That Kind of Love

First day of school.

Ugh.

Santana hated the first day of school. It was always too crowded, too noisy, and there was always too much to do. There were new teachers to coerce, as far as her classes with Brittany were concerned, which was most in any regard. There were freshman who needed to be terrified and intimidated into understanding their place before they got too courageous. And there were upperclassmen who needed to be re-educated into knowing who the real HBIC was at this school. Ideally Santana hoped that would be the easiest of her tasks but she was sure there were some wise asses out there who thought she might've gotten soft because of her lapse and multiple crying jaunts last year. Ooooh how wrong they were. They were in for quite a rude awakening.

Brittany, on the other hand, ever the Yin to Santana's Yang, loved the first day of school. She loved seeing all her old friends and perhaps making a new one or two. She loved finding out that her and Santana would be sitting together in all of their classes again, even though their names weren't next to each other's in the alphabet, unless Mr. Shue lied? But most of all, Brittany loved being able to share all those other things she loves, with Santana. It was the best thing about school as far as Brittany was concerned.

Well aware of how her best friend felt, Santana was content to bask in Brittany's joy rather than share her own agitation. She'd already had two intimidations, one re-education, and an almost botched coercion today and it was only lunchtime. Instead, she smiled when Brittany called to Mercedes ahead of them in the lunch line, but Mercedes was too distracted by the fresh batch of Tots that had been set out.

'Must've been a dry summer' she thought before coming to the realization that someone was watching them. One, such as Santana Lopez, did not make out in public with her best friend, for fun or as an excuse-whatever, without learning when someone was watching them. And there was definitely someone with their eyes burning holes into them. When she discreetly looked over her shoulder, Santana saw that yes, someone was watching them, or well, watching Brittany but the 'burning holes' part was strictly for Santana herself.

She cursed under her breath (because cursing in Spanish around Brittany no longer worked, thanks Mr. Shue). Still, it would seem that Santana had found her second re-educatee of the day. She sighed. She supposed it had to be done and it was best if it was sooner rather than later anyway.

"Hey Britt, would you grab me a water? I'll be right back." She asked, already pulling out of the lunch line.

"Ok, sure San," was Brittany's reply but she was already distracted by Mercedes who'd doubled back in the line to talk to them. Leaving Brittany and Mercedes to exchange stories about their summer vacation, Santana made a beeline for her target.

By the time said target realized her destination, it was too late and they knew it. That 'frightened bunny' look of panic made Santana smirk. Frightened was good. It meant her prey was less likely to 'fight' and there was no way he'd be able to take 'flight' before she got to him. That meant he had no choice but to sit and listen. When she was finally standing in front of him, he tried to hide his fear with small talk but it was pointless.

"Hey Santana. Nice to see you again. How was your summer?" Artie Abrams greeted but Santana didn't have the time or the patience for small talk.

"Look wheels, I don't care about your summer anymore than you care about mine and there's only fifteen minutes of lunch left so I'm going to make this short, sweet, and to the point."

"That's not true Santana, I'm sure you had a very interes-"

"Stay away from Brittany." Santana cut in, looking directly into his eyes. Artie's smile dissolved into a frown and his expression grew serious. Santana crossed her arms. It seemed the rabbit would fight after all.

"Why should I? When Brittany was with me, she was always happy. We're good together and besides loving her, I can give Brittany all the emotional support she needs. Everything you can't give her…or maybe I should say won't" By this point, he'd dropped his gaze from her, opting instead to look at Brittany again. Santana arched her eyebrow, a habit she'd picked up from Q, before turning her own eyes to the object of their current conversation.

By now Brittany had found some of the other glee club members and was laughing so freely at whatever Kurt was saying that Santana couldn't help being caught up in her exuberance and smiled herself. She looked back at Artie but he wasn't smiling. He looked anguished, like he wanted to roll off in a fury but couldn't because she was there, laughing and smiling and shining. Santana's smile faded. How many times had she looked like that last year? How many times had she looked at Brittany and Artie together and suffered the knowledge that Brittany was happy? That she was happy without her.

Santana kneeled next to Artie's wheelchair, much like she had almost a year ago, a feeling of déjà vu settling over her.

"Artie." She called, not unkindly, to gain his full attention. She made sure to use his actual name and not an insult to let him know that she was being serious and when he looked at her, she knew he understood.

"I don't like repeating myself so I'm only going to say this once. You should count yourself lucky that you were able to be with someone like Brittany for any amount of time. Not just because the two of you together was like the most unlikely pairing in the history of romantic relationships but because you were able to experience what it was like to be loved wholly and unconditionally by someone as beautiful as Britt. And not just because she's beautiful on the outside but because she's so damn beautiful on the inside that it's enough to make you want to cry for joy that she chose to be with you and no one else."

Santana paused a moment, her voice getting a little quivery. She cleared her throat. She would not cry on the first day of school, damn it! And especially not in front of Artie freaking Abrams, who was looking more and more uncomfortable with the aspect of having a crying Santana on his hands. She cleared her throat again before continuing what she had to say, her voice returning to 'Head Bitch' mode.

"And I don't know where you got your information from but I was not trying to steal Brittany out from underneath you when you broke up." Before he could argue, she amended her statement. "Not that time anyway. But let's get one thing straight. Brittany and I are soul mates. Our love is the kind of love singers wish they had but never get so they cry about it in song instead. It's the kind of love poets dream about and then try to jot down in half jumbled phrases before the visions are forever lost to them. It's the kind of love that artists don't quite understand so instead they paint abstract shapes and colors in the hopes that someone can explain it to them. Or maybe they understand too well and put their emotions on display so that someone else might see it and know exactly what they're feeling.

"That's the kind of love Brittany and I have. And though I might not be ready let the whole world see and judge us for it right now, I can assure you, as certain as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, I will be ready.

"So I'm asking and telling you as nicely as I can. Back. Off. You had your chance, and you blew it."

Santana stood, having made her warning very clear, and was turning to leave when Artie's voice stopped her.

"You had your chance and blew it long before Brittany and I started dating. So why should I back off when you never did?"

"That's where you're wrong Stubbles McCripplepants." Santana answered, her eyes automatically finding Brittany. "Britt-Britt and I have only just begun."

Sensing Santana's eyes on her, Brittany looked up just then, her eyes locking on Santana's before she smiled and excitedly beckoned her over. Santana couldn't help returning the smile.

"Oh, and Abrams?" She called over her shoulder, never taking her eyes off of Brittany, whose attention had returned to the conversion going on around her.

"Yeah?"

"Don't think I've forgotten about what you called Brittany when you two broke up. You will pay for that. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow. But when it's time comes, and Brittany's not watching, my revenge will be sweet. And it will be merciless. See you in glee club." She finished with a smirk. She didn't have to look at him to know he'd gone all 'frightened bunny' on her again.

"Hey." She greeted when she finally reached the table most of the glee kids were at. Well she greeted Brittany, she didn't really care about the others but they responded anyway.

"Hey." Brittany answered before handing her her water and a fresh granny smith apple. "It's your favorite right?"

Santana stared at her for a moment. This is what she had been telling Artie about. Something so simple as remembering her favorite type of apple had Santana ready to burst into tears. (Not again! Jeez, what the hell was wrong with her?) But more than that. The gesture made her want to shout 'I Love You' at the top of her lungs, right then and there so that everyone would know. She'd been having that urge more and more lately but she couldn't. Not yet, but soon. She could feel it, ready to burst out at any moment.

How she managed to have someone like Brittany not only as her best friend but as someone who loved her no matter what, in spite of the person she was, Santana had no idea but she was thankful none the less. So very thankful. And while she couldn't fault Artie for wanting to get back with Brittany, he had best heed her warning, or she would end him.

"San?" Brittany called, breaking her out of her thoughts of suitable punishments for a certain wheel-chaired individual.

"Hmm?"

"It's your favorite, right?" This time Brittany didn't sound so certain.

Santana's smile was reassuring.

"Yeah B, it's my favorite."

Brittany's smile came back in full force as Santana took the apple.

"So what were you and Artie talking about?" Berry asked, forever butting that obnoxious nose in where it didn't belong.

Ever nonchalant, Santana replied, "Oh nothing, just talking about how lucky we are to have Brittany in our lives." She took a bite out of her apple as Artie finally managed to wheel his way to the opposite end of the table.

"Please tell me you two have finally made it official." Was Kurt's dry response, his eyes glued to her and Brittany.

Santana narrowed her eyes at him.

"Shut it, Hummel." She tried for threatening but it was kind of hard to pull off with Britt leaning into her the way she was. She supposed that's why Kurt felt safe enough to mutter,

"I'll take that as a 'No'."

Santana continued to glare causing Brittany to giggle but Hummel had already moved on to more interesting topics anyway so she gave up with a huff. When she looked back at Brittany, she held up her pinky finger and Brittany's eyes shined.

It may not have been the 'official' announcement Kurt was looking for but it was a promise. A promise that one day soon, Santana Lopez would shout, or sing, or maybe even just simply say that she was in love with Brittany Susan Pierce for the whole world to know. And then she would write an official statement so that she could shove it down Kurt Hummel's throat.

And when Brittany took Santana's pinky with her own, she was promising that she would be standing right by Santana's side when it happened. The declaration, not the 'making Kurt eat it' part.

Santana smiled and took another bite out of her apple. She couldn't wait for that day to come.

Finis