I do not own Glee or any of the original characters, It all belongs to RIB and Fox. Any characters you don't recognise are my own creations.

A/N - I know some of you are frustrated about not knowing what Brittany is thinking. You're not supposed to know yet. It's a pretty complicated storyline, please be patient. You'll get what you want, but I'm not rushing this story - I don't want to ruin it.

Thank you for your reviews.

Chapter 13

Santana watches Brittany out of the corner of her eye as she uses her fork to push food around her plate, noticing that Brittany is doing the same thing. Occasionally, Brittany would glance in Santana's direction, disappointment evident in her gaze. Quinn doesn't seem to notice that neither of them are eating, or maybe she does but is just choosing not to comment on it. Santana's head is pounding and Rachel's continuous chatter with her friend, Kurt, only worsens her already terrible mood. At the same time, she can't help but listen to what her little sister is saying. It's the only way she can find out how Rachel's day was, she's still not speaking to Santana.

"You should eat," Brittany says to Santana, despite the fact that she has barely touched her own food. Santana gazes over at her, looking straight into Brittany's, now, unreadable eyes.

"You're not," Santana points out.

"I had a big lunch. You, on the other hand, have barely eaten recently," Brittany replies coolly. "Eat," she murmurs firmly.

"I'm not hungry," Santana responds simply. "May I be excused?" she asks, turning her attention to Quinn.

"Go get whatever homework you have and bring it down here," Quinn tells her. "Now," she adds firmly when Santana opens her mouth to argue. She's somewhat surprised when Santana nods stiffly and rises from the table, calmly leaving the dining room to do as Quinn told her. She smiles reassuringly at Rachel, letting the ten year old know that things are okay. She doesn't need to know what Santana had been caught doing. Quinn watches as Brittany suddenly leaves the table, taking her plate with her. She hears Brittany's plate being placed in the sink and then hears the basement door opening and closing a few moments later. Sighing, Quinn shoots Rachel and Kurt a smile and stands up, following her wife out of the room.

"I need to work on a routine for one of my classes," Brittany calls up the basement stairs as soon as Quinn opens the door. "I'll come up soon."

"You seem pretty worked up," Quinn notes, stopping halfway down the stairs.

"Well, it's been a pretty frustrating day," Brittany states pointedly.

"I get that you're angry," Quinn murmurs, "I am, too. We really should talk to Santana, though. Rachel is distracted by Kurt so it's kinda the perfect time. I don't want her to overhear it."

"Okay," Brittany nods, sighing heavily, "I'll be right up."

"Are you okay?" Quinn questions hesitantly, watching her wife in concern.

"Yeah," Brittany murmurs, "just..mad. I'll be right up," she repeats. Quinn nods and walks back up to the kitchen, frowning slightly. She knows something is really bothering Brittany because she always becomes distant like this, but she just wishes Brittany would talk to her about it. Quinn knows it's probably just the situation with Santana, but still...why should she be punished for it? She's mad, too. Hell, she's furious but she is also really worried about Santana. It'd be nice to be able to actually talk about things with her wife. She slips the switch on the coffee machine and leans against the counter as she waits, Santana silenty walking into the room and sitting down at the small table with her homework. Quinn eyes the girl curiously, wishing she could work out what is going on inside her pretty head. She can tell that Santana is purposely avoiding her gaze, she's been with them long enough for Quinn to have worked out what a few of her little quirks mean. Santana's body is tense, and her head is cocked slightly to the side; that means she is aware of Quinn watching her. She hears Brittany's footsteps coming up the basement steps and she pulls another mug out of the cupboard, pausing and glancing at Santana.

"Santana?" Quinn waits until Santana looks back at her, "Coffee?"

"Yeah," Santana answers quietly, her voice almost a whisper. "Please." Quinn nods and pulls another mug out before closing the cupboard. She watches Brittany out of the corner of her eye as she joins Santana at the kitchen table, sitting opposite her and leaning forward to check out what homework she has.

"When is that due?" Brittany questions curtly.

"In a couple of days," Santana replies quietly, chewing on her bottom lip anxiously. Quinn watches them both carefully, noticing that Santana seems nervous to be around Brittany. She assumes it's because of Brittany's visible anger. Despite the fact that Santana is constantly landing herself in trouble, she doesn't deal well with other people being angry.

"Make sure it's done on time," Brittany warns, Santana nodding and avoiding her gaze. Quinn pours their coffees and places Santana's and Brittany's on the table before grabbing hers and sitting down next to Brittany.

"Okay, so we have a lot to talk about," Quinn begins. "Let's deal with one thing at a time, shall we?" She waits until both Santana and Brittany nod, Brittany's silence informing Quinn that she will be taking the lead on this one. "You told us that you found school hard, that it's a difficult place for you to be sometimes. We want to understand, really we do, but you need to help us understand, Santana," Quinn states, thought not unkindly.

"Both of you?" Santana asks timidly, mistaking Brittany's silent fury as a sign of disinterest.

"I wouldn't be this furious if I didn't care," Brittany murmurs, "I just honestly don't trust myself to talk to you right now, Santana. I haven't felt this angry and disappointed in a lo...well, ever actually." Santana stares down at the grain of the table, shame flooding through her.

"I'm sorry," she mumbles, tears stinging the corners of her dark eyes.

"Help us understand, Santana," Quinn prompts, studying the teenager carefully.

"I just..I've had bad experiences with school," Santana murmurs quietly. "One of our foster parents had high expectations...too high." Brittany and Quinn exchanged a look, realising what Santana is saying, but still needing to make sure. Brittany nods; she'll take this one.

"Santana, honey, the foster parents you're referring to..did they uh.. were you punished if you got a bad grade?" she questions gently, noticing that Santana winces and tenses up, her hand tightening around her coffee mug. Eventually, she nods, blinking back tears.

"They expected As," Santana whispers, swallowing thickly, "anything less wasn't accepted."

"Did they spank you?" Quinn asks softly, reaching across the table and taking Santana's free hand into both of her own.

"If that's what you want to call it," Santana scoffs bitterly. "My mom spanked me,that's not what pretty much all of my foster parents did. They beat the crap out of all of the kids with a belt." Quinn gasps softly, her expression horrified and her eyes welling.

"Oh, honey," Quinn murmurs as Brittany moves to sit next to Santana. Santana ignores how her pulse races at the feel of Brittany's warm arm wrapping around her shoulders. "That's never gonna happen again, we would never harm you," Quinn promises. "You can expect to be grounded or lectured or given an enormous list of chores or something, but we will never lay a finger on you. Not even a spanking. I'm not judging your mom for that, we just don't believe in using physical punishment," she explains.

"And all we will ever expect is that you try your best at school," Brittany chimes in. As devastating as Santana's statament is to hear, Brittany and Quinn can't help but feel a little relieved that Santana is finally opening up to them, at least a little bit. They know this is just tip of the iceberg, know that there's still so much they don't know about what Santana went through, but they're glad she finally feels safe enough to disclose something.

"Thank you for telling us," Quinn murmurs, "we won't push you, but when you're ready to talk to us about anything, we will listen and we won't judge," she adds sincerely. "Can you please just promise us that you will go to school and stay there. Please?"

"Yeah," Santana whispers, "I promise. I'm sorry, I just..."

"It's okay," Brittany interrupts. "We're not making you promise to be okay about being there, we just want you to go. You can't try your best at school if you're not there, honey. If, at any point during the day, you need to get out of there or you need someone to talk to, you can call one of us. Or both of us if you need to. We love you, Santana, and we only want the best for you and we will do everything in our power to make sure you have the best life possible but..."

"I need to do everything in my power, too," Santana murmurs.

"Exactly," Brittany nods. "You're an amazing girl, and I know you have had a life that no child deserves, but if you try and you let us help you'll do amazing things. No matter what was said and done to you, that won't beat you, let it make you stronger instead."

"I'll try," Santana murmurs, swiping at a stray tear on her cheek.

"Thank you," Quinn states softly, gently squeezing Santana's hand and glancing at her wife, signalling that it's probably best if they move on to the next issue. Brittany nods, letting out a low sigh and scrubbing her face with her hand. "Okay, let's talk about what happened after you walked out of school today," she begins, noticing the light blush that colours the tips of Santana's ears. "I know we said no boys in your bedroom..." Santana chuckles lightly, looking across at Quinn with a, rare, genuine smile on her face. "We were meaning no...partners in your bedroom. Obviously, we don't care about gender, but we don't want you bringing people home, okay?"

"I'm not gay," Santana blurts out, "or bisexual or anything like that," she adds quickly, frowning. "I mean, I don't have a problem with people who are, but I'm not," she explains rapidly. "I was just...trying it," Santana adds lamely, mentally kicking herself.

"That's alright, young people experiment, that happens," Quinn murmurs reassuringly. "Are you a virgin, honey?" she questions gently, watching Santana carefully.

"Yeah," she murmurs, chewing on her bottom lip.

"Sex is complicated," Brittany states bluntly. "Even when it's with someone that you don't have any feelings for. You're not in a great state of mind just now, honey," she quietly states. "We don't want to come home to find you fooling around with someone in your bedroom. If you want to date, that's fine, but we want to know where you are at all times, and if you bring someone here then it will be when Quinn or I are at home."

"And your bedroom door will be open at all times," Quinn chimes in. "When the time comes when you're going to take it that far, you can talk to either of us about it. When I was growing up, sex was a taboo subject, I could never talk to my parents about it. I had to learn everything from books. Sex isn't anything to be ashamed of, we will happily discuss things with you. It's something you should be educated on so that you can practice it safely...when the time comes," Quinn explains kindly.

"Thank you," Santana mumbles, feeling a little embarrassed about talking it about it.

"The way I see it, if you can't talk about it and use certain words, you're not ready, sweetie," Brittany says gently. "Are you okay with everything we've talked about?" Santana nods shyly, swallowing thickly. "Okay, good. Now, we've discussed your punishment. You're on dish duty for the next two weeks and you're grounded. When you're not at school, you will be with one of us at all times. You need to earn our trust before we let you out of our sight," Brittany explains.

"And this weekend, you will help me set up for Brittany's party," Quinn adds, spotting the confusion on Santana's face, "it's Brittany's thirtieth on Sunday," she explains quietly, "it's alright, we know you don't know. We were given a file with your date of birth on it. You weren't given one with ours, we don't expect you to know everything about us just yet."

"We're a new family, it'll take time," Brittany smiles kindly. "And you will have plenty of time to learn all about us over the next two weeks."

0-00-0

Brittany sighs heavily as she catches a look at herself in the bathroom mirror while she brushes her teeth. She looks exhausted, and she hopes Quinn is already asleep. Spitting out the toothpaste and rinsing her mouth, she places her toothbrush back in the holder and leaves the bathroom, padding across to their bedroom clad only in a baggy t'shirt and a pair of boy shorts. She walks into the bedroom to find Quinn propped up against the headboard, a book in her hands and her glasses perched on her nose. Quinn offers her a smile as she climbs into bed, a smile that Brittany briefly returns before pecking Quinn's lips and rolling onto her side. Quinn gazes at the back of her wife's head and chews on her bottom lip, knowing that whatever was bothering Brittany earlier is still bothering her now.

"It's still kinda early," Quinn murmurs, placing her book and glasses on the bedside table and scooting closer to Brittany. "Maybe you and I could have a little fun," she suggests coyly.

"The girls are still awake," Brittany mumbles, her eyes still tightly squeezed closed.

"Well, then maybe we could talk," Quinn replies, "we haven't actually had a chance to speak on her our own today for more than a few minutes."

"What do you want to talk about?" Brittany asks with a sigh, turning around to face Quinn.

"We could talk about whatever it is that's bothering you," Quinn retorts, "but not if you're gonna continue to take it out on me," she adds pointedly.

"What? What do you mean, take it out on you?" Brittany questions, frowning in confusion.

"You've been weird with me lately," Quinn sighs, "I know you, and I know when something is bothering you. You usually talk to me when something is bothering you, so..talk to me," she prompts, gazing helplessly down at Brittany.

"Sorry, I don't mean to make you feel like that," Brittany states softly and sincerely. "I guess I'm just kinda stressed out, a lot has happened lately," she shrugs.

"Are you sure that you're not just worried about turning thirty?" Quinn teases, attempting to lighten the mood. She's glad when it seems to work, a small smirk tugging at Brittany's lips. "Because, you know, you're not suddenly gonna start sprouting gray hair. I survived turning thirty," she jokes.

"Actually, I'm actually really looking forward to my birthday. It's gonna be nice to have all the family here, Santana and Rachel are going to be spoiled by our parents. It's the one day that guarantees some happiness for all four of us," Brittany murmurs. "I think I just need to take it a little easier at the studio, I come home so tired because I'm busting my ass and so even the slightest little issue just really weighs on me," Brittany shrugs.

"Are you sure that's all it is?" Quinn questions quietly, not quite convinced by her wife's explanation.

"Yeah, I just worry about everything, you know," Brittany states, playing it down. "Rachel isn't speaking to Santana and it is just killing her, and it's hurting Rachel as well," Brittany sighs. "I just...nevermind, I really need to get some sleep. I have a headache and I have to get up really early tomorrow. Goodnight," she says, pecking Quinn on the lips again and turning away from her. Quinn sighs softly as she sinks her head into her pillow.

"Night," Quinn murmurs shortly, turning to face in the opposite direction. Maybe things will make more sense in the morning.

0-00-0

Santana sighs and stares down at her lap, refusing to meet Quinn's gaze; she doesn't want to see any of the pity that she is convinced will be in Quinn's hazel eyes. She doesn't really understand why the nurse had called Quinn, it was just a small panic attack. She has them all the time, she can handle it. Santana flinches slightly when Quinn places her hand on her knee, squeezing reassuringly. She's never had this before; someone who actually wanted to look after her and make sure she's doing okay. Someone who could reassure her just be touching her. Quinn calms her. It confuses her and relaxes her at the same time.

"Sorry," Santana murmurs, feeling bad for flinching, even if she didn't mean to.

"Don't apologise," Quinn tells her firmly. "I just need to go sign you out, I'll be right back," she adds softly, watching Santana for a moment before following the nurse out of the room. Santana hates this. Hates that she can barely control her own emotions, hates that Quinn is so much like a mother to her, hates that she is betraying Quinn with her feelings for Brittany. She also hates that something as simple as a teacher yelling at another student sent her spiralling into a panic attack. She's sixteen years old, she's not some dumb little kid. School shouldn't be so terrifying for her. Life shouldn't be so terrifying for her. What the fuck did she do to deserve being so fucking screwed up?!

"Oh yay, you're here," Mack remarks dryly as she walks into the room. "Just what I needed today," she rolls her eyes and slumps down on the nurse's chair. "Where is she?"

"Signing me out," Santana mutters, staring down at the waxed floor.

"You don't look sick," Mack notes.

"I'm not." Mack shrugs, realising Santana isn't going to go into anymore details about why she is going home.

"So, when are you going to return the favour?" Mack questions with a smirk.

"It's not going to happen again," Santana replies firmly. "It was a one time thing. I'm not into girls."

"You sure seemed like you were when I was going down on you," Mack remarks. "Really, really into it. You can't have just been experimenting because you didn't do anything, in fact it was me doing all the work. Although, I wouldn't have made such an effort had I know you were going to leave me out in the cold."

"Look, it was a mistake. Get over it," Santana retorts. "It's not going to happen again," she repeats. "I like guys, you were just means to an end."

"Nice," Mack snaps, "real fucking nice! I wish I had known you were such a stone cold bitch."

"I'm sorry," Santana shrugs. "I'm just not into that."

"Whatever," Mack scoffs, "tell your new mama that I hope she enjoyed the show," she adds coldly, standing up and stalking to the door.

"Wait!" Santana calls out, causing the other girl to freeze in the doorway. "What do you mean? Brittany didn't see anything, we had already stopped when she walked in." Mack sighs through her nose and narrows her eyes as she gazes thoughtfully at Santana.

"When I was going down on you," Mack begins, ignoring that Santana winces, "I was sure I heard your bedroom door open. I thought I was just imagining it because you said nobody was home.."

"They weren't when we got there," Santana interrupts, holding her hands up when Mack glares at her. "Sorry, continue."

"I kept going because nothing happened, I figured I really was just imagining things but I closed your door when we went in your room, I made a point of doing closing it. She must have been standing there while we were still...busy, because the I didn't hear the door open again. The next thing we knew, she was standing there. I dunno, I guess she was maybe shocked at what she saw but she had to have been standing there for at least a minute," Mack explains. "I didn't really think about it until the next day, when I tried to work out what actually happened. Whatever. All I know is I heard the door open once, and it was while we were still messing around, she must have seen some stuff," Mack shrugs. "Can I go now?" she asks, glancing down at her arm and Santana is surprised to realise that she is holding on to the other girl.

"Yeah," Santana whispers, dropping Mack's arm and leaning heavily against the frame of the door. What the fuck just happened? Brittany saw them? She watched? No, no there has to be more to it. There has to be. Mack said something about Brittany being shocked. Yeah, that must be it. People freeze when something surprises them, right? Her chest feels tight and she breathes quickly and heavily, her palm resting stiffly on her stomach.

"Santana? Are you okay?" Quinn's voice sounds distant, but Santana can feel the woman's hand on her shoulder. "You're okay, honey, just breathe," Quinn murmurs soothingly, rubbing her back. Try as she might, Santana can't calm down, all she can think about is what will happen when she goes home. Home..where Brittany is.

To be continued... Please review.