Title: Beautiful Today
Summary: 'She hates what she sees. She hates it all, because Quinn told her to.' Santana needs saving, but no one seems to notice. Brittana.
Warnings: Deals with self harm and eating disorders throughout.
Authors note: I've been gone forever, so I'm just going to say sorry and that I hope you don't all hate me.
I'd be surprised if anyone will still be reading this, but if you've stuck with it then thank you! I honestly really appreciate it. I'm going to try to get better with my updates, I promise.
I'm not too sure about this one, and I do seem to just be constantly shitting on Santana, but it needs to get worse before it gets better.
Contains self-harm and eating disorders. If either of these things are a trigger for you, please think before reading on.
'You make me happy.'
Santana was the first to fall asleep, Brittany making sure that her eyes weren't allowed to rest until she was sure that Santana's were doing the same. They had played twenty questions, it slowly becoming thirty questions, melding neatly into forty. Santana had learned about Brittany's sister and how she was the 'smart one', whereas Brittany was always praised by her parents for her creative mind. She had told Santana that she would always dance when she was younger, though when her mother encouraged her to take auditions, she quickly put a stop to it.
Santana decided that she would watch Brittany dance one day.
Brittany had asked if Santana had any siblings, receiving a shake of the head and a sad smile. That smile was the only one that Santana seemed to know. She had made sure to change the subject, sensing that Santana wasn't ready, nor really wanted, to talk about those things with Brittany. One day she would push, would make Santana open up. Today wasn't that day, they hadn't been friends long enough, no matter how much it felt otherwise.
She had awoken slightly, stretching a little before groggily manoeuvring herself to turn in the bed. Her left arm was numb, and she quickly shook it out, her right arm now taking the weight. She was facing Santana's side of the bed now, though her eyes were open only enough to see the blurred outline of her arm as it shook in the air. She let out a frustrated sigh, taking her other hand and trying anything she could to make the pins and needles go. She just wanted to sleep again.
Her movements were brought to a halt when she heard a sniffle from the other side of the bed. She stilled, her right hand holding her left arm in the air, and looked over. She forced her eyes open further, seeing that Santana was also lying on her left side. Her shoulders were shaking slightly, and her body looked rigid.
"Santana?" Brittany whispered, releasing her arm and propping herself up on her right elbow. "Are you awake?"
She received no reply, instead the girl beside her became stiffer, as if trying to stop the still obvious shaking of her shoulders. There was another sniffle, louder this time.
Brittany's brows furrowed as she leaned forwards slightly. "Santana?" she asked again, taking her formerly numb hand and tentatively placing it onto the girls shoulder.
Santana flinched, taking a sharp breath. "You shouldn't have made me stay here," she almost hissed, her voice harsh and puncturing. "Why did you make me stay?"
Brittany didn't remove her hand, despite the uncharacteristic behaviour of the girl lying beside her. Instead she squeezed gently. "What's happened?"
"Stop it," Santana replied, her voice breaking.
Brittany's concern grew at the sound, moving her body forwards, closer to the shorter girl. Santana's breath hitched, the muscles beneath Brittany's palm tensing even further as her shoulders shook harder. The blonde sat up further, now resting on her right hand and trying to peer over the girl's shoulder.
It was just as she saw Santana's pained face, her eyes forced tightly shut and her mouth in a tight line, that she felt it on her leg.
She looked down, taking her hand from the other girl and resting it on the comforter, pulling it away slowly to reveal a damp patch on the bed that spread around Santana's borrowed night shorts.
Brittany examined it for a moment, her eyes widening as she quickly moved back, pulling her leg away from the area. She heard Santana release a sob at the action, her shoulders now rising and falling rapidly as she began to cry. She was still trying to silence it, trying to make sure that Brittany couldn't hear, but she had already seen. She had already seen what Santana felt half an hour ago when she was pulled from her dream. She had already seen what Santana hadn't done since she was four years old, yet for some reason had done on that night. On her first night at her new friends house.
It was as if God didn't want her to have friends. The one that sticks around, allows her to visit her house, sleep in her bed, she does this to. If nothing scared her away before, she was sure that this would.
Brittany was silent for a moment, still just looking wide eyed at the darker area on her sheets. It had took her longer than most kids - until she was around seven years old, her mother had said – to stop wetting the bed. She didn't know that people still did that, not at fourteen. When she turned her attention back to Santana, however, Brittany sensed that she didn't know that either.
She watched her new friend for a few seconds more before she pulled herself from the bed, pausing yet again to take in the scene before her as she began to walk around the bed. She found Santana's eyes still closed as she reached her side. Her chin was quivering, the silent tears falling down her embarrassed cheeks and leaving small patches on the pillow. Her arms were forced down, her hands gripping tightly to the material at the hem of her shorts, her legs tightly together. She looked terrified, especially when she began to shiver from the cold, and Brittany felt a tear of her own gather before slowly falling to the ground below her.
She took the few steps over to Santana, crouching next to the bed and watching her face for a moment longer. She lifted her hand, placing it on the same spot on Santana's arm and squeezing again. "We should change the sheets," she stated simply, her hand moving to Santana's cheek and wiping away the moisture that she found there. "I have a change of shorts that you can take."
The other girl opened her eyes only slightly, to which Brittany sent a smile. That smile that Santana was so good at. The sad smile. This time, however, it was sympathetic. It was understanding. Santana just watched her, waited for her to laugh, to pull away and grimace. Anything. But nothing came.
"Sit up," Brittany finally said after what felt like an eternity of silence. Santana's eyes closed again at the words. Brittany's hand moved to her friend's forearm, attempting to gently pull it away from it's position. Santana was stronger than she thought, or maybe it was just the sheer weight of embarrassment, but she fought against it with everything that she had. Brittany didn't pull harder, she simply continued to guide it, her touch still gentle and reassuring. "You have to move so that we can clean everything up."
Santana took a breath, a shaky yet steadying breath, and allowed her arm to be pulled away.
That arm was quickly followed by the next, Brittany leaving them to hang over the edge of the bed. She took both of her hands once they had been moved away, pulling softly and asking Santana to sit up again. With another long breath, the girl did as she was asked, her face still pained and legs still tightly together, as if it could still hide something.
Brittany moved Santana's hair from her face, her tears forming a glue as strands clung to her cheeks. As she saw Santana's eyes edge open, she smiled. This wasn't the sad smile, the sympathetic one. This was just a smile. A friendly smile. "You go take a shower, I'll change the sheets. Take some shorts from the same draw," she said simply, taking in Santana's body once more before finding the hem of her T-Shirt. She moved her hand to pull at it, seeing that it too had a dark patch along the bottom. "T-shirts are in the draw above."
Santana's eyes closed again instinctively, squeezing shut and making a few tears that were still gathered fall. She had to get up, to stand up and face the scene. She knew that it was the only way that she could get out of this mess, that she could get clean and let Brittany clear up her bed, but she couldn't. It was a walk of shame, with her shorts wet and cheeks darkened with embarrassment, from the bed to the shower. A walk that she didn't even think her legs would manage. They felt numb, she felt numb. She felt sick.
Brittany's hand was quickly back on her cheek again, making her heart jump. That weird jump that feels good but really scary at the same time. She still didn't know whether she liked it when that happened, it always made her feel sick. A different kind of sick. She leant into Brittany's hand slightly. Everything was confusing, everything was rushing around her brain so fast that she didn't have time to process or understand it. All she knew was that, once her heart had settled, Brittany's hand on her cheek was the only thing that made any sense.
Brittany felt her head move slightly, stroking her cheek with her thumb in return. "San, please," she tried. "I'll look away if you need me to, but I promise it's okay."
Santana opened her eyes again. She was still surprised to see that Brittany wasn't looking at her any differently than she had before. She still had those blue eyes that fluttered from one of Santana's to the other, and she still looked at Santana like she mattered. Like she cared. A ghost of a smile traced her lips. "Only while I leave. Please."
Brittany nodded, placing one last reassuring stroke on her cheek, and moved back. She turned, facing the wall, and waited until she heard the springs of her bed slowly moving. Santana was quiet in her movements, opening the draw softly after taking the light, slow steps to the other side of the room. She edged the door open, glancing one last time to make sure that Brittany hadn't turned around. Once satisfied, she took the change of shorts and t-shirt to the bathroom.
The water was warm. Not too hot, not too cold. It was perfect.
The Pierces were perfect. Every one of them. Their blonde hair, blue eyes, stereotypically bright, friendly home with the bright and friendly mother. Their father came home from work to a cooked dinner, talking with his daughters as they all ate together as a family. They were perfect.
Brittany was perfect.
Santana refused to look in the mirror the entire time she was in the bathroom. Luckily, the Pierces hadn't chosen any of the large mirrors that her own vanity obsessed mother had. She looked at her night shorts as they fell to the ground, grimacing before she kicked them to the side. She did the same with her underwear a few seconds later, all the while trying not to look down at her stomach that stuck out a little further than she wished it would. She sucked in, out of instinct, as she lifted her top over her head.
That was better.
Brittany had changed the sheets quickly after Santana left. Once she had gotten past the shock, she had been left with sympathy and sadness as she watched her friend curled up and frightened. That had eventually passed when she quickly glanced back and realized that Santana had left the room. She quietly opened her closet, a closet that her mother had inexplicably filled with sheets for any 'special emergencies'. To say that her mother was cautious and over protective would be an understatement, though Brittany knew nothing more. She didn't know anything other than her mother always being there for her, always making sure that everything was okay and that Brittany never faced any problems. She was always, always there, and Brittany loved her for it.
She smiled in appreciation as she pulled some spare sheets and a comforter, closing the closet doors after her. She threw them on the ground, pulling the sheets off of the bed seconds later, carefully placing them on the ground in a ball. It was difficult at first, to get everything neat and in order without any help, but she had watched her mother perfect it enough times to know roughly what she was doing. The corners weren't as neat, and the comforter looked a little lumpy, but it would do.
She smiled at her attempts before glancing back down at the dirty sheets on the ground, a thoughtful look overcoming her face. She pulled out her notepad, quickly grabbing a pen off the side and scribbling a short note.
I had a bad dream. Sorry.
Reading the note over once she ripped the paper from the pad, placing her pen back onto the side before taking the sheets from the room and downstairs to the laundry room. She placed them with the rest of the dirty washing, making sure that her note lay on top. Satisfied, she nodded once, again heading for the stairs and slowly climbing them. The shower had stopped, she noticed, but Santana still hadn't emerged. It had been almost fifteen minutes.
She slowly edged towards the door, tapping lightly and still trying to be as quiet as possible. Her house was big, and this was her and her sister's bathroom, but she still didn't want to wake her parents. "Santana?" she whispered, leaning close to the door.
"Yeah?" came a shaky reply on the other side after a moment or two.
There was a silence that followed again, all Brittany could hear was scuffling on the other side. "Yeah."
Her replies were short, and not at all convincing, but Brittany didn't want to upset Santana further. She just wanted her to know that it was okay. "I'll need to put your clothes in the laundry. Can I come in?"
"No!" an instant reply came, a reply much louder than the girl on the other side seemed to intend, as she quickly followed up with a hushed 'sorry'.
Brittany nodded, still leaning against the wood and waiting. It was only a few seconds later when the toilet flushed, and almost a minute after that when Santana finally emerged, her hair still wet and a fresh pair of Brittany's pyjamas laying loosely over her figure. Brittany smiled, to which Santana did the same. Again, it wasn't a real smile. Brittany wondered if Santana even knew what a real smile felt like.
"I'm sorry about...everything," Santana breathed, looking down.
Brittany watched the shorter girl's eyes as they met the ground, her hands fidgeting in front of her own body. The blonde took a tentative step forwards and, without even really processing her actions, pulled her into a hug. She moved as closely as she could, their bodies melding together. "I'm just glad you're here," Brittany replied, squeezing tightly. "It's no big anyway."
She felt Santana's own hands snake around her back and cling to her t-shirt, a grin yet again settling on her lips as she registered the action. "You make me happy," she heard her muffled voice, the girl's warm breath catching her neck with each syllable. She also felt the heat rise in Santana's cheeks, clearly the words unintended and accidental.
Brittany just held tighter, hoping that her response was in some way comforting. "You too," she replied honestly.
Santana's grip loosened after what felt like hours but in reality was minutes, burying her face one last time into Brittany's neck before she slowly pulled away. She gave the girl a shy smile, again averting her gaze. "I'll help you clean up..."
"No. Go to bed," Brittany interjected. "I'll be in in a few minutes anyway."
Santana looked unsure but nodded anyway, scuttling away from the scene in that same nervous manner.
The bathroom was still steamy when Brittany stepped in, and the clothes that Santana wore were bundled in the corner. The mirror had been wiped, though there hadn't been a message left. It was unusual in their house, to walk into the bathroom after someone had taken a shower and not see a quick note or picture on the mirror. It was kind of like a tradition. Even her mother and father left small notes in their own bathroom, though they were usually full of hearts and words like 'always' and 'forever'. Brittany examined the mirror. She saw nothing but a small, clear patch that her friend had obviously wiped. There were rough areas, however. The patterns looked angry, sprawled, and a hand print lay beside it.
Brittany frowned, turning her attention to the clothes that she had come in to gather in the first place. Something felt off, though she was sure it was due to the fact that it was so early in the morning, and that this night had turned out to be anything but the usual. There was an odd smell in the room. Probably just her shorts, she figured, though there was something else. She didn't know what, it just smelt bad. The toilet seat was up, too. Like, the way that her mother always yelled about when her father did it. It was up and resting against the back of the toilet. She had tried it that way when she was younger, but her mother always told her that she couldn't do it the way that boys did. You definitely couldn't, either. She had tried for months afterwords in an attempt to prove the woman wrong.
She had been right. Always right.
Her frown deepened, though she quickly shook her thoughts from her mind and pulled the seat down. It was late, or early she figured, and she needed to sleep. Or she needed to at least make sure that Santana was okay.
She picked up the clothes carefully, turning off the bathroom light behind her and again heading downstairs to the laundry room. She placed the pyjamas on top of the sheets that she had put there earlier, making sure that her note still lay on top, before heading back up the stairs. When she reached her room, she found Santana laying on her side and watching the door, a slight smile on her face as she saw Brittany emerge through the doorway. The taller girl returned the gesture, closing the door softly behind her and moving over to the bed, allowing herself to slip in beside her friend. "Comfy?" she asked, manoeuvring until she lay on her side, her head resting on the pillow and watching Santana looking back at her.
The other girl nodded. "Thank you."
Brittany reached over, again moving Santana's stray hairs from her face. "Don't worry about it."
"I feel stupid," Santana laughed pitifully, her cheeks darkening again.
Brittany shook her head defiantly, pulling her hand away and laying it on the pillow between them. "You don't need to. It's totally cool. Lord Tubbington peed on my bed once. Like, all over it. My mom wouldn't let him upstairs again until he promised to only use the litter box."
Santana chuckled lightly. "And he promised?"
"Only to me," Brittany replied victoriously. "But anyway, it's cool. It's happened before." They lay in silence for a minute or so, just simply smiling at one another, just being content. There was no problems, no worries, no anything. Just them in the room lit only by Brittany's dim bedside lamp. "I told them it was me."
Santana's brows furrowed in confusion. "Told who what was you?"
"I wrote a note. I told my mom that the sheets and stuff were me, so they won't know. I promise."
"You don't have to do that," she quickly protested, tensing slightly.
Brittany watched her concern with a smile, again shaking her head. "I saw how you were when I figured it out. You were scared, and embarrassed." She watched the brown eyes look away, look down, so she went on. "You don't have to be scared with me. You don't have to be scared with my parents either, but I figure it's one step at a time, right? You trust me first, then you trust the people I trust. It's like dominoes. A chain...thingy."
"Reaction," Santana offered, lifting her eyes again and watching in wonder. Brittany was so different, so insightful, yet no one would ever guess it. She was an open book, open for anyone to read and understand, though no one seemed to take the time. She was the dumb blonde. Except she wasn't. She was a lot more, and Santana knew that already. "Thank you." It was all she could think to say, all she knew how to say, so she figured it was enough.
Brittany seemed to agree, as she again became silent. She observed the other girl; her eyes, her mouth, her neck, her everything. The scrutiny made Santana's head spin, so she quickly closed her eyes, hoping that it would make it easier to sit and be looked at. Really looked at.
She closed her eyes tighter, so much so that she was sure the areas around her eyes were white with the tension. She could hear Brittany's soft breathing, consciously trying to match it with her own which was growing more erratic by the second. It only made the whole act of breathing at all harder, and her chest felt nauseatingly constricted.
She stilled suddenly at the feel of Brittany's hand on her own, pulling it gently from just beneath he comforter. She edged her eyes open, watching Brittany's face as she focused on their hands, moving Santana's carefully and delicately, before reaching the pillow and laying it down. She
watched Santana's wide eyes with an amused grin before leaning over to her bedside lamp, quickly turning it off. The shorter girl felt the bed move in the darkness as Brittany made herself comfortable, it becoming calmer a few moments later as the sound of a content sigh filled the air. It was then that she felt the girl's finger tips back on her hand, and after a few seconds of blind touching, she felt a pinky being softly linked with her own.
Their arms and hands moved, getting comfortable, before they came to rest between their bodies.