|I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Author: Guyana Rose PM
Santana loses her song after witnessing her friends die. Rachel gives it back to her, sealed with a kiss. Pezberry Week Day 2: First Kiss.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Santana L. & Rachel B. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,716 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 08-22-12 - Published: 02-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7821446
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Author: Guyana Rose
Pairing: Santana Lopez & Rachel Berry
Word Count: 2,302
Summary: Santana loses her song after witnessing her friends die. Rachel gives it back to her, sealed with a kiss. Pezberry Week, Day 2: First Kiss.
A/N: I will admittedly say that I'm skeptical about this one. I originally had another Alicia Keys song in mind for today's theme, but I couldn't ground my thoughts well enough to put something together. So I went back to my playlist and for some reason Caged Bird caught my eye and everything seemed to pop into place. With that said this fic is on the sad side, which is why I'm so skeptical because a couple's first kiss should be a happy affair but … it just didn't work out that way.
Prompt: Pezberry Week, Day 2: First Kiss
Disclaimer: I own only the story itself, Glee belongs to R.I.B. & Caged Bird belongs to Alicia Keys.
If I did own Glee, Pezberry & Quinncedes would've been on since Season 1.
Please read & review
Chapter 1 - Breakaway
It's been a rough few months for New Directions; for McKinley High period. It was all because of the Skanks. A rag tag bundle of teenage angst mixed with too much hatred and well hidden hurts. They'd started off their school year well enough; they'd managed to bring the most popular girl in school into their fold. Even though Quinn had had her ups and downs, she still had status. With Quinn in their ranks the Skanks were set much higher on the social ladder. But a couple of months later, Brittany happened. She pleaded with Quinn to step away from her dark side, and Quinn did as the girl asked because that's what you do for someone that you're in love with. The Skanks were not happy. While Quinn rejoined New Directions, they were returned to their former low level status. They retaliated.
All four girls walked into school late on a Friday and stood in the halls waiting for the bell to ring. While they had specific targets, they wanted the maximum amount of casualties. Two girls were on the first floor, and the other two were on the second floor. When the bell rang students streamed into the hallway. No one really paid attention to the girls standing stock still in the middle of the halls; no one but Quinn. She was standing just a few feet from one of them. She watched the girl's eyes roam through the sea of students and then panicked when she saw who her eyes had stopped on. Quinn screamed Brittany's name when she saw the gun being drawn, but she was too late.
Brittany was walking down the hall beside Santana. Santana was the couple's sassy best friend; you rarely saw any one of them without the others. The smile on Santana's face was quickly erased when Brittany's blood sprayed across her cheek. The bullet had hit the blonde's forehead and left a gaping hole in the back of her skull. She was dead before her body hit the ground. Santana was oblivious to the screaming around her as she stood staring wide-eyed at her friend's lifeless body. Quinn was yelling at her to run as she wrestled with the girl that had just killed her girlfriend, but Santana couldn't hear her. She didn't move until a fellow member of New Directions noticed her and tried to get her to safety.
Santana finally became aware of what her eyes were seeing and she saw Quinn on the floor trying to get control of the gun. She started to pull away from Mike so she could help Quinn, but he wouldn't let her go. The Skank the blonde was fighting knew what endgame she wanted. She pushed and rolled until Quinn's back was to the floor and she lay on top of Quinn with her back pressed to the blonde's front. She maneuvered the gun right over her heart and pulled the trigger. Santana heard the shot and she saw Quinn's body jerk. She screamed her friend's name as she watched her arms drop lifeless to the floor. She finally lets Mike pull her away.
By the end of the whole ordeal fifteen other students, including the Skanks, and five teachers are reported dead. Thirty others had sustained injuries. McKinley High School closed down for two weeks.
When classes restarted, grief counselors were called in to talk to the students and faculty members. For most the counseling worked. A few teachers retired and a handful of students decided to transfer.
The students that formed New Directions lost three of their own: Quinn, Brittany, and their co-coach Will. Principal Figgins sat in on the group's first practice together since the shooting. He asked the remaining coach if she wanted a replacement for Will, but he had chosen his words poorly. When he found his face stinging from the slap Shelby dealt him, he realized his error and apologized profusely. While the group realized they would have to find new members if they wanted to continue to compete, there would be no replacing anyone.
Over the next few weeks everyone found their song again. It started with Tina and Mercedes, who brought tears to everyone's eyes as they sang When You Believe. The Prince of Egypt was a movie the girls of New Directions would always watch on their ladies nights. Rachel sang a song with Shelby; Shelby had made it a point to get to know her daughter better. The woman had realized time was a precious commodity not to be wasted. One by one or by duets they all found their song; all but Santana. It became a growing concern. If a song was chosen for practice she was there. She hit every note and learned every step. But months after the shootings, Santana still had yet to complete a Glee assignment or participate in any ladies night gatherings. She walked the halls of McKinley as menacingly as ever, but she never said a word unless spoken to.
Everyone noticed, everyone asked; but Santana's show-face was flawless. She laughed and smiled when needed, threw out a snappy comment as necessary, and pushed a freshman or two out of her way. It fooled everyone, or so she thought. Rachel had been silently watching Santana since school started back. And by her calculations, she hadn't heard Santana genuinely laugh or seen her smile reach her eyes since everyone returned to school. As more time went on Rachel noticed less and less venom in Santana's insults. Santana's sneer was ever present when shoving freshman around, but her eyes were always apologetic.
It was always Santana's expressive chocolate eyes that told Rachel what the girl was really feeling. At first it was just concern that kept her watching, but it grew to something much stronger and it was killing Rachel to see the light in Santana's eyes slowly going out. She didn't know what to do to help her.
One Friday after school, Rachel stayed in the choir room later than usual. As she neared the auditorium she heard piano notes echoing in the air. She didn't think any students were still left in the building; it was Friday after all. But as she got closer she heard the music louder and louder. She walked into the large room as quietly as possible. The lights were dimmed, so it wasn't until she was halfway to the stage that she could tell it was Santana who was playing. Rachel quietly took a seat and listened.
Right now I feel like a bird
caged without a key.
Ev'ryone comes to stare at me
with so much joy and reverie.
They don't know how I feel inside.
Through my smile I cry.
Santana had spent countless hours with psychiatrists and grief counselors; all at the insistence of her father. She'd been made to try all types of pills and whatever else her father could find to try to fix her. He knew something was wrong, he just didn't know what. His intentions were good, but his methods were all wrong.
They don't know what they're doing to me,
keeping me from flying.
That's why I say that I know why
the caged bird sings.
Only joy comes from song.
She learned to fool even the best psychiatrists and learned how to hide the pills in her cheek so she could spit them out when her father left the room. She didn't want pills or people trying to tell her how she should feel. She was quiet on the outside, but she was raging on the inside. Santana Lopez was usually loud in any given situation. But her speech was stolen from her when she watched her two best friends get killed. She pulled away from her remaining friends because she was scared. Scared that they might be taken from her and she wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
She's so rare and beautiful to others.
Why not just set her free
so she can fly, fly, fly,
spreading her wings and her song?
Let her fly, fly, fly,
the whole world to see.
Rachel sat and listened in awe. Santana's voice was soft, but powerful. She'd missed the broken girl's smokey tones. She got up as quietly as she could and walked to the side of the stage that Santana had her back to. Her Converse sneakers were quiet as she walked up to Santana.
She's like a caged bird.
Fly, fly, ooh, just let her fly,
just let her fly, just let her fly,
Rachel stood for a moment just inches away from Santana, unsure of her actions. She swallowed past the lump in her throat and gently placed her hands on Santana's shoulders.
spread her wings,
spread beauty, mm.
Rachel had expected Santana to stop singing and pull away from her, but she didn't. She finished the song and then leaned back into Rachel's body with a sigh and closed her eyes.
"H-how … how did you know it was me?"
Santana didn't answer right away. It was still hard for her to say their names.
"Brittany," she whispered.
"When we were freshman me, her, and … and … Quinn were in my room and …"
She had to stop and take a breath, Rachel squeezed her shoulders and she found it easy to draw strength from the brunette's touch.
"Quinn and I were talking about why it was so hard to get your spirit down, because no matter what we did, you always came back with your head held high and that smile plastered to your face. Brittany said, that it was because you could see us … well, see through us. See through me. And she had it in her head that maybe you liked what you saw."
Hearing Santana's last sentence triggered something in Rachel's memory.
"That's what she meant."
"Quinn. She was the first person I told that Finn had proposed to me. Outside of all the obvious reasons why no should be my answer, she told me that for someone who sees so much, I'm really blind to what's good for me. And I get it now."
Santana swallowed and immediately missed the warmth of Rachel's body at her back when the brunette moved to sit next to her. Santana was afraid to look at her so she set her eyes on her hands resting in her lap, but she didn't miss the fact that Rachel chose to sit as close as she possibly could to her. When Rachel's hand caressed her face she felt the storm inside her calming and she leaned into the touch. She allowed Rachel to gently nudge her cheek until they're faces were barely centimeters apart.
"Maybe," Rachel whispered, "maybe we can help set each other free."
Santana hesitantly placed an arm around Rachel's waist as a small smile formed on her face and for the first time in months Rachel saw a barely there spark in her eyes.
"Maybe," Santana said breathily.
Rachel closed the gap between them and connected their lips. The kiss was soft but firm. It was a silent promise to each other, to always be there to catch the other when they're falling. As their kiss deepened Santana swore she heard Brittany and Quinn laughing and clapping in the background.
Monday afternoon during Glee practice Santana sang Breakaway with Rachel. They received a standing ovation and Santana got a round of hugs and a 'welcome back' from Shelby.
Years later when Santana recounts the story of her and her wife's first kiss to their granddaughter she also tells her how much she still misses her fallen friends, the young girl tells her something she didn't expect to hear.
"They miss you too abuela."
"Who does nieta?"
"Brittany and Quinn."
"How do you know that?"
"Well, remember when I was having nightmares all the time awhile ago? One night they sang to me and I stopped having the nightmares. Quinn said to tell you that they miss you too and Brittany said to tell you that she told you so. Sorry I forgot to tell you sooner."
Santana could only laugh. Only Brittany and Quinn could get away with playing matchmaker from beyond the grave.