So Santana wasn't going to come inside, but then walking Brittany to the door turned into kissing Brittany on the stoop turned into seven slow "I love you" mumbles against each other's lips turned into a whiney "Please don't leave" turned into "But BrittBritt…" turned into one sad puppy pout turned into two sad puppy pouts turned into "Well, I guess I can do my calculus during homeroom tomorrow…" and a fist pump and a whoop, and finally into Brittany leading Santana into the mud room by the wrist, happily explaining the dream she had last night about a new free candy store at the mall and Kurt wearing a rubber raincoat and stiletto pumps to school while Santana just beams at Brittany like she's the Best Thing Ever.

(It was a pretty awesome dream; Kurt has fabulous calves and free peanut butter cups could probably solve all the world's problems, if there were just more of them available for everyone. Also, Santana has the prettiest smile in the world.)

They make a lot of noise hanging up their coats and tossing off their tennis shoes, kicking them up against the wall of the closet, which is probably why Brittany's dad yells for her as soon as they make it to the family room—not because he's mad, but because he hears all the banging sounds and wants to make sure that it's Brittany coming in the house and not like a robber or something.

"Brittany Sue? You home?" he calls, probably from the living room.

"Yeah, Dad!" she says, reaching over to grab Santana's hand. "Santana's with me!"

(Brittany makes sure to warn her dad that Santana's here because some nights he showers right after dinner and then walks around in his bathrobe and boxer shorts and there have been three times now when that turned out really super embarrassing for everybody.)

"Come on in to the living room, girls!" he says.

(Brittany mutters "Good," because if her dad wants them to come to him, that means he's probably wearing pants, which means she doesn't have to worry about that problem anymore.)

Brittany swings hers and Santana's hands between them and leads Santana to the living room. They find Brittany's whole family and Rory sitting in there on the couch with the lights off. Someone pushed the couch all the way back against the window wall, leaving off-color tracks on the carpet where the legs moved, and set up a card table in the middle of the room.

At first Brittany thinks there's a weird camera sitting on the card table, but then she notices the small carousel attached to the machine and she realizes that it's a slide projector, like the one Mrs. Hagberg sometimes uses in Geography class. Brittany didn't even know that her family owned one of these things. A light from the projector shines onto the far wall; the painting that usually hangs on that wall sits on the floor, propped against the lounge chair, so the wall is wide open, like a movie screen.

"Your uncle sent us some old family slides," Brittany's dad explains, "so I brought this old projector home from work and I thought we could look at some tonight. They're from when your mom was a little girl, like of her family's vacations and parties."

The only slides Brittany has ever seen before have been Mrs. Hagberg's school slides, which usually have to do with like the Lake Erie Basin and the population of Cleveland; the slides from when Brittany's mom was a kid sound like they'll be a lot more interesting than any slides about geography ever could be. Brittany is about to go sit down on the floor in front of her mom and sister when she thinks that maybe she should ask Santana if she wants to do this first. She does it with just a look.

You want to watch?

Santana looks around at the whole setup and Brittany's family, nervous. Brittany sees Santana's face change into the expression Santana wears when she wants something but thinks she can't have it—long and drawn, her eyes deep and mouth just a little bit hopeful, pursed and shy—and knows that Santana does want to watch a lot, but probably can't find the words to say so. Sure enough, Santana glances down at the carpet. "I could go…?" she says, like she thinks that's what Brittany's family wants her to say, instead of that she wants to see the slides.

Brittany feels really glad when her mom answers. "We'd like you to stay, if you want to, Santana."

Santana checks with Brittany for quick confirmation—Brittany nods—and bites her lip. She is so bashful sometimes, even with people she knows really well. "Are you sure? I don't want to intrude on family time," she says politely.

"You won't be intruding," says Brittany's dad.

"You should just stay," Brittany's sister whines, leaning over the arm of the couch so that her hair hangs down and brushes the carpet and her face starts to turn pink. "Santana," she pouts, drawing out the name, walking her fingertips just above the carpet in the air as she stares at Santana, upside-down, waiting for Santana's answer. She looks like a really big spider monkey.

Rory just looks nervous.

Brittany's mom adjusts her legs, shifting them daintily to the side, to give Brittany and Santana room to sit down and lean back against the couch in front of her. Brittany's sister tosses a couch pillow down for them to use.

That kind of settles it.

Santana mumbles, "Thank you," and Brittany cheers—except silently and inside her head—because she really likes having Santana around and she knows how much Santana secretly likes stuff like this and she thinks it's cool that Santana gets along with her family so well because Brittany loves her family and Brittany loves Santana and Brittany loves it when the people she loves kind of love each other, too.

Brittany adjusts the couch pillow so that it leans at an angle against the couch. She sits down first and sinks back against it, legs curled under her, leaving half the pillow open, then pats the ground next to her for Santana to sit down, too. Santana does sit down, arranging the pleats of her Cheerios skirt over her legs. Brittany smiles at her and Santana smiles back, but they don't touch each other.

(Santana will hold hands with Brittany in front of Brittany's parents now, but she still won't cuddle Brittany in front of them. Brittany doesn't mind and doesn't push it because she doesn't want Santana to feel weird and she knows that Santana will do it when she's ready anyhow. It's not that Brittany embarrasses Santana or that Santana feels ashamed about being with her; it's just that Santana is really careful of precious things.)

(That probably means that Santana will be really good at holding babies and making sure to support their necks right someday.)

(Brittany tries not to get ahead of herself, but sometimes she can't help it. And sometimes she doesn't think it's that much ahead, anyway, really. Sometimes you just know stuff for sure and it's lame to pretend like you don't.)

"Comfy?" asks Brittany's dad.

Santana nods yes, but Brittany knows that Santana isn't comfortable at all because she's trying so hard to stay on her side of the pillow and use her good manners that she barely has any room and she can't help but sit all stiffly because of it.

Brittany doesn't like it that Santana's uncomfortable, of course, but she does think it's adorable how hard Santana tries to impress her parents and she does like how Santana is so courteous to others, because basically Santana is the most thoughtful, polite person in the world, when you really get to know her.

Rory doesn't know that yet—Santana still scares him a lot—so he wiggles as far away from her as he can, but Brittany's little sister happily reaches for Santana's ponytail and starts running her fingers through it while Brittany's dad fiddles with the projector and Brittany hums, pleased.

"Okay, here we go," Brittany's dad says, setting the last slide into place. He squints at the slide box on the table next to him; the box looks super old. "These are from… 1972 to 1977," he reads, before he starts the show.

The first slide is upside down, so Brittany's dad has to change it, but it shows Brittany's uncle when he was probably about seven, Mom says, dressed up like a little cowboy, riding on a pony at a birthday party. The pony has this awesome case of side bangs going on and the colors in the slide all look kind of muted, even though they're bold hues. The slide projector makes a steady, wheezy whirring sound.

Brittany likes the picture and likes hearing her mom stammer to remember the context for it. She looks to Santana to check if Santana likes it, too, and sees Santana smiling, her mouth a little lopsided, the light from the projector reflecting back on her face, making the whites of her eyes look super white against the darkness. Her black hair shines with the yellow on Brittany's uncle's shirt and the powder blue of the old timey sky.

The whole family laughs when they get to a section of slides which feature Brittany's Meemaw's best fashion statements from the 1970s. Brittany's favorite outfit is this really awesome polyester jumpsuit that's neon blue with highlighter yellow racing stripes up the sides and bellbottom leg cuffs and this giant, white plastic belt. It looks like the Brady Bunch meets Sue Sylvester. It's totally fierce.

Brittany leans over to Santana. "I'm gonna bring that back," she teases.

Santana smirks. "Um, no, you're not," she whispers. "Not even you could make that look hot, Britt." A pause. "Maybe." Another pause. "Okay, whatever. You could. Just please don't wear that. God."

Brittany laughs at that and her little sister takes a swipe at her and tells her to shush up.

"Girls," Brittany's mom says and they all go quiet again. Santana fidgets a little where she sits, probably because her legs are falling asleep or something.

They watch the 1974 family road trip to Disneyland, the time that Brittany's mom and aunts and uncle all had swollen chipmunk cheeks on Christmas because they got the mumps from their neighbor kid, and the Fourth of July 1975 at the family cabin play out in aquamarine, avocado green, mustard yellow, paisley, and hippie orange on the white wall. Brittany's mom and dad reminisce about old toys and old music and the banana seats on their old bicycles.

"When I get my time machine to work, we're so gonna go back and see like a billion Fleetwood Mac concerts… and maybe the Bee Gees," Brittany whispers, nudging Santana. She doesn't mean for anyone else to overhear, but apparently Rory does.

"That sounds lovely, Brittany. Do you think I could come along?" he says cheerfully.

Brittany doesn't think Rory is flirting with her—not with Santana around—but he sounds kind of condescending, like he's trying to be sweet but secretly thinks her idea is nonsense, and she doesn't want to encourage anything from him and she doesn't like him butting in, so she just shrugs.

"You so have Uncle Randy's chin, Rory," Brittany says, gesturing up at the slide on the wall, which shows her eleven year-old uncle getting a Boy Scout award at a Court of Honor in somebody's ranchero-style basement. "I can totally see the family resemblance."

Rory pulls a face, but Brittany ignores him. She looks at Santana, who wears a funny expression, somewhere between a smile and something darker and deeper. She seems proud of Brittany, but it isn't just that.

For a long time after that, they just watch slide after slide of the summer of 1976, when Brittany's mom's family visited Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone, and a lot of the pictures are of mountains and earthen pots of bubbling mud and one shows two blurry, black blobs that Brittany's mom swears are bears running up an embankment from really, really far away.

Brittany starts to get a little sleepy right then and she sits on her hands, because they feel cold. She rests her head against the pillow and only just barely manages to laugh when her dad makes a joke about how it takes a real man to wear boater shoes while walking on the bridge next to Old Faithful, doesn't it, Grandpa?

(These slides about the National Parks aren't too different from the geography slides—which, yawn.)

Just as Brittany is pretty sure she's about to just conk out, she feels Santana touch her wrist. At first, she thinks it's an accident and that maybe Santana didn't mean to brush up against her at all, but then Santana pulls Brittany's hand out from underneath Brittany's leg and holds it, weaving their fingers together. Brittany doesn't look over because she doesn't want to make Santana feel self-conscious or anything. She doubts that anyone else even notices anyway. Plus, they've held hands in front of her family before. It's so nice, though.

So she sighs.

Santana is perfect.

Brittany doesn't really expect anything else to happen after that, but then they get into slides that show Brittany's great-uncle's wedding, with all the guys in these powder blue tuxedoes with the kind of ruffle shirts that Puck would call "shagnasty" and all the girls in these dresses with huge puffy sleeves and taffeta fringe, and all of a sudden Brittany feels pressure on her shoulder and then Santana's hair rubbing against her neck, and it's just at the part of the slideshow where Brittany's great-uncle may now kiss his bride.

Santana sighs and snuggles closer to Brittany on the floor, her knees bumping up against Brittany's legs.

"Hey," she mumbles.

"Hey," says Brittany, and Brittany can't help it: she smiles like the world's biggest idiot.

And even if Brittany's mom and Rory and her sister can't see her face because they're behind her on the couch, and even if her dad isn't looking at her because he's too busy kneeling beside the slide projector, flipping to the next slot, Brittany's pretty sure that probably everybody in the room can feel how happy she is because it's just such a warm, big, bright feeling that it can't possibly just stay with her. Brittany tucks Santana more snugly against her chest, holding her, so that she can feel the best of it—the warmest, brightest part.

(It's all for Santana anyway. It always is.)

(It's not that Brittany needs Santana to make big gestures or show off to people about them or anything; it's just that she loves Santana so much and she feels so happy whenever they're close and she likes it when Santana can relax and feel peace because everything was so hard for Santana for so long and Santana deserves to feel free. Santana deserves everything good.)

Brittany leans down and rests her head against Santana's.

Santana probably notices Brittany's big goofy smile, but she doesn't say anything about it. Instead, she just mumbles, "Forcing your bridesmaids to all wear matching dresses should be illegal unless Kurt Hummel plans your wedding, and, even then, it's questionable. I think it's probably against the Geneva Conventions."

"Totally," Brittany agrees. "No matching dresses. A color scheme could be okay, though. Like if everyone wore black and red or something."

"Yeah," Santana agrees, except somehow it seems like they're not just talking about weddings in general anymore.

(Brittany tries not to get ahead of herself, but sometimes she can't help it. And sometimes she doesn't think it's that much ahead, anyway, really. Sometimes you just know stuff for sure and it's lame to pretend like you don't.)

When they get to the end of the reel, Brittany's dad asks if everybody wants to keep going or what, but Brittany's mom says it's a school night and rustles Brittany's sister off the couch, telling her to go get her math homework so she can check it, and Rory disappears to go call his parents. Brittany's dad shrugs and says, "Well, that was fun, huh, girls?"

And Santana just nods and Brittany says, "Fo sho."

After Brittany's dad leaves the room—he asks "Lights on or off, girls?" and they both say off—Brittany and Santana both just sigh and relax more deeply into one another, their bodies soft and calm, wrapped up in each other in the dark.

"Are you gonna sleep over?" Brittany asks.

"My mom would kill me," Santana mumbles. She still sounds like she might stay, though. She nuzzles Brittany's neck and presses a quick kiss to Brittany's collarbone over Brittany's uniform. "That was nice, Britt," she says. "I really like your family." Brittany hums, but doesn't say anything. A pause. "I don't like Rory, though."

"That's okay," Brittany shrugs. "He's not my family."

What Brittany doesn't say—what both of them already know—glows, happy, between them, and they both just grin.

"I think you scare him," Brittany says, after a while.

"Yeah? Well, he'd better be scared," Santana says, trying to sound mean; her voice is too small, though. She yawns and curls into a ball, her face pressed up against Brittany's chest. Santana is absolutely adorable and probably the least scary thing on the face of the planet right now. Brittany melts. "Rawr," Santana mumbles, in her sweetest little mouse voice, falling asleep.

Brittany laughs and kisses Santana's hair.

(Sometimes you just know stuff and you know it and you know it and you know—)