What to say after being gone for such a shamefully long time? Hmm, I don't even know! :( But anyway, thanks for still showing interest even though it's taken me forever to update, I still get a lot of reviews and messages asking about and supporting this story. Just as a side note, I don't think I'm going to use chapter titles any longer, so I'll probably be adjusting that sometime in the near future. I can never think of them and it usually just stalls the updating process for me.
PS - for those of you who still follow FS, an update will be coming for that soon too. I do plan on finishing it!
"I'm so tired that I don't even feel alive right now," Santana droned, and in her head she thought, I'm not supposed to be. She was pulling her suitcase up to the Berries' front door behind Rachel, who was carrying the box of bagels and doughnuts and shouldering the duffel bag.
"Me too. When was the last time you slept?" Rachel asked as she reached for the doorknob and found it tagged with a bright blue Post-It note.
"Yesterday, for a little while. I think I kinda passed out after…after, yeah…"
It was an awkward moment and when Rachel turned to look at Santana it only made it worse as she shifted her eyes away. "I get it," she assured, letting Santana know that she didn't need to explain. The note her fathers had left served as a light distraction and Rachel held it out to be read.
R & S –
We're watching a movie in our room. Olivia had breakfast w/ us earlier, she ate pretty well and she's napping now. Hope all is well.
- the Dads
"They're cute," Santana said after reading through the short message. She felt a sense of sentimentality over being included. It was an unfamiliar yet welcome feeling, even if it had only come from a simple note.
Rachel studied Santana and then decided that she probably needed to hear what she wanted to say. "They're really glad you're here, you know," she said in all honestly. "They were as worried about you as I was…I just want you to know that they would most definitely rather have you here than with Dave. Actually, I've never seen daddy so furious, I think he was about to track Dave down himself."
"So they know too?" Santana shifted the suitcase back and forth and bit at her bottom lip while looking out into the yard.
"I'm sorry. I just really didn't know what to do on my own…especially if you hadn't come back."
"It's okay, I understand why you did it," Santana said quietly, being reminded once again of how much humiliation she had put herself through in recent days. Then, her mind shifted to what memories she had of Rachel's fathers, the two men who always appeared to be the odd couple but always came together to support their daughter at Glee club functions. One of them – a hulking African-American man, if she remembered correctly – was just the guy who she would have liked to imagine punching Dave's skull in. "So, which one is daddy?"
"The big one," Rachel laughed, already knowing what the other woman was thinking about. "Who, surprisingly, Olivia seems to like. She started to warm up to him, he waited with us in the ER last night."
Santana smiled, albeit kind of sadly and then asked, "Can I see her?"
There was something a little tragic about Santana asking to see her own child, but Rachel tried to forget that and smiled back anyway. "Of course."
Feeling as if she was doing something wrong, Rachel hovered in the hallway outside of her bedroom only stealing glances inside when she thought she wouldn't be noticed. She couldn't say that she completely trusted Santana, but it probably should have been obvious that Santana was too exhausted to pull anything else that day.
Inside, the room was fairly dark from the blinds being closed. Rachel could see Santana as a shadowy outline standing beside the bed and she couldn't make out Olivia's features at all, but it was apparent that she was still asleep. Santana wasn't waking her nor was she even attempting to touch or kiss her forehead, she was only watching her sleep.
Rachel had imagined the reunion between mother and daughter happening differently, but then again, she really knew nothing about the complex relationship between the two. She didn't know what Santana was feeling or thinking, the most personal and emotionally trying obstacle she had ever faced was probably her issues with her own mother, Shelby Corcoran, followed closely by her most recent breakup. And while she had thought those situations had been stressful enough and sometimes still were, it seemed silly to compare them to what Santana was up against.
When the door opened fully and Santana came out closing it behind her, Rachel forced a happy expression. "How is she?"
"Fine," Santana said, keeping her voice low so Olivia wouldn't be woken by the sound. "I want to wake her up, but I know I shouldn't." She was wearing a watery, yet sincere smile.
"She did have kind of a long night," Rachel answered just as softly.
"And she'll be a little heathen if she doesn't get a nap."
The comment seemed so natural and mundane that Rachel could almost imagine that they were just two people having a casual conversation, discussing the simple routines that composed their everyday lives. But what was taking place was anything but routine or mundane. "I'll have to see it to believe it," she teased.
Santana scoffed and rolled her eyes, obviously drawing her reaction from previous experience. "Just wait. You probably will."
And just like that, the short statement reminded them of why they were really standing outside of Rachel's bedroom and Santana looked away, unsure of what she was supposed to or allowed to do next.
"Um," Rachel said a little too quickly, making it apparent that she thought the pause in conversation was just as awkward. "We have a pull-out couch in the basement if you want to rest. It'll be dark and I'll make sure everyone is quiet, you can sleep as long as you like. Or, you know, you can stay in my room with Olivia, whatever you feel most comfortable with…it doesn't matter –"
"I need to shower. I'm disgusting," Santana stated simply.
A flicker of a smile passed over Rachel's face before she grew serious again. "You're not –"
Making eye contact, Santana gave her a silent warning to not go on. "I am."
"Okay…you can use the bathroom downstairs," Rachel said in quiet defeat. "I'll get you some towels."
When Santana was eventually left alone in the basement with fresh, folded towels lying in her lap, she finally had the time to let everything that had happened catch up with her. She was sitting on the edge of the bed that Rachel had pulled out, waiting for the running water to fog the mirror in the bathroom and aside from exhaustion, her mind was completely clear. She wasn't high or in shock or intoxicated and things were beginning to hurt again.
Her stomach was empty to the point of nausea and just the thought of attempting to eat again brought the taste of bile back to her mouth. When was the last time I ate? How long has it been since I slept properly? She tugged at a strand of thread near the hem of one of the towels and tried to remember the answers to the questions she was asking herself.
She was jolted from her own thoughts when someone – presumably Rachel – dropped something on the floor upstairs, sending a sharp noise down into the basement that made her jump. It was nothing major, maybe a set of car keys or a piece of silverware, but it set her off and made her realize how anxious she felt sitting in the open room.
After taking the handle of her suitcase, she walked into the bathroom more quickly than what would normally be necessary and slammed the door shut behind her, locking it immediately. The warm, heavy steam that had gathered weighed on her face and began to calm her pulse, which had begun to pick up for no real reason. The mirror reflected no images through the condensation on its surface and that gave her some relief as well; she didn't think she could handle having to look at herself in that moment.
"You're fine," Santana whispered aloud, even though she knew she couldn't make herself believe it just by saying it.
Kneeling on the tiled floor, she unzipped the suitcase, pulled out her worn Cheerios sweatshirt that she had taken from a laundry basket in her haste to pack and then held it to her face. It smelled different from the sweatshirt Rachel had tried to give her. It smelled like home and familiarity and Olivia; it also smelled like blood. Startled, she brought the fabric away from her face and remembered how Dave had given her a nose bleed days ago, before all of their lives had suddenly erupted.
As she recalled how the blood had felt running down her lips before it had fallen on the collar, Santana sat down clumsily on the floor and bowed her head into the sweatshirt again. It had finally come to the point she had been dreading, the one where she couldn't keep it together anymore. The one where she had no one to convince but herself while knowing it was impossible. She could only hope that with the water still running no one would hear her trying to catch her breath through her crying.
Rachel had taken exactly three bites of a bagel before abandoning it on a napkin setting in front of her. She couldn't consciously remember when she had stopped eating and put it down, but she could see the three little crescent shapes in it that her teeth had left. Eating didn't feel so very important as she sat in the still basement, facing the bathroom where Santana was having to weather her reality alone.
At some point the chewing had begun to feel like work and in her overloaded mind the only things she had the energy to think of were Santana's bruised thighs. She could almost imagine how Santana looked on the other side of the door; she could easily guess why the water had been running for nearly an hour.
A part of her wanted to knock on the door and ask Santana if she was okay, but she knew she already had her answer. There was no way for someone to suddenly be okay after experiencing everything Santana had been going through.
Instead, Rachel continued to man her post and worry. She couldn't predict what the next few hours would bring, let alone the next few days or weeks, but already she had integrated Santana and Olivia and their situation into her summer vacation. Although she couldn't be so sure of how much of a vacation it would be any longer.
A faint, yet metallic sounding noise that came from the bathroom caught her attention and she watched the doorknob, waiting for it to turn after thinking that that had been the cause of the noise. When it didn't turn she began to wonder what really had caused it. It could have been an item that Santana had brought with her or a container from one of the cabinets, anything really. But the fact that she couldn't be completely sure bothered Rachel. She didn't know why her mind was taking her to the places it was, but she did know that there was a straight razor in the back of the highest cabinet. It was an antique, passed down from one of her grandfathers and after its shimmery mother-of-pearl handle had caught her eye as a child it had been put up there to keep her from injury.
She hadn't grown significantly since then and now at her full height she still wasn't sure if she could even reach it; she had never had a reason to try. But something told her that with just a few inches over her, Santana would have been able to reach it if she wanted to.
Trying to shake her dark thoughts, Rachel told herself that there was no way for Santana to even know that it was there and that it was extremely farfetched for her to think that Santana would try to harm herself. She couldn't imagine her going to such lengths.
By the time Santana had slowly peeled her clothes off and willed herself to stand up in the shower, the water was beginning to run cold. She hadn't known if her teeth were chattering from being chilled or from crying so forcefully. And when she finally finished and had to turn the water off, she wrapped herself in a towel and sat on the floor again shivering, tucking her chin to her chest and trying to swallow down the hiccups of sound still escaping her.
Movement of the towel against her lip caused a sharp sting; the surgical tape had started to lift at the edges, letting the cut begin to bleed anew after being wet in the shower. Red splotches stained the light, butter cream color of the towel and after finally having calmed herself down somewhat, she felt sick all over again. With shaky hands, she pushed her Cheerios sweatshirt aside and pulled the plastic bag that she had been given at the police station out of her suitcase.
Everything in her life seemed to be bloody and terrible and now she was getting herself all over Rachel's life as well. But if Rachel was the one person willing to be sullied by her mistakes then Santana had no other choice but to take what she was offering.
When the bathroom door softly clicked open, Santana stood at the threshold wearing only black boyshorts and a grey tank top. She was holding the towel to the lower half of her face and she visibly trembled even as the trapped steam escaped around her.
"It won't stop bleeding," she said, somewhat muffled by the towel and the fact that her voice was thick and choked.
"What?" Rachel asked on impulse, already up from her seated position and walking towards her. For a fleeting moment she wondered if she would be able to handle whatever Santana would present to her next; she was constantly being met with a new set of challenges.
Santana closed her eyes, squeezing them shut tightly as new tears tracked down her cheeks. "My lip," she whispered, sounding on the verge of sobbing. "It started bleeding from the water," her voice cracked and she inhaled sharply. "I ruined your towel."
"It doesn't matter," Rachel quickly assured as she placed an arm around Santana, feeling goosebumps and the chilled water running down onto her bare shoulders from her hair. "Come, sit," she gently instructed, guiding Santana to the edge of the bed where she had been. She stood facing her and with a very light hand, coaxed the towel from her face. "Let me see, okay?" Santana seemed dazed as she yielded, letting her own hand drop when she was urged to do so.
The rubbing of the towel had smeared the blood somewhat, but it was nothing overwhelming. Rachel knew she could fix it, but she didn't think she could so easily fix the vacant dark eyes that stared into her own. "It's not that bad," she tried to reassure. "It only looks like a lot on the towel, but it's not that bad, I promise. I can take care of it, just let me –"
"Here…" Pushing her other hand out from her lap, Santana nudged Rachel's knee with the bag she had been holding. "The officers gave it to me," she said in a whisper, referencing the roll of tape that could be seen through the clear plastic.
"Okay," Rachel breathed, feeling some sort of relief over at least one thing being made simple in the situation. "Okay, perfect…I'm just going to, I'm…" Shaking her head a little and closing her eyes, she had to remind herself to focus on Santana and not on the fact that her nerves were taking over. "I'm going to wet a cloth to clean it before I tape it again."
Santana didn't give her consent either way, she only sat motionless aside from her shivering.
It took less than a minute for Rachel to find a washcloth in the bathroom cabinet, wet it with lukewarm water and be back to Santana, finding her pressing her mouth with the towel again. Her movements were robotic, but she sounded very human when she whispered, "It really hurts."
She looked so innocent and childlike that Rachel could feel her own throat tighten with emotion. "I know, sweetie," she said, using a pet name that she had used on Olivia not so long ago. To distract and keep from tearing up herself, she began taking the tape from the bag, not looking at the young woman in front of her as she did. It was unsettling to see Santana, who had fallen so far from innocence in her experiences, appear so young and bewildered. It made her feel young herself. "I…I'll try to help you feel better."
Holding the cloth away from Santana's face, Rachel showed that she meant no harm and waited for her to give some signal of agreement. When Santana gave a subtle dip of her head, Rachel slowly touched the cloth to the corner to her mouth, just barely brushing the skin and being mindful of the cut. The blood came away fairly easily and before long she was collecting the last of it from Santana's chin, which would tremor from the cold and her crying every so often. By the time she had placed – she hoped without too much discomfort – a thin, fresh piece of surgical tape along the cut, Santana seemed more drained than ever.
"Good as new," Rachel said quietly, hearing the flat, unconvincing sadness in her own voice.
Santana only continued to stare at her, tears slowly gathering on her lower lashes to run down her cheeks, as if she was still waiting for whatever Rachel had planned to try to make her feel better.
Hating that she had nothing else to offer and not able to handle the look of sheer heartbreak on Santana's face, Rachel forced a pitiful half-smile and moved to bring her into a hug. She was met with Santana's hands suddenly on her shoulders, holding her back and keeping them apart. "Santana," she whispered, hoping to convey something or anything of comfort, as their gazes met. "You're okay here."
After a few seconds of stubborn hesitation, with a high, choked whimper, Santana surrendered and dropped her head between them, her hands releasing their tense grip as they rested more loosely at the sides of Rachel's neck.
"You're okay," Rachel repeated. Gently and slowly, as all her movements had been, she touched the back of Santana's head, her fingers falling between pieces of sleek, wet hair. "You and Olivia are going to be okay."
The mention of her daughter's name seemed to break her completely. As her crying consumed her again, Santana took the hand smoothing over her hair as the invitation it was meant to be and leaned forward, placing her forehead in the bend of Rachel's neck.
Feeling stretched too thinly herself, Rachel sniffled and tried to blink away the mistiness in her own eyes, and then put her head down so that her cheek rested against Santana. With her other hand softly rested on Santana's ribcage, she could feel the quick heaves of breath and every sad cry that managed to escape.
"Santana," she said again, not really knowing why, but wanting Santana to know that she was trying her best to be there for her and to understand.
There were fingers desperately twisted up in the front of Rachel's shirt and the gesture made it seem that Santana was unaware of their close proximity or had become uncaring of the fact. She had yet to be so open with her emotions, there had been a constant push and pull between them that she had used to keep herself at a distance. Rachel couldn't blame her for that.
"Rachel?" Santana said between uneven breaths, keeping her head down.
Reaching up to delicately touch her knuckle beneath her eye, Rachel brushed away a tear and then cleared her throat. "Yes?"
"I –" Santana tried to speak but the words wouldn't form completely. "I…don't know… what to do." She lifted her head then, meeting Rachel's eyes again.
It was the first moment that Rachel could recall Santana putting her trust in her, sitting face-to-face, owning up to her mistakes. And she had no answer for her. She didn't know how to delve into all of Santana's problems without upsetting her further. "I think that…that you should…" she trailed off and tried to smile again as she brushed Santana's wet hair over her shoulder. "That you should rest for now. Does that sound good? We'll sleep for a while and then we'll try to figure things out…later?"
Santana's confusion was evident, her brows came together and she opened her mouth to speak, but then paused and nodded in slow agreement. "Okay…"
"Okay," Rachel repeated, rubbing Santana's shoulder encouragingly but feeling like a cop out. She tried to reason with her conscience, telling herself that it only made sense for them to recharge before trying to wade through Santana's issues, but she could only feel like she was floundering. She had peeled away Santana's guards with good intent, only to find that she wasn't ready to face them herself. She couldn't imagine how Santana felt.
"It's cold," Santana said quietly, sniffling and shivering again.
The short statement took away from the seriousness for a moment and Rachel was selfishly thankful for that. She could change how Santana felt in that aspect, but she could only wish that other problems could be solved so easily, like by wrapping her in blankets and hoping that she felt warm and safe.
"I'll grab you a blanket in a sec. Here, turn around," Rachel urged as she tangled her hands in her own hair, taking out the hair tie that was holding it in a ponytail. If she hadn't had been so focused on Santana she would have showered herself, but since she hadn't her hair had been messily pulled up since the night before.
As she was wiping at her eye with the back of her hand, Santana paused to study Rachel's face, searching for a motive behind the request. "Why?"
"I just…" Rachel stopped as well, knowing that she needed to be more conscious of Santana's current state. She held up the hair tie as an explanation. "Your hair…it's wet and cold…I thought maybe I could put it up for you, so you would be more comfortable when you sleep. I do that sometimes…I think it – never mind, I don't have to do it."
Santana gave a weary sigh and slowly turned to face away from Rachel. "I'm not gonna break if you touch me, you know?"
"No, no. I don't think that, it's just that…I'm going to stop talking now."
Santana gathered up her hair to put it over her shoulders and as she did, what looked like half of a fading bite mark showed from underneath the strap of her tank top.
There was a pang that reverberated in Rachel's chest and it wasn't the first time that she had felt it that day. She wanted more than anything to be able to pull Santana against her and just squeeze her, but since she had no idea how it would be received she settled for braiding her hair instead.
"You have such beautiful hair," Rachel commented absentmindedly when she was about midway through completing the braid.
Huffing in what sounded like annoyance, Santana let her back relax so she wasn't sitting so stiffly. "You don't have to say things like that to try to make me feel better."
Rachel stayed silent as she finished her work and secured the hair tie. Then, since her hands were rested on Santana's back anyway, she decided to bring her earlier thought to life and slid them over her shoulders until she was hugging Santana against her chest.
"What are you doing?" Santana asked, trying to be calm but going more rigid again.
Rachel closed her eyes tightly and rested her chin on Santana's shoulder, hoping that she wasn't pushing too far. "I just need a hug," she said softly. "It's been a long day." After a few seconds she felt a hand hesitantly settle on her forearm.
"Okay," Santana answered back just as softly, her chin starting to quiver again. "Me too."
After several long moments, Rachel pulled away and then went to find another blanket. And by the time she came back, Santana was lying on her side with her eyes closed, seemingly already asleep. She immediately opened them though when Rachel carefully laid the blanket over her.
"You're welcome." Rachel smiled, hoping to convey just how genuine her concern was. "I'll let you sleep now," she finished, and then began to retreat towards the stairs.
"You could stay…"
Thinking she had heard wrong, Rachel couldn't help but ask, "What was that?"
"I know you're tired too, you were up most of the night because of me," Santana reasoned while trying to remain light and then kicked some of the blanket toward the other side of the bed. "Just stay, I'll share."
Without trying to look too eager, Rachel grinned and then went to sit at the edge of the mattress to take off her shoes. She figured she must've made some sort of good impression on Santana's trust if she still wanted to be in the same room with her, not to mention share a bed.
"Just don't be buggin' me. You know my face is all kinds of messed up right now and I needs my beauty sleep."
"I wonts be buggin' you, Santana."
Wherever she is, it's cold. It's cold, but it's soft like silk. Or maybe more like silt, soft like thousands of infinitesimal pieces of matter that had been weathering and decaying through time. There's a heartbeat but it's not her own. It's too muffled and irregular, a periodic lub-dub that sounds more like tires hitting a seam in a road than something living. It can't belong to her because she can hear her own pulse slowing, the sound of its weakening rhythm meeting her mind in echoing waves and trying to escape at her temples. A taste fills her senses, or maybe those were her sinuses and her mouth and her lungs that were filled with the taste of cold earth and the creatures that dwell beneath it. The coldness transforms into the sensation of wetness and she can't breathe, but needs to desperately. There's a shift against the submersion and even as the softness tries to suck her back she eventually breaks the surface…
When Santana finally took the breath, the last remnants of the dream melded with her waking images – water murky with blood, Rachel's face just across from her own, vehicles traveling over a bridge, the edge of the blanket and the soft pillows beneath their heads. It took less than a second for her to know that she wasn't dead and that she wasn't rotting away in some pool of stagnant muck, but she was still cold.
The basement in combination with the summer air conditioning was making a humid chill set in and a sudden shudder had her wishing that Rachel wasn't so Rachel; most of the blanket was pulled into her chest and clutched in her hands, tucked under one side of her face where she was drooling on a large portion of it.
From one nightmare to another, Santana thought, curling into herself more and placing her hands between her knees. A part of her wanted to jerk her half of the blanket onto her side of the bed and tell Rachel that she was too old to be stealing all of the blankets at the sleepover, but they weren't having a sleepover and it was solely her fault that Rachel was so exhausted. But once she had gotten a small taste of sleep, she only wished that she could get comfortable enough to fall asleep again.
After completely abandoning any thought of having the blanket back and beginning to lightly doze off, Rachel started to twitch, and then wiggle and then talk. Santana glared at her in the dim light, hoping that by sheer will and telepathic efforts that she would be able to make her shut up. Leave it to Rachel Berry to not even stay quiet in her sleep.
The sleep-slurred words left Santana trying to figure out what she meant, but the next snippet of speech was more revealing.
"Cold…turn it down," Rachel mumbled, bordering on whining as she twisted more snugly into the blanket.
Just as Santana was wondering how Rachel could be so cold while hogging the entire blanket, a limp hand pushed across the mattress and softly nudged at her arm. "George, turn down the air…"
Who the fuck is George? At that point, Santana could feel her lip turning in disgust but stopped when the surgical tape pulled at her cut. She did not want to be confused with one of Rachel's former bedmates.
When Rachel reached out and clumsily slid her hand along Santana's jaw line, Santana couldn't help but gasp and instinctively jerk her face away.
"Oh, shit!" Rachel woke immediately after feeling the sudden movement, cursing as she recoiled and wiped the spit from her face. "God, it's freezing down here."
Santana wasn't sure if she was trying to downplay the fact that she was drooling all over herself or that she had accidentally mistaken her for someone else. "I know," she agreed quietly, "Especially when someone is taking all of the covers and salivating on them."
"Jesus, I'm sorry," Rachel practically sighed as she sat up and turned the blanket, placing a dry corner back over Santana. She sounded exceptionally tired and disappointed with herself for what had happened, and she hardly noticed the hint of humor in Santana's comment. Moments later, she was getting up from the bed and heading for the thermostat on one of the walls near the stairwell. "Is that why you're awake?" she asked as she walked away. "Because you're cold again? I guess I'm not as good at not bugging you as I thought I was."
"Partly and it's fine," Santana answered honestly, tugging the blanket that was still warm from Rachel closer to her chin. She closed her eyes tightly until jumbled colors danced behind her eyelids, hoping that she could forget her dream so thoroughly that she wouldn't even remember how to explain it out loud.
The bed shifted as Rachel lied back down and she grazed Santana's knee with her own as she situated herself. "It should be better now, I turned the air down," she announced. The innocent touch meant nothing to her – she might as well have not felt it all – but to Santana it felt foreign. "And what do you mean partly? What's the other part?" she started to yawn, already letting her own eyes shut as she waited for a reply.
"I was dreaming," Santana said flatly. "And not pleasantly."
At that, Rachel opened her eyes again, but after seeing Santana's blank expression she could tell that the subject wasn't open to discussion. "I was dreaming too. About…about my…"
Santana looked away knowingly; she could sense that Rachel was feeling some degree of humiliation over what had happened. "I could tell."
"I don't know why I still dream about her, it's been nearly a year," Rachel said, sounding openly frustrated. Then, with an embarrassed sounding groan, she asked, "Fuck…I wasn't trying to like spoon you or anything was I? Is that the real reason why you woke up?"
Involuntarily, Santana giggled aloud, a real genuine giggle that she hadn't even had to think about for it to form. "No," she smiled, "you just kinda patted my face."
Rachel was close to passing out again, but the sound of Santana's little bout of laughter made her smile as well. "Still embarrassing."
"It was funny," Santana said softly, nicely, but then in a more appropriate manner for her character, added, "but the drooling was disgusting."
Rolling her eyes at herself and passing her hand over her eyes, Rachel sided with her. "Point taken."
It was silent for a few seconds before Santana's curiosity got the better of her, but she had been sharing so many secrets and misfortunes of her own life that she hoped it was only fair for Rachel to divulge some of her own. "So, your girlfriend's name was George?"
"What? No!" Rachel defended, "Her name was Georgina."
"You said George when you were sleeping," Santana continued, finding that the dorky Rachel from high school wasn't hidden too far behind the upgraded style and haircut.
"Santana…" Rachel sighed with exasperation, making her worry for a moment. "You grew up with me, you know that Rachel-isms sometimes cannot be explained."
Again, because it was so true, Santana found herself wanting to laugh, but this time she held it at bay by rolling her lower lip between her teeth. "You're still so weird, Berry," she smiled into the dark, while studying what she could make out of Rachel's eyelashes. It felt like she had taken a step back in time just then. Maybe they were sixteen again and they really were having a sleepover, with their knees bumping together under their nest of blankets because they were too nervous to move any closer, yet too curious to move apart. The present had a way of showing Santana the opportunities she had missed out on in the past.
Without opening her eyes, Rachel gave a lazy smile that was visible by the minimal light showing on her teeth. "Well…" she said sleepily. "You're still sweet underneath it all."
Santana just continued to stare at her, wondering if what she had said was true or if she could even believe it herself. As of late, she had never felt more out of touch with the part of herself that Rachel was referencing. "I hope."
"I don't think we should wake her."
"I think we should wake her up."
After whispering over one another, Leroy and Hiram eyed each other in disagreement as they stood in Rachel's bedroom, where Olivia had slept most of the afternoon away. Neither of them doubted that she needed the sleep, but with the time nearing six o'clock in the evening Hiram worried that she would be up all night if she was allowed to sleep any longer.
"Look at her, she's still exhausted," Leroy said, breaking eye contact to look at the little girl who was sleeping on her stomach, her left arm gathering part of a blanket into her side.
"I know, but that's a good thing," Hiram countered. "If she's still tired then she can sleep through the night and get back into a routine."
Leroy looked back up to Hiram and a moment of silent understanding passed between them. They didn't know what Olivia's routine would become once Rachel and Santana began sorting things out, but they could only hope that Santana would maintain her decision to stay with them for at least a few days. "Do you think she'll want to leave?"
Hiram sighed and then started to shake his head. "I don't know, I can't think about it right now. I can barely wrap my head around all of this. If Santana won't stay…you know Rachel won't let this go…"
"And with good reason," Leroy pointed out.
"Yes, of course…I'm just…worried. I can already feel that whatever is going to happen, isn't going to happen cleanly."
Leroy placed a hand on his husband's shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly. "Maybe Rachel taking this vacation this summer was meant to be more than just a vacation. She has plenty of free time and money and access to good law professionals, and on top of that, she's strong."
Hiram looked at him with somewhat of a frustrated expression. "It's not Rachel I'm worried about. If Santana isn't ready to defend herself then there's nothing Rachel's money or willpower can do to change that."
"You're right…but all we can do is hope that she makes the right decision, and help and encourage her along the way."
"I don't disagree with that," Hiram said after taking off his glasses and rubbing his forehead, which already had enough wrinkles from worrying over his daughter. "I just don't think any of us are ready for what's going to come of this. But anyway," he sighed again, putting the glasses back on. "Let's try to focus on Olivia and Santana for now."
Lots of Pezberry interaction in this one! There will be more Olivia and moments between the three of them in the next one. Thanks for reading! :)