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.

This update comes a little later than I hoped, sorry.

Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to leave a review for the last chapter, you motivated me so, so much!

This will be updated every 10 days or so.

R&R please.

Chapter 25

"Santana? Santana, wake up." Santana groans lightly, covering her eyes with her arm as Judy pulls the curtains up. "Come on," Judy gently urges, "Quinn's here, and she'd like to speak to you." Santana freezes, panic coursing through her veins. Quinn wants to speak to her? "I'll make some fresh copy, we'll be in the kitchen when you're ready. Santana opens one eye and watches Judy leave the guest bedroom, feeling bad that she had dragged the kind, older woman into her mess. Santana forces herself to sit up, grimacing at the pain that shoots through her forearm when she puts weight on it. She really doesn't want to go downstairs. She's so scared that Quinn will be able to work out what the problem is, and Santana doesn't ever want to see the betrayal on Quinn's face. Quinn had become a mother to her, and all Santana has to offer her is lies and heartbreak.

It makes her feel sick to her stomach. Wincing, Santana pushes herself off the bed and looks around for a sweatshirt to throw on. She spots one that she recognises hanging on the back of the bedroom door, and her stomach plummets. It's Brittany's. Quinn had found it in their car and wrapped it around her on their way back from the hospital. She stares at the sweatshirt for a moment, as though waiting for it to do something. Shakily, she reaches out and pulls the sweatshirt off of the hook, hugging it close to her. It still smells like Brittany. Santana pulls it on and wraps her arms around herself, ignoring the throbbing pain in her arm. Brittany's scent is comforting, yet painful at the same time. She has never felt like this before. Santana makes her way downstairs, chewing on her bottom lip and wishing she could just run away. No. She Santana shakes her head, running away had only made things worse so far.

"Santana?" Santana lifts her gaze from the floor as she reaches the bottom of the staircase, finding Quinn waiting for her at the bottom. Quinn has her in her arms before she can even respond, and Santana can't help but sink into the maternal embrace. Strength and comfort radiates from Quinn as she holds Santana closing, Quinn praying that Santana would just open up to her. "How does your arm feel?" Quinn questions softly.

"It kills," Santana grumbles into Quinn's shoulder, unwilling to pull out of the hug just yet.

"Come on," Quinn softly states, keeping one arm around Santana as she leads the teenager into her mother's kitchen. "Sit down," she tells Santana. Judy smiles reassuringly at her daughter and hands her a bottle of painkillers. "Thank, mom." Quinn pops the lid and tips two tablets into her hand before filling a glass with water. "These will help," Quinn murmurs, placing the water on the table and handing Santana the tablets. She watches as Santana tips them into her mouth, draining the glass of water straight after.

"Thanks," Santana mumbles.

"Not a problem," Quinn smiles, "it's what I'm here for." Santana feels another stab of guilt. Quinn is so desperate to look after her and to be her mother. She smiles softly as Judy places a mug of coffee in front of her, silently thanking her.

"I got it," she hears Quinn say, and she watches as Quinn sits down opposite her with fresh bandages and anti infection cream in her hands. Judy takes the hint and hands Quinn a warm, wet cloth before making herself scarce. Santana doesn't say anything as Quinn silently takes her injured hand into hers, her touch gentle and maternal. Quinn carefully unwraps Santana's bandage and places it to one side. "You really did a number on yourself," Quinn remarks, but there is no judgement in her voice. Quinn inspects Santana's stitches, wincing slightly as she grabs the wet cloth.

"They look a little red," Santana quietly says. "Are they infected?" Quinn furrows her brow, carefully gazing at the stitches.

"I don't think so," Quinn replies, albeit uncertainly, "I think it's just because they're new, we'll keep an eye on them," Quinn tells her. She gently cleans the area around the stitches, being careful to hurt Santana any more than she has already hurt herself. "Just remember to use the cream the doctor gave us if you end up changing your bandages yourself at any point," Quinn instructs her.

"Why aren't you mad?" Santana asks, her voice low and wary. Quinn glances up at Santana as she reaches for the cream and fresh bandages, frowning ever so slightly.

"About what?" she asks lightly.

"About me putting my fist through a car window...about me staying here. You don't seem mad at all, and I don't understand it," Santana whispers. "Why aren't you mad?" she repeats. Quinn sighs softly, staying silent as she gently wraps the fresh bandage around Santana's hand and forearm. She places a soft kiss on top of the fresh bandage, and Santana finds herself blinking back tears. Her mother had used to do that when putting a Band-Aid on her scraped knees as a young child. Nobody had done that since then. Nobody had cared enough, until now.

"I don't seem mad, because I'm not," Quinn shrugs lightly. "I can see you hurting and struggling. That makes me sad, not mad," Quinn murmurs. "You're my daughter and I want to help you, but I don't think you want my help." Quinn's hazel eyes don't leave Santana's, and she studies the teenager. "I'm here," Quinn murmurs. "Whenever you want my help, or need it, I'm here. Whatever is going on inside that head of yours, you don't have to deal with it by yourself and, when you're ready, I will take you home. It doesn't matter if that's in two hours or two weeks. The minute you want to come home, I will come and get you," Quinn swears. "Until then, I will come here to spend some time with you. Rachel and Brittany are coming over later for dinner, but we won't smother you. We'll give you all the time you need." Santana bites down on her bottom lip, blinking back fresh tears as she nods.

"Thank you," Santana murmurs.

"Of course," Quinn nods. "We're your family, supporting you is what we do. Now, I need to run some errands and I was hoping for a little company," Quinn hints, not subtly at all. Santana smiles ever so slightly, she likes that Quinn doesn't want to pressure her. She just wants to spend some time with her and be there for her. "I could maybe spring for lunch, too."

"I need to shower first," Santana softly says.

"Take your time," Quinn smiles. "There's no rush."

0-00-0

She focuses only on striking and breathing. In and out, punching with her left and then with her right. Brittany glares at the punching bag, her gaze blurry due to the tears she fights to hold back. Beads of sweat collect on her brow, but she doesn't even notice. All Brittany can think about is Santana, and how Santana is no longer staying here. She blames herself. She had crossed a dangerous, dangerous line and she had chased the young girl away. Quinn would never forgive her if she found out, and neither would Rachel. She's down here trying to pull herself together, trying to get all of the tension out of her body, but it only seems to be making her feel worse. Every time she strike the bag, Brittany is reminded of Santana punching the car window and she hates herself even more. She had driven Santana to the point or, at the very least, she had helped Santana drive herself to that point.

"Brittany?" Rachel warily steps into the basement, nervously lingering at the top of the staircase. She doesn't like seeing Brittany look so worked up, she's usually so calm, and Rachel doesn't know what to do. "Brittany?" she tries again, shrinking backwards ever so slightly when Brittany whips around to look up at her.

"Sorry, honey," Brittany states softly, noticing that Rachel looks wary. "I didn't hear you come in, you okay?" Rachel nods, frowning as she studies her adopted mother. Brittany is soaked in sweat and her hair is sticking to her flushed face. "I got a little too involved in my work out," Brittany says with a forced smile.

"You didn't look like you were working out," Rachel retorts softly. "You looked like you were really mad about something," she adds. Brittany waves her off,

"nah, just a work out," Brittany smiles, her breathing laboured. "You need something?" she asks kindly. Rachel shrugs, fiddling with a loose thread on her pajama shirt.

"Quinn made me breakfast, but then she went to go see Santana. Is Santana not going to school today?" Rachel asks.

"Not today," Brittany murmurs. "She had a rough night. How come you're not dressed? We need to leave in like," she glances at her watch, "oh. Twenty minutes ago." Brittany sighs, "shit."

"I don't really feel well," Rachel tells her, and Brittany can immediately see that the girl is lying. "I feel...hot and...not well," Rachel lamely finishes. Brittany studies Rachel carefully, using her forearm to wipe the sweat from her forehead.

"Well, I guess you should go back to bed then, huh?" Brittany states, biting back a smile at the look of horror on Rachel's face. "Or you could go get settled on the sofa with a blanket," Brittany suggests. "I'll join you in a little bit, I just need to shower first." Rachel grins at her, nodding. "It sucks to be sick, huh?" Rachel nods. "Alright, go on. I'll be there soon." Brittany watches Rachel leave and lets out a small sigh. She's acting too weird around everyone, she knows that, and she needs to get a hold of herself before she gives anything away. Brittany slowly counts to ten in her head as she begins to wipe down her equipment, her chest feeling a little tighter than she'd like. She hadn't realised just how hard she had been working herself. Brittany sighs softly when she hears the basement door open again, "Rachel, you said you were sick. Go lay down," Brittany says without turning around.

"She's just grabbing a blanket." Brittany turns around to face her father, but she is unable to fully return his gaze.

"Sorry, I thought you were Rachel," Brittany murmurs, looking down at the damp towel in her hands.

"Yeah, I kinda figured that," Bill mumbles. "It's falling apart around you, huh?" Brittany scoffs,

"and what? You came to say I told you so?" Brittany asks, "well, congratulations, dad. You were right," Brittany snaps. Bill sighs softly,

"that's not why I came," Bill corrects her. "I heard about what happened last night, and I wanted to make sure you were holding it together." Brittany stares at her father in disbelief. Bill shakes his head, "you look like crap, Brittany. It's very obvious that something is wrong, and Quinn will start asking questions if you don't pull yourself together," he scolds.

"I'm trying, dad!" Brittany exclaims. "You didn't see what I saw last night, you didn't see what I did to her just by being around her." She sighs and scrubs her face with her hands. "I'm fucking destroying her and I'm terrified!" Bill takes a step towards his daughter and places his hand on her shoulder.

"You need to calm down," he states seriously. "This situation is awful, but it can still get worse. You need to pull yourself together, and fast. You need to pay attention. You're wrapped up in your head and Rachel is pretending to be sick just so she can get some of your attention. Until you get over Santana, you need to pretend that you are. For Quinn and Rachel's sake." Bill stares into Brittany's eyes, silently praying that she's taking this on board. "Go shower and pull yourself together," Bill tells her.

"What happens if I can't hold it together?" Brittany weakly questions.

"That's not an option."

0-00-0

Quinn gazes across the small store at Santana, her brow furrowing as she watches Santana palming t'shirts along the rail, seemingly uninterested in all of them. She had thought Santana loved shopping, but Santana doesn't seem like she even wants to be here. In fact, Santana looks downright miserable. Quinn sighs softly and makes her way across the store, stopping next to Santana and placing her hand on Santana's back. She rubs reassuringly and tilts her head to look into the teenager's dark eyes.

"Do you want to go back to my mom's?" Quinn softly questions. Santana gazes back at her, her chin quivering ever so slightly, but she shakes her head.

"No, I'm fine," Santana murmurs. "Just haven't seen anything I like yet."

"Are you sure?" Quinn asks, "because I don't mind. I know you're not feeling great and I'm more than happy to take a rain check. We can do this anytime," Quinn states with a kind smile. Santana feels guiltier than ever, Quinn is being so great and she's ruining their day out, but she just feels so damn miserable. She just can't stop thinking about Brittany and the repercussions of loving her.

"I'm fine," Santana repeats, but Quinn isn't convinced. Santana reaches out and pulls a random pair of jeans from one of the racks, "I'm gonna go try these on," she adds hurriedly. Quinn watches her rush off to the changing room, feeling more concerned than ever. All she wants to do is gather the teenager into her arms and shield her from whatever is hurting her, and make her feel safe and loved. Quinn slowly follows Santana and she sits down on the hard plastic seat outside of the changing rooms. Santana is the only person using a changing room, the others have their curtains pulled wide open, and Quinn can hear Santana sigh. Chewing on her bottom lip, Quinn watches Santana's shadow at the bottom of the curtain and frowns. It doesn't look like Santana is changing. "Fuck," she hears Santana whisper.

"Everything okay in there?" Quinn calls out and she hears Santana's small, sharp intake of breath. Santana hadn't noticed her presence.

"Yeah," Santana weakly call back, sounding anything but okay. Quinn frowns again and stares at the curtain. She hears a small sniffle and immediately rises from the chair,

"Santana?"

"I'm fine," Santana replies shakily, and Quinn can tell that the girl is crying.

"I'm coming in," Quinn tells her firmly. She moves the curtain and steps into the changing room, pulling the curtain back into place after her. "Oh, sweetheart..." Quinn gathers a tearful Santana into her arms and holds her tightly. "What's got you so upset?" Quinn asks softly, tears brimming in her hazel eyes as Santana's body shakes with silent sobs. "It's okay, baby, I'm right here," Quinn coos. "I've got you." Santana buries her face into Quinn's neck, tears freely flowing down her cheeks. She just can't hold them in any longer.

"I'm sorry," Santana chokes out, her tears dampening Quinn's skin. "I'm sorry for ruining it," she wails. Quinn tightens her arms around Santana,

"hey, hey, you didn't ruin anything," Quinn sincerely responds. "It's just a shopping trip, it doesn't matter," she promises, completely missing the true meaning behind Santana's words. "I'm right here, okay? Let it out, sweet girl." Santana's body violently shakes and she grips onto Quinn, holding onto her for dear life.

"I'm ruining everything," Santana sobs. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. So, so sorry," Santana swears.

"Why are you sorry, honey?" Quinn asks tenderly, "talk to me, Santana," she softly pleads. Santana pulls back, backing herself into the corner of the changing room and angrily swiping the tears from her face. "Please talk to me," Quinn begs, her own tears leaking from her eyes.

"I..." Santana freezes when she hears music suddenly blasting into the quiet space of the changing rooms. She knows that song, it's Quinn's ringtone for Brittany. Her heart pounds and she stares at Quinn, horrified with herself. She almost told her, she can't believe it, she had almost told Quinn. She had almost ripped their family apart. What is she doing? She needs to get a hold of herself, she needs to stop this. She needs to pull herself together. For Quinn and Rachel's sake, but also for Brittany's. She loves her too much to do this to her. Santana can't do this, she can't destroy Brittany's life.

"Shit," Quinn curses softly, rooting through her purse and grabbing her cell phone. She rejects the call and throws her cell phone back into her purse. She can call Brittany back later. Quinn gazes across at Santana and her heart sinks. She had been so close to getting Santana to open up to her, but now she knows it's a missed opportunity. Quinn can almost see Santana building that wall back up around herself. "Santana..."

"I'm sorry," Santana interrupts her, "I'm sorry. I'm fine, I just...I'm having a bad couple of days," Santana attempts to brush off her breakdown. "I just... can we go back now? I'm tired," Santana murmurs, sniffing loudly and brushing her tears from her cheeks. "I...my arm hurts and..."

"It's okay," Quinn tells her kindly, "we can go back." Quinn studies Santana carefully and forces herself to keep the disappointment from her face. She knows Santana has a horrible past, and she knows that it's going to be a while before Santana will fully open up to her, but she wishes that day would come sooner rather than later. As far as Quinn is concerned, Santana is her child. She loves her, and she wants nothing more than to fill her life with love, and happiness, and safety. "When you're ready to talk, I'll be there. No matter what time of day it is," Quinn promises.

"I know," Santana murmurs. "I'm just, I'm just not ready." Quinn smiles reassuringly,

"and that's perfectly alright, sweetie," she quietly states. "Take your time, it's your story to tell." Quinn may be desperate for Santana to open up to her, but she certainly isn't going to make her feel uncomfortable and rush her. Santana gazes at Quinn sadly. She knows that Quinn thinks it's her past issues that are messing her up and, while she loves that Quinn actually cares, it only makes her feel even more guilty.

"Okay," Santana whispers. She glances at Quinn's purse when she hears her new mother's cell phone chime, "I just need more time." Quinn nods, smiling at Santana. She can easily spot the fear and nerves on Santana's features, but she doesn't push the issue. She knows she needs to be patient.

"Maybe we should see about finding you someone to talk to," Quinn gently says and Santana stares at her in horror, her heart thumping wildly against her ribs.

"What?" she whispers, and Quinn doesn't seem to realise just how much her words had affected Santana.

"A therapist," Quinn softly clarifies. Santana's chest tightens, and she struggles to control her breathing. "They can help you."

"No! I won't go!" Santana chest aches as her breathing falls out of her control. It's a major struggle to pull air into her lungs and her growing panic only increases the problem.

"You will go, and you will fucking tell the shrink exactly what I tell you to." He's furious and it scares Santana more than she will admit. "I will not allow a dyke in my house, you will get fucking fixed!" he yells at her. "I will beat it out of you if I have to! Is that what you want, huh?! You want me to beat your disgusting habit out of you?" Santana feels her knees buckle and she sinks down onto her bed. She stares up at him, her dark eyes pleading with him to be reasonable.

"Please," she whispers, fighting against her tears, "please. I won't look at the magazines anymore. I'll like boys! I promise, I'll like boys!" Her bottom lip quivers as she stares up at him, unable to hold back her tears any longer.

"Stop your fucking crying," he orders. "I don't want to see your tears. You will speak to the therapist and you will let her fix you."

"Please," Santana tries again, begging him not to send her to this person.

"You will go," he tells her, "or I will fix you myself."

To be continued... your feedback is very much appreciated.