Title: The Last Night To Be Brave
Author: an-alternate-world
Rating: M
Characters/Pairings: Kurt/Blaine relationship, Blaine/Santana friendship, Santana/Dave friendship
Word count: 3,191
Summary: He thinks she needs a friend. She thinks he needs to mind his own business. What she doesn't know then is she's going to need him this year more than she ever could have imagined.
Warnings/Spoilers: Angst. There is talk of suicidal ideation and an attempt in some chapters. It's not particularly graphic, but it is there. If you think this might trigger you, PLEASE don't read it!
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Glee, FOX, Ryan Murphy or anything else related to the Glee universe.

Of course, it was inevitable that there was going to be an incident. Puck had been polite to Santana, with Blaine, Kurt and Dave watching her as best as they could from a distance.

Things seemed to return to normal in Glee, and Blaine was rather surprised when Brittany had squealed and thrown herself at the brunette, who awkwardly patted her back and then pushed her away.

"I'm so glad you're all better, Sanny!" Brittany exclaimed, clapping her hands.

Santana unconsciously tugged her long sleeves down over the bandages and forced a smile on her face. "Yeah, it's not much fun being sick for a week."

"What were you sick with?" Rachel asked, barely glancing up from her sheet music.

"Stomach flu or something. Must have eaten something bad at Breadstix," Santana shrugged nervously, taking her usual seat next to Blaine. Puck vaguely registered that that had happened a few times this term and he realised how unobservant he had been.

"For a week? Wow, that's gotta suck," Finn said as he kissed Rachel's cheek and took his seat. "The worst I had was two days and I don't think I kept anything down. It was so disgusting. Like, this one time, my mom had t-"

"OKAY Finn," Rachel said loudly, running over to clap a hand over her boyfriend's mouth.

Mr. Schuester entered and had decided that this week's assignment was to be on Strength. At Rachel's indignant noise, he said Christmas songs about strength would earn bonus points. They broke into small groups to discuss ideas and Blaine overheard Tina say something about how hot it was in the room and then the shrieking started.

"SANTANA!" Brittany was yelling and Santana had already shoved her sleeves down but it was too. "Why do you have bandages on your arms?"

Santana glanced from Blaine to Kurt who were silent and completely useless. She had been so careful but the heat in the room had been unbearable and she had just wanted to slide her sleeves up a bit and forgotten for a tiny moment and...that was all it took, apparently.

"I…had an accident," Santana attempted lamely. All eyes were on her except for Kurt and Blaine who were sitting tensely, hands linked.

"An accident to both wrists?" Rachel said dubiously.

Santana shifted closer to Blaine who had already angled his chair towards her. "Guys, this isn't the time."

"Santana?" Mr. Schuester said. Oh great, Kurt thought, rolling his eyes. "What's going on?"

Santana grabbed Blaine's arm nervously. She really didn't want this. She didn't want this. She didn't want this. But there really was no explanation that could be said for bandages on both wrists. Puck crossed his arms and was pointedly looking away and Kurt was completely unable to come up with anything. Blaine slipped his fingers into her hand as she bit her lip.

"Okay, you want to know?" she said suddenly, tearing her hand from Blaine's and pulling at her sleeves. She fiddled with the bandages and stripped them off as she talked. "Here! Look! See! Gawk at the freak who wanted to give up!"

If the Glee club hadn't been silent before, it certainly was now. Kurt was pretty sure you'd be able to hear a pin drop. Blaine hadn't really seen the cuts on her arms since the night it had happened, and there had been so much blood he'd struggled to comprehend anything. But now he could see a good hundred tiny black stitches in each forearm holding the skin together. Rachel looked faintly green.

"What did you do?" Brittany screamed. Artie was trying to hold her back but she stormed up to Santana and slapped her across the cheek. Blaine stepped in front of her and pushed her back from Santana who was trembling with hurt and rage. Kurt tried reaching for her but she flicked his hand away.

"I was sick of it. Sick of all of you," Santana said, staring around. "Well, except for Blaine and Kurt. None of you have taken an interest in me this year. No one asks how I am. Did any of you know I got kicked out of home a few weeks into the term?" The stunned looks on everyone's faces except for Blaine, Kurt and Puck confirmed her beliefs that no one had bothered. "Yeah. I came out to my Dad. That's right. I'm a lesbian." Finn stared speechlessly, trying to process that he'd lost his virginity to a lesbian. "I told him I fucking loved Brittany and he tossed me out on my ass with only a few of my belongings." Brittany was sobbing loudly and Kurt tugged her out of Blaine's arms and into his lap. She wailed as Santana continued ranting about how she'd been staying at Blaine's and the shit she'd had to deal with, and when she finally stopped to take a breath, she saw the agape looks on the faces around her. "Fuck," she exclaimed, stumbling down the stairs and sprinting from the room. Blaine was already running after her and calling her name.

Kurt cradled and Brittany gently in his lap, grimacing at Artie who waved off Kurt's attempted apology. He rolled over to Mercedes and Quinn who were holding each other's shaking hands and placed his warm hands over theirs. Rachel and Tina were holding their respective others, sniffling.

"Come on, Britt. It's okay. She's okay," Kurt murmured into her ear, trying to calm her down.

"She's my best friend, Kurtie!" she hiccupped. "She's my best friend and I didn't know any of this!"

"She didn't want anyone to know," he soothed. "She swore us to secrecy."

"But I still should have known! I knew how she felt about me!" She wiped her eyes and looked over at Artie sadly. "But I told her I loved Artie and…and…" A sob broke from her throat and Kurt held her tighter. "How do I fix this, Kurtie?"

It was the question Kurt had been wanting an answer to since he had seen Santana loaded into the back of an ambulance more than a week ago. "If I knew, I'd tell you," he said softly.

"Don't fucking touch me!" Santana yelled, exiting the school and taking deep breaths of air that burned her throat and lungs. Blaine withdrew his hand and sent a short text to Dave, tucking his cell back in his pocket. He was so glad they'd swapped numbers last week as a precautionary thing for Santana's safety.

"Well, that could have gone differently," he said ruefully.

"You think?" she cried, hitting at the wall before sliding down. She didn't have her coat and was going to get pretty cold once the adrenaline wore off but she was so hurt and mad and the tears were already freezing on her skin.

Blaine heard the thumping footsteps and moved quickly to intercept Dave before he barrelled down the steps. "The hell happened?" he said when he saw Santana crying.

"Glee. Brittany saw the bandages and now they all know and I wasn't sure I could calm her down on my own," Blaine said quietly.

"Stop talking about me as if I'm not here," Santana growled.

"What do you want me to say, San? What you said in there hurt, and it wasn't even directed at me!" Blaine snapped. "But they know and they care and they're your goddamned family!" He usually tried to keep hold of his temper but Santana pushed it with her obstinate nature sometimes.

"I had a family!" she replied angrily.

"Yes, had. And you're so caught up in the one that was so quick to abandon you that you're completely blinded to the one that adores you and would accept you whether you're a lesbian, or living with Blaine, or died your hair green," Dave said.

Santana paused. "Why would I dye my hair green?"

He shrugged. "I dunno."

"You're an idiot," she muttered. "Green would clash horribly with my hair."

"I'm Dave, actually. But I guess idiot is pretty accurate," he admitted. "Too many hits to the head."

She threw a handful of snow at him. "So what do I do now then?"

"We go back inside, before Anderson and I lose our balls because of the," Dave said, hopping from foot to foot.

"And you apologise and we see what happens," Blaine added, hoping they could go inside soon because he knew Kurt would really rather he had balls and they were kind of in danger right now.

Santana stood shakily, reaching for Blaine's hand when she was close enough. He linked them and squeezed it tightly. "What if it's not enough?"

"They accepted me into the group. They accepted Kurt when he came out two years ago. They've accepted the continuous debacle of Rachel and Finn. They accepted Quinn's pregnancy and Puck's stint in juvie and Lauren's attitude. They've dealt with your attitude before now and they'll accept this too."

She bit her lip, shivering with anxiousness and cold.

"Oh for fuck's sakes," Dave grumbled, hauling Santana back inside the warm building. "You mean a lot to me San but I'm not getting my bits cut off for you."

Mr. Schue had decided to call an early end to Glee that day and dismissed them. Blaine was incredibly grateful because the tension and strain in the room was terribly uncomfortable and everyone was trying not to look at Santana and at the same time couldn't stop watching her. Her withering glares only did so much when her eyes were still red and pufy.

Dave waited by the doorway and huddled around Santana with Kurt and Blaine as they left the school. No one interfered as they left (except for Brittany but Kurt had quietly told her that now was not a good time) and when Blaine parked in his spot in the apartment lot, Santana clambered out of the car and was already fumbling for her cell.

"Who's she calling?" Kurt asked, watching as she ascended the stairs, phone pressed to her ear.

"No idea," Blaine shrugged.

"Her therapist," Dave said knowingly.

"How would you know?" Kurt swivelled in his seat.

"Who else is she going to call?" Dave asked. "The three of us are here. She's not going to call her family. She won't call anyone in Glee. She's just had a stressful afternoon and probably needs to talk it over with someone."

It made sense but Blaine didn't like her being alone for too long so the three piled out and entered the apartment. They could hear Santana talking quietly from her bedroom and gave her space, flicking on the television but not really watching the childish afternoon cartoons. Blaine knew he had some History homework and Kurt had Geometry, but neither could be bothered moving from their place on the couch.

About an hour later, Santana wandered into the room and sank into one of the chairs.

"So I'm going to sing tomorrow," she said nonchalantly, gaze fixed on the TV.

"You are?" Dave said, eyebrow raised.

"Yes. And I know what I'm going to sing. And I want you to be there tomorrow too, Dave." Her eyes flickered to his and he nodded. "I'm going to shut my door and practice a bit before tomorrow. Is that cool, Blaine?"

Blaine allowed her and she disappered back to her bedroom.

"That was sort of weird," Kurt commented. Blaine hummed his agreement as they settled back into watching the mindless TV.

Mr. Schuester was barely through the door when Santana's hand was up. "Er, Santana?"

"I have a song. And I'm going to sing it now," she announced, already standing and grabbing a stool. She felt a little like Rachel, desperate to start singing and get her point across. But she needed to do this before she lost her nerve.

"Uh, okay…?" Schuester said, taking a seat.

Blaine and Kurt sat holding hands, Dave in front of them. Schue looked at him curiously but he inclined his head to Santana and Schue nodded slightly, settling into his chair. Santana sat on the stool as Brad began the intro to the song. She saw Rachel sit up straighter and wasn't surprised she had recognised the song with her love for Wicked. Kurt was frowning as he tried to place the opening bars.

Santana took a deep breath, stilled her nerves and began to sing quietly, her voice breathy and hesitant.

"I don't know just where I'm going,
And tomorrow, it's a little overwhelming,
And the air is cold,
And I'm not the same anymore."

Kurt was swaying softly with Blaine, having placed the song. It had been part of his rarely-used 'Courage' playlist from the year before. She looked at Brittany, eyes shining.

"I've been running in your direction,
For too long now,
I've lost my own reflection,
And I can't look down,
If you're not there to catch me when I fall."

Brittany's eyes filled with tears as she comprehended what Santana was trying to say. It was over. Whatever they had. There might be a friendship but Santana was giving up on her love for Brittany. And it sort of felt like Santana's heart was being ripped in half but she knew she had to do this.

She moved her gaze to Blaine, Kurt and Dave who was looking decidedly awkward. Santana glanced at her hands, knotting them together, before launching into the chorus.

"If this is the moment I stand here on my own,
If this is my rite of passage that somehow leads me home,
I might be afraid,
But it's my turn to be brave," her voice wobbled and she swallowed hard, wiping away the tear that slipped over her cheek.
If this is the last chance before we say goodbye,
At least it's the first day of the rest of my life,
I can't be afraid,
Cause it's my turn to be brave."

Santana fell into swaying with Kurt and he smiled at her encouragingly. She felt like she was baring her soul and the whole Glee club was watching, but she had to remind herself it wasn't nearly as as yesterday had been. Her eyes drifted back to Brittany's sparkling blue ones.

"All along all I ever wanted, was to be the light,
When your life was daunting,
But I can't see mine,
When I feel as though you're pushing me away."

The hurt of Brittany's rejection filtered into the song, but it also worked as a meaning for the Glee club who had abandoned her so badly this year, when she hadn't even realised she was going to need them so much.

"Well who's to blame, are we making the right choices," she looked at her bandaged wrists and shook her head. She'd been such an idiot.
Cause we can't be sure if we're hearing our own voices,
As we close the door even though we are so desperate to stay."

Something about a song with lyrics to do with closing a door struck her as amusing given Blaine's current 'no doors closed in the apartment' rule. She smiled at him and he returned it. He understood. He wanted to hug her so badly as she sang through the chorus again. He could hear how much pain she was in but she was being so brave, so brave, and it seemed ironic given the song selection. Kurt squeezed his hand and leaned over to wipe the tears off his face. Blaine hadn't even realised he'd been crying.

Seeing Blaine cry nearly broke her resolve, but she gulped. She had to be brave. She could do this. She needed to let go of Britt and learn how to be strong on her own with the positivity and encouragement and strength of Blaine, Kurt, Dave and maybe Puck if he was willing.

"And I might still cry," she wiped her cheeks again. Seriously, these tears were ridiculous.
And I might still bleed," she caught a few glances at her bandaged and fought with her automatic reaction to cover them up.
"These thorns in my side,
This heart on my sleeve," her eyes found Brittany's again and she smiled tearfully. It was like 'Songbird' but worse, because now she was letting her go and it hurt.
And lightening may strike,
This ground at my feet,
And I might still crash,
But I still believe," she gave up on wiping away the tears, but she fought to keep her voice steady and strong even as it wobbled. She stood, pacing around the piano to give herself some air and a little distance.

"This is the moment I stand here all alone," and she was so alone, even as she stood in a room filled with people she might have once called friends. Now, she knew she could only rely on three.
With everything I have inside, everything I own,
I might be afraid,
But it's my turn to be brave," she hugged herself because the ache in her chest was burning with pain.
If this is the last time before we say goodbye," she looked from her hands to Brittany and then Blaine. It was goodbye for one, but not goodbye for the other. She needed Blaine. Maybe she always would. Perhaps they could pretend they were step-siblings forever?
At least it's the first day of the rest of my life," a tiny smile played on her lips. She was nearly there. She had nearly done it.
I can't be afraid,
Cause it's my turn to be brave."

There was silence as Brad played the final bars of the song. Her chest heaved with the effort of the song and how hard it had been, and then Blaine's arms were around her. She had barely managed to wrap her arms around him before Kurt was hugging her, and then Dave was there, and when she tried to push them away, she suddenly realised that the entire Glee club was in some sort of stupidly mushy group hug that she was in the middle of. She wanted to make some biting retort but she saw Blaine's golden eyes looking at her and the words died on her lips.

"You're so brave, San," he whispered, kissing her cheek and she felt fresh tears burn behind her eyes. "And you're never, ever alone because you will always have me and Kurt at the very least."

And now she finally felt like she understood what he had been trying to tell her for months. Her head pressed against his and she breathed him in and felt comforted, needed and wanted for the first time in months.

A/N: The song in this chapter was 'Brave' by Idina Menzel. I absolutely adore it and it's one of my go-to songs if I'm having a bad day.

And I do believe that this is the last chapter! Thank you so much for reading everyone! Stay tuned for more stories! xx