Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with Glee. It's not my toy box and I'm merely playing.

A/N: There are two kisses between Santana and Dave in here, but this is a gen piece and mentions Santana's relationship with Brittany. Santana is at one point nearly having a panic attack and there is a lot of self loathing in this. This is angst.

Remembering How to Breathe:

Santana couldn't breathe. She'd dissolved into tears again and the panic was closing in on her until her chest ached. She wasn't strong enough to do this. She sobbed and hugged her knees tighter. It'd scared her when Finn had just outed her in the hallway, but no one had reacted, she'd thought she could play it off. She'd convinced herself everything would work out, that she'd squash any rumor, but that commercial…

She wanted Brittany, wanted to wrap herself around her girlfriend and hold on forever. Wanted Brittany to reassure her they'd weather this storm together, but Brittany wasn't here. She hadn't called Brittany. She hadn't wanted to upset her girlfriend, not when she was sobbing and incoherent. There was also the underlying fear that Brittany's parents would find out and forbid them from seeing one another.

She wanted her friends from Glee, but she'd pushed them all away. There had been mean words, snide comments and then leaving and taking Brittany with her. Would they tell her she got what she deserved?

She sobbed harder. How were there tears left? Shouldn't she have sobbed herself into a stupor by now?

She whimpered slightly as Dave hauled her into his lap. He tilted her head up, "Sorry."

"Startled me," she managed as the tears choked her again. She still couldn't believe she managed to get the whole story out to him after she'd hidden herself in his old tree house. She couldn't believe he hadn't run off to make sure there wasn't going to be any fallout for him. Instead he was holding her close and rocking her as she sobbed. There were no hollow words or promises, just his arms around her as they rocked back and forth.

"I suck," she whimpered.

"You don't," he reassured as his arms tightening their hold. They continued to rock in silence, until her crying slowed and she was simply drawing ragged breaths. She wanted bravado, wanted to push him away, but was exhausted. She closed her eyes and snuggled down against his chest. She wanted not to need anyone, but she needed the comfort of being told she was still cared for.

"Shouldn't you hate me?"

"No," Dave told her.

"I blackmailed you," she reminded and then held her breath, waiting for him to shove her away.

He hauled her just that bit closer, "I got to make up with Kurt. I got the chance to apologize. I didn't deserve it and I wouldn't have gotten that without you."

Santana leaned back enough to take him in and frowned, "Finn was supposed to offer so you could join New Directions. He said you refused."

She was going to hurt Finn. She wanted to hurt him.

Dave shook his head, "It would've been bad. I was the person who'd made him feel so unsafe he had to leave and Finn wanted to take me to the place he'd gone to feel safe again. You don't do that to a person."

"Finn is so stupid!" Santana growled as she worked out what he meant.

Dave cupped her face and shook his head at her growing anger. Their eyes met and Santana felt herself deflate, she was so tired and Dave clearly wasn't going to help her verbally bash Finn. Instead Dave used his thumbs to wipe the last of her tears away then told her, "He has his moments."

"He ruined my life!"

"You don't know that yet," Dave tried.

"Yeah?" she managed, "I don't see you running to your parents."


She closed her eyes tightly, gripped his wrists so he wouldn't let go off her and tried to push down the tears that threatened to bubble to the surface again, "I'm not strong enough for this."

"Yes, you are."

"I'm not," she choked, "I'm weak. I'm horrible. I'm a bitch. I probably fucking…"

"Stop," he told her.

She glared at him, "I probably fucking deserve every bad thing…"


"E-every bad thing that'll ever be wished on…"

"No, I refuse to believe that," he told her, eyes intense in a way she wasn't used to seeing. It shut her down into silence. She wasn't sure what else to say, even though the thoughts kept coursing through her. The pain she'd go through. The people she'd lose. How alone she'd end up. The hatred she knew was coming her way. The underlying fear that she deserved it.

His lips were gentle, chapped slightly, but comforting. He meant it as a reassurance she realized as they moved slowly into kissing. They hadn't done this once while dating, quick pecks in the hallway if they'd felt it was needed, but never actual kissing. It surprised her how much it calmed her.

She closed her eyes as he pulled away and told her, "You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be safe. You deserve to be loved."

His words caused the ache to come back, the panic to rise in her throat. She realized she couldn't hear another word and cut him off with her lips, made a frustrated noise and kissed him hard, demanding and he let her. For a moment she thought about trying to take more, of pushing them both into forgetting the pain, but she wasn't able to. She knew before the thought even finished processing that it wasn't an option.

She wasn't going to cheat on Brittany. She loved Brittany. Did two kisses for comfort count as cheating?

Dave wasn't interested. She was kissing down into his mouth, pressed full body against him and if he'd been the least bit turned on she'd have felt it. He wasn't. She wasn't either. She pulled away and leaned her head against his shoulder, cursing softly.

"You are really fucking gay," she sighed as she settled back into his lap.

He brushed the hair off her face, "Yeah, I know."

She couldn't help the self deprecating smile, "Me too."

Their eyes met again.

"The only guy I've ever been attracted to was Puck," she admitted, "And I kept telling myself I couldn't be gay if I could get turned on by him."

"That explains a lot," he told her.

She wasn't sure if she wanted to laugh or cry and instead she closed her eyes, punched his shoulder and told him, "You're supposed to come up with some girl that confused the hell out of you."

"Don't have one."

"That sucks."

Dave laughed, "At this point it really does, but..."

He trailed off into a shrug. Santana couldn't help but smirk then. She drew in a short breath and then another. She pulled her phone out of her pocket, thought of the people she wanted to talk to and put the phone away. There would be time later. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around Dave as she reminded herself how to breathe.