Disclaimer: I don't own Glee, because if I did, it would be an explosion of fluffy Brittana and just a smattering of the rest of the club. Oh hell, I'd settle for just them getting together, which is why I wrote this.
Takes place at the end of the summer after New York, right before the start of their senior year.
I love you, Santana. More than I've loved anyone in this world. And because of that, I think anything is possible.
The dark encompasses me like a blanket, tucking around my body in neat folds as my eyes stare unfocused straight ahead into the trees of the backyard. The words circle inside my head like the skipping of a record and I faintly hear crickets chirp a symphony of staccato notes, playing off one another like echoes.
Brittany's favorite bugs are fireflies and as one lights up in my peripheral vision, I inhale deeply through my nose, feeling my lungs painfully expand as if there is a taught band wrapped tight across my chest. I can't even remember when I didn't feel that tightness, that pressure. When I'm holding my breath, the burn and ache subside and I wish I never had to breathe; that I could just stop. But the breath is expelled quickly and my fingers dig into the bridge of my nose as my eyes squeeze shut. I run a stray hand through my hair, a nervous habit that has resurfaced, and raise my eyes forward once more.
The pen and paper sit idly at my side as I rest elbows on knees and bury my face behind my hands. I close my eyes and all I see is her face. Clear crystal eyes, a full heart and an effortless smile. The corner of my bottom lip finds itself between my teeth and I reach for the pen.
You more than anyone know that I'm no good at feelings. I suppress them deep within me, hoping that an iron exterior and sharp tongue can disguise the fact that I'm feeling so much. I want to look into your eyes and tell you this, but it's too hard to get it all out because when I'm around you, I can't even breathe. So instead I'm writing you a letter.
I feel trapped inside of my own skin; the weight of what I am holding me underwater and drowning me. I want so badly to kick to the surface, to stop hurting, but even more so to stop hurting you. All I've ever wanted was to protect you, Brittany, but I realize now that you were never the one needing the savior. I was.
I found clarity in you, Brittany. You are the brightest star in the blackest of nights; the lighthouse beam through the fog when I have been adrift for so long. I love you more than anything else in this world but I am so scared. Paralyzed with fear of how being with you will change everything I have so carefully constructed for myself. My reputation, my image, my attitude, all out the window because one sideways glance from you and I find myself in a puddle on the icy floor.
I talked to my mom tonight. I had been sitting on the back porch steps for hours as the night seeped in around me and I tensed as she carefully pulled the sliding glass door ajar and slipped through, padding carefully next to me in her slippers and pink cotton bathrobe. With no make-up she looked so much older than I remembered. We shared a glass of red wine and for the longest time she simply watched me stare out into the night. I know she wishes I was a better daughter: more open, more loving, but I learned to suppress emotion from my father, swallowing my tongue, my lips a thin line that looked too much like a grimace. After a long while I sighed and turned towards her. As my eyebrows drew up to furrow and identical dark eyes met, a single tear managed to blaze a trail down my cheek.
She asked me what was wrong, but I knew full well I wouldn't, couldn't answer her the way I so desperately wanted to. I wanted to tell her I was so heartbroken and conflicted over who I was. That I was so deeply in love with you that it hurt even to see you. I wanted to tell her how painfully my chest would constrict when you'd walk into a room; how my skin burned with desire every single time you were close enough to touch; how I haven't washed my sheets because they still smell of you even after all this time. I wanted her to reach for me and cradle me in her arms like she had done when I was small enough to crawl into her lap, but it had been too long for that. We had been distant and cold to each other for too long. My parents would never understand that what I feel for you is as true as the rising of the sun and all I have wanted my whole life is for them to accept and love me. I want someone besides you to be proud of me, just once.
I need you to know I was never ashamed of you, Britt. Everything that is true and honest in my life has been because of you. You saw me from the first day we met on the playground all those years ago and you have never stopped seeing me. So as I watched my mother reach carefully across the chasm between our bodies to brush a feathery thumb across my jaw, catching the tear as she went, I grasped at her hand and brought her soft knuckles to my lips. It was brief and I dropped her hand not a second after, but she knew in that moment that I loved her too, even if I couldn't say it. I think I underestimate her and that she knows my secret. She notices your absence and how I have been so alone.
But I'm tired of suppressing how I feel and tired of hiding. I know who I am now, B. And I know that no matter how scared I am of how people will see me, and whether or not my parents will ever truly accept me, I can't change how I feel about you, but I can change how I feel about myself. I'm finally proud of me, and that has been so hard.
So thank you for finding me, B. Thank you for seeing me before I could see myself and loving me before I loved me.
I reread the letter carefully before nodding quickly to myself, straightening my shoulders and standing up. Pins and needles prickled down my legs as the blood rushed suddenly downward and I shook them out gratefully. I walked the two miles to that familiar house and tucked the letter under the front door mat, adorned with a duck dressed in rain gear, twirling an umbrella. My lips curled up into a smile and the creases around my eyes appeared as if they had never left. I turned on my heel and walked home, stripping off my sweats as I climbed the stairs to bed.
I felt my neck twitch sideways towards a sound from the hall but wouldn't allow my eyes to open, instead rolling over and cursing my mother for waking me by climbing up the stairs from the kitchen. I had kicked off my covers sometime in the warm summer night and my hand reached out flailing and grasping to pull the alarm clock closer. 3:21 in the morning. I blinked rapidly at the glare of the time and inhaled deeply.
A familiar scent came over me and I froze, not daring to breathe for fear that my mind was playing tricks again. But I heard the quiet padding of footsteps, light as if floating, then the creaking and sinking of the mattress as she lowered herself down next to me.
I closed my eyes and rolled over once more, and I could feel her warm breath ghosting out across my eyelashes. When I finally opened them again, Brittany was looking at me carefully, the heat from her body close enough to feel, but she kept the smallest space between us.
My features softened and again, the corner of my lip pulled up ever so slightly. "Hi," I croaked, voice heavy with sleep. "It's late."
She considered me without blinking and reached out a slender finger to gently rub the creases from in between my eyebrows. "I know."
I blinked slowly, breaking our eye contact for the briefest of moments before settling on her once more. "When did you get home?"
"About an hour ago."
She looked worn and tired from the plane ride home. I allowed my eyes to wash over her face, moving from her perfect eyebrows down her freckled and sun-kissed nose, across her slightly chapped and pink lips and along her jaw line before settling back on her eyes. She looked older somehow. "How was your grandma?"
A desperate look crossed briefly across her face before she mumbled, "I missed you."
"Me too, B." She let her hand rise again and brought it to my cheek, warmth radiating like the breaking of the dawn after a lifetime of darkness. She must have seen something different in my eyes, a new strength and courage, because for the first time since the morning I sang her "Landslide," she kissed me. My eyes fluttered closed, I felt myself shudder and my heart sew itself right back up into a whole again. I felt home. After the briefest of moments she pulled herself away, her eyes finding mine in the darkness.
"I am so proud of you, Santana." She said it with all the love I knew she had for me, that she had always carried in that beautiful heart and I shyly closed my eyes again. "Look at me, Santana," and I did. "I am so proud of you."
This time I couldn't keep in the tear as it welled and cascaded down my cheek. She leaned in and kissed it away.
"I love you, Brittany. And I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get here." More tears found their way down my face and she carefully swiped them away with the pads of her thumbs, gently shushing me.
"Let me talk now, San," she whispered. "I have never loved you more than I do right now. I love you. And that was the most beautiful letter I have ever read. And believe me, Lord Tubbington writes me love letters all the time, and not even his best can hold a candle to yours. I couldn't even read it aloud because I knew he'd be jealous." I let out a brazen chuckle and smiled wider, this time allowing it to completely reach my eyes. It felt so good to laugh. I leaned forward and tucked my face into the hollow of her neck, my lips pressing gently against her collarbone as her arms reached around me, our legs intertwining.
"I want to be with you, Britt. I want to take you out on dates and hold your hand when I walk you to class. I want to rest my legs in your lap in Glee and to sing a duet with you. I want everything. I want all of you. Forever." I whispered it and felt her arms pulling me impossibly tighter, her lips pressing a kiss to my hairline before resting her chin on the top of my head.
"I'm yours, San. Proudly so."
Thanks for reading and goooo Brittana!