See part 13a for notes
She doesn't know what time it is, all she knows is that she was sleeping well for the first time in days and now she isn't. It confuses her a little, because she can't figure out why, but then her eyes flutter open a little and she remembers. It's because Brittany's there with her.
Brittany's there with her and she's sleeping beside her.
Except, somehow, in the hours that they've been asleep, she's managed to turn herself away from Santana so that Santana's spooning her, one arm wrapped around her waist and the other curled above their heads on the pillow.
And, now, she's fussing against her, jostling her awake and Santana's not entirely sure why.
That's until she leans up and sees the problem.
Brittany's arm lays outstretched across the pillow, fingers scrunching into the sheets as she searches for the person who isn't sleeping in the empty space beside her.
Santana's heart sinks when she guesses that that person is probably her. She's the one who's making Brittany feel so lost and frantic. She's the one who's left her with doubt and she blinks away further guilt and misery and does what she should have done all those days ago on the day Brittany left.
She fixes it.
She reaches for the hand scrunched in the sheets and strokes it until it loosens its grasp. She offers up her own, palm out for Brittany to take, and then wraps it back around her, close to her chest, when she does. Santana can tell the moment when Brittany wakes up. She jolts a little and takes a big breath, her grip tightening.
Santana feels her shivering with confusion, quivering with it as she clutches her closer. She shifts until her cheek is pressed against Brittany's hair and presses kisses behind her ear as she drapes a leg over the long ones hers are tangled with. Brittany's breathing grows unsteady and Santana waits, fingers locked in hers, for her to calm down and force away her sleepy confusion. It takes a while though and when she feels Brittany begin to shudder with tears she just clutches her closer and soothes her.
She's not sure what she's done wrong.
It confuses her a little when Brittany begins to whimper that she's sorry between her sobs. Her eyes go wide and she squeezes at Brittany's hand hoping she'll look at her. She's relieved when Brittany just slowly turns in her arms to find her and pushes up on her knees to give her room. Her hand presses to the top of Brittany's head, stroking the hair from her face, while the other holds herself up. Brittany's hands wrap into her t-shirt with terror and Santana is quiet as she shudders more, face soaked with tears.
“I'm sorry,” she whimpers some more, her lips parted and quivering as she sucks in much needed breath. “I'm sorry... I'm sorry...”
Santana shakes her head and waits. She strokes her hand from the top of Brittany's head to her cheek and wipes away some of her tears with her fingers before wiping them on the pillow beside her head. She stops when Brittany's eyes snap sadly to hers, wide awake and a little broken, and finds herself unable to look away after that.
“I thought...” Brittany whispers. “I thought I dreamed it...” she hiccups. “I thought I dreamed it again...” Santana listens carefully, confused. “I thought that I was—that I was still at home and that you still didn't want me.” She sobs again and Santana hates it. She never wants to hear that noise again. “I kept—I kept having dreams...” she tries to explain through choked out tears. “I kept having dreams and—and I I couldn't change it... I couldn't get you to stay with me... I didn't—I didn't get to wake up to you...”
Her eyes close, tight and adamant as harder sobs choke from her. There's something else in her face then and Santana recognizes it as embarrassment. It makes her angry because Brittany should never have to be embarrassed for that. Ever.
“I'm sorry,” she manages to get out a minute later. “I'm sorry... I'm just really tired. I haven't been sleeping and I'm just... I'm just...”
“No,” Santana breathes out gently. She doesn't want to scare her. “No,” she repeats. “You don't have to be sorry for that. I should be sorry.”
Brittany shakes her head.
“Yeah,” Santana disagrees. “I should be sorry. I should be sorry but I want you to know...” she brings her hand to Brittany's cheek and strokes underneath her eye until they both flutter open. “I want you to know that from now on, you don't have to worry about that.” Her voice cracks a little and a tear rolls over the curve of her own cheek before she can blink it back. “Because, if what you've told me is true, and you want to be with me, if you want to come home to me every day...” She pauses because it's still too impossible to be real. “If I'm the person you want to fall asleep with then I'll be there when you wake up. Every day. I promise.”
Brittany looks at her, disbelief parting her lips and hope sparkling in her eyes.
“Yeah?” she manages on a breath. It sounds more like a gasp.
Santana nods quickly. “Yeah,” she whispers, earnestly.
Brittany blinks and her head tilts on the pillow a little. “Every day?” she breathes like she doesn't want to say it too loud, just in case.
Santana doesn't answer her straight away. Instead, she lowers her body until they're pressed together, until her thighs straddle Brittany's, until their stomachs and their chests and their chins are pressed together. She can feel Brittany's pulse against her and worms an arm underneath Brittany's neck as the other holds her cheek. Brittany's arms wrap around her and their lips brush as she speaks.
“Every damn day,” she whispers. “Every damn day for the rest of my life if you want me to.”
Brittany's eyes go dark and something changes. Her lips part as she nods her head and her body shifts beneath Santana's, desperate and longing. Santana breathes in at all of it, at the nod of her head and the new-old need in her eyes. Her hands scrunch so hard into the back of Santana's t-shirt it rises up enough for her spine to prickle with goosebumps. She shivers against her a little, her own mouth parting as her eyes flutter closed.
Something washes over her quickly and her body turns to liquid, melting even as she holds them together. Brittany pants desperately for more breath, her chin tilting back as her body presses up into Santana as much as it can. Santana nuzzles forward a little, shifting until her forehead touches Brittany's lips. She kisses it tenderly, a hand drifting steadily up Santana's back to grasp at her shoulders.
She just wants to stay this close to her forever.
She doesn't even realize she's moved and they're kissing until a broken little moan leaves Brittany's mouth. It's nothing like she's ever experienced.
She's not afraid. She's not worried. She's not hurting. There's nothing to prove.
She just wants her. She just loves her. It's so pure, so addictive, that she begins to shake like it's a drug she's been denied for too long. She kisses her harder, fiercer, soaking in what it feels like to kiss her without everything in the way, without her brain being somewhere else, somewhere far away and distant. Brittany just clings to her like she's a buoy, like she'll keep her above water, breathing.
She pulls back, just to look at her face, her heavy eyes, and feels her body buckle with its need for her.
“Kiss me...” she breathes, even though their mouths are already fluttering against each other. Brittany tilts her chin to capture her mouth anyway, nodding and holding her close, hand slipping off her shoulders to tangle in her hair. She guides Santana to where she wants her all of a sudden, urging her with a hand at the back of her neck, and strokes at her scalp. Santana whimpers and opens her mouth wider, sucking Brittany's tongue between her lips to taste sleep and leftover sweetness from champagne.
She wants to taste everything, feel everything and the best part is that she doesn't have to rush. There are no walls to put up and no worries to run away from. A smile teases at her lips and she pulls away to let it grow, letting it get even bigger when she sees Brittany's eyes flutter open and return it. She pulls Santana back quickly, kisses into the smile and steals it from her to leave her breathless.
Her hands scoops Santana's hair atop her head out of the way and Santana groans into the crook of Brittany's neck when Brittany slides wet, open-mouthed, promising kisses from her mouth to her shoulder. Lips attach to her neck seconds later, occupied with sucking at Santana's pulse. Santana moans carelessly, her hand clutching the sheets beside Brittany's head and holds on. Her knuckles turn white when Brittany wriggles one leg from beneath her own and wraps it around, pulling her closer. She can feel everything and she pants for breath as Brittany kisses desperately.
She doesn't understand why that, for someone who's being so incredibly confident, Brittany's shaking like a leaf in winter wind. Santana kisses over her cheek until she gets to her ear and is surprised at how strange her voice sounds when she speaks.
“You're shaking,” she whispers, attention momentarily caught with drawing the lobe of Brittany's ear into her mouth.
Brittany moans breathlessly and Santana feels her nails scratch over her neck softly, urging her closer.
“So are you,” she whispers and Santana kisses her as she realizes she's right.
She's shaking, quivering and she doesn't understand why. She feels like, with this new information, with this certainty, she should be the opposite. She should feel sure and confident in everything but her body doesn't get that like her head does. Her body just wants Brittany, just wants her closer, wants to feel every inch of her, misses her.
Brittany's body must want that too because Santana feels her shaking hands tugging at the bottom of her shirt, losing focus with each kiss that goes deeper than before. Soon, she gives up on it, choosing to bury her fingers beneath the fabric, palms flat as she pulls Santana to her but Santana pulls away to lean up on her elbow to look at her.
She blinks at Brittany in a daze, trying to think of words to say to explain what she wants, but doesn't have to as Brittany looks back at her. She understands immediately. Her hands are so gentle that Santana almost tells her to stop. She lifts Santana's shirt inch by inch until her skin is revealed, until goosebumps litter between her shoulder blades, and untangles it from her hair. Brittany reaches to wrap her fingers back in Santana's hair and kisses along her hairline as Santana reaches for Brittany's shirt. She pushes it up and struggles to breathe, struggles to remain upright until Brittany reaches to take it off for her.
Her mouth descends on the skin as it's revealed, face buried into the curves and hollows of Brittany's chest, until Brittany fumbles at the kisses being sucked against her neck. Santana reaches to help her then, pushing the shirt over her head until blond hair litters the pillow.
Brittany smiles at her in thanks and she returns it, memorizes it, as hands move to the back of her head. Brittany goes where she wants her, tilting her head to the side until Santana can venture kisses as far around her neck as possible before discovering the smooth curve of her shoulder. A tongue swipes into the dip between her collarbones and up the other side. She sighs as Santana goes, fingers flexing against her scalp to urge her on.
Her forehead, her nose, mouth, her chin, all fit themselves into the groves of Brittany's neck and shoulder, kissing her as much as possible as a hand drifts down her side to pull a thigh back around her hip. Brittany grunts as it pushes their pelvises closer, rocks into her for a few off-kilter moments where Santana almost gives up on her quiet intent to worship her in favor of rocking into her until she falls off the edge.
“More,” Brittany rasps out when she begins to slow but Santana shakes her head and pulls back, kissing her lips after too long spent away from her mouth. She looks at her instead and Brittany frowns breathlessly. “What's wrong?” she gasps.
Santana shakes her head again and then kisses her, softer and sweeter, in a way that doesn't fit with the positioning of the rest of their bodies, their naked skin. It does just what she wants it to, though, and, when she pulls back, Brittany looks drunk on her, her body slumping as Santana's tongue traces her lips.
It makes how she slowly begins to drift down Brittany's body easier, makes hands grip tighter. She runs her tongue and peppers her lips over Brittany's skin, down her shoulders and to her wrists before moving back again to repeat the actions with the other arm. She guides Brittany's hands to the sheets either side of her body and Brittany scrunches her hands into them straight away, not arguing when Santana's body is hovering over hers, when she's kissing her everywhere. Her palms press to Brittany's stomach as she pays equal attention to each breast, licking and sucking and kissing with as much love as she can muster.
Brittany squirms and tries to part her legs wider, letting one fall from around Santana's waist. Santana pulls it back though, loving how it makes her feel closer to her, how Brittany squeezes her nearer when something feels especially good. She pants out and Santana takes a glance up at her, hair, wild and wavy on the pillow, her eyes dark and desperate. She smirks against the bottom of her breast bone, into the soft patch of skin where her ribs fan out, and sucks a kiss there that leaves Brittany's back arching into her mouth.
“Touch me,” Brittany begs and one hand fumbles to grip at Santana's shoulder, to pull her back to her mouth. Santana refuses it and takes the hand, putting it back on the mattress.
“I don't want to do that,” she sighs into her skin, appreciating Brittany's whimper. “Not yet.”
Instead, she kisses lower, lips and tongue and teeth nipping over the flat plane of her stomach as she urges her hips up. Santana reaches down into the back of Brittany's underwear, curving them around her ass as she pushes them down. Brittany whimpers at the loss of contact when Santana pulls back to take them from her body, but watches as Santana kneels up to do the same with the last piece of clothing left between them. Her chest heaves and when Santana moves back to kiss her roughly, she doesn't complain. She just listens when Santana kisses her ear and breathes against it.
“I want to taste you again,” she whispers softly. “I waited so long and then I never thought I'd get to do it,” she admits. Brittany whimpers and her body jerks a little. It makes Santana sad almost, that it probably isn't going to take very long. She strokes her fingers over Brittany's thigh. “I really want to do it again,” she sighs trying not to sound to desperate. Her head is already spinning. “Is that okay?”
Brittany's chest just heaves a little more and Santana takes that as her answer.
She kisses her everywhere again, just because she wants to revel in the feel of her, the sight of her, the smell of her and the noises she makes. She's so warm, burning, and Santana darts out her tongue so soothe the heat as she makes her way back down her body.
When she's close enough to press her cheek between Brittany's hips, her eyes flutter closed and she takes a moment, just to trace her fingers down the outside of Brittany's thigh to her knee. Brittany shudders at it, so she repeats the same path with kisses and it makes her relax then, steady with anticipation. Her legs fall open and her eyes flutter closed as Santana kisses the inner seam of one thigh, walking her fingers up the other, higher and higher until—
“Please, baby,” Brittany whimpers and the word is so rushed, so sudden, that she almost doesn't hear it. Santana stops in shock, pulling back too quickly and leaving a hickey in her wake.
She gulps and kisses the bruised spot softly, head fuzzy and full of love. “Say that again,” she whispers, a little choked up. She gets it now, why it made Brittany so dazed. It kind of makes Santana feel like she might be the most precious thing in the world.
Brittany's flutter open but she doesn't look at her. She gulps. “Please,” she whispers and her cheeks blush impossibly pink.
“Please what?” Santana whispers, cheek pressed to her thigh, staring up to her. Brittany gulps nervously. She thinks she's said the wrong thing. Santana kisses her knee, long and hard. “Say it,” she begs. “Say it again.”
Brittany whimpers and looks down at her. “Please, baby,” she breathes, eyes fluttering. “Please, don't stop.”
Santana shakes her head adamantly and kisses more purposefully. She darts her way up to the apex of Brittany's thighs, to where she's wet and warm and intoxicating, and hums out a groan.
“I'm never going to stop,” she whispers throatily and then her mouth is on her, tasting the one thing she never thought she'd taste again.
Her mouth works against her with no intentions other than to taste her and have her overwhelm her senses. She tastes just how Santana remembered, just how she would recall when she swallowed at the memory of it. She gasps against her, the echoes of Brittany's whimpers in her ears better than any cry she released last time.
They're quiet and just for her and for her alone, quiet thanks and begs that tell Santana to keep going.
And she does, even after Brittany comes the first time, body tensing silently and barely relaxing before Santana is on her again, licking and sucking and pulling things from her that she's never wanted from anyone else, things like need and desperation, want and hunger. Brittany whimpers her name, calls her Santana, Baby like she's been doing it ever since they met.
(Maybe she has. Santana knows that she'd silently beg Brittany, Baby, please in her head before she ever said it out loud. Maybe Brittany did too.
She hopes she did.)
Brittany comes a second time with Santana's hands pushing her legs wider, her tongue buried inside of her and her own moans vibrating against Brittany's softness. Brittany tugs her hair onto the top of her head after that, holds her head still as she bucks into her face in a way that makes Santana want to growl with arousal and pin her hips to the bed afterward with an arm thrown over her pelvis as her left hand comes up to join her mouth.
When she comes again, it's with Santana's tongue lapping at her clit and her fingers inside of her. The fourth time comes so quickly it might not even be the fourth at all and Santana looks up when Brittany starts laughing, except it doesn't sound like a laugh. It's some ridiculous mix between laughing and crying and when Santana goes to descend her mouth on her again she actually does chuckle a little and tell her not to, pulling her back to her mouth and kissing herself from Santana's lips.
“You're good at that,” she whispers gently against her mouth and then Santana turns her head as she draws Santana's fingers into her mouth to clean them. It makes her quake with the need for release but Brittany's hand stroking through her hair feels too good to pull away.
It's the best of both worlds when Brittany just rolls them to their sides and continues stroking her hair before trailing her other hand down her side. Santana takes a deep breath as Brittany draws her thigh up over her hip, slick with sweat and moisture, before reaching down between her legs.
Santana's head falls back as two fingers ease inside of her without preamble and her hips begin a slow and steady pump into them with the rhythm of Brittany's movements. Brittany smiles at her and sucks at her bottom lip, her jaw, as Santana stares into her eyes, feeling like she's falling into them when she get gets pushed off the edge.
“Again,” she has no fears asking once her heart rate has slowed but Brittany's still buried to the hilt inside of her.
Brittany just nods and starts moving inside of her, telling her how beautiful she is as Santana clutches at her, pulling her closer.
She never wants to stop doing this.
It's with disbelief that she realizes she doesn't have to.
“What time is it?”
Santana pulls back from where her mouth is pressed low on Brittany's pelvis and takes a moment to try and figure out if she can tell, just from the way the light hits Brittany's skin. She figures it's still kind of early because it's making her look ethereal, like some sort of angel, and she's glowing from the low embers of release that still burn in her stomach.
She could look at the clock but Brittany's soft and supple underneath her and it doesn't seem worth the turn of her head.
Instead, she shrugs and leans down to graze her teeth over the protrusion of Brittany's hip, kissing there after.
Brittany giggles, throaty and tired. Santana smiles as she shifts a little, knowing that it tickles. That's why she does it again, her fingers drumming in the same spot on the other hip.
“You're impossible,” Brittany giggles and if she was exhausted before, she definitely is now. Her body lays limp, horizontal against the foot of the bed. With her head hanging back over the side of the bed, she silently looks out at the barely-there view of the ocean that can be seen beyond the balcony.
Santana traces a heart with her nose on Brittany's skin. “I think you mean awesome,” she mumbles.
It makes Brittany giggle some more. “That too,” she whispers and her leg shifts until her foot presses against Santana's thigh. She holds a hand to the top of her breast as she leans up a little to look down at her. The other pushes Santana's hair from her face so that she can see her, still kissing her abdomen like she's been doing for the past half hour. “You're kind of obsessed with that, huh?” she teases, finger curving over Santana's cheek. “I think you missed me.”
Santana nods at that, her nose stroking in a way that makes the muscles tighten. She does it again, kissing them when they flutter visibly. “Mhm,” she whispers. “I did.”
The muscles tighten again, but not because Santana's touching them. She presses her cheek to them anyway and listens to Brittany breathe, soft and steady and sure. Brittany quietly plays with her hair.
“I missed you,” Brittany whispers and her voice is timid, like the words she's about to say are heavy and she's struggling with the weight of them. “Being in Lima isn't the same without you... it was kind of scary.”
Santana reaches up until she can press her hand against Brittany's tummy beside her cheek, her thumb rubbing steadily. Brittany goes on and her stomach muscles tighten again but they don't loosen; they stay that way like they're waiting for something before they let go. Brittany's voice changes because of it.
“Like, I was sitting there and it was like nothing felt right,” she whispers. “Like, the air was too dusty and it was like I couldn't breathe and the sun wasn't the right color yellow so I didn't want to see it. I missed you and I missed the sunshine here and I missed the sea air and how it makes your hair go extra curly and smell good.” Her fingers toy with the ends of her hair. Santana feels her shift awkwardly. “Do you—do you think that's what it'll be like in California?”
And there is it, the punch line, the important part. Santana presses her cheek further into Brittany's skin and takes a deep breath. “Why do you ask, Britt Britt?” she whispers.
Brittany takes a deep breath. Her stomach feels as hard as a rock. “Because... because...” Santana feels her shift some more, her muscles quivering. Her hand strokes over the soft spot at the back of Santana's skull. “Because I'd like to go with you... and find out.”
Brittany actually jolts, shudders, when Santana quickly pulls away from her. Her eyes go wide and terrified and her hands flail in the air. Santana takes both of them shifting until she can rope one around her shoulders and tangle her fingers in the other. Brittany relaxes but not enough, not even when Santana rests her head on her shoulder and presses her nose against the join of Brittany's jaw.
“You'd go to California with me?” Santana asks softly. Brittany grips her her fingers tighter and nods. She looks terrified. Santana watches her wearily. She lifts Brittany's hand until it curls above her, both their hands tucked onto her shoulder. “Why?”
Brittany's eyes flutter, sparkling with tears. Santana can just see how hard she's trying. She's seen that look before, painted on Brittany's face when she asked her to talk about feelings. It's worse now. Things mean more than that now but Brittany's not used to being the kind of person selfish enough to ask for the things she really wants.
Santana wants her to be.
Santana groans lowly and shifts closer to her. “Britt Britt,” she warns.
Brittany blinks. “Because—because...” she sniffs a little and shakes her head. “I don't want to learn who I'd be without you,” she says in a whisper. Santana moves closer. “Because I don't want to know what my life would be like without you in it every day and I just...”
Santana smiles a little. “Is that why you avoided me when you found out about Stanford?” Santana asks.
Brittany nods. “I just—I just... I felt silly because I never thought you'd want to leave me behind,” she shakes her head. “Even though I was so sure that you'd figure me out one day or something,” she shakes her head. “I still always thought it would be me and you, wherever we go. Even if you were with someone else or, I don't know... I don't know... And then you were going to California and you didn't ask me to come with you and I just... I thought it would be easier if I pulled away. I thought I'd miss you less but I—but I can't...”
Santana leans up on her elbow to look at her, breathes unsteadily in at the desperate need on Brittany's face. She rolls away from her without a second thought. She just needs that face to never be in front of her eyes again. She needs to remove it from her permanently so it never comes back. Brittany flinches and Santana can feel blue eyes on her as she fumbles around in the night stand, taking out the old cigar box and opening it. She finds what she need quickly before moving back to Brittany, leaning up on an elbow to look down at her.
“I don't want you to come to California with me,” she says plainly, nervously.
She's unprepared for the way that Brittany's face falls instantly a tear rolling down her cheek. She pushes forward quickly, nodding and shaking her head at the same time disappointment and sadness become the only discernible emotions on her face.
“Okay,” she whispers and chokes in a breath. “Can I ask why not?”
Santana shrugs and she reaches for the space between their bodies where she put the things she needs for this. “Because I want you to follow your dreams,” she explains and she presses the folded printed out pieces of paper onto Brittany's stomach for her to look at.
Brittany looks down at them before reaching for them wearily, eyes still messy with tears. She says nothing as she picks them up, looks almost reluctant as she unfolds them sheepishly and then breathes out in disbelief when she sees what's written on them. She shakes her head straight away and tries to force them back at Santana.
“No, no,” she whispers. “I can't... no, Santana,” she says woefully. “I can't do that. I can't.”
“Yes, you can,” Santana tells her, leaning into her. “You can do anything you want to, but this especially. You're kind of made to do this.”
Brittany breathes out and tears roll down her cheeks. She shakes her head again and nuzzles into the nose that presses to her cheek.
“But, Santana...” she sighs and then her hand reaches up for Santana's cheek. “You'd be so far away,” she whispers.
That makes Santana smile. “You could do it anyway,” she says just as quietly. “But you don't have to worry about that.”
Brittany pouts. “Yes, I do. I love you.”
Santana smirks, proud and happy and hopeful. “Do you want to hear a secret?” she says softly. Brittany looks at her like she's being ridiculous. Santana smiles and then kisses her cheek. “Do you?”
She's glad when Brittany nods.
“I... never applied to Stanford,” Santana says carefully, shaking her head. Brittany frowns. “There's no official thing. My parents dragged me to dinner with this old alumni guy and I didn't realize it was happening until I got this letter with the Stanford logo in the corner saying that they'd be glad to help me in any way they could in applying,” she laughs. “I had no control over it. I had a stack of college brochures of all the best colleges and it was around the time that you started dating Artie and I just didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to pick and they were pressuring me, and my abuela was there because it was Thanksgiving and she just asked me where I wanted to go like that was the only thing I needed to worry about.” Brittany frowns confused. Santana laughs. “I told her I didn't know but she could see me lying from a mile away. Always could. Coaxed it out of me then and there.”
“I want to go to the University of Miami,” Santana cuts through her quickly and Brittany's expression widens. “Always have, since I was a little kid. It's where my abuelo went and where my abuela trained to be a nurse and I just... That's where I want to go.” Her face falls a little then and she swallows back her own tears. “I wanted to go there even more when I saw how awesome their marine biology program was,” she chokes and her hand falls to cover the papers still resting on Brittany's stomach. “Because, even when I was freaking eight years-old and wearing my 'Canes jersey, I never planned to leave you behind. Not ever.”
Brittany's dumbfounded. She just looks at Santana like she's not really there, or she's imagining it until Santana leans down and kisses her quickly to remind her that she isn't. Brittany blinks and shakes her head a little, mouth opening and closing in confusion.
“There's something else, though,” she whispers and she doesn't know why it's so important. She guesses it isn't, she's just... She's still trying to get her head around it and sometimes, when that happens, all it takes is Brittany to set her straight. Her face falls.
Brittany takes a deep breath, like it might be bad. “What?”
Santana reaches her hand to stroke at Brittany's cheek. “After my abuela managed to get it out of me that that's where I want to go, she made fill in these forms and write these letters so that I'd have a better chance, except...” Santana pauses. “I threw it in the trash.” Brittany's brow furrows. “I got scared again,” she says softly. “I didn't even want to think about going there unless you were coming too, so I just... I stopped.”
Blue eyes grow a little darker as Brittany tries to think, worrying over everything in her head.
“Oh,” she nods and Santana's glad that there's a little bit of disappointment there. “Can—can you not still apply this year?”
Santana bites back her smile. “Yeah...” she whispers. “But don't worry about it.”
Brittany grips at her hand and kisses her palm quickly. “Santana, I don't understand. You're scaring me. What are you trying to say?”
Santana just passes her another piece of paper. Brittany takes a deep breath before opening it. When she does open it, she does it slowly. Santana watches her read it again, just for good measure and then— “You got in?” she says slowly, her head turns quickly. “What? How did you get in if you didn't apply?”
Santana shrugs like it's nothing. “Abuela,” she whispers.
“Applied for you?”
“Found the stuff I tossed before she went back home and sent it anyway,” she whispers proudly. “At least, that's what she said in the letter she sent me.” She's glad Brittany asks no questions about that. “She said that I was stupid and I needed to stop being so scared all the time and that I needed to stop running away. She said that I'd never be happy otherwise.” She glances at Brittany. “I can see her point,” she whispers and then shrugs it off. “And I mean... I haven't really got in. Not yet. There's still a ton of stuff I need to do but...”
“They want you,” Brittany whispers, her eyes littering over the letter again. There's something growing there, hidden behind trepidation and Santana can see that it's her last hurdle.
“Come with me,” she breathes before she can stop herself. It's the only card she has left to show.
Brittany sighs hopelessly, even as a smile tugs at the corners of her mouth. Santana doesn't like it. She doesn't like insecurity. She throws a leg over her hips and hovers over her, pressing their foreheads together, determined and scared at the same time. She's desperate when one of her hands comes up to cup Brittany's cheek, holding her there so she can't look away.
“Come with me,” she whispers, begs almost, but she doesn't care. This is all she's wanted since she was eight years old or maybe even younger. This is all she's wanted and she's so close to having it she doesn't care what she has to do. It doesn't seem so far away. Any struggles they might have don't feel like they'd be any harder than taking a steep walk up a hill. “Please come with me, Britt Britt. Please.”
Brittany's face falls. “Santana...” she whispers, arms wrapping around her. She doesn't sound convinced. Santana clutches her cheeks desperately but Brittany shakes her head. “I'm not smart enough, Santana...” she whispers.
Santana shakes her head adamantly. “Bullshit,” she whispers. “You're the smartest person I know.”
She's glad that makes Brittany smile, if only for a second. Santana clutches her tighter, eyes flickering all over her face in desperation.
“Please, Britt,” she breathes and her voice hitches. “Please.”
Brittany looks up at her through her eyelashes. “Why?”
Santana speaks without even thinking because it's the easiest thing in the world. It has always been the easiest and most obvious thing in the world.
“Because I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” she says hurriedly and then her breath gives up on her a little. “I could swill you some trash about how I couldn't live without you but it's not true.” Brittany's brow furrows. “It's not. I could live without you. I could. It's a fact. It's science. But that isn't the point. It's the fact that I don't want to. I don't want to do any of this without you. I could go off to college and then I could wait some more to start my life with you but what is the damn point in that? What's the damn point? I could become a doctor anywhere. I could. I could go to Stanford, I could go to freaking Washington, I could go to the freaking other side of the world if I wanted to be a doctor that badly, but I don't. I want to be with you that badly,” she sighs out.
Brittany takes a deep breath and her eyes soften like she's seeing her for the first time all over again.
“I just... I saw you,” she whispers. “I saw you that day when we were kids and you told me you wanted to be a marine biologist and I just knew, I just knew...”
“That I didn't care what I did unless I knew that you were happy,” she breathes. “I just knew. And you're right, I believe in you. I believe that you can do anything. You wanna dance for the rest of your life? Fine. We'll do it. You want us to get dead end jobs and just be together. Perfect. But I saw that joy in your face when you swam with those dolphins and I meant it. You can do anything and I want to be there to see it, okay? So just... come with me to Miami. Be a marine biologist and believe in both of us.”
Brittany pulls her closer, hands on her cheeks until she can press their lips together. She sighs against her and shakes her head.
“But what if I can't get in and I disappoint you?” she says quietly, secretly. “What if I promise to come with you and then something happens and I get stuck somewhere without you? I don't want to let you down.”
Santana pulls her forward and kisses her hard and fast, mouth open and certain against hers. “The only way that you could ever let me down is if you didn't even try,” she whispers. “But think about it Britt Britt. Don't you think it would be worth it? Just to try? To take the risk? We can spend our lives together...”
Just saying it out loud makes Santana's breath hitch. She's relieved it makes Brittany's breath hitch too.
“You—you really think I can do it?” Brittany whispers.
Santana nods her head. “I know you can do anything,” she breathes and it's so close now she can feel it. She can feel it. “I know it.”
Brittany tilts her head back and then nods.
Santana's eyes widen, a smile blooming on her face. “Yeah?” she asks.
Brittany nods and a smile, just as wide as her own, breaks through the insecurity.
“Yeah,” she repeats and then Santana's kissing her as she tries to speak, as she laughs fondly at her reaction. Brittany pushes her back and holds her close, nodding. “Okay. Let's spend our lives together.”
Santana sobs but she's never been happier.
Brittany pinches her. It makes her yelp.
She rolls off of her so that she can rub the spot on the back of her arm where she's seen Brittany pinch her brother a million times before. It really fucking hurts and she looks at Brittany in shock as she tries to make the sting go away, her eyes wide as Brittany rolls over and leans up on her arm beside her.
“What the heck was that for?!” she asks and she wants to be angry but she's kind of just really hurt that Brittany would pinch her.
Brittany shakes her head fondly with a goofy little smile on her face. She leans to brush the tip of her nose over Santana's quickly before kissing it.
“I was getting sick of that look on your face,” Brittany whispers.
Santana frowns with curiosity. “What look?”
Brittany brings a hand up and taps her on the cheek. “That look,” she says softly.
That makes Santana smile. “Would you be willing to explain this look so I can do something about it so you don't pinch me again?”
Brittany shakes it off. “The pinch wasn't for my benefit; it was for yours,” she says softly. “You look as confused as Finn,” she giggles. “Your brain is working so hard I can hear it whirring and I guessed that you were probably wondering if this is all real because I've been thinking the same thing. That's why I pinched you. It seemed like more fun than pinching myself and I was totally right.”
Her smile grows mischievous and Santana pouts at the same time that she tries not to smirk at how adorable Brittany is. She continues to rub her arm and takes the sudden littering of kisses that Brittany covers her face with happily. Her nose scrunches when Brittany sucks a kiss to the tip of it and Santana does as she's told when Brittany taps her on the elbow. She allows herself to be guided onto her front and shivers a little when Brittany kisses over the same place she pinched.
“Sorry,” she whispers once she's laved her tongue over the spot too. Open-mouthed kisses linger up and over her shoulder and then Santana shivers when a nose traces patterns down her spine. She curls her arms up around her head to lean on and waits as Brittany makes aimless patterns over the skin of her back with her mouth. It feels nice and she sighs out happily when Brittany kisses the back of her neck. “It is real, though, right?” Brittany whispers in her ear.
Santana lets her eyes flutter back open and turns her head a little more.
“It feels real,” she shrugs.
Brittany rests her cheek between her shoulder blades.
“That's what makes me think it isn't,” she says. Santana nods and her eyes close again when the backs of Brittany's fingers reach to stroke from the elbow she's resting on, all the way down her arm, her shoulder, over her ribcage before lingering back over the base of her back. “You feel too real all of a sudden. Everything feels completely real and... possible...”
A hand curves over Santana's ass to her thigh and her breath hitches as it crawls back up the inside and fails to pause as fingers instantly toy between her legs. She feels herself lurch forward at the feel of it.
She lets herself fall into the sensation for a moment, hips twitching as she gets used to the overwhelming feel of it teamed with Brittany's words. It's pathetic how easily pliant she becomes, how with a kiss between her shoulder blades Santana lets Brittany worm a hand underneath her. Brittany rolls them back onto their sides, an arm over her breasts as she weighs one in her hand.
Brittany moves to kiss her neck and Santana kicks at the sheet wrapped around their legs. It's not enough and Brittany's smile against her ear, her fingers rolling over a nipple, is excruciating in the best way. She breathes out and shudders.
“It feels nice...” Brittany starts but Santana nods before she can finish. It makes Brittany giggle against her ear. “It feels nice,” she tries again, “being sure.”
She doesn't argue when Santana takes her hand from behind her and draws it around her hip. Brittany rubs at her clit the minute that Santana guides it there and everything feels so tangible that it's overwhelming.
“I've been sure that I'll love you forever for a really long time,” Brittany mumbles and Santana doesn't know if she's trying to distract her from the words she's saying or trying to remind her how true they are. Santana grips at Brittany's wrist to keep her where she is regardless, the other hand reaching behind her to find Brittany's ass, her shoulder and just keep her there. “But it's nice...” Brittany whispers. “Being sure that I'll have you forever too.” She giggles. Santana wants her to get her head in the game at the same time that she doesn't want her to ever stop talking. “I can feel it. Can you feel it?” she whispers. Santana moans. It's enough for Brittany. “Me and you, forever and ever and ever.”
Santana's orgasm catches her off guard, the force of it shocking and intense in a way that has her eyelids wide open as they roll back into her head.
Brittany reaches up to tilt her head to kiss her without another word.
“Did you hear me?” she whispers against her lips.
Santana nods. She kisses Brittany breathlessly, sucking on her bottom lip as she steals the truth from them, as precious and pure as liquid gold.
“Forever and ever and ever,” she repeats. Brittany nods and doesn't need to say anything else.
They fall asleep sometime around noon but Santana wakes up an hour or so later and just lays with Brittany, content to watch her sleep. Brittany wakes up a few hours later, when the sun is warm and burnt into the sky, and her eyes are barely open when she's rolling them over so she can snuggle into Santana's neck.
“Morning, baby,” she says, light and breathy and perfect.
Santana pushes blond hair from her face and chuckles. “I think it's still daytime,” she says softly and presses kisses to her forehead until Brittany shifts to find her mouth. She kisses her quickly and then watches as Brittany licks her lips afterward. “Did you have a nice sleep?” Brittany nods. “That's good. I thought you were.”
Brittany smiles at that. “Did you watch me sleep?” she asks. Santana's only response is to kiss her nose. “Creeper,” she whispers with a teasing smile.
Santana rubs the sleep from Brittany's eyes as gently as she can, her fingers soft and careful. Brittany juts her chin out to help her.
“You're cute when you're asleep,” Santana admits. “Watching you sleep has been one of my favorite things to do forever.”
“It has?” Brittany asks, her eyes fluttering open a little. Santana nods and they close again.
“Mhm,” she says. “It was the only time I got to look at you enough.”
Her cheeks pink a little but it's worth the crack in her voice when Brittany pulls her closer and snuggles deeper. She doesn't know whether she's glad or disappointed when someone knocks on the door. She just pulls Brittany closer to her and tries to grab the sheets.
“Who is it?” she calls, struggling, glad when Brittany just scratches her ear and then grabs them for her. Santana tucks them around them and listens carefully, glad when she hears one of the few voices she could handle right now.
“It's me,” Bobby says and he sounds exhausted. “Can I come in? Are you decent?”
Santana falters a little. Does naked but for a sheet and a blanket made of his sister count as decent?
“Not really,” Brittany grumbles a moment later, answering for them. “But I'm not getting dressed or getting up so make your choice, Pierce.” Santana buries her nose into the top of Brittany's head to hide her smile. “You can come in and maybe see more than you want to or leave. Leaving would be nice.”
Santana swats at her backside with the arm wrapped around her. Brittany's sleepy laugh is the best thing in the world.
“Come in, Bobby,” she says around a chuckle.
It turns into a proper full-bodied laugh when the first thing Bobby says, as he wanders through the threshold, is, “Your friends argue a lot.”
Neither of them says anything when he flops down onto his back at the foot of the bed, although Santana does clutch the covers up around her chest a little tighter.
“What are they doing now?”
Bobby doesn't answer right away. Santana leans up a little to see him snuggling into the softness of the mattress and groaning at what she assumes is pain in his back.
“That tall guy...” he says eventually. “The really unnaturally tall one who keeps glaring at the really nice guy with the blond hair, is getting really, really insistent that everyone leaves in like... the next twenty minutes. Shit, is this mattress like really good or is that couch in the second floor living room made of knives or something?”
“You slept on the couch?” Santana asks at the same time that Brittany sniggers and says, “Deal with it.”
Bobby looks hurt and flicks the bottom of Brittany's foot. “I got you here, didn't I?” he says with a scoff.
Brittany turns to him and grins. It takes away the grumpiness from him instantly. He flicks her foot again except he throws his arm over both of their ankles afterward.
“So what's happening?” Santana asks once they've both settled down.
Bobby doesn't look up at them. “Oh, they're arguing about when they should leave. Yeah, the tall kid seems to have like... convinced half of them that everyone should be leaving now that, well...” he pauses to rub Santana's ankle. “...well, now that your grandmother's funeral is over.” Brittany reaches up to kiss her cheek quickly. She manages to smile. “Anyway, he seems to have this weird... leader... thing going on. I don't know, but he's fought with at least four people in the last couple of hours and it's making me dizzy.”
“That happens,” Brittany giggles. “Who wants to stay and who wants to go?”
“Artie and Quinn are pretty determined, and the blond guy and... Rachel, is it?” They both nod. “Everyone else is kind of indifferent but I just wanted to come up here to let you know that I actually do need to get going.”
Santana feels Brittany sit up quickly and grapples for the sheet to make sure that it covers both of them. She sits up and presses her chest against Brittany's back, her chin on her shoulder as she watches Brittany look down at Bobby in a panic.
“We can't go!” she says quickly, voice tripping over itself. Santana wraps an arm around her as quickly as she can when she feels the panic break her voice. “We can't go yet! I can't go yet! I only just got here.”
Bobby shakes his head at her, eyes wide with the sudden outburst. He rubs her ankle gently before leaning up on his elbows. “I didn't say you had to go anywhere,” he says soothingly. “I said I had to go.”
“But Mom and Dad said—”
“—that you could stay with Santana until she comes back as long as you call them twice a day?” Bobby finishes for her. “Yes, that's exactly what they said when I called them up this morning and spoke to them.”
Brittany breathes out and Santana squeezes her softly with a smile. Bobby catches it and smirks at both of them. There's too much pride in his expression for Santana to handle along with everything else.
“Anyway,” he says as he edges off the bed. “I just thought I'd come let you know that if those kids do decide to leave then I'll probably hitch a ride with them. It might drive me to murder but... it'll save me some cash that I could otherwise use to get back to New Haven. Masters degrees don't pay for themselves.”
He grins at them as he gets to the door. Brittany turns her head to look at Santana, face shyly buried into her shoulder.
“But yeah, sorry to intrude, my little bees...” Santana's pretty sure he hasn't called them that since they were thirteen. He's almost out of the door when he turns back. “Oh, Quinn said that if I was dumb enough to interrupt what's going on in here then the least I could do is let you know that she and Rachel are fixing dinner for everyone in case they do decide to leave. Something about... I don't know. I wasn't listening.”
Santana frowns. “Does Quinn still stare at your hair like she wants to cut pieces of it off when she looks at you?” she asks curiously. “Or has that stopped now?”
Bobby considers it. “No,” he says after a moment. “She still does it. And she still calls me Big Brother Bobby. But anyway...” he nods. “I'll leave you to it. Dinner's at nine.”
Silence falls the minute that the pair of them step into the kitchen. Brittany's hand squeezes a little in hers and she feels her cheeks pink when too many curious pairs of eyes turn in their direction. She ignores them in favor of glancing back at Brittany and gesturing for her to follow.
“YOU MADE IT!” Rachel says happily and then she's hugging Santana quickly and catching Brittany's arm in the process.
Santana laughs awkward and tugs at the bottom of the first shirt she could find when she was getting dressed. It just so happened to be Brittany's that she found tangled up in the pillows and didn't even pause to pull it on. Brittany had proudly grabbed her Fleetwood Mac one and yanked it over her head. Santana didn't really care. It was just another one of those things that she's happy she's able to do now.
“We were only upstairs,” she giggles softly. “Not like... on the moon.”
Rachel gives them a smile. “Yes, but... I would completely understand if you didn't want to, considering that...” She nods at Brittany. “It would just be understandable if you could think of better things to do.”
Santana laughs awkwardly. “Britt was hungry.”
Quinn comes up then and grabs Rachel by the shoulders. “That makes sense then,” she says softly. “Rachel, leave them alone. The water's boiling over.” She gestures to the pair of them. “What do you want to drink?”
“Where's Bobby?” Brittany asks once Rachel calls them all outside to the table and they're the last ones to get there. She steadies herself on Santana's waist as she trips out of the door and Santana reaches for her, grabbing her hand to hold onto her.
Rachel smiles at them fondly, before answering.
“He went to Frank's,” she says softly as she hands Quinn the rest of the plates to place at the other end of the table where Finn is. “I think we're a bit much for him,” she smiles.
Santana pulls Brittany down into the empty chair beside her and pulls them closer together. Brittany rests a hand on her leg without even really thinking about it, her eyes too engrossed in looking at the food in the middle of the table to care.
“You're all a bit much for anyone to handle,” she reminds them fondly as she tucks her fingers around Brittany's. Her eyes catch the large array of food covering the huge table and widen. “Jesus Christ, Rachel, what the hell did you make?”
Rachel takes the towel from over her shoulder and begins taking the lids from all the dishes in front of them. Santana isn't even sure if most of them are even from this house.
“Tacos!” she says happily. “I thought it was fitting.”
Brittany bursts into giggles beside her as Santana's eyes widen in shock. Quinn holds her face in her hand as everyone else looks like they're not sure if they should laugh or not.
“Fitting because Lopez is getting some t—” Puck starts with a leer but Quinn throws a piece of corn bread at him before he can finish it.
“Not the time or the place, Puckerman,” Quinn warns even though she's smiling.
Santana glances up at Rachel, trying to stop her cheeks from going any more red as Brittany still giggles beside her.
“I don't get it...” Rachel says softly.
Santana just reaches for her hands and drags her into the chair beside her.
“Don't worry about it.”
Santana doesn't say anything when Rachel stands up in her chair and grabs her glass. She doesn't have the heart to, not when Rachel's trying so hard and no way when she's had two glasses of leftover champagne. She just steadies her when she stumbles a little and makes sure she doesn't spill her third glass.
“Considering that our thirteen will become six tomorrow as many of you are all heading home...” Santana catches Quinn's eyes across the table and shakes her head slightly, fond smiles barely hidden. “...I would like to make a toast. So if you would all raise your glasses, that would be great and I'll begin.”
Slowly, twelve more glasses raise in the air. Some of them water, some of them champagne and some of them higher than others, but they raise nonetheless. Santana refuses to let go of Brittany's hand but instead squeezes it tighter as they both raise their glasses.
“I'd like us all to raise a glass to an interesting... eventful... and incredibly enlightening...” She looks at Santana with a smirk. “...Taco and Burger Tour of America 2011.”
Santana bursts out laughing instantly and shakes her head as she feels tears roll into the corners of her eyes. It's a nice change to have them keep turning up for happy reasons. She can't believe how reluctantly fond she is of all these fools. She honestly can't.
“No...” she says and shakes her head. “No, I think you mean The First Annual New Directions Key West Vacation,” she says with a smirk. Rachel's eyes soften immediately. Somewhere nearby, Quinn lets out a little happy laugh. Santana shrugs and looks around at them all. “I mean, that's what it is, right?”
Rachel nods and then Santana looks around as all of them slowly nod in agreement, their smiles growing and beaming at her. The biggest one is Brittany who looks at her like she's the best thing ever.
“Is that an invitation for us all to come back?” Puck asks with that damn goofy smirk of his.
Santana rolls her eyes and shrugs. “What's the point of having a house this big if you can't invite your friends to stay?”
Rachel presses a hand to her shoulder and squeezes. Santana feels her excitement rushing through into her own body and then into Brittany's.
“To The First Annual New Directions Key West Vacation!” Rachel whoops and they all repeat her, their glasses clinking as they all meet in the middle of the table.