Lost and found my saving grace
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Author notes: This is a crossover between Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Glee, and Saving Grace. Sequel to Saving Faith, set three years later, post season six of Buffy and during season three of Glee.
Santana didn't want to wake up in the morning, let alone walk into the halls of William McKinley High School and actually have to get through the next day. How could she stand it, when her social status was undoubtedly plummeted even lower than Jacob Ben Israel's? Between Finn's big mouth, shooting off to anyone within hearing range in the hallway, and the political commercial, clearly displaying her face and proclaiming her sexuality for all to see, the only way that anyone could possibly miss the truth of Santana's relationship with Brittany was if they were dumb, deaf, and blind. And although there were certainly a lot of dumb people in Lima, there was a sad lack of physical deformities in place to protect Santana any further.
Everyone knew now; there was no way to escape this fact. Everyone knew, and what made it even worse was that everyone not only knew that she, Santana Lopez, was a lesbian, everyone knew that she was in love with Brittany…and maybe, just maybe, Brittany didn't love her back. And the worst of it all was that Finn had made it clear to everyone that this was something she cared deeply about, something that laid her vulnerable and open to target.
From now on, no one would look at Santana and keep their distance, for fear of her sharp tongue and sometimes ruthless ability to assess and then set into action a way to most deeply hurt others, in retaliation for in some way threatening her. No one would view her as the beautiful, popular cheerleader who had clawed her way to the top of the social ladder out of nothing and would claw through anyone who tried to drag her back down again. From now on, Santana would just be the lesbian, the girl who had fears and doubts just like all of them- and they would all know exactly what buttons to press. She would be mocked and harassed, sneered at and judged, losing every bit of status that she had worked so long and hard to obtain. She would become nothing, just as she had always feared she was and would always be, and the thought of it terrified her.
She couldn't tell her parents what had happened, yesterday. She had barely been able to speak at all, after Mr. Shue, Sue, and Lady Hummel's father cornered her to tell her about the commercial soon to be aired. She had ran into the bathroom and cried so hard she hyperventilated until she vomited, and only when Brittany was called to come to get her could she gather herself together enough to let herself be eased up and driven to Brittany's house. There was no way she could attempt to go home and act normally in front of her parents.
Instead, Brittany had carried her up to her bed and lay down with her, spooning her for the rest of the evening, stroking her hair and kissing her neck and shoulders until Santana fell into a fitful sleep. Santana hadn't known until the next morning how her absence had been explained to her parents. Brittany had told her, when she asked hoarsely around 3 am, that she had texted an explanation to her mother, Whitney Pierce, after Santana fell asleep, and Whitney had then called Maribel Lopez and told her that Santana was sick, having vomited, and was staying at the Pierces rather than drive herself home. It wasn't a total lie, and Santana had accepted Brittany's actions with only a little worry and let herself be caressed back into sleep.
Santana had considered staying in bed the next morning, and Brittany had asked her with gentle concern whether she wanted to do that, letting her know she'd support her either way. But in the end, fear of what people would say about her behind her back was stronger than what they might say to her face, and she had gotten herself up, walking into school with Brittany's pinkie firmly in hers, for as long as it was possible for them not to be separated. Santana was pretty sure Brittany would have skipped her own classes to accompany her into hers- it wasn't like she hadn't on a fairly regular basis before- if she hadn't insisted on her letting her go alone.
It was every bit as bad as she had feared. Everywhere she looked she could see people looking at her, some glances simply curious, but some smirking or insinuative, some disapproving. Even for those that didn't actually say anything- and there were plenty that did- Santana inwardly shrank, wanting nothing more than to lash out and hit them, or else to run straight back into the bathroom and stay there for the rest of the day.
Some time around noon, she started to notice a strange feeling in her body. She felt hot all over, and then a sharp rush of adrenaline, almost painful, as though she were filled with sudden power and strength that she had never encountered, even when getting involved in a physical altercation. Santana felt restless and intense, unable to describe or identify exactly what it was that made her feel so suddenly different…almost powerful. It made no sense, in the face of what was going on, but she didn't try to understand. It was a strange day, a terrible, stressful day, and she chalked it up to her emotions beginning to take it out on her body.
Instead, she accidentally broke three pencils, two pens, and the binding of one book without having intended it, her frustration growing with each titter from classmates and each broken item added to her list. By the time the school day was over and it was time for the scheduled mash-off competition between the Glee club and the Troubletones, her agitation was at an all time high.
Santana was quieter than usual as she dressed with the other girls, shrugging off their efforts to ask her if she was all right, refusing to even acknowledge to them that there was any other possibility. But when she went onto the stage with the others and saw Finn Hudson, front and center, her chest seized, and the strange feeling she had felt for several hours now seemed to grow that much stronger. She became so distracted she forgot her first few lines, though Mercedes noticed and thankfully covered for her until she could compose herself, but throughout the rest of the number, even as Santana sang with all the emotion and ferocity she had been feeling all day, she couldn't help but notice Finn, right in front of her eyes, whispering to Rachel…whispering, she was certain, about her.
Rage, fear, and anxiety rushing through her veins, Santana barely waited for the last few notes of the song to fade before she rushed off the stage, getting directly in Finn's face as she shouted out to him exactly what she thought. He was an idiot, he was a traitor, he had outed her to everyone and ruined her life. The more he answered and the more clueless he seemed, the more furious she became, until without any further thought about it, her hand darted out as she slapped him, open handed, in the face.
She had expected Finn to be shocked, angry, maybe to yell back at her or push her. She had expected him to play the injured victim, to have a red face or hopefully a bruise. What she hadn't expected was for the loud crack as Finn's head snapped backward, as his body flew back with force, and for him to lie, motionless, his head tilted back at a terribly wrong angle, for his chest to go still as his breathing stopped. She hadn't expected the hysterical screams of Rachel Berry as she gripped his shoulders, shrieking that he wasn't breathing, the shocked gasps and horrified stares of the other students and the none-too-calm voice of Mr. Shue as he instructed them not to touch Finn, for someone to call an ambulance.
As Santana's legs buckled and she collapsed into a nearby chair, staring with utter shock in Finn's direction, she was very much aware that no one was coming anywhere near her now. No one was going to tell her that it was okay, that they knew she didn't mean this, that she would never deliberately hurt someone to the point that they were that badly off…where they were maybe dead. No one was going to put their arm around her badly shaking shoulders and provide warmth to her suddenly shivering frame, reassuring her that she still mattered, that they still cared, that no one was going to hate her now for this, that no matter what would happen now, they would still defend her…that they didn't blame her.
Not even Brittany.
There was so much happening, so much going on all around her that Santana could not think. It was Shelby Corcoran, the Troubletones instructor, who was calling an ambulance, her voice trembling slightly as she described to them the situation. Tina was sobbing, trembling in Mike Chang's arms, and Sam Evans had run for the school nurse, though Santana was not fully aware of his absence. Somewhere in the background Sugar Motta was half shrieking questions shrilly.
"Is he faking? She didn't hit him that hard, is he pretending? He's so huge, there's no way he's not faking! Just because we did such an awesome job and he knows he's going to lose-"
"No, no, no, he has to be breathing, someone, help him, help him breathe!" Rachel was crying out, her words distorted with her tears. Her entire body was shaking in Mr. Shue's grasp as he tried to hold her back from rushing over to Finn, twisting and pushing at his hands. "He needs CPR, please, please, someone help him, he can't breathe!"
"Mr. Shue said not to touch him, his neck- oh lord, his neck-" Mercedes was saying, her voice choked, dropping lower as she tore her eyes away, biting down on her lower lip.
From the corner of her eye Santana could see Quinn Fabray, frozen on the stage, her face pale and strained, her lips moving in what Santana vaguely recognized as a prayer. Old habits returning, whatever Quinn's rebellion of this year, she was slipping back into what was familiar, what had been drilled into her all her life. Becoming the good girl, the proper Christian, praying to a God Santana wasn't sure that either one of them fully believed in anymore, because that was all she could think of to do, the first instinct that came to mind. And just behind her stood Brittany, so motionless that she too barely seemed to breathe. Brittany, her blue eyes round and blank as they always became when the world was too much for her, too much noise and confusion and unpleasantness. She was tuning it out, withdrawing into her own private world, as Santana had witnessed so many times in the last few years- but not lately. Lately, they had been happy, together…lately, Brittany had seemed alive and connected, confident in a way Santana had never seen from her, strong for her in a way that she knew Santana needed and Santana could never have admitted to anyone else. But now she was vacant, her eyes not seeming to see Santana or anything else around her at all. Brittany who hated all violence, who hated raised voices and calling names even from her secret girlfriend, who despised bullying of any kind, blocking her out of her awareness when Santana needed, more than anything, for Brittany to be present with her.
Santana's eyes were on Brittany , her own lips parted, chest heaving with her near hyperventilating breaths as she struggled to process what was happening, what she had done. When two heavy hands clamped down on her shoulders, squeezing roughly, she jumped, not having even noticed their owner approaching her until Puck's face was inches from hers, his spit flecking her cheek with the intensity of his words as he practically screamed at her.
"What the fuck did you do, Santana, what the fuck is wrong with you?! You fucking killed him, what the fuck did you DO?!"
He shook her, his thick fingers digging into Santana's narrow collar bones, not seeming to care if he hurt her. He probably wanted to hurt her, to give her a little payback for what she had just done to hurt his best friend. Puck was a long time friend, a one time ex and fuck buddy, and as much as they sometimes figuratively and even literally rubbed each other wrong, there had always been affection to some degree in their relationship. But right now there was nothing but anger in Puck's features, anger and disgust that she had never seen directed her way from him before. He gripped her hard enough to bruise, seeming to want to shake an answer out of her.
Santana could hear Shelby shouting out for Puck to stop, coming up behind him and gripping his upper arms, but Santana didn't wait for her to try to get him off. Reacting on instinct, she shoved out at Puck's chest, trying to push him away from her- and was astonished when he went almost flying backward, stumbling back over Shelby and knocking her over as well. He was over half a foot taller than Santana was, nearly twice her weight and size, with a solid, muscular presence that continual working out had developed- and yet she had pushed him over as easily as she might have pushed a toddler. Something was wrong here…something was very, very wrong.
From the floor Puck gaped at her, too astonished at first to even roll off of Shelby, and all around her in the auditorium Santana could hear the others' gasps and see their horrified stares. They were looking at her like she was a monster…she had become monstrous, in more ways than she ever could have anticipated, and as the school nurse burst into the room and moved to Finn's side, Sam on her heels and Principal Figgins following close behind, Santana's heart beat faster and faster until she could hear nothing else but its rapid pounding in her temples. The world seemed to spin and shake all around her, and it was too much. All of it was too much, beyond unreal, and when she got to her feet, her legs shook, but then held, guiding her almost automatically to the auditorium's exit door.
She thought she could hear someone calling out her name, telling her to stop, to stay, but only one voice could have turned her back around, and Brittany didn't speak a word. Santana kept running, no specific destination or course of action in mind. All she knew was that she couldn't stay in the suffocating emotion of the auditorium, she couldn't stay and watch the horrific results of what she had done unfold. If she ran away from it all, maybe she would wake up and realize that none of it had happened, that it was all some terrible fantasy or dream.
She didn't watch where she was going; with no intended place she was headed towards, all that mattered to Santana was that she keep moving, arms and legs pumping, heedless of her uneven and awkward gait in her high heels and dress, of her hair coming loose from her ponytail and straggling in her face. She was vaguely aware of how easy it was for her to run despite her difficult outfit, how fast and effortlessly her body seemed to move, almost unnaturally, how despite the fact that she was very much in distress, it didn't seem difficult for her to manage at all. She kept her eyes focused straight ahead of her, but no matter what she tried to fix her gaze on, her eyes couldn't seem to stop seeing Brittany's empty eyes, the way she looked at her yet through her, Mr. Shue's stunned, apprehensive expression as he didn't quite look at her, Rachel's weeping face and Puck's features so near hers, contorted with his rage. But most of all she saw Finn's empty gaze, his twisted neck and his motionless body at her feet.
She had killed him. Somehow, Santana's anger at him had resulted in his death, and no matter how much she hadn't meant it, it was her fault. Finn was dead now, and it was her fault. She had killed another human being…she had killed FINN.
Santana was too distraught with her own thoughts to even realize she had entered the middle of the street two blocks down from the high school. She was running too hard, too fast, for either herself or the oncoming car to have had a chance to stop. The next thing she heard was the loud cracking noise of her own body making impact with the car's hood, and then she was dropping to the road, her head hitting the pavement beside it with a dizzying blow. Santana's vision blurred, then faded, and the pain that coursed through her was almost welcome to her before she became aware of nothing at all.