Whatever it Takes to See You Smile
Spoilers for 2x19, Rumors.
A/N: I don't even know how this happened. I write Buffy the Vampire Slayer fics, where is this coming from?
Oh, no, wait, I know. My little shipper heart exploded during Rumours. Good and bad exploded. That's how this happened.
This started off as a one-shot, but I've got a part two chapter ready to go after this one.
"You believe me, right?"
Santana looked at the blonde. She studied her friend intently, watching as the girl wrapped her arms protectively around her middle and kept her eyes downcast. She looked ashamed almost. The girl had been fierce and straightforward in her explanation to Santana initially, but now she looked almost afraid to be asking the brunette's approval.
"I, I don't know…"
The blonde's head shot up, "S, please. Believe me. I'm not lying. There is nothing romantic going on between me and Sam."
They were standing in the hallway. All during English Quinn had been trying to get her attention, sending her nervous glances and pointed looks. Santana didn't really care. She had her own drama to care about. That drama being that whole thing with Brittany yesterday; the other girl's web-show admission, the Latina's subsequent explosion at her. Quinn's drama was on the backburner in her mind. Santana was still trying to come up with some way to make it up to Brittany for getting mad at her.
But as class let out and everyone began moving towards the cafeteria for lunch Quinn had followed Santana to her locker, looking forlorn. Once it had been clear Santana wasn't going to bail on her or shoot her down, Quinn had launched into her recap of what had happened in Glee yesterday, mainly Finn's accusation that she was sleeping with Sam. And she had insisted over and over again that it was all just a rumour.
"Yeah, Quinn," Santana finally said, wondering if rolling her eyes would be appropriate or not, "Whatever, I believe you."
Did it really matter? So what if Quinn was cheating on Finn, again. It wasn't her problem. They were… well… she and Quinn had developed a sort of understanding now. They were no longer the close friends they had been last year, but they weren't hell bent on destroying each other's lives either. Harsh words had been spoken. Things said and done that couldn't be taken back. They could never again be as close as they were before, but they were better now, there were as close to friends as they could be.
But did it really matter? Was it Santana's business if Quinn was getting her dirty on?
"But…" the Latina stated slowly, watching Quinn's face, "Something is going on? Not romantic…?" she was fishing, but she knew Quinn would cave.
Santana saw the look of guilt flash across the blonde's face for a moment before it was locked away. "It's personal. Sam… he's going through some rough stuff, I'm just trying to help him out. I'm not cheating on Finn. You know me Santana, you'd know if I were lying to you." She said it with such authority, such honest dignity. She knew how well the brunette could read her.
"Alright," Santana sighed, "I believe you. What do you want me to do? Talk to, like, Finn or something?" Santana cringed at the thought.
"No, I," Quinn stumbled on her words for a moment, "I just… I needed someone to believe me. To be on my side. We…" she hesitated a second before continuing, "We haven't been as close since… since everything happened." She didn't need to elaborate; Santana knew what 'everything' meant. Their drama. The reason their friendship had been fractured. "But… I miss you. I miss not being able to talk with you. I miss you not having my back."
"I've always got your back, Fabray," Santana rolled her eyes. "Even when we hated each other and bitched each other out, I'm still the only one that gets to push you around." A light jab to Quinn's shoulder proved her point.
She didn't need Quinn getting all emotional on her. Quinn missed her, she missed Quinn, yada yada yada. Simple as that.
They weren't the same girls they'd been last year. There were no more hour long phone conversations, no more sleepless sleepovers between the two of them and Brittany. There was no more gossip in the locker room before Cheerio's practice.
But they were still close. Seeing each other all the time in Glee Club had slowly closed the open wounds between them. Not the same, but they didn't hate each other anymore.
They'd been friends too long for Santana to not take her side in any and all of Quinn's dating-life drama. She knew it and Quinn knew it. They were both class-A bitches, but they could acknowledge their respect and need for each other without getting all sappy.
Quinn nodded softly, her eyes shimmering. "Thanks," she breathed. She turned to leave but looked back at Santana again, "And if… I mean… well, I've got your back too, S. If you… if you need to talk…"
"Yeah, whatever," Santana scoffed, shoving her book in her locker and shouldering her bag, not watching as Quinn left.
She wasn't going to deal with that. Not now. And not with Quinn. Brittany had been typical Brittany and said something she hadn't entirely thought through. Only this time it hurt. And Santana had blown up at her. Quinn had been in the same room, dealing with her own drama, but Santana knew the blonde had heard the exchange.
The blonde always seemed to hear when it came to Santana and Brittany. She never outright said anything, never called them on what was going on between them. She'd just smile and nod, accepting the pair in their closeness. Like some twisted, proud parent or something. She'd practically been beaming a few weeks ago when the pair and Ms. Holiday had performed for Glee.
But Santana wasn't going to deal with any of the Brittany drama right now. She'd lost it yesterday, yelling at Brittany. The brunette still hadn't fully cooled down from the encounter. It hurt, what Brittany had said about her on her show. And she still needed time to lick her wounds before she even thought about talking about it. With Brittany or Quinn.
But clearly luck was against her.
It was as she closed her locker that she heard it. It was a sound that pulled at her heart and caused her head to shoot up, scouting the hall for the source. It was a sound Santana knew all too well, and it was one she hated hearing.
Brittany, trying to hold back a sob.
The Latina located the other girl, standing near the other end of the hallway. She mirrored how Quinn had been standing moments ago, only looking even more wounded. She was trying to hold back tears, had one arm wrapped around her stomach protectively, and was shuffling from one foot to another. Her free hand gripped a plastic cup – an orange smoothie from the cafeteria, Brittany's favourite – like it was a lifeline.
Immediately Santana searched the blonde girl for signs of blood, her mind already jumping to the worse possible conclusion. Why was Brittany crying? What or who had made Brittany hurt like this?
"Brit," she whispered, even though a hallway separated them.
The blonde seemed to understand the offer; she stood still only a moment before rushing forward into Santana's awaiting arms. Santana felt herself walking forward too, meeting Brittany half way. Standing next to the bulletin board she enveloped the blonde in her embrace. Smiling sadly, Santana could feel the fabric of her shirt dampen as Brittany's tears fell.
"B, what happened?"
Brittany shook her head, her arms wrapping tightly, instinctively, around Santana's waist. Her head pressed deeper into the brunette's shoulder, as if she were trying to hide there. She wasn't shaking, wasn't quite sobbing, but Santana knew it would happen soon if she wasn't able to calm the girl in her arms down.
Pulling back slightly to look Brittany in the eyes she asked, "Brit, what's wrong?"
"…A-Artie. He… he said something. Something mean."
Santana suppressed the rage that began boiling inside her and drew in a slow breath. Of course it was Artie. Anyone else picking on Brittany wouldn't draw this reaction. She'd be hurt, but not this far into tears. Only someone truly close could cause this, as much as it caused Santana to gag thinking of Brittany and Artie being close.
"What happened," Santana asked gently, rubbing Brittany's back.
"We… we were talking. And… he got mad."
"He was yelling at you?"
Brittany's blonde hair swayed as she shook her head, "No. He… he just got… frustrated, at me."
The look in Brittany's eyes was enough of an answer. Artie had brought up herself to Brittany. Perfect. Because now was the time to start accusing his girlfriend of cheating on him. Only weeks before Prom and right after the incident in the choir room yesterday. Clearly the blonde was a little fragile right now.
"What did he say?" Santana asked, wanting to know what 'mean' thing the boy had said to Brittany.
The dancer pulled from her arms but didn't move fully away from Santana's presence. She stood close, head tilted down and nervously picking at the plastic cup in her hands. She looked ashamed.
"Brit," Santana pleaded, suddenly very worried for what hurtful thing had come out of Artie's mouth.
"He… he just called me a mean name." Her eyes flickered up once, looking around them at all the passing students. Nervous. "It's nothing."
Santana couldn't see them. Right now her whole world was Brittany. No one else was in the hall with them. No one else mattered but the teary-eyed blonde in front of her.
"Did you want to whisper it in my ear?" she asked slowly, easily able to see that Brittany was ashamed of whatever Artie had called her. Years of learning to understand Brittany-speak meant she always knew how to handle the other girl, no matter the situation. That's what their friendship was about, understanding each other.
Brittany nodded hesitantly and leaned in, placing her lips right next to Santana's ear. Her hair hung forward, a blonde curtain blocking out the rest of the world. Santana rubbed the back of Brittany's neck through her hair encouragingly, waiting for her to speak.
"He… he called me stupid," Brittany said in a tiny voice.
It took exactly two and a half seconds for Santana to understand. Not even three seconds to comprehend how much meaning that one little word held over the dancer.
All the air rushed out of Santana's lungs. How could Artie do that to her? Didn't he realize how sensitive Brittany was when it came to her intelligence? Brittany was constantly put down because of how she came off to people, was constantly made fun of, but she put up with it because she could always come to Santana, trust Santana would beat the crap out of whoever put her Brittany down.
Brittany didn't need to hear from her boyfriend that she was stupid. Brittany probably put up with everything else that came out of his mouth, but surely he had enough sense to know not to say that to her?
The brunette saw red for a moment, already envisioning kicking the wheelchair-bound boy down the stairs to a bloody death. Then her Brittany-vision kicked in, the thing that happened whenever she was around the blonde. It was the thing that instantly changed her and softened her, for Brittany and only Brittany. It never failed to make her hold back whatever rage she was feeling, because the blonde didn't like seeing Santana hurting people, even when they deserved it. It always made Santana hold her tongue, ball her fists, and calm down, simply because Brittany wanted her to. Because Brittany always said she was better than that.
She desperately wanted to beat Artie to a bloody pulp, but she held off on storming down the hallway to go find him. The more pressing matter was the upset blonde in her arms.
"It's okay, B," Santana whispered, "I've got you."
Her hand dropped down to Brittany's shoulder and she dipped her head, speaking right next to Brittany's ear. "He's wrong, Brit," she said with complete honesty, "You're not stupid."
"Yes I am," Brittany mumbled, not meeting Santana's eyes. "I know I am."
"No, you're not," Santana insisted, pulling Brittany back into her arms for another hug. "I love you. You're not stupid. Never."
The dancer buried her head in Santana's shoulder for a few long seconds before pulling away. She bit her lip, trying to hold back the pout as she forced out her next words, "Its fine. I overreacted. I am stu-"
"No you're not, Brittany," the brunette insisted. "And you aren't overreacting."
"He said something hurtful, you're allowed to cry!"
"Its fine," Brittany repeated in a weak voice. And Santana could see it, Brittany falling back into her pattern, into her shell. Brittany appeased people; she strove to make people feel better. She'd let herself be told she was wrong – even if she knew she was right – if it meant avoiding conflict. And she was doing it right now, letting herself believe what Artie said because it was easier than admitting how much it had hurt her.
And that caused Santana to take another calming breath and not think about pounding Artie into oblivion. She was going to fix this. She was not going to let her best friend be pushed down by some stupid, insensitive boy.
"It's not fine, Brittany."
"We were arguing."
"And he said something hurtful. He didn't mean it. You aren't stupid."
Brittany stepped back, putting distance between them. "Everyone calls me stupid."
"Well, everyone is wrong then," Santana said evenly. She spoke lightly, not forcefully. Now wasn't the time for her anger. "You aren't stupid Brittany. Artie and all those other guys don't understand, but you aren't stupid. You're bright, and beautiful, and talented. It doesn't matter what they think. Don't listen to him. You're prefect. And you aren't stupid. I know that. You know that. I know you know that. You aren't stupid. I wouldn't lie about this."
The blonde was still frowning.
She tapped Brittany's nose affectionately, "Right, Brit Brit?" Pet names were good, pet names made Brittany smile.
"Okay," Brittany said sadly, not fully convinced.
Santana smiled sadly at her oldest friend as she began to step away, "Come on," she said, gently draping her arm over the blonde's shoulder, "I'll buy you an ice cream. That'll cheer you up, right?"
Brittany didn't answer, simply allowed herself to be lead down the hallway by Santana.
The Latina didn't know if Artie had done any damage-control after his comment, but judging from Brittany's state, it was unlikely. So it was up to her. Brittany was hardly convinced, Santana could see that. But if there was one thing she couldn't stand, it was seeing a pout on Brittany's usually bright face. She was going to fix this.
If it meant not only putting Brittany back together, but, God forbid, putting Brittany and Artie back together, then she would do it. She'd do whatever it took to make the dancer feel better. She'd do whatever Brittany needed, whatever she asked. Always.