"Julianne?" Santana asks, the name sounding familiar to her. She can't remember why.

"Yeah. He doesn't like to talk about her that much. She was the last person he got close to…you know, before you came along." Derrick replies. Santana blushes. "But you know, he really loved her. He was actually—you can keep a secret, right?" She nods, interested now. "—he was actually going to marry her. She was the love of his life; he told me many times. We dated for a while, but I knew he would never get over her.

See, he may have told you he broke up with her. And he's right in saying that. She cheated on him with someone from Lima, and when he found out he made her leave. But a week later, she was shot and killed. Sebastian was the first guy on the scene. He saw her body first, mangled and shot three times in the stomach. She was alive when he got there. Barely. But she was. She told him she was sorry, and that she'd never cheat on him again, and those were her last words. And he's never been able to really connect to anyone again, y'know? It's been almost two years. He still has nightmares and he still blames himself for what happened. It might not have been his fault, but he keeps putting the pressure on himself, and that's why he closed himself off in there. He doesn't want you to get hurt."

"But why does he think me being around him is going to get me killed? I'm more than capable of handling myself." Santana knows why. She just wants to know more; her heart is heavy with the thought of him losing someone so close to him.

"Julianne was shot by someone Sebastian was investigating. He got arrested later on, but Sebastian knew—and still knows now—that he shot her in cold blood because of how angry he was with the charges placed on him. Those guys that broke in, they're just as dangerous as the one who killed her, and probably even more so. He's never really loved anyone else. His parents don't know or care too much about him. He's only got us, at this point, and that hole in his heart that Julianne left isn't filled by us. He loves us like family. But romantically, he's shut his heart down. Why do you think he's slept around the group so much? He's looking for someone else. He's looking for another Julianne." Derrick mumbles something else, something Santana doesn't think she's meant to hear, and notices how upset he looks.

"You still care about him, don't you?" She realizes aloud, and he looks up, his eyes saddened.

"Is it that obvious?" He groans, slapping a hand over his face, and she laughs without humor.

"Not at all. I'm experienced in that department. Trust me, I know how you feel." The thought of Brittany pains her; last she heard, Brittany was with Sam, and she was happy. She wishes it could be her. "C'mon. You know Sebastian is always gonna care for you. You're a great person, Derrick, and I don't think he could shut you out of his life—"

"But he has!" Derrick cries, interrupting her. Santana jumps backwards, spooked by his outburst. "Santana, he's replaced me with just about everyone! I love him, and I'm not going to stop loving him, and I'm always there for him—always, Santana, and you know what I get? I get to hear him gush about you, and how much he likes you and how he thinks you're the best thing since sliced bread. I get to listen as he talks about wanting to be with you all the time, and I can't even tell him I don't want to hear it because it would hurt his feelings if I told him I didn't care! I was the one to hold him and console him when he carried you in from your binge drinking scare! Do you know what you did to him? Do you know how scared he got? He thought you had overdosed, and that you were dead when he carried you back." She looks at him, stunned. "Yeah. He carried you back, and he tried to wake you up all the way back to base. He never left your room for the first few hours you were unconscious. He's never cared that much about me. You're my replacement, Santana." His voice gets cold. "He dated me and wasn't happy. Finding you made him happier than I've seen him in a while. And I can't…I can't hurt him. I can't make him feel any pain, because I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. I love him. I am so in love with him that it hurts me. So before you talk about your pain and how you think you've had it bad, remember that I've had to watch the one person I've ever truly loved sleep with everyone at HQ, and then fall in love with you." He closes his eyes and inhales slowly. "And I'm out here because I can't let you leave here. You've done some kind of miracle and made Seb happy, and…and I can't let him push you away. So I'll train you. I'll show you how to fight, I'll teach you about the Warblers. Just…don't go. He needs you. And, at this point, so does everyone else." There's a pause. "Please, Santana."

"Alright," She concedes hesitantly. "I'll…I'll stay."

"Sebastian." Wes calls softly, peeking into the head Warbler's room. "Hey, Seb. Look at me. I need to tell you something."

"What is it?" Sebastian barks, head snapping up to glare at him. His face is full of raw emotion, only recently released from its locked box within him. "What the hell is so important that—"

"Santana is back." Wes blurts, and Sebastian goes silent. "She's downstairs, if you want to…you know. Talk." He slips back out before Seb starts to ask questions.

Part of Sebastian is furious at her. She walked out on him, and badmouthed him and told him she didn't want anything to do with him ever again. That part of him wants to walk down a flight of stairs and yell at her for being so stupid and insolent. The other part of him wants to grab hold of her and kiss her and keep her safe in his arms. The only thing he knows he has to do is actually see her. He'll decide what to do once he gets to her. He stands from the bed, brushing off his shirt and taking a few deep breaths before confronting her.

"Sebastian is coming downstairs," Wes pants, breathing heavy from running down the stairs and to the group of Warblers sitting on the opposite side of the house. Everyone grins.

"So, how much do you wanna bet he's going to kiss her?" Thad whispers, and a few of them nod.

"I'll put $10 on a cheesy speech from either end." Hunter remarks. Boos fill the room. "Hey, hey! We know how mushy Sebastian gets when he really likes someone. There's no way we're going to escape unscathed from their shenanigans."

She sees him, and hitting him square in the face is the first thing she does.

"You asshole!" She cries, and he tries to say something in response, but then she hugs him tight, and he forgets the words. Her arms constrict around him, and his own are looped around her waist just as fiercely. He doesn't understand her affection, but doesn't shy away from it either. Almost as if they sensed what was coming next, the group that had gathered at the foot of the stairs quickly splits up and leaves the room so that the only people left were Sebastian and Santana. She's still clinging to him. "I'm sorry," She murmurs. "I'm so, so sorry, Sebastian." Her hand strokes the hair at the nape of his neck, and he doesn't understand. The confusion makes his heart pound, afraid of what she's learned.

"Santana, what's going on?" He murmurs, his face buried in her hair. She pulls away, finally, and reaches up to caress his face when her phone rings.

It's Brittany. Santana snaps out of her daze and backs up from Sebastian enough to pull her phone out and answer it.

"Britt?" Santana's voice is hysteric, and Sebastian feels the bubble that he was in pop. "Brittany, what's wrong?"

"Santana," Brittany weeps into the phone, and Santana can't breathe. Her lungs are constricted. Brittany. "Santana, you need to come home. I miss you. I need you, San. You didn't even show up at the bar for that long yesterday; Quinn says you ran out crying and I just want to know you're okay."

"I'm coming home, Brittany, don't worry. I'm gonna be right there. Okay?" The Latina's voice is consoling and loving, and it pains him to hear her talk to someone else like that. "I'm alright. I'll see you soon, baby, don't worry." Santana hangs up her phone and turns to bolt. Sebastian grabs her arm, though, stopping her.

"Santana." She's not listening to him, just trying to get away from his grip in vain. "Santana."

"What?!" She yells, finally ripping her arm from his grasp. "I've got more important places to be right now." Her eyes narrow at him. He opens his mouth to say something, anything, but instead closes his eyes and looks down, shaking his head.


When he opens them, she's gone.

The journey back to Lima was one that passed quickly. Santana ran across cobblestoned streets and in front of cars that probably would have hit her if she hadn't brought about so much attention to herself. She reached the forest between the two counties and had to stop for a moment, just to catch a breath or two. When she started running again, she remembered last time, and how Sebastian had chased after her. How he had offered her help, and how she had just left him standing there. Part of her feels bad. But the majority of her instincts are saying that she was making the right decision, and that Brittany would always come first. So she soldiered on, speed-walking through the brush and trees and tall grass that scraped at her ankles and legs. She moved through it easily, not feeling a thing, her heart and mind chanting "Brittany" in unison.

"She's gone." Sebastian mumbles, leaning against the staircase railing for support. She's gone. She chose Brittany over him, and that's it. The room feels empty. He hasn't moved an inch since she walked out the door. He hates her for doing this to him again. (But he doesn't. Not really.) Derrick walks in at that moment.

"Seb? Wasn't Santana just here?" He asks, and Sebastian looks at him with eyes that he hasn't seen in a long time. He smiles a little bit and moves closer to him, impossibly close.

"I missed you," Sebastian says, avoiding the question deftly. Derrick doesn't have time to respond, because in a moment his own lips are being kissed by his ex-boyfriend's. Thoughtlessly, he kisses back.

"Sanny!" Brittany cries, running towards her and embracing her in a massive hug. Santana rests her head against the blonde's, and her heart starts to heal up again. "I missed you so much."

"I missed you too, B." Santana murmurs, stroking the back of her best friend (girlfriend?)'s head gently. Brittany wastes no time and kisses her fully on the lips, draping her arms over Santana's shoulders. It's long and slow, and Santana feels like she's being dragged back into the vortex of Brittany, this abyss where there is only Brittany and no one else in the world. She's fine with being sucked in.

Derrick is lying next to Sebastian in his bed. Curled up against the taller boy, he feels his like his heart is going to explode out of his chest. Sebastian's arm is snug around him, and he's got a smile on his face, and honestly, Derrick can barely breathe.

"Sebastian?" He murmurs, trying to sound sleepier than he is.


"I missed you too." He closes his mouth before the words start tumbling out, before he starts to say 'I love you, and I've always loved you and there is no one in this world I can imagine myself with in ten years but you and I never want you to leave again because I love you more than life itself' and ruin this for them. He shifts and snuggles up closer against Sebastian's bare torso, face nestled against his bare chest. The rhythm of his steadily-beating heart lulls Derrick into a state of unconsciousness. It's heavy enough that Sebastian is able to crawl out of bed without waking his best friend.

He'll apologize when he can think of a reason why Derrick's words didn't make him happy like he used to be.

They don't go out for dinner or anything, the day Santana gets back. She and Brittany just snuggle together in her room, kissing and watching some horrible movie on TV. It's nice—it's a break from the hell she's been through the past few days on and off. She's leaning against her girlfriend, falling asleep slowly, when her phone goes off. She picks it up reflexively, mouthing an apology to Brittany, who's too busy watching the ending of whatever drama is running its course on TNT.

"Santana, help." Sebastian whispers into the phone, his voice sharp.


"I slept with Derrick, San, I don't know…I made a mistake, but I don't know how I'm supposed to fix it when—"

"Hold up. You slept with Derrick? And you didn't mean to? God, you're such an asshole. Derrick really cares about you, Sebastian. Why would you do that to him?"

"Why would you choose your blonde cheater over me? I don't know, Santana, it was a slip-up. I fucked up."

She laughs bitterly. "You don't know how long I've waited for you to say that."

"Shut up."

"Well, I'm not going back to Westerville to fix your problems, twink. Good luck solving this on your own. I've got a girlfriend to get back to. Text me if your grave needs digging!" She hangs up and turns her phone off, setting it on her side table and crawling back into bed with Britt. They fall asleep together, Santana's arms ensnaring Brittany's waist and holding her close.

Santana is woken up several hours later by a tapping sound on her window. Annoyed, she carefully tiptoes out of bed and walks to the glass pane, only to find Sebastian beneath it, holding another small stone in his hand and giving her a grimace. Her eyes almost explode out of her head. She leaves her room quietly, taking her jacket with her. Cautiously, she opens the front door.

"Santana." Sebastian breathes in a sigh of relief. She's not blind to the obvious look he gives her up and down.

"Listen here, Sebastian. This better be fast, because Brittany is sleeping ups—"

"I know, I know. 'If you wake my girlfriend, I'll kill you'. I've heard that one before. Let me in, please. We need to really have a talk." He urges, stepping nearer to her. "Please. Ten minutes."

She hesitates for a moment or two.

"Fine. Ten minutes."

a/n: don't h8 me for just updating now please. also, if you're still reading this, thank you sososososososososo much. seriously. i have faith in people like you. xo