The breeze rolling through the night air felt refreshing and the view of the skyline was just enough to sooth her troubled mind. The last month had been trying to say the least, but she was here gazing at the city that never sleeps and she was determined to let the city’s energy wash away all the doubts and fears, if only for the few peaceful moments she had on the terrace.
If anyone would have told her at the start of the school year that she would no longer be the hard as nails tough girl from Lima Heights Adjacent she would have kicked their ass, or at least tried. Now here she was nine months later with the clearest understanding of who she was and at the bottom of the high school food chain. She afforded herself a smile as she realized she didn’t care about that last part, a far cry from where she was even 3 months ago. The path to her new found self confidence has not been easy but as each day passes she understands more and more how the greatest of feelings can come at the greatest cost. Feelings of self doubt started making their way to the surface as she reflected back to the loss of her best friend and her almost banishment from the one outlet that saved her, Glee Club. Taking another glimpse at the bright New York skyline she forced those thoughts back down. There was nothing she could do about all that now. Fortunately she was reprieved and permitted to stay in Glee. As for her best friend, that was a bed she made and would have to lay in. A tear threaten to make to spill its way down when she was startled out of her daze by the voice of her very thoughts.
“Hey” the blonde spoke softly.
Santana did her best to compose herself; taking a deep breath and replied with an equally as soft “Hi”
Brittany took in the slumped shoulders and dejected appearance of Santana and sighed. This seemed to be a common pose for her friend and she hated that it usually got more pronounced in her company. Until two minutes ago Brittany had no idea that her actions for the last month were simply a rouse her once, no still, best friend had cooked up in order to save the one thing Santana had every fully connect with, besides herself of course.
“Why aren’t you inside with everyone else?” she asked already knowing the answer. Though Santana was still a member of Glee she was very much an outsider. If not for Mr. Schue and Kurt she would have been forced out, but thankfully those two knew what Santana was really up. Thanks to Blaine she was now clued in as well. She knew once the others heard her motivation Santana would be back in the inner circle in no time. What puzzled the blonde was why Santana had not tried to clear her name with the group.
Santana’s voice brought her out of thoughts, “I thought it would be warmer out here and I figured the buildings want me around more than everyone inside”
“That’s not true...okay maybe it is but can you blame them?”
“If you are out here to tell me just how wrong I was I don’t need to hear it. I got it the first 50 times.” she replied defensively. She could take a lecture from anyone else right now except Brittany.
“I’m sorry, that came out wrong” She hesitated but decided to move closer to Santana. Now more than ever she needed to be close to her Santana.
“What brings you out here? Did they send you to make sure I’m not trying to sabotage Nationals?”
Though no one would say it to her face she knows they all think it, well all but Kurt, Blaine and of course Mr. Schue.
“No” Brittany replied simply taking the final steps so that she was now at Santana’s right looking at the view that captivated her attention. She noticed her stiffen slightly and frowned. How did they get this way? They used to be best friends and so much more. Now she felt like she hardly knew her friend and even worse was not by her side during her greatest development to date. Not sure how to continue she started again, “It’s beautiful”.
Santana glanced slightly towards her and said just as sincerely as her love confession, “Yeah, breathtaking” then focused her eyes back towards the shimmering skyline.
Brittany smiled to herself, Blaine was totally right. Santana loved her now more than ever.
“How is Amelia?” daring to start to more serious conversation. People often thought that Brittany was dumb and maybe she was on the slower side but she almost always got an A plus in Santana. She had allowed herself to forget that during their longest estrangement to date.
Taken aback by the question she collected her snark before answering. This was the most they had talked in what felt like months and she wanted to hold on to every minute of it.
“She’s good. Wishes us luck tomorrow”
“I’m surprised she didn’t want to come. Kurt brought Blaine.”
“Well they are dating, makes sense that he would tag along. Besides the group is probably hoping that I will screw up again and he can take my spot.”
Trying to decipher what she meant Brit backtracked and asked, “Isn’t Amelia your girlfriend?”
Leave it to Brit to be direct. Taking another deep sigh she chanced a look in her direction and answered, “Nah. She broke up with me a week ago.” Not willing to offer up that she knew Santana was still carrying a flaming torch for the blonde beside her. To her surprise Amelia was not angry. She told her that she wanted more than Santana could give her and that she hoped Brittany would eventually come around. They remained friends and Amelia is often available to listen and answer Santana’s questions. Yet another milestone change for her, her first girlfriend and first real break-up. Though their time was brief she would forever be grateful that she took a chance with her. The relationship helped her take another step into this new world.
“I’m sorry, that must suck.” Brittany replied. Santana simply shrugged and Brit figured there was more the story. She found herself again really missing the days when they could share everything.
Willing to risk Santana shutting down completely she pressed on.”I talked to Blaine. Why didn’t you tell me what you were really up to with Karofsky.” the hurt evident in her voice.
Knowing she had to two choices, the bitch or the friend, she channeled her anger to her grip and breathed deeper than she had in ages. She figured eventually she would have to talk about this but she hoped it would be in the far future.
“Would it really have mattered? Everyone was so quick to judge me who would have believed the truth?” The pain of Brit’s doubt and anger crashed back with such force that she had to tighter her grip for fear of being crushed all over again.
Brit was remembering her disappointment in San as well and noticed that she was mimicking San’s position. Since Kurt and Blaine had told her the truth behind Santana’s recent actions she had been cursing herself for doubting her. Even if they weren’t close she still knew her better than anyone. How could she not have tried to see behind the facade? She knew why, she was still angry at her playing unfair and trying to manipulate her, something Santana had never done to such a cruel degree. The difference this time was the clear lack of respect she showed for Brit and her feelings.
In a hushed tone she offered,” I should have.” the shame resonating in her voice.
Santana gazed her way and said with vigor, “No. No apologies from you. After the way I treated you, you had ever right to think the worst. In fact if I am being honest everyone does. I’ve never done anything that I didn’t benefit from.” she said knowingly. Brit turned so they were facing each other, the city lights casting there glow on their faces. ‘How beautiful Santana is’ was the thought that kept invading her mind. They stared at each other taking in one another for the first time in ages. It was like a tall glass of water after miles of wandering in the desert.
Not wanting to chance that the silence would break their conversation they both started again at the same time. Santana gave a small smile and said, “You first.” Brit returned her smile and started again. “I miss you. I miss how I used to always know what was going on with you. I hate that after a couple of big fights I let myself forget that more times than not your actions are not so black and white.”
Santana was taken aback from her confession and pleased at Brit’s perception. She was again reminded that the blonde beauty facing her knew her better than anyone ever could. She lowered her head finding it hard to keep eye contact and form coherent thoughts she said, “I miss you too. I miss having someone know me as well as you did. I screwed up and I have no one to blame but myself.”
Hating the self loathing that Santana was starting to show she reached out and grabbed her hand. If just being in her presence was a lifeline then this was the thing that would grant her eternal life, just holding her hand. Santana looked at their hands then back at Brit with a puzzled look. She could feel something coming from the blonde but she couldn’t put a name on it. She thought about pulling back but like Brittany, she felt she was being saved and didn’t want to let go for anything.
“I’d really like to hear your story.” Brit said bringing her back to the conversation. Santana gathered her strength from their joined hands and figured it was now or never.
“I knew if we had any chance of winning Nationals we needed Kurt back. To get him back he needed to feel safe. I had dirt on Karofsky and decided to neutralize him.” She found the next part harder to say so she gently turned them both towards the twinkling skyline. Looking at the stars for extra strength she continued. “Dave and I had more in common than I thought. Once I got passed my hatred I found out we were a good source of strength for each other. Don’t get me wrong, I still hated him for what he did to Kurt and to me but for the first time in my life I tried to see where he was coming from. I knew the group was going to see me as a traitor but if it got Kurt back it was worth the risk. The group needs him, more than they will ever need me.”
“That’s not true, at least not for me.” Brit offered while still trying to process everything she was being told. For the first time that she could remember Santana acted almost completely selflessly. She gazed her way and was taken aback by how much more beautiful this girl beside her seemed.
“Once Kurt came back why didn’t you tell anyone? Why did you let it go on?”
“By that time everyone thought the worst and I was too tired to try and fight popular opinion. I lost that will when I saw the disappointment in your eyes. If you couldn’t see through me no one would.” A tear escaped her eyes as she remembered exactly how cold Brit’s eyes had been when all this started. It was a look she could never forget. By that point the she figured she had lost any chance with Brit and tired to let go. Amelia helped ease the surface pain but not the deeper pain. Santana offered up one more piece, “I knew how much you loved the Glee Club. If I could do anything to make sure we had a chance it was worth all the risk.”
That confession brought back the very words Blaine had told her earlier, the ones that guided her to seek out her Latin beauty. “She did all of it because she knows how much Glee means to you. She still loves you.” “But she has a girlfriend.” was all Brit could reply. Smiling knowingly he simply stated, “But she loves you, always has.”
“That’s what Blaine said.” Brit said aloud. Santana was drawn from her daze by this. She got momentary angry wondering what they were talking about that he would lead him to say that, he promised not to say anything. Sensing the change in Santana, Brit squeezed her hand slightly to draw her back the conversation. “You left and didn’t come back. I wondered where you went. He told me where to find you.”
That did the trick because Santana was relaxed again. Relief spread through her and caught her so off guard she almost lost her footing. Knowing that a few people, Kurt, Blaine, and Mr. Schue knew her side of the story was nothing compared to Brit finally knowing. She was grateful and embarrassed that Brit noticed and gripped on to her slightly while she found her ground again.
“You are amazing.” Brit said surprising herself. Santana simply blushed and turned away. “No, I’m serious. Kurt is lucky to have you as a friend and the Glee club is lucky to have you on our side.”
“I couldn’t let something you love disappear.” Santana said unguarded. Chancing on more confession she said, “I still love you. I try not to but it’s a part of me. I miss you. I know you are with Artie and I’m happy for you. Honestly. Amelia helped me see that I should be a good enough friend that your happiness is all that matters.” She sighed and continued, “I hope someday we can at least be friends again. It took months without you fully in my life to realize I’m a better person with you in it.”
This time she was met with silence. Better than rejection she thought but still found herself sad. She released her hand from Brit’s gently grip and said, “Shouldn’t you get back. I’m sure everyone is wondering where you are.”
“No, it’s okay. I’m fine. Thanks for coming to check on me. It means a lot to me.” she glanced her way again, letting Brit know she was done talking. Confused at why Santana shut down again but knowing their time was up for now she gazed again and started making her way off the terrace. “Don’t stay out here too long, it’s getting cold outside.” To her surprise Santana turned around and faced her full on. “I won’t. Goodnight Brits.” “Goodnight San.” and with that she turned around and walked back inside. Sadness consumed her and she found herself feeling more lost then the months estranged from Santana. She was trying to process what she heard, knowing that she missed some of the point. She liked to think she got the basics though. Santana’s actions were because of Brit’s love for Glee and more importantly San still loved her. She felt a wave of hope that warmed her insides. Perhaps things really would turn out good for them. She was so lost in her thoughts that she failed to notice Artie just inside the terrace until his voice jolted her.
“Is she okay?” he asked with a hinge of sadness. He had been the most hard on Santana, and when Blaine had set him straight he felt bad. Though in all fairness she did try to steal his girlfriend. Watching the two of them just now made him realize that perhaps she was never really his to have. Yes she cared about him and he was grateful but you would have to blind to not see that Brittany and Santana shared a love he would never have with the blonde. He knew what he had to do and he only hoped that Brittany would realize it is for her own good.
“Yeah, she’ll be alright.” was all she could offer as they headed back to the group. She allowed herself one more glance before smiling at Artie.
Santana was again pulled from her thoughts when another person came out onto the terrace. Hoping it wasn't two kids looking for some privacy she whipped around ready to lash out when she was stopped by a simple hand gesture.
“I'm sorry, I saw Brit come back with Artie and I wanted to check on you.” Rachel said quickly and was relieved to see the anger fade from Santana's face. Santana was puzzled by the mention of Artie but let it drop.
“Did you tell her?”
“Yeah. She knows… both things.” Santana replied dejectedly as she turned back around. Rachel wasted no time walking up to join her by the ledge. “It's beautiful.”
“Yeah, and oddly peaceful. Who knows, maybe someday I'll be visiting you here, though I'll never admit to anyone.” she said with her trademark smirk. Rachel laughed and smiled. She was still getting used to being friends with the Latin hothead but she was grateful none the less. She was honored that Santana trusted her, especially after the rocky start they got off to. Knowing that the conversation was over for now they stayed outside for a bit longer enjoying the view and the company. Rachel broke the serenity, “We should head back in. Big day tomorrow.” Soaking in one last look Santana agreed and turned to head out. She captured the memory of the twinkling night as her anchor for tomorrow, that and knowing that Brittany finally knew the truth.
Heading back to their room they were sharing with Quinn and Mercedes she was happy for the meaningless topics Rachel brought up. She knew it was going to be a difficult night with her other roommates still being mad at her but having Rachel there helped a lot, more than she would ever admit. She was so lost in thought that she almost failed to see her blonde affection sitting by her room. She closed the distance and leaned down in front of Brittany trying to catch her attention.
“Did you forget where your room was?” she said as she hesitantly reached out and touched her arm. Startled Brit flinched and Santana quickly removed her hand, cursing herself. Rachel frowned a bit as she saw Santana throw up a wall.
“Huh?” Brittany said as she drank in the sight of Santana. “Is this a dream? I was thinking of you and now you are here” Rachel released the breath she had been holding knowing that the blonde gal said just the very thing Santana needed to hear.
“Did you get lost again? Your room is down the hall.” Santana asked again.
“No, I was waiting for you?”
Rachel broke the trance saying, “I'm heading in. Goodnight Brittany.” She opened the door and handed Santana the key with a knowing smile. Santana just rolled her eyes and took a seat on the opposite wall facing Brittany. They found themselves lost in each other’s gazes again, this time Santana was determined to hold it. Something brought Brittany to her twice tonight and she wasn't going to let her go again.
She found her voice again after what felt like hours later and asked, “You okay?”
Smiling the blonde responded, “Yeah. I am now.” Deciding that the hallway held too much distance between them she crawled across and pushed aside Santana's legs so she could settle between them and rest against her. She placed her head back on the other girls shoulder and reached for her arms wrapping them around her waist. With her back flesh against Santana's body she tilted her head up to look at her face, “Yup, much better now.”
Santana fought tooth and nail not to run. She was confused and scared to be this close to Brittany but if it was what she needed then she would play this out. She wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. This time it was up to Brittany to guide them. After all, it was her manipulation of a similar position that almost lost her the girl for good. She leaned her head back against the wall and took a deep breath while interweaving their hands letting the blonde know she was good and would be here like this as long as she needed her.
After soaking up the comfort that only Santana could give her she opened up she started,
“Artie broke up with me.”
“What?! I’ll kill him from breaking your heart! And the night before Nationals...” she began to rant but was stopped when Brittany squeezed her hands and turned her head to meet her eyes.” I’m fine, really. He had a good reason.”
Puzzled but slightly calmer knowing at the very least Brittany wasn’t sad. She waited for her to continue but nothing came, Brittany just snuggled deeper into her. God how she loved this girl echoed in both of their minds.
After what seemed like hours of silent bliss Brittany once again caught her eyes. “I love you. I always have. Artie saw us on the terrace and made me see the difference between my love for him and my love for you.”
She knew Santana heard every word and believed her. In her eyes she saw her love reflecting back at her, along with the Latin's love for her. Santana held her tighter in her arms and continued to stare in disbelief. After everything that she’d done to him did he really just help her get the girl, his girl? People really did manage to surprise her when she let them. She bent down and placed a small but meaningful kiss on Brittany’s temple. She fought of yawn as best as she could but the second one got away from her. It had been an exhausting evening but she wouldn't trade it for anything.
“You’re tired” Brittany said matter of factually. If she was honest with herself she was as well. She lost her boyfriend but got her Santana back. New York really was the city of dreams.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to move.” Santana said fighting her closing eyes. Knowing that she would have to take charge if she didn’t want to sleep in the hall all night, Brittany removed her hands and loosened her way out of Santana’s warmth. She immediately felt the slight chill reflected in Santana’s gaze. She stood, turned around to face the girl and offer her pinkie, “Walk me to my room?” she asked with a tired smile. Santana brighten and took the pinkie as if it was a lifeline. This was their thing and she loved that it was back. “With pleasure my lady.” she blushed at her giddiness.
They walked the short distance to her room and stopped again. Brittany dug into her pocket and got her key. In true Brit fashion she couldn’t get it to open. Santana smiled realizing the other girl had the key backwards; she took the key and opened the door for her. Refusing to release her pinkie she moved into the room bringing Santana along with her. She was pulled from her daydream by Lauren’s voice, “No hanky panky. If I can’t mack on Puckerman there is no way I’m going to listen to you two macking all night long.”
Santana was confused. She looked around the room and noticed that Tina was not in the room. Perhaps she was off with Mike someplace. Good for her was all she could think. Surely this was goodnight for real. After all she was sharing a room with Rachel, Mercedes and Quinn. Sensing her confusion Brittany led her further into the room and towards the bed. At her raised eyebrows she simply replied, “Tina is in your room. She wanted to go over some last minute things with Mercedes so she is crashing in your bed.”
Santana blushed and froze, cuddling in the hall was one thing but she wasn’t sure she could share a bed with the blonde beauty. She started to panic but Brittany caught her gaze immediately. “Please, stay the night.” She could never refuse her so she swallowed her fear as much as possible and took off her shoes. “If you are sure.” was all she could say. Brittany padded the spot next to her on the bed and Santana sat down, letting out a breath and settling in on top of the covers. Brittany sighed and did the same snuggling next to her. She whispered into her ear, “I love you Santana Lopez, sweet dreams.” and placed a gentle kiss on her earlobe. It was all Santana could do not freak out. She quickly regained her composure, turning to catch Brit’s ear she whispered, “I love you Brittany S Pierce, sleep tight.” and mirrored a kiss on her earlobe. Even if she got no sleep she knew it would be one of the greatest nights of her life. Turning them over so they could be more comfortable she settled her arms lightly around Brittany’s waste and faded off for the best night’s sleep she had gotten in months. She finally felt like she was home.
When she awoke in the morning she struggled to fight the intruding daylight. She was having the most incredible dream, Brittany finally knew the truth forgave her and told her that she loved her. She didn’t want to face the creeping cold coming her way, not realizing it wasn’t a dream but reality. She braved an eye opening and noticed that the bed was empty. ‘Yup, all a dream’ she thought as she closed her eyes and sighed. It wasn’t until Lauren threw a pillow at face that she opened both eyes confused again. “Get up, you have to get ready and your crap is in your room.”
“I said get up lover girl. We have Nationals to win.”
Santana sat up and noticed that indeed she was in Brit’s room but the blonde girl was nowhere to be found. She got up grabbed her things and made her way to the door more confused than ever. When she got to her room she knocked realizing she didn’t have her key. To her shock Brittany opened the door and greeted her with a hug and coffee. “Morning sleepy head.” she beamed. Santana took the coffee and entered the room. It appeared that Brit had been up for awhile and she wondered just what was going on. It was with that very thought she remembered there were other people in her room. She immediately sought out Rachel who smiled at her.
“If you are going to attack me again can you at least wait until after I finish my coffee?”
Brittany quickly grabbed her free pinkie, “No yelling, honest.”
“Yeah” offered Quinn.
Mercedes got straight to the point, “Brit came in this morning and told us what you did. I gotta say never saw THAT coming. Kurt and Blaine vouched for you as well.”
Santana was taken aback. She had no idea where this was leading and she couldn’t shake the fear.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Quinn said with a noticeable hurt in her voice.
She just shrugged, “I’m the villain. Always have been.”
“No. Not this time. This time you are the hero.” Rachel piped in.
“Yeah, once we got Kurt talking all he did was praise you.” Tina said. Santana closed her eyes in disbelief. Were they really forgiving her? Did she deserve it? Brit’s soft voice drew her out again, “My hero” she said beaming. She turned towards the gal and returned Brit’s smile with one of her own.
“I’ve missed that too.”
“Okay ladies, now that we’ve covered that we have Nationals to win.” Rachel gratefully guiding the gals back on track. Brit and Tina made their way to the door and said “See you in a few.” She squeezed Santana’s pinkie and let go.
“I’m sorry, for everything.” Quinn offered.
“It’s cool, not like I didn’t deserve it.” Santana said letting everyone know that the subject was done. It was time to move on and focus in Nationals.
She was the last to enter the Green Room. Though the girls had forgiven her she knew she still had to make amends with the guys. She just hoped they would be half as accepting. Her entrance was met with silence but not the normal cold looks. Finn was the first to stand and greet her with a hug. She had to fight not to shove him off. Something was amiss and she needed to let this play out. “Thank you.” he whispered in her ear. Sensing that she uncomfortable he released her and stepped back.
“What did I miss?” was all she could say.
Kurt and Rachel told us everything.” She glared at Rachel, who smiled sweetly in return. Her gaze passed by on every one until she found Brit’s sparkling at her. She was truly speechless, she could tell that finally all was set right and the team was back together better than ever.
Nothing else was said as the group continued to ready for their performance. Blaine snuck in to wish everyone good look and caught Santana’s shinning eyes in her mirror. He made his way to her corner and smiled at her mirror. “Beautiful.” She looked up and returned his smile and simply said, “Thank you.” He nodded knowing she wasn’t just thanking him for the compliment.
“That’s what friends are for.” he replied squeezing her shoulder and headed off to find Kurt.
Staring at her reflection Santana once again marveled at how quickly things can change. Twelve hours ago she was sure everyone hated her and they were going to throw her out of Glee before taking the stage. Now as she looked around at everyone she felt like she was part of a family. For the first time since she could remember she had real friends, people she cared about and who equally cared about her. She felt her eyes watering and just as if Brittany was keyed to her every thought she appeared by her side, resting her head on her shoulder.
“Yeah. Better than I have been in a long time. Maybe ever.” Santana replied as her pinkie sought out the other girl’s. She noticed Artie was watching them with a sadness she recognized all too well. She caught his eyes in the mirror and smiled. He returned in with sincerity while mouthing, “Hurt her and I will run you over.”
She chuckled and nodded causing Brittany to look up and see Artie. He waved and turned around. Everyone finished their final touches and headed out to take the stage. It was now or never. Time to show every one that New Directions was here to stay. As the group moved to their places Brittany stopped short causing Santana to run into her. She was just about to ask what happened when was greeted by soft lips for a short but purposeful kiss. “I love you, now and forever.” Santana sighed, returned an equally short but purposeful kiss and replied, “Now and forever.”
They took their places on stage as New Directions finally took their place in Glee history. It was a new beginning and Santana couldn't be happier if she tried.