Author Note: From a Glee Fic!Battle prompt on LJ, where one of the girls is on a sports team like soccer or cross country and the other girl publicly cheers for her at a game.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Your Own Way

Lying flat on her back and breathing hard is not a new experience for Santana. However, finding a blonde cheerleader staring down at her and nudging her hip with the toe of her shoe is.

"Are you okay?" the blonde asks quietly, pom-poms in hand. Santana wheezes and closes her eyes, hoping that some merciful god will take pity on her and put her out of her misery soon.

She never should have let Coach Evans convince her to do the four-hundred meter sprint because she's strictly a long-distance runner, not some beefy sprinter, and now she's lying on the grass on the inside of the track while the rest of the track meet continues without her, trying to catch her breath as the clatter of someone not-quite-clearing a hurdle elicits giggles from the cheerleaders in the bleachers.

At least she got first place. She can die happy knowing that.

"Do you need CCR?"

"CPR," Santana corrects breathlessly. "Go away."

The cheerleader drops her pom-poms and flops down onto the grass next to her, lying on her stomach with her chin propped up thoughtfully. Coach Evans is busy clocking in the hurdlers' times, and Coach Sylvester couldn't care less about one freshman cheerleader at a non-football game (varsity cheerleaders were assigned to popular, crowd-pleasing games like football, while freshmen were lucky to get a ten-minute cameo at track races or tennis matches), so Santana knows that no one is going to come to her rescue.

"I'm Brittany," the blonde offers, scooting close enough to brush against Santana's arm. Santana doesn't even have enough energy to recoil or sock her, because no one touches Santana Lopez. But she's at someone's mercy, and that calls for proper manners.

"Santana," she manages to gasp, as means of an introduction. "Why are you talking to me?"

"You run fast. I saw you," Brittany says cheerfully. She bats at Santana's ponytail, the dark locks splayed out in the grass. "And you have nice hair."

The brunette frowns and opens her eyes, swatting the girl's hand away. All she can see is wide, blue sky and a few wispy clouds turning a cotton-candy pink as the afternoon slips away. "Let me die in peace."

"You're not going to die," Brittany smiles. She retrieves one of the pom-poms and starts to pick at the red strands as Santana struggles to sit up. The world spins for a second before the dizziness passes, and she crosses her legs Indian-style as she moves to face the cheerleader.

"How do you know?"

"I won't let you."

Santana snorts disbelievingly. If willpower alone was enough to achieve half of her goals in life, she'd already be far, far away from Lima and betting her future on something more stable then an athletic scholarship. "That makes no sense whatsoever."

"Some things don't," Brittany agrees, meeting her eyes. Santana scowls, a flush working itself over her body, and turns her attention back to the track, where the final race, a thirty-two hundred meter test of endurance, is starting. That is where Santana belongs, slogging neck-to-neck through eight painful laps to put on a burst of speed at the finale and decisively crush her competitor's egos.

"Want to go eat at IHOP after?" Brittany asks spontaneously, rolling over onto her back. She slips her hands behind her head and stares up at the sky, and Santana makes the same grouchy face she always does when she's trying not to smile.

"Sure."

---

Despite Coach Sylvester forbidding cheering at any game other then football because she's still bitter about glee's success (they're on their way to nationals this year) and knows all about Santana and Brittany, the blonde always shows up, sometimes by herself and sometimes with a friend or two in tow, to cheer for the track team and, mainly, for Santana. But today she's alone, one small spot of black, white, and red in a crowd of people at Ohio state championships.

They're seniors and submitting college applications and finishing up their penultimate semester at WMHS, and Santana is cocky and full of herself because as she leaves the others in the dust and crosses that thirty-two hundred meter finish line first, she knows she's good.

Santana accepts a medal around her neck and congratulations that that don't register and stumbles off the track, struggling to catch her breath as Coach Evans prattles on about nationals and some recruiter offering a tentative scholarship to a state university. Thanks to glee and, goddam it, even thanks to Kurt, Santana doesn't pull away when Brittany bounds down the bleacher steps and pulls her close and they kiss, right in front of a crowd of rowdy Midwesterners and judges and maybe, if Santana can win nationals, potential sponsors.

And just like when they met the first time, Brittany is beautiful and Santana is breathless.