A/N: All right...They can't all be on this island and ALL live...:/ Maybe...you wont know until the final chapter. Anyway, my main thing with stories is inconsistency, so as much as I'd like Santana to be fine- she's not. And I justify her actions by saying 'it's who she is'. Or at least, 'it's who I see her as'. So - as much as I wish everyone would be all right, I dare you to be on this island ;) While I edited this chapter I listened to Kate Voegele's 'Hallelujah'...do the same-youtube it. Song fits the mood, so put it on replay.
Chapter 7 - Silence
"Is she still…?" I heard Tina speak from behind me. Her voice was almost inaudible and so hesitant that it felt as if she were whispering to shattering glass.
Am I still what? Still crying? Yes. Still straddling Brittany and clinging to her like my life, and hers, depend on it? Yes. Still trying to figure out how to breath so it doesn't crack my ribs? Yes.
"I don't know." Brittany mumbled.
I buried my face deeper into her hair and hugged tighter around her neck. Sobs continued to rack my body. They were silent. Heavy, thick, and soundless. And in between the sobs I tried to find the smell of her coconut shampoo, but her sweat and the humidity had already sapped it from her hair.
Instead a lingering copper stench had stuffed itself up my nose and into the back of my throat. So then I tried to smell the blonde in her hair, which made no sense. But I wanted that tart lemon smell. It would cling to her hair during the summer after hours of sunbathing, just so we could sun-kiss her hair.
Again, blood from that thing invaded all of my senses. I could feel it sticking to my face.
"Santana." Tina said my name.
I didn't answer. I kept myself completely and entirely consumed in Brittany. I tried to smell her hair again, but all I could smell was its blood. It stung my nose. Salty. Bitter. Almost like vinegar. I tried to imagine we were somewhere else. At cheer Nationals. Or in Glee club. I wanted us to be sitting in the stupid choir room. And I wanted people to be staring at me because I was straddling my best friend, not because we were stranded in the middle of an island and I was having a hysterical meltdown.
I could hear Quinn's pained groans from behind me, and I could hear Sam trying to calm her down.
At some point Puck had returned from outside and was dragging one of the freezers across the room. The noise it made as it scraped across the old wood in the cabin was overpowering, almost deafening. What the hell was he doing?
"Santana." Tina said my name again. It surprised me that I could hear her speak so clearly over all the noise Puckerman was making and over the internal quake of my body.
I still didn't answer. I kept crying.
And then something touched me. It made all the nerves in my spine scream and made my skin bite onto the constricting muscles throughout my entire back. "Shit!" I screamed and the words burned through my lungs. I jerked forward. My chest bumped into Brittany. My feet found the steps, and my legs started to push me upward.
But Brittany didn't move with me. She squeezed around my waist and pulled me back down to her lap. "Santana it's fine." Her words were quick. "Its just Tina."
The cabin had gone silent. I couldn't even hear Quinn groaning from her leg. The noise from that freezer that had bored through my skull stopped instantly. There was nothing. No noise.
They were staring at me.
And I was staring at Brittany. As soon as she'd pulled me back down to her lap, and as soon as the ache had faded from the thud to my tender tailbone, I had focused on Brittany. Her eyes were wide with terror, but alert with concern. Her hands were pinching my sides. My bare sides.
Great. Everyone was staring at the half-naked crazy girl. My sobs instantly faltered and seized.
Brittany must have read the confusion on my own face, because she continued to calm me. "She's just going to help Santana."
I nodded, but couldn't get my mind off of their stare. I could feel everyone's eyes fixed to me. Fixed to my bare skin. Fixed to the white granny bra I was wearing, because it was silly to wear my lace bra during a plane ride back to Lima. But of course, being me, I still had to wear the lacy underwear that matched the bra I wasn't wearing. And for that matter, where the hell did my shorts go? I hadn't been wearing them since I'd woken up. And I think I would have remembered if Brittany had taken them off. "Where're my shorts?" I whispered, almost mouthed the words.
Brittany's eyes flickered down to my lap and then back up to my eyes. She shrugged. "Do you want Tina to help?" Brittany questioned.
I nodded for the second time.
"Okay." Brittany loosened her grip around my sides until her palms were just ghosting above my skin.
"It'd be easier if you could stand?" Tina dared to ask. Her voice was cautious, not wanting to cause me to jump again.
I just nodded again.
I looked around for something to help me stand. Railing? No. It's too far away. The floor? No, touching the floor would make me fall.
"Here." Tina had stepped up one step and stood behind Brittany. She held her hands over Brittany's shoulders for me to grab.
I took them, but couldn't force myself to make eye contact. I felt guilty for reacting the way I had when she had touched me. She'd been accommodating and helpful and I've been crazy. So I kept my eyes glued to Brittany as Tina squeezed my hands.
My legs trembled as I stood. Brittany held her hands out, ready to catch me, if I weren't able to stand with just Tina's help. But as soon as I was most of the way up, Brittany scrambled out from between Tina and me, grabbed my elbows. She helped guide me up the rest of the way.
"There." Tina smiled and I couldn't help but make brief eye contact with her and return a smile. Even if that smile was pathetic and forced. "That's better."
"How?" I strained as the words choked through my throat. I was shaking like a frightened little Chihuahua, and looked like some sort of half-clothed prostitute. My entire body felt as if it were on fire. It felt like someone had drilled into my kneecaps and was now shoving Q-tips into the holes. And the splinters that I knew were covering my body, felt as if they were spreading. As if I were running my back against a frayed and aged fence.
"Do you still feel drunk Santana?" Tina almost whispered.
"What?" I snapped in defensively. How'd she know that? Brittany clung tightly onto my elbows and Tina reached around and put a hand to my back. "Fuck...No."
They knew that though. Both Brittany and Tina exchanged a short understanding glance, before Tina continued. "Do you think I can take out a few of these bigger splinters? I just don't want them to get infected" Tina said. "There's some numbing cream in the first aid kit."
"Well that would have been helpful during the first few times I had sex." I grumbled. Oh my God. Shut the fuck up Santana. Shut up. "Because that shit hurt." I took a heavy awkward gulp trying to clear the thickness in my throat from the tears that had just recently filled it. "And that's a compliment Puck." I wanted to look around and find him, but I was afraid of falling backwards. "Where's Finn…" I looked up the stairs. "He knows all about numb-sex." A weird and sudden laugh slipped through my lips. I gulped it back down.
Tina didn't know how to respond. Her eyes sprung wide open and her hand twitched against my back.
"Shh. Santana." Brittany pinched her thumbs into my elbows. "Those are secrets."
"Secrets." I laughed and it echoed within the silent walls of the cabin. Guess they're all still looking at me… "It's not a secret Brittany." I whispered her name, just so nobody would hear. And I whispered my next words. "I play for another team…remember? Or did you forget what you announced?"
But Tina had to have heard. She was standing just as close as Brittany. "Let's just get you cleaned up." Tina said and attempted to deter my rant.
"Where's Berry?" I called through the cabin. Brittany winced from the loud noise and shot her hand to cover my mouth.
"Santana. You still have to be quiet." She didn't remove her hand. "We're hiding remember."
That's right. Wait. Stop. What the hell am I doing? Don't say it…But my words were boiling. My chest hurt and maybe that's why. I needed to talk. I needed to say everything.
I reached my hand up and grabbed her wrist. But she kept her hand firm against my lips. When I failed to pull her palm away from my mouth, my momentum started to pull me backwards.
Tina jumped and grabbed my waist. Brittany pulled her hand away from my mouth and grabbed the free elbow she had just recently let go of.
"Whoa whoa whoa." Tina's hands guided me back up to the step I'd almost fallen off of. "Maybe you should sit down."
"Maybe…" I hissed. "Maybe that stupid thing shouldn't have interrupted me and Britt fu-..." The silence was humid. I could feel everyone's throat hitch. Nobody knew what to say. "We were taking a bath. She was...helping me take a bath." I tried to mend the embarrassment my words had caused.
Nobody said anything. Nothing.
Brittany laughed. It was short. And when I jerked my eyes back to her, the smile quickly faded and she tucked her lips into her mouth.
That was enough to diffuse the ticking bomb in my chest. And though my narrowed eyes maybe have hinted otherwise, she had calmed me down a little.
"Sorry," Brittany breathed and tucked her lips back into her mouth.
The jarring noise from the fridge being dragged across the floor returned. It shook my entire body and I even saw Brittany jump from the noise.
"Let's get you back upstairs." Tina spoke to me, but my ears were listening to the muffled conversation between Sam and Quinn. Something about her needing stitches.
"Hey." Mercedes started back down the stairs. I didn't know whether to be grateful for her perfect timing, or for her staying back until things calmed down a little. "So I found one of Sam's shirts," She held up a light blue plain t-shirt. "And I found your shorts Santana." She held up the boxers Brittany had let me borrow on the plane.
"I was wondering where those went." I grumbled and locked my eyes on the boxers in Mercedes' hand.
"They were up in that room. Quinn was using them as a pillow when I walked in earlier." Mercedes looked down the stairs toward Quinn and shrugged.
"That's weird." I said and tried to remember taking off my shorts so Quinn could use them. And then I tried to remember why I would feel the need to do that. But my mind was getting too hazy for thought.
The second my panic had faded, the second Brittany had laughed at my outburst, my body had drained of all its energy. Everything had melted. My thoughts were like mush.
"Oh geez." Mercedes blurted.
Three sets of hands caught me as my legs gave out. I felt like Jell-o. Tired, worthless, Jell-o.
Someone hugged under my arms and lifted me back up. I opened my eyes. Brittany. My chin was resting on her shoulder. I tried to focus my eyes and see past the abstract haze that clouded them, but it was hurting my head. So I let my eyelids fall closed again.
"Someone," Brittany grunted. "Help…" Her voice struggled as I let my body completely fall into her.
I felt hands around my hips. Someone was trying to help.
I was limp. Completely. It was different than when I'd jumped onto Brittany earlier and she'd carried me over to the stairs. This was different. She hadn't been expecting it. I was sinking with her. We were falling.
"I got it." A male voice spoke so clearly from behind us. Hands bigger than whoever had been trying to hold my hips grabbed me. "Let go Britt, I got her." It was Puck. His hands pinched around my waist and I felt the fall become suspended. He compressed my ribs and kept me from sinking completely down on Brittany.
"No. I can do it." Brittany snapped back.
"Britt you're falling." Tina spoke.
"No I'm not!" She yelled.
Her yell woke me. My eyes shot open. I was still buried into Brittany's shoulder. Mercedes had stepped behind Brittany and was now holding her, trying to keep Brittany from falling.
I made eye contact with Mercedes. My eyes stung and I forced them to stop from rolling back. The effort sent a wave of nausea through my throat.
"I fll sk." I tried to talk, but I couldn't get the entire words out. What the hell was going on? I was fine just a second before.
Everyone was unaware of my partial consciousness except Mercedes. She kept her eyes on me.
"Brittany." Puck spoke. "I got her right now. Just let me carry her up and we'll lay her back in that tub."
"I can do it. Stop." Brittany tried to pull away, but bumped into Mercedes.
"Brittany let Puck help. It's fine." Tina cooed.
"Yeah it is fine. I can do it. I'm not stupid." Brittany demanded.
My body convulsed and my throat constricted. I felt something thick foam up my throat. Bile filled my mouth, and before I choked on it, it slipped out my lips. My stomach heaved again.
"Britt." Mercedes tried her best to speak calmly. Through my teary and stinging eyes I watched her gaze flick back and forth between Tina, Puck, and me. "Britt, she's getting sick."
I felt the heated bile cover my cheek as I tried to move away from Brittany. But I wasn't going anywhere. I couldn't even keep my eyes properly opened, so there was no way I was going to face away and keep my vomit from slipping down Brittany's back.
"Yeah." Brittany shook. Her voice was defeated and weak, but her words and intentions were persistent. "So let me take her. I was helping her earlier."
They continued to struggle. I had a hard time understanding the argument. My eyes would close for a second and then I'd open them back up to find Mercedes watching me like a hawk.
The strong hands that had been holding my waist up, Puckerman, hugged around my entire body.
"No!" Brittany screamed.
He started to rip me away from her. I opened my eyes again to see Sam behind Brittany and holding her in a constricting bear hug. Her arms were pinned to her side and she was jerking back and forth trying to get loose.
My legs were swooped up and Puck easily cradled me into his chest. The motion sent my stomach into another fit of heaves.
"Move her away from the stairs Sam." Puck commanded. But the tone in his voice was broken. "So I can get by."
"No! No!" Brittany continued to flail. Her screams rang inside the cabin. "Give her back."
Sam squeezed Brittany and lifted her off her feet. But the second her feet left the ground she started to kick. Thuds and bangs boomed from her feet hitting the railing.
"Stop, Britt." Sam grunted, straining to keep her still.
"Finn!" Puck yelled up the stairs. I wasn't sure if he was yelling for him to come, or saying his name because he'd arrived. My stomach churned again.
"What's going on?" Finn answered seconds later. I heard his feet stomp down the stairs.
"Dude grab her feet." Sam continued to struggle with Brittany.
"Don't touch me. Stop." Brittany was screaming through broken sobs. "Give her back."
I forced my eyes open again and looked towards Brittany. Finn rounded Sam and lunged for her feet. The boys struggled for a second to get a comfortable grip, but with two of them, they had no problem constraining her.
"Sttp…" I mumbled.
Someone's hand grabbed around my ankle. My eyes felt like dead weights as I tried to look at who it was. Tina.
"Let, go!" Brittany squirmed.
"What's going on?" Finn asked.
"We need to get Santana upstairs. She wouldn't let go." Sam answered. "Let's move her down."
Finn looked over his shoulder towards me. His twisting movement forced my eyes back shut. And that's how I left them.
"Hey." A voice drifted into my ears, before my eyes were able to catch up.
When my eyes did open all the way I could see a line of people sitting against a wall. I was on my back, cheek pressed against bare wood, and three people were sitting along the opposite wall.
I blinked a few times to clear the haze from my vision.
"Ow!" I jumped and clenched all the muscles in my torso. "Fuck." The unexpected sting vibrated through my body.
"Sorry." Tina leaned back. "I was just bandaging. I'm done though." She stood up and walked toward the open door with a handful of gauze. "I'll go tell everyone you're awake."
"What the hell is going on?" I shifted myself and tried to sit up.
A hand was on my back, before I had the opportunity to struggle. The strength in that hand eased me up and held me until I stopped swaying.
"You're awake." Rachel smiled and sat cross-legged next to me. "It's been a few days. You must be starving. We tried to keep you hydrated when you woke up halfway, but this is the first time you've opened your eyes or talked."
"A few days?" I looked back toward the wall. Finn was sitting against it, next to the empty space that must have been where Rachel was sitting. And on the other side of the empty space was Brittany.
My heart stopped. Why wasn't her sitting cross-legged next to me? Why was she sitting there, expressionless?
"Right. You might have knocked you're head again," Rachel paused and her eyes examined my head. "Or you might have just been rebooting. But it's wonderful that you're awake. For a while I thought you were a vegetable." Her hand lifted and she pushed her palm against my forehead. "No fever." She smiled.
My eyes shot over to Brittany as she started to stand. And before I even had a chance to say anything, she left the small room.
My stomach churned and all of the oxygen left my chest. What was going on? Was Britt mad?
I tried to remember something. Anything. I had to have said, done, something. What though?
My cheek warmed from the memory of puking down her back. Was she mad because I puked on her? No. That's silly. Why'd I puke on her though? The memory was so vivid, but the reasoning was vague. Mercedes was there. Yes. Why though?
My body jolted from the next memory. Brittany begging Puck not to take me.
"Santana are you okay?" Rachel interrupted.
"Sure. Is Brittany okay?" I asked and looked back to Finn. He shifted uncomfortably before standing up, pausing, and then walking out of the room.
Rachel watched him leave. "He still feels bad."
"Bad for what?" I looked straight passed Rachel and towards the door, expecting Brittany to walk back in any second.
Rachel followed my gaze and then looked back at me. "For pulling Brittany off of you."
"What?" I shook my head. Only snippets were slowly making there way back into my thoughts. Snippets of Brittany screaming and me puking.
Rachel shuffled a little closer to me. Out of habit I leaned back and away from her intrusion. But stopped once I realized what I was doing. Rachel took a breath before speaking, clearly not thinking twice about my uncomfortableness with how close she was to my face. "Brittany got really upset when Puck tried to carry you upstairs. This is all second hand information though obviously. What I heard from Mercedes and Tina, because clearly I was unconscious just like you after that thing almost killed me. And Finn didn't even go downstairs right away. At least that's what he told me. He said he heard yelling, but didn't want to leave me alone." She smiled at her last sentence. She cleared her throat and continued. "Anyway, Brittany freaked out and was screaming and yelling. From what I hear it was pretty intense. It took them like an hour to calm her down and now she won't say a single word to anyone. Probably embarrassed. Poor girl. She's so sweet."
"What the hell?" I rubbed my eyes. Rachel was talking way too fast.
"But she's been sitting vigilantly by your bedside the entire time. I tried to talk to her, but as I said, she's been tight lipped." Rachel shrugged.
"How's Quinn?" I suddenly remembered what had started all the chaos…Quinn being taken by that thing.
"She's good." Rachel perked up. "Tina stitched her up, but no broken bones. The guys were saying something about that thing not being fully-grown. So we got lucky."
"Yeah. So fucking lucky." I tried to roll my eyes, but stopped as my head throbbed from the gesture. Instead I swallowed and tried to lick the dryness in my mouth "So what's going on? What's the plan?" I paused and waited for the soft headache in my head to calm a bit more. "Are we just going to sit here and wait for another not fully grown thing to try and eat us? Or are we going to wait until its mom notices it's missing and comes looking for revenge, because I've seen Jurassic Park. Well, not the whole thing…" I stopped myself before I mentioned exactly why I hadn't seen the entire movie. It had something to do with Brittany hiding her face under the blanket and then staying under the blanket and distracting both her and me. "A-anyway, uhm." I coughed and prayed that Rachel couldn't read me as easily as I figured she could. "I've seen the part where they put bubblegum on the dinosaur cast and then the mamma eats them all. End of movie."
"Santana. That didn't happen." Rachel raised an eyebrow.
"Knock, knock." Mercedes stepped into the room and smiled. "So it's true." She smiled and paced towards me. When she reached me she crouched and wrapped an arm around my neck. "Glad you're okay." She said as she released me from the hug. "We were starting to worry about you."
I felt my face heat up from the unusual attention. "Well I'm good. How's everyone else?" I quickly tried to shove the attention away from me. It was a little humiliating. I wasn't even able to take care of myself. I had gotten ridiculously drunk and had ended up going into a short coma…Yeah, that wasn't self-destructive and mortifying…
"Good." Mercedes looked down at Rachel before looking to me. "Quinn's walking. Uhm. Rachel woke up that same night."
Rachel nodded and smiled in approval.
"How's Britt?" I asked. I could tell she was intentionally not saying anything about it, and with Rachel's recent confession, I needed to fix things and figure out what the hell was going on. "Where's Britt?"
"Oh." Mercedes tried to act casual. "Just walked downstairs I think. She's been…good. Quiet."
Finn poked his head in the room. "Hey Rachel." A goofy grin was stretched across his face. He gave me a small little wave, which I didn't return. "Artie's asking for you. He thinks he found something helpful."
Rachel beamed at the news and shot up from the ground. "I'll be down the hall guys," she looked between Mercedes and me, and left with Finn.
"I need to pee." I finally acknowledged the distinct and distant ache in my lower abdomen. My face started to flush and burn again at the thought of how the hell I peed when I'd been unconscious for so long.
"We can have one of the guys carry you to that tub?" Mercedes said it without a pause. "That's what we've been doing for awhile now. You've been in and out of consciousness, and we've just been taking you there every few hours."
"Oh my god." I hushed and dropped my jaw. My forehead cringed in embarrassment and my eyes went wide. "Hell no." I stuffed my face into my palms and tried to sort through everything behind hands and closed eyelids.
"We can get someone to help get you up?" Mercedes started.
"No." I muffled through my palms. "I'm fine. Just give me a second."
"Santana." Mercedes said my name.
I didn't respond.
"Santana." She said it again and more demanding.
"Hm?" I grumbled.
"You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Everything we're going through is beyond unimaginable. Hell," She laughed. "If I'd known about the vodka I would have happily joined you. And I'm still a little offended you didn't hook a girl up."
I laughed into my palms.
I listened as she crossed the room and stepped closer to me. "Listen. We're all ecstatic that you're awake. And if it weren't for me, everyone would have come up in here and dog piled on top of you."
I laughed again.
"Now isn't the time to be embarrassed about having to be carried to a bathtub so you didn't piss your pants."
I looked up from my palms and made eye contact with her. Her face was so stern and matter-of-fact. She was never one to bullshit. It's why I had so much respect for her.
"And now isn't the time to walk on eggshells around everyone. We're all in this together. And everyone here cares too much for you to think twice about you vomiting all over yourself and Brittany. Or to care that you practically announced what you and Britt were really doing in that bathtub." Her eyebrows rose at the suggestion.
"Shit." I cringed. "I'd forgotten about that." I tried to shove the memory away, but I couldn't push it from the forefront of my mind. All I could see was the looks on Tina's face as I confessed to what I had been doing in that bathtub with Brittany before Rachel and Quinn came bursting in. "Is that why Britt is upset?"
"I don't think so." Mercedes said.
I didn't say anything. And Mercedes stood and waited for me to say something. I found a spot on the wall in front of me and locked my eyes on it, while I ran through my memories trying to sort out everything that'd happened.
"Do you want me to help you up, so you can use the bathroom?" Mercedes finally spoke into the silence.
I shook my head no. "You can leave." I said monotone. "I mean," I sighed. "You can go if you want to. I'm fine. I just want to sit for a second."
"All right. I'm going to head back and finish what I was doing with Tina." Mercedes hesitated to leave. She peeked outside the door and looked back to me. "Do you mind if Quinn comes in. She's been waiting by the door."
"Yeah. Whatever." I shrugged and stuffed my face back into my hands.
Mercedes walked out and I listened as Quinn's uneven steps entered the room. She didn't sit down, and through the creases in my fingers I watched her lean against the wall.
"Thanks." She spoke.
That was the last thing I'd expected her to say. Thanks? What the hell for? I looked up from my hands and examined her. She had a white t-shirt tied tightly around her thigh, and other than that, looked to be okay. "Uhm. You're confused. Clearly that thing knocked your brain around."
"Clearly the alcohol turned your brain to goulash." She smirked.
I noticed the sweat on her shirt, it was heavy and partially dried. Her face looked glossy without the usual light layer of foundation she wouldn't dare leave her house without.
"You drank too Fabray." I snapped back.
"Yeah. I know. I'm just saying, whether it was your drunken stupidity or not, you're the one who kept that thing from dragging me outside the cabin. So thanks."
"Well you know me. Alcohol makes my mouth run like a dirty toilet. You've heard some of the things I've said." I shrugged.
"Just take the compliment." Quinn crossed her arms across her chest.
"Yeah. Well…" I couldn't figure out what to say.
Quinn waited for me to continue and when I didn't, she did. "Yeah, well you're right about alcohol getting you to say some pretty crazy stuff." She smiled and held back a laugh. "I'm very confident your secret isn't a secret anymore. Not that it was much of a secret in the first place." She squinted and returned with her smirk.
"What the hell are you talking about?" I looked her up and down.
"Brittany." She shrugged.
"Shut the fuck up." I whipped back and shot my head towards the door to make sure nobody was listening. "Why is Brittany mad?" I looked back at Quinn.
She shifted her weight. "You're such an idiot Santana. People say Brittany's the clueless one, but it's really you."
"Excuse me?" I didn't know how to take the insult.
"Hey," A soft voice spoke from the door. I shot my eyes in the direction and felt my insides melt. It was Brittany. She was holding two small silver cans and had a plastic spoon tucked in her cheek. "I brought food." She took a step in the room, but waited for someone to say something before she stepped all the way in.
"You should eat something." Quinn spoke to me and leaned away from the wall. "I'm going to go see what everyone else is up to." She stepped toward the hall and walked away.
Brittany walked towards me, sat on her knees, set the opened cans on the floor next to us and popped the spoon from out of her mouth. "Which one do you want?" She didn't make eye contact with me as she asked the question. Instead she just looked down at the two cans between us. "Yellow or brown?"
"What's the yellow one?" I tried to look into the can, but could only see the murky yellow broth.
"It has rice in it. And peas." Brittany responded and dipped the spoon into the can. She swirled and stirred the liquid so the rice and peas floated to the top. "The other one has beef chunks. It's kind of hard to chew, but it doesn't taste bad."
I grimaced at her last sentence so she picked up the yellow can and rested it on my lap, leaving the spoon inside of it.
She stuck her fingers in the other can and pulled out a beef chunk. She slipped it into her cheek and kept her eyes focused on the food in her lap.
"Are you okay?" I asked as I took in her sullen posture. Her eyes were glossy. Her skin had lost its glow, and the bags under her eyes were darker and bigger than ever.
"Mmmhmm." She mumbled through a mouthful of food. She brought her hand up to her mouth and covered it, "You should eat that so you have energy."
"Britt you don't look okay. What happened the other day?" I asked and her body went momentarily rigid, before she shrugged it off and continued to chew. So I asked again. "What happened after I passed out?"
"We're not together right?" Brittany finally asked after a few minutes of silence.
"Together?" I wasn't exactly sure what she was talking about.
She swallowed the food in her mouth. "Together. Dating."
"Uh…" I couldn't find any words to respond. I felt so lost. I had to be missing something. But she watched and waited for me to respond. "Uhm," I gulped. "I guess not officially. No…"
"Okay good." She mumbled and reached her fingers back into her brown can.
"Good?" I whispered and felt my lips tremble. But I forced them to stop. I clenched my teeth and flexed my jaw.
She nodded. "You need someone who can take care of you. Who can carry you up stupid stairs." She said the last part softly and held her breath.
"Oh come on." I chuckled. "That's ridiculous Britt. I couldn't carry you up those stairs if I tried."
She sat silently and picked at her food.
"Britt. What's going on?" I set my food on the floor next to me and watched her. I watched until small hushed tears slipped from the corners of her eyes and stained her cheeks.
"I thought I was going to lose you." Her voice cracked. "I've already lost my family, and I don't want to lose you."
"I'm right here Britt." I reached out and grabbed her hand. It was cold. She didn't squeeze my hand back.
"I shouldn't have acted like that." She bit her lip. "I couldn't give you something, so I panicked. And there are lots of things I can't give you Santana. Especially now. I can't even buy you a stupid birthday present."
I laughed and shook her hand. "Brittany." I reached with my free hand and sandwiched her hand in between mine. "If anyone's acted wrong it's me. I drank a bottle of vodka, puked all over everything, and then yelled at a monster so it would chase me instead of Quinn and Rachel." I used my thumb to massage her hand. "And for my birthday you can just give me something creative. Puck found a shotgun. It'd be cool if I got a shotgun too."
She finally laughed.
"Talk to me Britt."
She sniffled. "I didn't want something to happen to you." She shrugged. "If we were together I would have never gotten the chance to say goodbye."
I pulled one hand away from hers and playfully pushed her shoulder. "What, so you'd be fine with not saying goodbye if we weren't together."
"No." She sniffled again and laughed.
"Look." I reached back and rested my hand on her knee. "Let's not worry about that stuff right now. I love you Brittany. So much."
"And I love you." She interrupted.
"Exactly." I squeezed her knee. "So let's do one thing at a time. Let's figure a way out of here. And if we're still here on my birthday, let's find another shotgun to give me." I smiled. "And then when we get back home…we'll figure everything else out."
That glow that had been missing since she'd walked in finally started to return. An infectious smile covered her face. "So we're together." She assumed, though I'd never said the words.
"Well, don't go mackin' on wheels." I smiled and shrugged. "I guess the cats out of the bag about us anyway."
She laughed. I was expecting her to make a silly comment about cats being in bags, until she leaned in and pecked me on the lips. "Now eat." She leaned back.
I picked up the can filled with yellow and stirred the spoon. The rice and peas floated to the top again.
Brittany finished her can before I got halfway through mine. We didn't talk. Just ate. For the first time since we'd crashed, I felt somewhat okay. That dread that had been filling my chest had finally floated away. And it made no since as to why. All of us had just barely survived an attack and there was no doubt in my mind that things were going to get worse. But I liked now. I liked sitting here in this tiny room, on this scratchy wood, and eating cold canned, possibly expired, food with Brittany…the one person I loved more than anyone and the one person who filled my stomach with blushing butterflies and my chest with passion.
I finished my can and set it down. Brittany had been watching me the whole time.
"What?" I questioned her stare. "Do I have something on my face?" I used the back of my hand to wipe my lips.
"You're burn looks a lot better." She reached towards me and brushed her fingertips across my neck. I was thankful when the skin didn't sting in response.
"I probably look like I went through a cheese grater." I looked down at my lap to see I was wearing Brittany's Wolverine boxers, and Sam's blue t-shirt.
A heavy thud shook the floor. It sounded like someone had dropped something. And along with the noise, my heart pounded one heavy beat. Both Brittany and I jerked our head towards the door.
Rachel slipped into the room. Her eyes were frantic and darted between both Britt and me. "It's outside."
"What's outside?" I put my palms flat against the floor and started to easy myself up. My elbows shook under my weight and I wasn't able to stand until both Rachel and Brittany had grabbed both of my arms and lifted me up.
"A big one." She hushed and squeezed my arm. "Just stay quiet for a little."
"What was that noise?" I questioned the loud bang that shook the cabin.
"Artie's wheelchair. He fell out of it when he tried to duck. There's a window in one of the rooms up here."
"We should go downstairs." Brittany whispered. "Everyone." She looked at Rachel for an answer.
"Yeah." She nodded. "Okay."
Both girls supported my elbows and led us out of the cabin. Our steps were soft. I didn't even think it was possible to walk so quietly. And as we walked in dead silence, my heart was rampaging in my throat. There's no way I can outrun anything. I can barely stand.
We stopped next to a room and Rachel carefully pushed the door open. Artie was sitting on the floor and Puck and Sam were crouching on the floor. The window that they'd been talking about was covered by a curtain. Nothing from outside was visible.
Rachel nodded and gestured towards the stairs. All the guys acknowledged her. Puck crawled towards Artie and scooped him up and the three of them followed us down the stairs.
Each step down, I felt my knees trying to buckle. Every muscle and bone in my legs was screaming at me to stop, but I kept moving. I held my breath and counted the steps that were left until we reached the bottom. Five. Brittany wrapped an arm around my waist and Rachel tightened her grip around my elbow. Four. We stopped for a second as I held back a winced grunt. My legs were cramping. Three. I looked back behind us. Puck was holding Artie and Sam was looking behind us and up the hall every other second. Two. I glanced back down to the main floor. Everyone else was waiting for us. Finn was standing next to Mercedes, his eyes wide and impatient. Tina was clenching the railing at the bottom and her knuckles were white. One. I took a shaky breath and stepped down to the floor and made eye contact with Quinn when she stepped out from behind Tina. The guys behind me flooded down, and Rachel and Brittany kept glued to my side.
Everyone huddled together. All of us looked to one another, trying to figure out what was going on and what we were going to do about it.
Rachel squeezed my elbow tighter, took a breath, and spoke first. "I'm not sure if it saw anyone." She looked to Artie and he shrugged from Pucks arms. "Okay. Sam, grab the gun." Sam quietly paced away and towards the wall. He returned with the shotgun. "Tina, good, you have the backpack. Everything's packed in it right?"
Tina nodded. "First aid kit. All the food. Water."
"I got the map." Finn whispered. "And we already moved the freezer away from the door."
I looked toward the door and saw the freezer standing open next to the thick, rickety door.
"Okay. We'll have to split up. One fast group, one slow group." Rachel looked to me and then to Artie and then to Quinn. "Some of us aren't going to be able to get away quickly, and the fast group may be able to distract it and still get away from it at the same time." She looked throughout the huddled circle at everyone. "If we run, who wants to go first?"
The question sent knots to my stomach, because everyone knew exactly what she meant by that. If we run, who wants to make it chase them?
Nobody answered, so Rachel continued. "I feel pretty healthy. I can run." She nodded quickly.
"Then I'll run too." Finn intervened.
"Wait." Rachel held up her hand. "Let's think this out. There are three of us who can't move without help or can't move as quick as the others." Guilt filled my body and momentarily distracted me from the pained cramping in my thighs. "Puck are you going to be able to carry Artie?"
"Yeah, totally." He nodded.
Brittany squeezed tighter around my waist.
Rachel glanced back up the stairs, as if that were the place that thing would come from if it came inside. She turned back toward everyone. "Quinn. You'll be in the second group too."
"Two more people need to stay behind for Quinn and Santana." Rachel gulped and looked to me. I could feel her shaking, and I saw her glance at Brittany from the corner of her eye.
"Look." Mercedes spoke up. "I may not be the fastest runner here, but if something's chasing me I'll sure as hell run my ass off. So I'll go with you Rachel."
"Me too." Tina volunteered.
"Good." Rachel nodded. "Uhm so it's settled. Finn and Sam can stay behind too."
Everybody shifted uncomfortably, knowing what Rachel had intentionally avoided.
"What about me?" Brittany asked. All eyes shot to her and me.
Small pieces of debris slapped against the side of my face. Everyone curled into themselves. I fell down to my knees as my palms caught the floor.
An agonizing hiss filled the cabin, along with the thick heaviness of the sunlight. Brittany pulled me to my feet and I looked towards the direction of the hiss. The cabin's wall had caved in and two shadows darted inside.
One lunged first, hit Rachel and sent her barreling into the bottoms steps of the stairs. The second shadow lunged at Mercedes.
"Shoot Sam!" Puck's voice filled the cabin.
My throat burned as I started to cough. The broken wood dust had gone up my nose and started to slip into my lungs. Brittany pulled me backwards and towards the cabins door. But my legs were frozen. The muscles had completely knotted and I could barely move. But that didn't keep her from dragging me where she wanted to go.
The shotgun fired. Sam hit the one that had lunged at Rachel. It fell limply to the ground and started to scream. Rachel scrambled away from the twitching and shrieking monster and straight towards me. "I got her other arm Britt." Rachel screamed and grabbed my elbow.
"Mercedes!" I screamed into the cabin. The second one had grabbed her and was now dragging her towards the hole in the cabin. It pulled her like a rag doll.
Sam pumped the shotgun, aimed…
Wood splintered as he shot a hole in the cabin floor. He fumbled through his pockets after he cocked the gun open.
Before I could see what had happened I was pulled out of the door and my shins hit the dirt outside. Hard.
"Come on Santana." Rachel knelt down and helped Brittany pick me back up.
"I'm trying!" I screamed. I tried to flex my legs. I tried to bend them, but the muscles were too tight.
I pushed one foot into the ground, my leg shook and my knee hesitantly bent. I followed with the other foot, and within a few steps I was able to somewhat run.
Puck ran in front of us, Artie clinging to him desperately. "Come on girls. Just a bit further."
Bit further till what? Till it eats my head off? Puck stopped for a second, scanned the ground, and then darted to the left. He set Artie down on the foliage and started to kick around the dirt, occasionally dropping to his knees and sweeping the ground with his palms.
I stopped with Rachel and Brittany when we finally reached the boys. And the second we stopped moving, my legs locked again, and my weight pulled me to my knees. Brittany dropped down with me, wrapped her arms around my waist, and lifted me back up to stand. "Just stand for one more second honey." Brittany gasped through her shallow breaths.
Rachel leg go of my arm and started to kick around dirt with Puck. "It should be right here!" Rachel hissed and started to slap the dirt around with her palms.
Quinn limped from behind. I watched her slow her pace, clench her thigh, and start to scan the ground. Her face was filled with horror. It looked like she had seen a ghost.
"Right here guys!" Quinn announced and limped towards the left. She dropped down to her knees and started to pull dried weeds from the ground.
Rachel crawled towards her and Puck sprinted towards her. They all started to move the dirt.
"What's going on?" I looked over my shoulder and tried to find the cabin. But it wasn't there. We'd run too far. All I could see were thick trees and heavy shrubs. When I looked back Puck was pulling a metal grate from the ground.
Quinn and Rachel grabbed the grate and helped him drag it to the side.
A small hole opened up in the ground.
Puck looked around. "Ladies first." He nodded for Quinn to hop in.
"As soon as we get in," she looked at Rachel, "hand Artie down."
Artie looked back at Brittany and me.
"It's about an eight foot drop Quinn. Land on your good leg." Puck instructed as Quinn swung her legs into the hole.
She nodded, and within seconds slipped into the hole. An umph slipped up from the ground along with a soft splash. "All right, Rachel there's water. Jump down."
Rachel swung her legs into the hole and slipped down with grace.
"Santana should go first." Artie said. "And Brittany."
Before I could respond, Brittany was starting to drag me towards the hole. Puck shot up and grabbed onto my free arm.
"'Kay Santana. Quinn and Rachel will catch you." Puck spoke into the side of my face. Both he and Brittany guided me down to the ground. I winced as my legs tightened back up. "Just put your legs in." Puck told me, but instead he grabbed my ankles and moved my legs for me.
Pained tears spilled down my face. Why did my legs have to do this now?
"You girls ready?" Puck called down to them.
I looked in the hole. I couldn't see anything, until a hand grazed up the back of my calf. "It's all right Santana. Quinn and I will catch you." Rachel called up.
"She was having trouble putting weight on her legs." Brittany explained to Puck.
"That's fine," he scooted closer to me. "Santana they're going to catch you. Okay." Puck said.
I nodded and scooted closer to the hole, until I nearly fell in.
That deafening hiss that had just filled the cabin, screamed through the trees. I jerked to look behind us. The ground vibrated, but I couldn't see it yet.
"Go now!" Puck urged me forward.
I tucked my elbows and slipped in. Two sets of hands caught my hips as my feet slapped hard into the ground. My knees buckled and I fell forward onto my wrists. The impact was softened as both Quinn and Rachel halfway caught me.
With my elbows on the ground, warm water swallowed my arms. I crawled away from the hole, knowing someone else was going to need to come in. Quinn lifted me off my hands and sat down with me in the water. My legs were burning. Screaming. Begging me to fix them.
I looked up to the opening. Looking here from the inside, it was a lot brighter. Moments before, when I'd been preparing to jump in, I couldn't see anything. Just blackness.
Brittany slipped in and landed without a problem. Puck helped Artie adjust his legs and lowered him down to Brittany and Rachel, who grunted under his weight, since Puck wasn't able to lower him far enough.
Puck jumped in, splashing water on me.
The ground shook above us. The thing was so close now. Could it reach in here? Could it cave in the ground? The little ones could definitely get in. No problem.
We all waited in silence. Everyone held their breath. And I tried not to make a noise as my legs were shattering in pain.
The vibrations above us slowed.
Puck said something to Brittany, but I was too focused on keeping myself quiet that I couldn't hear it. He crouched down, Brittany straddled his shoulders, and he carefully stood with the new weight added. She reached up through the hole and grabbed the edge of the grate.
We all tensed, waiting for her to move it shut. All the muscles in her arms flexed and it took her only a few moments to pull the grate back over the hole.
Puck crouched down and she climbed off his shoulders.
"All right." He looked around at everyone. "We should be safe in here. There are drain tunnels like this all over the island. And I have no doubt the other guys found one of the other ones." He nodded and tried to assure himself. "Is everyone all right?"
"Yeah." Quinn answered. "I think we're fine for now."
"Okay. Rachel help me find the exit. It should be another drain against the wall. This room isn't very big, so it shouldn't take too long."
Rachel nodded and started to walk towards the opposite wall. Both of them were running their hands over the sides, searching for God knows what.
Quinn turned towards me. "Are you crying? Are you hurt?"
Brittany walked over and sat on the other side of me.
"What's wrong Santana?" Brittany whispered.
I couldn't answer. The cramping in my legs was stealing all my breath.
"Dude are you okay?" Puck turned around and looked at me.
"It's her legs." Artie spoke. He turned so he was facing us. "Massage her legs. You can see the muscles knotting. My legs used to do that all the time after P.T. When you don't use your legs for awhile, they do that."
"Massage them?" Brittany looked to Artie for confirmation.
"Yeah. Start low, since her calves are probably the worst." He nodded. "Push hard or the knots won't come out."
Quinn nodded and looked to me. "Is it okay if we do that?" Quinn asked.
I nodded. I didn't care at this point.
There hands dug into my legs. It felt as if they were using knives to twist and cut my muscles. I jerked at first. It hurt. But after a second, it began to feel better. Their hands easily loosened the muscles in my legs and my entire body softened.
"Yeah, and she should drink water too." Artie looked around. "Well, not this water, that'd be gross. When Tina gets here she has it." The way he said it, forced me to believe Tina was going to show up.
A/N : aye curumba...let me know what you think.