This was written on my iPod (a feat in itself, the amount of times I wrote lime instead of like... fellow iPod users know what I mean, yeah?) while my dad went to the pub while we were away 4WDing. I am of legal age to drink in this country, but we'd already stopped at one pub and I figured, hey, why drink when I can write fanfiction? Plus, I spent the last twenty minutes of the trip writing this in my head and I wanted to get it done before it left me. And I spent way too much time in the pubs anyway so one night out of them was probably good...

Anyway, I did one of those Glee quiz things where you put 12 character names next to numbers then get asked questions about number combinations. This was: "Suggest a title for a Seven/Twelve Hurt/Comfort fic." So my seven was David and Twelve was Santana and once I got the title, I felt obliged to write some sort of description and then I went 'huh... I'm gonna write this.' So I did.

This is only the second story I've written where Klaine or at least one half of them doesn't appear. So it's a bit odd for me.

Stories are kind of coming out of my ears at the moment so there's going to be a bit of a rush of oneshots and stuff. I've had a lot of prompts and ideas and I've got four chapter stories in the works with only one of those having any chapters published yet (FOIDH), but I'm writing like crazy trying to keep up with my brain. It's a little full on but since I want to write for a living, I'd best get used to it hey?

Out-of-character Santana? Maybe. I think more at-the-end-of-her-rope-with-no-masks-left-to-hide-behind Santana. Your call.

She knew something was going down the second she walked through those doors.

When Santana entered a building, she was used to getting a lot of stares. The boys would all be checking her out (even if some tried to hide it), the girls sizing her up as a potential threat. And in the halls of McKinley, she held her place as resident bitch. People feared her, hated her, but grudgingly respected her in her place on the hierarchy.

Today, though, it was different.

Santana couldn't quite put her finger on what gave it away. Perhaps it was the not-so-subtle glances in her direction that held something very different to the usual animosity she generated. Or the way people were going more out of their way than usual to stare at her. And the whispering certainly added to it.

But the clear sign was when she had almost made it to her locker before seeing red. Literally.

"Karofsky, what the hell?" She glared at the pack of jocks, wiping the sticky mess out of her eyes. "Do you have any idea what you just got yourself in for?"

But instead of backing off, Karofsky stayed, looking smug. "Why don't you tell me, lezbo?"

Santana froze, staring at the group of smirking boys. "I don't know what you're talking about," she bluffed. They're just stirring, trying to get a reaction, they don't really know...

"So if I went and asked your little Glee club whether they know what I'm talking about, do you think they could clear it up? I think they could."

Someone told.

Santana knew her threats were all she had left. "You have no proof. And if you even think of spreading this rumor any further -"

"We don't need to," Karofsky cut in. "Didn't you see how they're looking at you? Everyone knows Lezpez, and there's nothing you can do about it."

And she knew he was true. Why else would she have gotten so much attention when she walked through?

Without giving the jocks another look, she turned on her heel and stormed down the hallway. The slushy was still dripping down her face and leaving a trail down the hallway as she stormed into the choir room.

"Who did it?" she demanded of the stunned occupants. "Because I can tell you now, I will find out and you will pay."

Puck was on his feet instantly, ever protective. "Which one of them did it, Santana? I'm gonna go bash their heads in!"

"I don't care about the jocks. I care about who outed me to the entire school!"

There was absolute silence as the Glee club took in her exclamation and Santana surveyed their reactions. Artie, Tina, Mike and Sam all looked stunned - clearly they hadn't known there was anything to out her for. Puck was furious, Finn confused and Mercedes and Quinn horrified. But it was Rachel who caught her attention. Guilt.

"Berry, I'm gonna cut you!"

Santana lunged towards the seats but Puck was suddenly there, grabbing her arms. As she fought against him, Rachel cried out over the noise, "Santana, I didn't say anything to them, I swear! But they might have heard me talking to Brittany about it."

And that stung Santana more than she thought possible. "Brit?" she asked quietly, turning her attention to the girl.

"Rachel and I were talking about the song we sang and I was telling her about us fooling around -"

Artie began to choke from the other side of the room, but Santana couldn't care less. "And why was it any of her business?"

"Well she asked." Brittany shrugged, looking confused. "I didn't realize it was that much of a secret."

And all it took was that one look from Brittany and all the fight left Santana, to be replaced with a hurt deeper than she'd realized she could feel.

Santana turned and fled. She could hear the sounds of the Glee kids calling after her but she knew she couldn't stay there any longer. Avoiding the last few stragglers in the hallway, she burst out the front door and down to her car, sliding in behind the wheel.

Now what?

She didn't want to think. She knew if she thought, she'd think about what she had to go back to, to the look on Brittany's face, to a school that would hate and mock her, to the club that now knew for sure that she was a ... no. She didn't want to think at all.

So she drove. With no destination in mind, no regard for being out of school, she just drove. As the windscreen blurred in front of her, she flicked the wipers, only to realize it wasn't rain that was clouding her vision.

And then she saw the sign. Swerving around the corner and flipping the bird at the driver who honked angrily, Santana took off down the road. Before she knew it, she was sitting in the parking lot outside the huge building that Kurt had described, back when he'd been one of them and the boys had sent him to spy.


Santana didn't know why she hadn't thought of it earlier. Of course Kurt will know what it's like, she thought as she jumped out of the car and headed into the school.

Luckily Kurt had gushed over details and mentioned how he had gotten in without being caught out by teachers. Slipping through the door, Santana found herself at the bottom of the staircase that Kurt had described - apparently it was where he and Blaine had met. But as she looked around, she realized that she had no idea where to find Kurt and her emotions threatened to overwhelm her again.

"Excuse me, can we help you?"

Biting her lip to hold the tears back, Santana turned to see two boys in blazers staring at her. She belatedly remembered that she hadn't washed the slushy out and her eyes were probably red-rimmed. She knew she must look a sight to these two, but right now she didn't care.

"I - um, I need to talk to Kurt Hummel. Do you know him?"

The Asian boy nodded. "Of course, he's our countertenor." Santana vaguely recognized the two from their Regionals performance and realized she'd run into the best two people to help her find Kurt.

"Unfortunately he's not here."

Santana turned frantic eyes on the dark-skinned boy. "Look, if he's just in class or something, I can wait -"

"No, he's not here at all." The boy looked apologetically at her. "We don't have any classes today so they've gone to Blaine's house. Meet the boyfriend, you know."

And that did it for her. "Right, thanks," she said, hearing her voice catch slightly. "I'll just be going."

As she turned to walk away, a hand fell on her shoulder. "Hold on a second. Don't you want to get cleaned up first?"

She hesitated for a second, looking back at the boy. "You just look uncomfortably sticky is all. Kurt told us what it felt like to get slushied and it doesn't sound pleasant. You can use my bathroom."

Santana didn't know what possessed her to take him up on his offer. To anybody else, she would've called them a creep and been on her way, but there was something about him that seemed genuine. Plus, as far as she could recall, this might very well be one of those boys who had helped Kurt out.

"Okay. Thanks."

Santana stood under the tap, letting the warm water wash over her. At first she was just going to rinse her hair, but after taking in the state of her clothes she had accepted the boys offer of changing clothes so she could have a proper shower.

Sighing, she switched the shower off and stepped out. Drying herself off, she pulled on the sweatpants and Dalton hoodie that had been left for her, wrinkling her nose at her reflection before leaving the bathroom.

The boy was sitting on his bed and Santana self-consciously stood in the doorway. She was aware that nobody had ever seen her this way - dressed down, hair a mess, no makeup and emotional - but she couldn't bring herself to care anymore. She was just so tired...

"I never introduced myself," the boy spoke up. "I'm David."


Santana sat down on the bed next to him, just waiting for the barrage of questions that were sure to come. But the silence stretched on and she wasn't sure what to think.

"So, McKinley, right?"

She turned surprised eyes on David who was looking back calmly. "Um, yeah."

"Kurt's told us about you -"

"What's he said?" The fire was back because does the whole world know or something?

"He just told us about all of you." David shrugged, still looking unperturbed. "Nothing specific."

Santana lowered her eyes, feeling ashamed at her outburst. "Oh. Look, I'm sorry, it's just been a - a long day."

"You look like Kurt did when he first came here."

Santana raised an eyebrow and David continued. "Beaten down, unsure about yourself but knowing you shouldn't be. Harassed. Tell me if I'm wrong or overstepping, but if you want to talk about it, you know you can."

Of course, being in a dramatic and overprotective Glee club meant offers like this weren't rare to Santana, but none had ever seemed genuine enough that she had felt the urge to take anybody up on it.

Until now.

"I got outed at my school today."

And with that one sentence, the words came flowing out. "I've only just come to terms with it myself and suddenly everyone else knows. And you've seen what Kurt was like, I know you've heard the stories, you know it's not a positive place for a - for someone like me."

A hand found hers and squeezed gently as she continued. "I'm in love with a girl who I know is too nice to leave her boyfriend for me, but I'm enough of a bitch that I'd try to make her. And I was the first to make gay jokes about Kurt - and I need to apologize to him for that, I know now, and it hurts. But they all know now. I'm an outcast in the school I used to run and I know when I go back there, I'm going to get the same treatment they gave Kurt but I can't run like he did even though I want to so much. And I can't handle that. I talk tough but in the end, I'm just a scared girl who can't even deal with her own feelings."

Santana realized the tears were pouring down her face at the same time as David's arm wrapped around her, pulling her in. She buried her head in his shoulder and let go. All of the weeks of suppressing herself, of being someone she wasn't only to be found out, all of the fear and confusion, it all fell onto David's shoulder. And somehow that helped.

Lifting her head as the tears eased, Santana realized what she'd just done. "I'm sorry, you don't even know me and I'm in here bawling on you like a five-year-old -"

"Santana. It's okay."

What is it about this boy?

"I've watched enough boys come though here in the same condition as you. I saw Kurt, I saw Blaine."

Santana's brow furrowed as she tried to remember whether Kurt had said anything about Blaine's past before remembering it probably wasn't her place, nor was it the issue at hand.

"I was there the day Kurt was found spying." David sighed. "I knew, pretty much from the minute we started taking. Blaine got us to go before Kurt revealed anything, which was fair enough. But I know what Blaine said to him - the same thing I said to Blaine when he first arrived and what I'm going to say to you now."

David shifted so he was facing her, still holding her hand. "Santana, you need to have courage."

Santana went to interject - she had plenty of courage and attitude to boot - before he continued.

"Courage doesn't mean hiding behind a mask. Courage doesn't mean threatening people so they're afraid of you and don't ask questions. Courage means being yourself and being okay with that."

"But what if I can't do that?" Santana hated the way her voice sounded, needy and pathetic.

David's gaze was reassuring. "You can. You are Santana -"


"Thanks. You are Santana Lopez and you are a lesbian."

She flinched, the words that she had refused to admit to herself piercing her.

"I know." David ran his thumb over her hand gently. "It's going to take awhile. But you are, Santana, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. And the sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you realize that they can't touch you."

David's voice rose and Santana felt herself captured by the passion in his words. "You need to know that you are wonderful just the way you are and anybody who hates you is hating out of ignorance or fear. And you can rise above that. High school isn't important and it doesn't define us. It'll be over before we know it but we will still be who we are."

Santana felt herself nodding before the words had finished resounding in her brain. "What do I do?" she asked.

"Blaine would tell you to stand up to your attackers and confront them and I agree, unless it's getting physical. In which case, please tell someone else and get them to deal with it. Tell me, and I'll be there straight away."

But there was still one thing she couldn't understand. "Why are you doing this for me?"

David sighed. "Santana, look at me. What's the first thing you see?"

Santana didn't want to answer but it was obvious. "A black person," she admitted quietly.

David nodded. "A black person. I've been hated on for a good part of my life because my skin is a different colour. I'm at Dalton because my life was in jeopardy, same as Kurt -"

"Wait, what?"

David flinched. "Forget that, please. It's not my place to share."

As much as Santana wanted to interrogate - Kurt's life was in danger at McKinley? - she shut her mouth and nodded.

"If I could have, I would've stayed, but it truly wasn't safe. I didn't run out of shame and I don't want to see anybody else do that because none of us have anything to be ashamed of. Blaine and Kurt don't, you don't, I don't."

David's eyes were piercing into her as if to make sure his point was getting through. "I want you to be able to hold your head high and say 'screw them, I'm Santana Lopez, I'm a lesbian and they're not taking me down'. Can you do that?"

She shut her eyes for a second. "Screw them. I'm Santana Lopez, I'm a - a lesbian, and they're not taking me down."

A pair of arms wrapped around her as she opened her eyes and she returned the hug, smiling softly. For once, she felt like herself and not just a cheap, bitchy copy.

"Now, go tell them that."

Walking down the hallway at McKinley, Santana kept her head held high, not looking at any of the faces she knew were turned her way. As she headed towards her locker, she saw the figure of Karofsky leaning against it, holding a slushy cup.

"Oh, hi Dave." Reaching over, Santana grabbed the cup before he could react. "Mm, grape's my favourite. Thanks."

With that, she turned and walked away, sipping at the drink to the splutters of the jock. Catching up to Brittany, she linked pinkies with the other girl and they strode down to the auditorium.

Just as she reached the door, her phone buzzed. Handing the drink to Brittany, she pulled her phone out and checked it.

Courage - David

Santana smiled.

Blaine came to Dalton after running from the bullies who had made his life hell. His philosophy wouldn't just change without input and he seems close to David and Wes so I like to think they helped. And racism is such an issue that I reckon David would've faced it. So someone had to be the one to tell Blaine to have courage.

I wanted to continue this through to the Born This Way performance but then I'd have to work out timelines and bring Kurt back without Santana being the one to make it safe because she'd have no way to date Karofsky now... but just imagine that she does the performance and her and Kurt are standing out the front there with their LIKES BOYS and LESBIAN/LEBANESE shirts (whichever you'd prefer to imagine).