A/N: Thanks to all the lovely readers who have stuck with this story. I apologize for going so long between updates. I'll try to rectify that in the future.

All always, my undying gratitude goes to my amazing beta team: jeune fille en fleur, themostrandomfandom, and lingeringlilies (formerly grownupspashley). How I got the three greatest writers/thinkers/friends in the Brittana fandom, I have no idea. I think god has laid a hand.

Santana wakes the next morning to an empty house. Her mom, the douche, and Quinn have vacated without waking her. Her head is pounding and her teeth are tequila-soft, and as she makes her way to the kitchen in desperate need of a glass of water, she surveys the damage from last night. Really, it's not too bad. She empties the ashtray from the coffee table, folds the blanket and plumps the pillows and the living room is good as new. There's a new dent in the wall from Quinn's beer bottle, but she doubts her mother will ever notice it. She cringes as she wonders what her mom thought as she left the house this morning.

After two full glasses of water and a queasy frown at the now tepid coffee her mother left in the coffee pot, it suddenly occurs to her that she hung up on Brittany last night. She races to her phone and fires off a quick text:

Sorry about last night. My mom came home. Not happy with me.

The wait is interminable as she paces her room checking every few seconds for a response. None comes. Is she mad? Is Britt not talking to her?

She showers, checks her phone, gets dressed, checks her phone, does her hair and make-up, checks her phone, wanders from room to room with no purpose other than to relieve the restless energy that won't allow her to relax. She checks her phone.

No response.

Santana finally gives in and forces herself to believe that Brittany must be too busy training to reply. It's the only excuse she'll allow herself to accept.

She needs to get out of the house and put this momentum to work, so she grabs her bag and heads to her car.

On the move and outside of Adjacent, Santana's anxiety finally wanes. Her head is still pounding though, and she realizes that she should probably eat something. She makes a quick pass through the Lima Bean for a mocha and muffin and contemplates her day.

Too scared to relive her brief exchange with her mother, Santana instead replays yesterday's conversation with Quinn in her head. She finds herself unconsciously driving toward McKinley High. The minute she realizes where she's going, she knows exactly why.

The idea brewing is a frightening one. It requires adept thought, tactical skill, an appealing argument, and chutzpah. She's got at least one of those. Okay, maybe two. A little more talking out loud to herself than she'd like and she finally commits to "just doing it". If Nike can pull that off, so can Santana Lopez.

Sue Sylvester's 1979 Renault Le Car is in its usual spot. The one right next to the front doors that says, "Reserved for Sue Sylvester, Head Coach of the Cheerios: Six Time National Cheerleading Champions. You park here, you die." The sign is as big as her car. No one ever parks there. Ever.

Santana parks across the parking lot. Just in case.

Walking through the empty hallways, Santana is reminded of everything that happened last year at school. It smells like pencil shavings, industrial cleaning fluids and floor wax, and the anxiety of a thousand trapped and frightened teens trying to escape. It does not smell like teen spirit. The school looks at though everyone, Mr. Kidney the janitor included, just walked away at the end of the year. Papers lay scattered everywhere, and Santana cringes as she passes one of her own Santana Lopez for Prom Queen posters hanging haphazardly from the wall. The heartache of an entire year seems to sieve back into her muscles as she follows the traces of smeared footprints down the customary hallways until she finds herself in front of the familiar office door. She braces herself before she walks into Sue's office, hoping the weight of last year's failures will slip from her shoulders like a blanket. She replays her proposal in her head, takes a deep breath, and enters the lion's den.

"I knew I'd find you here, Coach Sylvester. You never leave, because unlike these other so-called educators," Santana remembers to air quote the word just how Sue would do it, "you're dedicated to your job. You eat, drink, and crap commitment to your students."

Santana's eyes meet Sue Sylvester's; it's truly like looking into the eyes of a predator. It's been months since she graced this office as one of Sue's minions and, really, it's both no different and another world. She steels herself, muscles locking tight to her bones. She can't show weakness. If she does, Sue will pounce and rip her to shreds.

"You don't even sleep. You trained yourself not to when you were fighting in Viet Nam. Really, I don't know why you even need eyelids other than to block out the sight of Will Schuester's hair."

Sue adjusts her glasses to look at Santana in her doorway but then turns her attention back to the papers on her desk, blatantly ignoring her. Santana expected as much. She knows Coach isn't exactly thrilled to see her, not after her defection last year. But she also knows she's only got one chance to get this right. Flattery's not working, so she changes tack.

"You have a problem, Coach. And I'm here to fix it," Santana says, waving her smart phone in Sue's direction, as if that alone could prove everything.

Sue replies without even looking up, "I have selective seeing as well as hearing. I block out all mutineers."

Santana breathes in, her fear sinking like sand into her joints. Her feet feel too heavy to move and her throat feels too gritty to speak, but she croaks, "Sun Tzu states, in The Art of War that, 'If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.'" She breathes in again, her breath settling a bit more definitively in her lungs. She's primed Sue by quoting her idol. Now she needs to impress her.

"I have information that will help you defeat Jefferson High this year, thus reinstating your position as the National Champion Cheerleading Coach. I think that title will go well with your soon-to-be new position as Ohio State Representative, don't you?"

Sue Sylvester gives Santana the kind of look that would cause the Jacob ben Israel's of the world to quake. But Santana's got this. It's not without skills that she's survived the streets of Lima Heights Adjacent. She also knows that she can sink no lower. With lost cause bravery, she matches Sue's glare.

"I'm intrigued. You may enter." Sue beckons her in with a flippant toss of her hand.

Santana enters Sue's office. It's not the first time, it's not even the hundredth, but it might be the most important. Everything rides on her performance in the next five minutes. Everything. If fleeing for her life would grant her safe passage straight through to graduation right now, her feet wouldn't touch the ground, but instead, she drags her leaden body to take her customary seat in front of Sue's desk.

She feels a bit like she thinks those Roman gladiators felt walking into the coliseum. She could perish at any moment, or emerge triumphant, exultant, and freed from slavery. The wild urge to cry out and strike Sue overtakes her, but she pins her lips together, swallows the urge, and meets Sue's hard, cold stare.

She inhales, gulps, and says, "I've been spying on their new routine."

"Continue," Sue drawls as she whips her glasses from her face and shoves the earpiece into her mouth. She leans back in her chair and contemplates Santana.

"I think we can incorporate some of their moves into our routines. I'm…" okay, she's willing to fudge a little, for the sake of redemption with her coach, "I've already started learning them. Quinn is helping me."

"Let me stop you right there." Sue leans forward thrusting her glasses toward Santana as she makes her point. "If you want to make any headway with me, you'll never repeat that name again in my presence. That person is dead to me. Do you understand? Dead."

Santana nods. Quinn is dead. Got it.

"I like your initiative, Santana." Sue leans back into her chair again, casting her eyes to the ceiling as if the words she's searching for are written there for her to read. Santana can't help but breathe a sigh of relief the second those predatory eyes leave hers.

Sue looks back down at her and the moment of reprieve is gone, that stare freezing her all over again. "It's the kind of initiative I like to see in a head cheerleader."

Santana can't help the quick smile that flits across her face. She tamps it down in an instant, but they both know that Sue Sylvester has just won this game of cat and mouse they're playing.

"But let me warn you right now, if you're just using me to get back on the Cheerios to gain social capital, I'm not interested. I'm not running a hiding place for closet delinquents. And this isn't just another 'team' you can play for.

Santana gulps. Does she know? And, more importantly, is she about to make her life a living hell? Of course Sue reads the Muckraker, she practically writes the damn thing herself. And it's not too much of a stretch to think that she's had her keen eyes on her and Brittany since they were freshmen, chasing each other around the locker room. She's not stupid after all. Could Sue be on to her secret?

The question is left hanging as Sue continues. "The girls on my squad want to be there, they want to perform, and they want to win. They are winners, Santana. They don't let anyone or anything stand in their way."

Sue inhales through her nose.

"You hurt me, Lopez." Sue shakes her head, clicking her tongue in disappointment. "You hurt me real bad. And if Sue Sylvester could actually feel pain, she'd tell you that she does not forgive the people who hurt her."

Santana's eyes fall to the hands that are clasped in her lab. Oh shit, here it comes. Her entire body tenses, fight or flight instinct kicking in. It takes all her will to stay seated in that chair.

"So, if I were to agree to overlook that pain that you didn't cause me and reinstate you to the Cheerios, you'd need to know that I will own you, body and soul. I say jump, you should have anticipated me speaking and already be in the air. Got it?"

Santana nods too eagerly for her own taste. She promised herself that she wouldn't let Coach know how much she needed this, but she seems to be failing miserably.

"And one more thing, Santana," Sue points her glasses at Santana as though they were a loaded gun, "I know you're just one half of the wonder twin duo that is Brittana or Santittany, or whatever ridiculous name you kids are using nowadays. So, I'll be expecting to see Malibu Barbie back on my squad as well. I know you can make that happen; she's the Lucy to your Ethel, the Laverne to your Shirley, the Paris Hilton to your Chihuahua."

Sue stands and circles to the front of her desk, looming over Santana from behind. She leans into Santana's ear, her words a menacing whisper. "You learn those stunts, you bring me Brittany Pierce, you become my lapdog, and I might be able to see my way clear to letting you back on the team."

Santana almost trembles with relief. She closes her eyes, allowing the feeling to spread its warmth through her frozen limbs.

"Might." Sue barks into her ear, startling her. She still towers over Santana, so close the polyester of her tracksuit is brushing against Santana's hair and Santana gulps again, the sudden terror that Sue is literally at her throat so palpable her heart skips a beat.

But then Sue's righting herself, stretching her tall frame up and away from Santana and she feels the charged air around her dissipate. Sue continues her journey around the office returning to her chair without sitting. She stares at Santana without speaking until the tension makes Santana jumpy. It's a live current in the air between them that won't let her sit still. Her skin itches and her muscles twitch with the need to move. She would, too, if those cold eyes weren't pinning her to her seat.

"Listen to me Lopez. When those college recruiters ask for my recommendations—and they always ask, I'm a six time national champion—I can give them the name of any one of my girls. You get what I'm saying? Now I know you have decent grades and you 'brownies' have affirmative action on your side, so you're probably not too worried about college." Sue lifts just a brow. It's the only thing that chances on her face, yet Santana can tell that whatever is coming next will either be her redemption or her undoing.

"But whities with two point GPAs are a dime a dozen; even whities who can dance. One word from me could make or break a girl's future. Do you get what I'm saying?"

Santana lowers her eyes in agreement; there is no other response. Coach's message is so clear, she might as well be holding a sign as big as her Le Car.

"You might want to remember that, before you try to cross me again, Lopez." Sue sits back down in her chair, replaces her glasses, and returns to her paperwork, but the threat still hangs in the air between them; a rigged axe poised to fall upon Santana's neck should she so much as quiver in the wrong direction.

Santana remains frozen in place. For a moment, just a sliver of a second, the image of her rising, turning over her chair, and yelling "fuck you" at Coach before she storms out of the office fills her head. It's both satisfying and whole-body terrifying. She winces, lip caught so tightly between her teeth that she tasted iron.

Does she want this? And can she give Coach what she wants? She knows she'll have to sell her soul, and Brittany's, for one more year of excruciating physical pain and psychological torment to gain the Cheerios protection. Is it worth it?

Yes. It is. She clenches her jaw. Her mind is made up. Brittany's future is at stake after all. And frankly, that means more to Santana than her own future most days. As long as hey get out of Ohio…

"Look S," Sue says, and she speaks the words to her paperwork, not even bothering to look in Santana's direction as she delivers her final blow, "don't think for a second I don't know what you're trying to do. But I won't have my uniforms used like some medieval chainmail. You're going to work for this protection that you seek." Sue looks up from her papers, a pointed smirk on her face before continuing, "Remember, your ass is mine. And your dirty little secret?" Again, just her eyebrow quirks. "That's mine now too, to do with as I please. Do we understand each other?"

Santana's hands grip her thighs, her nails extending into to her flesh like a frightened cat. The heat that flashed through her seconds before is gone in an instant and like melted wax poured into snow, her muscles cool and set in an amorphous blob that she knows can't hold her weight.

She knows. She knows. Oh god, she knows. Oh, god. Oh, god. Oh, god.

The chant sets itself up in her head without her permission and Santana's vision starts to close in around the edges like that night at Brittany's. Her eyes locked on Santana, Sue stares at her from an ever-increasing distance. Santana's limbs freeze and sleep-tingles climb her extremities, causing her to shiver. Her muscles lock down to her waxen-soft bones; she's immobile, unstructured, crippled. Her insides feel metal-empty, nothing remaining of herself except for the churning in her gut, her Lima Bean breakfast rising fast.

She wants nothing more than to leave her body, to escape it and this office and that devil in a red tracksuit. She's forgotten what she was thinking. She's forgotten why she even came here today. She's forgotten how to even breathe.

It's the sharp slam of both of Sue Sylvester's hands hitting her desk that reminds Santana to inhale. Her name bellowed in that familiar, oh-so-frightening tone that refocuses her eyes. The thrum of her heartbeat echoing in her ears, replacing the chanting in her head, that restores her innards.

She looks at Sue the way a cornered rabbit looks at a coyote.

"Now get out of my office and don't come back until you can make good on those promises."

Sue points her hand toward her office door, and Santana's eyes follow the gesture, questioning it's meaning before some semblance of habit forces her to her feet. She moves slowly, her wax-soft feet as uncoordinated as a newborn foal's. Yet, somehow she finds herself gripping the doorknob and turning it. It takes all the strength in both her hands to open the door. As she steps forward to leave, Sue clears her throat to speak.

Reprieved? Or merely being set up for the final predatory pounce?

"Santana. Sun Tzu also states, 'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.' So, tell me; what are you going to do?"

Santana's been fighting her whole life: for attention, for respect, for protection. For Brittany. She doesn't know how not to fight. When it comes to fighting, she could take on Jefferson's squad and the entire student body of McKinley. She gulps. She could even take on Sue Sylvester (not that she'd ever want to); but the one person she can't keep fighting?


Santana pauses in Sue's doorway. She stares at her shoes, unblinking, and then looks back up at Sue Sylvester and shrugs.

She has no answer.

Santana makes it home from school on autopilot. It takes a while for the numbness to wear off, but when it does it's replaced by the kind of fury she hasn't felt in a while and once again she finds herself pacing the rooms of her house.

She remembers her talk to Quinn, her vow to Coach, the look on her mother's face, and her father's lecture. The feel of Brittany's arms around her.

There are too many people in her head. Before it was only Brittany that mattered. This is exactly what she was afraid of. The urge to hit something has never been more overpowering.

Fuck this, she's going for a run. Anything to clear her head.

It feels good to go 'all Lima Heights', as she runs around her neighborhood in black yoga pants and a sports bra (cuz it's way too hot for her usually hoodie). She punches the occasional mailbox, kicks over a kid's bike left on the sidewalk (and it really does feel good—maybe Finn's not such an idiot after all), stares daggers at everyone who looks her way, and mutters vicious words to herself as she pushes herself, stretching her legs, her breath and heart combining to pound in her head.

Santana hasn't had to really work out since quitting Cheerios, so she tires a lot quicker than she used to be. As her muscles begin to flag, her anger wears off; her head clears and the implications of this path she's chosen make her feel heavy.

She's suddenly exhausted.

Slowing down to a walk, Santana questions what she's doing. Recommitting herself (and Brittany—it's a package deal) to Sue is dangerous. Sue knows about them and, if Santana isn't careful, she'll use it against her. Yet wearing a Cheerios uniform her senior year will offer her the kind of protection she can't get anywhere else, and more importantly, a shot at a future for both her and Brittany. For Brittany.

Santana wipes the sweat from her face with her arm and sinks down onto the curb to catch her breath. Glancing around, she notices that the houses on three sides of her are all for sale. The weathered and rusty Bank Owned and Foreclosure signs reflect the sad façade of the houses. Weedy, overgrown yards and cracked, peeling paint, boarded-up windows, and tagged fences all tell her they are empty and unloved and destined to stay that way.

Santana's mother grew up in Lima Heights, went to McKinley, and was a Cheerio. Sure, she got out; went to college, married a doctor, had a kid, and thought she had it made. But she dropped out of college, divorced the doctor and found herself right back in Lima Heights. Now she is pushing forty, a single mom with a dead-end job and an inexhaustible supply of douche bags who only want to date her long enough to get into her pants. Which usually means once.

Santana never wants to be like her mother.

As another wave of just fucking exhausted hits her, Santana realizes just how alone she is; she has no one to tell her what to do, which decision she should make, and how to navigate the treacherous paths ahead of her. She wishes she had someone, anyone, who could take the wheel of her life, set her on course and direct her toward her happy ending.

But she's never going to get that. Not ever.

With a choked sob, Santana rests her forehead on her clasped knees and bawls. She cries like a child who is lost, because in that moment that is exactly what she is. She is seventeen and she has no idea who she is or where she is going. All she knows is that she loves Brittany more than anything else in the world and she's made her decision there. Loving another girl is going to forever and irrevocably change her.

But she can't not love Brittany. And she can't let Brittany get away from her like last year. Like her father said, it's time for her to grow up. Time to not be a child any longer. Time to make a decision and stick to it, to choose a life path.

Her life path has to include Brittany. Ergo, it has to include coming out. It means Brittany and her getting out of Lima together. Which means Sue and the Cheerios and college and not ending up like her mother.

Her reverie is broken when a carload of gang boys drive by yelling, whistling and yelling hey mami and yo chica at her. One of them makes an obscene gesture at her with his tongue.

It takes all of Santana's resolve to lift her exhausted self to her feet. But she knows if she's not gone when the boys drive back around, even her well-earned reputation won't save her from the kind of pack-of-teenage-boy harassment that she's not in the mood to deal with.

She pushes herself on the run back and is drenched and limp as a dishrag by the time she reaches her house. A quick shower and some leftover pizza later and Santana is settling against her headboard with her laptop and another corona. At the rate she's drinking them, she's going to have to hit the Lima Quick-E Mart again soon.

Santana logs onto her laptop and refreshes the views of Jefferson's Nationals win. Her resolve settles as she watches the team work. She can do this. She can learn these routines and she can come back to the Cheerios. She can submit herself to Coach's harsh rule for the good of a future with Brittany. Maybe she'll even make captain.

First she looks up videos of the parkour moves the team uses. With an easy breakdown and some slow-mo, she gets a pretty good idea how to do them herself. She even tries a few against the wall of her room and feels confident that she can integrate them into the Cheerios routines.

Next she looks up a workout regimen to get in shape for Cheerios. She needs it almost as badly as she needs to learn the new moves. She's got to be strong and at the top of her game if she's going to survive a year with Sue Sylvester (and for that matter, the rest of the school) at her throat.

Clicking on Cheerleaders Work Out does not garner her exactly what she was looking for. But watching the video of two cheerleaders—one blonde, one brunette—going from the weight room to the locker room to the shower, where they soap each other up, isn't exactly something she doesn't want to watch. But the longer she watches (she can't stop, it's like a car wreck—the girls are so fake and the video so amateurish) the more conflicted she feels.

This video could be of her and Brittany; they'd shared a few a showers in the private Cheerios locker room after all the other girls had left for the day. She has to admit it's pretty arousing, especially when she flashes back to the memory of Brittany's hands stroking her sides, kissing her, touching her, as they were pummeled with hot water, their moans echoing against tiled walls.

A rush of warmth floods her panties and Santana quickly pauses the video. It's a familiar, not unwelcome feeling, but it somehow seems wrong for her to get turned on watching other girls having sex. Sure, she's seen porn before—as a joke, something to make fun of with Puck or Brittany—but this feels different: it's dirty and dangerous, subversive, yet sublime. Amateur acting aside, she has to admit it's really fucking hot. She relates to it and that feels wrong. And also pretty fucking gay. Self-admitted lesbian or not, getting off on watching girl sex is a far cry from having it and Santana isn't sure how she feels about that.

She certainly hates the idea of anyone watching her and Brittany in the shower together. The possibility that anyone watching would get turned on like she is right now is conflicting, because yeah, she knows they're super hot together, but she wants what she has with Brittany to be private and special and not for titillation. Not like these girls in the video. Even though they are really hot. And really wet. And really curvy and firm and the noises they make are...

Santana looks around her room as though there might actually be someone watching her before she inhales and presses play. Her room is filled with the sounds of moaning and running water as the frozen image jolts to life and two very hot girls continue having sex on her computer screen.

At first she is afraid to watch too closely, glancing around her room each time a moan or a touch embarrasses her. But as the two women begin to make love (oh, just admit it, they're fucking) Santana's eyes track the action on the screen intently. She can't tear herself away from the groping hands, the kissing, nipping mouths, the probing tongues, the grinding. It's all very hot and very wet and when Santana groans as she watches one of the girls finally enter the other on her screen, she realizes that she is almost as turned on as if Brittany were touching her, kissing her and entering her in the shower.

Mmm… Brittany.

If Brittany could see her now—hunched and prudish, skirting eyes avoiding the image of two very hot girls having very hot shower sex on her computer, she'd laugh. She imagines Brittany's sighing, Oh, San. It's just porn. It's fun!

The thought of Brittany laughing at her makes Santana grin sheepishly. She looks back at her screen, determined to watch with Brittany's eyes, rather than her own latent Catholic sensibilities.

The cheerleader video segues into Curious Coeds which turns into The Scissoring Sisters and by the time that is over Santana is thoroughly turned on. Her panties are soaked and her head is full of naked, grinding girls. But there's just one girl she wants to talk to now.

Santana never heard back from Brittany all day. She really hopes it's because she was busy training and not because she's mad about Santana hanging up on her. Santana really needs to hear that things are good between them and to tell Brittany about her meeting with Sue Sylvester, and to well, talk to Brittany about… stuff.

She checks her clock. It's not time for their nightly call, but Santana's finger hovers over her face time icon anyway.

The more she thinks about it, the more she really wants—no needs—to talk to Brittany right now.

Her hand taps the icon on her computer.

Each computerized ring increases her tension as the thought of Brittany not picking up pushes her fears to the fore.

Brittany's voice hits her ears before her face fills her screen. And the image of Brittany's huge smile and dancing eyes is suddenly so welcome that it almost makes Santana cry.

"Hi." Santana smiles her watery, relieved smile at Brittany, who returns it one hundred watts brighter.

"San, I'm so glad you called. I was so worried after last night."

"I'm sorry I didn't call you back. But my mom kinda freaked me out last night."

"Yeah, what happened?"

"Nothing I want to talk about. It's okay now. How was your day?"

Brittany frowns at Santana's statement, but moves on with the conversation nonetheless. It's clear that she knows what is and isn't a safe topic of conversation.

"Good. We practiced for like 12 hours and I got sunburned," she pulls her shirt aside to flash a fiery red shoulder, "but my stunts are getting better, so I don't feel so far behind the others. Micah, our coach, says I'm learning so fast that by the end of the tour, I'll totally be the star of the tour. Oh wait, he told me not to tell anyone. Oops."

Santana smiles as Brittany's "oops" face fills her screen. Of course she'd be the star. Brittany is too magical to be anything but the center of every universe she's in. Santana's heart fills with pride as she stares into her girlfriend's (girlfriend's!) eyes.

Brittany clears her head, her faux pas forgotten, and moves on. "How was your day, San? What did you do?"

Santana bites her lip and looks askance before she answers. As fired up as she is right now, the memory of her visit to Sue's office overtakes her body like a sickness; her skin chills and her stomach roils. She massages her temple, as if her fingers could rub away the sudden tension that is binding her head.

She hadn't expected to have to do this so soon, but she also realizes that telling Brittany will relieve this burden that she's carrying, and the idea of setting that weight down overwhelms Santana will relief.

"I went to see Coach Sylvester today, B. Talked to her about getting back on the Cheerios. It was Quinn's idea, but I think it's a good one."

Brittany frowns at her. Santana knows Brittany doesn't like Sue or the grit that it takes to be on her squad. But she likes the actual cheering, and Santana's positive that they need Cheerios, so she needs Brittany to get on board with this decision.

"She offered me head cheerleader, B." Santana blows several strands of hair off of her forehead and continues, "If I can post up some new moves. And if you come back too. She wants you back, B. Probably way more than she wants me. But no more cannons or playing her spy or taking any of her bullshit though, okay? Just you, being your awesome cheerleading self."

Santana doesn't mention the rest of the deal she made with Sue, aka the Devil. She knows Brittany will not surrender herself just for Santana to be Sue's lapdog. Brittany's got way too much pride and confidence for that now—for the both of them. Santana still wonders how that happened, because it kind of blindsided her last spring.

Brittany purses her lips in thought. Santana doesn't want to pressure her, but she really needs this. She can still imagine Sue over her shoulder, whip in one hand and dangling the ultimate carrot in the other: a scholarship for Brittany. Which means getting out of Lima fucking Ohio. Together.

"Britt, with you back on the team, and my shoplifted moves, we'd be a shoe-in at Nationals this year. And you know what that means? Another appearance on Fox SportsNet, another trophy, and scholarships. Please say yes, Britt. Please." She tries out her best Brittany pout, hoping it will work as well on Brittany as when Brittany does it to her.

It does.

Brittany nods and smiles and says, "of course, San. If you're going to be on Cheerios this year, then I want to be with you." The relief Santana feels is palpable. It's as if the room just cleared of a heavy, hard-to-breathe mist. She smiles back at Brittany, buoyant, free. The summer suddenly doesn't seem so long any more, now that Santana knows they have something to look forward to. Well, that and just having Brittany back in her arms. Thinking about Brittany in her arms leads her to thinking about Brittany in her bed, which in turn reminds her of her recent video-watching.

She blushes and squirms, the dampness between her legs reminding her of why she really needed to see Brittany.

"What's that look, Sanny?" Brittany asks, head cocked.

Santana shakes her head, looking away. Her blush spreads to her ears. "Nothing," she mumbles.

"What?" Brittany presses, giggling as Santana almost falls apart with embarrassment on the screen. "It's something... I can see it on your face. San, it's me. You can tell me anything. That's what girlfriends are for, right?"

Santana is flustered. She knows she can tell Brittany anything—well, she thinks that she can—but this is a little embarrassing. But she reminds herself it's Brittany—the girl who never passes judgment on anything.

"Um, well… did you ever, like, watch porn by yourself when you were like…?" She uses her hand to vaguely indicate what she's talking about. Britt has to just get her point because she cannot say it out loud. "Just curious," she stammers, face flushing, as she looks anywhere but Brittany's face.

"Like what kind of porn?" Brittany asks, a sly smile overtaking her.

"Oh I don't know, like, any kind I guess," Santana shrugs, trying her best to look nonchalant and cool. It's not working. There is sweat on her upper lip and her face is getting even redder. She hopes the poor screen resolution doesn't depict how nervous she really is.

Brittany stares at her for a moment before a grin spreads across her face. "Santana, were you watching porn before you called?"

Santana can only nod. Words fail her, as does the ability to breathe or even look her girlfriend in the eye.

"Santana, lock your door," Brittany says, her grin growing coy.

"Why?" Santana asks, half frowning, half intrigued.

"So we can have some... private time."

"You mean right now?" The idea of what she and Brittany are going to do (over her computer no less) makes her breath catch in her throat and her hands feel clammy. Never before has the idea of sex made her so nervous, not even her first time. "You mean..." she asks in a hushed voice, "what we talked about the other night?"

Her panties are already a mess, but she finds herself growing even wetter as Brittany eyes her over her screen. Her eyes sparkle and the coy, playful look causes Santana's heart to race and a fluttering to grow in her stomach. She arches forward, squeezing her thighs together, trying to relieve the sudden ache between her legs. Her tongue strokes her bottom lip as she meets Brittany's gaze.

"Yeah," Brittany says, nodding, her smirk firmly in place.

Santana thinks Brittany's cocky nod might be the cutest thing ever. She bites both lips between her teeth to dampen her smile, nods back at Brittany, and then moves from her bed to lock her bedroom door.

To be continued…