guard by all the emotion behind Brittany’s eyes.

“Always” she says it like she’s not sure of anything in the world but that and I feel my heart swell and my eyes water. She’s looking at me so full of love and compassion and it makes me really think for the first time that this is all going to work out somehow, because no matter what, Brittany is on my side, and really, what more do I need?

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

 

We take to bed similar to how we did the night before, one blonde on either side, except this time we go to bed around 10 and I set my alarm so we can make it to school on time. Not that it really matters if I’m on time because I’ll probably just be sent back home when I’m expelled for slapping the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but for the blondes’ sake I set the alarm.

When we wake up, I let Quinn take the guest bathroom while I take my parent’s, leaving Brittany with my room to shower and get ready. I let my body soak while my mind wanders to what is to come. What do you do when you’re expelled? Do you just transfer to another school? I wonder if my parent’s will spring for some private school. Or if they’ll disown me after the commercial. What will I do if that happens? I have no idea what my options are at this point and that scares the crap outta me, so I force myself to get out of the shower and change. I opt to wear my Cheerio’s uniform, because even if I get expelled and subsequently kicked off the Cheerio’s, it makes me feel powerful, and being with Quinn and Brittany it will make me feel like we’re a team (even with Fabray not in uniform that traitor), and I need all the help I can get honestly.

When I make it downstairs Quinn has three plates at the table with eggs, bacon, and toast. Brittany is already down as well and they are both eating in amicable silence. I greet them with a small wave and sit down to eat. When we’re finished I wash the dishes off and put them in the dishwasher. Then we all pile into Quinn’s car to head to McKinley.

We’re about 30 minutes early. We decided that it would be better for me if not as many kids were around. We get prime parking and make our way to Mr. Schue’s office. As I’m walking, I can’t help but mentally scold myself that I didn’t drive, because I don’t know how the fuck I’m going to get home when Quinn gets to stay at school and I’m expelled. I figure that’s another thing to file into the ever growing “things I am putting off until later” folder, along with pretty much everything else at this point.

When we walk into Mr. Schue’s office he looks up and is obviously surprised.

“Santana, how are you feeling, you weren’t at school Thursday or Friday” It sounds more like an accusation than an actual inquiry about how I am, but what can you expect from a man who’s so far up Finn Hudson’s ass?

“I’m just peachy Mr. Schue, thank you so much for asking” I say with my best bitch smirk plastered on my face. It’s dripping with sarcasm and false pleasantry and for the first time in days I feel a little bit like myself.

“Now can we drop the act and get on with the punishment that I know you just can’t wait to dish out?” good execution, not my best, but the scowl on my face feels like it belongs there. With Quinn and Brittany flanking my sides I knew I would be able to put on the head bitch face and tough this out. I’m still not sure what’s going to happen after this, but damned if I don’t get through this with my head high and my defenses up.

“Santana” he says in that warning tone of his. Like I’m supposed to ignore the fact this man is probably vying to get me kicked out of school and go along with the act that he actually gives a crap about me.

“Mr. Schue, Coach Sue is waiting in Mr. Figgin’s office. And you know she doesn’t like to be kept waiting” Quinn speaks up, which causes me to turn to her with my eyebrows furrowed, because I didn’t know Coach was a part of this punishment. Quinn walks away and I follow dumbly with Brittany at my side and Mr. Schue supposedly following. If Sue is in on this I might actually have to start worrying for my life.

We get to Figgin’s office and, true to Quinn’s word, Coach is there, leaning against the bookshelf. She looks over and gives us an almost conspiratorial nod, which we all return, even though I’m certainly not in whatever plan that Quinn and Sue and even Brittany seem to have. We all stand there while Mr. Schue ventures in, looking even more confused than I was that Sue is there.

“Sue, what brings you here?” he says it in the same tone he used when asking me if I was ok.

“This directly affects one of my top cheerleaders, of course I’m here” I appreciate how Coach manages to make Schue seem dumb for even thinking that she wouldn’t be here.

“But you weren’t even there, how can you decide proper punishment to an offense you didn’t witness?” Which, I mean, that’s somewhere near where I’m lost too. But honestly, we’ve all seen the things Sue pulls off at this school, why are any of us even surprised anymore?

“William, I feel like you fail to see this situation objectively if you think that sandbags deserves to be punished while the walking tree trunk you refer to as Finn Hudson is allowed to get off scotch free” Mr. Schue look like his face hurts with its confusion. His eyes are squinted, his brows are furrowed, his top lip is curled.

“Sue, Santana slapped Finn completely unprovoked” he says incredulously. 

“That’s where you’re wrong William. The giant infant provoked Santana by outing her to the entire district. I don’t know how you, as a teacher, allowed Santana to participate in an activity which put her in direct contact with Finn Hudson so soon after we showed her that commercial. What made you think that would be a good idea?” Schue looks like someone just slapped him in the face now.

“Sue, I didn’t think it was that big of deal, she came to the mash off, she was fine” Sue cuts him off almost yelling.

“She was obviously not fine, how could she be fine after such a traumatic experience!? You should have done more to make sure she was fine, she didn’t even get to talk about anything, we just let her run away from my office crying, and then you make her participate in a singing competition like nothing happened?” here she turns to Figgin’s.

“I think what Santana needs is help in this situation, we need to support her, not punish her. This is why we’re here, for the kids. William and I both dropped the ball on this one, but I will not allow the Keebler elf to continue to do so!” the room falls silent. Mr. Schue looks absolutely stunned. I bet I look similar. Quinn and Brittany are nodding right along with Sue, like they have thought this all along. Figgin’s has his almost bored face on.

“Sue has a point William, I think that this was very poorly handled by all of the adults in the situation. Santana is to stay as far away from one Finn Hudson today until she can have a discussion with him which is mediated by adults after school” and with that Sue comes over, places her hand on my shoulder, and nods once before leaving the room. Schue is frozen in place with his mouth and eyes wide open. Quinn takes my arm at the elbow and leads me out into the hall with Brittany following. She opens the door to the girl’s bathroom and orders the girls who were in there out.

Once we’re alone I look in the mirror to see my eyes are filled with tears. Brittany wraps her arms around me and lets me cry into her shoulder while Quinn dutifully guards the door to make sure no one comes in.

“It’s okay San, it’ll be okay” Brittany says in that tender voice of hers that allows me to nod me head and begin to pull away from the embrace. I straighten my back and square my shoulders. Brittany takes a paper towel and wipes away the tears and mascara on my face with a touch so gentle and loving it makes me smile. Quinn steps over and nods her head, waiting for me to be ready to talk. I take a deep breath once Brittany is finished and nod back.

“Ok Santana, Brittany and I are going to be with you all day today. We’ll make sure Finn doesn’t come anywhere near you. I’ll handle any questions, so you don’t have to worry about anything.” She puts her hand on my shoulder much like Sue and I give her a grateful smile.

“Thanks Q, I thought I was going to get expelled or something” I say with a small roll of my eyes because I am really bad at expressing any sort of gratitude.

“Oh please, Mr. Schuster saw you slap me across the face and didn’t do anything about it, he has such double standards. Besides, you knew I wouldn’t let that happen.” Hey, yea, I slapped Quinn, what, sophomore year, and Schue came to break up the fight. Finn and Puck basically went to blows which Schue had to stop and he didn’t do anything about that either. What the hell is this even about? It’s just because I’m me and Finn’s Finn and I’m the competition now. Ugh, wow, I never realized how much we get screwed over for Berry and Frankenteen. I thought it was just for solos, but no, apparently it’s just in general.

“Ugh, fuck Schuester, I seriously had forgotten all about that. Alright, well, I think I’ll be okay as long as the gassy green giant doesn’t come anywhere near me.” I say this with a scowl, but Brittany takes my hand, so it naturally relaxes.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

 

The day goes by fairly quickly. There are whispers, but with Quinn in head bitch mode, and me in defense mode they cease pretty quickly. A group of JV cheerleaders turn towards me with smirks plastered on their face. I’m almost positive it was one of them who told their uncle about me. I haven’t found out who yet because it hasn’t been my most pressing priority, but now that it looks like I’m still on the Cheerios you can bet I’m gonna make sure that bitch’s life is a living hell.

I have a couple of classes with Finn, who looks even more confused than he usually does when he sees me (which is actually pretty satisfying I have to admit) but both Quinn and Brittany are in those classes with me so it’s sort of easy to go about ignoring him like I do every other day, even when he looks more constipated than usual, opening up the door for so many more insults.

I have a couple of classes with just Quinn or just Brittany, but when that happens the other makes sure to meet us in the hall after class. For lunch we go to the Lima Bean to meet Kurt, Blaine, and Mercedes because I don’t want to talk to them with other people around and they are like, worried about me, or whatever.

“Santana, I cannot believe what Finn did to you, I hope you know that I refused to speak to him after I found out” Kurt starts out once we find a seat, which confuses me, because we’ve never been on the best of terms. Sure, I like the kid fine, but his flamboyant demeanor made him a prime target. Not to mention the kid was as gay as a window, which made me both jealous that he was out, even with the hell he had to go through to be there, and scared because I know he and his raging gaydar could probably see right through me from a mile away.

“Uh, thanks Porcelain, that means a lot to me” I say with as much sincerity I can muster, because again, I’m not accustomed to displays of gratitude, so it mostly comes out as sarcastic and distrusting.

“We want you to know that we are here to help, with whatever you need. We’ve both obviously been though something similar, though everyone’s coming out is different” understatement of the year Warbles “but we can relate, and if you need anyone to talk to, or anything, we’re here.” I furrow my brows because if I think too much about what he said I might cry and there is no way I’m crying anymore, especially in front of anyone who is not Brittany or Quinn. Why are they being so nice to me, I’ve been awful to them?

“Yea girl, I’m here for you too, I haven’t been through what you guys have, but I’m a pretty good listener and my home is always open” she says this with a look towards Quinn which is received with a small nod and a smile. I take a deep breath and try not to be too bitchy when I say thanks or whatever, with a wave of my hand and a roll of my eyes, though half assed.

“Have you thought about how you might want to tell your parents?” Blaine asks in that eerily soothing voice of his. I shake my head, because my parents still haven’t called, which means they didn’t get Brittany’s voicemail or a heads up from any of the doctors they know at the hospital that I was there, so they really aren’t at the forefront of my mind.

“Well, if you need any help, like I said, we’re here.” He says with a small smile which I return because they’re being really nice and like, I might be a heartless bitch, but I know how to utilize people who can help me and if the china doll and gel boy wonder are offering their help I am in no position to refuse (at least that’s what I tell myself to keep myself from the aforementioned crying, I’ve been doing way too much crying over this).

“What are we going to do about Finn?” Kurt asks, directing his question to Quinn because everyone knows she’s the brains of this operation.

“Figgin’s is having Santana have a mediated discussion with him after school. We all know that Mr. Schuster will be there, so I’m going to ask Shelby to be there as well, after filling her in a little so that we can make sure to have someone on Santana’s side. We’ll go from there after that.” Quinn says. I tilt my head to the side at her because I know that her and Shelby aren’t on the best of terms, but she just waves me off and I see Brittany reach over me to squeeze her hand under the table, so I figure that’s something I don’t have to worry about for now.

“Ugh, I don’t know how I’m expected to be in the same choir room as him. Hell, I don’t know how you were expected to be in the same auditorium as him. Even after everything we’ve been through he is still so oblivious” Kurt rants, seeming to get a little flustered.

“Well, hopefully his talk with Santana gets through to him a little” ha “and if it doesn’t we will just have to figure it out” Quinn seems like she already is trying to figure it out, but no one comments on that.

“I just wish we didn’t live in Lima, where hiding who we are feels necessary because of the ignorance surrounding us that excuses Finn’s behavior” he responds softly. Everyone is looking right at me when he says it. I divert my attention to the table in front of us because I am so not ready for the gay heart to heart.

“But I refuse to let Finn off the hook for this” he continues after a breath, drawing the attention back to him. “He needs to realize that he’s not the 'hero of the little people' that he makes himself out to be.”

With that everyone silently agrees, knowing the God complex that is Finn Hudson. He thinks that he is so righteous for even thinking about helping the people he deems below him, like the entire Glee Club, and that anything he does is for the best. He may have good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with them, isn’t that how the saying goes?

“Well, that may never happen, but we just need to make it until graduation, after that we won’t have to worry about Lima, Ohio any longer.” Quinn says wistfully, which everyone silently agrees to as well.

By then it’s time to head back to school, so everyone walks back together and bids farewell heading to their respective classes.

The day seems to fly by and all of the sudden I am sitting outside the room where the Troubletones practice with Brittany, waiting for Quinn and Shelby to come out so that I can talk to Finn. I lean my head on Brittany’s shoulder and tangle my hand into hers, because there’s no use hiding now, I may as well enjoy being with her if I’m forced out of the closet.

Chapter Text

Quinn's POV

I take a deep breath and approach the piano where Shelby is sitting.

“Shelby” I state, not allowing any emotion into my voice. She looks up at me in surprise, but then her expression turns to exhaustion.

“What do you want Quinn” I hear the edge in her voice, telling me that even though she is trying to be professional, she doesn’t want to hear what I have to say. She sounds so tired of everything, and I don’t blame her, I feel that way too.

“Look, whatever is going on between us, I want to put that aside. I would like to talk to you about it, but right now I have more pressing matters. Santana is having a mediated discussion with Finn in the choir room and I was hoping that you would be there to advocate for her with Mr. Schue” I keep my eyes on hers.

“I would have Coach Sue do it, but I don’t think her arguing with Mr. Schue will help the situation. I just want someone to be there to stand up for her when they try to put the blame solely on Santana.” I know that I’ve been trying to get into Shelby’s good graces for a while to stay close to Beth, but this isn’t a part of that. I really think that Shelby is the best adult to come to in this matter because of her objectiveness.

“Santana slapped Finn, and although I don’t know the reason behind it, I cannot condone that kind of behavior” she says, like a typical teacher.

“Which is fair, but I think that if you heard Santana’s side of the story, you may be able to at least see where she was coming from. Of course slapping Finn wasn’t the right thing to do, but she had a very good reason for it, one that Mr. Schue and Finn don’t see.” I know Santana is a bitch, she’s been just as bad if not worse, but our bullying, although admittedly harmful, never put anyone in danger like this before.

“Alright, well, I’m listening” Shelby makes sure that her tone is a bit disbelieving.

“As I’m sure you’ve heard, Santana and Finn have been at odds since Santana had decided to join the Troubletones.” Here Shelby nods her head, although I’m not sure the extent of which she knows. “Well, one of these instances Finn had decided to…retaliate” I trail off, not knowing how to convey in words what Finn had done, painting it as the wrong that it is, even if he most likely didn’t mean it that way. “he…outed…Santana” I look away saying the word, but glance back at Shelby to gage her reaction. Her expression is slightly confused, but other than that unwavering.

“I’m not sure how much you know of Brittany and Santana’s relationship, however, most of the Glee kids have come to, more or less, accept that it is more than platonic, even with Santana doing her very best to hide it. Someone overheard this argument and, long story short, a political campaign against Coach Sue is being broadcast outing Santana. I’m sure you can understand that this is something that Santana has been struggling with for most of high school, if not longer. It has been hard for her, and it had obviously come to a head in the auditorium.” I take a deep breath, internally noting that this rant is reminiscent of one Rachel Berry, but I need to get my point across before Shelby considers taking Finn’s side on this. I can’t see Shelby being homophobic, considering she gave Rachel away to her dads, and I think that she can help us with this if she sees where Santana was coming from.

“Mr. Schue had just shown her the Ad before she performed, she hadn’t had a chance to process anything. Everyone could feel something was off. Even Figgin’s refused to suspend Santana because he agreed that Mr. Schue should have done more to help Santana with this before having her preform in a competition against Finn. Please, she just needs an adult on her side in there, because we all know Mr. Schue is resolutely on Finn’s side” It’s as close to begging as Quinn Fabray is willing to get. I continue practically staring down Shelby, trying to decide what I’m going to do if she says no. She’s noticeably considering what to do, or at least, how to say what she has decided.

“Ya know Quinn, I think it is very admirable of you to come to your friend’s aid when she is in need. Even with all of the issues you are going through, a lot of which is directly tied with me, you are putting that aside and doing what’s right.” I had been anticipating this. You can’t expect to get anything from an adult without a lecture, whether it’s in praise or condemnation. I have become adept at both taking these speeches and giving them. So I raise my chin and make it look like I am taking in what she has to say, like I have learned to do.

“Maybe you are growing up after all” this statement comes with a small smile, and even though part of me feels resentment, because it’s a little patronizing, the other part thinks that this may have worked in my favor of getting to be closer to Beth, even if that wasn’t the intention. So I shrug my shoulders, attempting to go for sheepish while still standing tall, keeping my head up. This just makes her grin widen.

“I agree with you, I think that Santana shouldn’t have gone on that stage without talking through her feelings and if I would have known I wouldn’t have had her do it. So I will go and make sure that Finn and Mr. Schuster hear her out.” I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding and allow my posture to relax just a touch.

“Thank you” it doesn’t sound very sincere, but it is. I nod my head again and turn around to gather Santana and Brittany to head to the choir room, however, Shelby calls my name, causing me to stop short of the door.

“We will need to have a discussion after this though” I wince as the words hit me. I don’t acknowledge that I heard her, but I’m sure with my prolonged pause she caught on. I make my way to Santana and Brittany slumped against the lockers shortly down the hall, informing them that Shelby will be there and won’t let the boys gang up on her. Santana appears defeated at this point, this whole experience is taking its toll on her, but she nudges me while we’re walking and I know that she is grateful.

Even though I am slightly bitter about Shelby’s comments about me having to grow up, she may have a point. Helping Santana go through this is showing me that although I have good leadership qualities and am mature for my age, as I always have been, I’m still in high school and I still have a long way to go. I have been through so much, but so has everyone else. And we have so much more to experience, good and bad.

I stop my thinking once we get to the choir room. After Brittany embraces Santana and whispers in her ear something that I can only assume is encouragement she turns towards me and I square my shoulders and put on my head bitch face so that she follows. Once she looks ready I address her.

“We’ll be right here.”

Not many words are needed. I know that through our actions she got my message. Compose yourself, don’t let them get to you, you are strong. Being on the Cheerios there was no showing weakness, we had to learn to toughen up even further, and tell each other to do so without voicing it. She twisted her neck in preparation and shook out her hands. Then we made brief eye contact before she disappeared into the choir room with Shelby. Now all that was left to do was wait.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

I have to admit, entering the choir room felt like walking into a trap. Finn was sitting in a chair across from one I assume was for me. Mr. Schue was hovering above him. They both had their arms crossed, obviously on the defensive about the whole ordeal.

“Good afternoon William, Finn” Shelby greeted. I would curse her for being so friendly if it didn’t seem to catch them off guard.

“Shelby, what are you doing here” Mr. Schue didn’t look angry at her addition, just surprised. Finn looked indignantly up at his guard dog who was now sitting on hind legs instead of prepared to attack.

“The girls asked me to help mediate, I hope you don’t mind.” Ugh, the pleasantries are seriously off-putting, so I stand there with my arms crossed, willing myself not to roll my eyes because Shelby is here to help me and I’m trying to be appreciative or something.

“No, of course not, here” Mr. Schue fumbles to pull up a seat for both of them, causing Finn to practically fume. I allow myself to enjoy the sight. If this is going to be disconcerting for anyone I’m gonna make sure that it’s him. Schue gestures to one of the chairs, which Shelby takes with a thank you and a smile. I stay standing for a moment causing everyone to turn their attention to me expectantly. I sit down, keeping my arms folded across my chest, and cross my legs, leaning back in my chair to appear as nonchalant as possible while still being intimidating.

Everyone is still looking at me, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to say, so I just sit there, regarding each of them with a bored expression.

It’s Shelby who speaks first, which I didn’t anticipate, but as long as it wasn’t me I didn’t really care.

“So, why don’t we start with why we’re here.” This does earn an eye roll, because seriously, we all know why we’re here.

“I don’t even know. Santana slapped me, so I don’t know why we’re here right now when she should have been suspended or something” and, wow, ok, so maybe I was wrong to assume we all knew why we’re here. I never thought I’d be one to overestimate Finnept’s mental capabilities, but I guess there’s a first for everything.

“Well, from what I hear there’s more to the story than that. Santana, why don’t you try to help us understand your thinking in this matter” I shoot Shelby a glare, because have I ever seemed like the type of person to open up about, well, anything. But then bite my lip and force myself not to insult anyone, because, let’s be real, that’s what got me into this mess in the first place.

“You all know what I had heard about before the mash off.” I say, trying not to sound defensive, but most likely failing.

“That wasn’t my fault, everyone already knew!” Finn screeches, obviously showing even less restraint then I was.

“No Finn, maybe I wasn’t as subtle as I should have been, but it was enough that no one bothered to question it! Now they don’t have to, they’re going to get the answer whether they wanted it or not and it’s just going to lead to more questions! Questions that aren’t even their concern!” I raise my voice to match Finn’s, his anger feeding mine.

“Woah, alright guys, why don’t we calm down a little” Mr. Schue interrupts before Finn has a chance to respond, standing from his chair and holding an arm out to each of us. It just reminds me of how he broke up the fights between Quinn and I and Finn and Puck and didn’t get any one of us into any trouble, causing my anger to flare even more.

“Mr. Schue, can I ask you a question?” I ask with my sickeningly sweet voice masking the acidity in my words.

“Uhh, yea, of course” he says, looking cautious as he sits back down.

“Why is it that I didn’t get into this much trouble, or any trouble at all, for slapping Quinn sophomore year in the hallway?” my tone changes so that it sounds accusatory, but still sweet, and the expression on Mr. Schue’s face is absolutely priceless.

“What are you talking about Santana?” he’s glancing around the room nervously and I can tell he knows exactly what I’m talking about.

“What about when Finn and Puck literally got into a sparring match and had to be pulled off of each other?” I would love to hear him say it, but I already know why. This is the perfect way to take the attention off of me.

“Those fights went both ways Santana, this was one sided” I can tell even he knows that’s a half assed answer.

“Finn and I had been arguing for at least a week before I slapped him. He fucking outed me for Christ’s Sake, if that isn’t a side in an argument then I don’t know what is. And before the slap, the words exchanged between us were clearly escalating from the both of us. I’m not saying that slapping Finn was my crowning moment, I just want you to know that your attempt at punishment is bullshit.” I should be a fucking lawyer with the way that rebuttal was laid out. Mr. Schue had that same dumbfounded expression he wore when Figgin’s didn’t expel me.

He seemed to be rendered speechless, so I decided to continue, the anger I felt at Mr. Schue residing for the moment.

 “Look Finn, I’m sorry I slapped you, or whatever” apologies are right up there with gratitude in the book of “Things Santana Doesn’t Do”. “And the insults were getting a little overboard. But you gotta know that what you did was fucked up. You had to know that there was a reason I was hiding it. It wasn’t because I am afraid Brittany might not love me back” I know Brittany loves me, I am afraid she doesn’t love me the same way I love her, or enough to wait for me, but that isn’t the point “it’s because Lima, Ohio is not the safest place for…people like me” my voice dropped at the last part. I don’t think I had said it out loud yet, but I certainly still didn’t feel comfortable saying it. “People aren’t overly accepting. Kids get kicked out of homes, disowned, for feeling the way I do.” Bringing up the highly sensitive issue of my parents made the panic in my voice pick up, even if I tried to keep it under control. “People get harassed, bullied, beaten…killed” again with the dread and the trailing off.

I didn’t know what else to say after that. Even I had been unprepared for the direction I was going. I realized I had been looking everywhere but the people in front of me during the majority of my rant, so I chanced a glance over to them. Finn was looking down at his hands clasped in his lap, like a dog being chastised. Mr. Schue had a similar expression, though his gaze was set on the expanse of floor in front of him. Shelby was looking at me with tears in her eyes, almost like she was seeing me for the first time.

Crap, I didn’t mean to get that emotional. These are just things that have been on my mind for a while now and they had just come out. I turn my head and attempt to discreetly wipe my face checking for tears. Luckily none had fallen yet, though I could feel my eyes watering up, so I preemptively stopped them and turned back to the still silent group in the room.

I look down and am surprised to find that I had also stood up at some point, so I sit back down and let my body sag with the rage that was coursing through my veins now turned to sadness and exhaustion.  

“Santana, Kurt got by just fine, he’s better off than he was before. It may be hard, but it’ll be good for you” he says it like he did me a favor by outing me.

“Maybe, but you shouldn’t get to make that decision for me” I can’t even muster up any malice into the statement, I feel like it’s just falling on deaf ears at this point.

“Well, let’s just put this behind us alright. I forgive you for slapping me” ugh, Kurt was right about his hero complex, or God complex, whatever you call it.

“Yea, sure, that's just great” I say half-heartedly, because I don’t know what else to say, but I don’t have it in me to argue anymore.

After a few moments of awkward silence Mr. Schue claps his hands together and dismisses us.

“Well, I think that went well. I hope we can move forward from here without any more violence.” he directs the end of his statement towards me, even though it seems to be out of habit because there’s no emotion in his voice and his eyes are pointedly avoiding me. Just as well I guess.

Finn and I both sort of shrug and get up to walk out of the choir room. When I open the door I am immediately flanked by Brittany and Quinn as I watch Finn walk up to Rory (which, what the fuck, why does he seem to be with that kid all the time now. Where’s Rachel?) and head out the doors.

As soon as the door shuts behind them we follow, taking our time. No one says anything until the last car door shuts, after which Quinn turns to me and nods to check if I’m alright. I give her a slow nod back, and when she turns around and starts the car Brittany curls up beside me and takes my hand, causing me to feel just how drained I am as I lay my head on her shoulder and close my eyes.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

It seems like I had just shut my eyes by the time we arrive at my house. It isn’t a far drive, but I figure I must have fallen asleep because it isn’t that short. We make it inside and gather around the coffee table in the living room, Brittany and I taking the couch while Quinn takes the loveseat to the left of me. Quinn takes a breath and starts us off.

“I don’t think we could expect much from either Finn or Mr. Schue, but I definitely think that will get them off of your back” she said, disappointment evident in her tone.

“Yea, but even if I’m not suspended I’ll probably be harassed out of school” it’s not said with any emotion, just acceptance.

“You know that Coach and I won’t let that happen. Not to mention you are more than capable of defending yourself.” She says with a pointed look.

“Well, I don’t know what else I can do here. Let me know when your parents call back. I will see you at school tomorrow morning” she says while getting up and showing herself to the door. Brittany and I both know that’s just her way of leaving us alone so that we can talk.

After Quinn leaves we both just sit in comfortable silence until Brittany speaks up.

“What did Finn say about me?” she says it softly, looking over at me with her head tilted.

I know exactly what she’s referring to, but I continue to keep my gaze straight ahead rather than directed at her when I ask “What do you mean?”

She gives me a look that I see from the corner of my eye, telling me she knows I’m stalling, but she entertains me nonetheless.

 “During your argument. You said something about me in the choir room…” she doesn’t go into any more detail, she doesn’t have to,

“Yea, well…” I turn my head completely away from her, not ready to have this conversation, but knowing I’m going to have to at some point.

Brittany just looks on patiently.

“He said that I’m just afraid to admit that I’m…I’m…in love…with you…and that you…may not love me back” it comes out stilted and broken and then all at once. I close my eyes and involuntarily wince at the words.

“Is that true?” Brittany asks, sounding curious, but hurt, like she already knows the answer. I open my eyes and turn to face her, looking into sweet baby blues.

“No, well, yes…and no” I wince again, and hang my head. Way to go Santana, putting those AP English classes to good use.

Brittany waits again just as patiently, never looking away from me. I can feel her gaze as she tries to meet my downcast eyes.

“Yes, I am afraid to admit that…” unable to finish the sentence I allow her to fill in the blank while I continue, “and even though I know…that…you love me… I just think it may not be the same way for you as it is for me. Or that maybe you won’t be able to wait for me until I’m comfortable with…”  I gesture with my hand weakly and look around the room, anywhere but those blue eyes asking for me to meet them.

“San, I told you, I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone else. I told you that I’ll always be on your side” it’s a plea for me to understand, but I just don’t, I never have. I’ve tried, but I just can’t seem to get it. I turn to her now, the rejection and anger flooding back into me.

“Britt, you made me talk about my feelings and then threw them back in my face. You didn’t love me more than Artie or you would’ve been with me when I poured my heart out to you in the hallway.” Yikes, that was a little more than I was willing to let on. I instantly regret what I just said when Brittany’s hurt expression turns to disappointment.

“You know that you wouldn’t have been able to be with me like I wanted after Landslide. You would’ve wanted to keep it hidden like always. I wasn’t willing to give up a relationship with Artie for a non-relationship with you. It doesn’t mean I didn’t love you” it hits like a dagger to my heart, because even though she’s probably right, it still feels like rejection.

“I didn’t get the chance, you had chosen Artie over me and after that I was scared that maybe you were just being a good friend to me, helping me with my…issue, but that you would ultimately end up with a boy when I came to terms with myself or something. You’re the most loving, caring person I know Britt, and sometimes it scares me so much because I’ve only ever really been able to love and care for you, but you seem to be able to do it with Artie so easily, with everyone so easily, and I don’t know how to comprehend that when it’s just so far from what I know.” I may not have chosen the best of words, but I can see a look of understanding grace Brittany’s features, so I must have said something right. At least she doesn’t look disappointed, now she just looks kind of sad.

“I don’t really know what you want me to say Santana, that’s just how I am. I’m sorry that’s it’s a problem for you…” and no, I didn’t say anything right because Brittany looks like I just kicked a puppy and I didn’t mean for that to happen. So I take a deep breath and will myself to fix it.

“It’s not a problem. I admire that you have such a big heart. I guess it’s just my selfishness that wants you to myself, coupled with my insecurity that someone as perfect as you could ever want to be with a person as horrible as I am” I say it with a playful huff and a light chuckle to indict that I’m joking, but she looks at me seriously, which makes me pause.

“Oh San” and damn, now she looks sad again, what did I do wrong now? Girls are hard.

“I’m sorry…?” I try, because apologizing is always a smart move when a girl is sad or mad, at least that’s what I’ve always told boys to do for me.

She huffs a little at that (she’s adorable, even if she’s obviously frustrated with me).

“How could I not want to be with you? It’s always been you. Even when we were hooking up with all those guys” at this I divert my eyes, because it is not something I like to think about "even when I was with Artie, I knew you’d come around eventually. I didn’t think it would be like this…” she says thoughtfully, which actually earns a bark from me, because God knows no one could have foreseen this, not even insightful Brittany “but I knew that eventually you would want to be with me. Artie was great for reminding me what I could actually have with you when that happened. I can only imagine it’ll be a thousand times better, but I have something to work off of now. I didn’t know if it would be when we both went to college, somewhere where you would feel safer, or if it would be this year, in secret, because Artie didn’t work out and I told you we would ‘mingle’” which garners giggles from us both because she knew I needed something that wasn’t quite so serious when she said that. She was always great at that, knowing what I needed “but I knew it would happen. It was always you.”

She looks so God damn earnest and I know that I’m crying, on the verge of downright sobbing, so I pull her into my arms and hug her as tight as I can.

“You mean it B?” just because the needy, insecure little girl in me still couldn’t believe it.

“With all my heart” and just like that I’m a blubbering mess in her arms. We stay like that through me calming down, opting to just continue cuddling on the couch until we fall asleep curled up. I wake up about an hour later and gently prod a most likely still sleeping Brittany into my room where I change us both out of our Cheerios uniform (Brittany is a rather heavy sleeper, which makes undressing and redressing her hard, but also eliminates the need to be gentle as to worry about waking her) and set my alarm. I slide back under the covers, the blonde immediately sensing the heat and rolling towards me in her sleep. I easily cuddle back and drift off into dreamland.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

The next day at school Brittany goes back to campaigning for president, and I am happy to help, even if I stick to the background, as it takes my mind off of anything to do with me. Brittany and I eat in the cafeteria near the Cheerios who seem to have stopped talking about me after Coach let me run the last half of practice this morning when she saw “whatever was going on” between me and the rest of the team was hindering her National winning routine. When the end of the day comes everyone in the Troubletones greets us cordially, albeit apprehensively. Most of them are on the Cheerios, but they are alternates, which is why they were allowed to participate in Glee in the first place (even though Sue Sylvester almost supports this group as a means to take down the New Directions. Almost being the key word). They are probably uneasy because of the aforementioned practice, but they weren’t the focus of those exercises so they really should learn to lighten up.

We decide we are going to stick to the Adele mash up for sectionals, because even though it brings up a lot of feels in me now, it still kicks ass. We decide to layer in Adele’s song, “Make You Feel My Love” to add even more depth and to lengthen it a little. The New Directions are probably going to pick a whole different song list. I never understood why we didn’t do songs that we had, I don’t know, actually been practicing? At least for longer than an hour before the competition.

Anyway, Mercedes and Shelby are going to work on the song and have it ready for approval by tomorrow so that Brittany can work out the choreography and we can perfect it before the competition next week. I’m honestly looking forward to it. I really believe that we have this thing in the bag and I’m happy that Brittany and I switched clubs because Mercedes was right about getting more opportunities to improve. It wasn’t even because we were the leads, it was because Shelby actually took the time to teach us things, all of us. Not just about life lessons through song, but things like pitch and range and how to hit different notes and improve. I don’t even know how we got by before, I guess with sheer enthusiasm, which God knows the New Directions has plenty of with Berry alone.

I almost forget about the whole commercial thing until I walk into the kitchen, Brittany in tow, only to be met with my parents, sitting at the table looking at us expectantly. I don’t think I put down my foot fully in my stride, I just froze, balanced awkwardly with one foot holding more weight than the other. I thought they would at least call before they came home.

“Santana” my father says in a matter of fact doctor voice, level with just enough emotion to convey that he cares, but not enough to make it sincere.

“We heard you were in the hospital. How are you?” both of my parents just sit there while Brittany and I stand awkwardly in the doorway. I look at Brittany out of the corner of my eye and see her fidgeting with her hands in front of her, bouncing her weight from one foot to the other lightly while keeping her eyes trained to the ground. Ugh, no help there.

I don’t think I’ve moved an inch, but my parents just continue sitting there waiting, unwillingly to do anything else.

“I’m sorry” I manage to choke out, which is silly, because I don’t have anything to apologize for, at least not yet.

“No need to be sorry, just try to be careful” he seems to take my apology as sign enough that I’m alright, because they both seem to turn back to their respective tasks, my father reading the paper and my mother looking over a crossword puzzle. I still don’t think I’ve moved by the time Brittany finally takes my hand and leads me to my bedroom.

She closes the door and I immediately break from my daze, sending a 911 text to Quinn to get her ass over here. I put down the phone and realize my hands are shaking before Brittany comes over and engulfs me in a hug. I react instantaneously, sinking into her like I don’t even have the strength the keep myself up anymore.

I’ve composed myself in time for Quinn to get there and let herself into my room.

“You didn’t tell me they called” Quinn started, sounding rattled.

“They didn’t” there may be a hint of saddness, but it’s mostly just tiredness from having to continue dealing with this and from having to deal with it so abruptly.

“Oh” is all Quinn says, sounding surprised.  We really shouldn’t be, we all shouldn’t have expected my parents to react any more than they are, they have never given us any reason to.

“Yea” I breathe. At this Quinn appears sympathetic, but she immediately hardens her features into a mask of confidence.

“Ok, so how do you want to do this?” I fill her in on what just happened, so that she knows we don’t have to worry about telling them anything about why I was in the hospital, seeing as how they didn’t seem the least bit curious. She takes it in stride, nodding her head with her eyes rolled up to the ceiling in thought.

“Well, that is just one less thing to tell them, so that’s good” and it’s true, even if it’s shitty as fuck they don’t give a rats ass about their only daughter, it may work in my favor in this instance. Hell, they might not even care that I’m gay, considering how little they are involved in my life. At least, that’s the best I can hope for. It’s a pipe dream, but it is possible.

“I think you just gotta tell’em San, rip off the band-aid” Brittany hasn’t spoken much in these past few days, opting instead to be a silent supporter, comforting me with her presence, and when she does speak, she makes sure to keep it moderate, save for our slight argument last night. I agree, there’s no use in dragging it out. It’s already out there, there’s nothing I can do to take it back any longer, the only thing I can do is make sure they hear it from me first.

“I agree with Brittany, just tell them they were going to find out anyway because of the commercial, you don’t have to go into any more detail than that.” Quinn nudges my shoulder to get me to move. I walk out of the room stiffly and silently.

My parents are still at the kitchen table. When I enter it’s almost like déjà vu from before. Both pairs of eyes look up at me keenly, ready for me to get on with it. When I don’t say anything for a few minutes my dad finally prompts, “Yes Santana?”

I kick into gear and go sit down across from them. I take a deep breath and close my eyes, hoping the words come out right. I just have to keep it simple.

“Mami, papi, I have something to tell you. I want you to hear it from me before the commercial comes out” I’m sure they are confused by that, but I just trudge on, they’ll know about it soon enough. “I…I think…I like…girls. I think I…like girls…in a way that I’m supposed to like boys” too many words Santana, get on with it. “I think I’m gay”

And just like that all sounds and movements cease. I open my eyes to gage their reactions, but they aren’t doing anything, they’re just sitting there. I start to say something, but they cut me off, finally responding to the news.

“Santana, how could you even think that? Where is this coming from?” there’s more quiet rage in my dad’s voice than I have ever heard, even when I was younger and I systematically went through the house and broke all of the picture frames after I was left home for the first time with no nanny and realized that I would have to spend the rest of my life alone (a little dramatic, but I was 10 at the time and they thought I was mature for my age because they’d never had to really see the damage I had caused. I went through at least three nannies a year after the age of 5, I don’t know how they didn’t figure it out).

“Papi, I…” I struggle out, but not before he cuts me off again even louder.

“This is some kind of joke or phase Santana, I will not have a daughter of that nature” and just like that my worst fears are realized. I can tell the color drains from my face and my mouth hangs ajar.

“But Papi…” I choke out along with a sob, tears clouding my vision.

“No Santana, you need to figure out your priorities. We don’t want to hear about this anymore” he says, and it’s final, but I know that they are just going to see the commercial and I don’t know how they are going to react to having to see it broadcast everywhere. Even if it wasn’t true I’m scared to think of how they’ll feel with the talk about it.

“There’s something else…” I say meekly. I at least want them to be prepared.

My father looks at me with fury in his eyes and blankly gestures for me to go on.

“There’s a commercial that’s being aired. It says… things about me” I’m wary to say the word again, I’m hoping they’ll just catch on that it goes with what I had just told them.

“What kind of things” he emphasizes and I flinch at the harsh edge it holds.

“The thing I just told you, it says that I’m…” before I finish the sentence there’s a stinging in my cheek as my head whips to the right and I fall out of my chair.

“YOU LET PEOPLE TALK ABOUT YOU LIKE THIS!? ON TELEVISION!! FOR EVERYONE TO SEE!?” I try and push myself off the floor, but once I’m in a seated position I feel another hard smack to my face and get sent right back down.

“HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US!?” my father screams and I just lay on the floor, sobbing and in pain, not daring to move.

Thankfully my father storms out of the kitchen, my mother dutifully following not even looking at me. I continue sobbing on the floor pathetically before Quinn and Brittany make an appearance.

Brittany kneels by my side and helps me up, and I can hear soft sniffles that tell me she’s been crying too.

“Come on San” she says gently through her tears and I let her help me to stand.

My vision is a little blurry, especially with the tears that I don’t bother trying to get rid of, and I’m actually really dizzy now that I’m upright, so I allow Brittany to lead me wherever we’re going. When I feel the cold air around me I pause and blink, wiping my face to try to see what’s going on.

“You are not staying here Santana” Quinn says, sweet but firm. I just nod, not having any more fight in me. 

We end up at Quinn’s house. It’s still early evening, so her mom is probably still at work when we make our way in. Even with the sizable sum she made in the settlement with Quinn’s dad, she still works long hours to support herself and Quinn because she doesn’t want to be dependent on Russel any longer.

I’m led up to Quinn’s room where I’m sat down on the bed. Soon enough Brittany is wiping at my face with a warm cloth. I had stopped crying while we were in the car, choosing to sit and stare blankly. Now my face and eyes are clear and I can see ocean blue staring back at me, the tears glossing them, making them even clearer.

“I’m sorry San” she whispers, her gaze boring into mine.

“You didn’t do anything B” I match her tone, and even though I am adamant that she has nothing to apologize for, it lacks the emotion that I would usually assure her with. I’m just so tired.

She just shakes her head, probably sensing that I don’t have it in me to talk much right now, and presses her lips to mine in a chaste kiss.

Quinn fixes us all dinner, and we eat in silence. Well, Quinn and Brittany eat while I push the food around on my plate, trying to ignore the worried looks they throw each other. It’s actually not that hard, because I’m too caught up in my own thoughts to really even know that the two other girls are there.

I’m pulled aside by Quinn after dinner, who puts some distance between us and Brittany before she begins talking.

“I’m really sorry S, I had no idea they would react that way” she says sympathetically. I just give her a weak shrug, because even if I could talk right now I have no idea how to respond to that. She hugs me, which is a little awkward because Quinn and I don’t usually hug, even if it’s become more common the past week, but I let myself fall into the embrace easily enough. It’s brief and when we break apart she doesn’t speak again, she just walks to the bedroom with me in tow.

Quinn hands me a bag that I realize belongs to me. She must have packed it for me before they came and got me from the kitchen. I give her a quick nod in recognition then make my way to the guest bathroom without saying a word.

When I look into the mirror I wince at the slight swelling and bruising around my eye and cheek. I note that it’ll probably take a good amount of concealer tomorrow before I quickly change and brush my teeth.

When I get back Quinn and Brittany look at me like they were just talking about me and didn’t want me to hear, but I don’t even have the energy to care, so I just climb into the bed beside them and lay down. Quinn gets up and turns out the lights before coming back to snuggle back into my side much like the previous nights. I’m pretty beat (absolutely no pun intended) so as soon as everyone is settled I basically pass out.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

It’s pretty easy to put on my bitch face at school the next day because I’m so used to doing it. The terror in most student’s faces as I walk by almost makes me feel like this is just any other day. The stinging in my cheek reminds me that it’s not. Not to mention there are whispers all around me, which is exactly what I was afraid of, but it’s not as big of deal as I made it out to be when I first confessed my feelings for Brittany.

Thinking about it today I was wondering what I would have done if this would’ve happened back then. I could have easily just denied this like I did when Brittany went and said I play for the other team. I wonder if sophomore me would’ve just pushed Brittany as far away as I could and started dating the first dumb jock I could get my hands on? Why didn’t I do that this time? Sure, my parent’s would have probably been upset that I made them look bad, that there were even talks of me being a lesbian, but if I would’ve told them, proved to them that it wasn’t true, that the hulking giant had said something that someone blew out of proportion, they probably would’ve sued for slander or some shit (that is, if they ever stuck around Lima enough to see the commercial or hear the talk. I don’t know how far the commercial is going to get). So what changed?

I wonder if other people like me have similar experiences. Where once you finally accept it for yourself it becomes harder and harder to lie about it to other people. Obviously I had struggled with my identity for quite some time now, but between losing Brittany and using David as a beard, and then getting Brittany back, I had accepted what I was. I wasn’t attracted to boys, I was in love with Brittany, and I was either going to have to force myself to hide it my entire life, or figure out how to be ok with it. I actually think I may have been on the road to the latter. I had all these dreams in my head of Britts and I getting out of this cow town and going someplace where I wouldn’t have to worry about me, or even worse her, getting the shit kicked out of us if we showed even a little PDA. Of course I thought about how my parents would react, but even in my worst scenarios I was, at the very least, out of the house, financially independent, so that if something happened I wouldn’t get kicked out on my ass.

When I saw the commercial though I couldn’t bring myself to lie anymore. It was one thing to hide it, but it was another thing to deny it outright. Being confronted with it, and thinking about how obvious Brittany and I’s behavior is when you are looking for it, I just couldn’t bring myself to push her, or who I was with her, away anymore. It hit me like a ton of bricks that other people knew, and it didn’t even cross my mind to try and refute it. I don’t know if that’s a sign of growth or whatever, I just knew that I couldn’t lose Brittany again. But even more than that, I couldn’t go back in the closet. Like, yea, I was in there, but I wasn’t like, disregarding the idea there was even a closet to be in. I was strategically sitting in the closet, peaking out to like, see Brittany, waiting for a time that it was safe to come out completely.

I roll my eyes at that metaphor, because seriously? That sounds like something my 7 year old niece would say (in my defense, I would say she’s smart for her age) but whatever, how I process stuff is my own business anyway.

After school and Glee practice (which, by the way, our Adele mash up rocks) Quinn takes me by my house to see if my parents are still there. Of course they aren’t, they are never there for more than a few days at a time, and I’m sure they wanted to get the hell outta dodge after our confrontation the other day. We grab as much of my stuff as we can between us, packing up so that my room is pretty bare aside from the furniture and I grab the money that I’ve been stashing, making a note that I should probably go set up my own account without my parents just in case they decide to cut me off completely. I still don’t know what this means for our relationship, but I don’t want to take any chances anymore, I’ve seen what letting your guard down gets me. I debate taking my car, but it’s technically my parent’s car and I don’t know how that works if they kick me out, so I leave it.

Once we pile back into the Quinn’s car with my entire life pretty much packed into a couple of suitcases we head in the opposite direction of Quinn’s house.

“Where are we going?” I’m genuinely curious, as I thought I would just be bunking with Fabray.

“We’re going to my house San. My parents said that you can take the guest bedroom for however long you need” instantly I tense up. I fucking forgot about Brittany’s parents, which is completely awful of me because they’ve been more like my parents than my actual parents were. How much do they know? Did they see the commercial? What if they hate me too? Brittany must sense the change because she is immediately at my side rubbing my arm comfortingly.

“They don’t know San, but it won’t matter either way I promise. We’ll tell them and you’ll still be able to stay with me, please trust me.” Between her soothing voice and her reassuring touch I am able to let out some of the rigidness of my body, however, my mind is still reeling with doubt.

We pull up to Brittany’s house and Quinn helps us gather all of my things and take them up to the door and I’m thankful that my full hands are preventing the shaking from being seen. We make our way through and, thankfully, avoid Brittany’s parents for now as we make our way upstairs to the guest bedroom. We set everything down and Quinn says that she should probably get going, and like, it’s not like I expected them both to be able to stay with me forever. They have their own lives, we have homework and Cheerios and separate Glee clubs to prepare for, but it still sucks. She gives us both a quick hug and leaves.

With nothing in my arms I can tell Brittany sees my trembling hands wringing together in front of my Cheerio’s skirt. She glides over and grabs them so they stop.

“Why don’t you get changed and we can go and have dinner?” I nod shakily and go to grab some pajama bottoms and a tee shirt from my bag.

Usually I would just strip right there, but I definitely need a minute to compose myself, so I step into the hallway and make my way to the bathroom upstairs.

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

Once Santana leaves I slump down on my bed. I wish that I could make what Santana is going through just go away. I feel super guilty, because I’ve wanted her to come out so bad, I didn’t know that this would happen to her. I didn’t know her parent’s would be mean to her about it. I didn’t know how scary it actually was for her. I just thought that once she was out she would see it wasn’t so bad.

And now she’s afraid of my parents' reaction and I wish I could reassure her that they will still love her either way. But that’s super hard to say because doesn’t that imply her parent’s don’t?

With a huff I get up and start getting changed. I hope that having my parent’s support will make it a little better for her.

Santana comes back and still looks so nervous, so I go over and wrap my arms around her to try and tell her everything I just thought through touch. We’ve gotten pretty good at that over the years. It helps a little, she’s not shaking as bad.

“It’s gonna be alright San, just come with me and see ok?” I know that once we actually sit down and have a conversation with my parents she’s gonna get to see that I’m right.

She tightens her grip on my waist before I feel her start to pull away. I grab her hand and she looks at me like she’s doesn’t know if that’s ok or not, even though I’m the one who did it.

“Its okay” I repeat, so she returns the grip and we make our way downstairs.

As soon as my mom sees Santana she rushes over and envelops her in a hug which makes her let go of my hand. Santana looks really surprised and I can’t but giggle because she’s just so cute.

“Santana honey, how are you, we were so worried” my mom says while maintaining her hold on Santana, who finally awkwardly slips her own arms around my mom’s back.

“I’m sorry I made you worry” is what she comes up with after a second. This makes my mom pull back to look at her.

“Don’t be silly, you don’t have to be sorry, I’m just glad you are ok” it’s then my dad decides to come into the kitchen from the living room, walking over and giving Santana a hug of his own.

“That goes for me as well” he says. Santana looks like she might start crying, even though her eyes are still wide with shock.

My dad pulls back and Santana immediately starts looking at the floor, wrapping her arms around herself. I know she doesn’t do very well with displays of affection.

Because she doesn’t look like she’s about to say anything I take the lead.

“Santana has something important to tell you mom and dad” I say, looking over at Santana encouragingly when her head whips up and her eyes find mine.

“Oh, well alright, let’s sit at the table then” my dad says, pulling out a chair for Santana to sit in while my mom and I take our own seats.

Santana sinks down into the chair and as my dad makes his way over to the empty chair I grab her hand under the table.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

I’m not excited to have to do this again. Coming out to my own parents was brutal to put it lightly. How are Brittany’s parents going to react? Is Brittany’s dad going to chase me out of the house because I’m not good enough for his daughter? Is her mom going to stop looking at me with such warmth and compassion in her eyes?

Brittany doesn’t seem to think so. Fuck it, everything that they have done so far is the complete opposite of what my parents did when I saw them, so maybe they’ll respond differently too.

“I…well, I…I really don’t have a good track record with this, so I’m just going to come out and say it” I lean over and put my free hand on the table in front of me as I say it. My head is still down, but I say it with confidence. I squeeze my eyes shut and just let the words that are becoming increasingly easier to speak come out, pun be damned.

“I’m gay” I bite my bottom lip and brace myself for the screaming.

“Ok, well, thank you for telling us that Santana, I’m so happy that you felt like you could come to us about this” I peek one eye open to make sure that actually just happened. Both Pierce parents are sitting there looking at me even warmer than they were before. Now I close my eyes to hold back my tears.

“Oh honey” Mrs. Pierce sounds so much like Brittany, but I can tell it comes from across the table. Before I know it I have two feminine bodies pressed up against me on either side (which, in any other situation, wanky).

“Thank you so much” I manage between sobs. I feel my left side shake a little as the body squished up beside me chuckles.

“You don’t have to thank us dear, we love you no matter what. You are an amazing woman and this doesn’t change anything. I am so proud of you for dealing with this Santana” Mrs. Pierce’s words make the tears come out even harder (damn it, I have been crying way too much this week). Why couldn’t my parents be this understanding?

I decide to go for broke at this point.

“I’m in love with your daughter too” it comes out a whisper, but my body shakes even more as the other Pierce girl joins in the laughing.

“We know” the Pierce parents say in unison. My eyes open so quickly it hurts, and I can’t even see much because of the tears still clouding my vision, but across the table Mr. Pierce is laughing, low and steady.

“You girls aren’t the most subtle sweetheart” Mrs. Pierce chimes in. I slump forward so that my forehead is resting on the table now, which just makes the laughing louder. What a crazy emotional rollercoaster all this has been. Once the laughing dies down a little Mr. Pierce clears his throat.

“Santana, I know no one will take care of my Brittany as well as you will. We have trusted you with her up to this point and we will continue trusting you. Give yourself more credit” I feel the body on my left pull back while Brittany stays in place at my side, even though we are only connected at the waist because my head is still on the table.

I sit back up and thank them again, because I really don’t know what else to do. Brittany kisses my cheek and Mr. and Mrs. Pierce saddle up next to each other and smile.

“You don’t have to thank us, we are always here for you, just like we always were” Mr. Pierce claps his hands after a beat. “Now, who’s ready for some dinner, it’s your favorite Santana”

 He says it loud enough for Brittany’s sister Allie to come in from the toy room. She sees me and immediately climbs up into my lap.

“Are you okay?” she asks in her cute little 5 year old voice.

“I’m just really happy” I say, because it’s true, I don’t know how I could feel sad with this much love surrounding me, even if there’s so much hate everywhere else.

“Then I’m happy too” she smiles and hugs me and I don’t know why I was so scared to do this, of course Brittany’s family would be supportive, they have never given me a reason to think they wouldn’t be.

With that Allie moves to her own chair and we all settle down for dinner. Brittany holds my hand the entire time and it’s just like every other time that I’ve had dinner over at Brittany’s house, aside from the fact that a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

When we finally make it back upstairs Mr. Pierce playfully warns us “no funny business” but allows me to cuddle up with Brittany in her bed even though I technically have the guest room.

Seriously, Brittany’s family is fucking perfect.

Chapter Text

Rachel's POV

Since Mr. Schuster showed us that commercial in the choir room Finn and I have hardly spoken. I had almost just made up with Kurt for trying to run against him for class president and now Finn has gone and driven a wedge even further between us. Not to mention how harmful it is that he outed Santana; I would know, I am very conscientious about these things because of my two gay dads. While Santana and I have not seen eye to eye very often, I still wouldn’t wish anything bad upon her. I don’t understand how Finn can have a gay brother and date a girl with gay fathers and still have thought it was ok to, for all intents and purposes, out someone. I am rather disappointed in him, but it seems he hardly notices that I have been actively avoiding him. He’s been spending an exceeding amount of time with Rory, which is just fine if you ask me. This has given me plenty of time to strengthen my voice in preparation for sectionals. I am still unsure of our song selection, but I, of course, have prepared a list of suggestions to present to the club once we reconvene. I have to admit, it will be hard to compete against Santana’s sultry voice, Brittany’s incredible dance moves and Mercedes' powerful belt, but I am confident that I will be able carry us to victory. The only thing that is of concern at the moment is Quinn. I was suspicious when she rejoined the New Directions because even I was unable to persuade her to come back. The only conclusion I could draw was that it had something to do with Shelby. This, along with the apparent rekindled friendship between Quinn, Santana, and Brittany, leads me to believe that Quinn is at risk of abandoning us in favor of the Troubletones. Now, I don’t want to sound accusatory, but it is my job as the leader of the New Directions to ensure that everybody is thoroughly invested in this group. We have already lost three members, I will not allow us to lose a forth. It is very hard to find a moment alone with Quinn at school considering she has been sticking rather close to Santana, however, I am determined to talk to her as soon as possible, so I send her a text asking if it is alright that I come over sometime tonight for a brief visit. After school when I still haven’t received a text back I send another, telling her that I won’t take up more than 15 minutes of her time. When she still hasn’t responded after dinner I text her one more time telling her that I’m on my way over to her house and will wait to talk to her as long as I have to, to which she finally responds with a “fine”. Once I arrive I start making my way to the front door, only to see that Quinn is sitting inside her car, staring vacantly at the garage door ahead of her. I turn towards the passenger door instead, trying the handle to find that it is unlocked. Slowly, I slide into the seat, cautiously watching Quinn, who seems to have not even noticed me.

“Quinn?” I keep my voice quiet, not wanting to disturb her. Perhaps she just didn’t hear me get in the car?

“What do you want Rachel” it’s said monotonously, but firm. She doesn’t move to look away from the point that she seems to be fixated on ahead.

“What’s wrong?” the last time I saw Quinn Fabray, so strong and sure of herself, this desolate was when Finn found out that the baby wasn’t his. This is worrying behavior, which has me abandoning my reason for coming here in favor of making sure that Quinn is alright.

She takes a deep breath and sighs before she turns to face me. Her hazel eyes are filled with tears, although none of them have spilled over yet, and her usually glowing face looks dull and sunken.

“Rachel, just tell me why you’re here” this time she sounds tired, defeated.

“No, not until you tell me what’s wrong. I know that we aren’t exactly friends, but I feel that we have made great strides over the years together in Glee Club and I want you to be able to talk to me Quinn, I just want to help” she furrows her brow as she looks at me and all of the sudden I feel like she is scrutinizing me, which makes me feel rather self-conscious. I, however, force myself to hold eye contact, trying to let her know that I am sincere.

Finally she shakes her head and turns her gaze back to the garage door as she speaks.

“It’s just…hard. But I’m handling it, so it doesn’t matter” she dismisses with a wave of her hand.

“Well, you don’t have to handle these things alone. I know its hard Quinn, but if you let me you know that I would love to help. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to be your friend Quinn? I know that I’ve told you before, and I know that you and I have started to be friendlier towards each other, but I feel like we could take the next step in our friendship. Maybe hang out and share some stuff? Look, here, I’ll go first. Finn and I haven’t spoken since the commercial because I think that was awful of him and he doesn’t even seem to care” I say, trying to prod her into a conversation.

“Now you go” I say, seeing a small smile grow on her lips, causing mine to follow.

“You’re ridiculous, you know that right?” she turns to face me again and rolls her eyes, but it’s said with enough mirth that I know that she’s joking.

“I’ve been told that once or twice yes” I say, which earns me a laugh and a head shake. Then she turns towards the front again.

“I want Beth back. This thing with Santana has made me start rethinking a lot though” what does she mean she wants Beth back? Am I supposed to ask about that, or should I just try to focus on what she's rethinking?

“What does what Santana is going through have to do with Beth?” I ask carefully, not wanting to spook or offend Quinn so that she stops talking. She sighs and closes her eyes.

“It is just making me rethink what I want” she says it like she’s making sure each word is right, only revealing so much.

“Well, what do you want Quinn?” she opens her eyes and looks at me. There’s something there, an answer in her eyes that I can’t decipher. It makes me feel guilty for some reason.

“I don’t know” it’s soft, earnest, while maintaining eye contact. It makes me shift uncomfortably, but I hold her gaze.

“You are Quinn Fabray, you’re smart and beautiful, talented although underappreciated, you can have anything you want. I’m sure you’ll figure it out” I tell her, trying to convey my sincerity. She has never had a problem getting what she wants before, I know that she can do it again. She just needs to figure out what it is and once she does she’ll have no problems.

She shakes her head and lowers her eyes.

“Yea, right, well, thank you for that pep talk Rachel. Is there something you needed?” Ah, yes, the reason I came.

“Well, I just wanted to make sure that you weren’t thinking of leaving the New Directions for the Troubletones. You know we can’t afford to lose you too Quinn” she laughs humorlessly at this.

“Of course. Well Rachel, I don’t think you have to worry about that seeing as how Shelby probably wouldn’t let me on the Troubletones even if I wanted to join” I tilt my head in confusion.

“What, why not?” this girl is always so confusing, hiding and letting people see only what she wants them too. It’s hard to keep up.

“Don’t worry about it Rachel. Anything else?” she sounds a little more agitated now, like the old Queen Bee Quinn Fabray, so I shake my head in response.

“No, nothing else Quinn” she nods forcefully and I can practically see her mask sliding back onto her face.

“Right, well, goodbye then Rachel” I open the door, sliding out of the seat, before turning around.

“You aren’t alone Quinn, you can call me anytime” before she can respond I shut the door and head back to my car.

Chapter Text

Kurt's POV

I have barely been able to look at Finn since Thursday afternoon when Mr. Schue showed us that commercial. After we left the hospital everyone agreed to let me stay over at Mercedes’ house because I didn’t want to be in the same house with him. Carole said that she would try to talk to him but I made sure that she didn’t tell him about the incident because I knew Santana wouldn’t appreciate that getting around as well. Dad and Carole are sympathetic, but I still feel like they aren’t doing enough to show Finn that what he did was wrong. I don’t even know if they think it was. Even seeing Santana in that hospital bed, I think they just attributed that to her having a hard time coming to terms with it, rather than linking it back to what Finn did.

I come home Sunday night, but I continue to ignore Finn as much as possible, which is surprisingly easy once he realizes I don’t want to talk to him after the third time I completely bypass him in the hallway, even when he tries to address me. Monday’s Glee club is cancelled for a meeting between Santana and Finn, and I am actually quite curious to see how that goes. I text Quinn telling her to keep me updated before asking Blaine if he wants to take a walk with me since there’s no practice.

“I wonder how it’s going” we’re walking hand in hand with no destination in mind. It’s really rare that we have time alone with school and Glee club and me running for president, plus the musical only just ended. It’s actually kind of nice to have the afternoon off.

“Quinn will let us know. For now let’s not worry about it alright? Let’s just enjoy the time we have away from all the drama” he squeezes my hand and looks at me, smiling his charming, boyish smile, and of course I just melt.

“You’re right. I’m sorry, I’ve been so preoccupied with everything lately. Thanks for being so supportive by the way” his smile turns bashful and he turns his gaze down.

“Of course, what are boyfriends for?” I let out a chuckle and kiss him on the cheek. We continue walking until we get to a park nearby. It’s empty and of course Blaine wants to go play on the jungle gym. I shake my head as he goes and jumps on the monkey bars, swinging around, before giving in and going up the steps as well.

After a ridiculous display of horsing around by two teenagers we sit ourselves down at a bench and I check my messages.

From Quinn: Santana is fine, Finn is an idiot

“Uh oh, I wonder what he did” Blaine questions in response to the text.

To Quinn: What did he do now?

From Quinn: Acted like he did Santana a favor by outing her. He said that because you were fine she will be too.

I roll my eyes at this.

To Quinn: Leave it to Finn to miss the point

“What are we going to do?” I sigh as I shake my head, basically asking rhetorically because what are we supposed to do?

“We support her, we continue with Glee club. Maybe you should talk to Finn?” Blaine suggests. I know I should talk to him, but I’m just so angry. This is a subject that really hits close to home in more ways than one.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk to him calmly”

“Then get angry, but try to keep it constructive. I can be there if you want” Blaine is so sweet.

“I think that might be necessary, you are way better at keeping cool than I am” he looks at me and I smile. He makes everything better that boy.

The nail in the coffin comes the next day when Santana walks into school with a bruised cheek that even concealer can’t hide. I’m fuming and I know that I have to talk to Finn as soon as possible. I storm into the choir room after school, Blaine trailing close behind. Everyone who is already there looks up as I walk in.

I don’t say anything, but I make eye contact with Quinn and I know that she knows what I’m about to do. Finally Finn walks in with Rory.

“We need to talk Finn” He scrunches his face and blinks sheepishly.

“Uhh, can it wait, we kind of have practice” I roll my eyes. I can’t believe I used to think his obliviousness was in any way cute.

“Just come here” I huff, walking out of the choir room, assuming he’s following.

I walk a ways down the hallway before stopping and turning on my heel. He skids to a stop and Blaine steps up and settles a hand on my shoulder.

“Did you see Santana today?” I cross my arms, trying to regulate my breathing.

“Uhh, yea, why?” he looks to Blaine and then to me in question.

“Did you happen to notice the giant bruise she has on her face?” I whisper yell. Thankfully the entire school is basically deserted, so I don’t really have to worry about anyone overhearing, but I still try to keep my voice down.

“No, what happened?” He doesn’t even seem worried, just confused.

“I don’t know Finn, but how much do you want to bet it has something to do with that commercial?” he blinks a couple of times and tilts his head. Blaine squeezes my shoulder and I try and relax.

“How do you not understand that what you did was wrong Finn?” I sigh, letting my arms drop in defeat. He shakes his head.

“I didn’t mean to dude, but she was picking on me, it was the only thing I could think of. And I think it’ll be better for her” it’s a rehearsed line, one he seems to have gone through multiple times now.

“I think that maybe you need to educate yourself a little more on coming out Finn” Blaine says calmly.  

“You saw what I went through first hand, its dangerous Finn” he shakes his head and I roll my eyes.

“You were fine, look how well it worked out for you” he tries to defend.

“My journey here was hard Finn, you saw what happened with Karofsky. Blaine and I still can’t be overly affectionate in public. Sometimes we are afraid to even hold hands around certain groups of people. Not to mention that you don’t know Santana’s home life. My dad was supportive, but not all parents are” it’s exhausting trying to get through to him.

“It’s not my fault” he dismisses robotically.

“It’s not your fault, but take responsibility for the part you played Finn! Did you even apologize!? Just because you didn’t mean to do it does not mean that it wasn’t still wrong! God, grow up!” Blaine tightens his grip on my shoulder and I back off.

Finn and Rachel are both lost in their own worlds today in choir, leaving Mr. Schue to brainstorm ideas for Regionals by himself. I’m still fuming in my seat, but Blaine sitting next to me, offering any comfort he can helps.

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

I knew that my parents would be really nice about Santana, I don’t know how she didn’t know that. They’ve known that I liked both boys and girls ever since I came back home after a week in the first grade and told them I had a crush on this pretty girl in my class. They have always just talked to me about them, the same way they did when I would talk about the boys in my class that I thought were cute.

I only started realizing people thought it was wrong when Santana said that it was. I had kissed girls before, but only at like, parties, so when Santana and I started kissing alone I thought it was just like when I kissed boys when we were alone. But when I tried to hold her hand, or kiss her in public she explained to me that it wasn’t ok to do, because other people didn’t think it was.

I never really got it, but I trusted Santana, and I really liked kissing her, so I just went along with it. When Kurt started getting bullied I thought that maybe that was what Santana was so afraid of, but she was so mean to everyone else, and everyone was so afraid of her that I never thought that it would happen to her and I tried to tell her that. Kurt got bullied before he came out, so it wasn’t the same thing. She was still scared, and I still waited.

My parents knew about Santana and I, because the first time I saw her I went home and told my mom that the prettiest girl I had ever seen was on the Cheerios, but I was afraid to talk to her because she was always really mean to everyone. She didn’t even know I existed until one day in the locker room I seemed to catch her eye. I almost choked on my water when she smiled at me, actually smiled, a shy sweet smile, but I tried to play it off like I was confident. Then we were just friends. She started talking to me the next day like it was normal, and after that it was.

I never dated any other girl, any boy either really, but I would still talk to my mom about the pretty girls and cute boys in my classes. Never as much as I talked about Santana though. Santana told me I couldn’t tell anyone, even my parents, when we started kissing, so I would try not to say anything, but I couldn’t help it when Santana did something really sweet or looked really pretty, I had to tell my mom about it.

I stopped talking about her when I started dating Artie. They were happy for me, but they knew that Santana and I were hurting, because I was always sad and she was never around. They would always ask about her, because they loved her, but I never knew what was going on with her, so it would just make me sadder.

Now I feel even worse for trying to make her come out. I never meant for her to get hurt, I just knew we would both be happier if we could be together. And I was so hurt when she would just brush it off like we weren’t anything, because what I felt for her is so big, I started to get scared that she didn’t feel that way. Then she would do something sweet and confuse me even more. And I couldn’t even talk to my mom about it. She’s really smart, I know she would’ve helped.

Artie let me see how great it was to be with someone that you loved, and it made it easier to wait for Santana to be ok with herself, because even though I was sad and I knew she was sad, Artie made me happy. And Santana started to tell me how she felt more, so I knew we could make it there someday.

The fact that her parents were so mean to her; now I know why she was so scared for real. I had only met her parents a handful of times. She was always really sad that they weren’t around, but she said that the fact that we could hang out made it better, so I was happy that I could help. Her parents were nice when I met them. They were quiet and I could tell Santana wanted to talk to them more, but she was usually at least more glad to see them than not, so I thought they were good.

Santana is always the one who has to protect me from people. I know people are only ok with me kissing boys and girls because they think I am too dumb to know that it is wrong, not because they are ok with me doing it. I know I think differently than people and that Santana works really hard to stop people from being mean to me because of it. But I just wish that I could protect her for once; from her parents, from the hurtful things people say about her, from feeling so scared, I wish she would let me protect her. She’s so used to having to protect herself, I wish that she would let me try and help her.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

So the rest of the week went by pretty smoothly. Brittany finished the extended Adele choreography for sectionals and it kills, the other Glee clubs seriously won’t even know what hit them. Between practicing and helping Brit with her campaign I haven’t even had time to think about things like my parents hating me or the nasty things people all over Ohio are saying behind my back. And staying at the Pierce household is amazing, a far contrast from the emptiness I’m used to. I would never admit it to Finnept, but being out is actually decent. Brittany seems a lot happier that’s for sure. I mean, we still gotta be careful, but I also figure everyone already knows, so I may as well take advantage. 

The weekend flies by because we hardly have any down time and before we know it all our hard work is about to be put to the test. First is Sectionals on Wednesday, then we have the election on Thursday, and by Friday I should be First Lady preparing for Regionals with my President. And boy do I like the sound of that. In spite of the commercial I’ve still managed to secure Brittany the fear vote, considering Lady Hummel and Berry have absolutely nothing going for them in that aspect. Fabray was helping a little, but she’s been kind of MIA lately. Not to mention my girl is killing it on her own. Sure, she has to promise some things that probably aren’t going to happen, but hey, isn’t that what our great United States is founded upon? Unkeepable promises?

The day of Sectionals Shelby excuses us from all of our classes to get in some last minute practicing. The actual competition isn’t until tonight at some school in who cares Ohio, but unlike some show choir directors whose sweater vests shall not be mentioned (hopefully ever again), she likes to be prepared, so we spend the day in the auditorium putting the finishing touches on everything from our costumes to our routine to our vocals. Then Shelby insists that we arrive early in order to avoid any commute issues. Which are actually unlikely considering the Motta’s are footing the bill and have provided the top of the line transportation in the form of a stretch limo. Too bad the 1990’s broken down yellow school bus the New Directions are inevitably traveling in is not leaving until after school gets out because I would’ve paid money to watch their faces as I smugly wave to them from the window of this bad boy. I suppose their faces when we beat them at the competition will have to suffice.

Because we arrive so early, even earlier than Shelby expected, she allows us some free reign before we must report to go over the number one more time before we perform, giving us about an hour to explore. While the other girls split off into twos and threes to scatter, Brittany and I decide to take a walk around town. I have to admit, even wherever the fuck we are is interesting considering it’s not Lima, Ohio where we have spent the last 18 years of our lives.

We walk down the small central strip holding hands, feeling confident because we are basically anonymous in a town full of people, no matter how small it is. Eventually Brittany comes across a pet store that she, of course, wants to go in. Now, this is a secret that I will take to my grave, but Santana Lopez cannot leave a pet store without tearing up. Ever since I was a little kid I just can’t handle seeing all of the pets wanting homes and leaving them without one. And even though I’ve never explicitly told Brittany this, she must know something is up when I make excuses to avoid going in every single time. So when I tell her that I am going to use the bathroom across the street and will meet her back at the entrance in a couple of minutes, she kisses me on the cheek and excitedly runs inside.

I try to take my time, not wanting to show up before Brittany is done browsing, and afterward I make my way back over. Brittany signals me five more minutes, so I nod and point to the ally where I go to wait on my excitable girlfriend. Leaning against the brick wall I pull out my phone and attempt to entertain myself. It’s relatively busy out in the shops but the ally is quiet and void of people. That is, until, I hear a shout and whip my head up.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

At the end of the ally are three large boys around my age. They are wearing letterman jackets of what must be the local high school. I quickly glance around, wondering if there is someone else by me that they are talking to, but there is no one in sight. The leader of the group calls towards me again, drawing my attention. The confusion that once clouded my head is now turning to fear as they stalk towards me like a predator would their prey.

“Aren’t you the lezzy from that commercial?” Full on panic mode hits and I try to back away, but that causes them to quicken their attack until they are within grabbing distance. I swallow, terrified and unsure of what to do. My phone hangs at my side forgotten as I stare up at the meanest looks I have ever seen directed at me, no one at McKinley would dare. Over the years I have become a pro at controlling my face in a multitude of situations, so I attempt to widen my shoulders and look casual.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” there isn’t as much bite as I would’ve hoped, it’s unusually meek and timid. I lift my chin and maintain eye contact.

“Don’t play dumb, we saw you holding hands with that other girl” my mouth drops open, unable to produce any words. I find myself, once again, cursing my lack of control around Brittany. Oh crap, Brittany will be coming out any minute. I can’t have Brittany walking in on this. Subtly I glance over my shoulder and theirs, gaging the distances from either exit. For some stupid reason I had decided to walk a significant way into the ally in order to avoid the noise from the outside, which, of course, leaves me rather defenseless in this situation.

“Hey, I asked you a question” the first physical touch is initiated in the form of a shove to my shoulder. I immediately snap my eyes up to the leader’s.

“Umm” I stumble out “no, you must be mistaking me with someone else” as I’m speaking I attempt to back away from them, but once again, they move with me, thwarting my chances of distancing myself from them.

“Don’t be lyin’ to us girl” one of the lackeys orders.

“I’m not lying, I don’t know what you are talking about” I raise my voice, praying that someone’s attention is drawn from beyond the ally. It’s at this point I decide to make a run for it. Counting down from three in my head, I close my eyes, turn around and will myself forward. But they are too quick. Before I know it my mouth is covered and my hands are being held behind my back.

“You shouldn’t have done that” one of them says in an eerily calm voice. I scream and flail my arms, but I am no match for one of them, let alone all three.

“Hey, if you want to be a boy so much we’re gonna treat you like a boy” they all laugh as I feel a hit to my stomach. If it weren’t for the hand holding up my head I would have doubled over. My eyes instantly fill with tears as I let out a wail.

“Maybe this’ll knock some sense into you” another blow to the stomach. I continue to struggle against the body behind me, but the overwhelming throbbing in my stomach is making it even more difficult. The boys take turns using me as a punching bag. Finally I get a grip on the hand inside my mouth and am able to bite down, causing the hand to retract.

“Ow, the bitch bit me!” I fall to my hands and knees as the body that was supporting me retreats. One last kick to the ribs and I am laying on my side holding my arms around my torso.

“Stupid dyke” one of them spits down at me. And all of the sudden I am alone in the ally, my entire body shaking in pain. After a beat(seriously with the unintentional, innappropriately timed puns) I manage to scoot myself to sit up against the wall. I say a quick prayer thanking God that Brittany didn’t show up while that was going on and make to stand up.

Eventually I get to my feet, even though I still can’t straighten my back, and grab my phone. We only have about 20 minutes until we have to be back at the school, so I slowly make my way out of the ally to see where Brittany is.

I must look pretty bad, because as soon as happy, smiling Brittany looks out the window towards me her eyes nearly bulge out of their sockets. She rushes to my side and grabs one of my arms to help me stand up.

“Santana, what happened!?” she sounds so worried and angry and I feel so bad for putting her in this position.

“It’s nothing Britt, we just have to get back to the school now” Every word spoken sends shooting pain through my abdomen, causing me to wince. She guides me over to the wall and props me against it.

“What are you doing?” I question, squeezing my eyes and clamping my jaw shut.

“We have to call someone Santana,” her hands are shaking as she reaches for the phone in her pocket.

“No!” the sudden movement of me straightening my back causes me to howl and double over, which effectively gets Brittany to forget her phone in favor of kneeling in front of me and taking my head into her hands.

“San, we have to get you help ok, you are obviously in pain” her shaky hands are steady in her caress, and although her voice is calm and soothing her eyes are wild and scared. 

“Just, just call Shelby ok. Get her to come get us” Brittany nods her head and is back to dialing her phone. I must black out or something, because the next time I open my eyes I see Shelby’s face.

“What. Happened?” the stern question doesn’t seem to be aimed at me, but rather to the side of me. Groggily I turn my head in that direction and see Brittany sitting beside me.

“I don’t know, she didn’t tell me” Brittany’s sad, teary voice hurts worse than anything I’ve been through the past couple of weeks. As my vision becomes clearer the pain pulsing through my body makes itself known again. Blinking and biting my tongue, I manage to take in what is going on around me. The Troubletones are behind Shelby watching in mixed stages of awe.

“I’m fine, I just need to get up” pushing my back against the wall with as much force as I can muster I slowly slide into a standing position as I did before. Brittany’s arm automatically wraps around my waist for me to use as leverage.

“Santana, you are not fine, you should go to a hospital to get checked out” once we are in a mostly standing position Shelby moves to the other side of me and starts to lead me to the limo.

“I don’t need to, I just need to get back to the school to clean up” Shelby waits to respond until we are all back in the limo, the girls giving me as much space as we can afford in the enclosed space, besides Brittany who stays dutifully by my side.

“You aren’t going to be able to go on like this Santana, you can barely talk or stand, let alone sing and dance” the pity dripping from that sentence is too much for me to handle, causing the anger that has been building up to make an appearance.

“Fuck off, I’m fine!” I’m practically growling through grit teeth. Brittany’s hand start rubbing soothing circles on the small of my back, one of her go to methods of getting me, or rather telling me, to calm down.

“Ok” Shelby’s hands go up in a small gesture of surrender as she allows me to win this fight.

We pull up and now with the assistance of Brittany and Mercedes make our way to our designated spot to get ready. They sit me down in one of the chairs in front of a vanity, where I finally get a look at myself in the mirror.

My hair is tousled, my face is covered in tears and a mixture of dirt and mascara. Every time I look at my reflection lately I seem to look even more broken and pathetic.

My hands fly to my face as I start to wipe off the debris that’s caked on, making little progress. I notice everyone around me, staring and lash out.

“What are you waiting for, get ready!” it’s said with as much malice as I can muster through the pain. It works, causing everyone to simultaneously kick into gear. I grab some makeup remover and go to work on scrubbing my face. Once I finish redoing my face I start brushing my hair, starting at every knot and kink. It takes a while, most everyone is finished before I am, but I am finally ready to put on my costume.

Brittany is immediately at my side. The pain has begun to dull at this point as I become accustomed to it, I find that I'm mostly just stiff and sore. I grab my dress and disappear behind the curtain with Brittany. Completely in sync she and I lift my shirt to reveal the deep, dark purple and blue bruises underneath. I hear a sharp intake of air next to me as Brittany removes the shirt entirely. Out of habit I reach for her hand, to comfort her, or me I’m not sure. Gaping at the image before me I nod my head, preparing myself to suck it up and go on.

“San” Brittany sighs out, trailing the hand that isn’t holding mine down my abs gently.

“Its fine” I assure. Quickly I grab the elastic of my sweatpants and slide it down as much as I can. Again, Brittany moves to pick up where I left off seamlessly, and in another swift motion my dress is on. There is no indication that anything is even wrong besides the slight hunch and the winces when I move.

We both stand there, side by side, letting everything that has just happened catch up to us. I don’t even recognize myself anymore, so I focus on Brittany. She’s always been my rock, my support, the one thing that’s always been there, she’s been in my heart since I first saw her, her place there growing steadily. Even when she was with Artie, even when I tried to push her away she’s been there.  

Her blue eyes are even more captivating when she’s sad, the sheen of tears magnifying the blue, turning them into endless oceans, creating the perfect oxymoron of sad and radiant. I can tell that she’s trying not to break down, trying to be strong for me like she always is when I need her, because she can’t quite meet my pleading eyes in the mirror. I reach for her hand and turn to kiss her on the shoulder. Quick, innocent but intimate, something to say that it’s ok, that I won’t run from her like she’s used to.

Before she can respond in any way I pull her outside, keeping her hand locked tightly with mine. Everyone is standing around, doing a very poor job of looking uninterested. I don’t acknowledge their worried glances, I simply walk outside, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other.  

Everyone follows silently, afraid of saying the wrong thing and setting my inner Snix off I’m sure. We’re the next choir up, because of me we won’t have time to run through our routine again. Before I can take my place Shelby pulls me to the side, well, Brittany and I to the side, because I’m still unconsciously clinging to her hand.

“Santana, I’m sorry sweetie, but there is no way you can do the choreography in your current state” this is why I’ve built the reputation I have for myself, to avoid these situations where people pretend like they care. Santana Lopez is supposed to be strong, she doesn’t deserve this.

“I can do it” I grit through my teeth, willing her to just drop it and let me go.

I hear Brittany begin to protest behind me, so I finally let go of her hand and stand next to Mercedes. It’s like déjà vu staring into the crowd, feeling entirely exposed and vulnerable. I can feel everyone’s eyes on me, and even though rationally I know it’s because of the performance, I can’t help but think that they all know, that every single one of them know and hate me, because of who I am, because of what happened.

Chapter Text

Quinn's POV

“Something’s wrong” I hear Kurt lean over and whisper to Blaine. Something is wrong indeed. The Troubletones normally perfectly in sync choreography is one step below New Directions “loose”. Santana looks pale as she sings, hitting every note, but wincing with every breath, a half step behind the beat, just enough to throw everyone off. Brittany’s eyes are watery, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she burst into tears during the performance. It strikes a nerve and I silently stand up, making my way backstage. I’m aware of the footsteps following me, but don’t mind whoever it is.

“What is going on?” I keep my voice low and calculating, with just a hint of anger, daring whoever is on the end of my question not to answer, like I’ve practiced my entire life.

Shelby turns to me, shaking her head.

“I don’t know, we found her, obviously hurt, and she refused to tell us anything. Just insisted she go on” she shrugs like there was nothing she could do to stop a teenager from going on stage when she is obviously not fit to stand let alone preform. I make sure Shelby isn’t looking before I roll my eyes, seriously contemplating the necessity of any of the adults in our lives currently.

The performance ends and Santana is the first off stage, followed closely by Brittany trying to catch up. The rest file behind them. I make my way over to Santana’s side and attempt to put my arm around her waist, but she shoves me off.

“What the fuck Fabgay, keep your hands off of me” the insult would sting more if it wasn’t said breathlessly. Brittany comes up to me and sets her hand on my forearm in a silent apology for Santana, most likely out of instinct.

There is another choir before the New Directions are set to perform, so we all wordlessly head to the dressing area. I notice Kurt and Blaine are the ones who had joined me. Once in the designated dressing room we all crowd around as Santana flops into a chair.

“Santana, will you tell me what the heck happened to you” she throws me a half assed glare from where she is seated, but I just pointedly raise an eyebrow and she gives in.

“It’s nothing, just some boys in an ally, nothing I couldn’t handle” a humorless chuckle escapes her lips and I close my eyes.

“This is not funny” this earns a scoff from the girl sitting in front of me.

“You think I don’t know that” she challenges, standing up.

Frustrated I take a deep breath in, counting to ten, reminding myself that I shouldn’t be taking my anger out on Santana, she is, after all, the victim in all this.

“Can you guys give us a minute” it’s a demand, not a request, and everyone is quick to assent. Kurt puts a hand on my shoulder before heading out with the rest, leaving just Brittany, Santana and I.

I make eye contact with Santana and just like that we both relax out of our defensive stances. I quirk an eyebrow in question and she gives a single shake of her head, but lifts her shirt anyway, allowing me to assess the damage.

We’ve both been through enough Cheerios mishaps to know when it’s serious or not. I gingerly run my fingers along her torso, noting the few darker splotches where she clearly has some broken ribs.

“It’s clear you haven’t punctured a lung, what with that performance you put on” I glance up briefly to narrow my eyes at her, half joking, and receive an eye roll in response.

Standing back up I allow her to put her shirt down before I address her again.

“Alright, you are cleared for now” she shoots me a look of disbelief, wondering why I hadn’t trusted her in the first place, to which I tilt my head forward, telling her that she knows exactly why. This gets her to secede.

“I’ll go see if I can round up some ice and painkillers” before I can turn around Brittany speaks.

“I got this Quinn” she gives me a sad smile and I nod. We all share a silent moment, allowing everything to settle, before I turn to make my way to where the New Directions are getting ready to take the stage.

Kurt and Blaine are waiting for me outside, each falling into step with me as I walk.

“Is she alright?” Blaine’s concerned voice questions.

“Yea, she’s going to be fine” I say with confidence I’m not sure I actually possess. Two sighs of relief sound behind me and we collectively pick up the pace.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

As soon as Quinn leaves I feel trapped. The New Directions are gonna go out there and suck their way to winning and it’s going to be my fault.

“Come on B, let’s just get out of here” I stand up and grab her hand in one shaky movement, practically dragging her behind me in an attempt to not be here. But of course, she stands her ground.

“San, come on, just stay here. I’ll go get what Quinn said and I’ll make it feel better” God damn Brittany and that damn pout of hers. I can never say no to her. But she doesn’t understand and I don’t know how to tell her, that I feel like I’m suffocating and just need to be somewhere else.

She must see the tears well up in my eyes because she steps towards me and pulls me into a fierce hug. And like the whimp I am I nearly collapse into her, suddenly too exhausted to hold myself up any longer.

“Please” my voice is so weak and I’m so tired of feeling like this and being like this. Brittany, being the genius she is, seems to understand what I’m asking of her, because I can feel her nod her head and slowly slip her arm around my waist, gingerly avoiding the giant bruise that covers my torso as best as she can. I lean my head on her shoulder and let her strong arms practically carry me out the door.

As soon as we leave the safety of the school I instinctively straighten and try to move away from Brittany. Who knows who is watching or what they already know. Without asking any questions she lets me distance myself from her, keeping at an arms-length. My whole body is still on fire, but I push that to the back of my mind, knowing that if we are going to venture out I need to be more careful this time.

We make it to the closest drug store and get some extra strength Tylenol and some Gatorade to wash it down. I even let Brittany talk me in to getting a couple of ice packs, even though I have no intention of putting them on, at least until I’m home. Her smile when I slip some Skittles into her hand on the way out is sad, but genuine, which is better than the concerned frown she’s been sporting for a while now.

The journey is short lived, and soon we are back at the limo, waiting for everyone to make their way out to leave. The driver sits dutifully in his seat at the wheel, which is a relief because I’m not sure I could handle being alone on the streets of this God forsaken town any longer.

After what feels like hours The Troubletones make their way towards us through the sea of people exiting the school, heads hung down like I knew they would be. The trip back is silent, with little eye contact made, and it’s relieving when we finally make it back to the school, which is something I thought I would never say before in my life. I start to think I’ve really hit rock bottom.

Brittany’s parents are there to pick us up, both sporting sympathetic looks when they see the sorry state we’re all in.

“Oh guys, I’m so sorry” Mr. Pierce attempts to pull both of us into a firm hug, putting too much pressure on my stomach and causing me to jump back in pain. I double over and look up at him apologetically. His eyes are wide, like he doesn’t believe what just happened.

“Oh my, are you alright sweetie?” the Pierce parents seem to be conflicted on whether to approach me or not, like I’m some kind of scared dog that might run away. Brittany is just at my side, looking at me sadly, but letting me tell them whatever I want.

“Yea, I’m fine, nothing to worry about” I curse my voice for coming out so strained, but I force myself back up, just like I have been since the incident, and will them not to ask any more questions. Mr. Pierce still looks shocked, but Mrs. Pierce eyes quickly slide over from me to Brittany, before she slowly nods and steers her husband toward the car.

“Well, if it ever is you know you can talk to us” she says, almost as an afterthought and she ushers everyone in the car. But I know she meant it. I know that she just did it for my sake, and I’m extremely grateful.

The short car ride home is filled with stilted one sided conversation from Brittany’s mom, attempting to ease some of the awkwardness that has seeped into the car, and it just makes me feel even worse. By the time we get to the Pierce household the only thing I want to do is curl up and sleep for a year. Or maybe forever. I excuse myself from dinner with a quick kiss to the corner of Brittany’s mouth, and I know she understands that I want to be alone right now.

The guest bedroom is strange, but familiar, enough like coming home that I feel comfortable, but foreign enough that I feel that everything that is missing is practically blinding. I strip off my clothes, throw on a comfy tee shirt, and let my body succumb to the exhaustion it feels, allowing myself the sanctuary of a dreamless night away from the thoughts that have been plaguing my head since this whole mess started.

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

As soon as Santana is out of the room my parents usher me into one of the dining room chairs and sit in front of me on either side.

“What the heck was that Brittany?” I shake my head and feel myself start to cry because it’s the first time I don’t have to be strong for Santana and I’ve really felt like crying all day.

“Some boys hurt Santana” I manage to get out through my tears. I hear a chair slide out and someone stand up.

“Who hurt Santana” I’ve never heard my dad’s voice so angry, even when I drew that really pretty picture all over my wall in third grade, or when I did it again in forth, and even when I did it again in fifth grade. It makes me turn my head up to look at him. I’ve never been afraid of my dad before, he’s always been really understanding even when he is mad, but now he looks scary. He looks like a cartoon character when steam comes out of their ears and they turn red like a thermometer that’s going to explode out the top. I almost forget to answer the question, but my mom puts a hand on my arm and when I look at her I can almost see my own blue eyes full of worry and it stuns me into talking.

“These boys, I don’t know, I was in the pet store, I shouldn’t have left her side, but she said it would be fine. I saw her outside looking awful mom, just awful, and she wouldn’t let us take her to a hospital” my words all come out in a jumble, but I can tell my parents get the gist of it. My dad starts pacing around the kitchen and my mom pulls me into a hug and lets me cry like I haven’t been able to with Santana.

I don’t know how long passes, but I know I haven’t been crying for a while, and all of the sudden I’m really tired.

“Why don’t you go keep Santana company baby, you guys can sleep it off together and we will take care of it when you guys wake up ok?” sleepily I let my body go on autopilot and seek out Santana. It’s like I’m tied to her and I just know where to go without even having to think about it, which is nice because I have a hard time thinking normally, let alone right now.

All of the sudden I find myself in just a bra and panties sliding next to Santana, gently feeling where I can put my hands that doesn’t cause her to tense. She mumbles something and turns to cuddle into me in her sleep and I let myself smile for the first time since everything happened before I kiss her forehead and let myself fall asleep.

I don’t know how long we slept, but when I wake up the room is bright and I have to squint my eyes in order to keep the sun out. There’s a weight on my right arm, so I bring my left up over my face and yawn, trying to either wake up or go back to sleep. When I hear a grumble of protest beside me I turn my head to find Santana, with her face all scrunched up like she’s mad at the sun and her head trying to dig into my armpit like a little gopher to avoid seeing it, even though I can tell she isn’t awake. It makes me giggle for a second before I remember what happened yesterday and stop.

I use my left arm to shield her eyes from the sun, earning a cute little hum of approval before I decide I’m staying in bed until she wakes up or my parents come get me. She looks so peaceful that I can’t bring myself to wake her up. She hasn’t been this way for a while, and I know she probably won’t be like this again for another while.

When my arm starts feeling like the static on the TV when I turn it to the wrong channel instead of the one that plays the movies I realize that maybe my plan wasn’t the best, but luckily the beautiful princess decides to pick this moment to open her eyes. As soon as I see her soft big brown eyes staring up at me sleepily I can’t help but smile at her, which makes her smile too.

“Hey Britt Britt” I shake my head and kiss her, because she’s too cute that I can’t even think of anything to say. This makes her dimples show and her eyes shine, so I can’t complain.

“How are you feeling?” I try to ask it quietly, so it doesn’t break the gentle silence we’re in, but it makes her smile smaller and her eyes turn down. I cup her chin and make sure she holds eye contact, because I know that she can see that I love her and just want her to feel better.

“I’m alright B, just sore is all” she says with a crooked mouth and a shrug. I don’t know what to say, so I kiss her shoulder, then higher until I reach her jaw, and then I kiss her cheek and her forehead and her chin, feeling her body relax into mine before I get to her lips and kiss her gently again.

When I look back up her eyes are closed and her face is soft.

“I’m sorry” I whisper, which makes her eyes flutter open and look into mine.

“You have nothing to be sorry for B” she says and I can tell she believes it, even if I still don’t.

“I don’t want you to hurt anymore” I can’t help the pout that I feel my mouth forming and I feel bad because I know what this pout does to her and she really shouldn’t be comforting me right now.

“As long as I have you, it’s worth it” she keeps the quiet and kisses my bottom lip and even though nothing is ok, right now I feel like it could be. The most important thing is that I can tell Santana feels it too. In the way she looks at me, and touches me, and kisses me, gentle but wanting, like we have all the time in the world, but she doesn’t want to wait. Usually it’s rushed, because our time is short, but in this bed, as I kiss softly down her stomach over every bruise and scrape, it’s like time stopped just for us, so we could live out this moment forever. And I didn’t even need my time machine to do it.  

Chapter Text

Brittany's POV

When we make our way downstairs the clock in the living room, digital because I can’t read the one with the hands (why do people call them hands, they don’t look like hands, if anything they look like handless arms) says that it’s nearly 6 o’clock in the morning. My parents are sitting at the table and we all say hello as Santana and I sit down and my mom sets a plate of eggs, bacon, and toast in front of each of us.

“How are you feeling sweetheart?” my mom asks Santana, who I can see tense up from where I sit next to her. I reach over and grab her hand, letting her hand grip mine before she answers.

“Fine, sorry for worrying you guys” she’s looking down at the table and has her fork in her hand, just moving around the food on her plate.

“What are you talking about? Of course we are worried Santana, we love you, that’s not your fault” my mom pauses enough to let Santana look up and see that she means it. I know she can see it, because everyone says I have my mom’s eyes and Santana can always read my eyes, so she must be able to read my mom’s if they are the same.

“Now, can you describe these boys for us Santana? We can give the description to the police and file charges” my dad says seriously. He’s not as mad as last night, but I can see he still is a little bit.

“Do we have to?” when she responds she resumes her position from before.

“No one gets away with hurting my family Santana, I won’t stand for it” this makes her smile a little, even if she still looks worried. She gets through telling my parents what they looked like, enough so that I can almost see them in my head, and I can tell everyone in the room is getting more and more tense as the description goes on, because Santana’s hand is gripping mine even tighter and my dad’s gripping his pen tighter too.

“You girls should probably stay home today, rest up and we can get this police report filed” I think it’s a good idea too, so I start nodding just as Santana starts shaking her head.

“No way Mrs. Pierce. I’m sorry, but the election’s today and your girl’s got a presidency to win” she looks over at me and smiles and oh yea, I’m trying to be class president. It really doesn’t seem all that important right now, but Santana is smiling and it looks important to her, so I smile back.

“Alright, well then, you guys better be going to get ready then, I’ll drive you to school” I can tell my mom doesn’t like the idea, but Santana is already pulling me upstairs so I can’t complain.

We’re both finished in time to get to school early. The election goes through first and second period so they can have time to count the votes by the end of the day to announce the winner and so that everyone is able to vote we get these two periods off.

Santana goes and pulls the bags of candy we stashed there for today out of her locker and we set up shop right inside the door, passing out candy and encouraging everyone to vote for me. I’m not that into it, but it seems to be taking Santana’s mind off of things.

Kurt shows up a little after us with Finn, Blaine, and Rachel. He tells Finn and Rachel to go ahead and get in line to vote while he and Blaine approach us.

He asks if Santana is alright, but when she insists that he leave her alone unless the walking fairy tale that follows him around, consisting of a jolly green giant, two gay trolls and an actual fairy, actually had magical healing powers he stands across from us, with no candy, and tells everyone to vote for him.

At some point in time Quinn shows up and silently goes to stand next to Santana, most likely wordlessly communicating like they learned how to do. It’s funny, because I can look at Santana and read exactly what she wants a lot of the time, it’s like the words show up in her eyes, telling me what to do, and I know she can do the same to me, but I never learned the language they seem to speak without speaking, Santana has always had to translate for me.

After the polls are closed we carry on with our day, excitedly waiting to see who won. When the loudspeaker comes on at the end of the day and tells everyone that it’s me Santana actually stands up and hugs me so hard that my feet lift off the ground, which is probably funny looking because she’s so tiny.

After school Santana looks almost lost without a Glee practice to go to, but I just grab her hand and make our way towards the choir room, telling her I need to talk to Kurt.

“Kurt!” I yell out, grabbing his attention and waving him over before he enters. I ask Santana to give us a minute when Quinn makes her way over and distracts her for me.

“Hey Britt, congrats on the win” he says kind of sadly. I feel my face go into a frown, because unicorns shouldn’t be sad.

“Thanks Kurt” he looks so sad, so I pull him into a quick hug. Hugs always make things better.

“Kurt, I’m going to need a lot of help running this school, and Santana can only do so much. I was wondering if you wanted to be a part of my cabinet. Once Santana explained that it wasn’t like a cabinet in the kitchen that you put Tupperware into, which, then, why would they call it that? I told her that I liked a lot of what you had to say, and I think we could do a lot of good at this school. Three unicorns. Well, two unicorns and a bicorn.” I shrug and wait for his answer. It shouldn’t be hard, I mean, he’s been trying to be President, I figured he would want to help. But he just stands there with his face all scrunched. Well, not really, because it doesn’t wrinkle like, at all, which is actually kind of creepy now that I think about it. How does it do that?

“Really Brit? No offense, but why did you run against me if you just wanted me to help you anyway? You could’ve just helped me with my Presidency…” he trails off at the end. I’m used to people talking to me like this, like even when they are asking me a question they are explaining something to me. So I just answer the best I can.

“You didn’t believe in me. So I had to believe in myself. It doesn’t mean I still don’t believe in you too. We can both be unicorns Kurt, you didn’t see that before, but I hope you can see it now” this is my favorite part of people talking to me like I’m dumb, when their eyes light up and their face relaxes and they look at me like they might finally be getting it. I know I don’t see things like everyone else, but it’s these moments that make me think that might not be such a bad thing, that maybe people should try to start seeing like me, instead of forcing me to see like them. Santana really helps a lot with that part. She always makes me feel like what I see is the right way, like she wishes she could see like me all the time.

“Wow…that’s…very insightful of you Britt. I would love to help you with Student Council, as your Vice President I presume?” he doesn’t give me a chance to answer, so I just nod while he keeps talking.

“I’m actually excited to see some of my visions come to life” he’s staring off at something over my shoulder, so I turn to try and see what it is, but nothing is there, even when I squint my eyes, so I give up and turn back around.

“That’s great Kurt. Do you want to meet sometime tomorrow to start planning? You can bring Blaine too if you want I guess, Santana will probably be there” after glancing over his own shoulder to see that his Glee practice is about to start, he tells me to text him the “deats” (I’ll have to ask Santana how you can text a vegetable. Maybe he means those little pictures you can send on my new phone) and heads back to the choir room. Seeing that I’m finished, Santana says goodbye to Quinn and joins me.

“Think he’s up for the job Britts?” I know she’s still pretty upset about how Kurt treated me over the posters, even though he has been really nice to us since. But I think he’s learned his lesson now, so I put my hand on her crossed arms to try and get her to relax.

“Yea, I think he can handle it. Do you want to come to our meeting tomorrow, he’s probably bringing Blaine” she tilts her head back and lets out a low groan, which I can’t help but chuckle at.

“Are you seriously gonna make me parade around with the gay brigade!?” how anyone thinks Santana is scary is beyond me, she’s just so cute and squishy, like a little teddy bear, trying to growl, but actually harmless. I start to walk towards the doors, slowing down so she can catch up to me when I hear her start to stomp to follow me.

“I’m not making you do anything dear, I just think it’ll be fun” her footsteps get lighter at the nickname and I can practically see the shy smile that’s on her face, even though I’m in front of her.

“Fine, but we have to meet in an open place, I don’t want either of us to die from the fumes wafting off of gel boy’s cement head” I finally let her catch up to me so I can give her a kiss on her cheek.

“Ok, I’ll tell Kurt to meet us at the park” I hurry off, knowing she’ll stand there for a second before realizing that I did it on purpose and come after me. Soon enough I hear grumbling and Santana yelling for me to come back before I burst out the door laughing. Once she finally catches me she’s laughing too. She wraps me up in her arms and lifts me up off the ground like she did before, spinning me once before setting me down so we don’t fall over.

“I have something for you Madame President. Wait here” she says after we calm down a little. She makes her way out to the parking lot before returning a minute later with a handful of flowers.

“Congratulations Britt, I knew you could do it” she says, quietly, with her head down, handing them to me.

“Aw San, that’s so sweet. Did the elves that live behind the school give you these?” she chuckles, knowing I just am wondering where she got them. The elves behind the school would want to give me them themselves.

“I made Quinn get them for me before school, she owed me one” she tries to wave it off, so I grab her chin with my free hand and guide her lips to mine for a quick kiss.

“Well, thank Quinn for me will ya” I whisper and wink, causing her to scrunch up her eyebrows and open her mouth.

“Hey, I planned it, Quinn just went and got ‘em” I close her mouth with my hand that’s still on her chin and kiss her again.

“Well, I guess I will thank you too” I say, lowering my voice. I feel Santana’s jaw tighten at the sound and smile to myself, because I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of getting to watch Santana react to me.

“Oh yea?” she manages to squeak out.

“Yes ma’am…” pausing for a second I savor the moment, before pulling away and starting to run down the street.

“Race ya home!” I shout over my shoulder, only to be met with the familiar sounds of grumbling and heavy footfalls. We run the entire way home, laughing and chasing each other.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

To say I was sore when we got home was an understatement. Maybe lifting Brittany up and running after her in my current state wasn’t my brightest idea, but it was worth it to see Brittany so carefree and full of life. I have been putting so much of my problems onto her lately and I needed to stop. I’ve resolved myself to getting through these next couple of months with no more incidents until graduation.

Brittany and I took the time to do our homework before dinner, then discussed some of the things she wanted to talk to Kurt about tomorrow. I honestly didn’t have the heart to tell her that while I would be there to support her in everything, I didn’t really care about the McKinley High population enough to put in any effort for them.

When the Pierce’s called us down to dinner we all ate in relative silence. I could tell they had wanted to talk more about what happened yesterday, but with Britt’s sister in the it wasn't exactly appropriate conversation material. Personally I was content to make funny faces at the little girl across from me, hold Brittany’s hand, and forget it ever happened.

But, of course, I had no such luck. After Mrs. Pierce went to put little Allie to bed, Mr. Pierce took it upon himself to fill us in on everything that had happened that day.

“So Santana, I’m sorry to say that the boys that attacked you the other day are very well known throughout the town as the resident football stars, so the police were quite hesitant to take any action. But, we have talked to a lawyer, one that is familiar with hate crimes in Ohio and she said that she would look into it. I’m sorry we couldn’t do more for you sweetie, but I promise we will do everything we can to protect you from here on out” I have never before had so much attention on me, positive and caring attention that is. Sure, I’ve fought for my fair share of negative attention, but seeing everyone, the Pierces’, Quinn, even Kurt and Blaine and Rachel being so supportive, it’s really been a complete 180 from what I’m used to.

“Mr. Pierce, you don’t have to do that. It’s not that big of deal I promise” part of me is grateful that he doesn’t want to just drop it and move on, that he thinks I am important enough to invest his time and money into keeping me safe and healthy, but the other part knows I don’t deserve his kindness, that I deserve the beatings that I get and that I would rather just not think about them anymore than have them drag out into legal battles.

“Santana, I’m not going to tell you again. You are my family, it’s a big deal when someone hurts my family. I would do the same for Brittany, or Allie. Now there’s no use arguing over what is already done. We will take care of it” I roll my eyes and brush him off, but thank him none the less.

“How’d the election go today girls?” Mrs. Pierce asks as she makes her way back into the room. Brittany’s eyes light up as she talks about everything she wants to do before she graduates as President and I’m content to let her take the attention off of me for a while.

The next day school drags on, as usual. I’ve taken to trying to form a list of what to do after graduation, gaging on a scale of Most Likely to Happen but Literally Awful to Pure Bliss but No Way in Hell starting with homeless stripper with a habit stuck in Lima while everyone I’ve ever loved (mostly Brittany) does something with their life and ending with professional singer married to the beautiful dancer Brittany somewhere gorgeous where we are both famous superstars but also a comfortable family. Honestly, without my parent’s help I have no idea how to do any of the things I had planned, realistically. It’s a tossup between day dreaming and driving myself into a depression these days.

I’m interrupted from my musings in fourth period by a text from Quinn.

Quinnie Two Shoes: Locker room in 10

Satan: :o you want me to ditch

Quinnie Two Shoes: Just be there

Shaking my head, I mouth a quick “Quinn” to a questioning Brittany before I make my way up to ask the teacher for a bathroom break.

“Ya know Quinn, I really need to change your name in my phone, you’re beginning to be a bad influence on me” I joke as I enter the room.

“Very funny Santana” she says with an eye roll, to which I wiggle my eyebrows.

“So what’s with the covert meeting Natasha, feeling nostalgic? We haven’t done this since we were plotting to destroy the Glee Club with Sue”

 “Look, I think you deserve another shot after what happened at Sectionals. The way you lost, it wasn’t right. I think you should come back to New Directions” I feel my eyes go wide, so I force myself to narrow them.

“Hold up, you expect me to go back there after everything that’s happened!? Uh uh, no way” Waving my hands, I turn to go before I feel a hand on my shoulder.

“S” I feel my resolve crumble as Quinn gently pulls me to face her.

“It’s your senior year. You deserve to go up on that stage, give it all you’ve got, and win. You were robbed of that chance” Instead of allowing the tears that are threatening to fall make an appearance, a familiar anger bubbles up.

“I had my shot Q. That was it. I’ve accepted it. The New Directions, most of those kids don’t even like me. And why should they? They aren’t going to want me back. And even if they did, it’s not like I would want to go back” Quinn’s stupid little smirk lets me know that last part wasn’t very convincing.

“Look Santana, I’ve already talked to Mercedes, and she said she’s willing to come back, but only if you were. And we’ve convinced Mr. Schue to have a Troubletones number in every competition. You’ll be featured, like you should be” the look on my face probably tells her how dumbfounded I am at this news. She steps closer, looks into my eyes, and grabs both my wrists.

“You know you love it. Don’t let stupid people keep you from what you love” she holds our position for a moment before smiling and stepping around me.

“See you at practice” she throws over her shoulder before disappearing out the door. I’m pretty sure I stand there with my mouth open for longer than I care to admit before I go back to the classroom. There are only a few minutes left of the period, so I avoid Brittany’s concerned looks until the bell rings.

“What did Quinn want?” is out of her mouth as soon as we cross the threshold into the hallway.

“How would you like to go back to the New Directions Britt?” I ask cautiously, not really knowing how she’ll react.

“Is that what you want to do?” leave it to Brittany to turn the question back to me.

“I dunno B, I hadn’t even thought about it. But Quinn, she made it sound like a pretty sweet deal to me” we make it to our lockers and I gather everything I need while nervously glancing over at Brittany, who’s got a contemplative expression.

“Well Santana, most of them are our friends. And I think that it would be nice to be able to go back. But if you don’t want to then neither do I” shutting her locker she gives me an earnest look and even though this could all go majorly wrong, something about what Quinn and Brittany said makes me think that this is what I’m supposed to be doing, that maybe this could actually be the thing that works out.

“Then I guess we have a Glee meeting to go to” we share a quick smile before she leans in and kisses me on the cheek, leaving me standing in the hall smiling like an idiot while she runs off.

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

Alright, if I was being honest with myself, I had almost missed the merry band of losers that call themselves the New Directions. I had to admit that I had been feeling the missing third of the Unholy Trinity since the beginning of the year. I had even enjoyed the constant pout coming from the overgrown toddler Finn Hudson as we practiced. And most of all, I was actually grateful for another shot at winning.

So when Glee got out and we started walking to the nearby park with the gay twins in tow, I was actually pretty content, or as content as Santana Lopez ever got lately. I even was able to hold Brittany’s hand and ignore the way Kurt practically squealed at the sight.

When we had found a picnic table to settle at Kurt and Brittany just about exploded in excitement as all their ideas spewed out of them, leaving Blaine and I to watch on, nodding when our respective counterparts looked our way.

Eventually I must have dazed off because suddenly Blaine was tapping my shoulder.

“Want to take a walk?” he asked, gesturing out to the open field next to our bench.

I took a moment to glance over at Brittany, engrossed in conversation about God knows what with Kurt and decided that it couldn’t hurt.

“Alright, but no funny business Warbler” I said with a wink, causing him to chuckle before offering me his hand. I laughed and swatted it away before standing up and following him out into the field.

“I never got a chance to tell you how sorry I was about what happened Santana” his hands were shoved in his pockets and his head was down when he broke the silence after we had covered some distance.

“Eh, shit happens, what can ya do?” I said, shrugging off his apology.

“You know, when I came out, I tried to take a boy to the Sadies Hawkins dance” I slowed down when I realized that he had stopped a couple of steps behind me, tilting my head in confusion at why he was telling me this.

“Some boys, they weren’t very happy about that. They wanted to teach us a lesson or something. So they found us before the dance. They had baseball bats…” he trailed off, trusting me to put the rest together. In that moment I felt a protectiveness that I never thought I would over Blaine. I found myself looking at him with sad eyes, seeing so much happiness and life, it almost reminded me of Brittany. It enraged me that someone would hurt a person who was basically the human embodiment of a puppy.

We stood there for a second, me because I had no idea what to say to that, and him because I think he wanted us to share in this thing we had in common, which I was willing to give to him.

And then he started walking again, so I fell in beside him.

“I started boxing after that” I had to stifle a chuckle at that, picturing young naïve boyband Blaine boxing was definitely something to laugh at, even if he had the muscles to prove it.

“It helped me feel safe afterwards, like I could do something to protect myself” this time when he stopped he turned and faced me.

“I think that you might like it” the earnest look in his eyes, how they softened and glistened, told me something that he didn’t say, that he was worried, that he knew how I felt, that he wanted me to be able to defend myself too, that he wanted me to feel safe. It was almost overwhelming how much it looked like he actually cared about my well-being.

My mouth opened and closed a few times, searching for a way to respond to that.

“I mean, I guess it sounds interesting…” I said, feigning nonchalance and forcing myself to avert my eyes with a shrug of my shoulder.

“You could come over to my place anytime to practice. I could teach you. It’s a really good workout, not that you need it you’re in great shape of course, but it’s also fun and its great stress relief...” sensing a Berry-esque ramble come on I waved my hands in front of his face and shook my head.

“Alright alright, you sold me, just please stop talking” I said through a smile. The way that boy's face lit up with his smile was almost blinding.

“Awesome. I’ll just text you my address and you can come by whenever, just let me know” I nod and turn to start walking back to the table the other two are still parked at.

“We could probably do it when they meet again, it doesn’t seem like they would miss us” Blaine looks up to follow my pointed finger and gets all doe eyed.

“No, they probably wouldn’t” he says fondly, causing me to roll my eyes even if it’s just for show.

When we reach the table it seems that’s everyones cue to start packing up.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress. Wanna meet tomorrow, same time?” Brittany directs her question to Kurt, who readily agrees, and then at me.

“Actually Britt, we got plans” I say, gesturing between me and Blaine, who nods when Kurt throws him a quirked eyebrow.

“That’s great! That means we can meet inside Kurt!” she says it like it’s the most exciting news she’s ever heard and Kurt is obviously confused by it but bites the question back when he glances at me, daring him to ask. It’s rather humorous the way he goes along with acting excited and suggesting the Lima Bean.

We part ways with Blaine offering to just give me a ride after Glee the next day, even though I’m sure I’ll still get a text with his address later. Brittany takes my hand and leads me towards her house in a leisurely manner.

“What are you and Blaine gonna do tomorrow?” the question is openly curious without being accusatory in the slightest, something that I have never been able to manage.

“He’s going to teach me how to box” even though I’m actually kind of eager to learn now that Blaine has offered, I force indifference into my tone, never allowing myself to get my hopes up. But Brittany is Brittany, and I know she can read emotions, especially mine, like the back of her hand.

“Well that’s exciting! I’m happy for you!” she’s essentially bouncing as she says it, swinging our arms between us as she does causing me to break out in a smile.

“Yea, I guess” I give her, rolling my eyes as she knowingly grins. Suddenly she stops altogether, causing me to jolt back from the step I was taking.

“But wait, aren’t you too small to box?” she tilts her head down at me like she’s just now noticing how short I am.

“Hey, you take that back, I’m not that small” I say, lifting up to my full height and invading her space in an attempt to be intimidating.

“I dunno San, you’re pretty little” the glint in her eye is mischievous as she reaches up and pinches my cheek.

“I am so not little!” I shout indignantly swatting at her hand on my face.

“Aww, ok sweetie, whatever you say” she says in a borderline baby voice, like she’s trying to placate a child as she starts walking again.

“I am not little!” I yell after her. I can tell she shakes her head by the way her ponytail swishes behind her.

I start to sprint after her and she must hear me approach because she turns to look over her shoulder and yelps at my proximity, bursting into a sprint herself.

She must decide to let me catch her a few houses down from hers because let’s face it, I could never outrun Brittany Legs-For-Days Pierce, so I tackle her into the front yard and succeed in straddling her.

“You take that back Brittany, you know how I feel about my stature” I say it as menacingly as I can through heavy pants.

“What’s a clay person have to do with how tiny you are San?” she’s giggling and I can’t decide if she’s being serious or not so I just press on.

“I am not tiny! Take it back!” she shakes her head, so I run my hands over her rib cage until she’s squirming under me.

“Take it back Brittany!” I’m full on laughing as I say it now, all efforts to appear annoyed abandoned.

“I can’t help that you’re little San!” she screams.

“But it’s ok, because at least you’re cute” my hands still and my mouth opens in shock.

“I am so not cute Brittany Pierce, I am tough” I cross my arms and pout as she sits up.

“Very cute” her smile is lazy, her cheeks are flushed and her hair is messy when she leans in and pecks me on the mouth. Not trusting myself not to crack I shake my head, causing her to repeat the action in between nodding until I can’t help the upturn of the corners of my lips.

“I love you” she whispers, her face close and her eyes hooded.

“I love you too Britt”

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

Even though we didn’t have school we all met in the choir room the next day to rehearse; Schue’s reasoning for the extra practice being we had a lot of “coming together as a team *pointed look*” to do.  After what was a successful Rachel Berry show, I’ll be it, starring a little less of Finn Hudson than usual, Blaine and I parted ways with Brittany and Kurt to head to our respective meetings.

If you would’ve told me a month ago that I would be hanging out with Blaine Anderson, outside of school, without Brittany’s influence, I would’ve told you to hook me up with some of whatever you were smoking.  

But here we are, on the way to his house, belting Destiny’s Child with the windows down after I told Blaine that if he put on any of his or his boyfriend’s gay showtunes crap I would be compelled to forcefully eject him out of the moving vehicle.

When we pulled up to his house I was honestly surprised with how modest it was. From what I had heard around school Blaine’s family was pretty well off, and although not run down by any means, his house was no more extravagant than any of the other McKinley residence I had been too.

“Damn Warbles, I thought your parent’s were loaded or something?” I say as he opens the door and gestures for me to go ahead of him. He chuckles behind me and begins to lead me to what looks to be the living room.

“My parents do alright, but they don’t like to show off” it’s said as if he gets this all the time, which I’m sure he does.

“Huh, well, I would’ve never guessed you came from such a humble family what with the way you parade yourself around the choir room like you were God’s gift to everyone who’s ever heard you sing. Or talk for that matter” I turn from scanning the room to look at him with my usual unapologetic smirk, but he’s still smiling like I didn’t just insult him and shaking his head.

“Yea well, I can’t help that I draw everyone’s attention Santana” with that he winks at me and I have honestly never liked the boy more than in this moment.

“Yea yea, you wish boyband” I say waving him off with a laugh “so where are the snacks? I know you rich folk got the goods and you can’t expect me to work out on an empty stomach” I push past him into what I rightly guess is the kitchen and open the refrigerator to peruse.

I’m halfway through my inventory before he comes back from what must have been the pantry with a variety of chips and some peanut butter which he sets down on the counter.

“I figured I could make us some sandwiches. We have peanut butter and jelly or ham or turkey, whichever you prefer”

“Now you’re talking Richie Rich” I say making my way over to the dining room table “I’ll have a turkey and cheese on Rye, hold the mayo, add mustard. And some of them Doritos” I sit down, putting my feet up on the table and leaning my head back in my hands.

Blaine for his part takes it all in stride, asking me if I “would like anything else Madame” and even bows while handing me my plate, earning himself a good natured shove.

“Ouch, jeez, maybe I shouldn’t teach you to box, you’re already so strong” he mocks, rubbing his shoulder where I pushed him.

“Oh can it Rocky, you know I could take you any time anywhere” my eyes narrow while I tilt my chin up, trying to look intimidating.

“Well, I guess we’ll find out soon enough won’t we” he smirks, looking about as menacing as a cardboard box.  

When we finish eating he shows me down to the basement. The right half of the space seems to have been converted into somewhat of a theater, with a huge screen, a couple of couches, and a popcorn machine. A partial wall separates it from the make shift gym, complete with mats covering the floor, a punching bag, weights lined up along the wall, a treadmill and a stationary bike.

Blaine makes his way to a cupboard in the corner where he pulls out some athletic tape and two jump ropes.

After we warm up with 15 minutes of jump roping, he teaches me how to hold my fist when I punch someone, with a strong wrist and my thumb tucked outside of my fingers. He then shows me how I should stand, with one foot slightly in front of the other, balanced, always keeping my hands in front of my face. He tells me that it doesn’t come as naturally for other people as it does for me and that it’s just a part of the process.

Then we get to the punching. He shows me how to wrap my hands so as to not break my knuckles, then he positions me in front of the bag.

“Now, just do what I told you and take a couple of swings. Don’t go too hard, just get a feel for it” as he’s saying this he is lightly tapping the bag, showing me the amount of force to put into it.

I cautiously hit the bag a few times with either hand testing it out.

“Good, looks good, keep your hands up and stay on your toes. Good, now try and speed it up a little, get into a rhythm” I nod my head and start bouncing on my toes in time with my punches, building up some speed. My punches become harder and I feel more powerful than I have felt since even before the commercial, since even before high school, since I can even remember.

This wasn’t like Cheerios, where you feel powerful because you are a part of something; something forceful, because of your reputation, this is an inner strength I don’t recall ever feeling. My muscles burn as I start to think of how out of control I have felt about everything that has happened in my life. No matter how hard I tried to stay on top, my fate was always in the hands of others. Of Sue, of Quinn, of Schue, of Finn, hell, of those boys, my parents, of everyone. But right now, all I could think about was how good this felt, how solid and in command I was.

Before I knew it I was punching with all of my might, picturing everything that had happened, and letting it all out on the bag. All of the fear, all of the anger, all of the sadness, all of the pitying and worried looks. I started picturing those boys, each of their faces, hitting and hitting like they had hit me. And then I saw my father, standing over me, looking on in disgust with his hand raised. I saw Finn Hudson, his gassy smirk as he slammed me with the painful truth of my feelings in the hallway.

My entire childhood started flashing before my eyes, all the pent up frustration, all the tip toeing around my parents trying to be perfect, then the acting out to get attention and not being spared even a glance. All the teachers disappointed looks, the shame as I acted out again and again, the “she’s a bright girl, but her behavior…”. And then the girls who should’ve been boys, the feeling that something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t like everyone else. The trying to fit in and never quite being able to.

I had forgotten anything had existed outside of me until I had suddenly become exhausted and slumped over with my hand on my waist.

After a few minutes of catching my breath I straightened up to see Blaine looking on all doe eyed, a mixture of proud and maybe impressed.

“Feel better?” he asked, even though he obviously already knew the answer.

“Quite the workout you got yourself there Anderson” I managed between huffs.

He smiled knowingly and offered me a bottle of water.

We didn’t do much after that. It was clear I had expended most of my energy in the first go, which I’m pretty sure Blaine expected, so he taught me a couple of different punches and we took a couple more turns each on the bag.  

Before long we decided to wrap it up.

“You’re welcome to stay Santana, I’m sure my parents would love it if I brought a girl home for dinner” He offered as we made our way back upstairs.

“Oh please, your parents would never buy it, I’m way out of your league” I scoff, motioning down my body with my hand.

“All the more reason” he tries to come off flirty, moving his eyebrows up and down.

“What are we, in elementary school? Why don’t you finally put those caterpillars masquerading as eyebrows in a cocoon so we can see them turn into butterflies, proving to us against all odds that you can indeed get even more gay?”

“The only way I could get any gayer is if they magically turned me into you” at this Blaine visibly tenses, clearly wondering if he overstepped.

I’ll admit, I’m a little shocked hearing someone say it. Everyone else has either avoided it, or said it with disdain. I have barely even been able to bring myself to say it. And yet, here it is, said in jest. I’m surprised at how relieving it is to hear it and not feel ashamed.

After a few tense seconds I let out a smile, and then a laugh, putting Blaine at ease.

“Aww, is someone a little jealous. You wish you could be me”

“Of course, that’s it Santana” Blaine sighs, placating me.

We spend the car ride back singing Meghan Trainor’s song Me Too to each other until we pull up at the Lima Bean to retrieve our respective counterparts.

“You know you are welcome anytime Santana” Blaine ensures before I exit the car to trade places with Kurt.

“I just might take you up on that Blanderson” he grins fondly and turns his gaze out the windshield while I open the door.

“And Blaine?” once I’m out of the car I turn and face Blaine again grabbing his attention once more.

“Thanks, ya know, for everything” before he has a chance to respond I’m on my way towards Brittany, nodding at Kurt as he passes me.

As we watch Blaine’s car pull out of the parking lot Brittany regards me openly.

“So, how was it?” she asks wearing the same knowing look Blaine had not two hours ago.

“Good, it was actually really good” I answer, surprised at my honesty.

“Really?” Brittany seems taken aback as well, allowing her smile to match mine.

“Yea. Yea really” we stand there for a moment, each allowing ourselves to relax after a solid month of chaos.

As we start our trip back to Brittany’s house, I let it dawn on me that things were looking up, that I could actually do this, that no matter what happened we would get through it together.

Chapter Text

Quinn’s POV

From Rachel: When I was eleven, I sang so loudly for so long that my neighbor’s dog jumped off of their balcony. My very own Rent moment.

A smile broke out on my face as I read the message.

To Rachel: There is no way your life is that much like a musical.

She’s been texting me small tidbits about herself at random in an attempt to get me more comfortable with opening up with her. So far the conversations have stayed primarily on her, but I have to admit, Rachel’s persistence was impressive.

From Rachel: You would be surprised. Although it was a boxer and only ended up with a broken leg. Thank goodness too, because I’m not sure I would be able to handle the tremendous guilt of being the cause of an animal’s tragic death. Have I mentioned that I’m vegan?

To Rachel: Only about a hundred times.

I shook my head and pocketed my phone. I hadn’t actually had a chance to talk with Rachel since she showed up at my house Monday night. Granted, it seems like a lifetime ago. Not only were there new developments with Santana, but I also had schoolwork and Glee club to focus on. And, of course, the fact that I still hadn’t talked to Shelby.

I opened the door to my house and instinctively called out for my mother, even though I knew that she was probably at work. When I didn’t get an answer I made my way up to my bedroom.

After discarding my bag on the floor I collapsed onto the bed face first, arms flailed out at my sides. It was refreshing being able to just unwind for a moment.

But before I had the chance to get comfortable another text came through, and then another right after that.

From Rachel: Ah yes, well, I’m just not used to people remembering. I’m still convinced that Finn fed me meat once when he cooked me dinner. I can’t even bring myself to think of the poor animals that might have died indirectly because of that! It’s safe to say he hasn’t been allowed to cook for me since.

From Rachel: Would you, perhaps, like to go grab an early dinner with me? I was thinking of trying this new sandwich place downtown. It also has a salad bar if you would rather.

Irrationally, I felt myself becoming angry at Finn when I read Rachel’s first message. How could he claim to be in love with Rachel and not know that she was vegan!? Even Santana and Brittany knew that Rachel was a vegan, if not for the sole purpose of tormenting her with the information anytime the opportunity presented itself. Actually, that was more Santana’s reasoning, I’m pretty sure that Brittany just took comfort in the fact that someone else didn’t want to eat baby chickens either. But that was beside the point. The boy was seriously oblivious and I can’t believe I had once thought he was the best that I could do.

Not that I was doing any better now…

As for a meal with Rachel, I only had to contemplate for a minute until my stomach growled, telling me that I might as well, if only because I needed to eat anyway and my to do list was begging me to avoid it for as long as possible.

To Rachel: Sure. Meet in twenty?

The reply came before I could even put my phone down.

From Rachel: Perfect! It’s called the Dropship. It’s a little out of the way, but I hear that it’s good!

To Rachel: I’m sure that it will be.

I plugged the name of the restaurant into my maps and took a quick glance in the mirror to check that my hair and makeup was presentable before I began the journey over to meet Rachel.

She was already sitting at a table when I arrived and enthusiastically waved me over. I wasn’t even able to sit down before she was talking.

“I’m so glad that you decided to join me Quinn. How have you been?” the smile she wore was the one that was almost too big for her face, and her eyes were wide which made her look a little unhinged. It was the one that she didn’t quite seem to have a hold on; wasn’t quite able to perfect in the mirror. It was a little overbearing, if not genuine.

I smiled politely and kept my response short and to the point. That seemed to cause her pause, her smile dropped just a touch and I felt myself internally wince at the sight. Deciding to extend an olive branch I forced myself to look excited as I told her that the place had a nice atmosphere.

From there she seemed to perk up once again, taking the lead of the conversation and allowing my short, reserved replies.

I found myself learning a lot about Rachel in that time frame. The girl obviously had little reservation about sharing, as she seemed to take any opportunity to tell willing, or in more cases than not unwilling, participants about herself. However, I had never truly taken the time to listen. Sure I had picked up things here and there, it was hard not to, but here I actually found myself storing information intentionally.

All of the sudden, Rachel began leaning forward almost conspiratorially as we finished up the last bites of our meal.

“Have you figured out the Shelby situation yet?” keeping her voice low, she sweeps the room left to right, presumably making sure no one else was listening.

Admittedly I was caught off guard by the abrupt change of subject, but I quickly pulled myself together enough to respond.

“Not quite…”I advert my eyes to the table, hoping that she would just leave it at that. Instead, she leans closer and reaches out, setting her hand within centimeters of my own on the table.

“Well, I know that you will. You always have before.”

As she leans back in her chair I can feel her eyes on mine as I watch her hand slowly slide back towards her body.

“You are so smart Quinn, and so strong. But you don’t always have to be. Sometimes letting yourself accept help is the strongest thing you can do” her voice is still soft, but I can hear the conviction laced in her words. I take a deep breath and force myself to meet her eyes.

“Thanks. That’s…nice to hear” we share a moment before her phone interrupts, alerting her of an upcoming engagement.

As we make our way to our respective cars I’m suddenly aware of our proximity to each other, how Rachel’s shoulder just barely avoids bumping mine as we walk.

We reach her car first and as I’m turning to face her she starts talking.

“I had a really nice time Quinn. Perhaps we can make this a more than one time occurrence.” I smile and nod, preparing to turn back and walk to my own car, but Rachel begins talking again.

“Will you text me?” she starts, quickly following it up as I turn to face her once more.

“If you need any advice on how to deal with Shelby that is. I am her biological daughter and though my dads’ have contributed to my personality, I can’t help but think that we are more alike than I care to admit. Given that fact I might be able to give you some pointers on how to handle her. If you need it that is, I’m sure that you will do just fine on your own…” the smirk on my face appears without my consent because Rachel is practically tripping over her words and it’s just slightly entertaining.

“Yea Rach, I just might take you up on that” I don’t have any intention of actually texting her about this, but the relief that appears to run through the other girl, shoulders relaxing and eyes closing momentarily is enough for me to know that this small white lie was necessary.

“That would be fantastic” she’s trying so hard to contain her excitement, but one thing that Rachel Berry does not do well is tone down the dramatics, no matter what emotion is currently being played, she always tends to overact.

I repeat my earlier parting actions and am able to make it to my car this time.

Later that night, as I am tackling my to do list with a renewed vigor, my phone sounding draws my attention once more.

From Rachel: If I’m being honest, this was one of the best days that I’ve had in a while.

I let out a puff of air that I can’t contain before a small grin graces my face involuntarily. The image of Rachel, sitting there, watching her phone, waiting for my reply appears in my head because for some reason, this text feels important. Like, it was hard for her to send. Although I can only assume why that would be. Perhaps she doesn’t want to scare me off, or because she’s afraid that I will turn around and use something like that against her. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have in the past.

To Rachel: Me too.

It’s simple, but it’s all that’s needed. I finish what I am working on and fall asleep feeling lighter than I had for weeks.

Chapter Text

Santana’s POV

With Regionals just around the corner for both Glee and Cheerios, coupled with Brittany’s Presidency and my newfound love of boxing, not to mention just every day high school stuff like homework and needing to figure out what we were going to do after graduation, we hardly had any time to breathe.

I had even met with the lawyer the other day to talk about the ally incident. They said that the case was really strong because not only was it a hate crime, which is apparently worse than just your average everyday crime, it was also negligence on the county’s part for attempting to cover it up. Which, for me, basically translated into dollar signs, not only appealing to my petty material side, but also making me feel better about pursuing anything because the Pierce’s should get their money, and hopefully more, back in the end.

Today, while Brittany was off galivanting with Twinkles the gay elf and Blaine was busy with something of which I wasn’t paying enough attention to remember, I decided to see if Quinn wanted to hang out. It was high time that I returned the favor and helped her work through her stuff. Before all this happened to me Britts and I were keeping Quinn’s stuff on the backburner, watching it, waiting for it to boil. Now, there was a hot mess all over the floor and it would probably take all of us to clean it up.

Before I got a text back I was already standing outside Quinn’s house. Her car was in the driveway and the door was unlocked, so I let myself in.

“Quinn!” I yelled up to her room, giving her a heads up I was coming upstairs.

I found her laying sideways on her bed, seemingly in thought.

“Alright Q, Auntie Tana is here to fix it, now spill” I said, patting her head and sitting down next to her.

“Hello Santana, always lovely to see you” her eyes were still trained ahead of her, but I still received a nice patronizing smile.

“Aww, sarcasm always did look good on you Quinn, but not as good as it does on me” we both shared a small laugh when I finally got her to turn her attention to me.

“How are you doing?” She asks lightly, attempting not to weigh down our moment.

“Oh, ya know, just swimmingly if I do say so myself. But I’ve had enough attention on me for a lifetime…” at this she snorts, effectively interrupting me. I narrow my eyes in playful warning, causing her to put her hands up in a small gesture of surrender. It feels nice to joke about things and have them feel like they are firmly in the past; like we are moving on.

“So, let’s talk about you shall we?” She rolls her eyes and drops her head back to the pillow. I give her a minute to see if she’ll start talking by herself, but when no attempt is made I continue.

“We can talk about you and Shelby…or you and a certain hobbit” at this she bolts upright, almost crashing into me with her upper body.

“What are you talking about!?” her eyes are wide and she almost sounds kind of angry. I look at her like she’s gone crazy, because what the fuck?

“Umm, Shelby is back with Beth and we all know that messed with you in ways that I was, before, unable to deal with, but am now ready to handle with all of the brilliance and charm that is Santana Lopez” I say with a flourish at the end. But instead of getting a laugh or a scoff I get a flustered shake of the head.

“Not that, the other thing” I roll my eyes, because this girl may be my best friend, but she is insufferable at times.

“Oh, you and gay Berry? Can we not pretend like this hasn’t been a thing for forever? Now that I’m sort of out or whatever, I can address your closet freak show feelings without drawing unwanted attention to my own closet freak show feelings” suddenly Quinn looks like she’s about to hyperventilate and I look around the room quickly, partly because I’m searching for signs of hidden cameras and partly because I need something to calm Quinn down.

I start rubbing her back and trying to get her to subconsciously match my breathing by taking slow, deep breaths.

“I’m sorry Q, I didn’t think this was that big of deal” I say it softly, gently, like when you are approaching a small animal you don’t want to scare off.

“Santana, you just had what was arguably a contender for one of the worst outings of the year without any deaths and you think this isn’t a big deal” she says it flustered, like she’s trying to kid but there is truth behind her words.

“I’m sorry ok? It’s just me. It’s not like I’m going to tell anyone or anything. This is a safe space” the first part is said genuinely, but the last part is said slowly with humor, trying to lighten the mood.

It works, because Quinn curls into me, lays her forehead on my shoulder and laughs. I work my hand from her back to her shoulder to embrace her. We sit like that for a couple of minutes. It’s nice to know that we are both here, together, for each other, in ways other people will never be able to be.

“I don’t know what to do Santana” she pulls her head back and looks at me.

“Well, like I said before all that gay crap, I’m here now. So spill."

Chapter Text

Santana's POV

I finally got Quinn talking. She told me everything from hair dye to hot sauce. Like, wow, I knew she was an evil genius, but I think we all underestimated the evil part when really given the opportunity. Honestly between reminding myself, not for the first time, never to get on Quinn's bad side, and feeling slightly sorry for Shelby, I was a little proud.

It was like getting it all out took a literal weight off of her shoulders, even if we hadn’t even touched the Rachel topic yet, because she sat up straight and looked at me with determination, ready to face this head on.

“Ok, first of all, I am highly offended that you chose Pecs-For-Brains for Operation I-Want-My-Baby-Back over me, your best friend and right hand, not to mention the obviously superior choice” this earned an annoyed eye roll from Quinn. Honestly, I don’t know what else she was expecting, even if I haven’t really been myself lately.

“He’s the father Santana” she says like it’s supposed to mean something.

“He’s also weak. He spilled the beans faster than Shelby could flash him that flirty smirk of hers! Not to mention he was probably absolutely no help with the strategy. I mean, it could’ve been brilliant. We could’ve, I dunno, put a doggy cage in the closet, or slipped the kid some ipecac, have her puking for days” I snap my fingers, already coming up with more ideas for this hypothetical heist that I would’ve totally rocked.

“Santana!” Quinn’s appalled exclamation draws me out of my planning.

“What? That was just off the top of my head, give me an hour and we would’ve come up with the perfect plan. You know I’m right” the sigh this elicits says it all. She and I both know that I won this round.

“Anyway, we’re getting off topic here. Why do you even want a kid right now anyway!? I mean, look at us, we’re a mess. A hot mess” I say, bumping our shoulders together and wiggling my eyebrows, earning a small smile.

“Look, I know that it’s stupid to have a baby in high school, but I already did that, I already had a baby in high school, I’m beyond stupid already” I narrow my eyes, knowing that this isn’t really the story. Quinn and I never really had the kind of relationship where you talked about things. It was always too risky to give the other too much ammunition to take you down. But we’ve always been able to read each other. We’re two sides of the same bitch coin. And it's not like either of us have far to fall anymore.   

“Alright, here’s the deal. You can either listen to me rant about how it’s only stupid to have a baby in high school because you can’t support it and it usually holds you back from being able to support it in the future by taking away your chance at college and a higher paying job, both of which you have avoided by giving the baby to someone who can support it. The rant will also include things like, nobody wants to date a single mom, expect Puckerman, and even less people should want to date Puckerman. Not to mention the fact that we are all getting out of the hell hole that is Lima, Ohio, and making lives for ourselves and that would be hard to do with a baby” I pause. Quinn’s features are schooled carefully, like she doesn’t want to give away any of her thoughts, but I know she’s taking in everything I’m saying.

“Or, we can go on a shopping spree with my parent’s credit cards” I pull out the credit cards and wave them when she looks at me like I caught her off guard.

“I may not be good at this feelings crap, but one thing Santana Lopez knows is retail therapy” I give her my best devilish smirk waiting for a response. She looks ahead, seemingly back in thought.

“I wish I would’ve kept her” it’s quiet and sad, almost like it wasn’t even meant for me. I sigh and pull her into a sideways hug.

“We would’ve made it work Q, if anyone could have it would’ve been you. But we both know this is what’s best for Beth. And for you. We’re gonna go to college and get kick ass careers and, fuck, maybe even get married. Can ya see it now? Lucy Quinn Barbara Berry” I barely hold back a laugh as I look up into the sky and try to give my voice a dreamlike quality. It’s less than a second before I feel an elbow to my side and fall sideways on the bed, laughing through the pain.

“You know people don’t take the other person’s middle and last name, right?” mirth is poorly hidden in her attempt to sound irritated. I wait until I catch my breath to answer.

“It was for affect” wiping my eyes I stand up and reach my hand out towards her.

“Now come on. We can gossip all about your crush on the hobbit at the mall. You know I’m gonna need something pretty to look at to keep my lunch from making a reappearance” Quinn finally lets the smile she’s been holding back go as she shakes her head and grabs my hand.