Santana met Brittany when they were nine.
It was the first day of fourth grade and Santana walked in, her hands shaking. She was nervous. She had gone to lower school at another school, but that was different. It had been much smaller and close to her home, so she had always felt like if something went wrong, her mom was right there to pick her up. This new school, Lima Elementary School, was miles away from her house. She felt small and alone.
Brittany saw the little girl walk in looking nervous and she gave her a friendly wave. The girl waved back shyly and headed towards Brittany. Brittany was already playing with Quinn, her friend since preschool.
"Quinn," Brittany said, nudging her friend.
"Yes?" she asked, looking up from her crayons. She had been drawing a picture of her family.
"That girl's gonna' play with us."
"Okay," Quinn said, glad to have another friend. The other little girl made her way over to Quinn and Brittany. Quinn noticed how scared she looked.
"Hi. I'm Quinn," she said.
"And I'm Brittany," Brittany chimed in.
"I'm Santana," the little girl mumbled. Brittany smiled at her amiably. She decided that Santana was a pretty name.
"Do you want to color with me and Quinn?" Brittany asked. Santana's eyes widened. She loved coloring.
"Sure!" she agreed excitedly. She sat down and picked up a yellow crayon and a piece of paper. She wasn't sure what she wanted to draw yet, but she was in a happy mood and yellow seemed fitting.
Brittany watched Santana stare at her paper for a moment. Did she not know how to draw? Then Santana looked up at her and met her eyes, smiling. Santana probably knew how to draw.
"What are you drawing?" she asked Brittany.
"A duck," Brittany stated simply.
"A duck?" Brittany nodded enthusiastically. Santana giggled and nodded, watching Brittany color her duck's beak orange.
Brittany was just starting her duck's… nose? Snout? Brittany didn't know what it was called, but that's what she was drawing when she felt the orange crayon snatched out of her hand.
"Hey!" she cried, jumping up.
"Whatcha' drawing? A duck? Ducks are for losers!" a boy sneered at her, holding her crayon over his head. He had short, dark, curly hair and a mean scowl on his face. Brittany looked up at her crayon sadly. She didn't understand why that boy took her crayon. She started to cry.
Santana saw the boy holding Brittany's crayon above him and something snapped inside of her.
"Give her back the crayon!" Santana yelled at the boy. Quinn's eyes widened. The boy was twice as big as Santana.
"Or what?" the boy scoffed.
"Give her back the crayon before I punch a hole in your ugly face, Pinocchio!" (For a nine year-old, this was quite a tirade)
Brittany heard Santana yelling and looked up. The boy was looking slightly uncertain and he shot Santana a nervous glance. Brittany was so lucky to have a friend like Santana. The boy took a step backwards.
"Fine," he grumbled. "I didn't want your stupid crayon anyways!" He threw the crayon down at his feet where it broke in two, then turned to run away. He knew it broke, and he knew he wasn't going to get away, but he tried.
"Come. Back. Here." Santana said in a deadly calm voice. The boy froze, terrified for the first time.
Quinn's eyebrows raised at Santana's tone.
Santana took in the ruined crayon on the floor and Brittany's quivering lip in a heartbeat. That boy was gonna' pay for that. She stepped towards him threateningly, her face a dangerous frown.
Quinn watched the scene unfold in front of her and her eyebrows rose even higher. Santana was… vicious.
Quinn's eyebrows just about disappeared into her hair.
Brittany's lip stopped quivering and instead she stared with wonder at the reddening mark on the boy's face. His eyes were wide and he was staring at Santana. Brittany thought he looked sort of like a bug. A big, brown bug.
Santana was seeing red. She didn't even notice the expressions of her two friends. She took another step towards the boy and grabbed the front of his shirt.
"Hey! You guys! Come on! It's the first day of school!" a teacher cried out, running towards the pair. Santana's stomach dropped. She was going to get sent home. It was only the first day of school. Santana got herself ready for the scolding she knew she was no doubt about to receive.
"Santana, honey. What have you done?" Santana looked at the bright red mark on the boy's left cheek and her lower lip jutted out. She was going to get in trouble for sticking up for her new friend.
"It was my fault." Santana's jaw dropped. The boy was standing with his head down and the tip of his shoe digging into the ground.
"What?" the teacher asked gently. Brittany watched in wonder as the boy confessed what had happened.
"I stole that girl's crayon," he said, pointing at Brittany. Santana was shocked. This wasn't what she had expected. "Then I threw it on the ground and it broke. That girl was helping her friend."
The boy spoke quietly and ashamedly. Quinn was impressed. The teacher was clearly confused but she gave the two children a gentle smile.
"Alright, well please try to get along. We have a whole year together, you know." Then she walked off to try and separate a wailing brown haired girl from her father. Quinn turned back to her drawing.
Brittany bounced over to Santana and tackled her in a hug.
"Thanks Sanny!" she giggled. Santana smiled and wrapped her arms around her friend. She was proud of herself.
"I'll always stick up for you," she promised Brittany, holding out her pinky. Brittany stared at it, wide-eyed. She'd seen people do this before. It was called a 'pinky promise'. She took Santana's pinky. Santana grinned at her and made no move to release her pinky, so Brittany left it like that.
"It's Puck," a voice from behind Santana said softly. Santana whirled around, still holding onto Brittany's pinky. "Puck, not Pinocchio." Santana giggled softly.
"Okay, Puck. I'm Santana and that's Brittany." Brittany waved, smiling brightly. Puck nodded, his cheeks pink.
"Hi Brittany. Sorry about your crayon. I just wanted to… I don't know," he mumbled. Santana considered him for a moment.
"We can be friends if you won't be mean to us anymore," Santana heard Brittany say. Puck nodded.
"Cool," Puck said. Santana regarded him with narrowed eyes for a minute, then decided that he wasn't all that bad. She smirked at him and he returned it. Santana then turned back to her drawing.