I finally got my writing mojo back, yay! I've been struggling to get things together for a new PezBerry but hopefully this works. I've had this idea rolling around for a little while and I've got a pretty decent sized chunk down so far. I love the million different reasons that Santana is the way she is and this has been playing on my mind for a while…
This is set at the end of the summer of season 2 going into season 3 with a few difference; Lauren is still in glee and even though I loved Punk!Quinn, Quinn is just regular Quinn in this. No Finchel, I still don't think Rachel would have gotten together with him after he blew Nationals…There will be some references to Shelby later and her rival group. Otherwise, all is the same! Hopefully it will all make sense as the story goes along.
Massive thanks to ellowyntinuviel for her support and PezBerry banter, I could not have gotten this together without you :D
Santana let out a grumble of frustration as she checked her watch for what was probably the tenth time in as many minutes. She was supposed to have arrived at Rachel's house almost an hour ago but after having a huge argument with her Mom she had only just managed to drag herself over to the diva's house and she knew the singer was going to have more than a few things to say about her lateness. Still on the bright side she had remembered to pick up Rachel's birthday present and despite her bad time-keeping the Latina was feeling remarkably upbeat at the prospect of seeing everyone again.
Hurrying up the steps to the Berry's front door Santana quickly fixed her hair before knocking, she waited not-so patiently for a bit before Rachel appeared. With a quick roll of her eyes Santana cut off the diva before she could say anything, "I know, I know, I'm late."
"Yes well…the polite thing to do would be to apologise."
Santana shrugged, that wasn't exactly her style so she settled for an almost-apologetic look, "Happy Birthday or whatever?"
Rachel sighed but couldn't help the small smile that graced her features at the cheerleaders banter, ushering Santana into her house the diva lead her towards the stairs, "Everyone is already downstairs in the Oscar-room. Kurt and I were just setting up karaoke."
"Cool." Santana replied nonchalantly, although the truth was she was pretty excited to see everyone again. It had been a long summer away from the choir, Santana had flown out to Puerto Rico as soon as school had finished and only returned with a couple of days till school started back.
Rachel was about to reply but found herself cut off by her father. Turning to face the kitchen door she saw her Dad, Leroy, giving her a strange look that was impossible to decipher, "Sweetie. Can I speak with you in the kitchen please?"
With a quick nod, Rachel turned back to Santana, "I'll be down in a second, and can you tell Kurt that if he damages any of my equipment he's paying for it."
Santana laughed as she watched the smaller girl trot away, but her smile faded as she locked eyes with Mr Berry who seemed to be scowling at her. Almost as soon as their eyes locked he looked away and followed his little girl into the kitchen and Santana, not wanting to dwell on it, made her way to the top of the stairs. Pushing the door open she heard everyone's voices floating up and she grinned, it wasn't as though she was about to run down the stairs and tell everyone how much she had missed them but still, she had. It seemed strange to think that she hadn't spoken to any of them in weeks and she found herself genuinely wondering what they had all been doing over the summer. She knew Brittany had plans to go to the Grand Canyon, which no doubt would have turned into some kind of epic-farce, and that Quinn had been talking about overseeing a cheer-camp but apart from that it was a mystery.
As she stepped onto the first step the sound of her name drifting up the stairs stopped her in her tracks. It wasn't the sound of someone greeting her, in fact it sounded a lot like someone talking about her. Normally Santana didn't hang around to eavesdrop but something made her stop and she listened in.
"Okay, Satan knew what time she was supposed to be here right?" Kurt whined.
Finn chuckled as he took a sip of his drink, "Don't complain, we've managed to have almost the entire summer without her. It was fun while it lasted so I say we enjoy it for as long as possible."
Kurt laughed, his nimble hands hooking the last of the equipment up he stepped back to view his handiwork, "Where has she been anyway?"
Most of the group shrugged with disinterest but it was Brittany who piped up from her seat next to Artie, "She always goes to Puerto Rico for the summer and over Christmas too…she went for her birthday last year as well."
"Do you think we could convince her to go for our birthdays too?" Artie joked, "Best. Present. Ever."
"I know right?" Mercedes added, "I mean, this has been like the best summer ever and I'm not saying that's all because Santana wasn't here-"
Artie shook his head as he held up a hand to cut his friend off, "Well I am."
"Me too." Finn added, "So much better without her here, I don't even get why she was invited today all she's going to do is bitch and whine."
All eyes flicked to Brittany and Quinn but the two blondes simply shook their heads, it was Quinn who answered, "It wasn't my idea, I think Rachel invited her."
"Why would she do that?" Mercedes asked with a frown, "Rachel hates Santana."
Finn shrugged as he picked up his drink, "She probably felt obliged to being club leader and all, and it was more of a pity-invite than anything."
"I'm surprised Satan even accepted." Kurt offered as he sat down next to Mercedes.
"Oh please, like she has anyone else to hang out with." Lauren scoffed, "She has no friends."
Tina piped up now, a frown on face as she asked, "But she's one of the popular girls right?"
Lauren shook her head as she smirked, "Only because she opens her legs for anyone who asks."
The whole club seemed to erupt into a fit of laughter and shouts, and crouching slightly on the stairs Santana managed to position herself so she could stay just out of sight while still managing to see everyone else. She didn't really know why she was subjecting herself to this but she couldn't seem to make herself leave. As her eyes flicked from person to person she tried to hold back her tears but she couldn't stop the few that fell, making slow tracks down her face as she listened to the glee family bond over ripping her apart.
The sound of floorboards creaking next to her drew Santana's attention and snapping her head to the left she spotted Rachel pushing through the door, making use of her quick reflexes Santana glared at the smaller girl and gestured for her to stay quiet. For her part Rachel gave her a questioning look but stayed silent as she paused halfway through the door.
The sound of Artie's voice cutting over the laughter drew both girls attention and they turned their heads to gaze back down the stairs in the direction of the group, "It's not like she's a total whore…"
"You almost said that without laughing!" Finn quipped as the two boys giggled.
Lauren rolled her eyes as she added, "There's a difference between being a whore and being desperate for attention, the thing is…Santana is both."
Santana flinched back as she heard the group laugh, the sound of their words still ringing in her ears the Latina swallowed hard in a vague attempt to stem her tears. She could feel Rachel's eyes boring into her and without out so much as a glance in the diva's direction Santana stood and silently pushed her way past Rachel and out of the room. The group below were still blissfully unaware of her presence and the sound of more laughter floated up the stairs, surrounding the girl until the door finally clicked shut behind her.
Taking a deep breath she tried to elevate some of the weight that was now pressing down on her chest, her heart thudding heavily as she closed her eyes. She hadn't heard Rachel follow her but the gentle hand which reached out to clasp at her shoulder suddenly drew her attention and snapping her head up she was meet with concerned eyes.
But the smaller girl was cut off before she could vocalise any of the range of emotions flickering across her expressive features.
"I'm serious Leroy." Hiram Berry growled as the two men exited the kitchen, "I don't care, that girl is poison and I don't want her in our house."
It didn't take a genius for Santana to work out that the two men were talking about her, but the way they stopped dead in their tracks at the sight of her and their daughter confirmed the fact. It was pretty obvious that neither of the parents had expected to find the girls in the hallway but it was also obvious to Santana that the reason Rachel had been speaking to her Dads earlier was because they wanted her kicked out.
"Rachel." Hiram said shakily as his eyes flicked between the two girls, "I thought you would be downstairs…with the others."
"Obviously." The diva replied, her tone strangely neutral as she awkwardly hung between her fathers and Santana.
Santana blinked as she raised her gaze from the floor, she could feel all three pairs of eyes on her and made an unsuccessful attempt to hide her emotions, it should have been easier with her years of practice but the frequency with which she was getting her heart stomped on was too much. Shifting awkwardly she avoided meeting anyone's gaze, "I should go."
Rachel shook her head as she fought to catch the Latina's eye, "No you can't-"
Santana overrode her argument though, a sad acceptance in her voice as she mumbled "Whatever, it's fine. I'm used to people not wanting me around."
Not giving any of the Berry's a chance to speak, mostly because she wasn't sure how much more she could take, Santana turned on her heel and headed for the door. She only made it a few steps before she remembered something and reaching into her pocket she pulled a present from inside her jacket. With a gentle toss she threw the present towards Rachel who caught it in surprise, her eyes a mix of confusion and sadness as she looked at the Latina.
"I got you this." Santana explained with a shrug, "Happy Birthday Rachel."
Clutching the gift Rachel hesitated as she shot her fathers a fierce look, she could see the shame on their faces and she knew they hadn't meant for Santana to overhear them in the same way the glee club hadn't either but she also knew that the girl heading out of her home was more heartbroken than she would ever show.
Seeing the cheerleader had reached the door Rachel shouted, "Wait, Santana! Wait!"
She knew her shouts would probably have been loud enough to alert the whole neighbourhood but Santana made no acknowledgement as she quickly threw the door open and stalked outside, the sound of it slamming shut reverberating around the house in the following silence.
Rachel was left stunned as she stared at the door, her mind in chaos she willed herself to chase after the girl, it was only the sound of feet pounding up the stairs that stopped her from going. With a muttered curse Rachel stepped out of the way of the door just in time, as the glee club came speeding through the door in a barrage of shouts. The whole club piled into the hallway and as they all looked around Rachel could see the expressions forming on her friends' faces; fear, regret and a lot of shame.
It was Brittany who spoke first, her voice small and shaky as she seemed on the brink of tears, "Was…was Santana here?"
Rachel nodded curtly, her fingers gripping Santana's present as she replied, "Yes."
"How long was she here?" Finn followed up as he shifted awkwardly from foot to foot.
Rachel glared as she spat, "Long enough!"
Brittany let out a small whine as she looked between her friends, "We have to go after her."
"Why?" Artie piped up, shrinking slightly at the angry look he received from Rachel, "I just meant, she's not going to want to speak to us, not after we…"
As Artie trailed off, his eyes trained on the floor Rachel shook her head, "We have to try. Brittany, where would she go? I suppose we should check her home first…"
Brittany shook her head venomously, much to everyone's surprise as she quickly replied, "No. San never goes home unless she has to. Normally she goes to my house or Puck or Quinn but I mean…we're not there, we're here so I-I don't know."
Rachel felt an uncomfortable knot forming in her stomach at the blonde's revelation and judging by the faces of her friends she knew they were thinking similar things to her. Before anyone could ask any questions though Brittany added, "Sometime she sleeps in her car but it's too early for her to be there."
The group were quiet as they processed the information and it was Tina who spoke up next, her voice tentative as she whispered, "She sleeps in her car?"
Brittany's eyes were wide as she looked at the other girl, the blonde suddenly realising she had said too much. She knew Santana was going to be even more angry now that the club knew her secret, trying to cover her slip up Brittany replied, "Erm…No…I mean, sometimes but…I'm mean it's not-" The blonde sighed at her failed attempts to lie and instead gave a small nod.
Rachel frowned as she took a deep breath, "Right, well it's a place to start at least. Brittany maybe you and Quinn could go over to her house and see if she's there? I guess the rest of us can spread out and check the town?"
"And if we find her?" Finn asked, obviously not keen on the idea of running into the girl after being caught bad mouthing her.
"Then call the rest of us and we'll figure something out." Rachel stated, already pulling her jacket from its place on the hook and grabbing her keys. "Look, we're wasting time so let's fan out. Now."
As the club assembled themselves and retrieved their belongings from the basement and started making plans, Hiram and Leroy approached Rachel. Rachel raised an eyebrow as they stood in front of her, "What?"
Hiram sighed, "I-Do you really think this is a good idea, sending out a search party? I mean maybe it's for the best."
"How can you say that?" Rachel exploded as she stared at her fathers in disbelief, "Santana just heard everyone ripping her apart, she could have gotten angry and argued and fought but instead she gives me my birthday present and leaves like she thinks those things are true, like she believes she's a bad person."
With a guilty sigh Leroy tried to explain, "Sweetie that's not-"
"I don't want to hear it Daddy." Rachel argued, she could feel her friends watching the argument but made no attempt to quieten her voice. She wanted the others to hear what she had to say as much as she wanted her Dads to, "You may not like her but I invited her here, I wanted her here and you all managed to crush her feelings like she's not even a person. You think she's so horrible, then what the hell does that make all of you? You can't just use her as your verbal punching bag and think that it's okay because it's Santana."
Without another word Rachel flung open the front door and stalked out of the house, not even bothering to cast another look at the rest of the people in her house. She made it halfway down her street before she realised she had no idea where she was heading, or any clue where Santana might be. She knew it was a long shot but pulling her phone from her pocket she located Santana's number and dialled, she didn't expect the other girl to pick up and she wasn't surprised when her call went straight to voicemail.
"Damn it, Santana. Where are you?" Rachel muttered as she drew her arms across her body and began her search.