"I love you." They tell each other exactly at the same time on a lazy Sunday morning. They lay naked in Brittany's bed, limbs and hair and dried sweat from last night's lovemaking are all over the bed under the bright colored sheets. They are tangled in each other's arms with their eyes still closed, both thinking the other was still asleep. Telling these words has become the most natural thing to do for them. A couple of months earlier it was not meant to be a thing to talk about and now they tell each other every morning and every night and a lot of times in between. It is a part of their routine. Sometimes when they say it, they don't even think about it. Sometimes it's just a reflex.
Sometimes they play games with it. For example, one of Brittany's favorite sex games (of course they have a lot of "those" games) is when they can't say "I love you" while they make love to each other. Santana always does it though when she comes and then tries to argue, that it doesn't count if she says it in Spanish. Brittany doesn't say anything to that, she just makes her come again and then Santana doesn't want to argue anymore. She couldn't really anyway even if she tried, because Brittany is like the smartest person ever and she knows that it counts. And Santana is kind of too busy to breathe properly, so she just lets it go.
Santana is the first to open her eyes. The familiarity of the picture that's ahead of her strikes her hard and moves something inside her. It's the same feeling she gets every morning they wake up together. The rays of the morning Sun make Brittany's pale skin and blonde hair glow. Santana wonders if she is staring at an angel right now and suddenly gets the urge to close her eyes. Seconds later she opens them again and Brittany is still there. Yep, not a dream she thinks and then mentally punches herself in the face and thanks God at the same time.
Brittany is still lying with her eyes closed, one arm under Santana's neck and the other on her back. She is motionless apart from the rhythmical rising and falling of her chest. Santana knows that her breathing pattern is a bit different when she is asleep and of course Brittany said those words like a minute ago, so Santana is sure she is awake now. But she doesn't tell her to wake up or even to open her eyes. Brittany knows why she doesn't. She knows that secretly her girlfriend likes watching her in the morning. She likes watching her doing a lot of things actually, but thinking about that gets Brittany all horny and she is just too tired to even feel that way after last night.
A couple of minutes later she slowly opens her eyes and looks straight into Santana's. She doesn't think there is a better sight to wake up to like ever.
"If I didn't know better, I would say that you are a creeper baby." Brittany says with a playful tone to make the slightly insulting comment lighter.
"What are you talking about?" Santana asks frowning. Brittany pulls her arm from Santana's back and touches her forehead with her fingertips and the frown is gone again.
"I know you were staring at me." Brittany tells her simply without any accusation in her voice. Santana knows Brittany is just being honest, but she feels the need to defend herself.
"I was not…" Santana glances away and then speaks in a tone she thinks is convincing. She is acting the same way like last week, when Brittany caught her watching lady porn on her laptop. Santana doesn't know why is that her girlfriend always ends up knowing about things Santana would rather hide. And of course she always confronts her about them.
"Don't lie to me, San! I know that you like doing that." Brittany doesn't like it when Santana turns on her defense mechanism, it reminds her too much of old Santana. She just wants Santana to admit it. Okay, maybe she just wants her to admit it and then tease her for the rest of their lives together.
"What if I like it? I mean, can you blame me?" Santana asks and she mentally prepares herself for the next questions she knows Brittany will ask. Brittany didn't really think it would be this easy and she wants her game to go on, so she goes for her oldest trick: acting confused.
"I just don't get it. Isn't it boring and stuff?" she asks in the same tone she uses when she asks Santana about math stuff.
A moment passes in silence and Brittany starts trying to come up with new ideas to get her answer, but then Santana surprises her.
"You're just so beautiful Brittany." She answers finally and thinks that now that she told, they can go on to talk about other stuff. Much less uncomfortable stuff.
But her voice is so earnest and her eyes are so soft, that Brittany just wants to have her for breakfast. Okay, maybe not literally eat her, because that's for their late "dinner", but just like consume her. She didn't really prepare herself for this, so what Santana just said makes her feel all mushy inside. In fact, even if she was prepared it wouldn't make a difference. Hearing these words come out of Santana's mouth and knowing that she means them. Wow, she thinks, she really does have the best girlfriend in the world. She has to close her eyes for a second, because tears are threatening to come and she only likes crying when Santana does those things with her mouth. Oh, maybe that's a different kind of crying she contemplates. She takes a deep breath and starts to open her eyes again.
"San…" That's all she manages to say and tries to convey her emotions by looking into Santana's beautiful eyes. All these years they've spent loving each other, they used different ways for showing it. In the past, it was all through touching. Preferably late at night, in dark bedrooms, where they didn't even see each other properly. All they could do was feel each other and though this way remains their favorite (just the circumstances changed), there is another one now, the talking about "feeling and love stuff". Santana strictly avoided that in the past, but now everything's changed and she's been opening up to Brittany more and more. For Brittany it's always been the most natural thing, but she's known Santana is not like her. Of course, there was a point when Brittany just couldn't take it anymore and she is grateful now that she felt that way. What they had then, it just wasn't enough for them (or good for that matter) and Brittany knew that she had to speak up and make it change. For better or worse.
But the third way, it's always been there. The looks they've shared. With their eyes, they've never been able to hide what they felt, never been able to lie to each other.
So they just do that now. It feels like "those" moments in "those" films (those equals cheesy for Santana here) when two people share a moment and every viewer feels like they are intruding it. This is exactly like that, their moment. It becomes a bit overwhelming for Santana and she wonders why cheesy is the last word that comes to her mind when she wants to inwardly describe her moments with Brittany. She feels like someone who is drowning so deep inside the ocean that they almost don't have a chance to come back to the surface and she just can't let this feeling overtake her. She looks away and ducks her head a bit before she feels completely consumed by Brittany's eyes.
Brittany gently cups her chin to bring her back and of course Santana's plans of not crying goes out of the window immediately. She tries to calm herself down, because when did she become "that" kind of person, who gets all weepy after simply looking into their girlfriend's eyes? She thinks that she is such a lame person now. Of course Brittany would think this is just awesome that she lets herself feel things.
Thinking about Brittany thinking she is awesome is the last thought she has before she pulls herself into her girlfriend and whimpers into the crook of her neck.
Brittany just lets her. She knows that Santana will tell her why she is crying without her questioning, so she just holds her and waits for her to be ready to speak again.
It takes a couple of minutes for Santana to calm down and then she opens her mouth, but doesn't start to speak still. Brittany feels that Santana's breathing is getting slower again and she realizes that Santana didn't open her mouth to speak, but she actually managed to fall asleep again.
The next time Santana wakes up, she is alone in Brittany's room. She's just had a really bad dream and her girlfriend is nowhere to be seen.
It takes some time to get her shit together. She sits up and starts to climb out of the bed, when she notices a pink post-it note on Brittany's now cold side of the bed. It says "I love you, S" and Santana has like five seconds to think about it before tears are starting to escape from her eyes.
She doesn't really do that a lot, crying after hearing or reading these words, but after her dream she can't help herself. Of course it was that dream again. About herself. In that hallway. Hearing those words. Hearing those words she sometimes still thinks are true. Yes, sometimes deep inside herself she is still not sure and she hates herself for it.
After she pulls herself together, she gets up and puts some clothes on. She goes to the bathroom and looks into the mirror. Her eyes are puffy and red a little bit and she knows Brittany will ask questions. Questions she doesn't want to answer. Because she knows that if she is honest (and she is always honest with her girlfriend), things she keeps buried inside will come out and maybe hurt both of them.
She finds Brittany in the kitchen sitting at the table and having breakfast. Santana sits down on the opposite side and slowly looks at her girlfriend. The second they make eye contact Brittany stops chewing and feels the mood shifting in the room. They stare at each other and have a silent conversation. Santana doesn't want to talk yet and Brittany gets it. She swallows her food, but doesn't say anything. She just gets up, makes her way to Santana and kisses her cheek and then goes to the fridge to make her girlfriend's breakfast.
After spending hours watching cartoons and taking Brittany's sister to the park, Santana's mood is much better and she almost doesn't remember her dream and the crying after anymore. Of course Brittany does remember.
Later in the privacy of her (their) bedroom, she decides to finally bring the whole thing up. They are lying on her bed, watching some reality show Brittany would never watch by herself, but with Santana she doesn't really mind (anything for that matter). She turns her head and looks at Santana and braces herself for what is about to come.
"You know, after you cried and fell asleep in the morning again I tried." She says quietly, not to startle Santana.
"What did you try, Britt?" Santana asks, but she doesn't really listen to the answer. She is too preoccupied with watching
"Your staring thing. I've been doing it for like half an hour." Says Brittany and Santana starts to get intrigued now. She doesn't really know why they have to talk about this thing again, but probably Brittany has her reasons.
"Okay." She acknowledges what Brittany said and waits for her to continue.
"You know why I'm telling you that?" Brittany is not really helping her to understand what the hell this thing is about and it makes Santana nervous a bit. She turns off the television and turns her head to look at Brittany.
"Not really." She says, because she really doesn't and she is hopeful that she will not get another question. What she gets is a lot worse than any question she imagined getting.
"I know about your dream Santana." Brittany tells her finally and she is not sure what she is supposed to say now. It was the one and only thing she doesn't want to talk about. The one and only thing she wants to hide from Brittany. She looks down and at the same time tries to come up with a solution for this awful situation. Then she does what her instincts tell her to do.
"I…I didn't have a dr…" She starts to mumble avoiding Brittany's eyes, but then she remembers who she is talking to. It's Brittany, her Brittany, the girl she loves and maybe there is this awful thing she doesn't want to talk about, but it doesn't mean that she will lie about it. "How?" She asks finally sounding a bit defeated and looks at Brittany again.
"I heard you talking about stuff." Brittany is looking at her oddly emotionless. She remains cryptic with her words and it kills Santana a bit. But they both know that this is something that they have to do carefully not to hurt each other. Or at least not that much.
"What kind of stuff?" Santana asks and dreads the answer. She never thought that talking about her bad dream can be worse than the dream itself. But the difference is obvious for her. This is real and there is no way out. No waking up.
"You know, feelings and love stuff." Brittany is still vague, but the direction she is going is all kinds of scary for Santana.
"What did I exactly say?" She asks carefully and knows that this can be the most important answer in this conversation. She hopes that Brittany didn't really hear her exact thoughts, she hopes that maybe there is a way out of this somehow.
"You were talking about how you love me and how you don't know if I feel the same." It's Brittany's turn to look away. It's just too painful for her to talk about this, but she knows that has to do it. She just always knows it.
"It was just a dream Britt." Santana tells her in a pleading voice and searches for her eyes. "Please just let it go." She asks and she knows it's possibly the worst thing she could do, because Brittany knows that she only avoids talking about things when they are true. When they are true and they hurt.
"I don't think so. You should have told me about it. You should have told me if you are not sure." Brittany tells her and her voice is heavy with emotions. She is disappointed and a bit angry even. She is still not making eye-contact and Santana wonders how she could once think something was better without eye-contact. Thinking about their rocky past makes her feel even more nervous and when Brittany finally looks at her, she just loses it.
"Can you just tell me already that I'm a bad girlfriend? Oh my god, is this your way of breaking up with me? 'Cause I kind of thought you would do it in a less painful way. But I guess I deserve this. You just have to know that I've been always trying to…" She is rambling and hearing these words come out of her own mouth makes her feel a bit crazy, but she is too busy to question her own sanity, when this conversation is making her feel all these things she hasn't felt in a long time. All these bad feelings.
"Santana, stop!" Brittany tells her in a demanding tone and takes one of her fidgeting hands in her own. "This is exactly what I was talking about. You don't understand and what makes me a bit sad is that you don't believe me. You don't believe me when I tell you that I love you." She says and it makes Santana feel so bad, because she knows that every word in this conversation hurt Brittany. It's her job to not let anyone hurt Brittany and it turns out that she is the only one that can truly hurt her.
"Of course I believe you Britt. I know that you don't lie to me." Santana tries to reassure her and squeezes her hand, but it's kind of pointless now, because she know exactly that Brittany can't just decide to believe her.
"No, you don't understand. You think that every time I say I love something I mean it the same way when I tell it to you. You think that I love you how I love other things in the world. But San, these things, they are all different. I told you I love ducks and cartoons and my cat. I told you I love Glee Club and my sister and my parents. I told you I love boys and girls too. And I told you I loved Artie. And then…" Brittany tries to explain, but of course as soon as she mentions Artie's name, Santana just can't help herself.
"Isn't it the same? The way you loved Artie and the way you love me now?" She cuts in and she sounds like she's asked this exact question in her head a thousand times so far and finally there is a chance to do it for real. She knows it's one of the few things that can turn out to be awful, but she just has to know the answer. She's wanted to know it since she confessed her love to Brittany the first time.
"It couldn't possibly be more different." Brittany says not at all sounding surprised at Santana's question and she acts like she's told her this answer like a thousand times already. "I loved him, because with him, it was easy and it made me feel good. I think I loved him, because he loved me. With you, it's never been like that and never will be. I don't love you because it's easy. I don't love you because it makes me feel good. I..."
"Don't I make you feel good?" Santana cuts in again, sounding so sad that it breaks Brittany's heart. But this is not the time to comfort her, first they have to see this through to the end.
"Please just let me finish." She asks pleadingly. She is so close to giving Santana her perfect answer, which has been writing itself inside her for a long time now. She can't let herself get distracted.
"Okay, sorry." Santana says quickly and lets her continue it.
"So I don't love you, because you love me. I know that I would love you even if you didn't love me back anymore. And do you know why that is?" She asks but doesn't really wait for an answer. "Because I feel that it's so deeply rooted inside me, that I would love you even if I didn't want to. Even, if I hated it."
"But I don't want you to love me if you don't want to, Britt." Santana tells her in a small voice and of course after everything that Brittany's said, this is the conclusion she jumps to.
"I know, baby. But you have to understand that it's not about wanting it. It's not a choice for me. I didn't choose you. I am simply meant to love you." Brittany finishes her speech and then the only thing she hears is her own pounding heart.
"Do you really think that?" Asks Santana sounding stunned after a minute of remaining almost completely still.
"I don't think that, I know it. I've known for a long time. But now I told you, now you know it too." Brittany answers her sounding a bit tired. She feels emotionally drained and Santana is just making it worse with her questions.
"Do you regret telling me this?" Santana asks.
"No, not really. Though, I kind of planned to do it on a different occasion." Brittany doesn't elaborate and she is grateful that Santana remains silent this time, because it's her turn now. "But you still haven't said anything about it, so…" Brittany trails off sounding slightly disappointed.
What she shared in the last couple of minutes caused Santana to have a heart attack. The kind of heart attack, that comes from loving too much. When she feels recovered enough from this, she knows that it's her time to open up and then words start to pour out of her slowly.
"I know that you love a lot of different things in the world and I know that every little thing has a reason for you to love it and you love them differently. For different reasons. And honestly I can't imagine how one person's heart can contain so much love. Therefore I think you are wonderful, Brittany S. Pierce. You are wonderful and I can't tell you it doesn't matter." She says and nods her head a couple of times mostly to reassure Brittany that she seriously thinks this and to reassure herself that she is doing the right thing. "It matters, because if you weren't, then I wouldn't even have a chance to love you. Because you wouldn't have put up with me and my crap for so long." She says and when Brittany starts to shake her head a bit and opens her mouth to say something, she puts her index finger on her mouth and silences her. "And for me, loving you was a choice." Brittany's wide eyes bore into her and it's that same feeling she got earlier that day and she has to shake herself inwardly to be able to continue. "I choose you over myself. I destroyed my walls and put all my love out there for you. I choose you then and I plan on continue to do so every day and every second for the rest of my life." She slowly takes her finger away from Brittany's mouth and waits for any sign to come onto her face to get a clue on what she thinks.
For a minute they just stare at each other and then Brittany closes her eyes for a second, takes a deep breath and manages to form words again.
"All those teasing I was doing in the morning made me want to have sex with you, but I think this made me feel better than a thousand orgasms." She says finally with a hoarse voice and Santana thinks her girlfriend is the best thing ever to grace the Earth. This is exactly the kind of thing she wanted to hear, it's serious and playful at the same time and so simple, yet so full of meaning. It's so perfect. It' so Brittany.
"Oh, baby…" Santana chuckles and her voice sound much less heavy than any other times today. "We can do that later if you're still up for it, but I kind of just want to lay here with you for a while." She is not in the emotional state to be able to do anything else really.
"Okay, but no talking anymore." Brittany says smiling and Santana is so grateful that they are on the same page, yet again. "I feel there is not a single thought left in me that you don't know now and it creeps me out."
"Deal." Santana says and she thinks this is the last word that is spoken, but she is wrong, because Brittany has another plans. Awesome plans, in fact.
"But San, can I tell you one more thing?" Brittany asks very quietly, like she wants to share a secret.
"You can tell me anything. What is it Britt?" Santana asks and it makes her feel so good that she knows what she just said is completely true. They can tell each other anything. They can do anything together.
Brittany pulls herself closer to Santana and their bodies are touching the first time since the morning. She puts her palms on either side of Santana's cheeks and says the only words that are needed to be said.
"I love you, Santana."
It feels like the first time all over again and Santana thinks this is only right, because in a way, this really is the first time. She quickly opens her mouth and tells Brittany the only thing that is needed to be heard.
"I love you, Brittany."
And finally they both know what the other means.