Character/Pairing: Santana Lopez (Santana/Brittany, Santana/Puck).
Summary: With Brittany it’s give and take instead of Santana giving and everybody else taking. So with everybody else Santana starts taking and giving to Brittany.
Word Count: 6,500
Spoilers: Everything up until episode 2x15: sexy.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Title and section headers from The Wasteland by TS Eliot. Any mistakes, especially in terms of lining up with canon, are mine, since I haven't really been paying attention to Glee until the last episode, and then only in terms of focusing on the greater development of Santana. And thanks a million time to hazyflights for reading it over and for all of her encouragement. I cannot tell you how much your kind words and response mean to me.
i. What are the roots that clutch
Santana is born in Lima, much to her dismay. When she is seven she often wishes that she was born somewhere else, somewhere exciting and full of possibilities—like Paris or New York or Casablanca (she doesn’t know where it is located, but it sounds sort of like castle, so Santana figures it can’t be all that bad. Maybe she is meant to be a queen there, ruling over her minions with a strict and steady, but much adored, hand. She could where a crown encrusted in diamonds, making laws and hosting fancy parties. She could sit on a parade float and wave with dignity. Nobody would ever think they’re better than her). It seems like a much better alternative to a town that brings to mind a vegetable; Santana hates lima beans.
She just wants to come from somewhere that matters, from a place that people have heard of—a place that everyone wants to visit, archetypal and noble, full of history that’s worthwhile, history that she could take part in. Santana figures if she came from a place of importance then she could be someone of importance, too. Somewhere she isn’t the only girl in the neighborhood with tan skin and black hair. Somewhere people understand that raising your hand isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when the teacher doesn’t call on you nearly as much as she calls on Quinn Fabray, and then scolds you for shouting out the answer (Santana stops answering; Santana stops raising her hand).
And besides, Santana Lopez from Casablanca has nice ring to it, much better than Santana Lopez from Lima, Ohio.
Later, she figures Santana Lopez the mermaid, or Santana Lopez the doctor, or Santana Lopez the boss, has a similar melody when rolled thickly off her tongue. The phrases buzz in her ears and cause her lips to quirk up, hoping for the inevitable that never comes.
Instead she becomes Santana Lopez the cheerleader. Quinn starts taking classes, joins a squad. And if Santana can’t beat the Quinn Fabray’s of the world, she might as well join them. She learns to do cartwheels in perfect lines, learns to shout louder than everybody else. She’s never front and center though, and it grates and grates and grates until she (pretends to) stops caring. It’s just a stupid park district squad, and then it’s just a stupid traveling squad.
Quinn invites her over for tea parties and sleepovers and she goes despite the fact that drinking fake tea is stupid and watching Veggie Tales is stupid. Quinn’s nice enough, tries to keep the judgmental tone out of her voice when she hears Santana doesn’t attend religious education classes, babbles on about how sweet and cute Finn Hudson is—even though Santana’s pretty sure he’s stupid—and introduces Santana to fake nails—which she loves for about a week before realizing they’re stupid, too .
She stops pretending Santana Lopez the princess is ever going to come to fruition. And Santana Lopez, Quinn’s best friend, is the second best thing in Lima.
(Much later, everybody seems to think Santana Lopez the whore is fitting. So she shrugs her shoulders and goes with it. If she can’t beat them, she might as well join them.)
ii. There I saw one I knew
She meets Brittany and immediately Santana doesn’t feel second best. She’s positive she’s smarter than Brittany, but Brittany’s a better cheerleader, and there’s something about the evenness of it all that makes Santana feel okay about sitting with her on the bus, teaching her how to braid her hair, explaining how everyone thinks she’s the bitchy one, but really it’s Quinn. Santana does her best to explain Smurfs when Brittany kindly points out her television must be broken and Brittany helps Santana perfect her herkie.
So when Brittany’s combing Santana’s hair carefully as Santana paints her fingernails, Santana actually believes Brittany when she says, “I think you’re the prettiest girl in our school.”
But she laughs anyway. Because there is no way in hell she’s actually the prettiest girl in their school. It’s not the first think Brittany’s been wrong about. Santana knows how the democratic system works and if it was put to a vote, she’s fairly certain she wouldn’t win. She’s fairly certain Brittany would be the only one voting for her.
“Your hair is so thick and shiny,” Brittany continues, gently raking the comb through Santana’s hair, tugging on the knots that have accumulated throughout the day.
“What do you think of Finn?” Santana asks, holding her hand out in front of her, inspecting each nail to make sure it’s perfect.
“He’s not prettier than you,” Brittany says seriously.
“Thanks.” Santana breathes out heavily, fighting the urge to snap at Brittany like she would at anybody else. “I mean do you think he’s cute?’
Brittany hums for a moment. “He’s nice.”
“But do you think he’s cute?” Santana presses.
“I don’t think boys are cute, because if you do then you get their cooties.” Brittany puts the comb down on the dressing table and begins running her fingers through Santana’s hair, humming the tune to My Girl, probably because they watched the movie class.
“That’s true.” Santana smiles a little, content to explain that boys don’t have cooties to Brittany later. She starts singing along to Brittany’s humming and soon they’re dancing around Santana’s bedroom, laughing.
Santana’s happier than she can ever remember being.
With Brittany it’s give and take instead of Santana giving and everybody else taking.
So with everybody else Santana starts taking and giving to Brittany.
iii. still she cried, and still the world pursued
She doesn’t remember the name of the first boy she ever kissed. All she remembers is that her father had shouted at her for breaking the salad bowl before it happened, cussing at the top of his lungs, words like damn and fuck and ugly and stupid pouring out. Santana couldn’t tell if they were directed at the bowl or at her. She figured a bit of both, his hands flailing around, punctuating each insult, his eyes so intent on her that she couldn’t meet them. Her hands curled into tight fists and she crossed her arms over her chest. Her lip quivered and she sniffled, trying to blink back tears as the insults transformed from English to Spanish.
And even though that meant she couldn’t understand what he was saying half the time, the words somehow cut deeper, as though one language wasn’t enough to adequately insult her.
Finally he left, blaming her for being late—my patients are waiting, Santana.
She remembers picking up the large pieces of glass, placing them carefully in the garbage can and sweeping up the fragments. Surprised at how something so sturdy had collapsed at one slip of her fingers that were still shaking from the force of the crash and the venom in her father’s words.
She runs, farther and farther and faster and faster, down the street and around the park until she can’t breathe, gasping around venom of her own, tears dried on her cheeks she doesn’t have the desire to try and wipe away. Santana doesn’t know how long she sits in the grass running her fingers through the fading green, watching the occasional orange leaf drift down to the earth.
“Hey,” a deep voice says from behind her, something akin to concern in his eyes.
“I bet that works on all the girls,” she retorted, her legs still feeling too much like jelly for Santana to risk getting up and walking away.
Suddenly he sits down next her, his thigh pressed close to hers, a static electricity that she attempts to ignore shots up her spine. He’s older—high school, probably. “Nope. Only the pretty ones.”
Santana rolls her eyes, laying back in the grass, the boy following suit, reaching out and brushing some hair out of her face. “Well aren’t you charming.” But her voice comes out softer than she’d intended, oddly wispy.
She remembers blinking, remembers him hovering over her, his breath hitting her lips a moment before he asks her what her name is.
“Sarah,” she lies, “What’s your--”
But he cuts her off with the pressure of his mouth on her own, his fingers curling around her neck. He isn’t gentle, but she isn’t fragile.
She remembers the force of his tongue, the bruising of his teeth, her nails scraping over his back and the hickey on her collarbone.
She remembers him winking at her, saying he’d see her later. She remembers asking his name; she remembers him telling her. She remembers walking home slowly, the wind blowing coldly against her shoulders, rattling the leaves, causing them to fall unsteadily, caught in the tide. She remembers her dad asking about her day at dinner, she remembers responding with “okay” and smirking to herself.
The boy doesn’t come back to the park.
(She remembers sitting in the grass after school every day for a week despite the temperature dropping.
She remembers crying.)
She doesn’t remember his name.
Santana figures that’s par for the course.
iv. Pressing lidless eyes
Brittany never complains about her parents, never mentions the way plates, vases, and cups crash against walls and floors in the middle of the night, words Santana hears mumbled by her parents on a weekly basis shouted for anybody to hear.
Santana doesn’t even realize what’s going on when the first clatter hits her ears, her eyes opening groggily as she glances at the clock: 3 A.M. For a few minutes she figures she dreamt it, pressing closer to Brittany and closing her heavy lids. But then she hears the rising of voices volleying back and forth and she bites her lip, wondering if this happens all the time. She lays there listening to the shouting, the barely audibly pound of a fist into a wall.
The next morning Brittany apologizes for her parents. Santana hadn’t even known Brittany was awake.
“Do they fight a lot?”
Brittany nods solemnly, her eyes downcast. “Sometimes.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Santana asks, her voice thickening with concern. She’s slept over at Brittany’s hundreds of time before and never heard anything except Brittany’s occasional snoring or mumblings about which planet is the sun’s father.
Brittany shrugs. “All adults fight like that. It’s why I use wrinkle fighting cream, so I stop aging at 30.”
Santana shakes her head, feeling tears brewing behind her eyelids. She speaks as softly as possible, “Britt, no, no they don’t.”
Confusion settles over Brittany’s face as she knits her eyebrows together. “What about your parents?”
“They,” Santana pauses, “they don’t yell or throw things at each other.”
“But last week you said your dad called your mom a bitch?” Brittany bites her lip, looking at Santana like she’s the one who doesn’t know what’s going on, like she’s shattering Santana’s view of the world, of what it means to grow up.
“Not to her face,” Santana’s voice wobbles, “They don’t scream, Brittany.”
“Oh.” As realization comes over Brittany’s face, a tear spills out.
Santana inhales deeply, trying to keep herself from crying, swatting at her cheek and wiping at her eyes to keep her feelings at bay. Brittany notices, though. “It’s not your fault, Santana.”
Brittany holds her, rubbing gentle hands into her back, whispering that it was all going to be okay. Saying they are going to be best friends forever and they are never going to fight because of the anti-wrinkle cream. It just makes Santana cry harder, burying her face in Brittany’s shoulder, clutching at the fabric of Brittany’s shirt.
Santana sobs, Brittany braces.
But the more Santana thinks about how she should be the one soothing Brittany the more she cries, snot dripping unattractively from her nose. Brittany just wipes it away, saying, “You can have any cereal for breakfast, even the last bowl of fruit loops I was going to eating.”
v. He said, I swear, I can’t bear to look at you
Puck is her first real boyfriend. He brags to all his friends on the football team about how he is so going to hit that. She isn’t surprised; when he asked her out to dinner he assured her had a condom for after. She rolled her eyes, snapping, “I decide if we have sex. Pick me up at seven sharp. If you’re late you can forget it.”
He’s ten minutes late, but she isn’t ready to go until another ten minutes have passed. The dinner conversation consists of him telling her how hot she looked (“obviously”) and talking about how big his biceps are (which she ignores, chewing her breadstick and making eyes at the guy sitting in the booth behind them).
She files it under successes when she started rubbing her foot up and down his leg and he almost chokes on his drink. He pretends to listen when she started complaining about how coach Sylvester insists they wear their Cheerio uniforms every day, nodding his head vigorously. She stops abruptly, “I have to go to the bathroom.”
She might as well live up to the reputation that’s preceded her.
He comes into the bathroom a minute later and Santana instructs him to barricade the door with the trashcan, as if she’d done this a million times before. When he turns around she moves with precision, walking towards him slowly, determined. Santana places two delicate hands on his shoulders and leans up, kissing him softly before pushing him against the counter, slanting her mouth over his and pressing her entire body into him.
The groan that escapes his lips informs her she’s winning. Puck clutches at her hips, pulling her closer, she can feel him, half hard, through his jeans. She bites down on his lip, eliciting a gasp, slipping her tongue into his mouth.
He knows what he is doing, some of the sophomore and junior Cheerios informed her with a look of disdain, as if a freshman, new to the team, shouldn’t even dare. This doesn’t make sense to Santana, since Puck’s a freshman, too, but she had just smirked, “looks like all of you weren’t woman enough for him.” She heard whispers of whore, but she didn’t look back. And now she’s the one with him pressed against the counter, grinding his hips frantically into hers.
He knows what he’s doing; Santana pretends to know what she’s doing.
When he entered her he’s rough, pounding, relentless. She screams into his shoulder, eyes squeezed shut, fingernails imprinting half-moons into his back. Pain courses through her body in waves that subsided over time, becoming something bearable, something that tastes vaguely of pleasure. He comes and she unwinds her legs from his, pulling her underwear and skirt back up from around her ankles.
“We should go out again tomorrow,” he pants softly, zipping his jeans.
V doesn’t stand for virgin anymore; V stands for victory.
vi. But It’s them pills I took, to bring it off, she said
The test is positive. Santana’s hands shake. Hastily she wraps the stick in toilet paper, throwing it in the trash. She clutches the counter, stares at herself in the mirror, afraid that if she blinks she’ll disappear. She doesn’t feel sad, she doesn’t feel horror or anger or anything she expected to feel after the nerves. Instead Santana feels numb, unreal.
Her decision is made before she even realizes there is something to decide.
She dumps Puck in the middle of the hallway after the last bell rings, telling him he’s not as good in bed as he thinks he is and that she hopes his date with that girl—Anna, Hannah, she doesn’t care enough to clarify—went well because it’s the last date she’ll ever go on. “Besides,” she adds, “I slept with your cousin when he was in town.”
She doesn’t tell him she’s pregnant. It’s not his problem, and she doubts he’d be of any help.
She weaves her arm through Brittany’s as they walk out, smiles as Brittany tells her about her dream that they were superheroes who saved the town with their cheerleading prowess. When Brittany finishes, Santana asks, nonchalant, “will you go with me to get an abortion?”
“Sure,” Brittany whispers, grabbing her hand and squeezing reassuringly. “Will it hurt?”
“I don’t know, Britt.” Santana squeezes back and reluctantly releases Brittany’s hand as they get inside her car.
She asks her mother about going on the pill, and after her mother gets past her look of horror, she reluctantly agreeing that it’s probably a good idea, and asking if she’s seeing anyone. (“No, mom, I never see anyone. I’m blind.”) Santana locks herself in her room and calls the free clinic the next town over and makes an appointment for the next day after Cheerios practice. She can’t sleep much that night, anxious to get it over with and put the entire situation behind her. Done, dealt with, the end.
She lets Brittany hold her hand when the nurse explains the procedure to her, clarifying anything Brittany is confused about to her. Brittany squeezes Santana’s hand and tells her she’s really brave. Santana doesn’t have the energy to tell Brittany she’s really, really not.
When the procedure’s over Santana feels lighter; she feels completely relieved.
She feels older.
Brittany smiles and catapults herself into Santana’s arms as soon as Santana comes into the waiting room. “Did it hurt?” she whispers into Santana’s shoulder.
“Not really.” Santana tries to smile. But she can’t.
When Brittany pulls back she studies Santana intently, reaching out and grabbing Santana’s hand, squeezing a few times like she’s trying to discern something of great importance. “And they didn’t turn you into a robot or anything?”
“No.” Santana squeezes back. She feels like herself again.
“Then let’s go to Breadstix, I’ll buy.” Brittany offers, pulling Santana out of the clinic. “And I’ll drive so you can rest.”
“Let’s find a boy to buy.”
Brittany thinks about that for a minute before nodding her head once, decided. “No, it’s my treat.”
“If you insist,” Santana sighs, rolling her eyes. She’s had enough of boys anyway.
Well, at least for the moment.
vii. Or other testimony of summer nights
Santana entangles her legs with Brittany’s on the hammock, cautiously pressing her fingertips to Brittany’s wrist. She can feel Brittany’s pulse, tracing the blue veins under her best friend’s skin. Brittany’s breathing is soft and steady, her eyelids closed, and Santana thinks she’s on the verge of taking a nap. A warm spring breeze rustles the new leaves on the trees and Santana sighs, laying her head on Brittany’s shoulder.
Lately, sometimes (occasionally, rarely even) she’s been thinking about what it would be like to kiss Brittany. If she just moved an inch or two forward and placed her lips delicately on Brittany’s. She wonders if it’d be any different than kissing a guy, if it’d be better or worse or exactly the same. She wonders what Brittany would taste like and what her technique would be, but mostly Santana wonders if Brittany ever thinks about kissing her.
She probably doesn’t.
Brittany sighs and laces her fingers through Santana’s, cuddling closer, opening her eyes, glassy with sleep. She whispers softly, her breath hot against Santana’s cheek, “I wish I was an angel so I could walk on the clouds.”
Santana languidly rolls her body on top of Brittany’s, watches her for a moment through long, mascaraed eyelashes, notices her mouth twist up, ever so slightly, into a smile. Slowly, carefully, Santana lowers her head, kissing Brittany as delicately as she can.
Brittany kisses her back, moving one hand to Santana’s hair, letting the other rest on her hip. There’s something quiet about it, something slow and fragile and nice. Something natural, like this is what they should have been doing all their lives.
Brittany’s mouth parts under hers; Santana cups Brittany’s cheek in her palm.
Santana decides it is different. But she isn’t sure if it’s because Brittany’s a girl or because she’s Brittany. She doesn’t let herself think about it any longer than that.
When Santana rests her forehead against Brittany’s, breath soft and arrhythmic, Brittany whispers, “I thought you’d never do that.”
Santana rolls off the hammock quickly, stands up and adjusts her skirt. “Brittany it didn’t mean anything, you know that right? You’re just my best friend. It’s not like we’re dating now.”
“Right,” Brittany frowns, inhaling quickly and sitting up, rocking the hammock back and forth like she’s on a ship bobbing in the middle of the ocean.
Santana looks at Brittany, reaching behind her head to tighten her ponytail. She presses her lips together for a moment before sitting back down on the hammock and sighing. “It’s like when we have sex with guys, Britt, it doesn’t mean we’re dating. It’s just sex. It’s fun.”
“Okay.” Brittany nods her head in some sense of understanding, slowly repeating, “So we’re not dating? We’re just having fun?”
“Yes.” Santana nods, smiles, and quirks her head to the side, asking “so, more fun?” before kissing Brittany again, rougher this time.
viii.White bodies naked on the low damp ground
Brittany dances her fingers up Santana’s leg carefully, shin to knee to thigh, like she’s scared Santana’s going to start crying or run away. Despite Brittany’s light touch, Santana feels like the air is heavy, as though there’s something weighing down on her chest making it nearly impossible to breathe. Brittany places a quick kiss on the corner of her mouth, runs her hand along the edge of Santana’s skirt. Santana’s breath hitches and she pulls Brittany closer, kissing her hard, arching her hips up.
She’s not scared.
It’s just sex.
It’s something she’s done a million times before.
It doesn’t matter.
She’s just having fun.
She’s not scared.
Brittany spreads her hand over Santana’s stomach, smiles into her mouth, and presses her leg between Santana’s. There’s not enough heat and not enough friction. Brittany moves her hand, unzipping Santana’s skirt, achingly slow, too cautious. Santana grabs Brittany’s hands and helps push the material off, forceful. Santana’s always been a big believer in show and not tell. Kicking the skirt off, she grinds her hips up as Brittany grinds down, establishing a fast-paced rhythm.
It’s still not enough. Santana bites Brittany’s lip before licking the wound, licking inside Brittany’s mouth. Her hands trail down and grasp Brittany’s hips, trying to get more, more, more. Brittany sucks on Santana’s neck, finding her pulse point and entertaining her, one finger, two, three.
Brittany pumps, sucking a dark hickey on Santana’s neck. Santana grinds, moaning wordless syllables until she comes. Brittany collapses on her, placing soft, reverent kisses, as though she’s surprised Santana hasn’t disappeared.
Santana focuses on breathing, because her chest still feels heavy. But now in a good way, like there’s something extra floating around inside of her, lending itself to a sense of completeness she’s never felt before. There’s still a wisp of pleasure left over from her climax, but there’s something more rumbling beneath the surface, threatening to crack her open.
Or maybe she just has to vomit.
ix. Throbbing between two lives
She hates thinking about what it means. Santana and Brittany: Best friends. That’s all. That’s it. Sometimes they make-out, sometimes they have sex. But that’s all. That’s it.
But Brittany’s been latching on more, asking Santana to “talk to her,” as if she doesn’t already. They talk about a lot of things, like how the breadsticks from Breadstix go straight to Santana’s thighs and how Brittany’s grades are better than usual. Santana doesn’t do feelings—ever. Not with Puck, not with Finn, not with anybody, so not with Brittany. She’s an equal opportunity sex partner and an equal opportunity emotional sharer.
Brittany’s her best friend. That doesn’t change anything. That doesn’t mean she suddenly wants to discuss what their relationship means to her. Sex is not dating; sex is not feeling. If anything, Santana thinks Brittany should know that better than anyone.
But still Brittany probes, and Santana sighs, exasperated. Sometimes she can distract Brittany from her attachment to emotions with her tongue, licking her way down Brittany’s body. Sometimes by sucking on her pulse point. Sometimes by spooning—which apparently gives the illusion of emotional progress. Sometimes Brittany cannot be deterred from her thoughts and Santana has no choice but to go home, or if they’re in her house, going to the bathroom or making some popcorn and popping in a movie, providing Brittany with some sort of sensory overload.
And then Brittany suggests they sing some stupid, Melissa Etheridge song and Santana is blunt—she’s not going to do it. Because it’s ridiculous. And she doesn’t want to lead Brittany on, give her the wrong impression. She loves her too much to give her any hope that what they’re doing is more than sex. Plus, honestly, that song is just stupid.
So Brittany finds paralysis boy, and Santana misses her more than she ever thought she could. It’s not that she misses the sex—which, she does—it’s that she misses her best friend. The two things should not be mutually exclusive, and as far as Santana was concerned they weren’t—still aren’t. But it feels like Brittany’s her ghost limb, hovering around her, but not there. Not really. There’s nobody there to ask her what the hell is happening on Grey’s Anatomy and who sent Saint Bartholomew to church (“that’s what massacre means, right?”). There’s nobody to laugh when she insults someone, nobody to squeeze her hand during the scary parts of movies. And it’s…it’s just something she got used to, and having it suddenly striped away hurts.
But, really, she has to tell someone about what Jacob Israel tried to pull the other day.
So she sucks it up. Kind of.
“Brittany, look,” she states matter-of-factly, “I know you like wheelchair boy or whatever. God knows why—”
“Santana,” Brittany sighs like she’s the one exasperated by the entire situation. “I’m with Artie now. Please respect that.”
“How about you come over today, we can just like, talk. Or something.”
“Talk?” Brittany asks, biting her lip, something sparking behind her eyes. Apparently there is a magic word.
“Yeah.” Santana nods. “Or something.”
“Well, guess I can come over.” Brittany closes her locker and grins softly, glancing at the floor before looking back at Santana. “I’ve really missed you, San.”
“Good.” Santana turns on her heels and marches down the hallway, mission accomplished.
x. Exploring hands encounter no defence
Puck gets out of juvie, and it doesn’t take long until he shows up on her doorstep Saturday afternoon. “Lopez.”
“Asshole,” she responds, holding the door open and heading inside. Her father’s at the office and her mother’s out of town doing god knows what with god knows who, although she’d bet it’s something with someone about ten years younger than her mother.
She sits on the coach, changing the channel at every commercial, thinking about how she hopes Puck will be decent enough to take her out to dinner, even though she’s pretty sure he won’t. Gentleman and Puck are not synonymous. He probably has other girls to go fuck after this, anyway.
In the middle of some stupid girl crying about how much she loves her boyfriend, Puck attacks Santana’s neck. Patience was never one of his virtues, but it wasn’t one of Santana’s either, and she kind of just wants to get this over with. Besides, all of these bitches on television are pathetic.
He kisses her deeply, and if he were anybody else and she ere anybody else, she would think he meant it. But he’s not and she’s not. So she kisses back in a vague sort of way, undoing his belt, unzipping his jeans, and sticking her hand down his boxers.
He touches her. He doesn’t look her in the eyes. Her hips meet his, but one eye is watching some girl with an incredibly fake tan bitch slap another for dancing with girl number one’s boyfriend.
Puck uses one hand to rub her clit and Santana gasps, head hitting the arm of the couch. Santana imagines blond hair, and before she thinks too much about that she wonders if Puck’s picturing some blond bimbo under him instead of her. And before she thinks about that too much, Puck orgasms, pulling out of her with one more flick of her clit.
Santana just pushes him off her and rolls her eyes, walking past him and to the bathroom, washing off her smudged makeup, reapplying it, and contemplating if there’s any party going on tonight that she could attend before dismissing the idea completely. She just wants to get hammered and she can do that by breaking into her father’s liquor cabinet, no effort required.
When she walks back into the living room Puck’s long gone, the television switched to ESPN, like he was waiting to see if she was ready for round two before he went to fuck his next conquest. Rolling her eyes she heads straight for the rum.
She’s drunk by five, sobbing her eyes out because the tan bitch’s boyfriend fucked the other girl and then broke up with the tan bitch. She’s passed out on the couch by seven, waking up the next morning with the empty bottle of rum lying by her feet. She cleans up the mess she made before her mother gets home; her father doesn’t mention it when he makes eggs for breakfast, he simply sighs, not bothering to make eye contact. But by some miracle she doesn’t have a hangover.
So, all things considered, it wasn’t a terrible weekend: sex and alcohol, what more could a girl want?
xi. To carthage then I came
burning burning burning burning
Santana’s lounging on Brittany’s bed flipping through the latest issue of Cosmo as Brittany twirls in circles, hair flying around her like a halo. “Apparently you’re not supposed to bedazzle your vagina,” Santana says. “Looks like Cosmo changed its mind.”
“I don’t think Artie would like a bedazzled vagina,” Brittany pants, staggering a little as she stops spinning. Her face scrunches up like she’s thinking seriously about it.
Santana rolls her eyes. She really hates that stupid gimp. “It’d confuse him.”
“Probably,” Brittany responds, plopping down next to Santana, leaning her head on Santana’s shoulder. Santana flips the page and hums. “Wait, was that meant to be mean?”
Santana shrugs. Of course it was meant to be mean. As Brittany settles into her side and she flips through the magazine, Santana realizes she hasn’t had sex with Brittany in…too long. She hasn’t had sex, period, in too long. Puck stopped being an option because he’s all over that stupid fat chick. It’s really a waste, she has to admit. Especially because when he chose Quinn over her, it made sense. Quinn’s white and blond and thin and perfect. This makes no sense at all.
And Santana’s worried about turning frigid.
So she tosses the magazine onto the floor and asks, “Want to have sex?”
Brittany’s head shoots up and she looks at Santana with an expression that says she isn’t sure if she should be insulted or not. “But I’m dating Artie.” Her inflection makes it sound like a question.
Santana resists the urge to insult the loser, but it’d probably make convincing Brittany more difficult than she’d like, especially since Artie hates Santana almost as much as she hates him, so he probably tried to brainwash Brittany with stupid boy logic. “Well, Artie is a boy.”
“Yes,” Brittany nods affirmatively.
“And I’m a girl.”
“So,” Santana smirks, “different plumbing.”
“So then it’s not cheating?” Brittany asks for clarification.
“Nope.” Santana shakes her head and reaches for Brittany’s ponytail, pulling it out and running her fingers through Brittany’s hair.
“Okay.” Brittany nods her head again, eager.
Santana kisses her, moving so she’s straddling Brittany’s hips. Brittany’s nails scrap over her neck, and Santana would find it pathetic how turned on she already is, but seriously, she’s gone so long without sex she was starting to feel like Rachel Berry, so she’s not going to think about that. Instead she focuses on Brittany’s hands slipping under her shirt and Brittany’s tongue licking the roof of her mouth.
xii. When I count, there are only you and I together
Santana is tired of everyone thinking she’s a whore. She’s tired of the looks every prude in the school gives her. She always glares back, a biting insult on the tip of her tongue, hands ready to pull out hair, make them cry. She’s tired of the little bitch who called her chacha, but she’s proud of the scratch marks on his stupid, crater face. She’s tired of people who don’t even know her judging everything she does, putting themselves on a stupid fucking pedestal she’d like to knock them right off of with her fists.
She’s pissed that Rachel’s words cut her the way they did: the only job you’re going to have is working on a pole.. She’s pissed that the entire glee club was there when it happened.
But mostly she’s tired.
She’s working her way through a pint of ice cream when the doorbell rings. Part of her hopes it’s Puck; part of her hopes it’s Brittany; part of her hopes it’s a hot delivery guy with a package. She’d definitely sign for that. When she opens the door Brittany’s standing there with carryout from Breadstix and a smile on her face.
“What are you doing here?” Santana asks, grabbing the bag of food and looking inside.
“I thought you might need a friend tonight.” Brittany shuts the door quietly and skips down the hallway and into the kitchen. Santana follows because she doesn’t want Brittany to try and turn on the stove, the last time that happened her hair caught on fire.
“I don’t need your pity,” she snaps, taking out a breadstick and chewing off the end.
Brittany looks at her sadly, plopping on the kitchen counter and kicking her legs back and forth. “I know. But I’m your best friend.”
Santana sighs, grabbing two forks from the silverware drawer and opening the pasta Brittany brought over, placing it next to Brittany on the counter and handing her a fork. “I’m only letting you stay because you brought food,” Santana says, twirling a noodle around her fork: round and round it goes.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Brittany asks shyly, eyes glued to the counter and lips downturned.
“No, I don’t want to talk about.” She glares at Brittany. She’s tired of Brittany trying to get her to talk about her feelings. She’s really, really tired of that.
But Brittany sighs, a glassy look in her eyes, like she’s a lost puppy who just got kicked. It makes something twist inside Santana’s chest, painful and piercing. If anyone else made Brittany look like that Santana would kick their ass all the way to the Pacific. So she whispers, “Thanks,” even though she isn’t sure what she’s thanking Brittany for.
Brittany looks at her, wipes at her eyes and smiles softly. “I’m always here.”
Something clicks then. She pulls Brittany’s mouth down to her and breathes.
She can feel her resistance wearing thin.
xiii. And fiddled whisper music on those strings
When Ms. Holliday says that maybe she can use a song to express her emotions, Santana’s not surprised that she knows exactly which song she wants to sing. Because apparently all the time Brittany insisted they discuss their feelings, her feelings wormed their way into her mind like a parasite, eating at her, ready to destroy her.
But Brittany asked and Santana’s tired of saying no. Santana can’t say no. Not when Brittany looks like this means the world to her.
What she’s surprised about is the way she breaks. The way all the feelings she’s worked so hard to keep at bay come crashing down on her, overwhelming her thoughts, filling every crack and crevice. It’s too much, all at once. And she feels weak; she feels vulnerable.
Everybody’s watching and nobody knows, but they know something and Santana wishes she could disappear, that she could put the floodgates back up. That she could stop crying like she’s Rachel Berry and the music speaking to her and speaking through her. Because that’s not what this is about. It’s not about the song as much as it’s about Brittany.
Because it’s about Brittany.
It’s about how much Santana wishes she could be everything to Brittany the way Brittany is everything to her. Because she’s Brittany. Brittany who never thought she was second best. Brittany who thinks she’s beautiful—prior to and post boob job. Brittany who thinks she’s smart and funny. Brittany who just wants Santana to be happy.
Nobody else ever wanted that for her before. Nobody else wants that for her now.
Probably because she doesn’t deserve it.
But the song ends and Brittany asks if that’s how she really feels. It is. Brittany embraces her, smelling like candy and the hope that Santana never let herself have before.
But Rachel makes a comment about sapphic charm and Santana snaps because her life isn’t anybody else’s fucking business. She feels raw, attacked. Self-preservation isn’t something that she’s willing to let go of just yet. She’s clutching at the familiar, her reflexes, to keep afloat. Because she feels like she’s drowning.
xiv. The awful daring of a moment’s surrender
which an age of prudence can never subtract
Santana’s done. Fucking done. Feelings are overrated. Opening up got her nothing but a sick gnawing in her chest that makes her legs feel wobbly, her head dizzy and pounding. She wipes angrily at the tears pouring out of her eyes, feeling more exposed than she ever has in her entire life. She wishes she could go back and stop herself. She wishes she hadn’t said anything; she wishes she hadn’t agreed to sing about her feelings.
She wishes a lot of things.
It doesn’t help.
She bites her lip in an attempt to stop the sensation of her chest cracking, to stop herself from crying. Her lip trembles and she spots Sam at his locker. With determination in her step she grabs his face and kisses him hard, pushing him into the row of lockers, his hands latch onto her hips and pull her towards him.
The tears start falling faster and she feels like her lungs are caving in, she’s collapsing and she just wants it to stop. She lets go of Sam, hiccupping.
“Are you okay?” has asks, concerned.
When she gets home she looks at herself in the mirror. Her eyes are puffy and red, her mascara is smudged and there are dried tears on her cheeks. Her lips looks cracked and her hair is a mess. She looks exactly how she feels.
She feels angry. She feels scared. She feels crushed.
She feels like it’s better without feelings.