Chapter 17- Living In A Lonely World

The entire car ride back to Brittany's house was silent. Not a peaceful quiet either, nothing like when Santana used to lay on her back to look at the stars with Jocelyn when she was pregnant. This was different. This was the stillness she felt every time she walked the halls of the hospital. The same panic stricken silence that held a smog of possibilities, none of which led any direction Santana cared to go. She felt her thighs stick together from the sweat slipping between them.

Brittany hadn't made any noise and it was causing Santana's chest to hyperventilate slightly beneath her cheerio top. It's not that she was afraid, well yeah, she was-but it was also because she wasn't in control. She felt like her emotions and her existence teetered on the next 15 minutes and whatever floated out of Brittany's lips. Santana wasn't even sure what to call what was happening between them, but she did know she wanted time to figure it out. To explore whatever static feelings Brittany caused to pulse within her veins. What if whatever Brittany told her next, prevented that? Santana clenched the wheel harder and felt her nails dig into her palm. She licked her lips nervously as the car jostled over the entry to Brittany's driveway.

Santana slowly turned the ignition after putting the car in park. It was almost as if everything was moving in slow motion, like one of those cool action movies where people do insane stunts. If she tried hard enough she could imagine Brittany's hair cascading slowly and fanning out as she turned to stare into her own eyes. God she's beautiful.

She wanted to to stay here, in this moment, where everything was slow. She watched Brittany blink, moistening the blue eyes she loved to get lost in. It wasn't in slow motion. It was fast, rapid even. Santana cursed the world around her for not staying put the way she wanted. Everything began picking up its pace and before she knew it Brittany's hair was still, her head tilted and her brow creased.

"Santana?"

Santana licked her lips then closed her eyes forcefully before opening them and giving a shy smile. She didn't want Brittany to feel like she wasn't ready to hear all this, but she was starting to think she'd never be ready. She didn't want to know that Brittany was anything less than perfect. She let her eyes run over the blondes features once more, feeling her stomach knot and a surge of warmth begin to prickle in her toes and radiate up her thighs. Brittany's lips seemed to pout out, probably from Santana's lack of response but it looked more like an invitation than anything else. She almost did it. She almost leaned over and kissed the pale lips before her. God her whole body wanted it. But her mind was in overdrive and she couldn't help the way her eyes glanced out the windows of the car in search of peering eyes. She licked her lips softly and tilted her head towards the door sweetly.

"Inside?"

Brittany almost looked disappointed, but if she was it only lasted a fleeting second before she let a smirk pull at her lips and opened her own car door. She followed Santana closely trying to inhale the mixture of perfume and hairspray that seemed to radiate from the latina. Her lungs were screaming. And her heart was trying to match its pitch, humming loudly. She wasn't sure if it was nerves or just the inhalation of the girl in front of her. Maybe it was both.

Brittany didn't waste time as she slipped casually in front of the smaller girl to unlock the door. She let her arm brush against tanned skin, and it wasn't on accident. She will admit a thousand times over she stepped too close on purpose. She just wanted to feel her. Maybe it would help calm the big balloon of fear that seemed to be inflating within her chest. For the first time she felt like she had something to lose.

She glanced quickly over her shoulder, letting her blonde hair tickle the back of her neck. She noticed the sharp inhale Santana took as their arms slid past one another almost like silk. The thought that she felt even a fraction of the feelings coursing through her own body made the balloon almost pop from her heaving ribs.

She bit her lower lip only meeting Santana's eyes for a split second before turning to unlock the door and stepping inside. Santana followed quickly out of pure need to be within the blonde's personal space. They were inside now, she could give in to her feelings a little more without as much reservation. She felt her brain slow down only making room for the flood of desire as she watched the blonde kick off her shoes and turn towards the steps.

Brittany held her hand out shyly in front of her, glancing down at Santana's that were gripping the bottom of her cheer skirt. Santana swallowed hard, trying to control the bubbles tickling between her thighs and the way her entire body was trying to throw itself forward. Her skirt, wrinkled from her sweaty palms fell against her leg again as she reached up to slide her hand into Brittany's.

Touching her was nothing like touching Puck or Sam. Not even close. She felt like a hundred strands of christmas lights without their bulbs, short circuiting and buzzing with electricity. She felt like a weight was on her chest, clouding her vision and making the world around her seem nearly black. The heat radiating up her neck burned the tips of her ears and she was positive her temperature raised 3 degrees if not higher, she could feel it in the air around her. Almost like smog. Like a Brittany smog. She loved it.

Before she could realize what she was doing, her legs were moving and she found herself on the step above the blonde, making them nearly the same height. Not waiting for her brain to catch up with her movements she let out a hot shaky breath against Brittany's lips, leaning into her heavily. Brittany inhaled deeply, sucking more and more of Santana's exhaled air into her lungs. She wanted to be full of her. Did that make her weird?. Her chest was pressed firmly against Santana's and she was positive she could feel the girl's heart hammering heavily. The vibrations against her breast caused all the air she was holding, both her's and Santana's, to escape her mouth heavily in a loud puff. Her back had been forced against the wall behind her and the weight of Santana against her thigh was causing her eyes to close in bliss. She willed them open catching the girl's hooded eyes right before she closed the distance between them, their lips sticking together slightly.

Santana felt feverish. The need within her chest was becoming unbearable and before she knew it she had parted her mouth and her tongue was lacing its way between Brittany's lips. She felt her chest sink further into Brittany as the girl moaned into her mouth. She flicked her upper teeth gently with her tongue before gaining complete access. They were moving quickly now, in complete unison and Brittany's tongue dipped feverishly into the latina's mouth.

Brittany would never get used to kissing her. Ever. She never thought these feelings were possible for her. She bit gently on the puffy lips that Santana was maneuvering so passionately. Santana let out a gasp, digging her nails further into Brittany's waist. Her tongue danced with Brittany's in a heat for dominance as the gasps became quicker and deeper. Santana was losing control, she could feel it. Somewhere past the intense burn that covered 99 percent of her body and the electric current radiating from her belly button, she was still scared.

She gripped Brittany tightly while relishing the feeling of the blonde's pale limbs circled around her neck, before sucking her bottom lip between her own. One suck. Two. She inhaled heavily, her ears begging for more moans from the girl beneath her. Three.

She pulled away, letting Brittany's lip fall back into it's natural position. Their foreheads rested heavily against one another, their chests heaving. Santana squeezed the blonde tighter, forcing her eyes firmly together. She twitched her head to the side slightly. Almost embarrassed.

"I'm sorry, I.."

"Had to?" Brittany smirked. Santana let out a puff of air as she felt her cheeks redden. She nodded and shrugged.

Santana felt a cold rush of air as Brittany moved up the stairs, disappearing from beneath her. She immediately missed the heat and the calmness that seemed to slowly be dissipating since the blonde left. She felt her arm tug and suddenly realized she too was moving up the stairs and towards Brittany's room. The warmth left. The electricity. Heat. Christmas lights. Gone.

They weren't here to explore what they were or who they were. They weren't here to cuddle or to talk about their day. Hell. Santana would rather discuss the attack that just occurred on the bottom stairs with her parents than head into this conversation with Brittany. Okay maybe that wasn't entirely true. This was almost just as bad though. Her world could fall apart with either conversation. A few words could crush her existence.

"Lord T promised he wouldn't pretend you were a catfish" Brittany's voice trailed from the far edge of her room. She was petting that fat cat amidst a collection of stuffed animals arranged eloquently on a pale yellow window seat. She was flailed out on top of a few of them, a tiny rabbit having fallen to the floor.

Brittany watched as Santana shuffled her feet slowly, tilting her head up as if she was truly collected. She sat somewhat awkwardly on the edge of her patterned quilt at the foot of the bed. She looked so uneasy but at the same time so blase, as if she could care less about being in this room. Such a far cry from the girl that had her pinned against the wall downstairs and took advantage of her mouth.

"Don't believe him." Santana spoke quickly, adjusting herself further onto the bed. She suddenly felt very awkward.

"He doesn't lie" Brittany put her eyes close to the cat's face. "At least not after what happened last time." Her eyes got big as she stared the cat down. He ultimately meowed and jumped away, his fat belly dragging against the floor.

"Everyone lies" Santana mumbled as the cat threw himself into a laying position close to the door.

Brittany walked over, her eyebrows creased heavily, "That's a very cynical view, Santana."

Santana closed her eyes at that. Hearing her name come from those lips always seemed to force her eyes closed, as if she had to physically prepare herself for the onset of butterflies in her stomach.

"Yeah." She shrugged. She didn't know how else to respond. It was how she felt.

Brittany stared for a few more seconds at the girl before her. There was so much about her that she didn't know. So many questions she wanted to ask. She knew better though. This wasn't the time or place. She hoped she at least got the chance to ask questions in the future. She never had to tell anyone about her sickness before, at least not like this. She felt like she had everything to lose. Why was she doing this? She could just go on and never tell her anything. They could be happy being...whatever it is they were. Right?

She knew the answer to that one. She could almost hear her father whispering that it was always best to lay everything on the line. That way there are no surprises . She knew this was the right and fair thing to do. Santana had to know what she was getting herself into before this went any further. She just hated the hollow feeling in her throat and the thought that she'd lose the first thing that ever made her truly smile.

"I uh…" Brittany started as she walked toward her dresser, her fingertips brushing across a photo of herself in an eeyore nightshirt. "I've never really had to do this before"

Santana didn't move. She looked up at the blonde through her eyelashes while picking at the hem on her skirt. She felt cold. Like Ice. Her world was freezing over. Her own personal ice age.

"I can't really remember what it feels like, to feel normal." Brittany began, her brows furrowed. "I used to sit in school and endure waves of stomach pain just so I could feel normal like the other girls. I'd sit there, just pretending to be fine when really I was about to explode. I'd have to throw up, but I'd hold it in the back of my throat. I was embarrassed." Her voice trailed off but she didn't look at Santana. She was afraid to. She was positive this information was making her completely unattractive in the girls eyes. She continued anyway.

"I passed out, several times in school. The kids used to make fun of me. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom, either throwing up or crying." Brittany made her way to the bed and sat opposite Santana. She glanced up slightly, noticing a tear roll down the curve of the latina's cheek. Brown eyes peered up but only made contact for a moment before looking back down.

Santana felt like her heart was sinking into the acid within her stomach. She could literally feel the blood bubbling as it seemed to disintegrate into nothing. The mere thought of Brittany in so much pain and sadness made her whole body wilt. She had never cared about the feelings or well being of another human in her life like this. It was almost too intense to handle. She didn't have time to take a deep breath before Brittany spoke again.

"When I was diagnosed, I thought that meant I would get better. You know, be normal?" Brittany shrugged her shoulders.

"That never happened. I was in the hospital a lot. Some days I'd feel almost normal. Other days I was so sick I don't even remember truly opening my eyes."

Brittany clenched her eyes as a tear smeared her mascara, "I uh. I was diagnosed with Addison's Disease."

Santana's eyes widened. She had no idea what the hell Brittany just said but the fact that it had disease with it made it sound horrible. She didn't know if she had the courage to speak, her throat was dry. She opened her mouth willing any noise to come out.

"I uh…" She coughed as her eyes filled with tears again. She cursed herself. Why did she care this much?

"I don't know what that is." She admitted.

Brittany suddenly felt the urge to laugh, "No. Not many people do."

Santana was curious, but at the same time she didn't want to know any more. She hated sicknesses and hospitals. How could she do this? How could she be who Brittany would eventually need her to be? She wanted this conversation to be over. She watched brittany fiddle with her bedspread. She looked nervous. She was nervous.

"It's a disease." She mentally kicked herself and winced. "You know that already, sorry."

"Its an endocrine disorder. Basically my adrenal glands don't really work like they should?" She said it more like a question than a statement. Her stomach was a ball of nerves and she felt jittery.

"At least thats what they tell me. Because of that, my body doesn't have the hormones it needs. I get really sick when that happens. And that's when I can't keep down food, feel tired, sick, and in pain. Sometimes my blood sugar drops but then other times its completely fine and Mom lets me eat ice cream." She glances at Santana who looks almost frozen. Brittany continues quickly not really knowing what else to do. "I have periods of time when I feel a lot better because I take a bunch of medicine to help my body replace the hormones I don't have. Like now."

Santana almost looked relieved but it didn't last long before she saw Brittany shrug her shoulders and open her mouth again. "Sometimes I go into crisis. And that is definitely not fun. Thats when I'm in the hospital. And super sick. Which is awful and Lord T goes through major depression. Every. Single. Time. But it's not like I can die or anything. Well I can. But I totally take my medicine when I'm supposed to. Like all the time."

There was a brief pause. "Except for this morning, I totally left them by my cereal" Brittany shakes her head like she left a hall light on. As if it wasn't a big deal. " I can totally do everything normal, as long as my levels are all stable. I can eat normal and be active, I could have sex..." Her eyes grew to twice their normal size, " You know. If I wanted. Except that kind of involve hormones too. The doctor says the drive is just never there. I don't really know much about that though." Brittany shook her head to the side to change the subject quickly. She was rambling and she knew it. She was rambling hard. But she couldn't stop herself. Santana's lack of words made her nearly sweat. She didn't mean to reveal all that, it just kinda slipped out.

"But it's totally cool. Caleb has it too, and we talk." She points over near her pillow to a tiny blue rabbit with one whisker missing.

Santana was hyperventilating and she knew it. She was counting down the seconds until her body literally exploded. She couldn't breathe, she almost felt like a reptile. Like she was breathing using her skin or something because she definitely wasn't using her mouth. She could die. That was the only part she focused on. That and the sex part because she had definitely not crossed that bridge yet. Her vision almost seemed to fade, probably from the heat trying to pour out of her ears.

This gorgeous blonde girl in front of her was sick. And not just with something simple. Santana hadn't even gotten a chance to tell her all the thoughts rolling around in her chest. Things like how her face was the last thing she envisioned behind her eyelids before she fell asleep each night. That she's never in her life felt what she was feeling and that she may be crazy enough to just go against all she's ever been told, and be with her. Like be with her, be with her.

She was mad too. Mad that Brittany was sick. Mad that she could die. Mad that she wasn't there when she was 9 and in that eeyore nightgown. Mad she couldn't punch every-single-person in the face who ever made fun of her. Mad that she sat here and joked about not taking her medicine like it was a game. Mad that this was completely normal for her. Mad that she didn't find her sooner. The list was endless. She was going to explode. She was 99.99 percent certain. Tears bubbled her vision.

"Oh!" Brittany nearly raised her voice "JFK! He totally had it too, how coo-"

"Jesus Brittany!" Santana stood from the bed while bringing her hands to her head. "I don't fucking care about JFK!"

Brittany's eyes were startled wide. She had been in her own little rambling world she had definitely not seen this coming and she was a little taken back.

"Damn." Santana was pacing and Brittany could see her arms tremble slightly. "You…" Santana's words were small and laced with a hidden sob. "I only care about you."

"Since that night at the fountain, I've pushed the fact that you were sick to the back of my life. I couldn't deal with that. And now it's all out in front of me like a river that I'm forced to cross." Santana threw her hands up, allowing the tears to flow down her cheeks. "I can't cross it. I can't. Not when…" She paused facing the door her chest shaking. She turned back towards Brittany sitting indian style on the bed, looking completely broken. "Not when being with you for the last few hours...has meant more to me than any moment of the last 17 years of my life. Not when, kissing you makes me feel like I lived in a world of grey. Not when I adore every…" Santana felt her throat threaten to close. She couldn't breathe.

"Not when I adore...just...you."

Brittany had tears streaming down her own face, a sob quaking her chest roughly. Santana didn't notice though. She had turned quickly and was halfway down the hall by the time Brittany let out an audible sob.

Santana didn't hear. She winced as she felt the sun burn the wet skin on her face as she made her way to her car. She pulled open the door roughly, nearly hitting her head on the frame as she threw her body inside. She felt like her insides were about to just push their way through her skin. She was falling apart.

The door slammed shut, almost as if it was automatic. Her head fell into the steering wheel as she let the sobs erupt from a place she didn't even know existed. How could this be happening? Why was she letting herself feel this much pain? She already knew the answer to that. Hell. Brittany already knew the answer to that now too. She just blurted all her feelings out. Why, she had no idea.. The sobs continued as she wiped her hand beneath her eyes, trying to prevent her mascara from making her look like a deranged clown. She wasn't strong enough for this. She always ran. This was why she never let people in. Because she hated this feeling. Hated it. More than anything.

Her phone buzzing next to her was the only thing that forced her eyes open. She reached for it and pressed it to her ear quickly without looking at who called.

"What?" She was in no mood to talk. She sniffled slightly, glancing at herself in the mirror before starting the ignition.

"Yo, mami. Why so bitchy?"

"Joce, now is really not the time."

"Psh. You tell that to my daughter who is running around covered in brown magic marker." Jocelyn sounded almost annoyed. Almost. "I'm guessing, judging by your silence, you are just as shocked as I am."

"Actually, I just can't do this right now." Her voice was bitchy and she meant it to be that way.

"You know why she did this, ho nugget. Think real hard in that pea sized brain behind those layers of hair spray." Jocelyn's voice with thick with sarcasm. Santana sighed heavily. Getting her off the phone was pointless. Santana remained silent.

"Sexy brown? Does that sound familiar. Your boo colored herself with a brown marker to be, and I quote, 'sexy like you'. I think she's telling us you need to lay of tanning."

Santana felt a laugh escape her lips and sucked it back in, feeling guilty for letting herself smile.

"Hot mess." Santana breathed finally.

"Yea, like you. She don't get that from me. I'm perfect." Santana huffed at that statement.

"Nobody's perfect" Santana uttered, her thoughts going back to Brittany upstairs.

"Please. People can be perfect San. Just because we have cracks doesn't mean we are broken." Jocelyn's words seemed to travel through the phone and cool Santana's hot cheek. She closed her eyes and sucked in her lower lip to stop it from quivering.

She was right. She had no idea how it happened. How Jillian covering herself in sexy brown somehow got her to want to fight the urge to run away. But it did. Maybe it wasn't Jillian. Maybe it was Jocelyn. Maybe it was the fact that she realized that Brittany was still perfect. Or it could have been that she realized she herself was cracked. Either way, she had absolutely no idea what Jocelyn was saying because she had spent the last few minutes inside her own head. And drying her eye makeup.

"Are you even listening, skank. I have a brown handprint on my kitchen wall. This shit is serious." Jocelyn's voice rang out louder than before.

"I. Hear. You. Damn." Santana bit her lip roughly before glancing again in the mirror. She wasn't going to run away anymore. Well, she would try not to. Brittany deserved at least that much.

"I have to go Joce"

"Typical. This is why you're not a stable father." Jocelyn cracked out.

"This is why, you're a dick." Santana mumbled getting out the car. "I'll help scrub her down later if you truly can't manage this on your own."

"Oh my god. Like I could let her have this on her for much longer. She looks absolutely vom worthy. Like you."

"Goodbye Jocelyn." Santana hit the end button before jogging back up the stairs and toward Brittany's room. She didn't bother slowing down, she was too worried that she left Brittany alone and sad. She could really be an ass sometimes. She was beginning to understand why everyone called her a bitch.

She slowed down briefly before crossing into the bright room to find Brittany in the same position she left her in. Tears staining the top of her tank top. She moved over towards the bed and reached her hand out confidently waiting for Brittany to take it. Her sniffles had stopped but her eyes were red and swollen. Santana's hand remained untouched, so she let it fall sadly by her side.

"Britt," Santana walked around to the other side of the bed and let her hand trace up the girl's spine to her neck before repeating herself.

The blonde turned her head softly and looked up meeting brown orbs. Santana brought her other hand down and wiped her tears away with the pad of her thumb.

Brittany didn't know what to say. She was honestly so overwhelmed that someone felt so strongly about her that she couldn't really articulate the words flowing in her head. She also felt so relieved that the girl came back she could nearly scream. She leaned further into Santana's warm hands.

"Did you know you were perfect to me?" Santana spoke softly, causing Brittany's eyes to glance up and connect with her own. Brittany turned and wrapped her arms around the latina's waist, letting her head rest softly against her chest.

"But I'm sick." Her words were tiny and almost shattered.

"So?" Santana said confidently. Almost surprising herself.

"But I…" Brittany began.

"Shhh…" Santana cooed, moving Brittany's hair to the side as she ran her fingers through the tips. "No matter what you say…to me...you're worth it."

Brittany felt tears prick her eyes as she snuggled further into the girl, inhaling heavily. She couldn't believe this was real.

Santana continued to thread through the soft blonde hair, her legs feeling like jello. The only thing holding her to this spot was Brittany and the magnetic pull between them. She felt Brittany sigh against her chest as she bent down to kiss the top of her head.

Santana felt her breath catch in her chest as Brittany let out a quivering sigh, "You were my medicine."