A/N: I meant to get this out last night so sorry for the slight delay. I'm trying to get the next chapter done asap and then one more after that. Thank you for all the reviews last chapter, I'm very curious to know what you all think of this one. I'm not sure I'm 100% satisfied and it isn't what I had originally planned when I wrote the outline for it months ago so I guess we'll see...
Lima, Ohio, April 1, 2025. 5:32 pm
The smell of the grass was familiar, but not in a welcoming way, similar to the sound of a whistle blowing and the shouts of the girls on the field in front of them, red and white uniforms swaying in the young spring air.
It put Santana on edge, even more than she already was.
She heard shuffling behind her but didn't react to it. Santana knew it was just Brittany, she could feel her presence radiating off of her, and didn't flinch or lash out when she felt two strong arms wrap around her from behind.
"I always hated being on that squad," Santana said, voice dry and unemotional. "It made leaving so much easier after… you know."
She continued to watch the girls practice between the slits in the bleachers they were taking refuge under. After waking up that morning, they found themselves once more with nowhere to hide.
Brittany had called Sylvester like she said she would and was glad to hear that more agents would be arriving later that day. While it was a comforting thought, Santana still convinced Brittany to go back to McKinley, claiming it was probably safer to be close by than running away at that point. Either way it would have been a risk, so Santana figured if they were near the school during regular hours, New Directions was less likely to make a scene.
They had been hiding under the bleachers for hours already. It allowed Santana to watch the old routine of her high school days from a distance, dreading when she would have to set foot inside the halls once more. But the waiting was deafening and starting to cause Santana actual physical pain the more she kept her body at bay.
She took to forcing herself to focus on little things, after she almost took out a squirrel that happened to run out from where they were hiding. Much like how she was counting the steps the cheerleaders took, memorizing their routines from afar or how she focused on the sound of Brittany's heartbeat and how it varied every time she got closer to her agent.
Brittany nodded her head from where it rested against Santana's shoulder, swaying back and forth slightly.
The movement helped sooth Santana's racing heart. It helped sooth the frantic images of what could be happening to her parents and it helped sooth the blood rushing through her veins.
Brittany lifted her head and bumped Santana's ear with her nose.
"I think I just realized that we're under the bleachers," the blonde said, a laugh on the tip of her tongue.
Santana furrowed her eyebrows, "Yeah, Britt. We've been under here for quite some time, rather unfortunately if I might add. How much longer?" She could hear the frustration coming from her lips but she was getting tired of waiting. All she got from Brittany was a chuckle in response.
"What do you say, beautiful" Brittany said, turning her lips in to brush against Santana's ear, "Wanna skip class and make out under the bleachers?"
Santana couldn't help the small shiver that traveled down her spine at Brittany's lips against her ear but the blonde's words weren't what she was expecting. As wonderful as the idea seemed, Santana was in no mood for the joking tone in Brittany's voice.
She groaned against her blonde, "Agent Pierce."
Brittany just laughed it off and pulled back slightly before turning Santana in her arms.
"I'm just kidding, San," she said with a large grin, "maybe." The playful wink was enough to cause Santana to slap her arm and push away.
She knew Brittany was trying to lighten her mood. It was obvious the girl was just as nervous as she was, if her blatant and obvious attempts at flirting were any indignation.
"Come on, Britt, it isn't funny," Santana said with a huff.
"Don't deny you love it," Brittany said, sauntering closer to Santana and causing the brunette to roll her eyes.
"The problem is, you know I do, but please?" Santana asked as Brittany brought their bodies together again. She hoped the agent would understand it wasn't helping her nerves.
The groan came from Brittany that time as she let her forehead fall against Santana's.
"You're no fun," the Special Agent said.
"I am too," Santana said, "Usually. But not much room for fun right now, Britt."
Brittany sighed, relenting, but not before leaning in and stealing a long and much needed sweet kiss to which Santana instantly gave in. When Brittany pulled back, Santana's mind was slightly foggier than before.
"You're right, sorry. Besides, I wanted to give you this," Brittany said, pulling back and holding up the watch she always wore.
Santana lifted her eyes to look at Brittany quizzically.
"It's a tracking device. They give all the agents one," Brittany said, answering Santana's silent question. "I want you to take it, just in case we get separated."
"What? What about you?" Santana asked, looking at the small device.
"I'll be okay," Brittany said with a firm and reassuring jaw.
"Brittany," Santana said with a warning tone.
"Please, San?" Her agent asked. "Just take it, okay? You need it more than I do."
Santana held Brittany's pleading gaze, eyes flicking back and forth between the blonde's blue ones before finally lifting her wrist slowly. Brittany smiled warmly at her and took her wrist in her hand, turning it over before adjusting the strap securely around it.
She whipped out her phone and tapped on the screen a few times before a map popped up. Holding the phone out to Santana, Brittany said, "See, there you are."
Santana peered down at the screen, a blipping red dot clearly showing their position by the McKinley High football field. Brittany tapped the screen again and zoomed in, pinpointing their position under the bleachers.
"Now I'll never lose you," Brittany said quietly, voice deep and low.
Santana moved her eyes away from the device in Brittany's hand and looked up at her agent. The warn leather band of the watch against her wrist felt warm with a double meaning. It made her feel safe in more than one way.
"Thank you," Santana whispered before leaning up to capture Brittany's lips in hers.
Practice was over. Santana could hear the cheerleaders making their way over to the bleachers and back towards the school. She could feel their presence as they walked past them unknowing and she could hear their heavy footfalls against the track that surrounded the field. But Santana let them pass and focused her lips against Brittany's, applying the perfect amount of pressure and pull to allow their lips to work together.
At least that was until she heard the distinct cock of a pistol from somewhere behind her agent.
"Don't move, or your blonde girlfriend gets it, Dr. Lopez."
Their lips froze against each other's, something falling to the pit of Santana's stomach. She pulled back slowly, feeling the heat that escaped from between their lips as they parted and opened her eyes to see fear-filled blue ones.
Santana didn't know how she hadn't heard them. She didn't know how she hadn't felt them approaching. But then it hit her and she simply cursed herself for focusing on Brittany instead of the ruckus the passing students had been making. And now they were standing under the bleachers with a gun firmly planted against the base of Brittany's neck and no way to get out of it.
A million thoughts passed through Santana's head, many of which consisted of different scenarios she could possibly create to get them out of the new situation. She was fast enough, she knew she was, but looking into Brittany's eyes she knew she couldn't risk it. While her life seemed expendable, Brittany's was not. The slight nod from Brittany for consent was enough to convince Santana that their hands were tied.
Santana nodded slowly back at Brittany.
"Good," the man said, "Now then, we have someone who wants to see you."
She felt a rough grip against the back of her neck as another man pushed her from behind, past Brittany and towards the school in the distance. After recovering from stumbling, Santana risked a glance back at her agent.
Brittany had her hands raised slightly, showing her surrender as she was hunched forward slightly, no doubt from the gun that was still pressed to the back of her neck. Santana watched as her body relaxed by the slightest bit as the gun was lowered to a more concealed position and the hammer returned to its unarmed place.
She felt herself twitch at the opportunity but caught herself. They were too close. At least the barrel wasn't being pressed against Brittany's neck anymore.
Santana waited, standing as tall as she could until Brittany was forced towards the school as well, only turning to walk towards the building once they were side by side again. The blonde's arms dropped back to her sides as she was pushed forward. Santana might not have been in control of the situation, but she would do everything in her power to maintain some sort of dominance over the men holding them hostage.
As they approached the familiar structure, Santana couldn't help but slow her pace just slightly, dreading what lay within the walls. She reached out and grabbed a couple of Brittany's fingers that were hanging limply by her side, not wanting to risk grasping the blonde's whole hand just yet. Relief and comfort rushed through her body when she felt Brittany's fingers curl against hers ever so slightly. It was enough to cover the snickering of the men around them.
Walking through the doors was almost surreal. Santana had been avoiding the hallways of this building for years, focusing everything on her studies and wishing deep in her mind that she never had to return to this place. Yet there she was, standing in the entranceway with her unexpected love and death in her veins. It hurt in more ways than one as the cold radiated off of the red-metal lockers around them.
Brittany's fingers gripped hers a little tighter as though she knew exactly what Santana was thinking. It wouldn't surprise Santana if she did, her agent could sense her just as much as Santana could sense her.
Brown eyes fell on the banners that lined the walls, many of which were hanging limply and forgotten, as they took their first step into the building. The hallways were empty, Santana figuring it was late enough in the day for the extracurriculars to be over. While she silently hoped for a stray cheerleader or some over-zealous teacher to pop out and break up their convoy, she realized it was just wishful thinking. All the students from the field seemed to have dissipated and it seemed like her idea of hiding closer to the enemy turned out to be the wrong idea after all. Santana was left cursing herself for not finding somewhere safer to stay until help arrived.
The walk down the hall seemed to take them forever. Perhaps time was finally playing on Santana's team, giving back some of what had been stolen from her. When they reached the crossroads and turned left, Santana knew where they were headed. It was a path that she had walked down numerous times before.
They got about halfway down the next hall when Santana felt her feet stop. She wasn't sure what had caused the sudden halt but it just felt normal, as though she had expected to do it. Brittany's voice could be heard faintly over her muddled thoughts, as well as the dull prodding against her back. She shook her head, trying to clear it before looking around to gather her bearings.
When her eyes fell on a certain four digit number, it made everything seem even more real. It was just a locker number; Santana didn't understand why it was making her stop. But she stared back at her old unit, just as though she was going to walk over and take the worn dial in her fingers and twist.
The faint sound of music drifting through the air broke Santana's trance. The noise echoed and coiled around in the pit of her stomach and she felt her fingers clench tighter against Brittany's.
Brittany furrowed her eyebrows slightly, not pulling her hand back from the constriction grip Santana was putting on it but leaning back slightly to get a better look at her. Santana let her eyes roam over Brittany's face before she was prodded unkindly in the back once more.
"Keep moving, Doctor."
Santana tensed slightly, letting out a huff before tearing her eyes away from Brittany's and continuing down her path towards the last door on the left one painfully slow step at a time.
As they got closer, the sound grew stronger; a distinguishable voice lifting above the soft acoustics of a piano. They didn't enter the room when they reached the choir room door, at least not fully. Santana should have figured this would be the one club still left this late on a school night. She didn't expect any less. The sound of his voice was sickening to Santana's ears as she watched the students in front of her listen to the teacher perform.
She made sure to zone out the words to the song, not wanting to know what he was polluting into the minds of the teenagers in front of him. Glee club had been one of her favorite things and she remembered a time when she was in their place. But even then she had seen through his fake guise and known him for what he really was: a terrible and disrespectful teacher.
Some of the students had taken notice to them where they were standing in the doorway. Santana could almost hear their whispers and feel their pointing fingers. It didn't stop the performance, however and Santana found herself drifting closer and closer to her agent, feeling the need for her protection in any manner possible.
Somewhere in the back of her mind Santana registered that the music had ended, enveloping the room in a tense silence. She blinked once, refocusing on the room around her and looked up to be met with a sly and sickening grin.
"Ah! Santana, we were hoping you would join us today," he said, standing up and walking towards them. "Actually, we were expecting you yesterday. But I heard you ran into a little bit of trouble along the way?"
His hand reached out and gripped at her right forceps. The contact instantly made her skin burn and she tried not to hiss in pain. She applied only the slightest resistance when he pulled her forward, not wanting to let go of Brittany's hand and be left without the guard of her agent. The slight cough from one of the men behind her forced her to move her feet though and soon her fingers were slipping out of Brittany's as she was being pulled further into the room by Mr. William Schuester.
"The kids have been dying to meet one of my famous past students," the man said lowly for only Santana to hear.
Santana looked up nervously as her eyes sought out those of the teenagers that filled the chairs across from her. They were all staring at her with quizzical gazes, questioning her presence and those of the people standing in the doorway behind them. She glanced back at Brittany and took in her tall and strong posture. Santana had hoped the gun pressed to her agent's back would be visible to the students that lined the wall but she could tell it would be impossible at their angle. Her eyes pulled away and focused on the floor in front of her so she wouldn't trip on her own feet as she shuffled further into the room.
Their eyes continued following her, drilling holes into her head until she was pulled to a halt directly centered in front of her audience. She could feel the veins pulsing in her neck.
"Guys, I want you all to meet someone very… special," Mr. Schuester said, the tone of his voice distorting slightly on the last word in a way Santana couldn't read. It was almost as though he was being sincere.
"This is my good friend, ex-student and fellow alumna, Doctor Santana Lopez." A few of the students in front of them clapped slowly while others continued to stare at her judgmentally.
"I am not your friend," Santana hissed, trying to subtly remove her arm from the man's grasp. She must have said it louder than expected because whatever light clapping had started, abruptly ended as soon as the words left her mouth.
Will stared at her, eyes hard and threatening before letting go of her arm and smiling sweetly at her.
"Santana was in the Glee club during her stay at McKinley. She had the most amazing voice."
Santana furrowed her eyebrows, still holding her ex-teacher's eyes, feeling increasingly uncomfortable as he did the same.
"So what do you do now?"
Santana blinked, taken aback by the sudden question and turned to find the student who had asked it.
"I-I'm sorry?" She stuttered, more-so to delay answering the kid. The last thing she wanted to do was talk about her life in front of these strangers.
Mr. Schuester smiled at her again, catching it out of the corner of her eye before repeating the question. "James was asking what you do for a living, Santana. Why don't you take a seat and talk to them."
His hand was on her lower back, pushing her into the four-legged bar stool in front of the room shortly after. It stung even through the layers of clothing against her skin.
"I'd rather not," Santana gritted through her teeth.
"Oh, I think you would love to," William said, giving her a final push towards the stool.
Santana eyed it apprehensively until finally giving in and sitting down on the edge, ready to move if need be. She glanced back at Brittany whose steel-blue eyes were hard and calculated and watched as the blonde gave the smallest of nods while holding her gaze. Her eyes flicked over to her old teacher one last time, hating the stupid smile on his face before turning to face the students.
"Uh, I'm a scientist," Santana said, wincing at the awkward manor in which the words rolled off her tongue in an effort to keep her description short and concise. "A researcher," she added to be more exact.
"So you make pills and stuff," another boy asked, head perking up a little too much for Santana's liking. She narrowed her eyes at him before answering.
"N-no, I'm not that type of researcher. Nor do I work for any large-profit generating biotech company that produces your medication." She said, glaring at the students, feeling as though she was calling them out for being part of the overprescribed throng of children that had been arising over the last decade.
"Sooo… what do you do then?"
It was a girl that time and Santana cleared her throat. "I'm a neuroscientist. A, uh, neruo-chemist actually."
The students were silent for a while and it put Santana on edge. She longed to glance over at Brittany but didn't want to draw any attention to the others in the room. So she stayed silent and waited for what felt like an eternity but only ended up being less than thirty seconds. She was sure her body was playing tricks on her.
"So where do you work then?" It was the same kid that had started the current line of questioning, the one Mr. Schuester had referred to as James.
"UCLA," Santana answered slowly, wondering if the kids in front of her even knew where or what the acronym stood for. "Well… used to."
"What do you mean 'used to'? Did you get fired or something?" An overly snooty girl in the corner asked, looking up from her iPhone and eyeing Santana up and down.
"I was not," Santana said simply.
"Then why did you leave? Must be crazy to leave Los Angeles to come back to Lima, dude."
Santana studied the boy who had spoken, taking in his somewhat rough and rebellious demeanor. At least he knew what the last two letters stood for. She slowly turned towards her old teacher and looked him straight in the eyes as the words left her mouth, "Let's just say I was dying to get out."
She could see the man's jaw twitch and his teeth grinding together by the subtle movement of his chin while he held her gaze. Santana continued to stare back defiantly, allowing the awkward haze to settle over the choir room.
"I think that's enough for today, guys," Mr. Schuester said, finally breaking the silence but not his gaze. "I'm sure Santana is in need of a good rest. I heard she's had a long trip."
"What about her?"
Both their heads snapped up to fall on the girl with the out stretched hand. Santana followed its direction and swallowed hard when she saw it landing on Brittany.
Brittany seemed slightly taken aback at first but it was only there long enough for Santana to notice before she was answering in a practiced perfection. "I'm Brittany, I'm a Felinologist… I study cats."
Santana furrowed her eyes at Brittany's sudden and obscure answer. A quick glance towards her old teacher told her he was confused and doubtful of her answer as well.
"That's not a real profession," one of the students said.
Brittany simply shrugged, looking unfazed before countering, "Ask me anything about cats and I'm your girl. Ever watched My Cat from Hell?" When no one provided any sort of rebuttal Brittany simply smiled and winked at Santana. "Exactly."
Everyone is silent for a few moments after the agent stopped speaking. Even though she felt a smile tugging at the corner of her lips because of Brittany's answer, Santana still fidgeted nervously until William finally spoke up.
"Alright, guys. That's enough for one day. Remember to keep practicing the songs for the assignment next week."
Santana watched as the students nodded and shuffled around to get their belongings. A few of them glanced her way as they wandered past and she instantly picked up on the way they stared at her face a little longer than what would be considered acceptable. She couldn't bring herself to break away from their stares, holding each one defiantly as her old teacher followed them out of the choir room. She wondered what the assignment was.
Seconds later and Mr. Schuester had re-entered the classroom, stopping by where the men were holding Brittany in the corner. He looked at her agent, slow and calculated, running his eyes slowly up her body from her boots to her blue eyes before clucking his tongue.
"I must say I'm disappointed in you, Santana," William started saying. "You really did have such great talent, it's a shame you let it go to waste."
He turned his gaze away from Brittany, back towards Santana until he was staring at her unbroken.
"The world doesn't need more scientists, Santana. Money is being taken away from the arts and spent on training people to make smaller, faster and 'smarter' cell phones, computers etc," he said, waving his hand around erratically.
Santana scoffed, "You are such a fucking hypocrite, Schue. Science made those missiles you shot at innocent people…" She took a step towards the middle-aged man. "Science," she spoke, dropping her voice an octave and staring straight into Will's heartless eyes, "made that sick idea of a weapon that's coursing through my veins right now, and you're going to tell me that science doesn't matter?"
Will held her gaze, unwavering in Santana's attempt to show him that he held no control over her.
"Well it looks as though you have certainly failed at that profession too, Santana."
The words stung like a slap in the face, forcing Santana to blink. She felt her resolve dwindle even further.
"It seems as though you never really put effort into anything, Santana. You were always late and pushing your due dates when you were my student." He began walking around the room as he spoke, Santana's eyes following his movement over to the piano, fingers sliding silently over the white keys. He couldn't be more wrong about her. She had devoted her life to her research and towards her career. He had just been too blind to see it.
"I can't say I'm surprised that it took you so long to figure out where we were. They train you to think so…. Obscurely that you can't even see what's right in front of your face." He lifted his head and smiled sweetly at Santana before glancing back towards where Brittany and the other men stood in the corner.
"Let's not forget the fact that you're fucking this 'Felinologist' over here. Screwing the girl who was sent to protect you," William rolled his head back towards Santana. "Stooping pretty low, Doctor, don't you think?"
Santana wanted to smack him. She wanted nothing more than to stride across the dull linoleum, choir room floor and cause serious pain to the crude man standing by the piano. She could feel the hatred boiling in her blood: the tension surging through her nerves and making her twitch. But she knew she couldn't. A quick glance over at her agent showed her that Brittany hadn't moved her ground, staring unwavering at Mr. Schuester while the gun once again dug into the nape of her neck. So she swallowed thickly and dug her toes further into the soles of her boots.
She's had enough of this man disrespecting her life choices.
"Where are my parents, Schue." Santana stated, the words falling from her mouth as a demand rather than a question.
William's hand trailed over the black polished wood of the piano, watching the way his fingers left a trail of brief condensation in their wake before answering her.
"I'm sure they're at home, Santana. I haven't heard or spoken to your parents since before you left."
Santana gritted her teeth, her skin burning from the outright lie that poured from the man's mouth.
"Don't lie to me, Schue," Santana gritted through her teeth, fists clenching tightly together.
He must have noticed her urge to act and laughed in return, "Oh, Santana… you move and she dies," William stated firmly, smile falling from his face and jaw setting tightly. He held her gaze for a few seconds before grinning slightly at Santana. "It's a real shame you don't know where your parents are, Doctor. I'm guessing you don't call them very often, what with your big important job with Holliday. Silly woman."
"Don't call her that."
"Oh come on, Santana, we both knew it. How did you even end up with her anyway? Actually," Mr. Schuester stopped suddenly, grinning to himself before sitting down on the piano bench and lifting his ankle to rest on his thigh, "You should tell me about your journey, Santana. What happened after you left Lima?"
Santana bit her tongue. She wanted nothing more than to turn around and find Brittany's eyes with her own, knowing they would provide the comfort and guidance she desperately needed at the moment. She could feel the heat radiating off of Brittany's body, the electricity bouncing off her skin and she longed for the opportunity to make a move.
"Well?" He prompted.
She stood her ground, trying her best not to flinch towards her agent.
William sighed, feigning defeat and rising to his feet. "You always did have a problem listening to your superiors, Santana. We're teachers, we know more than you do."
The words caused something in her chest to snap and Santana found the ability to speak once more. "You are no teacher," she spat, "I know more about the real world than you ever will. You didn't even know the language you were trying to teach when I went here! I swear to god, or whoever is listening, that I will do everything in my power to make sure you go nowhere near children again. My children will never be taught by someone like you."
Another laugh ripped painfully through her ears. "You don't think you're actually ever going to have a family, do you Santana?"
He was out the door before Santana could retaliate against his words. Seconds later and she found herself and Brittany being herded out of the choir room and down the hall after him, her head still filled with the daze and confusion from Will's last comment. The words that had left her mouth had surprised her. Santana had never really thought about having a family, yet now on the dusk of her death she thought about a life she could have in the future.
Santana allowed herself to steal a glance in Brittany's direction only to see her grimacing as the gun pressed further into the back of her neck. Her cheeks began to grow hot.
Her head snapped forward when she heard Will sigh and laugh out shortly.
"Oh these hallways, don't you miss them Santana?" He held his hands up and allowed his fingers to trail over the metal of the lockers as they continued down the hall and around the corner.
"Haven't changed much. I find it quite nostalgic, don't you?"
"I think you've been here far too long, Schue," Santana snapped back, unable to hold the words in and shaking her head clear of any thoughts.
William threw a mocking smile at her over his shoulder before disappearing through a door Santana was certain had only been a janitor's closet when she was still in school.
"But I must say I've made a few… adjustments with our Nationals funds," William said once Santana had been pushed into the small room after him, Brittany clambering not far behind.
With one last smirk, Will opened the door that he had been standing next to, sliding a key in effortlessly and turning the knob. If he hadn't been standing there, Santana probably would have never noticed it. The small elevator that was on the other side, however, was noticeable and Santana felt the cold sweat start to accumulate on her brow.
"This way, Doctor," Will said derisively as he backed into the elevator. "Alice, you can come too, this rabbit hole is big enough for all of us," he said towards Brittany. Santana saw her agent's eyes scrunch in confusion and her hatred for her old teacher grew even more.
The way Will had been positioned in the elevator made it impossible to be comfortable. He stood directly in the middle of the back wall, forcing Brittany to flank his one side while Santana occupied the other. Santana was forced to catch Brittany's blue eyes across Will's face and memorize the way the barrel of the gun trailed slowly up and down the vein in her neck. She could see Brittany's elevated heart rate pulsing through her pale skin.
Once they had all been situated, Will's voice broke through the small compartment just as the door closed, "And I have some people who are dying to see you, Santana."
There was a lump in her throat that she couldn't swallow as the elevator moved down. She had anticipated seeing certain people again. It ended up being a short ride, with the lift coming to a stop after only a few seconds. When the doors opened Santana thought she might be sick and felt her knees begin to tremble in their effort not to give out.
"Especially one man in particular," Will said against her ear, referencing the figure standing on the other side of the doors.
She wanted to look at Brittany, she wanted to find comfort and strength in her eyes, but as she watched the slick grin of one Finn Hudson spread across his face, she could not tear her eyes away.
Her mind was instantly flooded with questions as she replayed their last encounter in her head. Santana remembered the force of the blow she had landed against the man in front of her. She remembered the blood.
While she played through everything in her mind, the image of the man outside of the elevator became drastically clearer. She could see the deep swelling to the right underside of his jaw, just under the neck brace that he donned. His smile was even more hideous than it had been before with the lopsided and disfigured appearance that his face had become. Santana felt a brief moment of pride surge through her when she wondered just how many teeth she had knocked out of his disgraceful face.
Santana finally found the strength to tear her eyes away from Finn and glance towards Brittany. Her skin was paler than usual, at least from what Santana could tell in the dim fluorescent lights of the new facility. Blue eyes were locked onto the overgrown man-child in front of them with such an intense portrayal of hate that it made Santana shiver in her spot.
But Finn didn't say anything. He simply grinned at them as though it was the most carefree thing in the world, leaving his eyes to linger on Santana longer than she felt necessary.
"You will have to forgive my man Finn here, ladies. It seems as though he had a run in with a few rogues. But we very much plan on putting them in their place, don't we, Finn?"
Santana watched as Finn nodded as best he could with the giant foam brace around his thick neck. He leaned slightly to one side causing Santana to notice the crutch he still supported himself with. She briefly wondered if that was the same one that she used to do a number on his face.
"Unfortunately for him though, I'm not letting him touch you, Santana. It's just going to be me and you, like old times." She shuttered internally at the hint of innuendo that dripped from his mouth. "I told him he could have your girlfriend though," Will said over his shoulder as he walked past them and down the long hallway in front of them. It led them away from the elevator and further into the bowels of McKinley. She felt a brick settle in her stomach as the blood drained from her face.
Santana didn't even realize her feet were moving, her mind still fogged with Will's words. She felt bile rise in her throat, not even caring what was in store for her but simply over imagining Finn's hands against Brittany's skin. Touching her. Feeling her. Causing her pain. She thought she was going to be sick and desperately searched for Brittany's eyes.
When she caught them she saw the bravery hidden deep within, even though she could tell her agent's nerves were rising, she was still brave. Santana turned to face Will with renewed vigor.
"Where are my parents, Schue," Santana demanded again.
William scoffed. "I hardly think you are in any position to talk to me so rudely, Santana. Remember, I have control of this situation."
He paused, right before a set of double doors and turned to face them.
"Welcome to New Directions, ladies."
The doors were pushed open to reveal a large room on the other side. It was industrial, crude in its fashionings, but expected for being hidden in the lower levels of a high school. They definitely tried to renovate the space, though; Santana could tell by the haphazardly painted white walls and the equipment that scattered about, accumulating mainly in one area riddled with computers and monitors.
They were shoved into the room, Brittany hissing slightly while Santana stumbled. She was acutely aware of how much her body was humming, itching and waiting. It seemed as though everything intensified the further she traveled down into the school.
The room was large enough to draw attention to every corner, and that is what Santana would have done if her focus hadn't already been commandeered. There, in the far front of the room stood the indisputable figures of Quinn and Rachel, each standing tall over two hunched figures, heads covered in bags.
Santana's feet were moving before she could stop them only to be halted moments later when they caught against something hard that hadn't been there moments before. She went flying headfirst into the cold concrete floor. Her head hit the ground with what she was sure to be a sickening smack.
Everything was spinning as Santana sat up slowly, Will's laughter filling the air while she brought a hand up towards her head.
Soon, her old teacher was kneeling before her, grin still on his face. "Going somewhere? Seems like Finn is still good for something. You've got to watch where you're going Santana. Don't want to lose your footing again."
He pulled her to her feet, hating the way his touch burned her skin and instantly trying to shy away and back towards Brittany. He didn't let her, though, and soon she found her hands tied tightly behind her back.
"You try that move again and your girl gets it," William warned, jaw set tightly as he turned to look at her directly. His eyes were dark and full of hatred and he held her gaze momentarily before turning to walk the rest of the way towards Rachel and Quinn.
"This can go one of two ways, Doctor Lopez!" Will shouted over his shoulder right before coming to a stop between the two girls across the room and the hostages. His voice echoed off the walls of the open room.
A sly smile crossed his face followed by his declaration, "You can give yourself up or…"
As if perfectly orchestrated to do so, Quinn and Rachel each grabbed one of the bags and yanked them off of the people kneeling on the floor.
"Or they die."
Santana didn't understand why she felt shock upon seeing her parents' faces beneath the sacks. She knew they were there all along, somewhere at least. But the painful, pleading and confused looks that were painted over their faces were enough to make the suspected reality more shocking than Santana had anticipated. The worst part was that her parents were probably clueless as to why any of this was happening.
"It's quite simple, really," Will continued.
Santana let out a squeak, eyes searching frantically back and forth between her mother and father, mouths gagged and silenced. The organ in her chest picked up its already blistering pace, the cold sweat that had formed on her temples boiled as her skin erupted into flames. Her legs trembled but she stayed rooted in position. Her worst nightmares were coming true before her very eyes and she felt utterly powerless.
"W-what about Brittany?" The words forced themselves out of her mouth, surprising Santana herself that she even had the ability to speak.
Will nodded his head and pretended to think. "Same choice. Though we might want to hang on to her if you give in. She'd make a great asset to the team."
Santana opened her mouth to respond but Brittany's voice overpowered hers, strong and steady as she spoke. "And what about everyone else?"
Will's head snapped towards Brittany, an unwelcome snarl evident on his lips, almost as though he didn't think she was worthy to speak to him.
"If Santana turns herself in… what about everyone who will fall victim to one of your pointless vendettas? Her parents will die anyway." Her agent continued. Santana was grateful for Brittany's strong voice, asking the questions she couldn't find the words for.
The snarl remained on Will's face and Santana couldn't tell if it was because Brittany had foiled his sneaky attempt of a plan or if it was just out of pure hatred for the blonde. The man in front of them stayed quiet for a moment, never breaking his glare at Brittany until he finally turned back towards Santana with a sugary-sweet smile.
"They will be spared if any attack is necessary, of course. You have my word, Santana."
The words made her head spin and her wrists strain against the ties that held them in place. It made the entire situation worse and she couldn't stop her eyes from falling on Finn next to Will. Her mind drifted back to the last time her hands were bound.
The constant dripping. The knife. The apple. Brittany.
Through all the haze and confusion, through all of the so called options she had been given, Santana continued to question how they had gotten to this point. Less than a month ago, things had been normal, she had her research and she had her freedom. Now she was standing in the basement of her old high school, bargaining for the lives of her parents and the girl she loved. She wasn't even certain Will had what she had traveled all this way looking for. For all Santana knew, she could be giving herself up to certain death anyway. But in her opinion, she'd rather give up and die in Will's hands, giving the three people bound to her decision a fighting chance over risking their lives.
She had made up her decision just as Brittany spoke again and Santana was certain her agent could read her mind in some way.
"What about the antidote?" Brittany asked loudly, breaking Santana's thought process. She was bargaining, taking a gamble the same way she had with Rachel back in New York. Although, this time Santana wasn't so sure it was the best move.
Anger shot through Will's face and he strode instantly over to Brittany. Santana let out an indistinguishable sound of fear as she turned to watch Will yank the gun from Brittany's previous guard and hold it directly under her chin. The clicking of the hammer filled the open room as he snarled up at her.
"I'm tired of you interrupting us, Blondie. Now why don't you shut the fuck up before I reconsider my decision to spare you," Will snarled.
Blue radiated defiantly from Brittany's eyes as she stared down at the man with the gun. She held her jaw tightly in place making Santana swallow the lump that had formed at the top of her throat.
Will's actions made Santana reconsider her previous decision. She didn't like the way this man was handling the woman she loved. How would he handle her if she just gave herself up?
"What about the antidote, Schue." Santana asked, forming the question as though it were more of a statement of obviousness than anything else.
"I give myself up for what? So I die in your hands and can't witness their pardons?" Santana jerked her head towards her parents before flicking her eyes over to Brittany. "How can I trust you'll keep them safe after everything you've put me through?"
"Well maybe if you had just listened to me fourteen years ago, you wouldn't be in this position, Santana!" Will shouted, making Santana flinch slightly. The spontaneous reflex ricocheted through her body, more painful than it had been in days.
"Like you're idealistic views could have helped me," Santana growled through now clenched teeth.
Will pulled the gun away from Brittany's jaw, allowing the blonde's head to return to its unstrained position while he strode over to Santana. She felt herself let out a breath of relief until she was nose to nose with her old teacher.
"I dare you to say you never wonder 'what if?'" Will seethed.
Santana flicked her eyes up towards where Rachel stood by her parents, finding her eyes and holding them. "I ask that question about a lot of things, but not about you," she said louder than expected.
It put Will over the edge.
"Do you think I'm bluffing, Santana? Or do you not think I have it in me to show you the magnitude of your impending decision!" He shouted at her before marching back towards where her parents remained kneeling on the ground with fear filled eyes. "You're forgetting that I don't have to bargain for anything here, Santana. All I have to do is kill them and wait for you to die and my problems are solved. Why should I even offer you a choice?"
Santana twitched at the venomous tone coming from his mouth.
"I'm sick of people not understanding, I'm so sick…" He paused, bringing the barrel of the gun up to his temple and rubbing it in small circles before bringing it down to wipe the sweat off his top lip. "Sick of people not listening."
He brought a hand up to run through his thick, curly hair, pulling slightly with whitened knuckles.
Santana used the opportunity to direct her attention towards Will's companions. Finn was staring directly at her, eyes unwavering and filled with a hunger that made her skin crawl. Rachel was staring at Will like he held the answer to all of life's problems while Quinn was staring intently at Rachel.
Before she could ponder the rogue-agent's demeanor, Will's words broke through the air again.
"And here you are, standing there and questioning me? I'm offering you life, Santana. For you, the people who brought you into this miserable, stinking world and your little whore over there and you stand there and have the nerves to question it? Do you think I'm kidding when I told you you had a choice?"
Santana shook her head as clearly as she could, not liking the sudden downward spiral her old teacher seemed to be on. She saw Brittany shake her head slowly as well out of the corner of her eye.
"Make your choice, Santana," Will stated flatly, lifting the gun and aiming it at Brittany.
Her body burst into fire, everything humming and ready to move. She would jump in front of the bullet if it meant keeping everyone else alive.
"Do you think I'm kidding!" Will shouted, voice louder and angrier than before.
"N-no," Santana stuttered, or at least she tried to. She forced the word out of her mouth, shaking her head and trying to show the unhinged man that she would cooperate.
It went unnoticed.
"I'll show you kidding!"
Her feet were moving before the shot. She knew it was coming. But Santana hadn't anticipated the effect her bound hands would have on her balance. The world was a blur as she fell stumbling to the ground.
Santana lifted her head just as the crack echoed through the room. Everything came into focus just as she saw the bullet pass through her mother's head.
Words no longer had any trouble leaving Santana's mouth as she cried out in fear and pain.