Chapter Title:A Suggestion

Author: Stargirl888

Word Count:About 3800

Spoilers:None

Pairing: Brittany/Santana, Santana/Rachel,

Rating:M

WARNINGS:Nix for this chapter

Disclaimer: Not mine, never has been and unfortunately never will be :(

Summary:It's a conundrum; how to be fair to everyone when Rachel wants more legitimacy and Brittany doesn't want less.

A/N: Yes, I'm still around! And it's actually quite a long update too (well compared to some of my more recent ones anyway); I haven't reviewed and edited it yet but I wanted to get it up asap so apologies for any mistakes. I'm sorry for keeping you all waiting this long (I just checked and it's been two weeks short of a year *gasp*) so I won't delay you any further with a long AN. Enjoy :)

(For those of you that don't remember, we left off with Rachel, Brittany and Santana having just moved to New York after they graduated from McKinley)

-0-0-0-0-0-

Their first week in New York was spent unpacking and exploring while trying to become accustomed to living together. Quinn arrived the following Tuesday and the girls the rest of that week was consumed with helping her apartment hunt.

It was Brittany who stumbled onto the loft Quinn landed up taking, purely by chance when she mentioned it as a passing comment to a barista at Starbucks on the Thursday morning. The place would barely fit a double bed and a sofa, but, to quote Rachel 'it had character'. It was also available immediately and within Quinn's budget. So Friday and Saturday were consumed with getting Quinn moved in.

Sunday, the last day of freedom before Santana and Rachel had to start getting organised for College and Brittany started her new job, was spent, at Santana's insistence, lounging about the house. Quinn came over for a few hours, but left before dinner; still having some final things to do before she too started her new job in the morning.

They watched a couple of movies together before Rachel and Santana decided to head to bed. It was still weird for Santana to be so blatantly going to bed with Rachel while Brittany went to her own room but she figured that was to be expected and they'd all get used to it in time.

"So now that we're in New York, what are the chances of my being your girlfriend?" Rachel asked hesitantly once they were both in bed. Santana's forehead crinkled in confusion

"You are my girlfriend."

"No, I mean publically." Rachel explained.

"Rach, I know New York is probably more open minded than Lima, but I don't think they're that open minded."

"I didn't mean we should be open about being poly."

"Then...you mean you want me to introduce you as my girlfriend publically, instead of Brittany." Santana realised, already knowing that this conversation would end horribly.

"When we started going out, in Lima, it made sense for Brittany to be the 'public girlfriend' and that meant that our relationship had to be hidden behind closed doors. I was hoping though that now that were in New York, where no one knows us maybe it could be my turn to be the public one. "

"Rach, I know it's hard having to keep us a secret..."

"Really? You're not the one who's going to be introduced as the roommate or best friend."

"Yes I am actually. You're not going to be introducing me as your girlfriend either. I wish the world was different and that I could be both of your girlfriends in public too, but it's not."

"I told you that wasn't what I was suggesting." Rachel replied irritably, already able to tell Santana wasn't going to agree.

"I don't think it's a good idea Rach."

"Well I don't think you sleeping in here is a good idea either." Santana hadn't been expecting that. She hesitated for a moment, before scowling and climbing out of bed.

"Fine, I won't force my company on you any further."

Slamming the bedroom door on her way out, Santana grabbed some blankets from the hallway closet and tiredly went to make up the futon in her study.

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

"So you made it a grand total of one week before you had to sleep in here." Santana awoke to bright sunlight streaming through the blinds directly onto her face and Brittany's teasing jibe. She let out a groan, rolling over and hiding her head under her pillow.

"Aww," Brittany teased good naturedly. "I brought you coffee"

The promise of caffeine managed to convince Santana to emerge enough to retrieve the cup.

"So was it a disagreement over where to go sightseeing?" Brittany asked lightly, perching on the desk while Santana tried to wake up fully. Santana unthinkingly flipped her off, only to mutter a quick apology at Brittany's incredulous expression.

"It was a little more serious than our plans for today." Santana explained. Brittany nodded for her to go on, moving to sit more comfortably on the corner of the futon but was interrupted by a tentative knock and looked up to find Rachel standing at the door holding two cups of coffee.

"Looks like I had the same idea." She commented, nodding to the mug Santana was holding. "Can we talk?"

Santana glanced at Brittany and the blond got up to leave, heeding the silent request.

"You didn't go sleep in Brittany's room." Rachel commented once Brittany had left, taking her vacated spot on the bed. Santana shrugged without replying.

"I don't know why but i always felt this being your secret girlfriend was temporary. Like, when we first got together, I didn't know if we'd even last out more than a few months given the situation. I was pretty sure that either Brittany or you would get tired of it and want to go back to being a couple. I mean I hoped that you wouldn't, but I worried. I still do worry about it sometimes."

"Rach," Santana tried to protest but Rachel held up her hand to ask her to let her finish.

"The problem is if that were to happen I would have no one. You know that I wear my emotions openly but if we broke up I couldn't be sad. You, and Britt and Quinn are the only ones that know that we're dating and if I couldn't come to you, and I certainly couldn't go to Quinn, I would be all alone. I knew that I couldn't publicly date you though, not in Lima anyway so I'd never even tried to suggest it when we were in high school but now that we're not anymore I thought maybe things could be different.

"You want us to tell people because if we break up, which I don't see happening any time soon by the way, you'll be able to have a support system?"

"It's not only that. Brittany's had almost four years of being with you, and even when you two weren't officially out it was obvious you two belonged to each other. I've had to watch you guys for all that time, and even before in Middle School, and how am I meant to compete?

"It's not a competition."

"What I mean is that I have no illusions about who you would choose if it came down to it." Santana tried to speak but Rachel silenced her with a chaste kiss. "I know you love me, and I'm not saying you'd just discard me like it was nothing, but if you had to make a choice, painful as it would be, you'd choose her. I'm just saying what we both know is the truth. That knowledge is a part of our relationship, and I can accept it, all I'm asking is that if I have to always be second to Brittany in your life in private can't I at least be first in public."

"I've always tried to treat you two equally." Santana tried to protest

"I know, and normally you do, but that doesn't change the underlying fact. Santana I need this legitimacy." Rachel pleaded openly

"I'll...I'll have to think about it."

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

"So?" Brittany prompted a couple of hours later once Rachel had left to run a couple of errands and they were both relaxing in the lounge. Santana rose an eyebrow in question "You going to tell me what's going on with you and Rachel? You've been distracted the whole morning." Santana hesitantly explained Rachel's request.

"You told her that it's not possible?" Brittany had meant it as a statement but it came out as unsure and questioning .

"I said I'd think about it."

"You know we can't though; it's not practical. We may be in a new city but we still have ties to Lima – we'd still have to deal with the whole break up thing." Santana was taken aback by how quickly Brittany had shot down the idea.

"We could work something out for that."

"No, we couldn't." Brittany replied, her heart hammering. Being Santana's public girlfriend was something she had always taken for granted and the fact that Santana was even toying with the idea of changing that was like the floor had been removed from under her and she was drawn to wonder what else Santana may be thinking of changing.

"I'm not saying we definitely should change things but it's worth considering, isn't it? It would take some explaining but Rachel did make the point that there's no real reason not to switch it around."

"How about that I don't want to change things? Don't look at me like I'm the bad guy for wanting the same thing as Rachel." Brittany stood up and walked out of the room before Santana could think of a reply.

Santana decided to give Brittany a few hours before she broached the subject again. She hadn't expected such a strong reaction from the blond, of the three of them, Brittany was the one she thought would have the least objections to the proposal. Sighing she decided to give Brittany a few hours to process before broaching the subject again.

When Brittany still hadn't reemerged from her room a couple of hours later Santana went to seek her out with a bowl of the cereal Brittany liked to snack on as a peace offering.

Entering the room, Santana found her girlfriend sitting on her bed with earphones in her ears and her laptop balancing on her lap.

"What are you watching?" she asked as she handed over the cereal and sat down beside the other girl.

"The Big Bang Theory." Brittany replied, scooting over a bit and pulling out the earphone jack so Santana could also hear.

"So you're not even open to the idea of changing things?" Santana asked after watching for a few moments. "I thought you'd be okay with this." Brittany didn't answer so Santana reached over and paused the video. "Talk to me." She asked softly. Sighing, Brittany looked at her girlfriend.

"What would make you think that?" Brittany's tone wasn't accusing, but it also quite firmly implied that Santana should have know otherwise. Santana shrugged.

"I didn't see where you'd find a problem with it. You're the one who always wants things to be fair and whatever."

"Why do you want us to change things?" It came out as a demand "Ignore the practicalities of it all and tell me why."

"I think it's important to Rachel. She needs the legitimacy and it would be good for our relationship to be able to go out as a couple. She's been great about keeping things secret, now that we can give her the chance to tell people we should."

"So you want to do it for Rachel, that's fine. Do you personally want to do it? Do you want to tell people that she's your girlfriend and I'm not?" Brittany asked. "And it's all well and good for you and Rachel, and I'm sure it'll be great but what about you and me? What does that mean for us?"

"We've done the secret thing before. We'll do it again. And it's different you're both my girlfriend and my best friend, she's my girlfriend."

"So you'd be okay with us just going back to being friends?"

"That's not what I said."

"San, you're right, we've done the secret thing before. I don't want to do it again. I know that it's unfair to Rachel, but reversed it's unfair to me. Either way someone looses, and what I told you when you were first thinking about asking Rachel out – that you have to be a little selfish to find your own happiness, is the same advice I'm following here. So I"m sorry, especially for Rachel, but I'm not going to just say okay to this." Brittany knew she was being hard, and while she genuinely felt bad about what it meant for Rachel, she wasn't willing to go back to the place they were when they had had to keep their relationship secret.

"So that's it, you're not even willing to compromise?" Brittany's expression answered for her. "This isn't only your choice."

"So you'd just disregard my feelings?" Brittany's voice wavered dangerously at that and she was torn between shouting or crying that Santana didn't see her position, not because she was expected to agree but because she at least expected the Latina to acknowledge it. Santana stood up to leave.

"No, but I don't like that you think you have the final say on this. There are three of us involved here."

"This is not just some minor suggestion that we can all vote on."

"No, but it's not one that you can just veto either." Santana replied, walking out of the room.

-0-0-0-0-

Santana barely saw Brittany the rest of the day; the blond apparently having decided to sequester herself in her room and Santana wasn't much inclined to seek her out. She was trying to disentangle her own feelings about Rachels suggestion and if she were honest she didn't want to change things. It wasn't that she didn't want people to know they were dating, or that she was embarrassed to have Rachel as her girlfriend, but Brittany was Brittany. She loved Rachel, and yes she believed they would stay together for the foreseeable future, but their relationship wasn't serious in the way hers and Brittany's was. With Rachel their relationship was easy and light, they enjoyed each others company and it was possible that one day they'd decide to take things to the next step and get married, but that was a long way off and for the most part they lived in the present and enjoyed what they had in the here and now. In the back of her mind though there was always that bit of doubt of if their relationship would be able to withstand the pressures of the real world now that they were out of their protective high school bubble. With Brittany though, Santana knew without a doubt that no matter what happened with Rachel, one day they would get married and settle down. She had that certainty that they would always be together. So she was scared to start telling people she was dating Rachel, scared of the changes that announcement would bring, and also what it would mean for her relationship with each of the girls if she did it. And now, to top it off she couldn't discuss her feelings with Brittany like she wanted to because they were arguing and she had felt compelled to defend Rachels suggestion even if she didn't want to go along with it herself; leaving her feeling irritated with Rachel too for messing things up and putting her in an impossible situation by suggesting they change things around. Hence Santana had retreated to her own room when Rachel arrived home, so they hadn't spoken about what happened either; and though Rachel was practically bursting with curiosity she decided to give her girlfriend her space. Both women re-emerged around dinner time and it was blatantly obvious that Brittany was still annoyed with Santana though Santana was also stand offish herself. It was a rather uncomfortable situation for all of them; but particularly for Rachel who was not used to being around the couple when they were arguing and even more so because neither seemed too pleased with the petite girl either, although they didn't say anything to Rachel directly. They both dished up from the veggie bake Rachel had made before retreating back to their rooms. Resigning herself to having the evening to herself, Rachel settled down on the sofa and began channel surfing, nearly jumping out of her skin half an hour later when she heard the front door open.

"Quinn! You know you can give people a heart attack walking into their house unannounced. " Rachel scolded when she saw who it was. Quinn apologised and walked into the room, explaining that she had assumed Santana would have told her that she was coming over. "Oh you mean the girlfriend whose face I've almost forgotten?" Quinn raised a quizzical eyebrow and Rachel explained Santana hiding in her room the whole day. "By the way, what's in the packet?" Rachel added, just noticing that Quinn's hand wasn't empty.

"Vodka, want some?" Quinn explained with a shrug, reaching in to take out a bottle.

"How did you...?"

"I have connections." Quinn winked, replacing the bottle when Rachel shook her head. Rachel looked liked she was going to say more, but before she could, Santana's voice echoed from her room as she demanded the pair stop reminiscing about their shared past and Quinn 'bring her the booze'. Grimacing apologetically, Quinn left to go find the latina.

-0-0-0-0-

About an hour later Quinn and Santana were sitting on the futon in Santana's room occasionally passing the bottle of vodka between them. The blond had listened silently to her friends increasingly drunk rants about girlfriends and catch-22 situations and unreasonable people with veto power until the latina had run out of steam and sunk into the space next to her; now only murmuring the occasional complaint. Quinn had managed to piece together the basic outline of what had happened and had to admit that she felt bad for her friend; for she too couldn't think of a way that would suit everyone. Admittedly she was a little drunk herself though so she wasn't sure if she would be able to once she was sober. This however, was how Brittany found them when she came looking for her girlfriend – it was their night to be together and even if she was annoyed with her, Brittany would rather Santana still come sleep in her room.

Judging from Brittany's confused expression when she noticed Quinn, she clearly wasn't expecting to find the other girl there; nor the bottle of alcohol in her hand (Brittany had been listening to music so she hadn't heard Santana shouting for Quinn when she arrived). She paused in the doorway for a moment, debating something, before stepping forward and reaching out her hand for the bottle. Santana actually pouted when Quinn gave it up; clearly expecting the blond to confiscate it or something, but instead Brittany just raised it to her own lips and took a swig.

"Well this is a lovely mess we've made for ourselves." She commented, taking another gulp before handing the bottle back to Quinn who passed it to a now happy looking Santana; though rather than taking a drink the latina just hugged it to her chest. "Life can never be simple, can it?"

Rachel, who saw the door was open on her way to her own bedroom, stopped passed the room. After a half awkward pause; the kind which made Rachel feel like they were discussing her, Quinn wrested the bottle back from Santana again and held it up to the shorter girl silently.

"Just drink Rach." Brittany sighed when it looked like the brunette was going to refuse. Rachel reluctantly took the bottle and had a small sip; pulling a face and passing the bottle to Brittany who had a much larger drink.

"You know it's not practical for us to change things." Brittany said calmly; looking from Rachel to Santana; neither of the others said anything. "Ignoring my personal feelings on the matter, it's not actually practical. I do think though that we could maybe be a bit less secretive about things, however now is probably not the best time to discuss it" She glanced meaningfully at Santana and Santana only proved her point by sticking out her tongue at the blond.

"What do you mean, be less secretive?" Rachel asked

"Just things like you guys going out for dinner. It wouldn't be the end of the world if people assume there was something going on between you; though it's more likely that someone will think Santana's cheating on me than the truth. Either way though, it's less likely to blow up the same way it would have in Lima so I think we can be a bit more lax."

Rachel nodded slowly "It's not ideal but it's better than nothing." They were distracted by a loud sniff from the corner where Santana was tearing up; apparently happy that they had worked it out.

"And that's my cue to go; weepy Santana is your guy's problem." Quinn announced, swaying slightly as she stood.

"I think due to the fact that it was your alcohol that put her in this state, she is by default your problem." Rachel argued.

"No, I did my part dealing with ranting Santana." Quinn retorted.

"I'm not an object." Santana protested in a surprisingly stable though slightly slurred voice, and was promptly ignored by the other three.

"You're not exactly sober yourself." Brittany pointed out to Quinn. "You can stay in my room tonight and go home in the morning." Quinn knew better to argue, so instead she smiled gratefully and said goodnight.

Checking that the others didn't need anything, Rachel also decided to go to bed, pausing to give Santana a goodnight kiss and Brittany a hug before following her ex out of the room. Sighing tiredly Brittany took Quinn's vacated seat and Santana moved so that her head was lying in her girlfriends lap looking up at her. Smoothing the hair from Santana's face, Brittany looked down. "You're drunk." She said factually.

"You're not exactly sober yourself." Santana countered.

"I"m happy." Brittany shrugged, referring to her alcohol buzz. "I'm sorry about earlier, I should have expressed myself better and not come off so harsh."

"It all worked out." Santana replied, rolling onto her side with a yawn. "I'm tired."

Brittany continued to play with her girlfriends hair as she lost herself in thought, only to realise a few moments later that Santana had actually fallen asleep on her. Grabbing a cushion to replace her leg, Brittany gently manouvered out from under Santana and went to fetch a couple of glasses of water and some advil.

Sneaking into her own room so as not to wake Quinn she placed one on the bedside counter before going back to regretfully wake Santana. She quickly set about making up the futon and bullied Santana into drinking the water before they both climbed into the makeshift bed.

So that's it. Not promising when the next update will be but at least I got something out. Thank you to everyone whose taken the time to read it and stuck with the girls! As always feedback would be much appreciated, and I'd love to know your thoughts so please take a moment to review!