i. waiting like an iceberg, waiting to change.

/

Sometimes Santana doesn't even recognize the signs. That she's not her own anymore, that she runs on borrowed time graced from the dancer. That her thoughts are on infinite loop.

And that's okay. Really. Because she learns. How to walk, talk, think. Breathe. It's hard when Brittany fills her head to bursting.

Some things always change, some stay the same. She wants to rip it all out – all of the doubt and the fear and the guilt – until she is ready to love again. Right now she's unable to close her eyes without her regrets lying thick on her tongue.

Old enemies. (Friends?)

She is learning to trust again; (when she never stopped trying, but) through secret smiles and stolen songs there is a definite curve she thinks she will be able to meet. But right now the paper is too dry in her fingers and the eyes watchwatchwatch and everything she's – they've – built about darling, you have to let yourself feel again. I can't take you wasting away is beginning to crumble under Brittany's agile fingers. Santana ignores the monster building in her throat but the one in her heart can't be denied.

(and really, that's for the best. all this hurt crushes her will into pretty (petty) dust)

The confusion in these eyes makes her just want to forgive everything and whisper quiet lullabies to shield her – them? - from the world, but the rage can't be ignored this time. She has always promised not to make a scene to herself, because her cover would disappear like a rapidly lifting fog. But now? She can't help herself.

"And you couldn't think of any other way to say that?"

She doesn't even have to say anything. Santana can read her like a book.

No. Are you mad? I'm sorry.

.:-:.

A mistake. An honest mistake is what has spurred this disaster. The word (stupid) hangs on the tip of her tongue, but she can't. Never. Not even through the curious stares and whispers.

Sometimes, Brittany is made of glass.

Made. Of. Glass.

In every flutter of her eyes, twitching of her fingers. Something doesn't work, on the inside. Santana understands and soothes the burn of misplaced words. She understands the secret language and hidden signs.

(help, i'm suffocating in myself. won't you fix me?)

It doesn't smother the underlying betrayal that burns bright through the night

ii. because your presence still lingers here, and it won't leave me alone

/

Brittany has always been bright.

(As the sun, as the stars, as Rachel when she smiles.)

But she's also lost. She can't navigate through a life of ideals she is unable to understand; all the words tie together something in her brain and renders her mute. She wishes so hard to shake away the stares, but she doesn't know how to scream loud enough to shake off the title – she is omnipotent and omnipresent and omnipatient and people play on these traits (faults?) to the point where they are all but exhausted and it's a trial to even wake up. But she smiles and they smile back, letting guards drop and secrets they never wished to share enter her aching ears.

So she watches. And she learns. Always.

Always.

(That the latina is both there and never around, that she doesn't have to make a physical appearance to haunt her when she is alone.)

And it's just so hard. Now that Santana is gone – it's your fault, my fault, their fault for tearing us apart – it's like she can't (doesn't want to) breathe. She would give up the world, honestly, she would, but she can't trust the latina to be her gravity.

She wants to run her fingers along all the cracks in Santana's facade and draw out the girl she fell in love with. The one that smiles and isn't worried about silly things like popularity and looks, that whispers she's not stupid when everybody else thinks she is and who makes her feel beautiful when she so much as begins to doubt it.

The one that loves. her. back.

But right now, it's like she never left. She can smell Santana in her hair, on her clothes, under her fingernails. It tells of a story; one that never ends, never resolves, only follows itself in a loop until you get dizzy and mix the words together. And she hateshateshates the way it makes her heart flutter and her eyes droop and everything just feel so languid and right because she should be faithful to Artie, should stop granting access, should back up and breathe. Can't.

Her paramour soulmate almost lover is everywhere and nowhere and holds a feeling she can't quite put a label on. It hurts but doesn't at the same time (like when she dances; there's this ache in her chest that feels so right it should be wrong) and coaxes her to run nails along caramel skin until she rakes away the insecurities that gleam deep against her supposed superiority.

Instead, warm hands touch her flesh and she leans carefully onto a toned shoulder – she is worried that one wrong touch will shatter her – gathering up all these feelings and hoarding them close to her heart; too selfish to want to share something that should only be hers (theirs). All her pain and doubt melts away despite the eyes on her back that are begging to be let in. (i'm sorry, i didn't mean it, i hate it when you're around her.)

"You're not stupid." Her voice is so firm that she has no choice but to believe it herself, regardless of her own inhibitions that hold her to the sidelines. Somewhere deep down there is a knowledge that something is brewing, that it will explode onto the floor in a flash of frenzied raven tresses and the squeaking of wheelchairs. For now, she just breathes.

Brittany wants to whisper soliloquies until her tongue gives out, tattooing words of wisdom and murmured prayer so that Santana doesn't have to reach into this well she keeps hoping to find, only to come up with dust. She would pull off her own skin and offer it to her friend to wear if she could.

(She always seems more confident being anybody but herself.)

iii. She swears that there's no difference between the lies and compliments, it's all the same when everybody leaves her

/

Kurt loves shiny things. They sparkle quietly and entice him to the point of beaming grins with teeth shining and eyes glimmering that make him want to sit and just watch for hours. That's why he loves Brittany so much; she is bright and never held down by something as pointless as reality while the others watch and desperately try to understand how she manages.

Her secret is simple, really.

(She loves.)

Kurt knows that her heart is too big and one day somebody will run away with it; far, far away into a distant place that the blonde doesn't belong (it is worn on her sleeve because it will die without sunlight). He wants so hard to shield her from it – but how can he when he's unable to defend himself? Sometimes he thinks she has a knight with chocolate eyes and vicious words, but recently, that knight has turned her back on what's really important.

And really, he can't blame her. He tries (so, so hard) but fails every time.

(Because every touch says I love you and every stolen glances tells of please don't be mad. I'm trying so hard for you, can't you see? I promise I'll do better next time.)

Santana spends too much time trying to cover up the cracks – they bleed mascara and silicone – that they just end up falling all over themselves to be seen, one at a time until all these things rise up and drown her. She sounds like those words he learns in English class but never wants to use (falsity iniquitous blase abhorrent ) because once you get past her walls and really look, then it is a whole different story (wilt useless insecurities asphyxiate).

Now, her voice floats on the halls, bipolar like velvet; smooth on one side, rough on the other and unable to speak without scars. His steps – light and quick like a rabbit's heart – take him to the auditorium, and Kurt watches with a beaming smile as she pours her heart. (Baby, please don't cry. You're doing such a good job.)

Sometime, in a distant future, Kurt wants to pull away all these memories until nothing but good sentiments remain, until they remember how to breathe – he knows somewhere inside that these times are for him to write because they spin their own tales - until they know really how to love. Santana is the only one that really has the right idea, but she's too terrified by the jealousy of others to let it drip down her tongue and bleed all over that porcelain flesh.

He's intruding, and really, he should go, - they touch and smile and cry together and his heart sings for them - but a letterman jacket catches his gaze. He swallows down the irrational bout of fear (hush, child. he can hurt you no more) and simply watches until his eyes grow numb from repetitive motions and Karofsky silently slips away.

(For a moment it looks like he's about to smile, but something blooms in his eyes and Kurt watches as he drowns himself in his secret fuckyous and ishouldbebraves and maybe even iwantwhatyouhaves)

.:-:.

iv. we're so close to something better left unknown; i can feel it in my bones

/

The roof is where Santana takes her refuge.

(It's here that she can breathe, here that the stars might give her answers; here that she can escape the desperate ticking of a clock that's waited far too long to be content.)

Tiles scratch her arms and she runs short nails along the seams of her veins, resisting the urge to claw the hate pain cowardice away until she is mangled and ugly and ready to be worthy again.

All these things she wishes she could say gather in the back of her throat – they choke her to the point of silence while tears run down her cheeks. When they do come out it's at the most inappropriate of times (but that's okay, because atleast they see the light of day). Brittany during sex is the most beautiful thing she's ever created, and Santana becomes nothing more than a whirlwind of disjointed thoughts and stuttering phrases when that blue disappears under her lids and lips mouth harder please god moremoremore.

(And she could never deny Brittany. Not even when it feels that her heart is slowly being pulled out of her chest when she slips her clothes back on, presses a soft kiss to those lips and vanishes into the night.)

Sometimes she wishes it could be easy. She would marry some wealthy man and they'd have two children – she'd teach them Spanish and hold her daughter through her first heartbreak and teach her boy how to kick a football clear across the field. She'd hold their hands through their first childbirth and cry with them when a friend died because that's what mothers do. And really, that's all she wants - but now she doesn't want it at all. The All-American-Dream will never be for her.

(Santana remembers long talks with a person that has forgotten their own happiness in favour of giving people their own; words trip off her tongue because they are loathe to even remain inside for one more second.

i'm angry. i should be numb and quiet by now, but i'm always angry like a brewing storm.)

It's painful, but sometimes she dreams about it. Brittany lives with her and they have kids and a dog, and she brings her flowers every week, and even though they're getting on in age she is a dancer like she's always wanted to be, but they still find time to screw each other senseless on every flat surface they can find. And they are happy with life.

And if she's proved anything recently, it's that life has no place for dreamers.

With shaking fingers she runs the pad of her thumb along the screen, wetting dry lips and tries so hard to remember a time where she wasn't afraid to do something that she wants more than anything. (To her horror, she is unable to summon the memory.) Each fibre of her being aches for the blonde, but there is something inside her chest that sucks away her confidence until she is nothing more than a hollow shell that cannot act on its own; it screams and cries and roars its agony to deaf ears.

i can't. She wants to say: yes, i'll be yours. please take me again but her courage leaves once more at the most crucial time and suddenly she's alone, swallowing sobs that stem from an -unshakable- loneliness.

And in the dark of the night, something else abandons her.

v. i know it ain't easy, giving up your heart

/

All of her knows, acknowledges, understands and shies away from the inevitable truth that this relationship - if that's what you can call it; for some reason, it seems like such a word doesn't do all these feelings justice - will make things complicated and please she's just so tired, can't things ever been simple for once?

But Brittany is worth every strand of heartbreak and it is witnessed by the lasting impressions on the latina's heart like i'llneverleaveyou and neverleaveme and iloveyousomuchthatithurts and she cherishes every scar because it is proof that the blonde once (still) lived inside; under her skin and in her head and nestled around her heart just everywhere that mattered, leaving behind pieces of herself that never seem to fade.

Maybe that's why she's wearing her shirt today. If she wants to be honest with herself (and really, she doesn't) it's so that she can be close with her in one way – that text has seemed to make an invisible distance grow large between them. Every moment not spent in her radiance(?) is a knife to the mind, back, heart; but when the word soulmates slips out into the open air and she locks eyes – please don't let go, i'll drown without you – she turns around and all of a sudden all these petty things she's ever wished for are gone. Gone in the way Santana Lopez never thought they could be.

She just wants her back. That's all, really. She can sit on her throne all she wants with her lonely insecurities, but fuck her it's pointless without somebody to rule with (for?).

(But the dancer has always been hers from the start.)

.:-:.

If anybody would ask her, anybody at all, she would smile – all glossy and lost with vacant eyes and a silver tongue – and say sadly that she understands Santana is scared, that she needs time. That she can wait.

But nobody thinks to ask Brittany, because the one person who is thoughtful enough to ask of her opinion will run until her legs give out, and the others don't realize or ignore the fact that yes, she can think for herself if given the chance.

It's the only reason she doesn't chase after her when she spins away from Jacob, honest.

Or maybe it's that ache in her chest – really, she can't tell the difference nowadays. All her emotions seem to blur together until Santana comes and separates them again with gentle fingers and silent confessions.

And for now, that will be enough.