A/N: Just a short little oneshot :)
Lima Heights really was scary at night, Brittany noted as she made her way along the sparsely lit sidewalk. The street lights were dull, and the few that actually worked flickered with the wind. The cold air brushed past her ears and she shivered, holding her jacket tighter around her body. She had been here a thousand times before, but Santana never let her walk around alone. Especially not when it was getting dark.
Spotting her desired destination to her right, she slowly came to a stop. She watched the house for a moment as the windows lit a golden yellow into the darkness outside, the house kept in much better condition than many in the area. The lawn was cut neatly, flowers dotted here and there and a large tree in the garden. Brittany remembered this place being like home, her third home. It was almost like Santana's first home, so Brittany figured it was more like her second, but it didn't really matter. Math was never really very fun anyway.
She looked up into the tree, the few remaining planks of wood clinging to the branches, their tree house having gone forgotten through the years and slowly wiped away. She regretted neglecting it now, missing that safe place, wishing that she and Santana could simply just climb into their tree house and be those same ten year old girls again. No cares, no worries, no expectations.
She took a breath as she began to take steps towards the door, feeling a nervousness that she didn't expect she would. She hadn't been nervous when she had made the decision to come here, though she had been a little when she had to lie to Santana about where she was going that night. A quick 'Stop by later. Bring pyjamas and we'll snuggle!' rectified the situation, however.
She was at the door before she had really thought about it further, staring at the dark brown of the wood before her. It was weird to feel nervous, apprehensive. It was something that she rarely felt. She was usually confident and assured, ready to take on whatever was in her way. Nervousness was not good for Brittany, usually she just turned away and hid for a while, let herself be a little afraid. This wasn't one of those times. She wasn't just being brave for herself, she was being brave for them. She was being brave for the person that she loved, more than anyone. She was being extra brave for the bravest person she knew.
She lifted her hand, tapping softly to the wood three times, a heavier fourth following before it returned to pull in her jacket tighter.
It took a few nervous moments before the lock on the other side of the door rattled slightly, a few seconds for the door to open and the Santana's grandmother's head to pop around. Her usually welcoming and warm expression quickly fell, fell into the same unimpressed scowl that Santana had perfected throughout the years.
"...Hi," Brittany finally voiced, allowing herself to smile a little too. Being friendly could only make this better, right? She could walk in here and slap the woman, yell at her for making Santana fall apart the night before, for making her own granddaughter climb into Brittany's bed and bury her tear stained face in the crook of her neck. She could do that so easily, and the idea had crossed her mind, but that wouldn't help anybody. She had learnt that from watching Santana through the years. Violence and hostility had never really gotten her anywhere; opening up, talking and finally allowing herself to feel, those are the things that made a difference.
The older woman simply watched Brittany for a moment, inspecting every inch of her face before moving backwards, silently allowing her entry. She watched the wall beside the door as Brittany stepped in, her eyes never finding blue, and quickly closed the door once the blonde was inside. She didn't say a word even then, just making her way back towards the kitchen.
Brittany stood awkwardly by the door for a moment before following, her steps slow and unsure. She stopped at the doorway to the kitchen, watching the older woman as she returned to her cooking, opening the oven to check its contents before quickly closing it again. She was moving fast, everything done sharply and with a purpose. Normally the woman would just float around the kitchen and talk a lot, Brittany remembered, her lips pinching at the sides in confusion. "Mrs Lopez..."
The older woman didn't stop, prompting Brittany to take a few more steps into the room. "Mrs Lopez, I came to talk about-"
"I don't want to hear it," the woman interrupted, coming to a slow stop, her arm that was frantically mixing seconds earlier coming to a gentle halt. She took a breath, placing the bowl down onto the table, before falling dejectedly into the seat. She glanced up at Brittany, seeing the terrified look in the blonde's eyes, and motioned to the opposite chair. The tall girl nodded in understanding, moving cautiously around before slowly lowering herself onto the seat. "I don't want talk of this in my house. I know that you are a good, decent girl, I have known you for many years, but this..." she paused again, shaking her head. Her face, though down turned and staring a hole through the tablecloth, turned to one of disgust. Brittany saw it, her own brows furrowing. "This I can't allow."
"You don't have to allow it," Brittany replied, almost too quickly. She felt herself getting closer to that place, the place where she was comfortable, where she was no longer worried or nauseous or nervous. She felt her argument build up inside of her. It was a strange feeling, though one that set her at ease slightly. "You just have to accept it."
The older woman shook her head, finally looking up. Only then did the extent of her displeasure truly hit Brittany. "You're teenage girls, you don't know what you want. She doesn't know what she wants. You're best friends, you've always been so close, but you are mixing this up with these feelings and turning it into something it is not. Santanita is not a..." she trailed off, the word that she couldn't bring herself to say being replaced with a disgusted sigh.
"...a lesbian," Brittany completed softly, the word causing the older woman to look away again, this time to the side and away from it all completely. "Santana is a lesbian."
"She is," Brittany replied defiantly, surprising the older woman with her firm tone. "She's a lesbian, but she's also so many other things. Did you know that she can name match all of the Disney songs to the right movies? I think that one might be my fault though..."
The woman's gaze slowly moved back in the younger girl's direction, watching her thoughtful face as she continued.
"She can also hit a high middle B or something...I don't know. Mercedes told me that it's really hard to do anyway, but Santana can do it. She can do it without even trying. She's also super smart. She's still getting straight A's, you know. Even with the Cheerios, and Glee, and helping me to stop failing Spanish, she's still getting straight A's." There was a moment of silence, both pairs of eyes simply watching one another, one full of love and pain, the other full of hurt and denial. "She's awesome," Brittany shrugged.
The older woman shook her head in response. "These are the things that she should be proud of. These are the things that she should be telling people and flaunting. There are some things that we keep to ourselves, things that nobody else needs to know."
"She should be proud of who she is," Brittany retorted, again almost immediate with her response. "It is a part of who she is, a big part, so she should be proud."
"She's gone eighteen years without ever once bringing this up. It doesn't need to be said."
Brittany watched the woman as her breathing became rushed, angered. She watched as she clenched her fists on the table before herself, a rage within her that Brittany recalls seeing in the younger Lopez. "Did you know that I found her once, just watching herself in the mirror and crying? She was just sat on the floor, looking at herself and crying. She could hardly breathe," Brittany recalls the memory, remembering the feeling of panic when she had found her, and the feeling of sadness when she had clocked the girls view to the mirror and scooped her up into her arms. "It was the morning after the first time we kissed."
The older woman's eyes closed tightly, a sharp intake of breath following. Hearing it said out loud only made it all the more real, made her denial much more difficult to maintain.
"She's hated herself for so long because of this, and now she's finally realising how awesome she is but you're making her do it again. She cried all last night, like she used to."
"She cries because of the sin, not because of me," the quick reply came, old tired eyes looking straight at Brittany. "You have both lost your way. The moment she realizes the mistakes that she is making is the moment that she will be allowed back into this house."
Brittany frowned. She didn't understand how someone could think that way. Santana had told her parents - all be it over the phone and in completely different states – and they had accepted it. They had told her that her life was her choice, and though Brittany had clearly seen over the past year that none of this was Santana's 'choice' at all, it was a much better reaction than this. "I'm not going to stop loving her."
"You don't love her. You're," she paused, shaking her head, "...confused."
"I've never been more sure of anything." Brittany held her gaze, staring straight into her eyes with the deep blue of her own. "I love Santana. I love her more than I've ever loved anyone, and more than anyone will ever love her in the future. I get confused about a lot of things, but I've never been confused about that."
Silence fell upon them again, both just holding the others hard stare, both trying to fight their battle without words.
"I would like you to leave, please."
Brittany didn't look away, didn't even flinch. "Sending me away won't send any of this away. It's not going to change."
"We're forever. One day we're going to get married, and she's going to want her grandma there. And one day we're going to have babies, and she's going to want them to know you. If you send her away now then you send her away forever, because none of this will change. I'm not going to stop loving her, even if she does try to push me away again. I couldn't even if I tried."
The older woman took a breath, her eyes closed and head down turned.
Brittany stood from her seat, moving around and pushing it back in to the table gently. She watched the other woman for a long moment before she sighed, looking down. "I don't want you to make her choose between her family and me..." she closed her eyes, her hands wringing together. "I don't think she would be able to take it."
It was a few moments of silence before Brittany made another move, walking towards the doorway again.
"How long was this going on?" he voice halted her, though she didn't turn. She listened to the uneven breaths and sharp pauses, waiting patiently and figuring that the woman had something else to add. "How long were the two of you..." she mumbled something in Spanish that Brittany didn't understand before sighing heavily. "How long?"
Brittany turned, a soft smile on her lips. She shrugged, waiting for the woman to lift her solemn eyes and meet her own. "Forever."
The older woman didn't speak again, she didn't attempt to stop Brittany when she turned and headed for the door again, she didn't even move once she heard the door close softly. She didn't move at all, the realisation that they had been more then just the best friends that she thought they were for so many years, all under her roof. She remembered watching them and smiling, watching them playing together in the yard or baking in the kitchen as they got older, watching as Santana smudged small amounts of flour onto Brittany's nose and smiled wider than she had ever seen her granddaughter smile before. She remembered watching them with a smile of her own, watching how happy Brittany made her Santanita. She remembered admiring their friendship, their bond, their connection.
She had never realised, however, that all along she had simply been admiring their love.