Santana's Little Helper, by DoofusPrime

Notes - This one-shot takes place sometime prior to the show itself. Hope you guys enjoy it!


XX

Santana Lopez gritted her teeth as she made an awkward landing from the top of the human pyramid. Her form had been perfect, but Quinn had not been giving her the hand support she needed for her vault. Now, she could enjoy a sharp pain in her foot as well as the inevitable acerbic comment that came from Sue Sylvester anytime a Cheerio made a mistake, no matter how minor it was.

"What was that?" shouted Sue. "Santana, you looked like skydiver without a parachute. We've never going to win anything next semester if you clowns keep running around on this field like spastics!"

A piercing shriek from Sue's whistle signaled for the Cheerios to get back into formation and try another pyramid. Santana tested her foot; it was a little sore, but fortunately, it didn't feel like she had broken or sprained anything. That didn't mean she was looking forward to another jump from the pyramid, but it was her turn to practice being the top level, and Sue Sylvester brooked no laziness from her cheerleaders, even if it was the last day of class before their holiday break.

Why they even had to practice for anything next semester was beyond Santana's understanding – she and her teammates were too preoccupied with thoughts of presents and family festivities to focus on their cheer moves - but Sue was like a juggernaut when it came to winning tournaments. She probably had their entire routine planned for years ahead. Santana sighed as frigid wind blew across the athletics field where Sue had insisted they practice instead of the gym. The cold air forced them to try harder in order to maintain blood circulation, Sue had told them. She climbed to the top of the pyramid again and shot Quinn a dirty look on her way up.

"Try paying attention," she whispered.

Quinn rolled her eyes as she cupped her hands together for Santana's foot.

"I'm sorry, okay?"

It was shaping up to be a bad day, and Santana made sure to step down extra hard.

"This time," said Sue, "maybe you could try landing on those giant fleshy snowshoes you call feet. I mean, for God's sake, all I want for Christmas is a real cheer team! Landings, folks, landings! If there's one thing I learned in the Comoros with Bob Denard, it's that you'd better aim right the first time!"

Sue was in a rare mood today. Santana sighed as she felt Quinn's grip under her right foot. It was not as solid as it could be, and she twitched her foot a little to signal for Quinn to tighten up. She didn't trust the male cheerleader holding up her left foot, either – he was a newer member, not as reliable as the others. When she was on the top of the pyramid it was normally Brittany supporting her left foot, but her good friend had been missing from class that day. Maybe Brittany was sick, or maybe she had gotten off for the holidays a day early. Or just as likely, thought Santana, she had forgotten how to operate her alarm clock the night before.

"Move it!"

The command rang through the air, and Santana did a flip as she vaulted from the top of the pyramid again. She landed, but this time it was her other foot which hit the ground awkwardly, causing another grimace of pain. She tested it. Painful - but like her right foot, probably not damaged. What a way to end the semester, she thought.

Sue flung her whistle to the ground in a fury. "Lance!" she screamed at the male cheerleader who had been propping up Santana's other foot. "Why are you undermining my team?"

"I'm sorry Sue! I'm sorry!"

"Don't you try crying this time," she growled. "Not again. You're the weak link, Lance!"

At least Sue wasn't yelling at her this time. If Brittany had been there, Santana would have landed that one perfectly, for sure. She couldn't wait until school was out and her break began.

XX

The bell rang as students rushed to their next class, and Santana knew she would be late as she fumbled through her locker for the right books. She slammed the locker door shut after pulling out her Spanish book, only to jump in surprise at the sight of Quinn Fabray, who had been concealed behind her open locker door.

"Jeez Quinn, what's your damage?"

"Lighten up, will you? I just wanted to say I was sorry about practice earlier."

Santana walked alongside Quinn down the hallway since they shared their next class together, annoyed to notice that her walk had a particular hobble to it as her feet were still sore from the awkward pyramid vaults.

"Whatever," she said. "Sue was majorly PMSing today."

"I know, right?"

Santana nodded as she held her books to her chest. It was more fashionable than carrying a heavy backpack, as an overfilled backpack was a signature giveaway of total geekiness. "I think I was just thrown off because Brittany wasn't there," she said as they walked through the wave of students. "Did Brittany say anything to you about going on break early, anything like that?"

Quinn shook her head.

"Hmm. So, you have any plans with lover boy for Christmas?"

"No," said Quinn, blushing just a little. "I wanted Finn to join me at the youth group all week so we could pray for homeless people to get better, but he said he'd probably be really busy helping his mom with lawn care."

"That's a shame," said Santana.

She got the feeling that Finn had no lawn care to deal with, but she didn't blame him for avoiding Quinn's company. That girl didn't know how to treat a man right, plain and simple. Santana always thought Finn deserved someone a little less, well – chilly.

The two of them arrived at the door to their Spanish class as the hustle and bustle of the hallway traffic began to die down. "How do you think you did on the quiz last week?" whispered Quinn as they walked into the room. Santana was not sure if she had even taken the quiz last week, since she couldn't remembering hearing about it until Quinn's question. Not only that, but judging by the look that Mr. Schuester was giving her as she walked in, she and Quinn were definitely late.

"Nice of you to join us, ladies," he said as the rest of the class tittered. "Please, take a seat."

Santana took a few hobbling, painful steps until she reached one of the two remaining seats – the least desirable seats, right in front of the class – and eased herself into her chair as Quinn sat beside her. She noticed Puck giving her a rude look, and although she ignored him, she didn't mind the attention. Like Finn, Puck was another choice piece of football team meat.

"Alright," said Mr. Schuester as he vaulted himself up onto his desk and sat facing the class. "Let's begin. Oh, and Jeremy," he said as he noticed a student towards the back, "I heard you practicing in Glee club yesterday with Mr. Ryerson. You sounded very good – I guess Sandy's really been getting really hands on with the practice lately."

A few scattered giggles rose up from around the classroom.

"Uh, thanks," said Jeremy.

"Interesting choice on his part with the Josh Groban tune, though. Have you guys thought about doing any Journey songs? I have a few suggestions, if you need any."

Jeremy stared indifferently. After a moment of silence, Will coughed and tried get back on track.

"Yes, well, anyway - I know you guys probably don't want to be here, and you're all looking forward to all the things you have planned for your holiday break, but I thought we could-"

"What do you have planned for your break, Mr. Schuester?"

Santana didn't know why she asked the question, really. Probably just to get a rise out of her teacher, because it was approaching the end of the day and she was in a bad mood. Maybe just because she was trying to stall, not looking forward to finding out whether she even took the quiz Quinn had mentioned. One thing was for sure: she certainly wasn't interested in what her Spanish teacher was going to do on his break.

"Um, I'm not sure," said Will. "My wife said something about shopping at Pottery Barn. Why?"

Santana shrugged and gave him a wry grin. She knew it would get under his skin, and even if Mr. Schuester was one of her more tolerable teachers, she always enjoyed getting under a teacher's skin. Before he could reply, the classroom turned in unison at the sound of the classroom door bursting open. Brittany S. Pierce stood gasping for breath as she stumbled into the room.

"Brittany, what's going on?"

"I'm sorry Mr. Schuester, but my alarm clock ran out of batteries last night and I thought if I stuffed an mp3 player into the battery slot it might charge it, but it didn't work and I woke up late. But I'm here now. Did I miss anything?"

"No, we were just getting started. Please take a seat, Brittany."

Santana was still suffering from some residual annoyance at Sue Sylvester's unusually harsh practice earlier that day, but she couldn't stay angry at the sight of her adorable blonde Cheerio teammate and best friend. Maybe her day wouldn't be so horrible after all. Santana was about to say hello when her friend passed her, but was shocked when Brittany stopped at her seat, put down her backpack, and squirmed into the same chair with her. The class stared, nonplussed, as Brittany sat in Santana's lap.

"Brittany," said Mr. Schuester, "what are you doing?"

"There's only one seat left," said Brittany. She pointed a finger at the last remaining empty seat in the back of the classroom. Mr. Schuester stared at the chair to which she was pointing.

"And what's wrong with that one?"

"Isn't that the emergency seat?"

Will took several moments to try to decipher Brittany's statement, but eventually gave up. He rubbed his templed as he realized that he was several minutes into class and hadn't started his lesson yet.

"It's just a seat, Brittany. Just a regular seat. You can sit there."

"Artie doesn't want to sit there?"

Will began to think that maybe Brittany thought the desk was some kind of handicapped space. Which made marginally more sense.

"I already have a seat," said Artie, raising his hand tentatively from his regular desk near the front of the classroom. "But thanks for being considerate, Brittany."

Brittany gave a friendly nod in Artie's direction and got up from Santana's lap, mouthing a goodbye to her friend before making her way to the empty seat in the back. Will waited patiently before starting his lesson. Once Brittany had gotten out her Spanish book and the class had fallen silent, he stood up from his desk and skirted around it to the blackboard, picking up a piece of chalk.

"Okay," he said. "Look, guys, let's try to focus today, okay? I know you're all ready to go, so I'm not going to do anything too difficult, but I thought we could review some of the basics as a fun way to end the semester. A few basic conjugations, greetings, some useful everyday phrases-"

"Yo quiero get out of this lame class," said Santana, unable to resist. The class burst into laughter, and Mr. Schuester turned back from the blackboard silently, crossing his arms and waiting until the laughter died down. Santana got the feeling she had needled him just a little bit too far.

"See me after class, Santana."

The laughter turned to sharp gasps and fearful oohs as Santana threw a glare back at her fellow students. Brittany gave her a sympathetic look, but unfortunately it was not enough to save her mood from rapidly spiraling downwards. Mr. Schuester clapped his hands together to silence the class and remembered what he had almost forgotten as he grabbed a pile of papers from his desk, walking down each row as he passed them out.

"Before we do all that, though, I guess I'd pass pass our your quizzes first! Nice job, class."

A groan rose up here and there as students looked at their grades. Santana got her paper back. While she was surprised to find that she must have been in class on the day of the quiz, despite forgetting all about it, she had not, in fact, done a nice job at all. She stared at the sixth letter of the alphabet in stony silence.

XX

School was out, snow was falling, and the day was drawing to a close. Santana sat on her living room couch with a laptop computer in her lap, the television set to a dull whisper in the corner, Christmas lights blinking on the gigantic tree monopolizing another corner. Her parents were not home, which was not an unusual occurrence, and Santana had no idea where they were. Partying, shopping. It was always something.

She was still in a sour mood after her long day at school, and although she had given Brittany some of her litany of complaints after Spanish class ended, she hadn't gotten to talk to her as much as she would have liked. Santana wondered what her fellow cheerleader was doing during her break; they would have to hang out at least once or twice. Maybe they'd go out to exchange all the Christmas gifts they didn't want for cash. Or maybe they could eat at Breadsticks and leave without paying.

"Uuugh," she exclaimed as she balanced the laptop while trying to reach down and massage her feet a little bit. It was no use, and she was too lazy to shift position. Hopefully they weren't actually sprained or anything. She had been walking around all day on them, but they definitely hurt.

Her attention turned to the internet videos she was surfing as she stumbled across a particularly interesting one, just by chance. While she had been looking for pop music, Santana had stumbled upon a lame cover instead. What interested her, however, was that this particular cover was performed by Rachel Berry. Drama queen, class pariah, and wannabe Broadway star. Not that Rachel would ever be a star with those looks, Santana smirked.

She clicked on the video and listened as Rachel's image came to life, her voice echoing through the family room over the faint whine of the television. Santana looked down through the video's comments; many were cruel, as they often were online, although Rachel wasn't helping herself with her overly dramatic appearance and melodramatic description for the video. But a number of them also acknowledged Rachel's talent.

As Santana listened, she grudgingly admitted that the girl did have some pipes on her. Why Rachel hadn't joined the school's Glee Club, Santana had no idea. She was a social bottom feeder, after all – it couldn't hurt her already nonexistent reputation. Santana tried to imagine herself joining the Glee Club to be coached by the creepazoid Sandy Ryerson and laughed out loud at the thought.

Just as Rachel's rendition was reaching its climax, a piercing scream ripped through the room. And it wasn't Rachel. The laptop flew out of Santana's lap as her body jerked in startled surprise.

"Aaaieeeeeeeee!"

The laptop hit the floor with a loud crack, and Santana leaped from the couch and backed away in fear as a cloud of ash and smoke billowed out from the fireplace along with a loud thud. She heard coughing and hacking coming from behind the mesh screen, and after a moment, and pair of hands pushed the screen out onto the floor with a clatter. A figure crawled out from the cloud of ash that was beginning to spread over the room, holding something in her hand. Santana hoped it was not a weapon. She wanted to dash for one of the fire pokers herself, but the stranger was standing right next to them.

"Who are you?" she screamed. "What do you want? I know kung fu!"

The ash settled, and although she was streaked with soot from head to toe, Santana gasped in recognition.

"Brittany? What are you doing here?"

"Hey Santana," said Brittany as she took a woozy step forward. "I just thought I'd come visit since you seemed like you were really unhappy at school today."

"Why didn't you just use the door?"

"Uh, it was locked."

"You could have rang the doorbell."

Brittany frowned as she thought about Santana's suggestion. "Oh yeah," she said slowly.

Santana walked over and helped Brittany take a few steps to the couch, sitting her down even though she knew the soot would ruin the upholstery. On the one hand, seeing the fancy couch get dirty was almost physically painful for Santana; but on the other hand, she knew it would annoy her parents once they got home, so it wasn't that bad in the long run.

She looked over her friend and saw that Brittany had a pair of reindeer antlers affixed to her head. Over near the fireplace lay a red ball, which Santana could only assume had been a red nose that had fallen off during Brittany's fall through the chimney. The object in Brittany's hand was not a weapon. As far as Santana could tell, it was a box of some kind.

"I brought you this," said Brittany as she offered Santana the box. "I bought it after school and wrapped it for you. It's a Christmas present!"

Santana took the gift and wiped some of the ash away, revealing red and gold wrapping paper dotted with green mistletoe images. Her mouth rose into a beaming smile as she looked at her soot-covered, unexpected guest. "That's so nice of you!" she said. "I'm glad you came over, Brittany."

She was about to place it under the tree when Brittany grabbed her arm.

"Wait, open it up!"

"Now?"

"I know it's not Christmas yet, but I wanted to see if you'd like it."

Santana shrugged and tore the wrapping paper away. She didn't need to be told twice to open a free gift. She opened the top of the box beneath the paper and parted the tissues inside to find a cylindrical white object, with a rounded tip on one end, a flat switch in the middle, and a cord leading to a battery pack on the other end.

"I bought it at a funny store downtown," said Brittany. "The lady at the counter said it was a back massager."

"Oh Brittany," laughed Santana. "You silly, silly girl. This isn't a back massager."

Brittany peered over the edge of the box at the device.

"What is it?"

"You know, I've been having such a bad day," said Santana. "How about you come with me and I'll show you, okay?"

"Okay," said Brittany. Santana had already told her she was having a bad day earlier, but Brittany knew her friend liked to whine a lot. If it made her friend happy, she was happy to listen. And they could massage each other's backs at the same time!

"I need to take a shower first," said Brittany. "And I think one of my reindeer antlers stabbed my head a little bit on the way down the chimney."

"Poor baby. Maybe I'll take a shower too," said Santana.

Brittany brightened up as her friend gave a kiss to the one spot on her cheek which was not covered in black ash and gray charcoal flecks. "Really?" she asked. "Your parents don't mind?"

"They're not home."

Santana led Brittany out of the family room and towards the bathroom. Her laptop was destroyed, but once again, Brittany had a certain charm that dispelled her bad moods like magic. A bad day was ending on an unexpectedly good note. She looked at her new present, unwrapped and ready to go, at least for when they were out of the shower, and couldn't help but feel a little holiday cheer rising up within her. She would have to give Brittany something nice in return before Christmas rolled around.

But for Santana, maybe Christmas would come early tonight.

XX


Notes - This is my first Glee story, so reviews would be appreciated, as I'd love to know what fans of the show thought of it. Normally I write for the show Kim Possible, although I've written a few stories for Hey Arnold as well. Anyway, happy holidays! :)