A/N: And so it draws to a close. I wrote part of this ending just after I wrote the prologue and knew I needed to weave the image into this. I didn't have a complete ending though. This was written more because I needed closure than anything else, so you don't have to read it. Everything is interestingly tied together though, and I like to think it provides a moral to this story. Hopefully you recognize the song at the end.
I posted the artwork for ch. 5 and will continue to do so until each chapter has at least one corresponding piece. I won't be able to post about it here though, just LJ and Tumblr.
This takes place about a month after the last chapter, so this is the largest gap. THIS was the hardest thing to write, even though it is the shortest. Thank you for a wonderful ride.
Dylan raised her head and watched the wispy clouds drift past across a crystal blue sky. There was a light breeze that rustled the bright green leaves of the oak tree nearby. A perfect June day. Still early enough in the day that it wasn't hot or humid, but rather sunny and cool. As the breeze tickled her face, Dylan closed her eyes and thought of how ironic a perfect day like today was.
"Such a perfect day," she whispers to herself and shakes her head lightly.
Quinn's voice drifts past her with the wind so she rolls her head forward to watch as the third leg of the tripod talked in front of them. After Brittany and Santana finally straightened their feelings out, the three Cheerios had been inseparable. Brittany had told Dylan that her, Santana and Quinn had always been the best of friends, it was just when they joined the Cheerios and her and Santana started having feelings for each other did Quinn fall out of the picture. From then on it had been a battle to be head cheerleader and the most popular girl in school. Not to mention that Puck got Quinn pregnant while they were sort of dating. "Well, not dating," Brittany had said, "because sex isn't dating… wasn't dating." She had beamed at Dylan then before running off to find her girlfriend.
God, Brittany had been so happy when Dylan saw them walking into the choir room together on Monday. And Santana, well she had barely recognized the Latina. The shorter girl had a new glow about her and had been squeezing Brittany's hand in a death grip. It was obvious she was still nervous, but Dylan knew she was working through it.
The memory drifted through her mind, replacing the words that poured out of Quinn's mouth. Brittany had announced that they were going to tell us something and they were going to sing them all a song to explain. Of course everyone already knew what they wanted to say and had started clapping before Brittany had even finished her speech. If Dylan thought ethnic girls couldn't blush, Santana proved her wrong. The Latina had practically been hiding her face behind Brittany's back, gripping at her shoulder.
The way Brittany had comforted her and given her the strength to perform in front of them had been beautiful. A tear escaped and rolled down Dylan's cheek. She didn't even bother to reach up and wipe it away as she remembered their flawless performance in front of them. They were the perfect example of a duet, complimenting each other in every way.
"The feeling was psychic, passing through, electric," Brittany had started, singing into Santana's eyes.
After a slight blush Santana lifted her head higher and sang back, "My palm against your fingers, pressing needles, through my wrist."
Dylan remembered the way Brittany had reached out and gently grasped Santana's hands. "Hearts meet, though we didn't speak of those things."
They sang to each other then, with complete honesty, "Falling, falling, without knowing."
"Light as a feather, lifting up, together," Brittany raised their hands up together.
"But a heavy ache and focus blames circles in our heads… Eyes meet, though we didn't see what would be. Falling, falling without knowing!"
They had turned to face the rest of the club then, but Santana's eyes remained trained on the blonde beside her as the next lines came out together, "Whatever happens now that I've changed, no one will ever stand in our way. We both sent the signal, it's been delivered, a crashing cymbal rings out."
"We both sent the signal," Brittany turned to Santana.
"It's been delivered," she whispered back.
"A crashing cymbal rings out," as one again.
Another tear escaped from behind Dylan's closed eyes and she forced herself to blink them open. She was greeted with the smiling face of Brittany in front of her and she felt another tear roll down her cheek. She forced herself to remember the rest of their song.
"Some kind of magic, moving, was automatic." The words were perfect for Santana to sing. It was like all those times she had tried to explain the connection she shared with the blonde to Dylan.
Brittany answered, "The days go on forever, reaching forward not looking back."
The blonde had given Santana's arm a quick yank, causing them to fall into each other's arms as they sang to each other, "Synchronicity, get the feeling, completely. Falling, falling without knowing!"
"It was written long ago," Brittany whispered to the girl in her arms
"It was not for me to know," Santana had whispered back.
"Repeat that memory, I believe."
And she did repeat that memory. The memory of the two cheerleaders, best friends, lovers, singing together in front of them would never leave her. As they repeated the words back and forth to each other, Dylan was certain they had been solidifying the memory for themselves as well.
"Falling, falling, without knowing."
"Repeat that memory, I believe."
Santana had gripped Brittany's hands and brought them to rest under her chin. Her words trembled from her mouth but she had meant every single one, "Whatever happens now that I've changed, no one will ever stand in our way."
It had been a promise. Letting Brittany know that she was ready to spend the rest of her life with her and not care about anybody else. Dylan felt her heart begin to ache.
"We both sent the signal, it's been delivered, a crashing cymbal rings out. We both sent the signal, it's been delivered, a crashing cymbal rings out…."
They finished together and the room had exploded. Kurt had almost fallen flat on his face in his haste to get to the girls in the front of the room. Dylan had remained in her seat, a satisfied smile on her face. She remembered the way Santana had turned to her, silently questioning her with her eyes. Dylan had smiled and nodded at her. She was proud of the Latina and Santana had just beamed and pulled Brittany into a searing kiss.
She felt someone shift besides her and she was broken from her musings. Rachel was there, wrapped securely in Finn's arms. She had forgiven Santana for what she had done with Finn. The diva had understood and made amends with the cheerleader after her performance with Brittany. Dylan had never seen Rachel so speechless about a performance and it seemed as though she had been genuinely moved.
So had everyone else. Of course Dylan had been as well, and surprisingly she had even seen Mr. Schuester reach up to dab his eyes against the back of his palm. He had been so touched by their declaration of love that he offered for them to sing their duet at Nationals. Rachel had been all for the idea, fully supporting it. Brittany had been so excited, she actually fell over. Santana had fallen over too, more so out of shock and nerves than happiness.
It had taken some persuading, but Dylan had finally convinced her to take the risk. Brittany aided her of course, though Dylan had been banned from the room for that part. And they had been amazing together on stage. Their second performance was even better than the first, sealing the last words with a kiss.
It was almost unbelievable how far Santana had come in such a short time, and that made today even worse. New York had been an entirely new experience for Brittany and Santana and it had been amazing watching their relationship develop. New Directions had lost the competition during their time in the city, but had gained so much more just by being there that none of them even really cared that much.
It's strange how the City changes people like that. It makes them realize that they are one tiny part of a whole, larger organism and that the most important thing is to be happy with yourself and be who you truly are.
As Dylan stared into the blue eyes in front of her, another image drifted through her mind. She had looked up from her book and stared out at the crystal clear night sky as the plane glided over the wispy cloud-tops.
She sighed and Dylan averted her attention to the two seats across the aisle from her. She couldn't help but smile broadly at the sight she witnessed. Santana had been asleep with her head resting against the window, perfectly silhouetted by the moonlight outside of the plane, her mouth slightly open and faintly snoring. She had her arm protectively wrapped around Brittany, holding her close. The blonde was also asleep, her head tucked tightly under Santana's chin, with a light airplane blanket draped over both of them. Dylan had noticed how tightly Brittany was clutching at Santana's jacket and couldn't help but wonder why it had taken so long for these two to come to their senses.
That was love. How they hadn't known this before baffled her. Another smile crept across Dylan's face and she nodded her head firmly. Yes; if two people were meant to be together, it was definitely these two. They complimented each other perfectly and in every way, so she looked down at the two flowers she held in her hand.
They complimented each other too, stems almost naturally intertwining. Looking at the soft petals, she remembered Santana's song to Brittany. She wasn't supposed to know, but after their initial duet, Brittany had spilled the beans to her. She hadn't been able to contain her excitement.
She stared at the blue eyes Santana had sung about and then slowly moved her gaze over to the brown ones besides Brittany. They were the perfect picture of light and dark and it was a perfect picture of the two of them. It was taken in New York, on top of the Empire State building, a perfect sky behind them mimicking the perfect sky of today.
Quinn was crying now and Dylan didn't pretend to not know why. She felt her own tears rolling freely down her cheeks remembering the couple before them. It wasn't fair that something so beautiful had to be taken away so suddenly.
She was still having nightmares about it and her father had been trying to help her in any way, but it was no use. Dylan figured after some time they would begin to drift away. But right now, the ache in her chest was incredible and she closed her eyes and delved into the one memory she wished she could forget more than anything else in the entire world.
They had already been making plans to move to New York together by the time they had returned to Lima. Santana had been extravagantly explaining what they would do and where they would live, together and happy. Brittany had clung to every word, loving Santana even more. They were so close to obtaining their dreams, to starting their life with each other.
She remembered the way they had left the bus together hand in hand, Brittany happily swinging them back and forth as they walked to Santana's car. It was already dark by the time they had gotten back to the high school, but Dylan could see them perfectly, highlighted in the glow of the tall lamps. Santana had stopped and pulled Brittany against her when they got to her car. She kissed her fully and whispered something Dylan couldn't hear. It didn't matter, though, she knew what Santana had said.
Santana had pulled out of her space and made her way towards the parking lot entrance. Dylan watched as she leaned over the consol and kissed Brittany again while they waited for the light to turn green. The Latina had gently caressed Brittany's cheek and grasped her hand tightly. The light turned green and Santana began to pull out into the road, turning left to take them back to Brittany's house.
It happened in slow motion after that and Dylan felt a gasp catch in her throat. The driver had run the red light, heading in the opposite direction as the two cheerleaders. Dylan remembers watching the way the car swerved and Santana had slammed on the breaks. She could still hear the crash of the metal and the cry that came from inside the vehicle when the car hit them head on.
Santana had died instantly, or so the doctors had told them. The drunk driver had hit the front driver's side of her car, not even giving her a chance. But Dylan had heard that she was still holding onto Brittany's hand when they had found them, never letting go.
The doctors had tried to save Brittany. They had all waited anxiously in the emergency room lobby, hoping for at least some good news. Dylan remembers the way Quinn had collapsed into Rachel's arms and the pain she had felt in her own heart.
There was no way Brittany could have known Santana was dead. The blonde had been in a coma ever since they pulled her from the wreckage. But somehow she must have known. Dylan figured Brittany could feel that Santana was gone and she had given up fighting. The doctors tried everything but there was nothing they could do to save her once Brittany's soul had given up. It was no longer complete.
She was still unconscious when she died, but somehow, Brittany had managed to whisper out a single word before her pulse flattened and she was gone. They didn't know that bit until recently. Mr. Schuester felt as though it would make the event that much worse but eventually he felt as though it was important for them to know.
Brittany had whispered Santana's name.
Dylan glanced over to her father standing next to her and at the newspaper article he had clutched in his hands.
"Tragedy at McKinley, Drunk Driver Kills Two."
She sniffled audibly and he lifted his arm to wrap around her shoulders, giving her a tight squeeze as Quinn was escorted away by Rachel. The cheerleader could barely walk past the graves, side by side as they should be, as her legs trembled. She stopped briefly to run her fingers over the portrait of the two best friends, two lovers, smiling down at them.
The priest said his words but they brought no comfort. They weren't personal and they didn't mean anything. The beauty of the two girls in front of them surpassed any prayer. As she raised her head to stare into the blue sky, Dylan realized how appropriate today actually was. It was a perfect day for a perfect love. They wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
As people began to clear out, Dylan stayed still. Her shoulders felt heavy as she looked down at the holes in the ground, the flowers weighing down her hands. She stepped forward slightly, students and teachers passing her by, and took a deep breath.
"Brittany?" she whispers, barely audible. "Santana? I know you can hear me. I'm so sorry this had to happen to you. It isn't fair. You were… are so beautiful. So beautiful," she choked out. There was a lump in her throat and she gasped for air before continuing. "But don't… don't worry. You don't have to be afr… afraid anymore. You can be together now. Forever."
She stepped forward until she was between the twin graves. She looked down at the flowers in her hands and gently untwined their stems. She dropped one into each of their graves and watched them fall.
A tiger lily for Brittany, "I dare you to love me," she whispered to herself.
And a red rose for Santana, to remind everyone of her undying passion and love for the blonde.
As she stood there and watched the flowers fall and bounce lightly against the wood at the bottom, the lyrics of a song drifted through her head. One last lonely tear slid down her cheek and fell to the ground beneath her feet.
"Brakes on brakes on, the car is runnin' empty, downhill, head on. This crash is comin' slowly… There's a science to fear."
Falling Without Knowing - Tilly and the Wall
Science of Fear - The Temper Trap
BONUS track (credit roll, listen and contemplate): The Same Deep Water as You - The Cure