Title: Waiting On The World To Change [Part Twenty Two C]
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 8.6k

Notes: Ahhh this really has been a journey. There will be an epilogue at some point but I just hope you've enjoyed this! Thanks guys for everything, you've been awesome! :)

The moment the window shuts, Santana dies inside.

She thought—she really fucking thought—that Brittany would forgive her. She thought that coming here, and telling Brittany that she's in love with her would do something, fucking anything, and yet it's done nothing.

Brittany doesn't love her back. She really has fucked up this time. She's fucked everything up and there's no way she's going to fix it.

She slaps her hand to her forehead and squeezes her eyes shut.


This is the end.

Wiping the tears away from the corner of her eyes, she turns and walks away.

The second she hears her name, she thinks this is a dream. A really fucking realistic dream that she'll wake up tomorrow morning, in bed with a broken heart and lashing out at anyone because she fucked up. She did and that's something she'll have to live with forever.

But then she registers that she's not dream. That's her name is being called and she spins around to find Brittany running out her front door and straight for her. Her heart damn near jumps straight out her chest and she chokes on the gasp she produces, muscles quivering as she stumbles towards her.

She bursts into tears the moment Brittany's scent hits her and Brittany falls into her only seconds later, hands grabbing at her biceps and heads tilting together as they cry into one another. It's like a dramatic scene from some bullshit angsty romance film, one she'd probably laugh at, but right now she gets why they happen like this.

It's emotional and so painful but so good at the same time. It's so confusing and Santana's skin burns from where Brittany's hand press against her jacket, the warmth sinking through the fabric on onto her, yet it's the best feeling in weeks because she can fucking feel something.

They clutch at each others arms and clothing and Santana can feel Brittany's tears on her face as they move closer, their noses squashing together, chins touching and foreheads tilting so hard together it almost hurts. But they're so close. Santana finally has Brittany in her fucking arms and she can't let go, not that they're like this.


"No," Brittany cuts in, tears streaming down her face and joining in with Santana's. "Please... Santana—I just—need—"

"Don't," Santana gets out through a sob, rolling their foreheads together. "I love you—I just—"

Brittany doesn't even respond, just cups Santana's cheeks and brings their mouths together. She kisses her in a way that makes her head spin and all coherent thoughts shoot straight from her mind, and Santana, overwhelmed with the feel of Brittany's lips on hers after so long without, falters and gasps into Brittany's mouth, squeezing her eyes shut and fisting her clothing, pulling them tighter together.

The kiss is sloppy but so deep. Their lips push into each other and even though there's no tongue, and no teeth, it's so hungry and passionate that Santana almost faints. She can feel the love in Brittany's kiss. She can taste the I miss you that she never heard and the loneliness that's grown inside the blonde for the past five weeks. She can feel it as her palm slips up and presses above Brittany's heart, the beat pounding beneath her skin, their lips parting only for a second before coming right back together and melting together.

They continue to cry and kiss, their lips brushing against each other and wiping away the tears and the sadness, and Santana knows that she doesn't care about the past. She doesn't care and the more and more Brittany kisses her, she knows Brittany doesn't care about it either.

The mere thought makes her heart jump and a gasp bubble from deep within and she pulls back, choking on the sobs and keeping her eyes closed as she sucks in her lips and shakes her head, prepared to say something.

"Don't speak," Brittany gets out first and Santana's eyes flutter at the hoarse sound of Brittany's voice. It always went like that when they kissed for hours and hours, and she can't believe she's hearing it again; hearing it and being near Brittany and holding her and kissing her. Fuck.

"I love you," the blonde chokes. "I love you so much and I can't—" she pauses and her hands tighten around Santana's cheek, almost to the point of pain. "I'm sorry—I'm so sorry and I know we're not perfect," she takes in a deep, shaky breath and shakes her head. Santana opens her eyes and finds blue ones staring right back, a whimper escaping her lips because Brittany's here in front of her, talking, apologizing and telling her she loves her.

"But I'm sorry. I shouldn't have—have got drunk and it's not—" Brittany sniffles and Santana squashes their nose together tighter, urging her on. "It's not an excuse but I—I just," her eyes bore into brown ones and Santana clenches her jaw, pushing harder into the other girl. "I shouldn't have kissed him but I... You got scared, and so did I. I did and I should have—should have told you, but it was a dare and I—I didn't want to hurt you. I didn't want to lose you... I didn't want to not have you in my life, Santana. I couldn't, I still can't, I just—"

"No," Santana cuts in. She needs to speak. She needs to say something because this is killing her. Her hand drifts around to Brittany's neck, cupping it whilst the other stays on her cheek, thumb rubbing away the tears that flow. "No, Britt. I love you," she chokes out and blue eyes widen, but she just feels relief. She can't believe she's never said it before. "I'm so in love with you and I don't care what happened." Her head shakes. "I don't care and I've spent the last—" The breath catches in her throat. "I've spent the last six weeks thinking you didn't want me. Thinking you didn't love me... And I—That was just too painful. It was like I couldn't breathe. Like I was missing a piece of myself."

She pulls her hand to her chest, clutching at the space above her heart and pulls away a tiny bit so Brittany can see it.

"It was like someone had ripped out my heart," she gasps, breaking out into sobs at the memory. "It was like I had lost the only thing—the only thing that I'd ever really loved." Her eyes squeeze shut and she leans forward, their noses pressing together and hands coming up to cup both of Brittany's cheeks. "I thought I'd lost you Britt and I... I can't even begin to explain how much I missed you. How much I need you... I just—I love you." She nuzzles further into Brittany, eyes fluttering shut and voice lowering into a whisper. Brittany's hands tangled in the fabric of her t-shirt tighten. "I love you and I don't care what happened. I don't care that you kissed him, I just don't."

Brittany whimpers in front of her, eyes clenched shut and with a small, soft kiss, they open again. It still manages to rip the breath straight from her chest as she stares into them and Brittany grasps her closer, her breath tickling her lips as they sink into one another.

"I love you too," Brittany whispers and Santana shuts her eyes, letting herself feel the words as they sink in.

This all feels too surreal. It's like she's going to wake up tomorrow in her bed, her pillow stained with dried tears and her heart still barely functioning inside of her as she gets ready to head out to a school full of people who hate her. It just doesn't feel real and even though she can very much feel Brittany beneath her palms, breathing into her and pressed up against her, she's scared if she opens her eyes it's going to disappear.

She's not sure she could handle that for a second time. It might just kill her.

"I love you and I don't want anyone else," Brittany continues, voice cracking with sobs and whimpers. "If I could take it back... If I could turn back time—I would." Her head shakes and Santana tightens her grip on her face, pressing closer until their lips brush as Brittany speaks again. "I love you and I need you, Santana. I don't hate you, I can't hate you, I wouldn't want to, and I just... I love you."

She doesn't know how many times they've said those three words but it doesn't matter. Brittany's hand is coming up to her cheek, stroking away with the tears and making her eyes flutter open until she's sure she could fall into those pools of blue. It makes her heart clench and she doesn't quite know how to say what she feels, so she just stares at her until swollen lips quirk up at the side, and a low, chuckle comes from low in Brittany's chest.

It should be weird, but Santana can't help but begin laughing, too. So she does just that and holds Brittany closer because she can now. They laugh, still crying and shake their heads, foreheads rolling against each other as hands wipe away tears that are replaced merely seconds later but it doesn't matter.

"We're so stupid," Brittany manages to get out, but sniffs through a whimper and Santana exhales heavily, fingers trailing down the ledge of Brittany's jaw.

"But we're stupid together," she replies, peeling back to watch as her fingers run over Brittany's brow and down the bridge of her nose, slowing down to trace around her lips. "If you'll still have me."

A soft smile tugs at the corners of those lips. "I'll always have you, but can you forgive me?"

"I can't imagine it any other way," Santana lets out through a long exhale and sinks into the kiss Brittany gives her.

They may be stupid, but they're in love.

The question doesn't even need to be asked, and once the chill in the air gets too much, Brittany steps back and offers out a hand. Santana's heart skips a beat as she glances at her from where she's standing, and she still can't believe she went through all the pain, the anguish, the hurt, just because she didn't give Brittany a chance.

That's probably why she can't believe Brittany's giving her another chance.

Wordlessly, she accepts the offered hand, sliding her palm onto Brittany's and follows as Brittany leads her into the house, pulls her up the stairs and along the landing into her room. They both reluctantly part to undress slowly, shivering from the cool temperature still dusting their skin from outside and slip into bed in just their underwear, curling into each other, hands grabbing at hips and faces, noses squashing and foreheads tipping together again until they're breathing in a cycle; Brittany in, Santana out and so forth.

Their eyes lock and it's like everything's grey around them. Everything just fades and Santana strokes her thumb over the protrusion of Brittany's hip under the covers, taking in everything she can because she never truly worshiped it before. Now that she knows what it's like not to have Brittany, she wants to make every second that she has with her count.

She knows they still have so much to talk about. There are still so many unanswered questions but as Brittany's fingertips trail lines up and down her cheeks, her blue eyes roaming her face and searching it, she falls into her and knows that part can come later.

For now, they are together, and they fall asleep just like that, holding each other close, their hearts even closer.

When she wakes in the morning, it's to something stroking over her top lip and a curious warmth covering half her body.

She doesn't know what time it is, nor does she care, because she braces herself, ready to wake up to reveal that everything was just a dream, but as her eyes flutter open, her body stirs and wakes further, she finds bright blue staring back down at her and it hits her like a train on the track.

It wasn't a dream.

Brittany's here. Brittany's beside her and staring down at her.

Somehow, everything already feels brighter.

Their eyes meet and something washes over her, melts inside and her arms wrap around Brittany's waist, pulling her until she's on top of her, their bodies as close together as physically possible, pale hands clutching tanned cheeks and tanned hands tracing over the notches of Brittany's spine and down to the dimples on her lower back. She memorizes everything again, feeling the new-old feel of Brittany beneath her fingertips and palms and sighs, tilting her chin and offering out a kiss without even knowing she's doing so.

Brittany catches on, she always has and smiles against her mouth after leaning down. The press of her lips is like is a moment in heaven and Santana's eyelashes flutter, her hands stilling as Brittany's fingers stroke over the hinge of her jaw. The kiss is simple, it's soft but it conveys more words than Santana could come up with and so she keeps the contact for as long as possible, only pulling away when her lungs burn for oxygen.

Then they're close together again, eyes opening and locking and Santana wets her lips, shuddering at the taste of Brittany once more and runs her palms up the other girls rib cage. They stay like that for a long moment, neither of them speaking, but both dwelling in the proximity of each other again.

Santana just wants to stay this close forever.

She's missed seeing Brittany like this, so raw and beautiful. It's painfully amazing and her heart squeezes inside of her as her eyes take in the sight of the other girl. There's never going to be a moment when she doesn't want to stare at Brittany and she can't believe she's this lucky. How can she have been given another chance?

"Stop," Brittany whispers, and Santana's attention is drawn back to the blonde.

"Stop what?"

The back of a long finger smooths over her eyebrow. "You're thinking too much," Brittany murmurs, her blue eyes sparkling as they dart back to dark ones.

Santana shifts, not used to someone being able to read her. She almost forgot anyone could, even though it's only been six weeks.

"We have so much to talk about," she gets out, a thickness coating her throat and eyes flickering away. "I don't want to ruin us again."

Brittany urges herself closer—how that's possible, Santana doesn't know—but she does and Santana sucks in a deep breath at the scent of honey, coconut and vanilla wafting up from pale skin. Oh, how she's missed that.

"I don't want to either, San. I can't," Brittany lifts her shoulder in a small shrug. "I can't and don't want to be without you. I don't function right."

The words make tears prick at Santana's eyelids, but she blinks them back and lets her hands drift to Brittany's shoulder blades, pulling the girl down closer until they're so close all she can see is blue. She breathes in and out deeply twice before replying.

"Me neither, but I don't know how to do this." Her voice lowers into a whisper and the urge to glance away comes to her, but she forces it back. She doesn't want to spend another second not looking at Brittany. "I don't know how to be with someone."

Hands glide over her cheeks and jaw, settling at the curve of her neck where it meets her shoulder. "We'll just learn," Brittany explains, her voice so quiet and breathy, Santana almost doesn't hear.

"I just have to be with you, Britt, even if I don't know how," she manages through the tears threatening to spill. Shit. Why does she want to cry? She's fucking happy for once and yet the tears are still here.

Brittany doesn't even hesitate in pushing forward, their lips melting against each other, bodies too as Santana's hands grip gently at pale skin, tugging her closer until their kiss deepens, tongues pushing past lips and stroking against each other languidly. It's all so new, but not, and Santana feels the first teardrop roll down her cheek as Brittany pulls back, but pecks at her lips, her jaw, her nose, her forehead until there's nowhere that she hasn't kissed.

They gasp, panting hard against each other and Brittany's thighs straddle her hips, her elbows pressing into the mattress but chests still staying as close as possible.

"We are together," Brittany whispers throatily, bumping her nose against Santana's. "We are together and I hate that you're doubting me—"

"I'm not doubting you," Santana cuts in, shaking her head vigorously. "I'm not doubting you, Britt. I love you," she lets her hands around Brittany's body and slip beneath her arms to cup at her cheeks. "I belong where you are, that's the only thing I know, and I just need to know you forgive me." She stares hard into blue eyes and swallows thickly. "I need you to forgive me because I can't endure a world where I don't have you anymore. I've lived it for six weeks, and it almost killed me." The tears begin freely flowing again. "If I could take back what I did—what I should never have done—I would. I would every damn day."

Brittany kisses her hard to get her to stop talking and she sucks in sharply when the blonde pulls away, holding her head steady and gazing straight down at her.

"I forgive you, Santana. I forgive you but you need to forgive me." Santana's eyebrows furrow but Brittany shakes her head and presses her thumbs over her lips, stilling her mouth before words can come out. "You weren't the only one to screw up. I did, too, and I shouldn't have. I know I shouldn't but I won't say I'd take it back because I wouldn't."

Santana's head jerks and heart squeezes so tight she winces. Disappointment, sadness and panic seizes through her chest but Brittany shakes her head and nods at the same time, fear flashing across her eyes.

"No, hear me out, please," she begs and Santana gulps, trying not to panic but failing. "I wouldn't take it back because we're here now," she presses her hand to Santana's chest, feeling the rapid thumpthumpthump of her heart. "We're here and this will make us stronger. I love you, and you love me and this is only going to strengthen us," she lifts her hand back to cup Santana's face. "Ugh, I'm not saying this wrong am I? Do you get what I'm trying to say, San?"

Yes, she does, but she can't manage the words because she's still processing it. Brittany wouldn't take any of it back, because even though both of them suffered, they're here now, they're together and now there's no secrets. There's nothing to tear them apart, they've fully shown each other everything they have and now they've been through the struggle, nothing can tear them apart.

The struggle was hard, harder than anything she's ever experienced, but it's worth it, because now Brittany's here, in her arms.

So she nods and reaches up with both hands, pulling Brittany down and their mouths together. She kisses her once, still nodding into the kiss as she whispers, "I do, baby. I do," until Brittany tangles her hands into dark hair and secures their lips together.

And that's how Santana wants to stay.

And sure, they might have a lot to discuss, they have many things to say and many things to sort out before they can let each other in but that's part of the journey isn't it? Part of being with someone is working towards the picture and hanging on no matter how long or treacherous the way is.

But they have plenty of time for that, so for now, they'll just push it to the back of their minds.

Well, the plan was pushing it to the back of their minds, but that was before Brittany's mom burst through the door whilst Santana was half on top of Brittany whilst they were kissing and told them flatly to put on some clothes and come downstairs as they all needed to have a discussion about this; whatever 'this' might be.

And so now it's been brought to the very forefront of their minds and currently, they're both sat downstairs on the sofa next to each other with their hands in their laps and holding back on the urge to reach over and grab a hand to hold. Santana's staring straight ahead, sucking her lips into her mouth and quivering on her spot because she's just waiting for the yelling, the screaming, the shouting and then for the finale, the part where Susan kicks her out.

She can't have Brittany taken away from her after just getting her back.

She just can't.

"Mom, I—"

"No," Susan cuts Brittany off with a sharp tone and quick slash of her hand through the air.

Santana jerks back a little, itching to hold Brittany but resists, knowing she's already overstepped the line by even acknowledging Brittany's existence, let alone kissed her, told her she loves her and then stepped inside this house and spent the damn night, even if it didn't involve any nudity.

And if she's honest, right now, she's fucking terrified. Her breathing is irregular, chest moving rapidly and mouth dry like the desert, but she still wants to say something. Anger is flashing across faded blue eyes as Susan looks between them, pacing across the living room with her hand cupping her mouth, uncertainty buzzing through her aura.

What is she going to do?

"Brittany," Susan starts, voice low and serious. Brittany gulps beside her, knuckles turning white as she clutches at her other hand. The older woman turns and stops in front of them, still looking between each girl before settling on the blonde one. "For the past six weeks, you've been inconsolable." Santana winces, heart tightening. "You've been crying, you've been having nightmares and honestly, I thought we were going to have to move, to get you away from here."

Brown eyes flicker down in shame. Santana can't even begin to imagine Brittany like that, but she knows that she was the same, too. Maybe that'll make Susan see that they need each other.

If only she could bring herself to say that...

"I've sat by your side for hours and hours, listening to you sob and talk about Santana." Faded blue eyes flicker to said girl. "About how much you love her and how you'd do anything if you could take back what you did." Susan takes in a deep breath before sitting down on the coffee table, hands clasped between her knees. "And how you wish she was by your side, in spite of everything she's done."

Santana's head snaps up toward the older woman, and she tries to figure out what angle the woman's going for. Why is she repeating this? She's talking to Brittany but Brittany already knows this. She is the one who said and did everything after all.

Her eyes narrow but she just keeps listening.

"And now, to find you in bed with the girl who broke your heart," Susan breathes out, shaking her head. "I don't know what to say."

Disappointment seeps from her tone and out the corner of her eye, Santana sees Brittany's brow furrow. She knows she's about to cry and she just wants to hold her, to try and make her feel better.

So she does.

She shifts along the couch, ignoring the way her throat runs dry at how Susan stares at the movement, and wraps an arm around Brittany's waist, her other hand reaching out to rest over Brittany's quaking hands. Almost immediately, the girl leans into the touch, her knees bobbing just that little bit less than before and Santana knows that Susan's seen it.

She just doesn't know what she'll make of it.

"Mom..." Brittany's voice is dry and hoarse. "I know—I know what's happened in the past six weeks." She sucks in a deep, shaky breath and releases one hand, turning it over to grab at Santana's. A sigh threatens to escape her lips, but she bites it back, even if it does feel so damn good after all this time to have Brittany near her again. "I know and I've lived it, and it was the worst time of my life," the blonde explains and wets her quickly drying lips. "But I love her," she shrugs and Santana's heart damn near explodes at hearing those words again. She doesn't think there'll be a time when her body doesn't react like that to that phrase. "I love her and she's here now and she loves me. She's forgiven me, and I've forgiven her, and I know what you've had to put up with, I'm sorry for that, but it's all better now." She squeezes a tanned hand and Santana spares a glance at the older woman, seeing that inscrutable expression back at the gesture. "We're better now."

There's a long, tense moment, and Santana swears to the heavens that her heart is beating so fast she could take off in a moment. And for a second, she almost wishes that'd happen, because she'd grab Brittany and just fly off with her. She'd just fly off and ignore all this judgement and this disappointment that Susan clearly feels toward Brittany for getting back together with Santana. They could just disappear and be together, happy, but she supposes that's just wishful thinking.

Fuck that.

"Brittany... You can't say that," Susan grits out and Santana sees the hardening expression cut at her facial features. "You can't say it's all better after the weeks of pain you've gone through. I've never seen you like that before, I've never seen you in so much pain and to let her—" she jabs a finger in Santana's direction "—back in your life just like that? That's just not possible, or fair to yourself for that matter."

Santana bites down on her tongue hard, wishing that this urge, this burning urge to shout and tell Susan how wrong she is, would just go away. She knows that what she did was wrong, she would take it back if she could, but she can't and that's something she and Brittany have to deal with; something only her and Brittany have to deal with. Susan shouldn't even been involved in this, even though yeah, she's had to deal with Brittany's pain, tears and hurt after the past six weeks, but she's her mother, it's what mothers do. They look after their kid and respect and love their child no matter what.

And boy, how she wishes she could just say that.

But she doesn't even get a chance to because the second her mind goes to make a decision, there's the sound of locks clicking in the background and someone coming through the front door only moments later with heavy footsteps. Too heavy to be Maddie, and if Susan's here then that means—

Her entire face blanks, stomach dropping as she remembers something.

Well, someone.

"Britt! Susie! I'm home!"

Santana's entire body tenses, back stiffening and the breath catches in her throat.

Shit. That guy. The one at Brittany's dance recital.

Fuck! How could she have forgotten him?

"Girls? Where are you?"

Her eyebrows scrunch together as she listens to the footsteps move further into the house until she picks up on the breathing behind them. The guy's now standing behind the sofa, and by the sound of it he's taking off his jacket and that's confirmed only seconds later when it's thrown over the arm of the chair to their left.

Then the guy steps around the sofa and comes into view, and Santana sees Brittany look at her curiously as dark eyes slide to the man, narrowing.

"And this is... Santana Lopez, if I remember correctly?"

She doesn't flinch, doesn't move, doesn't breath, just stares at him after he calls her with this hardness she hasn't known. She still doesn't know who this guy is but the way he smiles at Brittany isn't going to change her mind. What is with this guy?

"Yes, this is Santana," Susan confirms monotonously, but then she takes her eyes off her to let her vision drift to the guy standing beside her and Santana actually jerks her head back at the change in her face.

Susan stands, her lips curving up into a small smile and reaches out to him, her hand finding his and their fingers tangling together as she rocks onto the balls of her feet, lips pressing to his cheek. Santana barely makes out the words "hey, honey" whispered into his skin before utter confusion takes over her mind and she's left sitting there, blinking and staring.

What the hell is going on?

"Hey, Dad."

Brittany's voice is a whisper, but it's a little cheerier, and Santana swears she almost passes out as the realization hits her. She chokes, the information lodging into her throat and she pounds her fist into her chest hard to recover. Shit. This guy isn't a potential romance for Brittany, it's her damn dad!

Fuck! How is she so stupid!?

"Hey, sweetie," the guy replies, leaning down to kiss her on the forehead, straightening up and throwing an arm around Susan's shoulders before grinning and tapping his foot. "So anyone wanna tell me what's with the tense atmosphere?"

If it weren't for the sudden slap in the face, Santana would probably laugh at how Brittany's dad is bouncing on the balls of his feet—something she knows has been passed down to Brittany—and how he's trying to make light of this whole situation as Susan glowers but it swiftly turns into a grin as the guy clutches her closer and tells her to stop being such a grump.

Okay, Brittany definitely has more of her dad in her genes.

"These two were caught together in bed this morning," Susan tells after the smile drops from her face. Her eyes fix on Santana and she just gulps heavily, but refuses to break the eye contact. She's stubborn as hell, after all.

"So?" Brittany's dad chirps with a shrug. "They're teenagers, Susie. Let them do what they want."

The older woman pulls back to switch her glare to her husband. "No, Henry," she shakes her head. "They weren't caught together in bed," she turns to look at Brittany again, almost looking embarrassed herself. "Although I think that's where it might have gone had I not walked in," she points out and Santana ducks her head as Brittany's ears turn pink and cheeks follow shortly after. "But they were caught together after I specifically asked Santana not to return here after she broke Brittany's heart."

The words are said with purpose, directed to hurt Santana and it works. She has to admit, she wishes it wouldn't but it's just a constant reminder that she's going to have to learn to deal with. This is just the start after all. All those people at school who know way too much about their lives and their problems will be judging from left, right and center. They'll still hate Santana for treating Brittany the way she did, and sure, it's probably reasonable, but they're sorting it out now.

Nothing can be made up with a simple apology but Santana's going to spend however long it takes trying to prove to Brittany that what they have is real, that her love is real.

She just knows other people won't see it the same way.

Why can't they just back out her life for once? Jheeze.

Henry—Santana remembers Brittany's dad is called, and you know, Susan just called him that, too—just looks between all three of them, lingering a little longer on the girls on the sofa before stepping out of his wife's embrace and holding her by the shoulders.

"Look, sweetie, I love you, you know that," he tells Susan who's eyes keep darting to the side as if Santana and Brittany are about to run away now her attention is slightly diverted. "But they're teenagers." He shrugs and Santana almost jumps out her seat at the words. If anything, she thought Brittany's dad would be tougher on her than Susan 'cause of all that 'daddy's little girl' bullshit. Now he's not, she just wants to kiss him. "Shit happens with teenagers and you know the moment you tell them to stay away from each other, the opposite will happen."

Susan continues to glare and Santana bites back a chuckle, glancing toward Brittany to see her do the same thing as their hands come back together on the blonde's lap.

"You know how we were, babe," Henry says, his lips quirking into a smile. "We weren't the perfect couple when we were teens but look at us now." He slides his hands down his arms and grabs her hands at the same time her eyes cloud with a memory Santana knows not of. "We both screwed up back then, didn't we?" Santana's eyes flit toward Brittany who's tilting her head to the side. Okay, she's not the only one getting this. "And we got back together. Sometimes people do stupid things when they're trying to fight what they're feeling." He shrugs again and then the silence settles in again.

And Santana knows this is it.

This is the deciding moment.

This is the moment where if it were a movie, there'd be some dramatic music, building up to a climax and the camera would be zooming in on all their faces, flicking between each one to see how Santana holds her breath, to see how Brittany leans in, to see how Susan's eyes bore into Henry's and how Henry's giving her that 'you know I'm right' look that makes Santana want to smirk.

She knows this is the moment, and the longer it goes on, the more her chest feels lighter.

She can see it, right in front of her. She can see how Susan chews on her bottom lip, how her shoulders seem to sink with every second that passes and how at the very last moment, she completely relaxes, purses her lips and rolls her eyes.

And Santana smiles.

She smiles because that's an acceptance. Maybe not quite a blessing, but it's working its way there which means she and Brittany can be together. It can be easier and they can work through their problems without any outstanding objects blocking their path.


This day just keeps getting better and better.

Henry coughs and Santana's broken from her thoughts. Her head twists and eyes snap to the man as her hand clutches Brittany's tighter.

"Santana," he says and she nods, even though she's not sure what that was to. "You love Brittany, right?"

She swallows and wets her lips. "More than words can explain."

Brittany sighs beside her, and she almost squirms at the overwhelming feel of happiness buzzing through her, but chooses to stay focused on the more serious matter at hand. They're not quite off the anger wagon yet so she needs to pay all her attention to saying the right thing. One mistake and she could potentially fuck it up. Again.

"Are you going to hurt her again?"

That question is said a little harder and Santana gulps, almost scared by the darkening of blue eyes.

"No, Sir. Never again. If I could take it back the first time I would. I would turn back time if it were possible."

Henry grins at her babbling and she almost shakes her head at herself. Word vomit is so not the best thing right now.

"And Britt Britt," he lets his vision land on his daughter, his eyes softening and crinkling at the side.

(Santana doesn't know how she thought this guy was anything but her father now; all she can see is Brittany in him.)

(Not to mention his age—he's obviously too old for her.)

(Maybe the anger and pain of thinking Brittany already moved on was shadowing that, though.)

"Do you love Santana?"

Brittany's fingers turn and slide through her own, pulling them tighter into her lap. "Yes, Daddy. I love her."

Inside her chest, Santana's heart almost explodes and she can't help but let her eyes wander toward the girl beside her. God, she's so in love it actually hurts.

"Then that's it," Henry finishes and shrugs, smiling at his wife when she glares. "Susie, stop it." He teases, wrapping her arm around her shoulder again and pulling him into her chest. "Put a smile on that beautiful face of yours."

It seems to break the anger because Susan's face suddenly breaks into a smile, but Santana only sees it for a second before she buries her face into her husband's shoulder, her hand winding around his waist. It's like they're teenagers and she sighs, knowing she possesses that kind of love for someone too, and that someone is sat beside her.

"Now go on girls," Henry moves one hand away from his wife's shoulder and waves it toward the stairs. "I'm sure you two have a lot to talk about."

Santana nods, heart faltering a little but doesn't even hesitate in standing from the couch. Brittany joins her, tugging her toward her father to hug him quickly, pausing to peck her mother on the cheek and whisper "thank you" in her ear too, before skipping to the stairs and dragging Santana up them and into her room.

"I don't know how to do this."

"Well, San, you just move your mouth like this," Brittany pops her lips open and begins moving her jaw like she's speaking. "And use this bit here," she pokes at Santana's throat, making her squirm and slap her away playfully. "And then the words come and your mouth forms them and there you go! You're talking!"

Santana grins, ducks her head and shakes her head as her hands blindly reach for Brittany's. When she finds them, their fingers lace together and she shuffles closer, their kneecaps now touching. They're sitting upright on the bed, legs crossed, facing each other since apparently this is the appropriate position to which you can have a serious conversation, according to Brittany. Obviously Santana wasn't going to argue, and so she just went with it.

But now she's sitting here, playing with Brittany's hands and fingers, she's not sure how she's supposed to talk about this. She never talks about feelings. That was one of the main reasons why it was so goddamn hard before; she and Brittany never once talked about how they were feeling or what they were, and now if they need to proceed that's what they need to do.

She's never been able to say the right thing though, and the chances of her screwing this up again are pretty damn high and fuck, she really doesn't want that to happen.

"Britt, I just—" the breath lodges in her throat and she coughs it out. "People are gonna judge us. They're going to think we're stupid." She shrugs but Brittany just looks at her. "For getting back together so easily; without hesitation or whatever." Her hands clutch tighter at Brittany's, moving them in a small arc in her lap and she's trying desperately not to look up because she's trying to say what she means without it coming out badly. Now that silence is only there, she's not sure if she's succeeding. It makes her chest seize with panic a little. "It's gonna affect us, and how we are together."

Her eyes flicker up and she takes in a deep, shaky breath, furrowing her brow and feeling the muscles in her face ache from the frown she's showing.

"I don't want everyone bitching at you because you got back with me," she whispers, and means it too.

She knows how high school students can be. Hell, she is one and she knows how she would've reacted back in her pre-Brittany days if she heard the things people have heard about them and then saw them together the next day without a care in the world. She'd judge them, and think they were stupid; even if it was nothing to do with her.

That's just how students are though. They'll never change.

"So what do you wanna do?" Brittany asks, softly and Santana shrinks, exhaling heavily.

"I don't know, Britt, I just... I don't want you to be judged for something I've done." Her thumbs rub over knuckles. "It's not fair."

A hand caresses the side of her cheek, forcing her to stare into clear blue eyes. She licks her lips and listens.

"I don't care if people give us crap, San," Brittany murmurs, eyes fixed on dark ones. "We're together and we can get through it because of that." Her shoulders lift at the same time the corners of her lips do. "We can do this, okay?"

Santana sucks in her bottom lip, chewing it light and leaning into the other girls hand on her face. She considers it, knowing that they can do it but shit, she really wishes there was a way she could click her fingers and no-one would pay them any attention. It's their lives and what happens between them should stay just like that.

She hangs her head and shakes it, trying to regulate her breathing. Why can't everything just be easier?

"Actually, I have a better idea."

Brittany drops tanned hands, her voice tipping in pitch and dark eyebrows scrunch together as Santana watches the blonde girl climb off the bed and stand at the foot of it, smoothing down the (borrowed) sweatshirt she's wearing and the small, duck printed pajama shorts.

Santana moves to get up but a pale hand shoots out, hovering in the air in a 'stop' motion. She slowly slinks back down to the bed, tilting her head and feeling the curiosity grow second by second. What the hell is Brittany doing?

"Britt?" She says, throat a little dry. "What are you—"

"You don't want people to judge us because of what we've done, right?"

Warily, she bobs her head, shifting in her spot. "Yeah..."

"And the only way we can get rid of those stupid people who stick their head in our business is if somehow, we become different people and therefore, have different lives, right?"

Not getting where this is going, Santana jerks her head back, eyes flickering around as if the answer is somewhere hanging in the room, before they finally come back to settle on Brittany. She doesn't want a new life, she still firmly believes in what Brittany was saying about not changing the past because this is where they are now. They're somewhere better, and yet the girl's standing there talking about new lives and forgetting their past. What the hell?

"Britt, I don't wanna forget what we've been through because it's brought us here," her palm presses against the comforter covering Brittany's bed. "It's brought us to a better place, together."

"I know." Brittany pokes out her tongue, wetting her lips. "I don't wanna forget either," she agrees, inching forward until the front of her bare legs are firmly pressing against the board at the end of the bed. "But I wanna make those other people forget, and there's only one way to do it."

Dark eyes narrow. "And that is...?"

A grin comes across Brittany's face a split second later, and Santana knows the second she sees it that she's going to go along with whatever plan the other girl has. She's pretty much helpless when it comes to Brittany anyway and now combine it with that grin and sparkling, blue eyes... Well, it speaks for itself really.

With a softer smile and a straightening of her back, Brittany offers out a hand. "My name's Brittany. It's nice to meet you."

It's all too odd and nothing like she was expecting, and Santana's so caught of guard she sort just stares. Her eyes flicker between the pale hand hovering in the air, to blue eyes and then back again. It happens at least four or five times before she forces herself to speak because seriously, what the hell?

"What are you do—"

"I said," Brittany cuts in, crawling onto the bed on her knees, keeping the hand out. "My name's Brittany. And this is the part where you introduce yourself."

And then Santana gets it.

There's logic in there somewhere, she's sure, something about them being new people and therefore no-one can judge them because they don't know each other, and it makes her smile. It makes her smile because she knows Brittany loves her, that Brittany wants her and that they're together. She knows it and this is Brittany's plan to make it easier. It's silly, really, because it's not going to work; no-one's going to believe that they both got a sudden case of amnesia or have just forgotten the past, but this is Brittany's way of saying she's going to stick with Santana through all the judgement and the looks.

This is her way of showing Santana that she's going to be by her side for as long as she needs her.

And shit, she thought she'd fallen in love with Brittany but now she think's she's going to be forever falling.

Ducking her head, shaking it lightly and letting out a small chuckle, Santana lifts her hand, sliding her palm into Brittany's and grasping it firmly, moving them up and then down again. "Hello, Brittany. My name is Santana. It's nice to meet you, too."

Blue eyes beam, and Brittany's face basically glows with the grin that etches across her face as she drops their clutched hands and scoots back onto the bed, throwing a leg either side of Santana's hips after she stretches out her legs so their chests are pushed together. Hands clutch at hips and shoulders, and one of Brittany's drifts up to stroke her thumb over the edge of Santana's jaw as their eyes lock. She breathes out unsteadily, still shocked that her body still reacts so happily to the other girl's closeness after all this time and smiles.

"I think I'm gonna like you," she whispers, bumping her nose over Brittany's.

Brittany just giggles. "I think I'm gonna like you, too," she responds, raking her hands through dark locks and stopping to cup the back of her skull when her eyes drift down to Santana's lips quickly. "But wait..." she freezes and looks entirely disgruntled by something. "Even though we've just met, can I still kiss you?"

Santana giggles. "If you don't I'm going to have to re-introduce myself and that'd just be weird," she says through a grin, already closing the gap between them.

"Okay, stranger," the other girl whispers and then they're kissing, their lips fitting together softly, and the kiss is so different from the one they had last night. It's not full of sadness, of fear, or of anything either of them have felt in the past six weeks of absence between them. It's not anything but love, adoration and reassuring each other that this is where they want to be; that this is what they want and they're going to do absolutely anything to make sure that happens, no matter who tries to intervene or what people say about them.

"Wait," Brittany suddenly pulls back with scrunched brows and a cocked head. Santana pouts instantly, wanting to keep kissing the girl because it just feels so good to be doing it after all this time. "Isn't the world going to judge us for kissing strangers, though? I mean, I'm pretty sure people don't just do that without judgement."

She actually has a point and Santana's lips quirk up, a soft exhale leaving them as her palms glide around Brittany's hips to the small of her back, already pulling the girl closer and into her lips as she whispers, "Maybe the world just needs to change, then."

"Good," Brittany sighs into the kiss as they fall back to the bed, "I've been waiting for that."

The End!

That really is the end, too :( but there will be an epilogue! So hang on there and leave a comment to say what you thought if you don't mind :)

Thanks guys, you really have been amazing! Been great writing for you! Keep checking up on my profile as I'm surely posting a new G!P Santana fic at some point.