Chapter 4


There is nothing to say.

There never is.

Though Santana usually cries in the night, this night is particularly bad, and Quinn wonders groggily as she holds the other woman what had woken her wife to put her in such misery.

Then she looks at the clock.

Then she looks at the date.

And she understands.

It is officially the anniversary of Brittany's death and Santana is tuned like clockwork to grieve for her the full 24 hour span of the day.

But even so, by usual anniversary breakdown standards, this one is bad.

It reminds her of the night it all happened and even though she has sworn to be done with the tears, and has been through this already, tonight must be special somehow because even Quinn can't stop thinking about the girl with blonde hair and (the friend stealing) blue eyes (Quinn smiles at the thought because of how fond the memory is now compared to how devastating it was then). For a moment she honestly and truly remembers her and (not for the first time) she finds it makes her cry, and not just a little bit (tears are flowing freely like a faucet with a broken handle).

She cries and holds Santana not knowing what in the hell is wrong with her until she realizes she has never truly grieved for Brittany. Yes she bawled in the car on the way to Santana's the night she died, though that had been partly for Brittany but mostly for herself and the pain she was going to have to bring someone she loved. At the funeral she had kept a stony face and every year after that she pushed thoughts of her further and further way (because they hurt and she needed all her strength to be a rock for Santana), but now the tears refuse to be held back and she lets them fall because suddenly she's so sorry she has kept herself from properly grieving for a friend (and despite everything, and what others thought, they were friends).

It is sudden and random and has never happened before, but she still holds the brunette in her arms and rocks her slowly and tries to stop her from shaking like she's naked in sub zero temperatures.

Then she has a moment while thinking of the lost woman who changed both of their lives so much. She remembers something arbitrary, it's out of nowhere, but clear as day in her mind. Quinn remembers Brittany coming to her house and singing that (wildly inapt) song to her to get her to come back to her friends Senior year. The memory makes her laugh and smile faintly at how Brittany had sung it with all her heart, (even though the lyrics had hardly applied to them on the whole) and she had only thought back on it one other time since when she had been in her pre Santana/Brittany wedding funk and it had come on her iPod and it had made her cry harder, be damned if she knew why (maybe because it reminded her of the woman she was losing the love of her life to). And she isn't sure why she feels the need to sing it, the memory hurts and the song makes her see those blue eyes clearer, but she does because it feels right (maybe because instead of just missing her with all their might they would do better to remember her fondly or maybe because between her and Santana the song has a more direct meaning… maybe all of the above).

So she opens her mouth and sings to the weeping woman curled up into her like she is her only lifeline in a sea of sharks.

When it's black,

Take a little time to hold yourself,

Take a little time to feel around,

Before it's gone,

You won't let go,

But you still keep on falling down,

Remember how you saved me now,

From all of my wrongs yeah,

Santana continues to unravel in her arms, but she just sings louder, letting her tears fall freely but keeping her voice steady as she holds the other woman tighter.

If there's love just feel it,

If there's life we'll see it,

This is no time to be alone, alone, yeah,

I, won't let you go,

Say those words,

Say those words like there's nothing else,

Close your eyes and you might believe,

That there is some way out yeah,

Quinn looks at Santana as she sings, she pushes her soft hair out of her tear stained face and sings to her even though her eyes are somewhere distant and far away. Santana hadn't really looked at her since Brittany died, but maybe she could hear her.

Open up,

Open up your heart to me now,

Let it all come pouring out,

There's nothing I can't take,

If there's love just feel it,

And if there's life we'll see it,

This ain't no time to be alone, alone, yeah

I, won't let you go,

She has no idea if she is helping anyone but herself with this, but she sings with all her might (just like Brittany had and in her mind that is the only way to do it) because she means her words so much. And she is allowing herself to remember her friend and really miss her for the first time and it hurts and it's crushing and it's freeing.

If your sky is falling,

Just take my hand and hold it,

You don't have to be alone, alone, yeah,

I, won't let you go,

And if you feel the fading of the light,

And you're too weak to carry on the fight,

And all your friends that you count on have disappeared,

I'll be here, not gone, forever, holding on, Oh,

Santana's crying is reduced to heaving sobs and Quinn thinks it might be helping so she keeps singing and kisses her temple softly before she finishes.

If there's love just feel it,

And if there's life we'll see it,

This ain't no time to be alone, alone, yeah,

I, won't let you go,

If your sky is falling,

Just take my hand and hold it,

You don't have to be alone, alone, yeah,

I, won't let you go,

She sings the final few repeated lines in almost a whisper because Santana has become still and quiet, though tears are still streaming down (Quinn knows her face is no better).

In the still quiet of the night she falls asleep indulging quietly in a cry that is long overdue.

Morning comes and Quinn finds herself asleep sitting up against the headboard of the bed and she notices that Santana is sleeping peacefully in her lap. A small smile graces her face because on this day she's usually making rounds on crying in every part of the house. So, careful not to disturb her, Quinn leans back and falls asleep again internally thanking Brittany for singing her that ridiculous (perfect) song all those years ago.

They sleep the day away and the next morning everything is back to normal and it continues to be so for the next few months.

But Quinn couldn't have known that her life started shifting again after that night.

It starts with a whisper.

Quinn isn't sure at first because she is fighting to keep her mouth shut (and that always takes all of her mental reserves when Santana touches her like she is), but she is pretty sure she heard 'Quinn' panted in her ear.

She ignores it as wishful thinking and concentrates on the wondrous sensations shooting through her, but she hears it again, slightly louder.

That alone almost sends her crashing into an orgasm and she tries to see Santana's face, but now it's buried in her shoulder muffing anything else she may (or may not) say. Before Santana sends her flying she decides she might need to get her ears checked because there is no way she heard what she thought she did.

Two days later she finds her ears are fine.

But she still doubts them.

Three years of marriage and not once has her wife called her name during sex and it would be depressing if her mind was trying to trick her into thinking that was the case now.

So she goes on about her life.

Then a week later she is sitting at the table eating breakfast and she catches Santana looking at her…but her eyes are on her.

Eyes. Are. On. Her.

Not over, around or through but on and that feeling unnerves the shit out of her.

Suddenly she feels nervous, like a deer in headlights. She feels naked and exposed and not in a good way, so she chokes out a nervous and completely awkward, 'Hi.'

Santana seems almost surprised at the sound and then her face slides into an easy smirk and she just says 'Hey.'

Then they just stare at each other without saying a word.

Until Quinn gets anxious and mumbles something about having to go to work.

Work is normal and safe, work distracts her and keeps her from feeling like she might be going crazy. She makes phone calls, disciplines some students and subsequently has a few parent conferences, the day and everything in it is ordinary and her mind settles.

Then she goes home and Santana is there looking over some documents and doesn't stir as Quinn walks in and all is well again.

That night she is able to sleep without worry and she even has pleasant dreams of being a dolphin swimming with two others and they play and swim in the wakes of ships and generally have fun… until somehow under water she is falling, far and fast, before she hits the ground hard.

Quinn's eyes shoot open as she realizes she has actually fallen out of bed and a weak thud in the hip that isn't jammed painfully into the floor tells her she was kicked. Angrily she scrambles to her feet and sees Santana sitting up looking at her, those brown eyes sparking playfully in the dark.

Then she finds that again Santana is looking at her and suddenly she's self conscious (she needs makeup and she can just tell her hair is everywhere) and standing barefoot in a wife beater and grey sweatpants doesn't exactly make her feel cute or sexy so she deflects her discomfort with mild anger (mild because she can tell the kick wasn't malicious).

"What the hell was that for?"

"You kicked me."

Quinn is reminded of a similar accusation of abuse from Brittany, she almost responds similarly until she finds the answer (she remembers this one immediately) and she is outright shocked Santana remembers as well.

"In the first grade!" she defends.

"Yeah, but I never got you back," it is a cheeky reply (and already more banter than they have shared their entire married life).

"I tried to apologize," she grumbles, crawls cautiously back into bed and pulls the covers almost up to her chin (to try and hide from that penetrating stare).

"No you didn't!" Santana snorts, but it's good natured and light.

"I did, but you told me to apologize to Brittany instead," Quinn says the name easily, but the moment she does she realizes it's the first time she's said it out loud in ages.

She expects Santana to shut down at the mention of the other blonde and she does, but not before saying 'Oh yeah. Because you pushed her off the swing.'

There is a blanketing silence that falls over them then and Santana's eyes are somewhere far away again, but Quinn doesn't let it go this time because she gets the weird feeling that the old Santana (the woman she once knew) was talking to her a moment before.

"You don't have to keep it to yourself," she says and she hopes Santana understands because she isn't really sure how to explain herself.

"Keep what to myself?" (Great. How to put this?)

"Brittany," she says and the moment she does she knows it's exactly what she means.

"What?"

"You keep her inside and fight with yourself about her and fall apart, then you put the battle on hold just long enough to rebuild so you can start the fight again and tear yourself to pieces over and over." (she knows she's struck a nerve because Santana is looking at her again like Quinn's a creepy mind reader) "You don't need to do that. You can talk about her, you can love her, hell I know you can't help but love her. I can see you bouncing around between needing to move on, but not wanting to let go and hating yourself for thinking about it, and hating yourself more for not being stronger. I just… I just want you to know that moving on doesn't mean leaving her behind."

It is the first time they have ever even broached the subject of Brittany without Santana leaving or tuning her out completely and Quinn thinks that perhaps this might be a step forward.

But Santana just nods curtly and crawls under the covers with her back to Quinn and Quinn berates herself for even bothering to hope for the impossible.

Then, almost a week later, Santana invites her out for a walk (which is incredibly unusual for her) so they go out and wander the city until they end up at a small park. The day is bright and sunny and there isn't a soul in sight because it's noon on a weekday and they sit in the grass and talk for a long time (it's the first time they have talked like this in so long Quinn almost wishes it wasn't happening because she is going to miss it so much), the day is perfect, and in Quinn's (overly hopeful) opinion, kind of romantic.

They talk and lie in the grass watching the clouds and there is no reason for it other than; Why not?

Then everything gets extra serious because now Santana turns to her and bluntly asks, "Why did you stay single?"

They had been talking about coworkers at their respective jobs and it takes her a moment to register the topic change. When she does she's embarrassed, but decides to be honest.

"I just never found anyone that made me feel the way you do."

Santana gives her about seven different variations on the What-The-Fuck stare before she replies, "Quinn our relationship isn't one I can picture you trying to get someone to mimic…"

She sighs, lays back on the grass and plays with her hands nervously, "Santana, I was crazy in love with you long before… you know… happened," she dances around the 'B' word because she just isn't ready for Santana to shut down again so soon.

Now the Latina is sitting up and looking at her with critical eyes, "Since when?"

"Well… I can tell you I kicked you so you would notice how I felt about you."

It's almost funny to watch Santana's reaction to that.

"How… wait how long did you know you were gay?"

"Since I learned the definition of lesbian." (and there is that face again)

"You never… How did I not know?" her disbelief is almost adorable.

"The same way you didn't know you were even though you were sleeping with Brittany. You're just a bit dense sometimes," Quinn jokes (she shouldn't have said it!).

Santana lay back on the ground and Quinn curses herself for not knowing how to shut the hell up, but right when she thinks Santana is done for the day she speaks again.

"I always thought I would have more time," she says, it's so quiet Quinn thinks she might be hearing things again, "There was so much I didn't say because I thought I would have forever to do it." Quinn doesn't move, she doesn't even breathe deeply because she is terrified of breaking the moment, "I loved her… I love her so much and I never told her how much. I mean I said I love you and stuff, but that doesn't even start to cover it. I thought I would have at least seventy birthdays and Valentines days and Christmases and anniversaries to try and even begin to get the point across and then one day I wake up and she's just gone."

Santana's crying, but she is trying to hide it so Quinn looks at the sky to let her keep up the fight.

"You know she knew," she says because it's true.

"She deserved to have proof, she deserved better than me. So do you."

Quinn looks at her now, and to her surprise sees Santana looking at her again, her eyes expressive and open like they haven't been since they had matching Care Bear book bags.

"You're selling yourself short."

"No I'm not. You are. You are so much better than me and I'm thankful that you stuck around this long but you owe yourself more."

Quinn shrugs and looks at the sky because she can't really look Santana in the eyes and say what she is about to say, "I couldn't be with someone else if I wanted to. You're my Brittany, loving you is in my blood."

There is another long silence before a quiet, "I'm sorry."

Then Quinn moves and holds herself over Santana who looks surprised and then almost shy.

"I'm not sorry I love you," Quinn says (and she's not, she never will be).

"Me either." (her eyes shift but not in the lying way, in the I'm-About-To-Say-Something-Mushy-Way and Quinn stops breathing) "You saved my life, Quinn. In so many ways."

She doesn't mean to, but Quinn sobs at that because it is impossible not to when her heart feels like it's really beating for the first time in ages and the rhythm is strong and commanding because it was just brought back to life. Doing her best to keep calm she quickly dries her eyes because she doesn't want to scare this Santana away (she hasn't seen her in so long).

"I'm sorry," she says again (the honest open look is still there, but the brown eyes are sad and tearful) "About me. About how I've treated you. It's just I've spent almost every moment of my life doing everything with Brittany, and that means everything reminds me of her, meaning everything hurts and it won't go away and after a while I'm willing to do anything to just get a moment to forget." (as she says this she rubs the faint scar still on her wrist)

Quinn grabs the other woman's hand and holds it to Santana's own chest while she looks into her brown eyes and prays that her next words are the right ones, "But you don't need to forget, Brittany will always be a part of you… and me, because she was the greatest thing to happen to my life too." (Santana looks at her like she doubts that, but listens anyway) "She kept us together no matter how we tried to drift apart, and to someone who loves you like I do, I loved her for it. Even if at the time it hurt to see you two together she made sure we were all friends. She knew how I felt about you and still wouldn't let me walk away and I will never stop being grateful for that. And, yes, I wished with all my heart you would have loved me like you loved her, but honestly it would have been disastrous. We were both too scared and closeted to have had anything, she was the one who got you to be not just true to yourself, but proud of yourself. I never would have been able to, I would have been too afraid of losing you to push you into coming out, assuming I wasn't so scared myself and too terrified of my parents finding out. She was just what you needed, not me. Brittany made you into a woman that would come out to her parents, consequences be damned, and propose in front of hundreds of people without batting an eye. We both owe her so much and I think we've done her wrong to let her memory cause such pain because you know as well as I do that isn't what she'd want."

Santana smiles and it's real, vibrant and for her and Quinn's eyes are prickling because she had been so sure she would never see a genuine smile from her ever again.

"Maybe she kept us all together because she knew how much I would need someone as amazing as you one day."

Quinn can't help but laugh and cry at the same time (she wishes she could just turn the tears off, but she doesn't really care because Santana is looking at her and she could swear she sees affection in those eyes). "She is the one who sang that song to me," she doesn't even have to explain that, they both know which song she is referring to.

Santana frowns, but it's an incredulous one, "Why would she do that?"

"To get me to come back to earth from my rebel days Senior year."

And Santana laughs.

Like the smile it's totally real and Quinn feels her eyes let loose again because she's missed the sound so very much (and it's even better than she remembered).

Quinn lies back down to try and hide her continued water works and then she and Santana actually talk about Brittany. The things she used to say, her odd idioms and habits, and even about old times at camp (Santana filling in some of the missing gaps of their mysterious disappearances though Quinn is sure it's edited for modesty's sake). They laugh and cry and remember the woman they both now realize they should have never stopped talking about. Like singing her song talking about her sets so much free within both of them, Quinn feels so much closer to the woman she is spending her life with and Santana seems able to finally take a breath without looking like there is a car parked on her chest, and though it doesn't instantly heal all their wounds it is a leap in the right direction (it tells them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and for once it's not a train).

And after they talk they lie together in another warm peaceful silence watching the clouds go by and listening to the birds in the trees and for the first time ever just enjoying each other's company.

Though after a while Santana breaks it again (because, as Quinn knows, her mind can't keep still for too long).

"So you've had a thing for me since grade school," she says like she is both proud of, and impressed by, herself (it's so arrogant and cocky and Quinn loves every bit of it).

"Since the first time I ever saw you."

The surety of Quinn's response surprises her for a moment but then she comes back with, "Alright, well if that's the case what part of me do you like the best?"

There is the arrogance again, but Quinn is almost dizzy on excitement that she can spend so much time with her Santana and doesn't waste her breath on a playful quip, "Your hair."

Santana sits up and gives her an indignant look, "My hair?"

"Yes," she says it almost before Santana can finish asking.

A cute frown appears on her face, "Okay your second favorite-"

"Voice," Quinn cuts her off because she has had a list of her favorite parts of Santana since she was seven (though the list had to be rearranged slightly once she hit puberty).

She just stares at her for a moment before she gives another one of her full rich laughs (Quinn feels like she may have to adjust her top two favorites) then Santana leans all the way over her and it creates a curtain of that soft, black silk around her face (and she instantly vetoes that decision).

"I admit I do sound amazing, but is that all you like about me?" she asks in her sex voice (and Quinn wonders if Santana knows how much of an effect that has on her).

"You asked me my top two," Quinn says (trying not to sound as aroused as she feels).

"Fine. Third?"

"Skin."

Santana frowns adorably again, "Are you kidding?" Quinn shakes her head bashfully, "Fourth? And please don't say something like fingernails."

"Eyes." (and now Santana sighs heavily)

"You are bruising my ego big time."

Quinn rolls her eyes playfully, "I definitely love your womanly assets, but if you want to know my favorites you have them. The top of the list is made up of all the innocent things I noticed before I knew how to appreciate the others, they got there first and stayed."

Santana laughs again and when she looks back at Quinn (and the blonde still can't believe Santana even knows how to find her with those gorgeous eyes) her face holds a look Quinn can't read (because she's never been on the receiving end of it).

They talk and laugh for a while longer before they return home and Quinn is shocked when Santana (the real Santana and not her silent stoic counterpart) comes home with her, and when they get back they continue to talk until the early hours of the morning.

However at some point as they slept that Santana leaves and the one she married returns and Quinn has to force herself to not be distressed by it (though it is heartening to notice that at least her wife is still looking at her).

But she finds that even then it isn't as bad as she feared, Santana may have become more silent again, but she does hold an interesting and lively conversation from time to time (which is 200% more times than she ever has before) and she laughs now, authentically and heartily. Quinn wishes she could have kept the woman she remembers from so many years ago, but she is thankful for the change and vows to be happy with it.

Then came Tuesday.

It isn't a special Tuesday, at least not at this point, but it becomes a day that stays with Quinn forever, like the first time she saw the small girl with the wide eyes and brown skin (and the amazing inky black hair), or the kiss that had rocked her world and created an unreachable goal for every lover she'd had afterwards.

On this particular Tuesday Santana joins her at breakfast (she's looking at Quinn the whole time with that expression from before that she can't decipher) and just watches her eat. Quinn still feels unnerved by being stared at so intently, but she decides she would rather have Santana stare at her ponderously than ignore her presence until there is some reason for them to communicate, so she just continues to eat (feeling so very aware of how goofy she looks when she chews). She finishes her meal and is about to head back to the bedroom to get dressed for work when Santana smiles at her (it's the warmest smile Quinn has seen on her face since Brittany died), and she says 'I love you.' like there has never been anything truer to her.

Quinn just freezes because she is so damn sure she is hearing things, yet Santana is still looking at her with those soft brown eyes and they are confirming it, but she has to be sure (she just has to be sure).

"What?"

"I love you," she repeats it louder and more surely this time and Quinn can't deny her ears any longer.

The words don't sink in at first, they just sort of float in her mind, but then she soaks it up and her heart almost stops (now she's questioning reality because this can't be right). And Quinn is so jaded she decides that she is making the look into more than it is and that Santana means 'love' in a friendly way (because the whole time they have been married her wife has never even passively used that word in her direction) so she just nods and tries to leave before she gets all emotional, but she is cut off by Santana pushing her back down into her chair, kneeling before her looking into her eyes with an intensity that makes her shudder.

"I know I've been the world's shittiest wife and somehow through it all you stuck by me and I only just realized that I've never told you what you mean to me. I made that mistake with Brittany and I'm not doing it again. I love you, Quinn."

She is direct and passionate and Quinn feels her heart working double time while her mind is trying so hard to not believe any of it, because it would kill her to find out that somehow this doesn't mean what she thinks it does, but Santana isn't giving her a moment's reprieve to try and deny it. It is literally everything she has ever wanted and it seems ridiculous that today is Tuesday and not Impossible Dreams Come True Day.

Again she holds totally still because she can tell Santana has more to say and she doesn't want to run the risk of bringing this moment to an end (even if this is a dream it's the best dream she's ever had and she wants to sleep until it's over).

"I've been thinking… about everything, for the first time really thinking and not just grieving and I think that this isn't what's best for us." (Quinn's heart stops again and her head is chanting an 'I told you so') "I really do believe what you said about moving on not meaning leaving Brittany behind, so I've finally accepted that I can live my life and keep her in my heart without it hurting me or feeling guilty when it's not. But Brittany has always had Santana Lopez. That person belongs to her and always will, we both know it." (Quinn thinks her heart may be actually hemorrhaging blood and she idly wonders how long it will take her to bleed out) "I think we would be better off if you were married to Santana Fabray." It's here that Santana holds up a gold ring (it's small, glittering and just her size), "So will you marry me?"

Now Quinn is lost, somewhere in between dying internally and desperately trying to do damage control she thinks she missed something so she looks at the ring with confusion, "Santana we already are married." (right? She doesn't know anymore because the thought of her wife asking for a divorce just sort of upended all of her files on the subject)

"Yeah, but I already said you deserve better and you definitely deserve a real wedding, and a ring that you didn't buy yourself to prove you are married to a woman that treats you like shit. I want to marry you the right way, I want everyone we know to come and know how proud of you I am, I want them to know how much I love you. Because I do. I love you so much."

As she says that her eyes water, and Quinn is far too susceptible at the moment to keep her eyes dry after hearing that, so seeing Santana tear up makes her completely fall apart (leaving Santana looking comically horrified).

"We don't have to, it was just a thought-" she tries to amend (she has no idea where she went wrong), but Quinn cuts her off by diving into her arms.

"Of course I'll marry you again! I'd marry you a thousand times!" she sobs feeling so corny and silly (and enraptured, overjoyed, relieved, revived and loved).

Their second wedding occurs on the anniversary of the first (like a much needed do over of the original disastrous event) and like a proper redo it is infinitely more upbeat and well received.

Quinn feels like maybe somewhere along the line she might have died and gone to heaven, but if that is the case she is fine with it because for the first time in four years she is with Santana.

Her Santana.

Santana Fabray.

All their friends all show up, even a few that hadn't made it to the first event (Finn, Mike, and Tina) and everyone is relieved to see the Latina back to her old self. Mr. and Mrs. Pierce come and Quinn worries that it might be uncomfortable for them, but they were worried about Santana like everyone else and are nothing but overjoyed to see her living life again.

Even Puck smiles at Quinn when he arrives, though it makes her a little sad because it is the same smile she had worn at Santana and Brittany's wedding, the Time-to-Say-Goodbye-For-Good smile (but she is pleased that he is convinced Santana is sincere enough to warrant such a look).

She wears an ankle length white dress with flowers and swirling patterns sewn in and her hair is around her shoulders in ringlets, Santana wears a similar dress in a sky blue, her hair piled neatly on her head (her only option since she had wanted to cut it short and Quinn had flat out forbidden it).

They say their self written vows and Quinn gets teary, but keeps it together.

It comes time to kiss the bride and she is swept off her feet by lips so soft and gentle (and finally hers) that she wants to just weep with joy, but even then she keeps her face dry.

Speeches are made and Brittany is no longer a taboo word, but even with the fond memories of Brittany from their past being brought up by Rachel and Mike, and her wife telling all their closest friends that she is the luckiest woman on earth to have found the perfect person twice, Quinn doesn't cry.

But then it is time for their first dance and the opening chords of a song filter through the speakers (a totally different song than what they had previously agreed on), Santana stands and offers her hand and Quinn knows it is going to be a fight to remember to keep her mascara from running.

Santana pulls her to the dance floor and they sway together just listening to the music (Quinn trying to think of something, anything, to keep her from getting emotional), but then the chorus comes and Santana looks her straight in the eyes and sings along.

"If there's love just feel it,

If there's life we'll see it,

This is no time to be alone, alone, yeah,

I, won't let you go."

Somewhere inside Quinn knew how hopeless it was to try and keep this from happening but it doesn't make it less embarrassing when tears start falling down her face (and Santana has no mercy because those beautiful eyes are still on her and she keeps singing those words that touch Quinn's heart so deeply).

So she cries on the dance floor and feels like a fool (a loved and cherished fool, but a fool nonetheless), but Santana wipes her tears away and gives her that look from when they were at the park and finally she can identify it. It's the look she used to give Brittany (that You-Mean-the-World-to-Me look) and she starts crying again.

Everyone congratulates them, the words are natural and heartfelt and they let Quinn know that everything is real (and not a very convincing dream).

Later her mother even sends her a text that says 'I genuinely hope you are happy with her.' It's short, long overdue and would have been better said in person, but it is the first contact she's had with her since she tried to invite her to the reception when she was first married. Quinn is so glad to hear anything from her at all she beams explosively at her phone. Her father and Santana's parents don't make an appearance either, but Mrs. Lopez does send them a card that is signed by her (and Mr. Lopez, but Santana informs her the second signature is forged) so between all four of their parents they seem to have half a vote of support and it means more to both of them than either is willing to admit.

By the end of the night Quinn feels like she can't take any more emotional moments (she is pretty sure her tear ducts have emptied out), but that doesn't keep them from happening.

Their redo marriage also includes what the original had not; sex. Lots of sex. But it is incredibly frustrating sex because Santana seems to be determined to drive her completely insane, every time she brings Quinn to the brink she backs down (at first it was exhilarating, but now it's just exasperating). She does everything she knows how to signal that she's ready, that she needs more (speed, pressure, contact; everything), but nothing seems to get through.

Santana ignores every sign sent until even she gets tired of teasing and finally gives them both what they want, but when her wife reaches climax Quinn hears her name in her ear (she's sure of it this time) and realizes instantly that Santana is trying fix their bedroom habits, she had been trying to make her vocalize something instead of keeping a stony silence to give her wife and her long gone love privacy (Quinn can see how it hard it would be for Santana to put that desire into words), the understanding of that comes right before she does. And for the first time since she has been with Santana she comes loud. She opens her mouth and screams her pleasure with her hips bucking and her nails digging into brown skin and the most beautiful name she knows bursting from her mouth. She shakes and convulses and she can see Santana staring at her with so much love and adoration her body rallies to produce a few more tears, but this moment is worth it (because she knows it's the first of many that will heal the both of them and make them stronger).

The next morning is like any other morning, but completely different (how could anything ever be the same again after that night?). Quinn holds Santana in her arms and runs her fingers through the raven hair that is fanned out over her chest and marks a time in her life where everything is perfect.

She doesn't know what could be better and, even if she did, she is too content to bother to ask for it.

Anything more is extra.

Here in this moment she is perfect.

They are perfect.

And she is sure (now more than ever) that she wouldn't change a single thing.

End


A/N: The song Brittany (later Quinn then Santana) sang was I Won't Let You Go by James Morrison.

So the beneficiary of the previously mentioned bet has informed me that I have copped out of making this story angsty with this ending but… I dunno it hasn't reversed any of the tragedy it just makes it all have a point don't you think?

Whatev's I think they earned a break. Not to mention there were like two major events that were written out of the original draft but there is sad and then there is shitting on characters just to shit on em so I took those out. The whole fic (extra parts and all) existed in it's entirety on the web for about two days on my tumblr, however I was informed that my end of the bargain was only upheld if I posted here. Not that anyone would have wanted to read it because I hadn't proofed it yet. (if you wanna know my tumblr info check my profile)

A huge thank you to everyone who reviewed. Please do so for this chapter or pm me if you want a response (cause I don't usually respond to reviews unless asked a direct question).

Thanks for reading and hope to be back with more stuff soon.