Author's Note: Written for ariestess for Fandom Stocking 2012.

For That Thick Silence in the Dark; Brittany/Santana, 375 words; rated: PG-13

The first time they kissed, it was tentative; a brief touch of the lips in the hot, lazy summer between eighth and ninth grade, laying in the hammock in Brittany's backyard, while they were supposed to be watching her younger brother for an hour. The kiss was over before they even realized it; Brittany insisted that he could take care of himself, and when they came back inside to see Lord Tubbington covered in something white and powderly and an overturned flour jar sat on the floor, Santana could only press her palm to her face. Brittany giggled, and there - there, something changed inside Santana. She wanted to hear that giggle, over and over again.

The second time they kissed, Santana knew better. She knew who she was, and she wasn't going to change that - not for Brittany, not for anyone. But when Brittany was insistant - "Santana, please?" she implored "I want this." - Santana was too weak to resist. She always would be. And so she gave Brittany a kiss; Brittany attempted to rub her lips together across Santana's. Santana pulled away; it was too much. Brittany couldn't have known. The hurt look that spread across Brittany's face said it all, if Santana would have only looked.

She never did, until never became always overnight, with no cause for alarm.

The third time they kissed - no, was it the eighth? fifteenth? two hundred and thirty second? Santana lost count after a while, not that she'd really been trying - there was more. Just more. Of them. Of each other.

There would always be more. It just kept coming, even as they grew older, wiser - even if Brittany kept some of her youthful naivete - and discovering more ways in order which to kiss and to love. There would always be kisses that didn't make their mark, landing on collarbones and stomachs and that little place where the thigh meets the hip that Brittany discovered drove Santana wild with whimpers when she flicked the tip of her tongue against it. There would always be so much that they could learn about each other.

There would never be enough time to do all the things they wanted to do, but they could make the ones count that they had.