Summary: After a bad car accident on the way home from a party, Santana gets the unique opportunity to see the end results of the choices she could make in her life, particularly involving Brittany.
Warnings: Rated for swearing and mention of sex acts. Light smut in places.
A/N: So I was totally watching family guy after I'd had a few and it was the one where Peter gets struck by lightning while playing golf on his and Lois' anniversary and death shows up and shows him his past and potential future if he fucked up another anniversary. My slightly drunken mind wondered what would happen to Santana if she were in a similar position...I woke up the next day, still intrigued, and started writing. Rather than the crackfic I thought it would be, it turned into this…I hope you enjoy it.
Random note: when I say cutting gear, I'm referring to what a lot of you will know as the 'jaws of life' I hate that name and my dad is a fireman and they never call it that. Like ever. It's cutting gear so that is what I call it.
9Dec11 - Reposting this fic because i have fixed a couple of errors that have been pointed out to me and reformatted it as a few people have told me it was really difficult to read the way it was before.
Disclaimers:I don't own Glee...or family guy for that matter. Unbeta'd so mistakes are my own. Hopefully there aren't too many.
All she would remember of the crash later was seeing the headlights coming straight at her and the screeching of two sets of brakes. She wouldn't remember the sound of the impact, the screech of twisting metal, the smashing glass or her own terrified screams. She wouldn't remember the paramedics who saved her life, or the firemen who had to cut her out of her wrecked car. She wouldn't remember the horrendous noise of their cutting gear chewing through the mangled metal. She would, however, never ever, so long as she lived, forget what was shown to her that day…
After the headlights and the screeching; Santana's world went black. She was stumbling through darkness, trying to find a way back when she noticed a tiny speck of light in the distance. It stopped her still and in her confusion she stared at it a while before an inexplicable, undeniable urge to go toward the light took over her conscious. As she got closer the light got bigger and bigger until she realised that the light was emanating from a person, standing tall and proud, waiting in the darkness. Santana felt fear creep up on her, raising the small hairs on the back of her neck, yet she couldn't fight the impulse to move closer. The spectre in front of her was a woman she realised, elderly and grey haired but it was clear that she had been beautiful, traces of that beauty still remained and Santana felt herself in awe. The woman smiled as Santana came to a stop in front of her.
"Hello Santana," she said softly, warmly. Santana's fear dissipated immediately and she felt an overwhelming sense of safety in the woman's presence, and an inexplicable feeling that she knew her from somewhere.
"Hi," Santana replied shyly.
"You're wondering who I am," the woman smiled knowingly. "And why you feel such safety and familiarity in my presence."
"Yes," Santana replied softly, dark eyes wide.
"I guess you could say I'm like your guardian angel," The woman explained. "My presence is and always has been around you. Since the day that you were born I've watched over you," the woman reached out slowly to stroke Santana's cheek fondly. Her touch was warm and comforting beyond measure. "I've watched you grow from a sickly premature baby, to a lonely little girl; to the headstrong, fiercely independent young woman you are today." That fond little smile again.
"Does everybody have a guardian angel?" Santana asked, curious.
"Most have someone watching over them, a loved one who has passed before them. There are precious few who have this particular type of guardian," the woman gestured to herself.
"Why me?" Santana asked.
"Because you have a very special purpose in this world Santana," her angel's face and tone became serious. "You are destined to do something very important with your life. I was assigned to guide you on your path," she explained.
"What do I do?" Santana asked curiously. Her angel laughed; a beautiful, high, musical sound that reminded Santana of wind chimes in a breeze.
"I can't tell you that Santana. You have to figure that out for yourself," she smiled fondly again.
"Why are you here then?" Santana asked grumpily, confused and vaguely annoyed.
"To help you find a path," her angel said cryptically. "Come, and I'll show you," she held out her hand.
"Wait," Santana said suddenly, a thought occurring to her. "What do I call you?" her angel paused, thinking a moment.
"You can call me Faith," she smiled, holding out her hand once more. Santana took it and the darkness whirled around them. Suddenly she and Faith were standing in the halls of McKinley High School. There was a crowd of people around what Santana recognised as her and Brittany's lockers. She could hear someone crying and other people laughing.
"Come," Faith tugged at Santana's hand. "They can't see or hear us," she explained as Santana flinched back from some people walking past. She led Santana through the crowd until they stood in the inner circle. Santana's heart nearly broke at what she was seeing, even as boiling fury rose up within her. Brittany, her precious Brittany, sat sobbing on the floor in the middle of a rainbow puddle of slushie, her clothes and hair soaked, her eyes red and painful looking. Karofsky and Azimio stood over her, pointing and laughing.
"How do you like that you dumb lesbian?" Azimio taunted, Brittany curled in on herself and sobbed harder at the insult.
"You better go find your bitch to lick all that slushy off," Karofsky laughed, dumping what appeared to be a fourth slushie over the distraught blonde. Suddenly the crowd parted and a furious shriek pierced the laughter.
"Shut up you bastards!" Santana heard her own voice as another Santana burst into the circle. It was bizarre to watch herself like that. Other Santana reared back and slammed her fist into Karofsky's jaw, before turning and booting Azimio in the balls as hard as she could. When Azimio hit the floor other Santana whipped around and advanced on Karofsky again, the boy had the good sense to turn tail and run, shoving through the spectators and bolting down the hallway. Santana saw a brief flash of indecision on other Santana's face as she tried to decide whether to chase him but it was gone as quick as it came when her eyes landed on the still sobbing blonde on the floor. She was on her knees in the slushie puddle in seconds, wrapping her arms around the cold, sticky blonde. Santana felt a tug at her hand and allowed Faith to lead her back through the now dissipating crowd.
"This is where it starts," Faith told Santana. "There are two ways your life can go from this point. This is the crossroads," Faith's tone and face became almost excited. "What you choose to do on this day will govern the path of the rest of your life."
"That's scary," Santana shuddered, gripping the hand in hers tighter. "I get to see?" she asked, suddenly curious.
"You get to see what your life could be like if you follow one path," Faith beamed her beautiful warm smile at her young charge. "A reward of sorts, for what you will one day do for us." Faith struggled to keep her warm smile in place at the omission. She didn't like that part but she was on orders. She could show Santana the path to her potential destiny but she couldn't influence the young Latina's choice in any way. If she did, then regardless of what Santana chose the plan would be ruined and they would have to find another to take over Santana's role and who knew how long that would take?
"Come, Santana, I'm going to show you what your life could be if you choose to be with Brittany," Faith pulled Santana closer as the hallway began to swirl around them. This time they landed in Santana's bedroom. "This is what happens if you choose to skip school and bring Brittany home with you to cheer her up this day," Faith told her. "This is not for me to see," she suddenly disappeared as the door opened and other Santana led a still sniffling Brittany, who was wrapped in a towel, into her room.
"Come here," other Santana said gently. She tugged Brittany into her adjoining bathroom. Brittany sniffled sadly and allowed herself to be led. Santana followed, curious to see what was going to happen. Other Santana shut the door, reaching straight through Santana's belly to click the lock into place. It was a bizarre tickling sensation and Santana cowered away from it, pressing back into a corner. Other Santana turned to Brittany who had sat down on the toilet seat, wrapping her towel more tightly around herself, shivering a little.
"They were so, so mean Tana," Brittany whimpered sadly. "I didn't do anything wrong!"
"I know, Britt-Britt, I know," other Santana moved to stand in front of the blonde, leaning down to kiss her head before tugging her to stand. She cleared her throat awkwardly. "Uh, can I?" she reached for Brittany's towel, tugging at it. Brittany let go immediately. Other Santana turned the shower on and backed up, waiting for Brittany to take over. The blonde just stared dejectedly into space, tears making their way down her pale cheeks again. Other Santana sighed audibly and stepped forward again.
"Come on Britt," she said softly, reaching for the blonde's clothes. She carefully stripped Brittany off until she was standing in front of her, shivering slightly, in her bra and panties. Other Santana realised that Brittany wasn't going to get into the shower herself and sighed, resigned to the fact that she was going to have to help her. She stripped off her own clothes and Brittany's underwear and led the blonde into the shower cubicle. Brittany stood stone still under the spray of the water, tears still leaking from her eyes, looking sad and just a little pathetic. It broke Santana's heart and she just wanted to shake other Santana into action.
It turned out she didn't have to. Other Santana stepped closer to Brittany, grabbing a bottle of shampoo and pouring some into her hand before tugging Brittany out of the water to massage it gently into her blonde hair. Santana watched as Brittany stopped crying and relaxed a little under the hot water and other Santana's ministrations. Once her hair was cleaned and conditioned, other Santana squeezed some body wash onto a loofah and held it out to the blonde.
"You do it?" Brittany asked shyly, averting her eyes. "It feels so nice when you do it." Santana felt a twinge between her own thighs even as other Santana clenched hers together tightly. Santana watched entranced as Brittany turned around so that her back was to other Santana, who carefully reached out and began running the cloth over the blonde's lightly muscled back.
Santana clenched her thighs together as other Santana dropped the loofah down, running it over Brittany's backside lightly. The blonde sighed deeply and Santana could see the blissful smile spread across her face from where she stood off to the side. She closed her eyes, willing her body to cool down, and then snapped them open again at the sound of Brittany's familiar breathy gasp. Other Santana had apparently spontaneously leaned forward and pressed her lips to the spot between the blonde's shoulder blades. Brittany arched back against other Santana's mouth as the Latina's hands slid around to wash her front, the loofah lingering over her breasts and between her legs.
Santana found herself unable to drag her eyes away as other Santana dropped the loofah, turned Brittany around to face her and proceeded to cover the blonde's body with kisses and gentle, loving touches. It was something Santana had never done before. Sure she had had sex with Brittany before, lots of times, but she had never made love to her before, which was exactly what other Santana was doing right now. Every touch was tender and filled with so much love it almost hurt. Other Santana slowly and lovingly pushed Brittany up and over the edge, pulling her close and hugging her tightly as she brought her down. When the blonde had recovered somewhat, she lifted her head and pressed her lips to other Santana's temple.
"I love you Britts," other Santana whispered, her voice so broken and vulnerable that Santana herself barely recognised it.
"I know Tana," Brittany replied as she pressed light kisses to the shorter girl's eyes, cheeks, nose and lips. "I love you too." Other Santana pulled back, teary eyed, and shut off the water, tugging Brittany out of the shower. She wrapped the blonde in a fluffy towel and then grabbed one for herself before leading them into the bedroom again. Santana followed and watched, entranced as other Santana pulled out some WMHS sweats, an old band t-shirt and some panties for Brittany to borrow, helping her to pull the clothing on scattering kisses over the blonde as she went.
Brittany for her part soaked up the affection, gazing at other Santana with a look of utter adoration on her face, her upset apparently forgotten for now. Other Santana tucked Brittany into her bed before quickly throwing some sweats and a t-shirt on herself and popping a movie in. Then she climbed into the bed beside Brittany and cuddled up to her. Santana watched, amazed, wondering where it was all coming from. Normally she wouldn't dare show that much affection, her fears of rejection and abandonment meant that she played all of her feelings close to the vest. She was interrupted from her pondering by a light tap on her shoulder. Santana turned to find Faith smiling at her and holding out her hand.
"We have to go. I have a lot more to show you and only a limited time to do it in," Faith told her. Santana reluctantly took her hand, not really wanting to leave the blissful image in front of her.
The room swirled and then they were back at McKinley and this time it was other Santana being pushed around, by some of the other Cheerios, in the bathroom. Two girls held her back by the arms as another girl taunted her.
"You know what we do to dykes here?" she mocked. She grabbed a slushie from where it had sat on the counter behind her and dumped it over Santana's head. Then the other two girls shoved her hard into a stall and held the door shut. Santana could hear other Santana trying to claw her way out, furious and hurt. Suddenly the bathroom door burst open and Brittany marched in, closely followed by the rest of the glee club. Each Glee girl had a slushie in hand, and they circled the three girls as the boys blocked the door. Santana watched, wide eyed, as the girls wordlessly threw their slushies over the Cheerios before turning and leaving; Brittany staying behind.
"Keep this in mind next time you have a problem with one of us," Rachel sneered as she walked out.
"Yeah, you don't get to fuck with us anymore," Brittany said surprisingly scathingly, Santana's eyes nearly bugged out of her head at her use of the 'f-bomb'. "Get out," she ordered. The three stunned Cheerios quickly did as they were told, filing out, presumably to go to the Cheerios locker room to clean up. Brittany watched them go and then headed to the stall they had been holding shut. She found the Latina curled on the floor, arms wrapped around her knees and face buried, slowly rocking herself as she silently cried. Other Santana looked up as Brittany reached out for her, tugging her to her feet and pressing a kiss to her cold, sticky lips. The blonde wordlessly cleaned other Santana up before kissing her deeply, giving her a careful hug and leading her out of the bathroom. Santana moved to follow but Faith took her hand before she could.
"We have more to see," she said softly.
The next place they landed was in the choir room. It was apparently later that day; other Santana was now wearing new clothes, her hair loose and messy, and she was curled into herself in her seat, head down, the occasional sniffle escaping, in spite of her clear attempts to hold them in. Brittany had pulled her chair as close as physically possibly and was stroking the smaller girl's arms, back and hair comfortingly, her normally bright blue eyes a dull and murky grey from the anger, sadness and hurt swirling in their depths
"Um Mr Schue, there's something we want to sing today, before we start," Puck spoke up, glancing at other Santana's quiet, sad form.
"Sure Puck," Mr Schue nodded, following the boy's gaze and frowning at the sight of their normally feisty Latina curled in on herself, hiding behind a curtain of her hair, clearly fighting tears. Santana watched as every member of the club aside from Brittany and other Santana stood up and moved to the front of the room. Rachel stepped forward to explain their performance.
"Santana, Brittany, we know that you two have been having an incredibly tough time lately, what with all of the bullying you've been receiving due to your relationship becoming public and the overwhelming amount of homophobes that seem to be enrolled in this school, which I think is incredibly unfair, you two clearly love each other and that should be what matters, not the fact that you are both girls," she rambled, her voice taking on a self righteous edge. At the sound of both Quinn and Puck pointedly clearing their throats, Rachel got to the point. "Anyway we all just wanted to do something to cheer you up and to let you know that we are all on your side. We love you both and we support you, no matter who you are and who you love. We want you to know that Glee is a safe place for you where you don't have to hide or be anyone but yourselves and where you won't be judged or subjected to any cruelty or bullying because of it. You two are so adorable together and you should be allowed to be together in peace like any other couple in this school," she finished.
"Yeah, and any asshole who messes with you guys, has to deal with all of us," Puck added. Other Santana finally looked up from behind her hair, her eyes wide and shocked, tears still drying on her cheeks and fresh ones welling in her dark eyes. Brittany was positively beaming as she absently stroked other Santana's hair and watched as her friends arranged themselves in preparation for their song. As soon as Puck played the first few notes on his guitar a tiny smile began tugging at the corners of other Santana's lips, it grew slowly but steadily bigger as the song went on. Santana felt a light tap on her shoulder and turned to find Faith holding out her hand. Santana took it and as the room began to swirl her friends' voices echoed in her head: 'Your Mother warned you there'd be days like these, but she didn't tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees that, I'll be there for you, when the rain starts to fall…'
This time Faith had skipped them farther ahead in time; Brittany and other Santana were moving into a dorm room. Santana couldn't tell where it was, but she could feel how happy they both were. It was palpable in the air around them. They were all smiles and chaste kisses. Although Santana noticed Brittany's mom was there, and she kept giving them filthy looks as she helped them to move their boxes. Once all of their stuff was in their room Brittany's mother cleared her throat.
"Right. Now that you're out of my house you can stay out. Don't bother coming back. Neither of you are welcome anymore," she snarled cruelly. Santana's heart broke again as Brittany deflated, her heart visibly breaking.
"Mom-?" she began, her voice tiny and shaking.
"No Brittany," Mrs Pierce snapped before turning and leaving. Brittany collapsed, sobbing into other Santana's arms, their happiness a distant memory as the crushing pain of her own mother's rejection took its place. Even as the thought popped into Santana's head, other Santana voiced it.
"She'll come around one day Brittany," other Santana held Brittany's blonde head against her chest. "She loves you so much. If she didn't she would have thrown you out three weeks ago when we came out to them," she told her. A hand dropped onto Santana's shoulder and the world spun again.
Brittany was cowering against the wall in the packed club, a man stood over her, leering at her.
"Oh come on. I bet you've never even fucked a guy before," the man slurred drunkenly.
"I have actually," Brittany replied shakily. "And I'm still a lesbian." She set her jaw determinedly, trying to be strong through her fear.
"That just means you haven't fucked the right guy yet, baby," the man moved even further into Brittany's personal space and Santana felt the fury build within her. She looked around for other Santana, not seeing her anywhere. "Come home with me and I'll straighten you out," he reached out to cup Brittany's cheek and the blonde cowered away with a quiet whimper.
"No!" she cried out, scared and upset.
"Don't play hard to get sweetheart," the man slurred, an edge creeping into his voice now.
"Don't be such a fucking pig, man. She said no, so back off," an unfamiliar voice warned. The man scoffed drunkenly at the small blonde with purple streaks through her hair who stood behind him, hands on her hips, head cocked to one side. He turned back to Brittany ignoring the other girl.
"Come on baby, let's get out of here- What the fuck?" the perv howled as the blonde stepped around him and threw her drink directly at his crotch. While he was distracted the blonde grabbed Brittany's hand and gently tugged her into the women's bathroom. Santana and Faith silently followed.
"You ok honey?" she asked gently.
"Yeah. He just wouldn't stop," Brittany said, her voice trembling.
"He's a pig," the girl replied, squeezing the hand that still held Brittany's. "What's your name?"
"Brittany," Brittany replied, a little shyly.
"I'm Emily. I'm a regular here. I haven't seen you here before," the girl said, with a sweet smile.
"It's my first time," Brittany admitted.
"You here with someone?" Emily asked.
"No. I was mad at my girlfriend. I wanted to dance so I came here. Maybe that was stupid," Brittany blurted.
"Nah I get that. Why were you mad at your girl?" Emily asked.
"Because it's always one step forward three steps back with her," Brittany sighed. Santana frowned, a little miffed that Brittany was airing their dirty laundry to a total stranger. "I think that we're moving forward, that we're finally free and then her gay panic sets in again."
"You know it's harder for some people. Some people find it easy to accept themselves for who they are and who they love but for others it's a lot harder. For some it's agonising. Try not to be mad at your girlfriend. I know it's frustrating for you but it's really hard for her too. Let her take those backwards steps and let her know it's ok to be scared and that you love and support her no matter what. Sooner or later she'll start moving forward and stop going back," Emily told her with a casual shrug. She glanced at her watch then back at Brittany. "My brother finishes work in ten minutes. Can I buy you a drink and then we'll walk you home?" she asked. Brittany searched her face for a moment.
"Ok," she smiled. "As long as he doesn't try to 'straighten me out'," Brittany told her.
"Oh so not going to happen," Emily laughed. "Trust me." Santana felt Faith's hand tighten around hers and they were flying through time again.
"I can't take you to the dinner Brittany. I just…I can't. No one at my work knows. I love you I do, but sometimes it's just a relief to be accepted," other Santana wrung her hands as she paced in front of Brittany. Santana could see the frustration flash in the blonde's eyes briefly before she sucked in a deep breath and forced a look of calm onto her face.
"Ok Tana," she said patiently. "I'll just get some popcorn and a movie and have a night in," she smiled sweetly. Other Santana eyed her apprehensively, and Santana knew she had been expecting Brittany to get upset.
"Really?" other Santana asked.
"Santana, if you're not ready to tell them then that's ok. I'll just wait until you are. Ok?" Brittany leaned in and kissed her gently. "We'll do this on your terms. I'm not going to make you tell them until you're ready."
"Thank you Brittany," she said shakily, smiling even as tears welled up in her eyes.
"I love you," Brittany told her.
"I love you too," other Santana replied with a watery smile. Santana's hand was squeezed gently again.
They were back in the apartment from before, but in the bedroom this time.
"Britt-Britt there's a dinner thing at work next Saturday night," other Santana called into the bathroom where Santana could hear Brittany brushing her teeth.
"Movie night for me," Brittany replied with a small smile as she walked into the bedroom.
"Actually," other Santana said softly, looking down at her hands. "I was, um, I was hoping you would come to this one." She looked up just in time to see Brittany's face light up like a little kid on Christmas morning.
"Really?" the blonde asked excitedly.
"Really," other Santana smiled shyly.
"Oh Tana I'd love to! Are you going to tell them about us?" Brittany asked as she climbed into bed.
"I already did," other Santana replied softly. "I put that photo of us at senior prom on my desk, and the one Quinn took in the park last fall. When people asked about them I told them the truth…" other Santana trailed off, reaching out for her girlfriend's hand. "They accepted me Britt. Nothing bad happened. Kenneth even told me that we make a damn cute couple," other Santana beamed as she recounted her colleagues comment. "They all want to meet you."
"I am so, so proud of you Santana," Brittany's voice cracked as happy tears poured down her cheeks. "You are so much stronger than you know. I love you so much," Brittany beamed through her tears. Faith tapped Santana's shoulder then and Santana suddenly realised that she was tearing up at the scene playing out in front of her.
"I can't wait to show you what comes next," Faith smiled secretively, offering up her hand.
"I love you more than anything in this world. You have been with me through all of my crap. The fear, the refusal to accept myself for who I am, all of the gay panic," other Santana laughed shakily. "You stayed with me through it all. You encouraged me, you supported me and you loved me. Unconditionally. You are my world. My whole world. Brittany Susan Pierce, will you marry me?" other Santana asked, her voice shaking, tears welling in her eyes.
"Oh Tana! Oh of course I will!" Brittany replied after a few seconds of shock. The crowd that had gathered around them in the busy park cheered and wolf whistled as Santana slipped a simple two-tone gold and rose gold band with a small diamond set into it onto Brittany's ring finger.
"Oh my goodness that's the sweetest thing I have ever seen!" one elderly lady called out, clasping her hands in front of her as tears rolled down her cheeks.
"But they're two women," the elderly man next to her retorted, wrinkling his nose.
"Oh who gives a flying fuck about their genders Frank? They're in love, it's beautiful," the old lady snapped in exasperation before turning her attention back to the scene in front of her. Other Santana's head whipped around to look at the elderly woman and she smiled gratefully at the acceptance of the total stranger. "Good on you sweetheart! What you two have is beautiful, don't let any asshole tell you otherwise!" the lady called out to her and other Santana's smile turned bashful. Brittany pulled her back into her arms, kissing her deeply as the crowd applauded and then began to dissipate and the world began to swirl around Santana again as Faith moved to show her something else.
"But Mom, it's my wedding," Brittany pleaded, her voice shaky and sad.
"I don't care Brittany. Your sister is free to do what she likes, but your father and I do not approve and we are not coming," Mrs Pierce told her, although Santana could hear the strain in the woman's voice. She would have bet anything that the only reason Mrs Pierce was doing this was to appease her own mother; the crotchety old bat who was the only person in the whole entire world that Brittany actually disliked.
"I'm sorry you hate me so much Mom," Brittany sobbed before slamming the phone down.
"I'm so sorry Britt-Britt," other Santana whispered as she wrapped her arms around her from behind, tucking her face into the crook of the blonde's neck and planting a gentle kiss there. "But it'll be ok," she murmured.
"What the fuck would you know?" Brittany snapped, abruptly pulling out of Santana's embrace and whipping around to face her angrily. "Your parents love and accept you!" she spat mockingly. Then she stormed into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her, leaving other Santana in tears in her wake.
The room swirled and other Santana was getting her hair and makeup done, a beautiful lilac dress hung on the back of a chair and Santana guessed it was her wedding day. The door behind her opened and in walked Brittany's mom.
"What are you doing here?" other Santana asked; voice carefully devoid of emotion.
"I couldn't keep this up anymore," Mrs Pierce said softly. "Someone who makes her daughter choose between her mother and her own daughter doesn't deserve to be the one that gets chosen," she said, the words not making much sense.
"I knew it," other Santana said with a tiny smile.
"Knew what?" Mrs Pierce asked.
"That that old bitch was behind this. If it was on you you'd have thrown Britt out when she told you," other Santana told her.
"Will she ever forgive me?" Mrs Pierce asked.
"You know she will. She's Brittany," other Santana said lovingly.
"I came in here first Santana because I needed to tell you something," Mrs Pierce knelt in front of other Santana, placing her hands on her knees. "Thank you Santana," she said; her voice and eyes overflowing with emotion. "Thank you for loving my daughter so much, for taking care of her when I couldn't…or didn't. Just…thank you," tears flowed down the older woman's cheeks as she spoke.
"You never have to thank me for that," other Santana whispered after a long pause. A hand landed softly on Santana's shoulder.
Suddenly other Santana was pacing in an emergency room nervously. The doors opened and Brittany and a man Santana didn't know came in. Santana's eyes bulged and jealousy rose up inside her at the sight of the obviously pregnant blonde. And she glared at the man, even though she knew he couldn't see her. Other Santana rushed forward.
"What happened?" she asked quickly, frustration colouring her voice.
"She was taking it easy," the man reassured other Santana and Santana's brow wrinkled in confusion. "She was just sitting and watching the advanced group's rehearsal when she doubled over. She said it felt different this time so we called you and came straight here," the man wrung his hands and fretted over Brittany who was now sitting in a hard plastic seat and stroking her bump. Before other Santana could comment, Kurt Hummel came running into the room.
"That was quick," the other man commented, before leaning in and kissing Kurt on the lips. Santana's jealousy instantly dissipated.
"I just parked in the drop off zone. I figured we probably didn't really need to stay," Kurt commented.
"True. Are you guys ok? Do you need anything?" the man asked.
"No, we're good, thanks," other Santana commented. Her nervousness was very visible.
"Breathe sweetheart. It'll be ok," Kurt leaned in and kissed other Santana's cheek, before he and the other man left.
"It's too early Tana! This isn't meant to happen for eight more weeks!" Brittany whimpered, her eyes panicked when other Santana crouched in front of her.
"I know babe. But it'll be ok. If Bubs has to come now it'll come now and they'll take good care of it and it'll be ok. 32 weeks is better than 24. The odds are so much better if it comes now," other Santana reassured her. "I'm so proud of you. You kept our baby safe for an extra eight weeks even when they said you couldn't, that's awesome Brittany."
Santana glared at Faith when time began to move again and Faith just smiled back as the swirling stopped. Santana found herself standing in a room full of incubators; other Santana and Brittany were peering into one.
"Oh my god Tana," Brittany sighed. "She's so tiny but she's so totally perfect."
"She is," other Santana had tears pouring down her cheeks. "You did so good Britt. So good. I'm so proud of you." Santana had been edging closer as her future self spoke. The sight in the incubator took her breath away. The baby was tiny, a tube was fed into her mouth and down her throat and she had an oxygen tube taped onto her face, the prongs resting in her tiny nose. She had an IV going into her little belly button, wires taped to her tiny chest to monitor her heart rate and something red glowed from where it was taped onto the bottom of her foot. Brittany had been right. The baby was tiny but perfect. An ID card taped to the incubator read 'Baby girl Lopez-Pierce, 3lb 2oz.'
"Hi Mommies!" a nurse spoke brightly.
"Hi Jane," both women echoed.
"Your little angel is doing awesome right now. She hasn't needed to be ventilated yet and she's holding her own. Her oxygen saturation – the level of oxygen in her blood – is good, her lungs sound clear and she's resting comfortably. That's not to say it'll stay this way. Sometimes these wee ones get a little tired and stressed and wind up needing a little help in the breathing department, but right now she's doing good. She just has a lot of growing to do," Jane told them, her voice supportive and encouraging. "Have you got any questions?" both women shook their heads, both seemingly in shock at the turn of events. "Well if you do come and find me ok? And keep your chins up! I know this is incredibly hard but have a little faith and it'll be ok."
"I wasn't ready to leave," Santana said tearily as the room spun once again.
"I know. But there's only so much I'm allowed to let you see," Faith smiled sadly, reaching out to tenderly dry Santana's tears. Then she pointed behind Santana. The Latina turned around and saw other Santana and Brittany pull up to the curb of the house whose lawn they were standing on. As soon as the car stopped moving, Brittany leapt out and ran to the back door, throwing it open and lifting their baby out of her car seat. She was still tiny, but she had grown so much from the tiny 3lb 2oz baby Santana had just seen.
"Come on Tana I want to show her her room!" Brittany called out softly, staring lovingly at the sleeping infant in her arms. She reached into the car and pulled out a blanket to wrap around the child and Santana managed to read some of the personalised details on the lilac coloured blanket: 'Bailey Rose Lopez-Pierce 11.11.2019'. She howled in frustration when Faith's hand captured hers and they were off again.
"Mama!" a distraught little voice cried out as other Santana walked in the front door. Santana watched as other Santana scooped up the upset little blonde haired, blue eyed child -who looked to be about seven now- and looked over at Brittany, finding her in a similar state of upset.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"One of the girls at school didn't invite me to her party because she said that I'm weird because I have two mommies!" little Bailey sobbed.
"What the fuck?" other Santana spat angrily.
"Swear jar, Mama," Bailey choked out between sobs.
"Sorry. But seriously?" She looked over at Brittany.
"I don't know what to do Tana," the blonde said sadly. Other Santana smiled grimly before setting Bailey down on her feet, crouching down to look her in the eye.
"Bailey, I know this is hard to understand, but most kids have a mommy and a daddy so when they meet someone with two mommies or two daddies like Corbin Hummel has, they can find it very hard to understand. And some people think that having two mommies or two daddies is wrong. It's not wrong and those people are called bigots. You tell that girl that you have two parents who love you, just like she does, and that if she finds that so weird then you don't want to be her friend anyway," other Santana explained gently.
"Can I tell her to shove her stupid party?" Bailey hiccupped, cocking her head as she said it in a way that was HBIC Santana through and through.
"Absolutely," other Santana responded at the same time Brittany came out with a resounding no. Santana laughed as the little girl skipped off happily, wiping her tears as she went. Other Santana crumbled into tears in Brittany's arms the second their daughter was safely out of ear shot. "I was hoping we'd get a few more years before it came to this," she sobbed into the crook of Brittany's neck.
"I was too Tana," Brittany replied. "But it was going to happen. Sooner or later it was going to happen. We can't protect her forever, as much as we wish we could." Faith took Santana's hand once more.
This time other Santana and Brittany were sitting in an auditorium, along with several grown up members of the Glee Club and hundreds of other people. Santana quickly realised it was a graduation ceremony and that the tall, toned blonde girl making her valedictorian speech was little Bailey, all grown up. She was gorgeous, almost the spitting image of Brittany and she felt pride swell in her chest as she listened to her potential future daughter speak.
"But the biggest thing I think that we have learned in our high school careers was not learned in any academic class. It was learned in the hallways, on the sports fields and in the social circles. The biggest thing we have all learned in our years here is acceptance. I have two moms, and growing up that hasn't always been easy. For a long time I resented them for making it so hard for me, I've been called names, I've been shunned, even in kindergarten I had parents who wouldn't let their kids play with me because of my Moms. They all seemed to think I'd turn their kids gay. In high school the other kids seemed to assume that since my parents were gay I must be too and they didn't want anything to do with me. But now, looking back, I realise that as hard as it's been for me, it was so much harder for my Moms. It wasn't until recently when I was really upset and talking to my aunt Quinn and she told me about their high school that I really realised how hard they had it. This year I was so proud to see our senior class, under the guidance of our amazing choir teacher Mr Abrams, put aside all of our prejudices, all of our judgements and all of our past behaviour and start anew. Instead of isolating our differences and picking on each other for them, we accepted our differences and focused on finding common interests and bonding over them. We worked together and cut down bullying in our school to an almost nonexistent level. We did that you guys and we should be incredibly proud. And I hope that each and every one of us keeps it up, that we go out into the world, holding off on judgements until we get to know people and bringing our newfound acceptance to the world. That change in societal acceptance that we so desperately need starts with us. Let's get it out there!" Santana was watching Brittany and other Santana's proud tears as their daughter spoke and also the tears of the rest of the glee club. Puck punched other Santana lightly on the arm and beamed at her proudly.
"I always thought you'd grow up to raise the Spawn of Satan but you actually managed to create a functioning member of society. Well done Lopez," he whispered cheekily.
"Fuck you Puckerman," other Santana whispered back, with a glare that turned into a smile at the last second.
"This is the last of what I can show you," Faith told Santana as they stood in the living room of a small house. There was a ruckus in the hallway and Santana went to investigate.
"Bye bye Nana! Bye bye Grandma!" a bunch of little voices chanted. Santana saw a much older Brittany and other Santana as they said goodbye to their four little grandchildren. The tall, willowy blonde Bailey held a fifth child, a small baby dressed in blue in her arms.
"Bye Mom, Bye Mama," she kissed each mother on the cheek before chasing her husband and kids out to the car. Other Santana closed the door behind them and smiled at her wife a little sadly.
"I hate when they leave," she said softly.
"Me too, but I do miss the quiet when they're here," Brittany linked her arm through other Santana's and led them to the living room where they sat down on the couch. Other Santana smiled when Brittany curled into her, they way she had since they were in kindergarten together. "I love you."
"I love you too Britt-Britt," other Santana smiled.
"Can you imagine what life would have been like if we hadn't overcome all of that crap in high school and gotten together?" Brittany asked, nuzzling her nose against other Santana's neck.
"Nope," other Santana's eyes drifted shut and she rested her head on top of Brittany's. "And I don't need to imagine it. Because I know it would have nothing on this."
"I'm glad it turned out like this," Brittany told her lovingly. "We've had the best life ever. We have the best life ever," she corrected.
"Yeah, we do Britt," other Santana's eyes opened suddenly and began flitting between where Santana stood and where Faith stood watching the scene serenely. "I'm glad it turned out this way too. I'll be forever grateful that I had that car accident in senior year. It made me do a lot of thinking about my life and my priorities," other Santana's eyes were fixed on Faith now, or the spot where she knew that Faith stood, anyway.
"Why did you decide to be with me, in public?" Brittany asked, pulling back to look other Santana in the eyes searchingly.
"I had Faith," other Santana replied with a knowing smile. Brittany asked something else but Santana was distracted by a haunting whisper of her name.
"Santana? Tana please!"
"Who is that?" Santana asked Faith as the room swirled and they landed back in the darkness where they had started.
"Please, please wake up!"
Faith just smiled, standing perfectly still. "You have a big choice to make now Santana. The life I've showed you is fraught with so much sadness but it's also filled with so much joy. But that is something that is true of anyone's life, whether they're gay or straight, male or female, black or white…the alternative path may be easier in the short term, but it may not be in the long term. Each path has its ups and each has its downs. I can tell you now, in the interest of fairness that the other life path that you could follow will ultimately have less heartache, less sorrow, and ultimately you both will end up incredibly happy. Whether a life with less pain and sorrow without Brittany is worth giving up a life with Brittany is up to you Santana."
"Come on Santana! Please! Please, please, please."
Faith smiled softly again, reaching out to cup Santana's cheeks before leaning in to plant a sweet kiss on her forehead. "Follow the voices Santana. Know that I'm always here, through the good times and the bad," she said softly, her voice fading away. Santana wanted to stay but the same force that had drawn her to Faith in the first place was now drawing her to the haunting voices, voices that were talking to her, singing to her, reading to her.
"Santana, you have to wake up. She can't live without you."
"Tana, baby girl wake up. Please, please wake up. Papi and I love you so much. We can't bear to be without you. Please, wake up."
"I set fire to the rain, watched it pour as I touched your face, well it burned while I cried 'cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name."
"I love you Tana, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you to the moon and back and if you die, I can't live without you. I'll die too."
The voices were getting stronger as she followed them blindly, letting them lead her through the darkness. Santana looked over her should and saw Faith watching, tears running down her cheeks. She stood as still as before, watching as Santana left her.
"Santana, I know we haven't been getting along lately but I still love you so much. You're one of my best friends and I don't want to lose you."
"Santana I know you kind of hate me but I thought I'd come and visit anyway. I guess I hoped if I sang show tunes maybe you'd get pissed off and wake up and insult me."
"Come on Santana. I know that tough bitch I love is still in there. So hurry the fuck up and open your eyes before Brittany's heart breaks any further. I'm tired of waiting 'til she cries herself to sleep so that I can carry her out and take her home."
"Tana please! Please, please, please wake up! Please. If you don't wake up…I'll hate you forever!...No I wouldn't. I wouldn't. I'd miss you forever and ever and ever and ever, please wake up."
" 'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?' 'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.' 'I don't much care where.' 'Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.' '…so long as I get somewhere.' "
As she got closer the voices got clearer and she was beginning to be able to identify them. Brittany's frantic pleading, Rachel's soft voice singing Defying Gravity, Puck calling her a bitch and cursing at her to wake up, her mom's gentle less frantic pleading, Quinn's soft voice reading Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' to her. She wondered how much time had passed since the accident. Suddenly Brittany's voice was back, almost thunderously loud in the darkness as she began to sing. Santana began frantically following it, peering back over her shoulder once more at the glowing speck of light in the seemingly endless darkness that Faith had become.
"Bye Faith," she whispered softly, somehow knowing her angel would hear it, before she began to run through the darkness as fast as she could, toward Brittany, following her voice.
"For you, there will be no more crying, for you the sun will be shining, and I feel that when I'm with you it's alright, I know its right. To you I'll give the world, to you I'll never be cold. 'cause I feel that when I'm with you, it's alright, I know it's right. And the songbirds are singing, like they know the score, and I love you, I love you, I love you, like never before."
Suddenly Santana was falling through the darkness, the ground seemingly disappearing from beneath her feet. She was falling and then she wasn't.
Her eyes were closed and Brittany's voice was right beside her, she could feel the slender hand cupping her own, long fingers stroking her palm gently, light was seeping through the seam of her eyelids and she struggled hard to open her eyes.
"And I wish you all the love, in the world, but most of all, I wish it from myself, and the songbirds keep singing, like they know the score, and I love you, I love you, I love you like never before," Brittany finished sweetly. When her long cool fingers brushed over Santana's palm again, Santana put all of her focus into catching them. Her fingers closed around the tips of Brittany's and she held on desperately, needing something to ground her, to stop her from floating back into the darkness. "Tana?" Brittany gasped. Santana tried to reply but there was something stopping her. She heard a chair scrape and Brittany's hand slid out from under hers, coming to rest on her cheek. "Tana? Can you hear me?" she asked.
"Brittany? What's going on?" she heard an unfamiliar voice.
"She's making faces and funny noises and she squeezed my fingers," Brittany told the stranger. Santana heard footsteps coming closer.
"She's breathing around the vent," she heard the woman, presumably a nurse, say. "I'm going to call the doctor to come and have a look." The footsteps retreated and for an extended period of time, Santana had no idea how long, it was just her and Brittany, Brittany talking softly to her best friend, telling her over and over how much she loved her. Suddenly there were more voices, her parents, the nurse from earlier and another stranger.
"She's breathing on her own again. We'll take her off the vent and hopefully she'll regain consciousness soon," the doctor told them.
"Santana sweetheart, Papi and I love you. So do Brittany and all of your friends. You need to open your eyes, wake up for us baby," she heard her Mom say.
"Santana I'm Gena, your nurse, I'm going to take the tube out of your throat ok?" the nurse told her. She felt something being removed from around her mouth and then a horrible sensation of a tube being removed from her throat. She gagged slightly as it came up and then it was gone and she was breathing on her own. She felt herself drifting for a while, listening to the sounds around her before she fell asleep. Sometime later she woke up again, and this time, her eyes opened when she wanted them to. The first thing she saw was her Brittany drawing on some paper in her lap.
"Britt?" she managed to rasp out, her mouth was so dry, it was incredibly uncomfortable.
"Tana!" Brittany promptly burst into tears. "I thought you were going to die!" she sobbed.
"Wha 'appened?" Santana rasped.
"You were so mad at me; you left Puck's party before it even started and drove home. A drunk guy came around the bend on the wrong side of the road and hit your car. You banged your head pretty bad and broke your leg and you wouldn't wake up! You wouldn't wake up for five whole days!" Brittany sobbed, the words all coming out on top of each other. "I'm so sorry Tana! I never should have told you that you sucked. You could have died and the last thing I would have said to you was 'you suck and I don't want to be your friend anymore.' I'm so sorry, I love you and I want to be your friend forever and ever and ever," Brittany leaned down and covered every inch of Santana's face with kisses.
"Thirsty," Santana croaked out. Brittany pulled back immediately and grabbed a cup of water from the bedside table, pressing the straw to Santana's lips. Santana sucked the room temperature water down greedily, drinking all of it. "More?" she rasped, her voice coming easier this time. Brittany picked up a jug and poured a little more water into the cup and brought the straw back up to Santana's lips. Santana drained the cup again before relaxing back into her pillows in satisfaction.
"Good?" Brittany asked softly.
"Good," Santana replied, a tiny smile lifting the corners of her lips. She frowned suddenly. "Love you Britt," she told the blonde, her frown disappearing again.
"I'm sorry Tana," Brittany whispered again, reaching out to stroke Santana's forehead, gently brushing a few loose strands of hair back behind her ear. Her palm came to rest on the Latina's cheek and Santana automatically turned her face into the gentle touch. She drifted sleepily for a few moments before she remembered to respond.
"It's ok Britt," she said softly.
"It's not ok," Brittany said sadly. "I'm an awful friend."
"Never. You found me," Santana was starting to drift toward sleep again.
"I found you?" Brittany frowned, confused.
"I was lost in the dark," Santana said vaguely. "And then I heard you singing, and I followed it back. You found me." Santana yawned.
"Tana?" another voice interrupted the conversation.
"Mom?" Santana forced her bleary eyes to open again. Her parents both came up to the bed, tears in their eyes, they were speaking but her exhausted brain couldn't process any of it. She closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep.
Healing from the accident was very slow going. At first Santana could barely stay awake for more than a couple of minutes at a time. The doctors were impressed with her fairly clear speech and awareness of her surroundings after being unconscious for five days. As she recovered she managed to stay awake for longer periods of time, her speech and awareness increased and she started moving around again. She had a constant stream of visitors, from family, to glee club and even Sue Sylvester came in to see her. After the coach had left Brittany had informed her that the woman had come up with a series of new 'motivational quotes' based on Santana's recovery. The second time she came to visit Sue had unleashed one on the poor nurse who was trying to place a new IV cannula in the back of Santana's hand. She had accidentally blown the vein causing a huge black bruise to form instantly.
"You think this is hard? Try using your head as an airbag without breaking your brain! That's hard!" the poor nurse had fled in tears, sending someone from the anaesthesiology team back to have a go. Sue had breathed down the man's neck the entire time, seemingly satisfied when he neatly and effortlessly placed the cannula despite the extra pressure from the crazy woman in the tracksuit.
It was nearly three weeks before they finally let Santana go home and she didn't escape entirely unscathed. She had slight tremors in her right hand, some double vision in her right eye and she had had some horrendous migraines that the doctors said was a result of the small amount of damage to her brain and that may or may not fade with time. Brittany had barely left her side while she was in hospital and only left her to go to school once she was home. The blonde even ran home every lunch period to check on the brunette and to tell her for the thousandth time that she was sorry and that she loved her.
Brittany's guilt over the things she had said that night was almost overwhelming. The blonde woke multiple times each night, sobbing and in a cold sweat, apologising over and over again for saying she didn't want to be friends anymore. And when Santana cried out in agony as a migraine caught her head in its vice-like grip, she would vaguely register the blonde choking back sobs as she retrieved Santana's pain medication, a warm compress and gently rubbed her fingers over her scalp and through her hair to soothe the pain.
When Brittany was out of the house and she was pain-free all Santana could think about was Faith, and the choice she would soon have to make. She had to admit, despite seeing how incredible her life with Brittany could be, Faith's description of the alternative was tempting. Less pain and heartache, not having to watch Brittany get bullied at high school because of her, not having to see Brittany's hurt expression when she herself got bullied. She found herself wanting to pick the alternative, to spare Brittany the pain she knew she would cause her.
But at the same time she found herself thinking, perhaps selfishly, that maybe it was worth putting the blonde through all of that to keep her in her life. She had seemed as happy as Santana had that future day on their couch in their living room. Santana was truly at a loss as to what choice she was going to make when the time came. And she knew it would come soon.
Since Santana had been back at school Brittany had been especially attentive, sweet and loving toward Santana, treating her like a princess, carrying her books and her backpack to her classes for her…and people were talking. She knew that and so in the end she decided to give up agonising over what she was going to do and just cross that bridge when she came to it.
Of course she came to it a week later.
"How do you like that you dumb lesbian?" Santana heard the taunt as she walked toward her locker on the way to Glee, she heard the increase in the force of the blonde's sobs.
"You better go find your bitch to lick all that slushie off," she heard Karofsky laugh and then the splash of another slushie hitting her sobbing best friend.
"Shut up you bastards!" Santana shrieked as she shoved her way through the crowd. She stopped in her tracks at the sight of Brittany in that damn puddle of rainbow slushie. It was so, so much worse than it had been seeing it from a distance when Faith had shown it to her. Santana reared back and slammed her fist into Karofsky's jaw, before turning and booting Azimio in the balls as hard as she could. When Azimio hit the floor Santana whipped around and advanced on Karofsky again, and the asshole took one look at Santana's furious, fiery eyes, black with anger and ran.
"I'll take care of Brittany if you want to go after him," Rachel called out quietly to Santana from the crowd. Santana swallowed hard, looking at Karofsky's retreating back and then glancing down at Brittany's distraught, sobbing, slushie drenched form,. She took a deep calming breath and looked down into devastated sky blue eyes and she suddenly felt like an idiot. How had she agonised over this for so long? There, in that moment, standing next to her best friend, the person who, just by smiling at her from the other end of the hallway, could make her heart race and nervous butterflies flutter in her stomach, Santana realised that deep down she had known what she would do all along. She dropped to her knees in the icy puddle, wrapping her arms around her Brittany, her cold, sticky, distraught Brittany and pressed a kiss to her temple.
"It was always you Brittany," she sighed, her voice barely a whisper. "Come on sweetheart," she said, louder, standing and pulling the blonde up with her. Rachel cautiously held out a towel and Santana took it with a grateful smile. She wrapped it around Brittany and turned to Rachel. "Rachel, can you please tell Mr Schue that we won't be in Glee today? I'm taking Brittany home," Santana told her, wrapping one arm around Brittany.
"Sure Santana," Rachel smiled slightly before heading to class. Santana led Brittany out to her car. She drove her home, cleaned her up, made love to her for the very first time, and held her in her arms as she slept, content in the knowledge that she had made the right choice. That despite the promise of less pain and sorrow, a sometimes difficult life together would be infinitely better than slightly easier lives apart.
Somewhere, not so far away, Anamaria Faith Lopez watched on proudly as her great granddaughter drifted off to sleep in the arms of her soul mate…