Towards the end of April, Brittany is contacted by some people from MIT. She didn't apply there (she didn't apply anywhere), but they apparently heard about her insanely impressive SAT scores, and they really want to meet with her. She's pretty positive that she has no desire to go there, but everyone is so surprised and impressed when she tells them about it, that she feels like she has to at least go and hear them out.
She goes up to Boston one weekend in early May, but doesn't tell Santana about it. She knows she'll try to come down and meet her there, and she doesn't think that would be a good idea. Not only would it be incredibly hard to see Santana for such a short period of time before having to say goodbye to her again, but she knows that there's no way they'd be able to keep their hands off each other, and they have a deal.
So she goes in secret, has a meeting, takes a test and comes back to Lima with an offer of admissions for after she graduates. Her parents have the letter pinned up on the fridge, and every time she sees it, she gets a knot in her stomach. She wants to go to New York after graduation, but according to her parents, that's not a plan. MIT is a plan. It's a concrete, real, mature plan. Going to New York just to be with Santana is apparently none of those things.
Her parents are good parents. They've always supported her in whatever she wanted to do, and accepted her for who she was. They knew she wasn't exactly academically inclined, but she excelled at other things, and that was good enough for them. When she failed her senior year, they were disappointed, but didn't shame her. When she officially came out to them around the time of that awful commercial, they told her how proud they were of her, and gave her a big hug. They're good parents, who want what's best for her, and they think that's MIT.
But Brittany knows it's not. Brittany has always known she's a genius in her own way. Santana has been telling her that for years, and Brittany believes almost anything Santana tells her. But a math and science genius? Brittany doesn't think so. And if she is, she doesn't want to be. She can't think of anything she wants to do less than math and science for the rest of her life. Sure, she enjoys tinkering with her time machine in her spare time, but that's a fun hobby, not a career path.
But everyone keeps telling her what a huge opportunity this is for her, and how many people would kill to be in her position right now. And she hates it. She hates that something she wants so badly is going to be viewed as the 'stupid choice' by so many people, even though it's not. It's not, because being with Santana? That would always, always, be the right choice.
"Fuck them," Santana tells her one night while they're talking on Skype. "Just ignore them, Britt."
"Easy for you to say," Brittany pouts. "You don't have to see the letter every time you get a drink, or eat the pancakes that have M-I-T spelled out in syrup on them every morning."
"Wow, your parents really don't want you to be with me, huh?"
She says it like it's a joke, but Brittany knows her well enough to know there's some serious doubt there. "No, it's not that. You know how much they love you. They just see MIT as this super awesome opportunity that they don't want me to give up to go to New York without a plan and-"
"Be with me," Santana finishes for her with a frown. When she thinks about it like that, she can see where they're coming from. "Maybe they're right, Britts. What if you give up MIT to come be with me in New York and we break up again?"
"That's not gonna happen." Brittany is sure of that.
"But what if it does?" Santana hates to think of it too, but she's learned this year that anything is possible, and not just the good things. "What if you give up MIT and come to New York just to be with me, and for some horrible reason we can't make it work? Then what? You'll have missed out on this awesome opportunity, and you'll be stuck in New York for no reason."
"But I don't wanna go to MIT," Brittany argues, getting worked up. She's had this argument with her parents so many times, and now Santana is going against her too? "San, even if you and New York weren't an option, I wouldn't want to go there. I hate math, and science is only fun when we get to do cool experiments, and everyone there looked liked a cross between Artie and JBI. Just because I'm apparently good at that stuff, doesn't mean I enjoy doing it! I don't wanna be a scientist or a mathitist!"
Santana can see her point. MIT isn't exactly a place she can imagine Brittany wanting to be a part of, but that doesn't mean the rest of her point isn't valid. As much as it pains her to admit, she's not sure New York is a place she can imagine Brittany wanting to be either. "Okay, I understand that, but do you want to come to New York?"
"Of course I do! That's where you are, I want to be with you." Brittany can feel that familiar scratching in her throat that signals she's about to cry.
"But if I wasn't here, Britt," the brunette explains softly, trying to make her point. "If I wasn't in New York, would you be planning on coming here? Would you want to?"
Brittany wants to say yes, but she knows that would be a lie. It's not that she hates New York, or would absolutely not want to go there, but Santana really is the only reason she's planning on going. "I don't know."
"That means no," Santana points out, feeling just as crushed as Brittany. She fucking knew everything was too good to be true. "Britt, I can't let you come to New York just for me. Just like you couldn't let me stay in Lima for you."
"Can't we just make our own decisions for once? This is how we got in this situation in the first place!"
"But it was the right thing to do," she reminds her. "You know it was."
"I just want to be with you, Santana," Brittany cries, pulling Lord Tubbington onto her lap for comfort. She doesn't understand why Santana is making this so much harder than it needs to be. "I don't care where it is."
"But you should." Santana watches Brittany hug her damn cat, and she wants nothing more than to be the one comforting her. "You should have a plan outside of me, Britt. I can't… I can't be the only thing you want. That's too much pressure."
"Can't I be there with you while I figure it out?" She hates to admit it, but she does understand where Santana is coming from, she was in her position a few months ago, after all. But this is different. She's not giving up anything to go to New York, not like Santana would have if she stayed in Lima.
Santana can't really think of an argument against that, but still, something just doesn't feel right about it all anymore. "I don't know, Britt."
Silence falls over them, as they just stare at each other longingly, suddenly feeling further apart than they have in quite a while.
"I think you're being a drama queen."
Santana lets out a sharp, loud laugh at that. "That's fucking rich coming from you, Berry."
"Be that as it may," Rachel concedes, knowing she does have a tendency to sometimes react in a manner than most would find disproportionate to the situation. "It just makes it more likely that I would be able to recognize similar behavior in others. And I just wanted to share my observation with you, in the hopes of preventing you from making a grave mistake."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Of course you do," she insists, taking a seat on the other end of the couch. She hesitantly reaches forward to take the magazine out of Santana's hands. She knows the other girl doesn't always listen to her when she speaks, but this is important, and she wants her to hear it. "Now, Santana, I know you didn't ask for my advice…"
"I never do," she comments, knowing it will go ignored.
"But I simply cannot sit by and watch you sabotage your relationship with Brittany. Not after everything that has happened."
Santana gives in, and gives the other girl her attention. "What are you talking about, hobbit?"
"The disagreement the two of you had on Skype the other night," Rachel explains, hoping Santana doesn't harp on the fact that she may or may not have been eavesdropping. It's not her fault there aren't any door in this place. "I couldn't help but overhear some of it while I was going over my lines for my Funny Girl audition. Even though I obviously already know the entire script by heart, I decided that it can never hurt to be overprepared." Off Santana's look, Rachel catches herself before she gets on a tangent. "Anyway, the main objective of this conversation is to share with you my concerns in regards to how you're handling your relationship with Brittany."
"And what would those concerns be?" It takes everything in Santana to not tell Rachel to mind her business and get lost. She knows the girl will just continue to pester her if she doesn't just let her ramble now. And truth be told, she's a bit curious about what the hell she's talking about.
"I suspect that you might be trying to push Brittany away in an act of self sabotage."
"And why the hell would I do that?"
"I'm sure there could be a number of reasons," Rachel answers, glad to see her friend isn't fighting this. "There always is. But if I had to venture a guess, I would definitely go with the obvious, but no less classic, fear based motivation."
"And what exactly is it that I'm afraid of?"
"Now again, this is merely speculation, as I do not wish to put words in your mouth, but I think you might be afraid of your relationship failing." When she sees Santana starting to protest (and likely insult), she presses on. "No, hear me out, Santana. It is my understanding that your love blossomed quite untraditionally, and from my observations, your relationship was always quite different than the rest of us. You might have had your share of woes before getting together, but once you did, you were a very solid pair. I believe your close friendship prior to dating really attributed to that. I cannot speak for everyone in New Directions, but I certainly thought that if any of us could make it, it would be you two. So I can only imagine how devastating it must have been when you ended it."
Santana swallows thickly, begrudgingly listening to what Rachel has to say. "Yeah. It sucked," is all she'll offer, though her lack of protest is a clear indication for Rachel to continue.
"Since then, you've been suffering that loss, much the same as Kurt and myself have." Rachel bites her tongue for a moment, fighting her natural inclination to make everything about herself, and pushes forward. "But ever since Mr. Schue's failed wedding, you've had this hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, if you will, that perhaps you and Brittany could make it work after all. These past two months, you've been reconnecting, getting to know each other again, all in preparation for when you can be together again after Brittany graduates."
"Can you get to the point, Berry? I know all of this."
"I think you're afraid that if you and Brittany get back together, you'll end up breaking up again, but this time for good," Rachel rushes out, not wanting to lose Santana's interest. "Right now, it's just this possibility, something to hope for or look forward to. Something that can't be ruined. But you're scared that when it happens, it will be ruined. I think you'd rather wonder 'what if?', than know that you won't work." She can tell by the look Santana's giving her that she's not convinced, but she really thinks she's right, so she tries again. "If Brittany doesn't come to New York, then you can't try again, and therefore, you can't fail again. Then, in the back of your head, being with Brittany will always remain an option, a possibility. But if Brittany does come to New York, and you get back together, only to break up again, you won't have distance or locale as an excuse for why it didn't work, and you might just have to accept that you do not belong together. The thought of having to face that knowledge scares you so much that you'd rather just not try at all."
"Rachel," Santana begins, after waiting a moment to let her words hang in the air. "I have known you for four of the longest years of my life, and in those four years, you have said a lot of really stupid shit. I mean a lot." Rachel nods, accepting this fact. "But that might be the stupidest thing I have ever heard you say."
"Santana, it's not stupid!"
"It is!" she argues, rolling her eyes. Rachel just crosses her arms in a huff and gives her a pointed glare. "Okay, look, I'll admit that that thought might have crossed my mind, and it might even have played a role in the private conversation you so rudely listened to, but that's not why I did that."
Rachel doesn't believe her. "Then what could have possibly been your reason for trying to talk Brittany out of coming to New York after all of this?"
"You obviously weren't listening to that conversation very well or you'd already know," she snaps. "For exactly the reasons I told Brittany. Her coming here just for me isn't fair to her."
"If that is genuinely the reason, then I must say that it's as stupid as you claim my hypothesis is."
Santana gives her a disbelieving look. "Are you kidding? I'm trying to do what's best for Brittany and you think that's stupid?"
"How about you let Brittany decide what's best for Brittany," Rachel argues, her words echoing Brittany's from the other night. "You two are constantly hurting yourselves under the guise of doing 'what's best' for each other, and in the end all it's served to do is hurt you further. I understand where you're coming from, Santana, I do. I don't know if know this, but Finn and I found ourselves in a similar predicament last year."
"Is that right?" Santana remembers them having issues, but never cared to find out what they were. She was finally happy with her own girlfriend, she didn't need to involve herself in other people's relationship drama for once.
"Yes," Rachel confirms with a nod, her face dropping slightly as she thinks about Finn. She quickly shakes it off to get back to the matter at hand. "As you know, coming to New York after graduation was always my plan. There was never any question. Broadway has been my dream since I was a little girl, and to get to Broadway, obviously I had to be in New York. Finn didn't have such a dream. He didn't know what he wanted to do, and he felt like if he came here with me, he'd just be following me, riding my coattails. It was very important to him that he have a dream here too, a purpose, other than being my boyfriend."
Santana nods her head slowly, trying to get Rachel's point. "This is supposed to be convincing me that I'm wrong? Sounds like the same situation to me, and it also sounds like, for once in his life, the big ogre was right."
"No, you're not listening!"
"No, you're not giving advice right!"
Rachel tries really hard not to pull out her hair in frustration. "Listen to me, Santana. Finn's issues were his own issues. To deal with them, he tried to get into the Actor's Studio, he dumped me at the train station, joined the army, shot himself, and ended up right back in Lima, filling in for Mr. Schue, where he finally thinks he's found his calling in teaching. Like Brittany, and a lot of people, yourself included, I might add, Finn didn't have a dream or a plan. But what he didn't realize was that that was okay. Just because Kurt and I had our NYADA plans, doesn't mean he had to have one, too. A lot of people don't know what they want to do with their lives straight out of high school, and they all figure it out in their own ways. If he had just given it time, let himself explore a little, I am confident he would have come to the same conclusion he has now, but without all of that pain. But that's something I couldn't force him to understand, and it's something I can't erase now. Now he finally has his future planned, but it seems I'm not in it." Santana's silence makes Rachel think that she might have finally gotten through to the girl. "Regardless of what you might argue, I'm your friend, Santana, and I don't want that for you, or for Brittany. If Brittany wants to come to New York, let her. It doesn't matter why she wants to come, if that's what she wants, that's her decision to make. Maybe things won't work out, or maybe the two of you can find your dreams together."
Santana bites the inside of her cheek, mulling her words over in her head. She thinks back to her reaction to the shooting, how she immediately assumed the worst because she was convinced that she couldn't be lucky enough to really get Brittany back. She thinks about that fact that she herself is in New York without a plan, and the world hasn't ended. She thinks about the fact that whatever Brittany decides to do, odds are, she'll be able to do it in New York. She hates that she thinks Rachel might be right, but there it is. "You're really annoying."
"I know," Rachel smiles, knowing that's really Santana's way of thanking her. "You're welcome."
"I don't remember thanking you."
"It was in the subtext."
Santana rolls her eyes. "Since when are you so gung ho for me and Brittany to get back together, anyway? Weren't you and your super gay sidekick trying to pimp me out just last month?"
"That wasn't about keeping you and Brittany apart," the other girl explains with a wave of her hand. "No, you were just driving us crazy, and we thought you needed to get some. Or at least leave the loft more. It was his idea."
"Gee, thanks." Though, if she's being honest, it kind of makes Santana like them a bit more. Not that she'd ever tell them that.
"You had just moved in, and were being quite overbearing," Rachel tries to reason. "But after some growing pains, I think we can all agree that things have reached a harmonious status quo in our little home."
"So there's no selfish motivation for this little talk? You're not hoping I'll move out and get a place with Brittany?"
"Not at all," she assures her sincerely. "I was genuinely worried for your happiness, Santana. I know I can be self absorbed a large portion of the time, but I do care about my friends, and like I said, I consider you to be one of them."
Santana fights the smile threatening to break through, and instead offers the other girl a somewhat friendly nod. "I guess the feeling is mutual."
"Can I hug you now?"
"Absolutely not," she snaps, holding a hand out to stop the girl from even trying. "I've already established a monthly three hug limit, and it's already been reached. Five days into the month. That's quite enough."
Rachel pouts, but accepts it. "Though, I must say, if Brittany is planning on moving in here, we will have to find a way around the no door predicament. The way sound travels in here might also prove to be quite traumatizing. Quinn has told me absolute horror stories about sleepovers with the two of you."
Prom is quickly approaching, and Brittany doesn't know what to do. She figures she can always go stag like she did junior year, and dance with everyone else's dates, but really, she wants to go with Santana. Junior Prom had been fun (minus Kurt's public humiliation, of course), but going to senior Prom with Santana was one of the most amazing nights of her life. Sure, neither of them won King or Queen, but nothing could beat the feeling of going to Santana's house to pick her up, slipping her corsage on and walking into that gym together, and have everyone know that they're actually together. Seeing how far Santana had come in just a year made her the proudest panda.
So the thought of going to this year's Prom without her didn't sound like fun at all, and if the glee club wasn't performing again, she would just skip it. Sugar says she should just ask Santana, but Brittany isn't sure. They've since made up from their kind of fight about New York. Santana apologized for overreacting, she officially turned down MIT's offer, and New York was back on track, but she's not sure if wants to ask Santana to Prom. The thing is, she knows Santana will come. If she asks her, there's no doubt in her mind that Santana will make it happen. She'll drop whatever she's doing just to go to some lame high school dance if she wants her to, but she's not sure if she wants her to. Well, of course she wants her to, but she only wants it if Santana wants it, too. So basically, she's waiting for Santana to bring it up.
And Santana proves once again just how perfect she is, by bringing it up during a Skype session. And not just any session, but her very first long distance, video conference interview on Fondue for Two. Something Santana suggested.
"So, Lady Hummel mentioned something the other day that got me thinking," Santana muses, changing the subject away from Rachel's bedtime routine and any gross washroom habits. Brittany immediately feels a shift in the atmosphere, somehow knowing that Santana is about to do something big. "Prom is in a couple of weeks, isn't it?"
Brittany tries to contain the grin that's threatening to break out, but she fails pretty miserably. She takes a minute to calm herself before she confirms. "Maybe."
"Well," Santana begins, drawing the word out a bit. "It got me thinking about Proms of Dances Past, and I believe I owe you a promposal."
"Wait, what?" Brittany's confused now.
"I seem to remember watching a particularly sad episode of Fondue for Two up in my room, after I chickened out of coming on so you could ask me to go with you."
It doesn't take Brittany long to remember that afternoon, and the mixture of disappointment and understanding she felt as she had to resort to interviewing Lord Tubbington. "Oh, right. San, you don't have to-"
"No, I think I do," she corrects with an easy smile. She had wanted to do this last year, but after they were both nominated for Prom Court and made their campaign posters together, it was kind of just assumed they were going together and her thunder was stolen. She wasn't going to let that happen again. "I know it's two years late, but I'm here now, on Fondue for Two, to ask if you, Brittany S. Pierce, would do me, Santana Lopez, the honor of letting me take you to Prom?"
"Yes!" Brittany squeals, barely giving Santana a chance to finish the question. "Yes, of course I will!"
Santana smiles at her, one of those smiles that she usually only gives her when they're alone and not on the air with at least a couple hundred people watching. "I can't wait to dance with you all night."
"I wish I could kiss you right now," Brittany confesses.
As they grin stupidly at each other, Brittany puts a hand to her chest, checking to make sure her heart isn't bursting through it. "I think I'm having a heart attack."
"Well, you know what they say," Santana says, softly. "Those are just from loving too much."
"Then I'm definitely having one."
Brittany's second Senior Prom somehow ends up being even more amazing than her first. Santana flew in a couple days before, but refused to see her until the night of the dance, when she picked her up at her house. Brittany was totally against that until Santana promised her that she was staying in town for the entire week after as well, so they'd have plenty of time to spend together.
They went through the motions of any other Prom; Santana picked Brittany up at her house (where she was promptly tackled in a hug by Ashley, and given the third degree by her parents, who have since accepted Brittany's decision to go to New York), they posed for pictures, and drove off towards the school. McKinley was still cheap as hell, and held the Prom in the gym, but it didn't make it any less special. After greeting their friends, the girls spent the entire night dancing. The only time they separated was when Brittany was called up to the stage to perform with Tina and Marley, but she still sang the entire song to Santana anyway.
Deciding to skip the after party at Artie's, the girls end up sprawled out on Santana's bed after changing out of their dresses. Brittany is curled into the brunette's side, while Santana lightly traces shapes along her back.
"I really miss this," Brittany shares, breaking the comfortable silence that had fallen over them. "There's so much stuff about you that I miss, but I think I miss this the most. Just being with you, lying here, doing nothing. If we had a laptop in here, we could put on an episode of Sweet Valley High and it'd be just like old times."
Santana smiles against Brittany's head, puckering her lips to press a barely there kiss against blonde hair. "I miss it, too. You have no idea, Britt-Britt."
"I'm really glad you came," the blonde admits, tilting her head back slightly so she can look at Santana. "Prom wouldn't have been the same without you. This whole year hasn't been the same without you. Neither have I."
"Tell me about it," Santana sighs, countless lonely nights flashing through her head. "I want to be mature and look on the bright side, and say that maybe this year apart has been good for us, that maybe we needed it. I mean, I think I've grown up a little, and I can tell you have, too, but…"
"Us being apart can never be good," Brittany finishes for her. She totally gets what she means. "Maybe we just made the best of a bad situation. As much as we liked to think we could make it through anything, that wasn't true. Things happened. I failed, and you went to college, and it was really hard, for both of us. Everything just got messed up and we kept trying to fix it, but it just messed it up even more, like when Lord Tubbington plays with my headphone cords and gets them all tangled up. But we figured it out, and we're together again. Or, we will be. Maybe it wasn't for the best, but I think we'll be stronger for it. Or does that mean the same thing?"
Santana just gazes at her adoringly, taking in the beauty of a Brittany babble, live and in person. She's really, really missed them. She brings the hand that's around Brittany's back, up to sweep the girl's bangs out of her eyes, so she can kiss her forehead. "We're definitely stronger, babe. Harder, better, and faster even, too."
"Wanky," the blonde giggles, curling herself into Santana even more, wrapping her arm around the girl's stomach.
"Hey, no stealing my lines."
"We'll be living together soon," Brittany reminds her, playing with the hem of Santana's sleep shirt. "Which means you'll have to learn to share. What's yours will be mine."
"I've already learned that lesson," the brunette sighs, reminding Brittany that she's been living with roommates for a couple of months now. And if she can live with Kurt and Rachel for that long without committing murder and/or suicide, she knows living with Brittany will be no problem. "Which reminds me, we have to have sex extra loudly at least once to scare Berry."
"I think that would scare Kurt worse."
"Him too," she muses with a smirk, absentmindedly running her fingers through Brittany's hair. "But that loft is in desperate need of some action. I think it's been celibate since Donkey Face and Doctor Who got kicked to the curb."
Brittany smiles at her jab, debating whether to voice the question itching in the back of her mind. "You, uh… You haven't brought any girls home?"
Santana's hand stills in her hair for a moment, thrown by the question. They've always kind of tiptoed around the subject before, and she always just assumed it would remain a 'don't ask, don't tell' situation. "Do you really want to know?"
"I know you said there was nobody else that mattered," Brittany concedes, shifting her eyes a little to the side so she's not looking directly at Santana as she says this. "But I guess, I mean, what does that mean exactly?"
Figuring it's probably better to get it all out in open now, Santana answers her. "There were a few girls in Louisville that I hooked up with – after the breakup, of course – and there's been a couple since I moved to New York, but that's all they were, just hook ups. I haven't gone on any dates with anyone or anything."
"Really?" Brittany does a horrible job at hiding how happy she is to hear that. Santana nods. "How come?"
"You're the only girl I wanna date, Britts," she answers honestly, shrugging her shoulders a little bit. She decides not to tell her that, no, she's never brought a girl home to the loft, because she couldn't stand the thought of having some random girl in the bed she planned on sharing with Brittany. That might be a bit too cheesy.
"I never slept with Sam," Brittany shares out of nowhere. She can see Santana's thrown by the comment, so she elaborates. "I know you didn't ask, and maybe you didn't even want to know, but I just… I wanted you to know. I haven't been with anyone like that, since you."
Santana thought she was over that, but the feeling of the weight she didn't even realize was still on her chest being lifted, tells her otherwise. She should just leave it at that, but part of her really wants to know. "But why? You guys were dating for a while, and I mean, no offense, but sex has never really been a, uh, a big deal to you?"
Brittany shifts up a bit, so that her face is aligned with Santana's, whose eyes follow her movements until they're gazing directly into her's. They're still for a moment, before Brittany inches closer, stopping just a breath away from Santana's lips to whisper, "Because with feelings, it's better."
And then, for the first time in what feels like a lifetime, their lips meet, and everything in the world makes sense again.
Even though they had originally planned on waiting until Brittany was in New York, they decide to do the long distance thing again. This time, they're a lot more successful. They still talk and text everyday, and the only thing that's different is the increase of sexts exchanged and the decrease of clothes during Skype sessions.
As school winds down and New York gets closer and closer, Santana tries to get Brittany to start thinking seriously about what she wants to do when she gets there, but Brittany continues to not worry about it. Santana ends up talking her boss into giving Brittany a chance to audition when she gets there, just so she knows Brittany will have something to do. Even though she knows her boss would've hired Britt anyway, she ends up agreeing to extra shifts in exchange, which means she almost misses her graduation.
She doesn't, though. She would've quit her job before she missed seeing Brittany walk across that stage and get her diploma. She flies out to Lima at some disgustingly early hour and makes it to the Pierce house in time to help Brittany get ready for the ceremony. She rides with them to the school, and manages to grab a couple minutes alone with her girlfriend before she goes off to meet the rest of the graduates. She finds her standing alone in the middle of the choir room, all decked out in her cap and gown, looking more grown up than she ever has.
"Hey," she greets softly, not wanting to scare her.
Brittany turns around, a smile forming on her face when she sees who it is. "Hey, you. What are you doing here?"
"I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you," she beams at Brittany, reaching up to straighten out her cap when she gets to her. "Like, nobody has ever been prouder of somebody in the history of the world, than I am right now."
"Such an egomaniac," Brittany teases, a blush starting to creep up on her cheeks. She's used to Santana's praises by now, but this moment is different. This moment is huge. Right now, she's proud of herself, too. "I couldn't have done it without you. I wouldn't be here without you."
"I think we both know that isn't true," Santana argues, absolutely sure of it. "Nobody did this for you, Britt. You did this all by yourself."
Brittany shakes her head, moving closer to the other girl and wrapping her arms around her waist. "I couldn't have done this if I didn't believe in myself. And I didn't believe in myself until you believed in me. Nobody has ever believed in me the way you have, and I don't know if you'll ever know how much that means to me."
"Of course I do," Santana whispers, bringing her hands up to cup the blonde's face. "Because I wouldn't be in New York if it wasn't for you. I would've never been brave enough to face my feelings if it wasn't for you. I'd still be that mean, scared little girl. You believed in me too, we believed in each other. We loved each other. I love you, Britt."
"I love you, too," Brittany chokes out, her eyes glistening. She surges forward and kisses Santana in the middle of the choir room, like she's done so many times before, like it might be the last time they ever will. They savor the moment, letting their lips communicate so much more than their words ever could, before they break apart, foreheads resting together.
"Come on, graduate," Santana speaks softly, pulling away and holding out her pinky for the other girl to take. "You ready?"
Brittany looks at her girlfriend's outstretched finger, and she remembers walking into this room for the first time so many years ago, linking pinkies because Santana had been too afraid to hold her hand. She shakes her head and smiles at the brunette, taking the girl's whole hand and interlacing their fingers, getting a firm hold. "I've been ready for years."
"Then let's get the hell out of here," Santana declares with a laugh, leading her girlfriend towards the door, towards her graduation.
Towards the rest of their lives.