A/N – thanks for the alerts and for reading in general. I doubt another update will come until the end of the week. The story is about 90% written but I want to finish it before I post too much and I have a busy week ahead. This will be the last T rated chapter. Thanks!

Chapter 2

"You get your fucking hands off of her!" Santana yelled.

Santana connected a fist to the second man's cheek and his grip on Brittany loosened. The man seemed surprised. He was young, barely twenty but Santana barely spared him a glance as she wrenched the blonde out of his grip. Just as she turned to rush them both out of the alley, the first man grabbed for her, thrusting a shoulder into her stomach. She felt the wind rush out of her.

"Run Brittany!" Santana grunted out as she felt the man practically lifting her off the ground with the force of his impact.

Brittany looked pained at the sight of the man ramming himself into Santana. She stood frozen, her eyes wide.

"Brittany, run!" Santana cried again, feeling panic creeping in for the first time. The blonde clenched her jaw and stepped closer to the brunette, her fists clenched as well. Before she could reach Santana, the second man reached for her again and pulled her further back into the shadows of the alley.

"No!" Santana screamed, throwing her elbows and kicking wildly. The man grunted as her elbow connected with his gut. She broke free, desperate to get to Brittany who was also struggling against her own captor. Before she could take more then a few steps, Santana felt the man jerk her backwards once again. She didn't have time to react before his fist connected with her jaw and she fell backwards. She barely registered the back of her head cracking against the curb as white-hot pain flared from her head down her neck.

Santana crumbled onto the pavement and blood began to seep from her wound.

xxxx

Two days later, Brittany gripped the doorframe of the bathroom as she emerged; ready to be discharged. Santana smiled encouragingly and moved closer to offer her a hand, as she was still shaky on her feet.

The blonde was dressed in loose fitting sweat pants and a hooded sweatshirt. Santana stuffed the prescription bottles into her jacket as she moved closer to Brittany.

"Ready to go babe?"

Brittany seemed distracted but nodded, her eyes on the floor. Quinn stood hovering by the doorway. She moved closer when Santana glanced over toward her.

"You two promise to call right?" Quinn asked skeptically. "You've got the number of the therapist Dr. Lopez found for you right? I swear to God Santana, either of you get a paper cut, you call me, do you understand?"

Santana smiled, clutching Brittany's arm. "We'll call every day, I promise."

Brittany was settled into a wheelchair and escorted to the exit. When Santana left to bring her car closer to the door so Brittany wouldn't have to try to walk as far, she returned to find both blondes hugging. Quinn had tears streaming down her face and Brittany was sniffling as she chewed her bottom lip and patted the other woman's back.

Santana kept the car running and opened the passenger door before stepping closer to Brittany to help her settle into the vehicle with Quinn's help. When the brunette got settled into the driver side, she glanced over at Brittany. The blonde was trembling slightly and staring out the window. Santana fished out the Xanax bottle and shook one into her hand. She raised it to the blonde's lips and then offered a bottle of water she had stowed away in the cup holder.

"Here you go babe. Nap time as soon as your drugs kick in. Just relax. You sleep and I'll drive. Not a bad deal for you right?"

Brittany's lip quirked in a half smile as she swallowed the pill and settled back against the seat. A few minutes later, as Santana was pulling onto the freeway to head toward their destination, Brittany mumbled softly. "Thanks San."

Santana glanced over, watching as the pills began to take effect. "For what babe?"

"For being my drug dealer."

Santana chuckled as the blonde drifted off.

xxxx

Santana pulled the vehicle to a stop outside of her family lake house. Brittany had slept most of the drive due to her Xanax dosage. In fact, she was still out cold when Santana shut the vehicle off and glanced at the house through the window.

"B?" she called softly, gently nudging the blonde's knee. "We're here."

Brittany muttered something under her breath before blearily cracking her eyes open. She was still completely dazed. Santana chuckled as she exited and crossed over to the blonde's side of the car. Propping the door open she timidly reached for Brittany's hand.

"What do you say we get you inside where you can lay down?"

"Sounds good." Brittany slurred as Santana pulled her from the car.

The brunette pulled one of Brittany's arms over her shoulder as she attempted to keep the blonde upright. "Ok, but first, I need you to walk for me ok?"

"Sure San." The blonde mumbled, sagging against Santana. "Piece of pie…walkin'."

Santana chuckled as she attempted to maneuver the blonde inside. Finally, after a few near face-plants, the Latina gently settled Brittany onto the couch in the living area of the home.

"You ok to rest here while I bring in the bags?" The brunette asked softly, kneeling by the couch.

Brittany's nose twitched slightly. Eyes still firmly closed, she nodded once. "Yeah, I'm good." She mumbled.

Santana smiled tenderly and dropped a kiss to Brittany's forehead before heading back out to the car. As she placed the last of their bags inside the doorway, Santana closed and locked the door behind her. She glanced around her family's lake home. She immediately remembered happy summers spent in the home with her parents and older brother. Even long weekends spent with Brittany here.

Santana knew Brittany loved this house. The large back deck overlooked the lake. Currently, the setting sun was casting an orange glow over the calm waters and Santana sighed. If there was anywhere the two could reconnect and heal, it would be here, the brunette was certain. She unpacked their bags and had their bedroom situated before Brittany roused from her position on the couch.

"Britt?" Santana called softly. "B, are you awake baby?"

Brittany whimpered softly as she turned onto her side to face the brunette. She cracked her eyes open about halfway, still unfocused from sleep and medication. Santana smiled and sat, waiting for the blonde to regain her senses. When she was certain Brittany was focused, Santana reached and brushed blonde hair back from her forehead.

"Hi." Brittany croaked.

"Hey B." Santana replied softly. "You think you could eat some soup if I made it?"

The blonde shrugged. "I dunno. My stomach is kind of icky."

Santana nodded sympathetically. The antibiotics and medications Brittany had been placed on to help ward off any sexually transmitted diseases were leaving the blonde's stomach queasy. Not to mention the pain medications that left her with no energy and little to no appetite.

"I know B." Santana replied. "But you've got to eat. It'll actually help the drugs settle better. Please? For me?"

Brittany quirked a brow and finally sighed, raising her hand with her left thumb and forefinger apart slightly. Santana smiled and reached for the blonde's hand, pulling it toward her to press her lips to it gently. "That's my girl." She whispered.

She eyed the kitchen when she entered, hoping her parents had made good on their promise to stock the place when they agreed to allow the two of them to use the home. Santana opened the pantry and smiled at the overloaded shelves that met her eye. They had more than enough to see them through the next month comfortably. The brunette pulled a can of chicken noodle soup out and quickly set about preparing a small dinner.

A few minutes later, Santana settled a tray on the coffee table across from the couch where Brittany was once again dozing.

"Britt? Ready to eat a little for me?"

Brittany cracked her eyes open once again and eyed the tray. "I'm not really hungry San."

"I know babe." Santana returned quietly. "But just try to eat a little, please?"

Brittany winced as she pulled herself to a seated position with Santana's help. The brunette allowed her fingertips to gently graze the blonde's still fresh bruises on her face. Brittany caught Santana's sad gaze and reached to cover the brunette's hand with her own. She pulled tan fingers to her lips and kissed them gently.

Santana felt her breath hitch. She fought the sting of tears as she and Brittany both smiled sadly. With a sigh, she reached and brought a bowl of soup closer for Brittany to hold. When she offered the blonde a saltine cracker to add to the soup, Brittany declined but did raise the spoon to her lips, blowing on the hot liquid.

Santana settled on the end of the couch across from Brittany and tasted her own soup. "Not too bad I suppose." She mumbled. "It's kind of boring but it'll do I guess."

"It's hard to mess up soup San." Brittany said softly. "Besides, you're like an amazing chief. I hate recipes but you're good with them."

"Chef, B." Santana corrected with a chuckle. "And thanks. I agree with you, recipes suck. I'm just lucky my mom taught me to cook without them. And I promise to redeem myself and my kitchen skills, this is just a quick fix."

Brittany blinked slowly but didn't respond. She seemed lost in thought as she stirred the soup with the spoon. Finally she sighed. "San, you know I love this place but…why are we here?"

"Well my parents offered…" Santana bit her lip timidly and scooted closer to the blonde. "I just thought we both needed a little time. I'm certainly not ready to just jump back into work and I assumed…I just thought we could spend some time together. I just…I want, no, I need to do something B. I want to take care of you. I can't change what happened Brittany. But I can give you this place to just…be."

Brittany exhaled long and hard. She tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes as she settled her blue eyes on the slight discoloration on Santana's cheek from where the man had struck her. The blonde sniffled, dropping her spoon back into the soup with a slight splatter.

"I love you Santana."

The brunette smiled and nodded. "I love you too babe. I'm pretty sure I could never tell you how much."

"I understand." Brittany said softly. "Words still give me trouble too sometimes."

Santana pressed another gentle kiss to Brittany's knuckles before scooting back to her side of the couch. A short while later when Santana cleared the bowls away to the kitchen, she smiled at the sight of more than half of Brittany's bowl empty and couldn't help but think they were making progress already.

It wasn't until that night when Brittany woke up thrashing and screaming that Santana realized just how far away from recovery they truly were.

xxxx

Within the first week at the lake home, the two fell into a sort of routine. Whenever they would wake in the morning, Santana would feed Brittany her morning medications and then wait by her side until they kicked in and the blonde would drift off into sleep again. Santana would then head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for when she would wake again.

In the afternoons, Brittany would either rest and nap on the couch or chat on the phone with the therapist Santana's father had found for her. The brunette found herself hovering around the blonde just waiting to be needed. By the evening, the two almost always found themselves cuddled on the couch watching Disney movies or cartoons or whatever else the two were in the mood for.

Santana learned to be careful around Brittany and to not make any sudden movements. She knew to wait until the blonde was prepared to be touched before placing a hand on her shoulder or her knee. Santana realized firsthand that Brittany was jumpy when on the second morning she tried to hug the blonde from behind and received a backhand to the side of her head as Brittany turned with a yelp.

The nights continued to be a struggle with Brittany waking every few hours screaming and thrashing. Santana would have to hold the blonde tightly until she regained her senses enough to stop fighting. Then would come the tears. Brittany's sobs wracked her body and she would inevitably collapse in exhaustion as Santana held her tightly, whispering soft words of comfort. The tears pained Santana the most. She wasn't used to seeing the blonde cry.

The first time Brittany cried, really cried, after the attack, she and Santana had been lounging on the couch watching TV. Brittany had wandered into the kitchen to locate a bag of popcorn and was digging through the cabinets. When she realized she was holding a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey, she froze.

She saw the man take long swallows. She heard the glass shatter as the bottle was tossed aside. She smelled the strong liquor on his breath as he hovered over her, panting into her neck and face.

Santana heard the glass shatter in the kitchen and rushed in to find Brittany huddled on the floor, her hands fisted into her hair and rocking back and forth. Tears were streaming down her pale face. Santana quickly gathered the blonde into her arms and tried to comfort her but Brittany's sobs were shaking her entire frame. Santana wasn't certain how long they sat there holding each other. She only knew that when she finally helped the blonde to bed, the sun had long since set.

Santana kept her word and called Quinn every day with an update. The two usually chatted for a few minutes about what was going on both ends. Quinn would always ask Santana to give Brittany a hug and kiss for her and to tell her she loved her. Brittany would smile sleepily before settling back onto the couch or one of the deck chairs on a particularly nice evening.

Brittany and Santana had been at the lake house for a little over a week when Santana's phone chirped with a text message. She glanced at it as she handed Brittany her morning meds. The message from Quinn simply asked Santana to call when she got the chance.

Santana quirked a brow at her phone before setting it aside and helping Brittany settle back onto the pillows. "You going to sleep a little longer babe?" she asked softly.

The blonde nodded slightly, eyes already drifting closed. "Just til things aren't so fuzzy."

"Ok Britt." Santana replied with a smile. "You do your drug coma thing and I'll check on you in a little while ok?"

"Mmhmm."

Santana chuckled before picking up her phone and moving over to the doorway that led out onto the deck overlooking the lake. Quinn picked up on the first ring.

"Hey San." She said softly. "How was your night?"

Santana thought back to the three times Brittany had woken in a panic, screaming. She grimaced but decided to spare their friend the details. "Not too bad. How are things there?"

Quinn paused as if trying to decide whether or not to believe Santana's words. "Fine." She finally answered. "Rachel asks about you guys every day. She's worried. Mercedes and Tina call every day too. We're all worried about you guys."

"I know, and I appreciate it." Santana replied softly. "But she needs time away from everything. She needs time to get her thoughts together and understand what happened. She needs me and I need her."

"I know that." Quinn returned quietly. "So…do you have a minute to talk? Away from Britt?"

Santana inhaled sharply. With a glance over her shoulder toward the bedroom door, the brunette moved out onto the deck. "Sure. B's sleeping. I take it you have news?"

Santana could practically see Quinn's thoughtful look on the other end of the line. The other blonde finally sighed. "Yeah…they caught him. Or them I should say. A woman fought a guy off and gave a description to the police. Said a second guy was there, a younger guy. They found them and brought them in and that kid spilled about everything. Apparently he admitted to attacking two other women and the descriptions matched you and Britt."

Santana slumped against the deck railing, relief mixing with rage. She was trembling and her hand threatened to drop the phone.

"San? Are you there?"

Santana cleared her throat and swallowed down tears. "I'm here." She choked out hoarsely.

Quinn sighed and continued. "They're brothers. Not that it helps but the younger guy, Rick, he cried and confessed everything."

Santana laughed wryly. "You're right, doesn't really help, not after what they did. They both hurt her Quinn."

"I know." Quinn said softly. "But at least he's showing remorse. Doesn't sound like his brother is. Apparently this James McCreery guy has quite a history. He's been linked to five other attacks. One woman…she died San. There's a murder charge against him in another state. A state where he could get the death penalty…"

"I hope he fucking fries!" Santana spit vehemently.

"San." Quinn gasped.

Santana gripped the phone tighter. "No, I mean it. That son of a bitch deserves it. I'd kill him myself if I could…if Britt didn't need me with her."

"She does Santana and don't you forget it." Quinn replied, almost harshly. "The thing is, he's agreed to plead guilty to everything and get tested and disclose the results in the hopes that he won't be extradited, they both did. I just want to make sure you follow…they're being tested today. Within a few days you can know for sure that they didn't give Britt anything. Do you understand San?"

Santana clenched her jaw. "I got it Quinn. In a few days we'll know whether or not this fucker had any STD's but in the meantime, Britt has to keep taking drugs that make her sick and fucking miserable just on the off chance this guy gave her something. I get it."

"San-"

"Thanks for calling Quinn." Santana interrupted, every muscle clenched tightly. "I gotta go. I'll call you later tonight ok?"

Santana hung up before Quinn could answer. Gazing out across the lake, the brunette pulled her light sweater tighter around her body. She should have been relieved that the man had been caught but all Santana wanted to do was throw things and scream.

Santana wasn't sure how long she stood there, leaning over the deck railing, before she heard a slight shuffling behind her. She turned to see Brittany in a baggy sweatshirt and workout pants, shuffling from one foot to the other. Santana tried to smile at the blonde but found she couldn't do more than grimace.

"Hi San." Brittany said softly. "I tried to make us toast. But the microwave didn't do it right."

"Toast goes in the toaster B, not the microwave." Santana replied. "I'm sorry, I'll be in to fix breakfast in a minute."

Brittany smiled sadly and shook her head. "No, it's ok. I'm not really hungry, I just thought I'd fix it for you…You're sad."

At Brittany's plaintive tone, Santana sighed. There was no use in trying to hide from Brittany. She allowed any lie she thought about reciting die on her lips. "I'm a little upset Britt. But I'm ok. I just talked to Quinn."

Brittany nodded solemnly. "She had news?"

Santana clenched her jaw and turned her gaze back out across the lake. "Yeah. She did. They caught the guys who hurt you."

She heard Brittany sigh behind her and then heard her shuffle closer. The blonde dropped a hand onto Santana's forearm and squeezed gently. "The guys who hurt us you mean?" After another squeeze, Brittany let go of Santana and clasped her own hands, leaning against the railing mirroring Santana's position.

"They're being tested today. So in a few days we'll know for sure you're healthy. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Brittany continued to stare out across the water and shrugged a shoulder noncommittally. Santana eyed her cautiously and cleared her throat before continuing. "B, as soon as we find out these guys don't have any diseases or anything, we'll know you're not going to get sick. Remember Ms. Holliday's Sex Ed. class? We studied about sexually transmitted diseases. As soon as we know they're healthy, we'll know you are too."

Brittany shrugged again but gave a slight nod that she understood. The two stood quietly for a time before the blonde spoke up. "So I could stop taking the pills that make my stomach hurt?"

"Yeah B, you could stop taking those."

The blonde furrowed her brow. "But what if I stopped taking them and I really was sick? Could I make you sick? I don't want to make you sick San!"

"Babe," Santana said gently. "Once the doctors say you're clear you won't have to worry. They wouldn't tell you to stop taking the meds if it wasn't safe. You trust my dad right? We'll make sure he looks everything over. And don't worry about me Britt ok?"

Santana watched as Brittany continued to think, her eyes lowered to where her hands were tugging at her sweatshirt nervously. "But San…what if one of them is sick? What if I'm sick? If I'm sick then I could get you sick-"

"Brittany," Santana replied firmly. She waited for the blonde to look at her before reaching for her hands to avoid frightening her. "Brittany, you're not going to get sick. You're going to be fine ok? But if something happens and you do get sick, we'll deal with it together. It won't change how much I love you and I'm not going anywhere. But don't worry about me babe."

Brittany chewed her bottom lip but finally raised her eyes to meet Santana's intense gaze. The blonde relaxed slightly as Santana squeezed her hands reassuringly. One corner of her mouth quirked slightly into a small smile.

"Can't help but worry about you San." She scooted closer to Santana and timidly pulled the shorter woman in for a hug. The brunette wrapped her arms around Brittany's thin frame and dropped her head to the blonde's shoulder. This was the closest contact Brittany had allowed since they arrived at the lake house. Santana smiled as she inhaled the scent of the blonde's shampoo.

"I love you Brittany."

Brittany tightened her grip on her girlfriend. "I love you too Santana."

xxxx

It rained that afternoon. The two were confined inside the house. Santana prepared dinner, which Brittany picked at and they then settled in to watch a movie. The blonde was eerily calm all afternoon, which unnerved Santana. She had expected some sort of reaction after the news settled in about their attacker being captured but Brittany remained quiet.

Santana hoped the calm would carry through the night and allow them both to get a full night's sleep but that night turned out to be the most difficult yet. Brittany woke in a panic and it took Santana a full five minutes before she could bring the blonde back to reality.

"It's ok baby, I'm here." She cooed. "You're safe here B, I promise."

Brittany was desperately clinging to Santana's t-shirt, both fists balled into the material on her back. The brunette held her just as tightly and tried to rock them gently while whispering nonsense words to try to calm her.

"I-it was bad San." Brittany stuttered, still gasping for air. "They had you and I couldn't get to you. They were…I couldn't help you!"

"It's alright B. It's over; we're safe. He's never going to touch you again. Just take deep breaths babe."

Santana glanced toward the clock on the bedside table and grimaced as she realized it had only been two hours since Brittany's last dosage of Xanax. They would have to simply wait this episode out.

Brittany was struggling to control her breathing as she shivered against Santana's body. Her grip finally relaxed and she flattened her palms against the Latina's back.

"San?" Brittany whispered.

"Yeah Britt?"

Brittany continued to pant slightly and was still shivering when she asked softly, "Do you believe in God San?"

The brunette had not been expecting this topic of conversation. She frowned slightly, tightening her arms around the shaking blonde. "Yeah babe, I do. How else could I ever explain having you in my life? I'm not that lucky."

Brittany's breathing continued to even out and Santana assumed she had finally fallen asleep. Before she could scoot them further down the bed to rest comfortably on the pillows, the blonde spoke again.

"But…if God gave us each other, he must be good right? But if he's good…why did he let this happen to us? I just don't understand Santana."

"I'm not sure I do either Brittany." Santana responded honestly. "I just know that sometimes people do really bad things. Doesn't mean we deserved to have this happen or that God was out to get us…it just happened. But we have each other and that's the important thing. We're going to take care of each other, right?"

"Right." Brittany whispered into Santana's t-shirt. "Know what I think?"

"What's that babe?" Santana replied.

"I think maybe he didn't get enough hugs as a kid. Maybe that's what made him so mean. That's kind of sad. Everyone should get hugs as a kid."

Santana clenched her jaw and exhaled slowly. She couldn't bring herself to care about what kind of a childhood their attacker had lived. But the fact that Brittany, sweet Brittany, sounded genuinely concerned made Santana's heart swell with love for the blonde all over again.

"San?" Brittany whispered once again.

Santana smiled tenderly in the dark and pressed a kiss to the top of her blonde head. "Yeah babe?"

"Will you sing to me?"

Santana felt tears stinging at Brittany's broken tone. She squeezed the blonde tighter and leaned back slightly to be able to see her face. "Of course I will if you want me to. Any requests?"

Brittany's blue eyes were still wide with pain and fright as she locked onto Santana's gaze. She shrugged slightly. "You pick San. Anything you sing sounds awesome."

"Damn straight it does." Santana replied with a smirk trying to lighten the mood. The edges of Brittany's eyes crinkled as she smiled slightly.

Santana pulled them back gently so they were nestled comfortably onto the pillows, her arms still secure around the blonde. Brittany sighed with her head on Santana's shoulder but didn't release her death grip.

"When you try your best but you don't succeed.

When you get what you want but not what you need.

When you feel so tired but you can't sleep.

Stuck in reverse.

And the tears come streaming down your face.

When you lose something you can't replace."

Santana felt herself starting to choke on the words but she just tightened her grip as she felt Brittany seem to relax slightly.

"Lights will guide you home.

And ignite your bones.

And I will try to fix you."

"I promise you I will learn from my mistakes." Santana whispered as Brittany finally went limp in her arms. "I'll try to fix you."

Santana kept her arms firmly around Brittany as the blonde finally drifted into peaceful slumber. She kept her own body still as sobs threatened to wrack her frame but with a clenched jaw, she allowed her silent tears to flow.

A/N – the song is "Fix You" by Coldplay, just FYI.