A/N: Quick one shot after watching tonight's ep.. which made me quite angry. But anyways...
A/N2: If you're wondering about Chapter 25 of The Things Only You Know, it's coming, I promise, and it's going to be another long one. I'm about halfway done and it's at around 4,000 words.
Spoilers for 03x06
She couldn't believe it. All those times she thought her life was going to be over for wearing the wrong colour lipstick or being demoted to the bottom of the pyramid or even losing prom queen to Kurt, suddenly meant nothing. She had been publicly outed and not just to the whole school, but to all of Lima and Ohio and maybe even the entire country. The commercial had probably gone viral by now and she knew that the little children in Japan were all watching her coming out video.
She really didn't even know how to handle it, other than what she was doing now; sitting on a bench in the Cheerios locker room and staring at the locker in front of her.
It didn't mean anything. She couldn't remember whose locker it was, but her mind was caught on the number, tracing the shape of each digit and repeating it backwards and forwards.
Three, one, seven. Seven, one, three. Three, seventeen. Seven, thirteen. Thirty-one, seven. Seventy-one, three.
So many different combinations the numbers could make. Just three little numbers together.
Her hands tightened on the bench and it felt oddly cool against her sweaty hands. Her mind drifted from the numbers to that thought; how odd it was that the bench was so cold. The locker room was always stifling hot, one thing she had always hated about it. When she was finished Cheerios practice and had her shower, it was impossible to fully dry off, because of the humidity of the room, and she always ended up trying to squeeze her sticky body into a clean uniform.
It wasn't hot today, though. It was cold. Despite the sweat on her hands, she could feel the goosebumps rising all over her body, without taking her eyes off the locker in front of her.
Her name startled her, echoing off the walls and sounding louder than it had actually been uttered. She knew the voice, she didn't need to turn and look, and nothing was going to keep her from staring at 317.
"Can't you read? This is the Cheerios locker room, Rachel, no men allowed," Santana said, emotionless and completely lacking the bite her words normally owned. To top it all off, she called her by her name. She couldn't even remember the last time she had given her that courtesy.
She heard the door close and then Rachel's timid steps creep closer towards her, stopping with a great distance between them, even if Santana still hadn't torn her eyes away for a glance.
It's Rachel. Three, one, seven is far more interesting to look at.
"I'm really sorry," Rachel said softly and Santana could hear the honest remorse in her voice, but it didn't matter. Her apology wouldn't change anything and really, she shouldn't be the one apologizing. For once, Santana had to admit that this one was not Rachel Berry's fault. It was her freakishly tall, whale of a boyfriend.
She wished she could hit him again, this time with a closed fist, the feeling had been so satisfying, even if it only lasted for a second.
"Why are you sorry," Santana mumbled, reciting her new favourite numbers over and over again in her head, "This time you're fault free, so why don't you just skip along on your merry way to Hogwarts and join all your other good hearted hobbit friends."
"The Shire," Rachel said, quietly after a moments pause.
"What," Santana questioned, momentarily annoyed by the interruption in her sequence of numbers.
"You're getting your insults mixed up," Rachel explained, and suddenly she was sitting on the other end of the bench, "The hobbits live in The Shire. Hogwarts is Harry Potter."
"I know that," Santana sighed, her eyes finally drifting down to her feet, planted firmly on the tile floor. She couldn't remember the numbers with Rachel there, with her prodding and being annoying and whatever else she was doing by just sitting there quietly at the other end of the bench. She couldn't even think with her there. She grit her teeth, but when the words came out, her voice sounded so tired and not the least bit angry, "Why are you here, Rachel?"
"I think you need a friend," Rachel said, her voice was so calm, like she was trying to talk a wild bear out of making her its supper. Maybe she was. Santana knew that she was nowhere near 'nice' in anyone's vocabulary.
"We're not friends," Santana stated, because it was the truth. They may have tolerated each other from time to time, but even 'like' would be a strong word to describe them.
She heard Rachel's swallow, it seemed louder than it should, and she also noticed the long pause that was preparing her for the truthful words that were going to bite her. They weren't going to be like the insults that she threw at everyone else, because Rachel was going to be telling the truth and she wasn't going to be saying it to try to hurt her.
"There's no one else in here," she said finally and Santana felt herself crumbling as she heard the words. She had known exactly what Rachel was going to say, but hearing them said in that empty, cold locker room, everything was starting to feel real. The numbness was washing away and the numbers were suddenly nothing but numbers once again.
She let in a shaky breath, fighting the urge to breakdown and let the reality sink in. She couldn't let Rachel see it. She couldn't let her see her break. The way that she could use it to her advantage in the future would put her at Rachel's mercy forever. She would use it too. They all would. Just like Finn did. Just like Finn told the entire world that she's a lesbian.
She swallowed hard, biting back the tears, buying herself as much time as she could, "Why are you being nice to me? I've done nothing but torture you all through high school. Is this your plan? Gain my trust and then get your revenge one day when my defences are down?"
But Santana didn't let her finish, instead she answered her own question in almost a whisper, "Because today is that day, Rachel."
She finally picked up her eyes off of her uniform sneakers and looked Rachel straight in the eyes. She couldn't hold them in anymore as her wall completely fell, and the tears spilled down her cheeks, "Today's the day to get your revenge. There's no more bottom I can hit. You should be loving this. Isn't this what you've always been waiting for? Me to get what I deserve?"
"Nobody deserves what happened to you," Rachel said firmly, sliding closer to her on the bench and covering the nearest hand to her, still white knuckling the edge of it, with her own smaller one. The hand was so warm on her frozen skin and the difference in temperature made her realize just how unnaturally cold she was. She felt the palm of Rachel's hand knead into the back of hers as she said with concern, "You're frozen, Santana."
Santana's eyes drifted back towards 317, her jaw clenched, but the tears still streamed uncontrollably down her cheeks, "Am I? I can't even feel it."
The arm around her shoulders made her jump and the unfamiliar contact almost made her run, but the small arm, pulling her against the smaller frame of the girl and the other arm wrapping around her waist, holding her close, felt too good to abandon. Instead, she did something she never thought she'd do. She let go.
She let go of her fears, her insecurities, her hate; she let go of all of it, buried her face in Rachel's warm, welcoming neck and began to sob.
"I'm so so-so so sorry," Santana mumbled against her neck, her sobs giving her a temporary stutter as she attempted to control her breathing, "For everything I did to you. I'm a terrible person."
"Stop," Rachel sighed, her fingers combing through Santana's thick hair, soothing her, "This isn't about any of that."
"My life is over," she cried and for once, she didn't feel like she was exaggerating. How were her parents going to react when they saw this? All over the television. It wasn't even something they could hide within her family. Everyone would know, now. Everyone.
She felt like she was clinging to Rachel for all her life's worth. To Rachel. The most surprising thing was that Rachel was holding her back, just as tightly. She couldn't understand why, but she didn't want it to end. She needed someone so badly to hold her and Rachel was there.
Somehow, in the back of her mind, she had wanted it to be her. Brittany didn't understand what was happening. Sweet, innocent Brittany couldn't understand why being outed to the whole world was an issue. She just thought that they could be together now in public. Dear, sweet, innocent Brittany, who was ready to give away her 'pot of gold' to some foreign exchange student who claimed to be a leprechaun. She loved Brittany, more than anyone possibly ever could. She was starting to realize, though, that Brittany would never really be hers. There would always be an Artie or a Rory around every corner, dragging her away and breaking her heart each time.
So if not Brittany, who else would it be? Quinn? She couldn't even think right these days. Not after Beth. Not after Finn.
She didn't have anyone else. She just wanted someone. Now Rachel was there and she felt so good.
Her lips brushed against Rachel's neck through her sobs, she wasn't even sure if it was intentional, but Rachel didn't stiffen or tense up in response. Instead, her hands gripped at her tighter, as she whispered soothing words of, "It's alright. It's okay. You're alright, Santana. You're the strongest girl I know. You'll get through this. Things always have a way of working out."
Then, in a softer whisper, as Rachel's head turned and her lips brushed against Santana's ear, "I promise I will give you whatever you need."
She wasn't sure how it happened after that, it happened too fast to know, but suddenly, soft and full glossy peach-coloured lips were lightly grazing hers. Their lips barely touched, only lingered for a moment, exchanging their breaths, then brushing against each other fleetingly until they both pulled back and their embrace ended.
Rachel's hand flew to her mouth, her fingers pressing to her lips with her eyes wide in surprise. Santana squeezed her eyes shut as more tears fell, tilting her head back and wondering how she had managed to screw up a moment that was actually helping to ease the pain of everything else.
"I'm sorry, Rachel," Santana choked, shaking her head, "I didn't mean to-"
But Rachel's free hand stopped her as she pressed those fingers to Santana's lips, effectively quieting her. Her hand fell away from her own mouth and for a moment she just sat there dumbly, mouth open as she shook her head. Finally, she licked her lips tentatively, before admitting, "I'm not entirely sure it was you who kissed me."
Santana couldn't remember, it had happened too fast. She remembered the lips at her ear, so soft and inviting and then it was lips on lips. That was it.
The fingers still covering Santana's lips began to trace the side of her face, starting with her hairline, down her temple, over the bump of her cheekbone, and then down the strong line of her jaw until it ended at her chin, unmoving, her dark eyes following the entire length of the path. They sat there, silently staring at each other and if it had been any other time it might have been uncomfortable, but Rachel's eyes, boring into her own, made her believe that everything would be okay. She wasn't alone.
She wished she could take back everything she had ever said to her, all the slushies she had thrown at her and every single mean thing she had ever done. She was finally seeing Rachel as a person and it was sickening her that she could be so horrible to her and yet, she was the only one with her right now, when she needed someone more than anything else in the world.
"I want to kiss you again," Rachel said suddenly, breaking the long silence that had fallen between them and wiping Santana's wet cheeks with the palms of her hands.
It all seemed so surreal. When did Rachel ever care about her?
"Why," was all Santana could find herself saying. She wanted to say 'yes', but she needed to know. Today was the day her world turned upside down and she needed to get as many answers as she could. She felt like she was falling, falling forever and she just needed something that she could make sense of.
Rachel's mouth opened and closed a couple times as she tried to decide on an answer, but finally she shook her head, shrugged and said, "I need to know."
"I don't understand," Santana whispered, she needed an answer and that wasn't good enough and her emotions were beginning to get the best of her once again as she tried to hold on to reality, "We don't like each other, Rachel."
"Really," Rachel asked seriously, she pressed her lips together and lifted one shoulder, "I like you."
"I call you 'hobbit' and 'man-hands' and 'dwarf' and 'treasure trail' and I have done my best to make your high school experience as close to hell as possible," Santana snorted, shaking her head in disbelief, "how can you possibly like me?"
"Because looking at you now," Rachel said, her fingers stroking Santana's cheeks and wiping away the tears as they fell, "I can see that you were always hurting just as much as I was, but couldn't let anyone else know it. You've had to keep this secret all to yourself for so long. I think you understand what it's like to be alone, like me. Sometimes you can be the most alone when you're surrounded by people."
Santana let a beat pass between them before she closed the distance and pressed her lips to Rachel's. It was more firm than the first time, but still chaste, as if they were testing each other out. Brittany had been the only girl Santana had ever kissed and she would've staked her life on the fact that Rachel was currently having her first kiss with another girl.
It was different with Rachel, her lips were more full and softer somehow. Brittany usually tasted like cotton candy lip gloss and Dr. Pepper, but Rachel tasted like cherry and something that was inexplicably just Rachel. Their lips slid along each others, Santana would nudge Rachel's bottom lip down with her top lip and Rachel would close her lips around it in response and then they would do it again in reverse. Rachel's hands moved into Santana's hair, burying her fingers somewhere at the back of her head, while Santana's hands gently rubbed up and down her back.
She had never done anything so achingly, painfully slow before and yet, somehow it was the most sensual experience of Santana's life. The fingers caressing the back of her head were sending chills to every part of her body in the best kind of way and the feeling of Rachel's muscles in her back, contracting with each movement, through the thin material of her dress, was causing her an irrational amount of excitement.
They broke away breathless, even though they had never even deepened the kiss, but the emotion that was driving them made every touch and kiss a hundred times more passionate. Rachel's hands fell to rest on Santana's upper arms, gripping them as if she was steadying herself.
"Don't be afraid, Santana," Rachel said, offering a lopsided smile, "Whatever happens I promise I will be there with you, if you'll let me."
"What about Finn," Santana asked, bitterly. Even saying his name made her sick to her stomach. She never knew anyone could cause her to feel so much pain.
"I love him," she admitted, regretfully, knowing that it was something Santana did not want to hear, "But I've known for awhile that he's not my forever."
"What's that suppose to mean," Santana asked, suddenly feeling hopeful and confused at the same time.
"We have different goals," Rachel explained, then rolled her eyes, "Well I have goals and he doesn't. It's not just that, though. He's using me and I don't think I would ever come first to him in his life. He's never really taken an interest in anything about me and constantly forgets the most basic things about me."
Santana nodded, it felt good to hear that Rachel was on her side, and that was such a strange thought for her to think. An hour ago and she wouldn't have cared, now it seemed like it was all that mattered.
A knot in her stomach formed as she remembered why she was so upset in the first place and she slouched as she whispered, "Just because of this TV ad, doesn't mean I'm ready to be all gay with you in public. I don't know how my family is going to react. I actually believe my dad is going to throw me out and disown me."
Rachel smiled soothingly, "You forget where I come from. My dads will take you in without question if I explain the situation. And I don't mind keeping this between us, Santana, as long as you promise me one thing."
Santana licked her dry lips, as she nodded and asked, "What's that?"
"No more insults and name calling," Rachel said, her tone almost pleading with her to put an end to it.
"No problem," Santana agreed, her hands moving from Rachel's back to rest on her hips. She dug her thumbs gently into Rachel's hipbones and began tracing slow circles, causing her to bite her lip, almost effectively stifling a moan. Almost. Santana smiled at the effect she was so easily having on her and then sighed, "I wish you would have waited instead of giving it up to Frankenteen."
A small smile played across Rachel's lips as she leaned in to Santana, placing a soft kiss to her jaw before whispering, "I did."