Wow, thanks everyone for the amazing response. I can't believe that after my long hiatus from this story that so many people are still reading and enjoying it. And because reviews really do make me write much faster here's the next part. This one goes out to all of you who alerted, favorite, and of course reviewed (The Lesbian Whisperer thank you especially, Santana could do with that hug…I'm just not sure she'd accept it)

Chapter 9

Awareness came and went in flashes.

The first couple of times there was just the sound of someone screaming at me to get up. I couldn't even open my eyes so getting up didn't seem realistic.

The next time it was quiet. My eyes managed to blink open, not that it made a difference because it was still dark.

I was laying face down on a rug. At the beginning I couldn't even remember how I managed to get here, or where here even was. I knew enough though to take stock of my body before I attempted to move. I made it to my knees vision wavering in and out before I forgot to be so careful and attempted to push off the ground with my arms. The strain to my ribs was too much and blackness swept in again.

Next time I came too I was more cautious. I managed to make it very slowly to my bedroom where I lay down, and finally let the tears I had been holding in fall.

When my alarm clock went off in the morning I wanted to throw it across the room. I might have, but honestly I was far too sore. I wanted to stay in bed, but I know that wouldn't be tolerated. So instead I moved very gingerly and made my way to the bathroom.

The shower was warm and eased some of the stiffness in my ribs, but when I gently pressed my side I felt something shift under my skin and knew I would have to bind them up for the day. The water ran red for a few minutes when I rinsed the blood out of my hair; at least my head was feeling less fuzzy with every second that ticked by.

I managed to dress and have breakfast waiting by the time she made her way downstairs. The only acknowledgment of my presence was a warning to not be late home again after school today as I quietly left, backpack in hand.

The sight of Brittany wearing her Cheerios uniform and jacket with her hair up in a high ponytail, and leaning against the side of her yellow VW Beetle almost brought a smile to my lips, but the frown that immediately covered her face stopped it. I expected her to run over to me, but Brittany Pierce apparently is full of surprises because instead she just stood up a little straighter and crossed her arms. In fact she didn't say anything to me either, she just opened the passenger door when I was close to the car, and gently took my backpack from my hand and put it besides hers in the backseat.

The car started as soon as my seatbelt was on, and we pulled away. I tried not to wince as I rested back in the car seat, but I think I did because her hands tightened on the steering wheel.

We didn't go to the school like I thought we would. Instead Brittany drove to somewhere outside of Lima, there were trees, fields, and even a lake in the distant.

It was beautiful.

Far too beautiful for what we were probably going to discuss.

My eyes closed.

I heard the click of the seatbelt and the noise of Brittany turning in her seat to look at me.

"Santana?" Brittany said quietly breaking the silence in the car.

"I don't want to talk about it." I said, my voice was just as quiet and I was happy it didn't shake. I felt like it should be shaking. This was too serious. Too dark and unpleasant to be discussed right now.

"How hurt are you?"

The question made me open my eyes and twist to look at her. Not because of what she said, just how she said it. Like she really cared. No one had cared about me in so long that it felt strange that she would. And I could see it - on her face - she cared about me. Her eyes gave all of her away, and the shape of her lips, God, everything just screamed caring and concern so loud that I almost wanted to flinch away from it.

From her.

Instead I attempted a shrug and winced at the pull across my back from the move.

That was stupid.

I watched as her hand reached out and ever so gently cupped my face. I couldn't stop myself from leaning into the warmth of her hand, the softness of her skin.

Brittany Pierce was touching me.

My heart beat faster and I felt myself blush.

"I know you won't tell me about it yet. I know that. But, will you tell me about it one day soon?" Brittany asked her blue eyes got a little brighter, like she was about to cry.

Would I?

If she really wanted to know one day, then I'd try.

For her.

I turned my head slightly and pressed a kiss to the palm of her hand, and then nodded my head.

"Ok, deal." Brittany said with a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

"We should go, I can't be late to school." I said wanting to press my face into her hand once more, but not moving.

"Is it because you were late home?" And as if she could read my mind her fingertips delicately traced my jaw, and around to the back of my head.

I hissed in pain, and jerked away when they brushed a bruise on the back of my neck, and she pulled her hand back like she was burnt immediately apologizing. "Sorry San, shit I'm so sorry." Tears that had threatened to fall earlier came back and one dripped down the side of her face, dangled precariously from her chin and then fell onto her red cheerio jacket.

"Stop. Britt, it was an accident." I reached out and held her hand. "I know you didn't mean to hurt me. Let's just forget about it and go to school ok?"

Her hand free hand brushed away the tear track and she gave me a wobbly smile. "Ok."

We pulled into the school parking lot with at least ten minutes to spare until first bell. I saw the annoyed face of Quinn Fabray as we pulled into Brittany's reserved cheerio parking spot. That can't be good? But instead of worrying about her as she pranced her way towards us, Brittany immediately drew my attention to her with a question.

Not that it had wandered far, because hello have you seen Brittany?

How could I not think about her?

Wait.

I know she asked me something, but shit I was too busy marveling at the sound of her voice and her overall beauty to actually pay attention to what she was saying.

I'm such a loser.

"Lunch?" She prompted again, a full-blown smile on her face now.

I wanted to speak. Say yes. But that smile kills me, so all I could do was nod my head.

Shit.

Now she's grinning at me and even giggled.

I watched her as she climbed out of the car, a huge grin still on her face and grabbed the backpacks.

Somehow I made my body move so I could climb out of the car, and Brittany handed me my bag quickly before Quinn grabbed the sleeve of her jacket, and pulled her away from me. Before Quinn could take her very far Brittany forced Quinn to loosen her grip, turned around, and called out. "Where the books live." And waved letting Quinn tow her the rest of the way, still grinning, into the school.

Shit, now I'm smiling.

Thankfully no one else was around to see, because it probably saved me from being slushied as I made my way towards my first class.