A/N: Well it's been almost a year since I've posted anything and I apologize. I've been crazy busy for the last 10 odd months. BUT I've been dying to write again so here you go. This is full out AU and while I may make some parallels to the show, I'm pretty sure this is going to be spoiler free.
I must say however, that the plot for this story came from a short music and film project I'm helping a friend work on for a class next semester. Anyway, the idea evolved and she gave me permission to write something on the side. Unlike SofF, this is a WIP so let me know what you think! Feel free to follow me on tumblr (link in profile) for updates and news and to see the promo image for this story (which gives a little hint about the plot).
Title comes from the song off Florence and The Machine's new album, Ceremonials. If you haven't listened to it, I suggest you do =)
Happy New Year and Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: I own nothing of Glee or Florence. Just borrowing.
Los Angeles, March 17, 2025. 5:42 pm.
Santana slammed her back against the concrete after rounding a corner at full speed, her breaths coming in heavy pants as she tried to calm her heart beat. She couldn't help but chuckle to herself thinking all the years of kickboxing and intense cardio workouts finally paid off. She was certain her body would have broken down by now otherwise. It didn't stop the tingling she felt return to her fingertips while her leg twitched almost violently but she continued panting and clutched her satchel to her chest as the smile faded from her lips. She couldn't lose it; no matter how long they chased her nor how fast she ran, the contents of that bag were the difference between life and death for the brunette.
She was barely able to rest for a minute before the twitching became too much. She had to keep moving, so she inched towards the entrance of the alley and peered out into the busy main street of K-town. They had found her before she had made it to the bus depot in one of her many attempts to finally make it out of LA. For eight days she had been on the run and she was now beginning to think it was all for nothing. There were more of them than Holly had ever expected. LAX had been out of the question from day one and Santana still had the bandage wrapped around her arm where the bullet had grazed her. Speaking of which, she really needed to get that looked at.
After glancing around and spotting no sign of the men who had been chasing her, Santana decided it was safe enough to keep moving and stepped out into the hustle and bustle of the street. She made sure to pull the hood of her jacket up to shade her face, particularly her eyes. They would know it was her if they just saw her eyes. Sneaky bastards too because they looked like everyone else, but she had to risk it - the depot was only a few blocks away and she couldn't stay here anymore.
Before reaching the bus station she made a point to conceal the satchel inside her jacket, zipping it up as high as it would go. Better safe than sorry, after all. Santana walked up to the ticket vendor where there was already a small line of people, only to be packed in by others coming up behind her. The line moved slowly but eventually she made it to the window.
"How can we help you, Dr. Lopez?" the vendor asked almost too kindly.
Santana reached towards her back pocket to dig out her wallet, "One ticket to…" she paused and looked up, realizing the vendor had addressed her by name. "Shit."
"Oh, we're very sorry… seems like there are no more tickets for that bus," the man in the booth said with a sickening grin.
The short brunette felt a hand drop down on her shoulder and a large presence make itself known behind her.
"I would suggest you come quietly, as to not make a scene, of course," a gruff voice from behind her right ear said.
Santana felt her right arm twitch much like her leg had earlier. She cursed herself, laughing for thinking it would have been that easy. Shaking her head, she answered the man behind her, "So what? You can kill me somewhere else? I like my chances out here better."
The grip on her shoulder tightened as the vendor started laughing at her. He simply shook his head and turned the sign on his side of the booth from open to closed.
And then it was back to slow motion, something Santana hadn't really gotten the hang of yet. But it was literally as though everyone around her started moving at a snail's pace except for her. The tingle in her finger returned and a shot of pain flashed down her back but before she knew what was happening, her right arm shot up and blocked the man behind her from putting her in a choke hold. She whipped around and managed to elbow him in the back before taking off as fast as her legs would carry her away from the bus depot.
As she ran, things began to return to their natural pace and soon she was acutely aware of the shouts and footsteps gaining on her from behind. As fast as she could run, the speed barely lasted and each time she pushed herself further, the pain that surged through her body was greater afterwards.
But she continued running, pushing her limbs as fast as fast as they could go, feeling the tendons in her knees and joints burning. She had no idea where she was running to now. She had nowhere left to go as the illuminated signs of drycleaners, supermarkets and Korean BBQ places blurred past her. In a final attempt to lose her pursuers she ducked down an alley way and around a corner.
In the split second she took to look over her shoulder to make sure she hadn't been followed, she found herself colliding with a chain linked fence.
"Fuck," Santana panted, punching the concrete where she had collapsed before getting up and gripping the fence in front of her. A dead end. She shook the metal in front of her in fury before looking around and taking in her surroundings. Spotting a door to her left she ran over and tried to open it, only finding it locked.
"No way out, Santana… guess this is where it finally ends, isn't it?"
She slammed her head against the locked door and felt her shoulders drop in defeat.
"Or you could just join us… we could use another brilliant mind like yours, once you're cured of course," she heard another man state.
Santana pushed herself off the door and turned to face the handful of men that stood between her, her freedom and her life.
"I would rather die," she stated firmly, "before helping you."
"That could be easily arranged," said the man who had been in the vendor's booth earlier, as he checked the bullets in his clip before loading it into his handgun with a click. "Just like how everything else was arranged."
Santana couldn't help but laugh, "Yeah, and look how that worked out for you."
The man sneered and raised his gun, aiming it at Santana, "I think it's finally time we clean up our mess boys, don't you think? Don't want to disappoint Dr. Abrams now do we?"
"Tell Dr. Abrams he can burn in hell," Santana snapped back, "I have no regrets."
"I'll be sure to pass on the message," the man said before pulling the trigger.
For them it happened fast, but for Santana it took forever as her eyes narrowed in and locked onto the bullet. Following its trajectory, she dipped her left shoulder back, her head following suit until she felt her whole body twisting around as the sound of the bullet ricocheting off the chain link echoed in her head. She found herself lying stomach down against the cracked concrete when she heard the roar of a motorcycle engine and the cursing from the man who fired the gun only seconds earlier.
Glancing up, she saw the black and blue bike screeching to a halt just feet from her head and the men that had previously been blocking her path scrambling to get up from where they dove out of the way of the rogue biker.
"Get on! Hurry!" Santana heard from above her. This voice was not coarse or hard like those of the men before her. This voice was beautiful.
She had only a split second to glance up and lock gazes with the fire-blue eyes from behind the visor of the rider in front of her before heaving herself off the ground and lurching for the bike. Santana barely had a chance to throw her leg over the seat and settle behind the biker before they were peeling away.
"Hold on tight!" the confident voice warned her. Heeding the advice, Santana wrapped her arms around the mysterious figure, pressing her front to the back of the rider as they swerved out of the alley. Santana heard shots being fired as her savior cursed in a hushed tone in front of her, turning on a pin to round the last corner before heading out into the crowded street.
Santana's body was humming from the adrenaline and the rush from dodging the bullet; her finger tips tingled but she didn't twitch away. Instead she tightened her grip around the stranger in front of her and felt her satchel press up against her chest where she had stored it before the incident at the depot. Even though she had no idea who had saved her or where she was going, for the first time in eight days Santana breathed a sigh of relief and rested her head against the strong shoulders in front of her.
"Don't worry," she heard over the revving of the beast below them. "I've got you."
They rode for what felt like forever, but even Santana knew it couldn't have been that long. Her new-found driver seemed to be an expert at weaving in and out of traffic and staying off the highways. It must have been past 6 by now and Santana knew the 405 would definitely be packed. Instead, she managed to catch glimpses of houses and palm trees as they darted through back roads and alley ways, obviously making sure they weren't followed. Eventually, the sound of boom boxes playing and the smell of salt water provoked Santana into raising her head from where it had been buried against the driver's black riding jacket.
She managed to see the grey sand and stands selling Jamaican colored paraphernalia before they turned down a small alley behind a low, two-story building with a stall for medical marijuana out front. They came to a stop but before Santana could dismount she felt a hand covering hers and the bike begin to move backwards.
"Don't let go yet," her savior chuckled as the bike was steered backwards into a small garage Santana hadn't noticed earlier. Only once they found themselves completely within the small enclosure did the mysterious person in front of her let go of her hands. There was a small pat on her fingers which remained grasped around the waist of the person sitting in front of her and Santana understood it as a signal to release the death grip her hands had found themselves in.
The driver dismounted and Santana slowly slipped off the bike to take in her new surroundings, her left hand clutching at the sack concealed beneath her jacket.
She looked around the small room before her eyes landed on the driver looking out the entrance, inspecting the alley. "Are we at…" she started, only to be interrupted by the figure in front of her.
"Venice Beach? Yeah," the figure finished, turning around to face Santana. The helmet was still on, but the visor had been turned up and Santana was able to lock onto the fiery blue eyes of her savior once again. "We're safe for now… wow you are even more beautiful than the first time I saw you."
Santana was taken aback at the bluntness of the statement, "Excuse me? I'm sorry, have we met before? Who are you?" she asked, suddenly feeling very nervous.
"Oh, sorry," the driver said as gloved hands reached and gripped at the riding helmet before lifting it up and off, releasing a mane of blonde that had apparently been hidden underneath. "Special Agent, Brittany S. Pierce, at your service," the blonde stated with a grin, placing her helmet under one arm and extending the other towards Santana in greeting.
Santana stood stock still, mouth slightly agape as she took in the sight before her. She felt her right hand twitch in recognition of the extended hand in front of her but made no move to take it. There was no denying that the girl who stood before her, Brittany, a Special Agent for all intents and purposes, was the most beautiful being Santana had ever seen.
Brittany giggled and took a few steps in Santana's direction until she was close enough to reach down and gently lift Santana's hand until they were shaking gently in greeting. "Yeah, way more beautiful and pretty adorable too," Brittany stated, her own blue eyes staring intently into Santana's, "that's okay though. I don't mind."
Santana blinked rapidly under the blonde's gaze, eyes shifting down to where their hands remained connected but no longer moved before drifting back up to Brittany's eyes. "Wh… what? You know who I am? How? Have we met?" She stammered.
"Well I would say we just met, wouldn't you?" Brittany said in a teasing tone.
"Yes," Santana answered narrowing her eyes at the blonde, "But not before?"
Brittany giggled, "No, technically not before." There was a definite warmth coming from their clasped hands, a new tingling sensation Santana hadn't felt before. It was calming.
"Then how do you know who I am? Wait… you rescued me! From those men! Have you been following me?" Santana began to panic and the calming warmth from where Brittany's hand held hers became too much and she jumped away, snatching her hand back.
"I… well sort of. Ever since the explosion at the lab, I've been trying to find you."
Santana's eyes narrowed, "who are you?"
"I already told you, silly," Brittany answered, moving to place her helmet on the handle bars of the bike.
"Yes… I mean no… I mean, but what's your deal then?" Santana asked warningly.
Brittany sighed and threw a smile at Santana over her shoulder before leaning against her bike, "Let's just say I've been in charge of investigating the work of one, Dr. Arthur Abrams for the last few years."
"I don't work for Dr. Abrams," Santana replied sharply.
"No," Brittany replied with a sly smile. "You work for Dr. Holliday. Or worked, rather," she finished with a pout.
Santana continued to look at Brittany in disbelief, wondering how someone like her had suddenly come into the picture. She had been working with Dr. Holliday for years and she had no recollection of this girl that stood before her now. But staring into Brittany's eyes she felt a white hot flash shoot up her spine and explode behind her left ear. She gripped at her head as she yelped in pain, her vision going white and seeing a pair of fiery blue eyes before everything went black.
"Santana!" she heard someone yelling her name, "Santana, wake up!" blinking in the dim light of the garage as the sun stooped low on the horizon, Santana managed to focus her eyes on the same blue ones she had seen seconds before.
"Do I know you?" Santana asked breathlessly, more to herself than to the blonde leaning over her.
Brittany giggled and helped lift Santana up off the ground where she had apparently fallen, "You're strange," she said softly.
Santana glared up at the blonde in confusion and sucked in a breath when she saw Brittany lift her hand and move it towards her face.
Pale fingers threaded through her hair and brushed it back behind her ear before coming to rest on the skin at her temple. Santana didn't have to ask what Brittany was looking at; even in the pale light of the garage she was certain the marks on her face were obvious.
Brittany traced the vein-like pattern with her fingers before cupping her cheek in her palm and moving her eyes towards Santana's.
"You're eye… its…" the words faded on her tongue and Santana closed her eyes, willing the tears not to come. "It's beautiful."
Santana laughed gently, the warmth of Brittany's palm causing her to lean into the touch. She slowly opened her eyes and stared at the girl in front of her, "Well aren't you the charmer," she managed to get out, reaching up and removing Brittany's hand from her face. "Not every day you get a battle scar like that now, do you?"
Brittany's brow furrowed in confusion, "What happened to you that day, Santana?"
Santana moved her gaze away from the blonde in front of her, her right hand coming up to run through her disheveled hair.
"I guess you don't know everything then, do you? Listen… I've had a long day. I don't even know if I can trust you," Santana laughed, "but I'm almost too tired to care at this point."
Brittany squeezed her hand a little tighter, "You can trust me, San. Can I call you San?"
Santana's gaze pulled back towards Brittany and a small smile played on her lips. There was something about the girl in front of her that she couldn't put her finger on, but she would be kidding herself if she said she didn't feel safe in her presence. She nodded gently in response.
"Then sleep now, I'll tell you everything I know in the morning," Brittany smiled and said simply.
"We can stay here?" Santana asked.
"Yeah, we should be safe here until morning," Brittany explained as she turned towards a set of dusty stairs in the corner, gently pulling on Santana's hand.
Santana allowed herself to be led upstairs until they reached a small room with a musty looking double against the far wall and a desk pushed up against a window that overlooked the Pacific. The sun was in its final descent, sending streaks of light across the floor boards.
"You can have the bed," Brittany motioned across the room. "I'll keep watch and stay over here." She said, walking towards the desk by the window.
Santana nodded and padded her way over to the bed, unzipping her jacket and shrugging it off her shoulders. She removed her satchel but didn't put it down and instead brought it with her as she flopped against the comforter. Clinging to the bag she felt the metal box it held and pushed it tighter into her chest.
Opening her eyes one last time, she scanned the room until they landed on Brittany by the window as she stared out at the last of the shoppers wandering along the boardwalk below, the last of the sun's rays casting her in a stunning glow of gold. "Brittany?" Santana whispered.
The blonde turned towards her and smiled warmly, "Yeah, San?"
"Thank you," was all she managed before she drifted off into a fitful sleep.