A/N: Hello there! This isn't the one I was promising earlier but it's a Glee story none the less with hints of Brittana. This is a spinoff of Stephyblue's Invulnerable (while you don't need to read it to understand what is going on, I encourage you to. It's very powerful). This writing style is a bit choppy, I know, but I find that Santana would be like that when confronting death like she is almost everything else – brusque and detached. Either way, enjoy.
The sky is overcast and wind licks carefully up the arms of passerby; fleeting comforts in an embrace that is all too reminiscent of why they are here. They are judged and welcomed all at once – sad eyes are the window to the soul – and she finds she has a hard time keeping a neutral face in the wake of such raw heartbreak.
Santana is waiting for the sun to rain down on the cliché parade and warm all her doubts that she cradles close to her chest.
Brittany is waiting for somebody to fill her in on the punchline that nobody seems to understand.
At least now she isn't the only one.
Brittany leans down and brushes featherlight kisses around his sunken skin and lets lips linger on both of his eyelids; her own special way of saying goodbye - and tries not to cry when she straightens up with a distant longing of paramours and sun-warmed hallways.
She is beautifully tragic with blonde hair (it shines like the gold ring that adorns her finger) plastered against jet-black clothing and brings all eyes to her form – she is the sun and the latina is the moon and never once has she deserved her radiance – complete with trembling lips pressed into a faint line. It is so hard to stand back but the dancer needs her space and she respects that, so she instead holds her abdomen and feels all the distance between her old life shrink into nothingness.
When it is her turn she hesitates because everybody has already done what they need to do but she is a coward and can't find the will to move from the soaked grass and look level with the boy that she has always gazed down upon. Things move so fast and it is Quinn's glare that spurs her into action (she is competitive even at the most inappropriate times) to ghost his resting place, watching his face and wishinghopingwanting movement that will never come again.
She doesn't want to lean down but something stirs inside her stomach (her baby boy has become her puppeteer; all the regrets that she carries are crushing his quiet heart) and makes all her feelings weave impeccably with her words until she cannot distinguish one from the other.
Santana doesn't want to feel because once she starts she cannot stop, but his waxen skin mere inches from hers prompts comical dreams about morality and humanity that make her feel so filthyfilthyfilthy in the wake of this travesty. She opens her mouth but nothing comes out (they fight and scream in the hollow of her throat and leave her mute) into the open air. There are so many things that she could whisper because he's no longer here and can't judge her with those eyes but she watches as letters tumble from her lips and form a tangled jumble of incoherent apology that could even be confused as grief.
(she attempts to string them together with artfully wrought conjunctions but they drip off her tongue and splatter haphazardly against the pristine wooden surface)
It is unsure why she is so inarticulate (all these things that she isn't sure if she wants to say press up bitter against the backs of her teeth) but she swallows the shame at being unable to talk even after he has long left this earth and grips clammy hands against the rim, forcing her way through deep-seated pride that screams hush, child.
"I never really liked you." She winces and looks up to the sky wondering absently if something is going to go smite her down before she's finished tarnishing his memory and broken body. "You were always so happy. I hated that. How could you be happy if your situation was so sad?" It is stilted and difficult to form but the fractured punctuation allows for budding ideas to bloom out into the open air. Santana allows herself to breathe again now that she finds it isn't require to break down into pathetic tears; just pay respects that maybe she always wished she had when she was younger. It would have saved her so much heartbreak.
(it still remains unsaid why was she yours for so long? or I still feel threatened by you and maybe even one day I'm sorry that I didn't cry when you died)
He is so immaculate with his hair brushed back and glasses perched firmly on the bridge of his nose – Santana has a startling image of plastic dreams and sad painted-on eyes watching her from a house that smells of manufactured happiness – and she finds it so wrong. Death should be dirty and bad and raw just like everything else in life.
But life is never fair and others are left in the wake of such travesty, wondering when exactly the joke got old. His picture smiles back at her but the eyes seem to follow her every step - they are the same ones that she finds on Brittany's camera when she flicks through memories long gone. It seems that no matter how hard she tries, she can never quite escape her past (it has played too big a part in her future to be forgotten in the present).
Her slate will always be marked with previous resentment and future hopes.
If he never would have taken the operation, he would still be here and they would be far away from this place of skeletons and singing (it smells like wet grass and the ever-lingering scent of home) from when they were young and stupid and unable to breathe.
And she hates him just a little bit for that; for dying and draining the spark from Brittany's orbs as she touches his pale, fragile hand for the last time and remembers that a promise is a promise, you know? even if it doesn't end how it was originally written out.
"But I-" she attempts to stop but her son kicks as she chokes on her own woven syllables; they tumble out in a disarray of unburied feelings. "I think I have to thank you." but I don't know how. Everything must be said now for if she doesn't confess before he is hidden away oh god she thinks she might just explode from all the disjointed thoughts that rebound inside her mind; the echo of empty halls and musty locker rooms as she becomes the scared teenager she has tried so hard to seal away.
"If you hadn't of kept her from me, I wouldn't have been strong enough to carry on with the relationship once it started. I would have broken down again and pushed her away for good. I needed time to figure things out, but I was just so blind. And I wouldn't have her now... I wouldn't have him." Her fingers splay carefully against her rounding abdomen, repeating a mantra (don'tcrydon'tcrydon'tcry) in the effort to stay focused.
"So I- I owe you my happiness." (and it hurts to owe anything at all to somebody she cannot repay) It is too much to actually say thank you – Santana can never find the right words for her gratitude – but it is leaden in the phrases she speaks, shimmering eyes wiped with shaking fingers. Yet, even as one weight lifts another rises in the hitch of her chest and settles lowlowlower, encasing her child in its heavy warmth.
She is silent and presses the delicate rose to his equally fragile frame; rain travels down her cheeks in a mockery of tears and she wipes the pad of her thumb over his misting glasses. His hair is disheveled and damp now but she likes it this way, because for all his nerdy styles this is more reminiscent of what he was truly like. "Bye, Artie."
Fingers intertwine and she doesn't need to speak, doesn't need to do anything.
But the void of his death has left her paralyzed that she, too, will lose her own voice and be rendered mute to the tides of the world.
"Come on, Britt. Let's go."
Brittany allows the rain to drip off her open lips as they speed too fast away from here (she likes to think that Artie is crying too) with wind that whips her tendrils from her eyes. She can feel the churning hollow inside Santana and chooses not to comment when the speedometer tops 160 kilometers an hour. Santana wants to reach into her chest and pull out all these conflicting feelings because it -hurts- and she doesn't do emotion well; they always override her barriers and leave her scrambling to build them up again.
Brittany smiles sadly and twines her fingers with the latina's. we'll be okay. we always are.
i know. i just hate this place so much.
They'll be back eventually. You can never truly be rid of the only place that feels like home, no matter how many ghosts linger inside.