This is raw and unedited and probably not even worthy of being posted, but I couldn't not do it. People sicken me sometimes when they think she had it coming.

~.~.~

Finn creeps quietly into the auditorium in an effort to find his missing backpack. His cheek still stings and the glares he keeps receiving from Kurt drills holes into his brain to give him a headache, but he just wants to go home. Today has been nothing but a mess and as he passes a hand self-consciously over his stomach, he wishes it would simply disappear. All of the backstabbing and the guilt and the secrets, they just need to disappear somewhere so far away he'll never have to deal with them.

He's tired of being a leader. If he looks down deep where it seems only Santana can rip out into the daylight, he's a scared little boy trying too hard to navigate through a world that he no longer understands. Morals conflict with reasoning and over that is the constant throb of his emotions that seem to block out everything else and erase the barrier between his brain and his mouth. Since when did he have to be the person that has to be perfect? That everybody can look up to?

(He remembers taking charge in countless tragedies and the warm fuzzy feeling of finally being worth something. It's forever tainted with the imprint of a hand slapped along his heart and the furious eyes almost seeming to want to curl up and simply die.

It's hard, but he tries to push it from his mind.)

Santana had disappeared since the mashup. She flew backstage in a flurry of black dresses and even blacker eyes, accompanied with blonde that didn't even spare him a glance. He watched how Brittany was the only one that Santana allowed to get near her as she vanished from their sights, and felt the sinking of something like guilt and doubt settle heavily in his gut.

But as a two figures catch his gaze from center stage, it seems that they'd never left. The lights are low and it casts shadows along Brittany's face, but he can still see the red lines from where Santana's nails have clawed their way along her arms and into the material of her dress.

They're wound together in a tangle of black and gold with pale arms spinning like spiders to ensnare the smaller figure in her protective shell. It is silent save for the sobs; gut-wrenching, deep cries that come from the heart as much as the head. Santana knows that her world is violently falling around her despite Brittany attempting to shelter her from the storm, so she stuffs her face in the crook of the dancer's neck to hide herself from the outside. Brittany feels each howl resonate through her chest until it rumbles back out from her lips in quiet, meaningless reassurances of something she can't fix (not this time, it's too big, too bad for somebody like her) but tries desperately to mend. This time, however, her fingers can't even span the length of the wound; she finds that the harder she presses the more blood pools across her skin and stains it a vicious red.

Each time Santana tries to speak it dissolves into more incoherent sorrow, regrets spilling from her lips and coating the skin of Brittany's neck into a soft shine. The wild frenzy of her heart throbs against her counterpart's chest and one pale hand goes to wedge between them, to sink into the flesh around her heart as if her hand could punch its way through her chest and replace this thing that throbs and sends liquid fire through her veins. Her nose is clogged from crying and her mouth is salty but she can't stop, can't fight the breakdown that had been rising over her shoulders ever since Mercedes walked out that door and Brittany's fingers played with hers under the napkin and since Finn- since he-

The darker girl buckles under the pressure and Brittany follows her, guiding her to the floor where she gathers her in her lap. Her nose buries into Santana's hair and inhales the smell of her childhood, of incense and loneliness and vanilla that still lingers on her pillow that she curls up against when she finds she can't sleep at night. There is just something about her that hurts at the same time that it heals, but she wouldn't trade the pain for security because it's how she knows she's doing something right. But for her, she wishes her hands could be blankets to take away the pain.

Finn watches as they clash and react with the other and even from here he can see the shimmer of Brittany's eyes and the hitch in her breathing. Her fingers roam over the smaller girl's body as if she is memorizing the only thing she could ever love, burning it into her memory so that she can simply recall the feel of her skin and the beat of her heart with the nights become too cold and echoes of happiness are so far away. He sits down quietly on a chair and tries not to think (relapse, retreat, revert) about how he has caused the tear tracks that how roll their way down porcelain skin and seep into a charcoal dress, or how the fight simply drained out of Santana's eyes when she spun away to hide from the looks and the talks.

She skims her hands over Santana's seashell ribs, cradles the sound of the river roaring through her veins. Brittany feels her sorrow in her chest, feels it fill her like an ocean with its girth. "He's wrong," she whispers with conviction seeping through every word. "I'll always love you, so much. I've known since we were five, sweetheart," she stutters to a stop when she sees him watching, eyes wide and bright and so so confused, as if it was simply a dream he could wish away. She feels Santana shift against her palms and glance up, rimmed red and thick from crying. "K-known what?" It is the first sentence she has been able to utter that doesn't involve her parents or hopeless apologies, tumbling from her lips where they pile in a heap by their feet.

Finn swallows when he meets her eyes. They are tired, and though she is gentle in her handling the bones in her fingers are still white from holding her charge. Everything in her portrayal tells him to leave; he is unworthy of being their witness if he was the cause of devastation.

"I knew that you'd be my forever."

Santana's breath hitches again at the prospect of having a life outside of this town, of how it could be okay to be something she doesn't think she can ever accept. A fresh wave of guilt eats at her already broken strands of coherency and Brittany is quick to counter the tears. Sometimes it feels like she is drowning in Santana's ocean, like she is swept out to sea without an anchor to keep her afloat. But the palpable thump thump of her terrified heart pressed against her hand guides her home like the sweetest of siren's songs.

She worships her body like its the only thing she ever needs, ghosting light lips over her butterfly pulse and sinking into the soft skin. Brittany soothes promises into her flesh with a swipe of velvet tongue, words stronger than anything she knows how to say. Her kiss takes away the pain, salt stinging her tongue with the weight of all her regrets but she continues, drifting along her brow, her cheeks and her forehead in an attempt to wipe away the heartbreak. The insistent touch of her fingers and heat of her mouth isn't needy or demanding or desperate, but comforting in the way Santana knows will be her only constant in life. She curls into the taller frame as if she could hide away forever in Brittany's bones and draw her strength from sunshine and certainty, with an unshakable pride that evades her no matter how hard she reaches for it.

They will heal one day, but there will always be scars. The future is uncertain and their chances bleak, so they fold and hold each other up because it's the only thing that they know how to do without faults. Santana is scared and angry and detrimental, but she is (and always was, really) human. And humans do the strangest things for love.

(She's long stopped fooling herself. The stutter in her heartbeat and how it alters to beat in time to hers erased any doubt long before she realized there wasn't any left.)

Finn leaves the auditorium as quietly as he entered, and the string of whispered i love yous follow him down the empty halls.