Part three of (I've Got To Admit) It's Getting Better: New Year Trilogy
Spoilers for 3x09 "Extraordinary Merry Christmas"
Summary: This need to love and protect Brittany is, at last, overcoming everything else.
Notes: Title from the Beatles "Something"
She gets the text just after midnight. Her phone buzzes on the nightstand and she reaches over Brittany to grab it, careful not to wake her up.
There's gonna be huge blizzards across Ohio tonight and tomorrow morning, her mother says when she taps open the message. We probably won't be home any time soon. Daddy put another couple of twenties behind your photo in the living room. Go get some supplies while you can in case you get stuck. Love you baby girl. Stay safe x
She untangles herself slowly, eases her body away from Brittany's with gentle kisses and strokes of her palm. She wanders over to the window and, sure enough, the snow clouds look heavy and threatening as the first flakes fall. It scares her a little, this happening when her mom isn't here. She glances from the window to the bed to decide what she wants to do. Most stores close around midnight, probably earlier on New Years day, but she knows there's a gas station slash convenience store about twenty blocks away that never closes. She just isn't sure about waking Brittany up when she only just got to sleep.
She steps over to the side of the bed, and runs her hand through Brittany's hair, damp and curly from only being towel dried.
She can't wake her. She looks exhausted. So, instead, she leans down and kisses her on the forehead.
"I'll be back soon," she whispers. "I promise."
If it was any normal day, she wouldn't let another human that wasn't Brittany see her like this. She pulls the hood of her sweatshirt up over her hair and lets it fall baggy around the waist of her jeans. She'd never admit to anyone that they're the most comfortable boots she owns, but her Doc Martens adorn her feet. They're also the only thing she feels comfortable wearing in the snow, so, along with the three pairs of socks she has her jeans tucked into, she's feeling pretty toasty beneath her coat.
She walks the aisles of the small convenience store with a basket tucked over her arm, throwing anything she knows Brittany might like and they might need into it. She knows there's enough Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in her house to last until deep into 2012 but she gets enough breakfast food to last them a couple of days. Emergency toilet paper gets thrown in too.
"What are you doing here, Satan?"
Santana winces and turns to find Quinn and Puck looking back at her. She's not entirely sure what to think about it. They've been together a lot recently, but she's more concerned to why they're here at one in the morning, too.
"Could say the same thing to you," she says with a scowl. "Didn't you get a life ban from all convenience stores when you drove your mom's car into one?"
Puck smirks. "Only the ones on the other side of town," he says. "Did your folks send you out for supplies, too?" She nods. "I called Quinn when my mom jabbed me in the ribs to get me up. Where's Britt?"
"Asleep," Santana says without a thought. She's about to make up an excuse when she realizes she doesn't have to. Instead she says, "I don't think she'll be drinking champagne again any time soon."
Puck smirks. "Apart from when you're getting married." He waggles his eyebrows. Quinn swats at his stomach but she's smiling too.
Santana grins despite herself. "We're not getting married," she mumbles. "Not yet, anyway."
"I'm not knocking you for it," Puck holds up his hands. "You guys are perfect for each other. Britt's the only damn person you like!"
Santana laughs and shakes her head. "Yeah," she agrees. "I should get going before the blizzard starts," she says.
"Are you okay to drive on your own?" Puck asks as she starts to walk away.
She nods. "Yeah, Got my snow tires," she says. "I'll see you at school."
It gets kind of scary as she's driving back. It doesn't help that the clerk at the store told her that they're expecting state-wide blackouts because of the weather. She clutches the wheel and watches as the occasional street lamp flickers, threatening to fail.
She practically runs back up the drive when she gets there, bags clutched in her hands and the lamp the clerk had advised her to buy swinging off her fingers. She closes the door quickly to keep out the cold and drops the bags in the foyer before checking that they still have power. They do but she's not sure how long it will last. The clerk said that they were already at an hour with no power in Dayton and Lima was probably going to be soon.
She doesn't bother hanging her coat and manages to kick off her boots as she makes her way to the kitchen. She flicks on the lights and waits for them to cut out straight away, but they stay on as long as she puts away the groceries and wanders back upstairs.
Brittany's still there when she gets to her room. She's still fast asleep and she's somehow managed to kick the covers halfway off the bed, her legs bare and tangled up in them as Santana starts to undress. It's gotten colder and she hangs her clothes back inside her closet as she debates fetching more blankets from the linen closet down the hall, just in case.
Redressed in her sleep shirt, she leaves the room and returns moments later with an armful of blankets. Her nose buries in their fresh clean smell and she goes around the room, picking up random pieces of their clothing and throwing them onto the chair in front of her dresser. She's still not tired and content to just be in the same room as Brittany, her mere presence soothing. It isn't until she hears a pained whimper that she turns, her head snapping quickly to find the source of it.
Everything around her is quickly forgotten when she sees Brittany fussing. The blankets fall from her arms into a pile at the end of her bed and she's moving closer automatically to check on her. Except she's forced to pause when Brittany's mouth moves.
"Don't leave me..." she whimpers and Santana's heart drops instantly.
She quickly takes note of how Brittany's face is screwed up in anguish, the way her body has turned over and how her hand is outstretched waiting for a body that isn't there. Her eyes are still closed and her chest is still moving rhythmically with sleep but she should be awake and she isn't.
"Please..." she begs, sleep-sad as her breathing suddenly quickens. "Please don't go..."
She's heard Brittany talk in her dreams before but she's never seen her like this. The first sleepy sob that breaks free from her lips rips Santana in two. She practically trips over herself to reach for her. She's not sure what she's supposed to do; she knows that you shouldn't really touch someone if they're having a nightmare – it can make things worse – but she's not really sure if Brittany is or if she'd be able to stop herself when she looks this sad.
"Santana..." she whimpers, lip quivering and Santana's there, beside her, reaching for her as she remains deep asleep. "I'm sorry," she sobs a few times and Santana brings her close, cups her cheeks as she mumbles her name over and over again. "Don't go..."
"I'm here, Britt Britt," she whispers but Brittany just starts sobbing fully. Face screwed up and shrouded in misery. "I'm right here," she says because there's nothing more she can say. It just makes things worse as Brittany reaches out to grab for her, shuddering as real tears begin to pour over her face.
Santana would be lying if she said she wasn't terrified of what was happening. She just wants her to wake up and see that she's right here, but the dream in her head won't let her. She strokes blond hair from tight shut eyes and kisses Brittany's face, hoping the touch will be enough to jar her back into consciousness. She rolls her onto her back, hovers over her and kisses all over her face and neck to show her that she's right here, glad when Brittany's fists grab at the cotton of her shirt and hold her close.
It's not until the sobs become unbearable, that Brittany's gasping for breath and begging "no" over and over again, that Santana can't take it anymore. She presses their lips together and shushes her quickly, feeling the tears pooling in her own eyes at the sight of Brittany so distraught.
"I'm here." She sounds like she's begging. She almost is. She doesn't want Brittany thinking she'll leave her in any way at all. "I'm here, Baby. I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here."
Brittany's tired hands clutch her closer and Santana just kisses her harder. It takes a few minutes but then she feels the soft whisper of eyes opening as Brittany's lips part in a gasp. Santana kisses her hard and closed-mouthed, using her body as a shield as Brittany jolts herself back into wakefulness and even more anguished tears.
"Don't cry," Santana whispers. "Don't cry, it's okay. You don't need to cry. I'm here."
Brittany sobs and her hands clutch at Santana. Santana's never seen her like this, so scared and upset, and she pulls back to look at her as Brittany sobs unabashedly, tears streaming like rivers down her cheeks so fast that Santana can't catch them. Her hands wrap around Brittany's face to keep her steady and she presses the pads of her thumbs and her mouth to Brittany's bottom lip as it pouts out in frustration. It's dark but somehow she can see every atom of sadness of Brittany's face and she hates it.
"What happened?" she asks in a hushed whisper so only Brittany can hear. If it's a secret, she'll gladly carry its burden if it will stop Brittany crying. If she doesn't want anyone to know, Santana won't mention it again if that's what she wants. After all the secrets Brittany's kept for her, it's the least she could do. "Tell me what's wrong, Britt Britt..." Brittany just shakes her head in Santana's hands. "Come on, Baby..." she whispers, desperate. If there's anything, anything, making Brittany upset then she wants to know. She wants to destroy it with fire and make it superfluous as quickly as she can. "It's me... you can tell me. I want to know."
Brittany cries some more but the tears seem to be coming less and she seems more in control. After a few moments, she seems capable of words through her sobs and Santana prompts her again, asking her what's wrong. Brittany shakes her head in refusal once more but then Santana's hushing her, kissing over her tear-stained cheeks, and she moans with relief Santana doesn't understand.
"I had a bad dream," Brittany admits quietly around a sob, her voice coiled tight with pain.
She clutches Santana closer and Santana turns into a life raft then, something for Brittany to hold onto while she returns herself to safety. But Santana needs to hold onto her too, so she brings her close and cuddles her for ages until Brittany pulls back, still crying.
"I had a bad dream," she repeats. "You figured out how badly I don't deserve you and you left me. You just left," she breaks and then she's sobbing again.
Santana stares at her in shock, like she might as well have just stabbed her in the chest. "What?" she whispers and wonders if Brittany's still asleep.
But then she looks at her again and sees her struggle, sees how badly these thoughts have affected the smile that had been on her face mere hours before, and knows that this is real. Brittany shakes her head when she tries to cup her cheeks again and it's... she doesn't know what to do because it's the most ridiculous thing she's ever heard in her life.
"You left me," Brittany chokes and she knows it isn't an accusation but she's never felt worse for leaving Brittany alone, even in sleep. "I didn't know what to do. I was so scared. I don't... you can't leave me. I'm in love with you... I promise I'll be better. I'll get better."
She stares as Brittany clings to her, eyes wide and confused. She doesn't know what to say to this, to these words that leave Brittany's mouth, these things she's feeling. She feels guilty and confused and she wants to ask Brittany where this is coming from but her protective instinct is bigger and it overcomes everything else. This need to love and protect Brittany is, at last, overcoming everything else.
"Hey," she says and she wrestles Brittany's hands from her shirt, pries her head from her shoulder and forces her back against the pillows until she can look at her. Brittany's eyes clench tightly together and Santana shakes her head. "Hey," she says again. "Look at me." Brittany does and when her eyes open it's like a punch to the chest. Santana feels that same rush of awe she always gets because Brittany's beautiful, so beautiful, even when she's sad and that just doesn't make sense.
"You're perfect," she states because it's the truth. "You're perfect and I love you exactly the way you are. Don't you dare think of being anything different," she shakes her head in disbelief. "Where has all this come from?"
It's the look in Brittany's eye that tells her it's not come from anywhere, it's just been well hidden and never sent away like it should have been. It's dark and haggard, a shadow in Brittany's face that she somehow manages to mask away so that nobody can see. The idea that she's not good enough is buried inside of her and that shocks and scares Santana a little, making familiar old guilt tingle at her limbs. Brittany looks away and Santana slumps a little against her.
"Britt?" she says in confusion. She tries to urge Brittany to look at her but she won't. "What aren't you saying?"
Brittany shakes her head in refusal. "I'm sorry," she whimpers.
Santana mirrors her, more adamant and terrified. "No," she says breathlessly. "No. You tell me why you're being like this. You're scaring me, Britt." She laughs mirthlessly, hoping her words and her light-heartedness will be worth something. "Britt?"
Brittany sniffs away her tears and tries to reel herself in. Santana looks down at her, wipes at her cheeks as she blinks.
"I just..." Brittany starts. "Sometimes... sometimes I think about what I did, about how I said no to you..." Her voice is barely a whisper. "I think about it and I can't stop myself from worrying that, one day, you're going to realize how much I don't deserve you."
Santana's mouth opens to say something but Brittany shakes her head.
"I don't," she says. "I don't deserve you. I did at one point, when you were giving me your heart because I asked you if you could, but I don't anymore, because you did give it to me and I turned you down. I broke your heart and, and... now it's mine and I'm trying to protect it and love you but I can't stop thinking about how there might be someone out there better for you." Her face screws up again. "And I want to be better, I want to try to be better because... because I'm so in love with you. I don't want you to find someone better; I want it to be me."
"No," Santana shakes her head. "Britt Britt..."
"What if all this stuff that happened is my fault?" Brittany ignores her. "If I'd have taken care of your heart from when you offered it to me, things would have been different," she sobs and Santana's never heard her sound so resolute. "If I'd have grabbed you that day and told you just how crazy in love with you I am, how much I've always wanted you, then you would have felt braver. You would have felt stronger, but instead I made you feel like you weren't worth it. I made it worse."
She shakes her head and her eyes go wide like she can't handle it. "What if all the bad stuff is my fault? How could I deserve you after that? How could you want me after you've been so brave?"
Santana shakes her head softly. She looks at the fear in Brittany's eyes and it looks so similar to the fear that she still sees staring back at herself every morning, that she can't believe it. She can't bear it, but not for the normal reasons. Because, it's nice to know that they're exactly the same. It's nice to know that she's been sat opposite Brittany for so many months now thinking that she doesn't deserve her and Brittany's been doing the same thing right back. She suddenly feels grounded, tethered to the floor and Brittany and she's never felt more sure that this is the girl she's meant to be with. This person, whose face she holds reverently in her hands, is the person she's going to spend the rest of her life with.
It's easy, after that, to not feel so scared anymore.
A smile creeps up onto her face. "I'm going to marry you," she whispers softly, only for her smile to widen at Brittany's growing confusion.
She leans forward and kisses Brittany quickly before settling down more comfortably beside her. Her arm worms its way around Brittany's back and she urges Brittany's limbs and body to curl and tangle with her own. It isn't until Brittany's hand is tucked under her cheek, her leg curled around Santana's hip and their noses are squashed together that she speaks again. She pulls the covers up around them and she strokes the leftover tears from Brittany's cheeks before she takes Brittany's left hand, resting on her hip, and tangles the fingers with her own.
"What do you think this means?" she asks, still curious to if Brittany really understands. Brittany opens her mouth but the insecurity in her eyes makes Santana cut through her. "I meant it," she says. "I want to marry you. Do you want to marry me?"
Brittany's eyes brighten then and Santana's glad for the confidence there when Brittany nods.
"Good," Santana says, her voice suddenly wavering. "That's settled. I want to marry you and you want to marry me... so can we stop worrying about whether we deserve each other or not and just love each other?" Santana's bottom lip quivers. "Please? Can you forget everything that's happened and realize that we have each other and just love me? Please?"
Brittany barely pauses before she nods quickly and brings herself closer. Their foreheads press and Brittany's still looking for reassurance in her eyes when she looks at her, searching every corner of her face.
"It's... It's not just a ring?" she whispers and Santana can almost feel her breath catching in her chest where it presses against hers.
Santana nods and reaches to wrap her entire hand around Brittany's ring finger. "It's not important," she says. "The two rings that will come after it? They'll be important. This ring is just a reminder so we don't forget."
Brittany shakes her head and untangles Santana's hand from hers until she can rest it against her cheek. She laughs a little and leans in. "It's important," she nods. "Reminders are important."
Santana smiles, her hand reaching up to cover Brittany's on her face, before she nods and presses their lips together. They kiss slowly until Brittany suddenly pulls away.
"But, for the record," she whispers, eyes bright. "I don't think this is something I'll forget."
They lay in the space between their pillows and look at each other, ears flat to the mattress. Santana's nose presses to Brittany's and her hand strokes blond hair from her face.
"You have new sheets," Brittany says suddenly and Santana's mouth quirks into a smile
"You only just noticed?"
"I can't help it if there's better things to look at in your room," Brittany whispers. Her hand drifts down Santana's side as if to make her meaning clear and it curves around her back and strokes over her ass. Santana breathes in because she loves it when Brittany brings their hips together and holds her this close. Her hand squeezes soft skin and Santana's eyes flutter shut. "Speaking of which, I was brought here under the pretense of you showing me something."
Santana smirks and she knows what Brittany's referring to. It doesn't stop her from playing along a little, though. "I just wanted to show you my new bedsheets."
Brittany rolls her over onto her back but their heads still stay in the space between their pillows. "Unless you wear bedsheets for underwear, you're lying," Brittany giggles and Santana soon follows her. "And that would suck because I was really looking forward to seeing these new panties."
Santana wraps her arms around Brittany's neck and kisses her once, on the tip of her nose. "Would you feel disappointed?"
"Very," Brittany nods. "And hurt. I'd feel hurt that you got my hopes up only to lie to me about something that you knew would get me excited."
Santana hums around a giggle and kisses her properly because she's so damn cute pretending to be grumpy.
"I'm wearing them," them she whispers when they part and loves the way Brittany's eyes go big. Brittany tries to push away to move down her body, but Santana holds her there and starts kissing her again.
Brittany pouts as Santana kisses behind her ear. "I wanna see," she says petulantly. "Let me see."
Santana lets go, feigning reluctance. She bought the damn ridiculous things so that Brittany could enjoy them, so what would be the point in stopping her from seeing them? There's no way she'd normally wear them, but she knows that Brittany's going to go insane for them. She knew it as soon as she saw them in the store.
Her hands unwrap from around Brittany's neck and one goes to lay beside her on the unused pillow while the other covers her mouth. She bites against her wrist to stop herself from laughing when Brittany slinks down her body to rest at her pelvis. The little gasp of excitement she expels when she ceremoniously pushes up Santana's shirt to reveal them to herself is possibly the cutest thing Santana's ever heard.
"Polar bears!" Brittany squeaks and Santana smirks against her wrist as Brittany looks at the little grey panties covered in white polar bears that hug her hips. Her fingers instantly trace the shapes on the fabric, her mouth wide open with joy. "These are really hot," she says after a moment. Santana's weirdly pleased that she sounds so breathless.
"No they're not," she laughs. "Red lace is hot. Silk is hot. These cotton panties I found at some store at the mall are not hot."
"They're really sexy," Brittany says looking up at her, eyes earnest. Santana's demeanor switches at the twinkle in her eyes and she smiles properly at her.
Brittany nods. "I wish I had some."
Santana smiles a little wider at that. "You do?"
Brittany nods again. "I'd never wear pants if I had panties like these."
Santana chuckles before pulling Brittany up level with her again. She kisses her once, twice, before narrowing her eyes. "Then I think you better check the drawer in the night stand."
Brittany's eyes widen and her body rolls easily off of Santana's until she can lean over to the night stand, yank open the drawer and, sure enough, find another gift bag like the one her ring came in sitting there. She doesn't even check the tag this time, she just opens the bag and squeals at what she finds there.
"PENGUINS!" she shouts and Santana's grinning at her, taking the bag that is shoved at her, as Brittany jumps off the bed and pulls down her underwear. Santana's eyes widen a little then because, well, she's only human.
Brittany pulls the panties just like Santana's up her legs, except they're red and they're covered in penguins. She tugs at the elastic to make sure she's snug and turns back to Santana, lifting the tails of her sleep shirt to show her.
"How'd they look?"
Santana stares and, yeah, it's kind of undeniable. "Hot," she admits with a nod.
Brittany smirks proudly. "Told you."
She's nodding off when she feels Brittany lift the covers and start crawling underneath them. It's four am and she knows Brittany's going to get her up early, but she just smiles and shakes her head.
She doesn't really want to ask, but she does and she knows she's going to need to.
"What are you doing?" she asks sleepily, ignoring the way Brittany's prowling around beneath the covers like a weirdo.
She lifts the them back. "I'm going on an expedition," she says like it's obvious. "To the South Pole."
Santana snorts and shakes her head. "Why?"
Brittany's serious face turns into a smirk. "To look for polar bears. Obviously."
She resumes her exploration, pulling the sheets back over her head. Santana doesn't have the heart to tell her that there aren't any polar bears at the South Pole.
But, it kind of doesn't matter, because she still finds some anyway.
She doesn't know what time it is when she wakes up, just hears the sounds of music in the background. She gets confused because it's no music that she owns.
Ooh, I need your love babe, guess you know it's true! Hope you need my love, babe, just like I need you. Hold me. Love me. Hold me. Love me. I ain't got nothin' but love, babe... Eight days a week!
Santana giggles before she's even woke up and snuggles her face deeper into the pillow she knows recently held Brittany's head. It holds her scent and smelling her as she sings along to what she quickly realizes is the Beatles is more than enough for her.
Love you every day, girl! Always on my mind. One thing I can say girl, love you all the time! Hold me! Love me! Hold me! Love me! I ain't got nothin' but love, babe, Eight days a week!
The bed dips at her feet and she doesn't move, just waits for Brittany to crawl up behind her and wrap lithe arms around her body. She tucks her chin into Santana's shoulder and sings the rest of the song into her ear. Santana chuckles at the end of the song and opens one eyes to look sideways at her.
"What is it with you and the Beatles, recently?" she mumbles.
Brittany shrugs and presses kisses to her cheek before resting her chin against her again. "I don't know," she shrugs. "It's because they're always singing happy songs about love, I guess. I was sitting in my Grandma's kitchen and she was listening to their records and all the songs reminded me of you." Santana takes in a tight breath. "The words to their songs are like the words I would use if I tried to tell people how much I love you. The way I feel about you is like a Beatles song only better."
Santana swoons a little and turns her head, pouting until Brittany kisses her and uses the opportunity to roll her onto her back. A head is soon resting against her chest, above her heart, and Santana doesn't have to say anything as they listen to the songs that sing from Santana's computer. As she listens to John, Paul, George and Ringo sing songs about love, she has to admit that Brittany's probably right. The way they feel about each other is better than a Beatles song.
Santana leans forward to kiss the top of Brittany's head with contentment.
"You want some breakfast?" she asks suddenly.
Brittany's jumping off of her and out the room before she can ask, "pancakes or waffles".
It turns out she wants French toast. She sits at the counter as Santana moves around the kitchen, sipping on the glass of apple juice Santana just poured her, her eyes watching on fondly.
"Is this what life's going to be like?" Brittany asks. Santana turns to her, yawning, questioning aiding to the depth of her sleep furrowed brow. "Are you going to be making me breakfast every day for the rest of my life?"
Santana smiles shyly and shrugs her shoulders. "I don't know, Britt Britt. Do you want me to?"
Brittany shrugs and leans her elbow against the counter, face cradled by her palm. "I don't know," she says. "I guess I'd like to make you breakfast sometimes, too. Maybe I could learn to cook or something..."
Santana giggles. "You already tried that once, remember? Your mom said you weren't allowed in her kitchen anymore and Ms Hagberg politely asked you never to take Home Ec ever again."
Santana hears the stool squeak against the tile and then arms are wrapped around her waist as she flips the French toast in the pan. "Well, maybe I could make you, like, cereal and stuff. You like Cheerios, right?"
Santana giggles. "Only one."
Brittany rests her chin on Santana's shoulder and sighs. She lapses into silence and Santana can hear her thinking, relishing the moment and taking it for all its worth. "I like this," she finally admits. "I like waking up and going to sleep with you."
Santana snuggles into her and smiles. "Yeah?" she asks, making sure not to burn anything when every cell in her body seems to want to revolt against itself in favor of tingling under Brittany's touch. "Me too."
Brittany moves closer and Santana can feel her smile against her skin. It makes something swell inside of her, something that feels like her heart or hope or happiness. She clings to it tightly for a second before she realizes that she doesn't need to anymore; if she does that, all she's going to do is smother it. So she softens and lets herself feel Brittany against her.
"It feels weird, doesn't it?" Brittany says after a few moments. "Not being scared? But like, in a good way. A really good way."
Santana pauses for a moment because she hadn't realized that she wasn't anymore. Her brow furrows and it hits her then, the lightness in her chest. There's a quietness in her brain now and she likes how the only thing that it's thinking about is this moment with Brittany. There's no worry about anyone finding out, about not being good enough for Brittany to do this or about getting judged for the rest of her life.
Well, okay, there's still a little bit of whispering about getting judged for the rest of her life, but it's a lot quieter than it used to be. It's like she can see somebody's mouth moving but she doesn't really care what they're saying, not when everything else is so loud and exciting. It's different from when she used to see Brittany's mouth moving and she ignored it because everything else was so loud and scary. It's better.
"A really, really good way," she nods and Brittany nods in agreement before roughly kissing the side of her head.
She cooks up some bacon while Brittany goes rummaging through the pantry for a new bottle of syrup and can't stop the laugh that bubbles into her mouth when she emerges proudly yielding a new box of s'mores flavor pop tarts under her arm. Her eyes are so wide and excited that Santana doesn't argue, just takes them from her at the same time she grabs the toaster.
Brittany sets the table as she finishes up fixing breakfast and sits down as she waits for her to come over. Santana secretly loves the feelings she gets when she sets a plate in front of Brittany and then one in front of herself. She's never been the kind of girl who wants to be the little housewife but it's exciting to be that person for Brittany, especially when she grabs her on her way back to get the pop tarts and tugs her onto her lap. She grabs at Brittany to steady herself and sighs into the kiss when Brittany tugs her into one. It's tame and sweet and, yeah, she's slowly learning that being with Brittany means discovering all the other things she wants with her.
Brittany's like the best burger she's ever tasted and now, as she takes a bite, she's realizing that she wants cheese fries and onion rings alongside it and her chocolate milkshake. There's no voice in her ear telling her she can't have them all at once anymore. She's hungry and she knows that these are the things that will make her full.
But food and breakfast are the last thing on her mind when Brittany pulls back for breath. Her hand cupped over Santana's cheek keeps her close and she giggles a little at the way Brittany looks dazed like she's been hit around the head.
"I love you," she mumbles quietly. Her arms loop around Brittany's neck, because she knows that trying to move is futile when Brittany's holding her like this, and she presses their foreheads together as Brittany's hands stroke over her cheek before roaming down her neck.
Her hand finally lingers at Santana's chest and she looks up sadly.
"I should have gotten you a ring," she nods and Santana looks down to see her covering the locket.
Santana shakes her head. "I love it," she whispers. "I like having a reminder of you close to me. I'd like it even more if I knew what picture is inside it, but I'm scared you'll yell at me if I look."
Brittany's face falls into a shy smile. She holds the locket between her fingers and shakes her head. "It's probably not what you think it's going to be." Santana snorts. "I realize that when I told Kurt not to look yesterday it sounded like there was a picture of my boobs in each side, but... it's not like that. I just didn't want everyone to be there when I explained to you why I picked the pictures I did."
Santana smirks. "So I had to tell you in front of everyone that it wasn't just a ring, but you get to wait until we're all alone to tell me about what pictures you picked." She tilts Brittany chin and kisses her. "That's mean and sneaky, baby."
Brittany smiles in response. "Well, there's..." she trails off. "Well, you'll see... here."
She moves both hands to the locket and opens it with expert precision. Santana briefly wonders how long she had the locket before she gave it to her and how many times she sat there playing with it, looking at the pictures inside.
Their eyes remain locked as Brittany hands her the pendant, placing it delicately between Santana's fingers before wrapping her hands back around her waist. Brittany urges her to look inside with a nudge of her nose and Santana lets her forehead fall to Brittany's as she looks inside.
"Oh," she says, understanding dawning on her instantly. "Yes."
Brittany giggles. "I just really like that picture," she whispers. "I always feel happy when I look at it, but I didn't think you'd appreciate all our friends seeing you..."
Santana laughs. "Yeah."
Santana's eyes flicker to the images in either side of the locket. To say she's surprised is a little bit of an understatement because what she sees is the last thing she expected. She's pretty sure that you're not supposed to have pictures of yourself in a locket around your neck.
Her eyes trace the lines of the photograph and she remembers when it was taken clear as day. It was only taken a couple of months ago, but still. It would be hard not to, not when it was taken after the first time they had sex after getting together. She remembers what Brittany had said to her as she lay with her hands tucked under her face in Brittany's bed, body pressed against white sheets and her hair cascading over her naked shoulders and back. Make-up smudged from sweating, eyes smoky with the half light, Brittany had almost rolled off the other side of the bed trying to take the picture of her. She'd explained that she wanted to remember this moment forever and if she wanted to do that properly then she had to have the whole picture just in case she started to forget and needed to remember. That's why Brittany checked every angle to get the best picture of her.
And Brittany was right because it's like being thrown back into that moment as she looks at it; from the way her naked breasts press against the mattress to the way the white sheet only barely covers her thighs and the curve of her ass. Her smile looks back at her and she can remember how quietly happy she was, how relieved, and she can't think of another picture she'd rather have inside this locket than this picture of her that reminds her of how much in love with Brittany she is.
"You look like you," Brittany had whispered when she was laying back beside her, looking at the picture on the screen of the camera her parents had brought her for her birthday. If "her" was this person who looked so hopeless, Santana didn't really mind having this picture as a reminder of Brittany.
"I just..." Brittany says to her quietly. "This locket is a symbol of my heart like your ring is a symbol of your promise and... I guess I wanted to remind you of the girl I'm in love with. This one," she taps the picture. "This girl here, who makes my heart flip over and who's lived inside it since before I knew it was beating."
Santana leans forward to kiss her. "And who's this hot piece of ass on the other side," Santana asks tapping the picture of Brittany, obviously naked with her body curled in on itself. Her chin rests on her knee and she leans against the side of her bed. She's not really smiling, but still, Santana doesn't think she's ever seen her look happier. "When was this picture taken and why wasn't I there?"
Brittany giggles. "You were," she says. "You're asleep behind me in the bed. I took it the same day I took the picture of you. That's when I got the idea to make you the locket. I wanted us to match so I waited until you were asleep and snapped one of myself."
Santana's eyes widen. "You've been planning this since then?" she asks in wonderment. "You've been planning to give me this all those weeks?"
Brittany leans back a little and smirks. "Yeah, why, is that weird?"
Santana shakes her head as she closes the locket and leans forward. "No," she says as her lips attach themselves to Brittany's. "No, it isn't."
Breakfast gets cold, but they don't really care.
"I think I'm hyper," Brittany shrieks.
The music is loud and the creaking of the mattress beneath Brittany's feet is even louder, but Santana can still hear her sing-song voice as it yells out. She barely pays attention to it, though, too busy watching to make sure Brittany doesn't miss and jump on her like a maniac instead of the mattress. She's also giggling like an idiot because she's in love with a damn doofus.
"You ate pancakes with half a bottle of syrup and, like, six pop tarts!" She laughs up at her as her body jostles in the space between Brittany's legs. An iTunes shuffle plays in the background and her hands find her stomach as it starts to hurt from laughing. "If you're not hyper then I'm not seconds away from puking! Britt Britt! Sit your ass down! You're gonna break the damn bed!"
Brittany still bounces a few more times before she falls dramatically to straddle Santana. Her hair, wavy from sleeping with it damp the night before, falls messily into her eyes. Santana shakes her head at her as she brushes it back over her forehead, eyes fond as she tries her best to look mad. She fails, quickly and abysmally.
"Your mom is gonna kill you if you go home later and you're hyper," she tells her softly before leaning up to kiss her on the nose. "You're so cute, though, I don't know how to stop you."
Brittany chuckles effortlessly before clearing the space between them and kissing her, hands tangling with her hair. "We'll have to wear me out," she says suggestively.
Santana smirks and hums out a laugh. "If you're suggesting what I think you're suggesting, that'll wear me out too and I don't need wearing out."
Brittany bites on her bottom lip and it sends a jolt down her spine. "Just because you don't need it doesn't mean you don't want it," she says, soothing the bite with a suck. She pulls back. "But, that thing you're thinking about isn't the thing that I was suggesting."
"Nope," she says, crawling off of her. "Come on. Get up, lazy face."
They're dancing around in their underwear mere minutes later. Santana quickly debates closing the drapes in case anyone can look in, but then she decides she doesn't really care. They both look ridiculously awesome and Brittany's making moves with as little effort as she usually does.
Michael Jackson's "Beat It" comes on shuffle when she's just about to drop dead from exhaustion. Brittany's still shaking her ass behind her and Santana's just swaying to the music when she comes up behind her and grabs her around the waist. Her shirt rides up and the place where Brittany's arm presses against her skin tingles with energy as she touches her. Brittany's body curves against her back and she brings her closer. She whispers the words in Santana's ear as she leads their bodies in the dance around the space beside her bed. Santana smiles and loves how silly and sexy it feels at the same time.
They've done this before, danced around her room. It used to mostly be at sleepovers with Quinn but it's been a while since they did it solo. They never used to dance like this either and she knows she likes it better, dancing together, in the bright light of the day in front of her bedroom window where anyone can look up and see. She feels like she's giving Brittany something she's always wanted, something that she's always wanted too. She's done it a lot recently; danced with Brittany. But there's something better about dancing alone, just for them.
Especially when it's so charged and the touch of Brittany's skin instantly sets her on fire. Her mouth parts in excitement and Brittany's body moves against her back in a way she wishes was moving against her front. She spins in her arms, just because and wraps her arms around Brittany's neck. Her smirk says enough and sooner rather than later (which is really the way Santana prefers it) Brittany's hands are holding her close at inappropriate places. She grips her closer by her ass only to spin her again. She dips and curves Santana's body until her hair is falling messily into her face and her shirt is lifting up enough to show more skin than she should.
Brittany's hands worm their way beneath fabric, one up her shirt and one dipped into the waistband of her panties. She smirks smugly against Santana's ear before biting it, and... that's really enough. Santana steps away from her and turns to look at her pointedly.
Brittany just shakes her head and follows again, catching her around the waist and nuzzling into her neck.
Santana shrieks when Brittany lifts her and urges her legs to wrap around her waist. It's for good reason when they topple back onto the mattress.
Still, Brittany lands atop her, between her thighs and that's fine by her. Brittany's way of wearing each other out is good and all, but she's pretty sure hers is better.
It's dark by the time they reemerge, red-faced and bodies slick. Santana gasps for air as they stare at each other, the music still playing in the background, soft and superfluous.
Her hands stroke Brittany's hair from her face and she's about to release some witty comment, asking Brittany if she's tired yet when they hear a sound from outside so loud she chooses to jump right out of her skin and cling to Brittany instead.
"What the hell was that?" she whispers, shocked, and Brittany just shakes her head and untangles their bodies, walks with shaky legs as she wanders to the window, picking up her discarded sleep shirt on the way.
"Wow," she says a few moments later. "Look at that snow."
I think we're going to be stuck longer than we thought, her mom texts her mere minutes later. Stay safe and don't go anywhere.
She scoffs before responding.
It's thundering and snowing at the same time, she says trying to muster as much snark as she can via text. I didn't have a death wish the last time I checked. What the hell is going on?
I don't know, her mom replies. We lost power last night and are stuck at the airport until it reopens the runways. Just stay inside and don't go anywhere.
The music cuts out about half an hour after that, along with the lamp in the corner of the room, making the pair of them jump from their spot in the middle of her bed. When she checks her phone again, she notices for the first time that it's still probably too early to be dark and it's the weather that's making it so black out. She holds Brittany tighter and the pair of them clutch their cellphones in their hands like secondary lifelines.
Brittany's phone goes off less than two minutes after the power outs. Santana reads it over her shoulder.
Don't move. Stay with Santana until the roads are clear. Daddy just called the school board and you don't have school tomorrow, so don't worry. Safe safe. Love you x
She texts back quickly with a quick k love you 2 x before she snuggles closer to Santana and wraps their bodies together.
"I told you," she says after a few moments. "It's going to be like The Day After Tomorrow."
Despite her fear, Santana cracks up laughing.
The storm rages on and she'd like to think that, with every crack of abnormal thunder that breaks through the patting of the snow on the windows, she feels less like she's going to die but she doesn't. Brittany lays beside her and they both stare up at her ceiling like it might just collapse in on them at any moment, or like, the front of a ship will come crashing through her bedroom window and they'll die or drown like that old couple in Titanic who don't go find a lifeboat.
Her fingers clench tightly at Brittany's and she knows she'll be fine once the power comes back on and she can use bright light and loud music to drown out the sounds outside, but she knows that won't happen soon.
That's until Brittany's giggle breaks through the silence and she forgets everything else. Her entire world hones in onto Brittany shuffling onto her side beside her.
"Do you want babies?" Brittany asks suddenly and, like, maybe the world is ending. She doesn't know. All she knows is that this is the weirdest day of her life.
She frowns in confusion and darts her eyes quickly to Brittany before nervously resuming her task staring the ceiling out of collapsing on top of her. "What?"
"Do you want babies?" Brittany repeats. "I was just wondering."
Her eyes flicker for a moment and she tries not to think about mini-Brittany's running around and causing havoc but it's about as easy as pretending she's not in love with her.
"I don't know," she lies because it isn't like she's been thinking about baby names since before she could stop herself. "Why do you ask?"
Brittany shrugs and moves closer. "I don't know," she says. "All of this has just reminded me of this snow storm when I was a little kid and we were staying at my grandparents' cabin in Michigan." Santana finally turns her head to listen to Brittany because her stories are always the best ones. "It was huge and like, the heating failed and the power cut out and it was like... minus a million degrees, so my grandpa made him and my grandma, my uncle Larry and his family and my mom, my dad, my sisters and me, all go back to our bedrooms and just snuggle up under the covers to keep warm using each other."
Santana smiles and Brittany shrugs.
"I was just thinking about it and wondered if you wanted babies, is all..."
The implications hit her like a snowball to the chest and she struggles to breathe for a moment. Brittany watches and her smile is timid.
"You..." Santana starts but Brittany cuts through her nervously.
"I'm not..." she starts. "I'm not saying we should or that I want to or..." she sighs out, giving up. "I just wanted to know if you want babies because..." she shakes her head. "I just want to know if you want babies."
Santana breathes out. She doesn't want to say something and make herself look like a gigantic ass. She looks back at the ceiling and frowns.
"I... do you?" she asks. "Do you want babies?"
Brittany leans up on her elbow and looks down at her. Her hand instantly goes up to toy with the locket around Santana's neck and a smile washes over her face like it's the only real way for her face to be.
She shrugs. "I mean, it sucks we can't have babies together." Her fingers draw a second outline of a heart around the shape of the locket. "That's why I wanted the stork to be real. If the stork was real it would be able to bring us a baby that was made from both of us..."
Santana softens and swoons and swoops at her words. Her smile is just as timid as Brittany's but it grows with the hope Brittany's words fill her with.
"But I can carry your babies," Santana tells her softly. "... if – if you wanted me to."
She gulps and internally calls herself an idiot.
Brittany looks even more timid and nervous when she looks back up to Santana's face from the locket. Her eyes are dark and she gulps visibly. "You'd – you'd want to do that?"
Santana can't think of anything more awesome than to be trusted enough to carry around something that precious for Brittany for so long, so she tells her that, quick and hurried and wants to look away when Brittany's eyes fill with tears. She's sure they're mirrored back in her own.
"Can – can I carry your babies, too?" Brittany asks timidly. "And – and when we get married, can we raise our babies together?"
Our babies echoes happily in Santana's ears.
"Like..." Santana's not sure she's ever heard Brittany so nervous and excited. She can feel her buzzing. "Can we... can we... will they be both our babies? Can we, like, name them together and stuff?"
Santana looks at her and reaches to cup her face purely because, for the millionth time, she can't believe that Brittany's real. She smiles at her and nods her head happily.
"I can't think of anything better," she says.
Brittany lets out this little happy sound of relief and moves closer. Santana wonders if they're ever going to stop being as hopeless as they are when it comes to each other.
"What will we name them?" Brittany says softly.
Santana giggles and pulls her in for a kiss. "Whatever you want," she shakes her head breathlessly. "Whatever you want, I don't care."
I don't care, she thinks. As long as I definitely get to have them with you.
They spend all night and all the next day talking.
Babies, houses, the rings they'll get to buy for each other – they're all talked about and even as Brittany's kissing all over her face and swearing on Lord Tubbington's life that Santana will get to wear a ring one day too, Santana's not sure if it's real or not.
She's not entirely sure she ever will.
How close it is doesn't sink in until she's dropping Brittany back home a couple of days later when all the snowploughs have made it possible to drive again. She stands at Brittany's front door kissing her goodbye and telling her she'll see her in the morning, when Brittany pulls back and gives her one of those slow, easy, sure smiles.
"Just think," she says. "In a few months, we don't just get to start a new year together... we get to start our whole lives together."
Overwhelmed, Santana can't find the words to express how she's feeling, so, instead, she just pulls Brittany into a kiss and doesn't let her go until she can't not for needing to breathe.
"I love you," she says shaking her head. "I don't think you get how much I love you."
Brittany smiles. "I do," she nods and she lifts her left hand between them. "I've got the ring to prove it."
They lapse into giggles and Santana suddenly feels excited for the day she never has to leave Brittany's side.
A couple weeks later when they're back at school and the snow has cleared, Mr Schue asks them to find a way for him to propose to Ms Pillsbury.
She starts to wonder if she went about this whole thing the wrong way, if she should have waited longer until there was diamonds and she was less afraid of everyone who didn't matter looking. She watches Mr Schue literally walk on water for Ms. Pillsbury and she wonders if she should have made that happen to.
She thinks of Brittany's ring (safe in her jewelry box at home after the third time she almost lost it) and doesn't want to think she's done this whole thing wrong, but doubt's just something that lives constantly inside her.
But then Brittany's stepping up behind her as they get out of the pool and wrapping an arm around her waist.
"You did it better," she whispers and all the doubt washes away as quick as anything as Brittany takes hold of her hand.
Every day, she thinks as Brittany squeezes her hand before running off to chase the others. Every day, I get closer to spending my entire life with you.
Things have never felt better.