I want Brittany and Santana to go out on a date, a real, freakin' adorable, full on date. So they're gonna, in this story. This chapter is the asking out, the next chapter is the date.

This is set over the upcoming summer, assuming that Brittany and Artie kept dating but kinda...fell apart, like high school relationships do. I definitely don't mean any Artie disrespect, he's a cool guy. I just had to break them up somehow, and I think maybe with a girl like Brit, he might both take her for granted after a while, while simultaneously being kind of insecure about keeping her. A common and bad combo for any relationship. Anyway, that's not the point. Brittana is the point. Let the cuteness ensue.

It's July - the hot, sticky, height of summer. Santana is lying out by the pool, working on her tan. Her bikini is dark blue, with bright white piping that sets off her bronzed skin to perfection.

She lays face down on a chaise lounge, eyes closed. She can hear the chatter around her - Sam and Finn trying to be subtle about ogling the girls, Puck not caring, just shouting out "Dayyyum Mercedes!" She can hear Quinn's soft rumbling voice in earnest conversation with Brittany's low, even one. And of course she hears Rachel's high pitched, constantly running monologue, directed at no-one in particular.

She turns over, reaches down for a tube of Hawaiian Tropic, SPF 15, spreads some on her hands, rubs them over her arms and shoulders. The goal is tan, not fried.

She adjusts her shades and leans back, closes her eyes again. It's fine for them to come over, hang out by the pool. But she's not going to entertain them or anything.

A shadow falls over her face, and when it lingers, she realizes it's not a passing cloud. She opens her eyes, sits up, pushes her sunglasses back on her head.

Tina. She's wearing a low cut black one-piece, with cartoon skulls all over it. One of the skulls is wearing a bow.

Santana purses her lips, bites back a comment about shopping at Hot Topic. She's been trying lately, really. She settles for a raised eyebrow.

Tina takes that as a good sign, sits down on the chaise lounge next to Santana's.

"I think they broke up."

Santana follows Tina's gaze to the far side of the yard. Artie is wheeling through the gate. As she watches, Finn trots over to help him over the uneven ground.

Santana puts her shades back on.

"They did."

Brittany had mumbled it the night before last, at the movies with Santana and Quinn. Digging into ice cream sundaes after the movie, Quinn had asked all the right questions, made all the best sympathetic noises. Santana had just spooned up her caramel sundae in silence.

Tina is waiting for more. Their entire relationship is based on trading gossip and a mutual distain for the Brittany/Artie union. But the awkward confluence of the only two makes it difficult for Santana to know what to say.

Tina is still waiting.

Santana gives. "Well, you heard what happened at Cedar Point, right?"

They had all heard, thanks to Puck's big mouth. "So Brittany, Lauren and me come off riding The Mantis, which was SO BADASS, and Artie's chillin' there with this freakin' HAWT Asian chick. They're just crackin' up, and he's fully letting her put her number in his phone."

Artie had been duly repentant, spent 30 bucks winning Brittany a big teddy bear in an effort to clear the wounded look from her face. But it had strained the relationship, exposed a little tear that was clearly growing bigger.

Tina nodded. "And last week at the fireworks."

Last week at the fireworks had been worse, because it was in front of everyone.

Brittany had been getting popcorn from the concession stand, joking around with some Dalton boys in line. One of them grabbed her, swayed her to the music pumping out over the speakers, spun her. Santana had watched jealousy flicker in Artie's eyes, seen the embers grow to flames. By the time Brittany got back to the group, he was hissing. "Could you try not flirting with every guy in the fucking universe? Maybe?"

Brittany's mouth had dropped open in astonishment. "I was just kidding around."

"Yeah, well, have a little less fun next time you're in line with an entire boys school."

Santana had almost jumped in then, but Brittany stuck up for herself. "It's not like I was getting anyone's phone number."

And then it was back to the Cedar Point argument, until Artie rolled his eyes and rolled away, and Brittany went off to snuffle on Quinn's shoulder in the ladies room.

Santana watched Finn and Sam help Artie into the pool, get him set up with one of the floating rafts.

"Well. It was just downhill from there." Santana reaches under her chair, finds her glass of diet coke. There's still a little ice that hasn't melted, and she tilts the glass back, gets her teeth around one cube, crunches down.

It's funny. Santana and Brittany hang out less now, but actually talk more than they used to. They step carefully around some topics - Brittany thoughtfully avoids too much Artie talk, Santana doesn't mention how blue Brittany's eyes look against a summer sunset. But at least emotions are part of their vocabulary these days.

So last week, after three days of Artie ignoring her for Killzone 2, when Brittany had texted "I feel lonely San", she had done her level best to coax a smile while keeping her hands to herself. She had brought her old Snoopy Sno Cone machine over to Brittany's so they could make ices, let Brittany paint her toenails with 6 different colors of polish and kept her mouth shut.

But Brittany must have done her own thinking, come to her own conclusions. Because now she's eyeing Artie warily from across the pool, and he's ignoring her entirely, cracking dirty jokes with Puck.

"Are you going to..." Tina starts to ask, but stops. Santana's eyes are still hidden but her mouth is drawn in on itself. Without seeing her eyes, Tina can't tell if the set of her lips is angry or sad or just thoughtful.

"Tina!" Mike calls from the pool. "Chicken fight!"

Quinn is already up on Finn's broad shoulders, a goofy grin spreading across her face as his hands run from her knees, down her calfs, to her ankles.

So Tina gets up, walks over to the pool and jumps in. And Santana is left alone on her deck chair, the hot sun sending sweat running down the backs of her knees, wondering what everyone else is wondering.

"Am I going to...?"

"Are there really 18 naughty things to do with popsicles? I can think of maybe 11 or 12..."

Santana looks up from the issue of Cosmo she's reading to find Mercedes in front of her, leaning against the Parenting section of the magazine aisle.



They know by now that they don't really dislike each other, but a little friendly antagonism keeps things a lot more entertaining. Lima sucks, gotta make your own fun.

Santana closes the magazine. "There's actually 36 naughty things to do with popsicles. Trust me."

Mercedes has a few books in her hands.

"Brutal." Santana is pointing to the book at the top of the pile, Beloved.

"I know. I'm always kind of masochistic with my pool reading. Last summer it was The Grapes of Wrath. Wanna get an iced coffee?"

Santana doesn't answer but follows Mercedes to the checkout anyway. They pay for their purchases, head out of the store. For a second the heat feels good, glorious, glowing warm after the over-conditioned air of the bookstore. But a second after that it's too hot again. The coffee shop is only two blocks away, but by the time they duck inside, Santana is sweating, her ponytail sticking to her neck, her tanktop clinging at the small of her back.

They don't speak again until they're settled in the shade at an outdoor table, cool drinks clutched in their hands.

"Thanks for letting us keep using the pool. Your house..."

Santana shrugs, waves off the complement she knows is coming.

"Did you uh...Did you sleep over Rachel's on Monday?"

Santana hadn't been invited and that was fine, neither had Quinn. But Brittany had and Santana couldn't help wondering what Brittany had said about her breakup with Artie or...anything else.

Mercedes knows what she's after and decides to be a bitch about it. "Yeah." She nods slowly, gives up nothing.

Santana sucks up an undissolved pile of sugar from the bottom of her cup, grits it between her teeth. Sweetness spreads across her tongue.

"Brittany..." Mercedes leads with the name to get Santana's attention, but it's a bait and switch. "...taught us a dance she made up. For that Kesha song, Blow."

Mercedes is caught by surprise when Santana doesn't scowl at her trick. Instead, she's smiling, all her teeth showing, a little blush at her chipmunk cheeks.

"She loves that video. 'Cause, the unicorns..."

Mercedes can't hold out any longer. Tenderhearted Santana is gonna give her nightmares.

"Can you just ask her out already? If not for your own sake, then to put the rest of us our of our misery? It's been weeks since she and Artie disintegrated and y'all are just tiptoeing around each other. All this blushing and batting of eyelashes. Just...do it."

"Doing it was not our problem. Heh."

Mercedes rolls her eyes. "You hang out with Puck too much."

Santana agrees to that. But there's a real conversation here. She has those now.

"I...I want to. I just don't know if she's ready. I mean, she said she loved Artie. She has to get over..."

"They're over it. We're all over it. Artie's so over it he's riding that Vanessa girl all around town in his chair. And Brittany...she's just waiting for you."

Santana chews on the inside of her cheek. Yesterday Brittany had come over to go swimming, just the two of them. She had almost asked her then, when Brittany's hands lingered on her shoulders, spreading sunscreen. Instead she had jumped in the pool, hooked up the volleyball net, and made them play until her shoulders burned.

"She's at her cousin's house, until Friday."

"So ask her Friday."

Santana fights to keep the panic out of her eyes.

Mercedes sees it anyway.

"Santana? She won't say no this time."

Santana blinks fast, wishes she had her sunglasses with her.

Mercedes slurps the last of her iced coffee. "C'mon. Who could say no to Satan?"

Brittany has been home from her cousin's for an hour and 17 minutes exactly. Santana knows, because she got a text that said "I just got home THIS SECOND COME OVER." an hour and 17 minutes ago. And she's trying to get her shit together and get over there, but she's on her third outfit and none of them look right.

The phone rings and it's Quinn.

"Are you going over to Brittany's?"

"Yeah" Santana replies, her stomach sinking. She'd hoped maybe they could talk alone.

"Well, she just texted me too. But I know you were thinking of asking her today..."

"Fucking Wheezie with her big mouth..."

"Like you should talk."

Santana shuts up at that.

"I'm just saying, I can stall. So you guys can talk for a bit. If you want."

"Oh. Uh... um..."

"I'm gonna remember this extreme ineptitude the next time you purport to be a badass."

"I am a badass." Santana finally finds the halter top she's been looking for, wedged in the back of her sock drawer for some reason.

"Well, go prove it. I'll be there by 5. So you've got an hour."

Santana pulls on the top, checks herself in the mirror. Badass. Right?


Brittany's mom is on her knees in the front yard, weeding the flower beds when Santana pulls up to the house.

"She's in the backyard."

Santana smiles a thanks at her and goes around to the gate. She lets herself into the back yard, and almost loses her nerve. Brittany is standing on the grass, blowing bubbles with her little sister. They've already made about a million, and Brittany is wreathed in shimmering rainbows. A breeze blows, ruffling Brittany's blonde hair, sending the bubbles off higher into the summer sky. Brittany laughs and follows their flight. When she sees Santana, she's across the lawn in a second, hugging her tight, like they haven't seen each other in four years instead of four days.

And then it's the only thing she can say.

"Go out with me."

Brittany stops squeezing, steps back, blinks. There's a terrifying second of silence, then a dazzling smile.

But Santana wants to make sure that there's no mistake.

"On a date, a real date."

Brittany is suddenly shy. She looks down at her sandals, the tips of her ears flush pink. But when she looks up she's grinning, her eyes a mirror of the clear bright sky.

"Yes, San. Yes."