Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. No profit is being produced from this page.
Warning: Not beta'd. Any mistakes are my own.
A/N: I haven't actually seen the episode with Lord Tubbington, so I don't know what he looks like. I made him dark grey with yellow eyes.
Also, this story doesn't follow "Born This Way" canon; here Santana knew Quinn when they were kids, instead of Quinn moving when she was in middle school.
EDIT: This is a re-upload from the first time when I accidentally deleted this story.
Raising a hand to shade her eyes in the bright summer sunlight, Brittany Pierce scanned the lush garden that sat before the white wrought iron fence enclosing the front yard of her immense brick house. Lord Tubbington, her cat, had escaped from the house once again, and now it was up to her to find him. A grin spread across Brittany's face as she scrutinized the surrounding greenery for dark grey fur; this was fun, almost like being a detective. Now, if only she could find where her cat was, just like the detective always solved the mystery.
Brittany stood very still and gazed up and down the sidewalk, trying to see where her cat was. She caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of her eye, and saw Lord Tubbington out of the corner of her eye, batting at the patch of red carnations. Smiling fondly, Brittany slowly crept up behind the cat until she was within grabbing distance, then lunged forward and snatched up the huge cat, hugging him tightly.
"Tubby!" She exclaimed blithely. Glad to have him back safely, she held him firmly, with her arms clenched around him. And he was happy to see her again, too; she could just tell from the way he was wiggling around in excitement, and from the way he was breathing. Her cat was so happy that he was hyperventilating, Brittany knew.
"I was worried about you, Lord Tubbington," Brittany informed him, and Lord Tubbington twisted his head around to look at her with his glowing yellow eyes. He looked kind of upset, but Brittany decided that it was only because she had interrupted his playing with the large shiny beetle he had been trying to capture in his paws.
"You're a good kitty," Brittany cooed, using one hand to rub his head and the other to squeeze him against her as he squirmed. "You are such a good kitty that I'm going to take you back to the house with me. Aren't you a special kitty? Yes, you are! Yes, you- "
Brittany had been so focused on Lord Tubbington that she accidentally walked straight into another person who had been proceeding along the sidewalk. It was a bad habit of hers, not paying attention to what she was doing, but she would outgrow it. At least, that was what her third grade teacher had told her. That, and not to run with scissors.
The person she had walked into was girl who looked about her age, maybe slightly older. She was surprisingly tan, Brittany observed, and she was wearing a pink T-shirt that had the words "I," and "California," written in blue glitter, with a shimmery red heart between the two words.
"'I heart California'?" Brittany said aloud, her brow furrowed in confusion.
The other girl stared at her uncertainly for a moment, and Brittany noticed the tear tracks descending from her dark eyes. "What?" The girl asked in confusion, shifting the skateboard she was carrying from one arm to the other.
"Your shirt," Brittany explained, pointing, until she remembered that it was rude to point. She quickly lowered her arm. "What does it mean?"
The girl took a step back from Brittany and looked down at her torso. "I love California," she told her. "That's what it means."
"Oh," Brittany nodded. "Have you ever been to California?"
"No," the girl replied, looking away. "My mom was born there, though."
"Did she see a lot of famous people?" Brittany asked, but then she noticed that the girl's jeans were shredded at the knees, revealing scrapes, with blood trickling from the abrasions. "What happened to your knees?"
"I was skateboarding, and I had to get out of the way of a car," the girls said, her tone defensive. She reached up and wiped several tears away from her face with the back of her hand.
"Come to my house, and I can give you a Band-Aid," Brittany offered, feeling sorry for the other girl. She looked like she needed a hug. "We have ones with sea animals on them."
The girl did not respond for a few seconds. Then she said hesitantly, "My parents told me never to go a stranger's house."
Brittany nodded. "That's a good idea. But my name is Brittany S. Pierce. It sounds like 'Britney Spears,' but my parents told me that I don't have to live in her shadow and that they don't want me to grow up and be like her, anyway."
The girl looked at her strangely, but held out her hand for Brittany to shake, just like adults did, Brittany observed. "My name is Santana Lopez," she said, with a hint of pride in her voice, as if the opportunity to introduce herself was something really awesome.
"That's wonderful," Brittany said sincerely. "Now since we're not strangers anymore, you should come to my house." She opened her front gate and motioned Santana inside, still firmly gripping Lord Tubbington, who hadn't stopped hyperventilating.
"Won't you parents get mad that you had me over without telling them?" Santana asked curiously.
"Nope." Brittany shook her head. "My mom is teaching a class at a college, and my dad's working on important stuff in his study. He told me not to bother him."
Santana seemed to absorb this information. "Which college?"
Brittany shrugged. "I forget."
Although Santana seemed slightly startled by what she said, she followed Brittany up to the wide porch. The porch was one of Brittany's favorite places to place with her dolls, because the wooden lattice on all sides was covered by thick climbing ivy, leaving only a small entranceway, almost like a fort of greenery. One of her favorite games to play there was to pretend that her dolls were lost in the jungle and being chased by ferocious animals. With a skip in her step, Brittany sauntered to the screen door. "Come on in," she invited, smiling at the somber girl.
"Actually, we it be okay if we, um, just stayed outside?" Santana asked tentatively.
"Sure," Brittany agreed. "You can sit on the porch swing." She entered the house, and set Lord Tubbington down once they were safely inside. Quickly, she grabbed the Band-Aids, a few wet paper towels, and Neosporin, and retrieved two chocolate-chip ice cream sandwiches from the freezer before going back to the porch.
Santana was sitting on the white whicker swing when Brittany returned, an expression on her face that was sad and maybe just a little bit lonely. Brittany was very glad that she had thought to bring ice cream.
"Here you go!" She chirped, handing Santana one of the wrapped confections, and placed the other on the swing. She knelt down and prepared to help Santana with her knees.
"You don't have to do that," Santana said immediately.
Brittany furrowed her brow. "But I want to help you."
"No." Santana shook her head and held out her hand. "I'll do it."
"Okay," Brittany replied, shrugging. She handed Santana the materials and settled into the cushion on the swing, watching as Santana carefully cleaned the blood off of one knee, covered the scrape with several Band-Aids, and then did the same thing for her other knee.
Santana stood after she had finished, gathered the scraps of paper from the Band-Aids and the now-bloodied paper towels, and turned to Brittany. "Where can I throw these out?"
Brittany held up a finger to indicate that she needed to finish chewing, then swallowed her mouthful of ice cream. "Just go into the house, down the hall to the kitchen. The wastebasket is under the sink."
"And can I wash my hands?" Santana glanced at her fingers pointedly, which were stained a faint red from her own blood.
"The bathroom is next to the kitchen," Brittany told her, taking another bite of her sandwich.
Santana returned quickly, and as she opened the door and stepped onto the porch, Brittany noticed that the sunlight made her face seem tired. Tired and sad. Wan was the word Brittany's mom and dad would use to describe her.
The two of them sat on the porch together in silence, and Brittany finished her ice cream sandwich. She saw that Santana hadn't even started to eat hers; the package sat unopened in her hands.
"Don't you like ice cream?" Brittany asked, wondering how someone could not like ice cream. She looked up at Santana and then realized that the other girls was crying. "Are you are okay? Do your knees still hurt?"
Gasping sobs seemed to wrench their way out of Santana's throat, but after a few moments, she managed to talk, her voice choked. "My parents are getting a divorce. They were fighting for awhile and now-" she was trying to speak normally, but she couldn't, Brittany could tell, "now, my friend Quinn isn't allowed to be be around me anymore. Her parents said she couldn't, 'cause of my mom and dad divorcing."
"I'm sorry," Brittany said, patting the other girl's back, but she only sobbed harder, hugging herself as she did so. "We could be friends, if you want," she suggested.
Santana didn't seem to understand these words for a moment. Then she stared as Brittany as tears streamed down her cheeks. "Why would you even bother?" She choked out.
"It wouldn't be a bother," Brittany said sincerely. "I'd like to be your friend." To prove this statement, she pulled Santana into a hug that lasted several seconds. Brittany could smell Santana's strawberry shampoo.
"You smell nice," Brittany informed her with a smile, when she broke the embrace.
Santana still looked confused as she wiped away her tears. "You'd really like to be my friend?" She asked, her voice suddenly shy.
"Definitely," Brittany affirmed with a nod. "Want to make a super-special-sceret-best-friends-handshake?"
"Definitely," Santana said with a smile.
A/N: Any thoughts? Concrit is always appreciated. Peace!